A bottle drying rack may not be on your must-buy list if you have a tight budget for your baby gear. But if the idea of a dedicated spot to dry your baby’s bottles, rings, nipples, and, later, sippy cup parts, is appealing, it’s worth considering the Boon Lawn. It’s relatively more pricy compared to other bottle drying racks, but the few-dollar difference is worth the versatility, ease of use, and longevity.
This article was originally published in May 2014. It has been updated to reflect current products and additional recommendations in October 2017.
Small Business Spotlight - July 2018
Every month we feature a new small business trying to make a difference for parents. This month's small business spotlight is:
Baby Gate Guru was founded in 2015 with the aim of helping parents and consumers get the most out of their safety gates. Have you ever scuffed your walls using a baby gate? What about lost its mounting hardware? In 2016 they released the Baby Gate Guru Wall Protector set to help prevent damaged walls caused by pressure mounted gates, and in 2018 they released the Baby Gate Guru Extra Long Spindle Rods replacement set to provide an easy alternative to buying a new gate when pressure bolts are lost or need an upgrade.Read more from the founders.
The research process began with reviewing 15 racks, then I chose the five most appealing to test personally. After 14 hours of research and testing the Boon Lawn emerged as the clear winner for the best bottle drying rack. While other baby bottle drying racks are more complex, the simplicity of the Boon Lawn makes all the difference.
Who Should Buy This?
There are several reasons for purchasing the Boon Lawn baby bottle drying rack. Firstly, the Boon Lawn is a great resource for parents who want to hand wash their baby’s bottles. It also provides the advantages of keeping baby’s bottles separate from adult dishes and helping to keep kitchen countertops more organized.
Breastfeeding moms using a pump might also appreciate the convenience of a the drying rack for holding the pump’s small parts after they’ve been washed.
Lastly, this baby bottle drying rack is versatile and sturdy enough for use in the future when kids transition to sippy cups.
What Makes A Good Baby Bottle Drying Rack?
This isn’t a category that’s been looked at in great depth overall. I found only two sources for overall category reviews (as opposed to one-off single product reviews); Neither seemed to be from sources that were rock-solid in the baby-gear realm. But since this isn’t a product that has safety repercussions if a poor choice is made, nor is it a big-ticket item, that’s really not so surprising.
Though it’s a relatively low-risk purchase, it’s worth finding out what separates a good baby bottle drying rack from a bad baby bottle drying rack.
We decided which racks to advance to the testing phase based on what the existing expert and user reviews said about efficient use of space, ease of cleaning (and draining), how it managed heavier items, and attractiveness.
A good one should accommodate not only bottles, but the smaller accessories. And here’s the key: All the items need to be quick and easy to get at when dry. Layered racks may seem like a good idea (and they may take up less space), but removing the top layer to get to whatever is on the bottom will get old fast. A design that lets smaller items dry upright means everything dries faster. The best bottle drying racks drain into a drip tray that you empty or flow directly into your sink. The best ones are designed to this without leaving you to dry up a sopping countertop.
While appearances may not be everything, most people would prefer a rack that does the job yet doesn’t look like a monstrosity on the counter.
Be aware: A price is sometimes cheap because of “optional” accessories that in reality are necessary. An example would be a drip tray for a rack with no water chamber. Of course, racks made with phthalates, BPA, or PVC, or ones that are flimsy, are a no-go.
In my research, I found that the baseline cost-of-entry to get a baby bottle drying rack was about $15. Less expensive racks seemed flimsy and sure to break before long. Decent options are available in the $15 to $20 range, with the priciest coming in at around $25.
How We Tested
I tested baby bottle drying racks from five different major manufacturers. I washed, then dried, six popular brands of bottles, making sure that we had a variety of sizes and materials, including glass. I also tried drying sippy cups, toddler forks and spoons, even grown-up dishware, to see which racks may have a life after bottle days are done.
Due to the dearth of outside testing, it was imperative to try each of the candidate racks out. Besides, with this kind of a product, it’s hard to know how functional it really is by relying on reviews, even pretty unanimous ones. You have to get hands on and see for yourself.
So I gathered bottles of all shapes and sizes, including heavier glass ones, as well as nipples and rings. I even broke out regular dinner plates and a few coffee cups to be able to assess which, if any, would be useful for years to come. I stacked each rack with the same assortment of wet items, trying to get them as full as I could. Then I waited to see how quickly items dried, and how easy it was to grab items out when they did. Here’s how it went with the four also-rans. (Details on my top pick are down below.)
The First Years Gumdrop Breeze Drying Rack drains into the sink and spins, which is convenient, and was fairly easy to put together. But I had to get creative to get all my test samples to fit. I had to stack, but then it was hard to reach past the bottles on the lower level to get to the nipples/smaller items. And with heavier glass bottles, it didn’t spin as smoothly.
The Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack also spins and was easy to put together. It has a bottle brush holder and a small footprint. However, it doesn’t drain into the sink, though there is a water reservoir. And when full, it’s hard to find the particular item you’re looking for. Rings and small parts just pile up and take a while to dry, unless you use the lower prongs. But that reduces the overall capacity for bottles.
The Prince Lionheart Deluxe Drying Station is sturdy and likely to appeal to organized types: Items have specific locations, like slots for toddler forks and spoons. However, when it’s full and you try to grab something, other items fall off. It doesn’t drain into the sink, yet the reservoir is small. And assembly was a little frustrating, with tiny tabs that were a challenge to click in the right way.
The SkipHop Splash Bottle Drying Rack (discontinued by the manufacturer as of 2017) comes assembled and with a bottle brush, which is nice. It takes up little space, spins, and has a modern aesthetic. Bottles fit fine, but the bottom trays don’t hold much. To look at it, you assume it holds nine bottles. And while it does, very little else will fit then. It doesn’t drain into the sink, and the drip tray is very shallow.
- Dimensions: 13.5″ x 11″ x 2.5″
- Material: BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and PVC-free
- Restrictions: Not Dishwasher Safe
I had predicted that the Boon Lawn would be all looks and no game, but I was wrong.
I’m sold on the Boon Lawn because of its unique construction that makes individual items easy to grab without disturbing anything else, while also not sacrificing capacity. Its simplistic design is pretty ingenious: It holds everything from tiny nipples to dinner plates upright, so it can definitely be used as a regular dish rack later on. Another bonus is that no assembly is needed.
The Boon Lawn is 13.5 inches long by 11 inches wide by 2.5 inches high. It’s made of BPA-free, phthalate-free, and PVC-free plastic. It didn’t slide around on my granite countertop. While it doesn’t drain into the sink, it holds a lot of water, so I had no problems with overflow.
Before I saw the product for myself I worried all those little “blades of grass” would be impossible to clean, especially since this rack is not dishwasher safe. When I tested the rack I learned that it’s actually two layers that can be separated to be cleaned to make it easier. Still, I do wonder how clean it would get once it’s been used for six months. I’d feel OK taking the chance though, as none of the many the product’s online reviewers seemed to share this particular concern.
It looks pretty chic, too, especially in the white. It’s also available in green. You can buy two accessories to go with it—the Stem and the Twig. The former looks like a funky flower; the latter, a sleek gray stick. These hold nipples, rings, and other small doodads, giving you more room for bigger items on the main rack. It’s personal preference whether or not you find these accessories handy, but personally I’d do without them. I had no trouble accommodating big and little items on the basic rack, and for me the look of these add-ons takes away from the low-key way the rack blends into your kitchen.
If you’re a space conscious mama and the dimensions for the Lawn are too large for your counter space, Boon also has other sizes available for purchase:
- Grass – Identical to the Lawn design, available in white and green, with smaller dimensions (approximately 9.5in x 9.5in).
- Patch – The side lawn of the Boon bunch, this is great for windowsills and small spaces next to the kitchen sink. This item is 17in x 3.5in x 3in.
- Trip – A travel size case with brushes included makes this great for on-the-go! If you’re pumping in public spaces, such as work, this is a great addition to your breast pump bag.
Often, the most expensive baby gear product in a category is not the best bet for most people. Here, though, that actually turned out to be the case. Since this is a low-ticket category overall though, we’re only talking about a $5 extra hit to your wallet.
Who Else Likes It?
On Amazon, the Boon Lawn has a score of 4.8 out of 5, with over 800 reviews. Here’s what a few customers said:
- “After a year and a half, it’s still as good as new, no broken blades, easy to wash, fits all my babies’ needs, including bottles, pacifiers, bowls and spoons.”
- “It looks fantastic on my counter, important to me since it will be a permanent fixture for a long time, and even holds Dr. Brown’s glass bottles, no problem.”
- “ I can fit 6 bottles, 2 full sets of pumping accessories, several pacifiers AND several other items on it at once. It’s also cute.”
- “This rack is very versatile and can be customized to everyone’s needs. Plus, I can keep it and use when we’re out of the baby stage.”
The Inspired Home blog tested the Boon Lawn and found that it’s easy to clean, holds a heck of a lot, and looks great in the kitchen. The reviewer rated it an 8 out of 10, saying if she had it all over again. she’d still pick the Boon Lawn. The Eco Baby Mama Drama blogger bought a second Lawn to use for all her family’s air dry items. And a reviewer at Modern Day Mom noted that the Lawn dries her coffee pot, knives and “even dries my little baby cucumber that my daughter picked from the garden today!”
We considered testing these alternatives from manufacturers, but decided against it. Here are a few reasons why:
- Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack The high capacity still didn’t seem high enough. It touted having “foldable pegs” for storage, but the process of getting it into storage mode appeared tricky.
- Munchkin Deluxe Drying Rack A small capacity and seemed a little flimsy.
- Dr. Brown’s Drying Rack Despite how fervent fans of the Dr. Brown’s bottles are, those same loyalists found flaws with the rack, noting that the two-tier construction made it difficult to access items on the lower tier. Plus it’s designed to be used with Dr. Brown’s bottles, so if you switch brands or transition to sippy cups, this rack may not work.
- Phillips Avent Drying Rack Considering its footprint, its capacity wasn’t very high.
- OXO Tot Bottle Drying Rack Doesn’t drain into sink, but also doesn’t hold much water. And its appearance might not be aesthetically pleasing to most. But it holds champagne glasses, a random perk.
- Playtex SmartSpace Drying Rack Not sturdy. Reviewers noted pegs fall out and unit tips.
- Beaba Feeding Bottle Draining Rack Adorable, but has a small capacity. And it’s just not as easy to use with accessories as most others.
Care, Use, Maintenance, and Repair
The Boon websites says the Lawn should be hand-washed with warm soapy water, but I, like most busy new-parent reviewers, put the product in the dishwasher with no problems.
Occasionally you may want to scrub any nooks and crannies by hand with regular dish soap or vinegar and a small dish brush, but that’s about it. Given the price point if it breaks it’s not worth trying to repair. That won’t likely be a problem, though, as some reviewers will still raving about the Lawn a year later.
Unlike other drying racks, the Lawn sets itself apart by being able to be used long past baby’s ditching of the sippy. Even though the blades look delicate, they can actually hold dinner dishes, stemware, and coffee cups. So don’t toss it up when baby graduates to grownup cups!