Baby food mills seem relatively simple: They either electrically or manually mash, grind or blend cooked food into a healthy puree for baby. However, they may leave much to be desired. Many owners say manual mills yield a mush that still needs to be strained for younger babies, wasting time and dirtying extra dishes. And despite the fact that manual mills often have a larger capacity than baby food makers, turning solids to puree is slow going. Perhaps the biggest strike against many baby food mills is that they just don't puree as well as a blender or food processor.
Still, one unit stands out: the Kidco Babysteps Electric Food Mill (*Est. $20). Despite its low price, many parents say they use this mill for years and for multiple children. Even after toddlers no longer need foods pureed, owners use it to mix dips or other small recipes. While some don't like the smaller 2-cup capacity, others appreciate being able to prep one or two servings without lugging out a full-sized blender or food processor. And unlike many reviews of baby food makers and mills, users say the Kidco purees as well as a food processor or better, and it's quieter. In fact, one of the only complaints we found is that the lid is sometimes difficult to remove.
Another model that may prove useful long after babies outgrow it is the Oxo Tot Baby Food Mill (*Est. $50). Its 9.2-cup capacity is the largest of any baby food mill we found reviewed, and it comes with three discs for creating various textures. Experts say it can be used for milling potatoes or tomato sauce years down the road. However, the Oxo doesn't live up to many owners' expectations. While several say they have no problem with how it performs, others say it's far too difficult and time-consuming to make large batches of baby food. They say this mill either won't yield anything more than fruit juice or the food is too thick and lumpy.