With so many options available in the formula aisle, choosing which baby formula to purchase for your little one can be an overwhelming process. There are generally three forms of formula available: powdered, ready-to-use, and liquid concentrate. The type of formula you choose generally depends on factors such as your budget, where you plan to use it, and your baby’s preference.


Powdered formula is believed to be the most economical formula option, as well as the most environmentally friendly. Typically mixed with water, powdered formula takes more time to prepare compared to concentrates and ready-to-use liquids. You may opt to either prepare your baby’s bottle as needed, or prepare a day’s worth of milk ahead of time and refrigerate it.

Apart from its more affordable price, other advantages of powdered formula are that they take up little cupboard space, and that it has a shelf life of one month from the time the container is opened. Of course, it takes more time and effort to prepare compared to other formula types. Instructions must also be followed exactly.


Ready-to-use formula is undeniably the most convenient type of formula to give to your baby, as it simply needs to be opened and served or poured directly into a bottle. It is hygienic, and is often the type of formula given to newborns at the hospital. Ready-to-use formula is particularly ideal for scenarios where you may not have access to safe water. Unlike formula in powdered and concentrate form, no measuring and mixing is needed. This formula type is typically available in 2, 6, 8, or 32 fluid ounce containers.

Of course, ready-to-use formula is also the most expensive of the three types—costing approximately 20 percent more per ounce compared to its powdered counterpart. It also has a shorter lifespan and must be consumed within 48 hours. Their containers also take up more space in the cupboard, as well as in landfills. Many parents also complain that ready-to-use formula can leave very difficult stains on clothes.

Liquid concentrate

Liquid concentrate formula is formula in liquid form that needs to be diluted with water. All brands of liquid concentrate require mixing equal parts of formula and water. Compared to powdered formula, liquid concentrate is more expensive, although easier and more convenient to prepare. Compared to ready-to-use formula, liquid concentrate is generally cheaper and takes up less storage space. Once opened, this form of formula must be refrigerated and consumed within the next 48 hours.

The Difference Between Powdered, Ready-to-Use, and Liquid Concentrate Formulas
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