Breast Pump Comparison

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Breast Pump Comparison

Breast pumps – do you need one, how do you decide which one, do you have to pay for it yourself? These are all questions that soon-to-be-moms will be asking at some point.  Looking back, I made a lot of mistakes selecting a breast pump.  But hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.  Therefore, read on for my complete guide to selecting the perfect breast pump for you. I will cover definitions that are important to know when evaluating breast pumps and well as a breast pump comparison between all of the major brands. If you are looking for a breast pump because you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make sure to check out this post.

Around my second trimester, I got a random call from a company that supplies breast pumps.  My doctor had put in the order for me to get one through insurance.  The company rattled off a long list of all my options, and when finished asked which one I wanted.  I selected one I had heard of off the list and was told it would be at my door in a few days if it was covered.  Less than a week later, I had a new breast pump on my doorstep.  However, I ended up buying a second pump and wishing that I had yet another type.  Here are my tips for planning out your breast pump situation, so you end up with a pump you love (well as much as you can love something that leaves you feeling like a cow) as well as a comparison of all the readily available breast pumps.


Terminology

First things first, let’s cover breast pump terminology.

Hospital-Grade Pump

Heavy-duty pumps that have the most powerful motors and a higher amount of “sucks” per minute compared to personal pumps.  These pumps are more efficient but come with a higher price tag.

Personal Pump

These pumps are designed to fit the lifestyle of most moms.  They are usually relatively easy to transport and are more affordable than hospital grade pumps.  However, they are not as efficient as hospital-grade pumps.

Electric Pump

A pump that uses electricity via a wall outlet, but some pumps have the ability to run on batteries.  These pumps have the ability to pump both breasts at the same time and are much more efficient than manual pumps.

Manual-Pump

A pump that requires the user to do the work.  These pumps have a lever that requires a squeeze and release motion to express milk.  These pumps can be useful because they are highly portable and have few parts. However, they can be labor intensive.

Closed-System

Has a diaphragm that acts as a barrier.  This protects the milk from outside air and prevents milk from leaking into the pump tubing.  Therefore, expressed milk is never exposed to the pump tubing or motor which means that the tubing doesn’t require washing or sterilizing.

Open-System

Does not have a barrier between the tubing and the milk collection, so milk may potentially leak into the tubing.  This can be an inconvenience because it requires washing, sterilizing and air drying the tubing.  However, some moms report that small amounts of milk may get into the tubing without being noticed and this can lead to mold in the tubing. 

Flanges/Shields

These are the plastic pieces that go over your breast when pumping.  It is essential that these fit properly.  Flanges that are too small can cause pain from rubbing and flanges that are too big will not allow sufficient suction.  With some brands you can buy flanges in sizes other than what come with the pump, but this results in an added cost.

Dual-Phase Expression

The first step in breast milk expression is when the baby takes short, shallow and frequent sucks to cause a let-down.  The second phase occurs when the milk comes in and the baby’s sucks get longer and deeper. A dual-phase expression pump mimics these phases.


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Things to Consider

  • Unique needs: Determine if you will be pumping at work or while traveling.
  • How many pumps: If possible, plan to get two pumps in case one breaks.  My first week back to work, I accidentally dropped my pump and it broke.  That left me without a pump for a day (thank goodness for Amazon Prime 1-day shipping!).  It was a very stressful day because I was at work and my son wasn’t a big fan of nursing, to begin with, so he was not impressed by having to act as the pump.  Once I got my new pump in the mail, I eventually got my original one fixed, so I kept one at home and one at work.  This was really the ideal situation.  If you are able to get two pumps, I recommend two different styles (one hands-free and one traditional).
  • Manual or Electric: If you are only planning to pump occassionally and/or you need to have something handy to use once in a while when traveling, you may be able to get by with a manual pump.  However, if you will be pumping with any consistency, then you definitely want an electric pump.
  • Hospital or Regular Grade: Breast pumps come as hospital grade and regular grade.  Hospital grade is the type that may be in pumping rooms at work and what the hospital will have.  These are designed to have multiple people use the same pump.  Regular pumps are designed to be single user.  They are smaller and easier to tote back and forth to work.  Regular grade is likely sufficient for what you are doing. 
  • Style: Once you focus on regular grade, electric pumps, you have two basic groups of pumps: the traditional style with the cones and bottles hanging off of them and the hands-free, discrete pumps.  If you are able to swing two pumps, I highly recommend getting one of each. 
  • Desirable characteristics: Things to look at and consider include the following:
    • Battery-powered option
    • The weight of the pump
    • Discrete and hands-free
    • Reviews
    • Availability of support and parts

Breast Pump Comparison Tables

Below is a comparison of all readily available electric breast pumps.  Hospital grade pumps and manual pumps are not included.

The Criteria Evaluated

  • Hands Free (yes/no): Pumping bras are available to make any pump “hands-free” but being hands-free without a special bra is a big plus.
  • Runs on Battery (yes/no): Some pumps don’t maintain great suction on battery. However, having the option to use a pump on battery is helpful in a pinch.
  • Car Plug Ability (yes/no): The ability to power your pump with a car plug is a big plus when you are on the go.  If you can pump hands free, then pumping while driving is a great way to multi-task.
  • Digital Display (yes/no): Some mothers find a digital display really helpful for adjusting pump settings.  Usually pumps with a digital display come with additional features, like a timer or more setting options.
  • Closed System (yes/no): A closed system prevents any milk from getting into the tubing and potentially the pump motor which makes the pump more hygienic and saves you the hassle of cleaning the tubing.
  • Customer Support (yes/no): I learned the hard way that customer support is not a given with breast pumps, so I’ve included it as a criterion to evaluate.
  • Shield/Flange Size: You can often order a variety of sizes of shields/flanges. However, that’s an additional cost and hassle.
  • Warranty: If your pump breaks you want to know that it will be replaced quickly without additional cost to you.
  • Price: Many breast pumps are available through insurance.  However, if you are looking to get a second pump, or want one that isn’t covered, price is important to consider.
  • Amazon Rating: This seems to be the rating system that has the most submitted ratings, so I included it as a way to help compare the pumps.
  • Notes: This is where I included any additional features that I thought were important to consider.

Medela Pumps

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Medela Freestyle

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Medela Sonata

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$350
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Spectra Pumps

Spectra S1

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra S2

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 28 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$158
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

Spectra 9 Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor
Price$180
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Motif Pumps

Motif Duo

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4 stars
Notes

Motif Twist

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
21 and 24 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$100
Amazon Rating
3 stars
Notes

Freemie Pumps

Freemie Liberty

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesCan be charged with a USB

Freemie Freedom

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 28 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$132
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

The First Years Pumps

Breastflow Memory Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Comes with 2 sizes; unclear which ones
WarrantyNone
Price$74
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesStores record of pumping sessions

Quiet Expressions Plus

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
“Flexi fit shields”
WarrantyNone
Price$66
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

BelleMa Pumps

Melon Comfort

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$105
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

E5

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty1 year
Price$140
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Plethora

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
2 stars
Notes

Effective Pro

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 and 27 mm
Warranty18 months
Price$130
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

Other Brands

Lansinoh Smartpump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$200
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
NotesBluetooth connectivity

Momcozy Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$60
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; portable

BabySteps Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$59
Amazon Rating
4.5 stars
Notes

BellaBaby Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$52
Amazon Rating
4 stars
NotesUSB charging

KidsTime Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determine
WarrantyNone
Price$33
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
NotesUSB charger; hot/cold message pads

Philips Avent Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 27 mm
Warranty2 years
Price$170
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Nibble Electric Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
Can’t determineX
Warranty1 year
Price$70
Amazon Rating
2.5 stars
NotesOnly comes with one bottle
Hard to find additional bottles and parts
Compatible with Medela bottles and some parts

Ameda Finesse

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
25 and 30.5 mm
Warranty2 years on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$300
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Evenflo Double Electric

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24.5, 28 and 30.5 mm
Warranty1 year on motor; 90 days on parts
Price$64
Amazon Rating
3.5 stars
Notes

Willow Wearable Breast Pump

TraitYesNo
Hands Free
X
Runs on Battery
X
Car Plug Ability
X
Digital Display
X
Closed System
X
Customer Support
X
TraitComment
Shield/Flange Size
24 mm
WarrantyNone
Price$480
Amazon Rating
N/A
Notes27 mm is only other size available
Run by smart phone app
1:1 coaching included with pump purchase

Additional Considerations

The above section gives you the basics of each pump to help you narrow down your search.  Once you decide which pumps sound like the best fit for you, make sure to research and consider the following.

  • Availability and cost of spare parts
  • What size flange you need. Note: This may change over time.
  • Amazon reviews

My Breast Pump Experience

I originally got the Freemie Freedom Pump which is hands-free.  The cups go inside of your bra and then have a pour spout to put the milk into bottles or bags.  I loved this pump at home, but it’s the one I broke my first week back at work.  I called the company and they simply said they didn’t service their pumps.  Luckily my dad was able to fix it.  In the meantime, I ordered a Spectra S2 from Amazon.  This wasn’t hands-free, but I could purchase adaptor tubing to use my hands-free cups with this pump which I did.  Compared to my Freemie, this pump was lighter weight with better features like different settings, and it was quieter.  I could also use it with traditional cups or my hands-free ones. However, the S2 isn’t able to run on battery (the S1 is).  One that could run on the battery would have fit my lifestyle better, but I’ve heard other mothers say that when running on battery the pumps don’t have enough suction.


Related Content

If I was to do it again, I would get a traditional style pump (probably Spectra S1 or Medela) and either the Willow or the Freemie Liberty which are a little more discreet and allow you to walk around compared to the Freemie Freedom that kept me tethered to my desk.  I may gravitate towards the Willow having experienced the lack of support from Freemie.

If, despite a great pump, you are finding you still need to supplement, check out this formula price comparison.

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Once you decide on a breast pump, make sure to check out these other posts on baby essentials.

Breast Pump Comparison

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

2 thoughts on “Breast Pump Comparison

  • December 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    Permalink

    This is such an amazing post and with great information!! We got the Spectra 1, which I loved. I found the suction good both plugged into the wall or running on the battery. It’s a great pump! I also used the Haakaa, which I really like, but for me, it only works while my baby is nursing on the other side. If he’s not nursing simultaneously I can only get a few ml.

    Reply
    • December 7, 2018 at 10:19 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks! I think the Spectra S1 sounds like a great pump. It’s good to know that the suction is still good on battery.

      Reply

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