For many moms, their breast pump becomes a daily fixture of life for months on end, so it pays to invest in one that really works for you. That’s why we’ve asked our mama experts to weigh in on their go-to breastfeeding pump.
Although choosing a breast pump largely depends on lifestyle and personal preferences, there are a few brands and models that consistently rank high on the list for many breastfeeding mamas.
Here are the top ranking breast pumps from a 2021 poll we ran with our mama commune:
The Spectra S1 received the overwhelming majority of votes for the top breast pump, and is no secret that it’s held highly regarded by moms and lactation consultants worldwide. Unlike other breast pumps which reach maximum suction typically at 250mmHg, Spectra offers a much higher suction limit as it’s a hospital grade pump with a max of 300 mmHg. Although it has powerful suction, it offers maximum comfort. No wonder they have a slogan: “our pumps don’t suck, they SUCKLE.” This is how Spectra pump works: at the beginning of sucking phase, it vibrates the nipple, then followed by a long deep suction. Our moms say that the vibration mimics the way a baby suckles the nipple in direct nursing. Hence, creating a comfortable feeling. I
Other notable highlights include that the Spectra is incredibly quiet (nearly silent), discreet for pumping and is easy to transport as it weighs just under 4 pounds. Many of our moms noted that they love the S1 because of its incredible features: ‘backflow protection” to keep your breast milk from harmful bacteria, “massage mode” which simulates the natural suckling of baby and “adjustable suction levels” which provides a more natural flow of milk. The one drawback to note is that it can feel slightly bulky.
Features of the Spectra S1 Breast Pump include:
- Electric breast pump
- Portable and rechargeable
- Hospital performance
- Adjustable suction and cycling in letdown and expression mode
- Includes rechargeable battery, timer, and nightlight
- Only weighs 4 lbs.
The Spectra S1 pump is available at Amazon ($189.99)
In second place, the Spectra S2. The Spectra S1 and S2 are incredibly similar. The only differences are that the S1 has a rechargeable battery; the S2 does not. This means that the S1 lasts 3 hours longer. In addition, the S2 is slightly smaller weighting 3 pounds, whereas the S1 weighs around 4 pounds.
The Spectra S2 pump is available at Amazon ($159.00)
Our next mama favorite is The Elvie breast pump: a silent wearable breast pump that fits in your bra (no tubes, wires, or noise). Elvie makes it possible to ‘pump on your own terms’. Its small and lightweight and is worn inside a standard nursing bra making it a hands-free experience. Its technology eliminates noise so that you can pump in peace and it has a ‘stealth mode’ so you don’t have to be! The Elvie has 5 parts to clean and only takes seconds to assemble, however, some of our moms noted that the clean time can feel like a hassle. It also connects to the free Elvie Pump app to monitor milk volume in real time, track pumping history for each breast and control pump remotely, which is a major plus. Our moms noted they loved that it automatically switches from Stimulation into Expression mode when it detects let-down and will pause when the bottle is full. The Elive seems to be quieter and smaller than the Willow, but has stronger suction which might cause discomfort for new mamas.
Features of the Spectra S1 Breast Pump include:
- 2 Phase (stimulation and expression modes)
- Variable suction (7 intensity settings)
- Custom fit (3 breast shield sizes)
- 150ml bottle
- BPA safe
The Elvie pump is available on Amazon ($499)
Similar to Elive, Willow is coined as the ‘all-in-one breast pump that fits in your bra and goes where you go.’ The difference is, Willow has a patented no spill technology that lets you pump ‘smarter’ and be completely hands free. Some of our moms even noted that with Willow, you make roughly 20% more milk! Like Elvie, the Willow sits inside your bra (no tubes or cords). Milk flows into a self-sealing and spill-proof disposable collection and storage bag or reusable container inside the pump. The technology responds to your body and maintains suction similar to a baby. A few of our mamas recommended the Second-Generation Willow Pump, but due to the price, noted that the Spectra or Elvie are a better bang for your buck. Another drawback our mamas noted was that this pump may not look as discreet as it claims to be.
Features of the Willow Pump include:
- Seven levels of suction
- Smart Suction technology
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 5 pumping sessions
- New app exclusively for Generation 3 with step-by-step onboarding
- BPA Free
The Willow is available at Amazon ($499)
The Medela Pump In Style is an electric breast pump that can express milk in just a few minutes each session, which is an incredible time saver for pumping moms. The Pump in Style is made to be used multiple times a day, is extremely easy to navigate and cleaning time is quick. If you plan on almost exclusively pumping, this pump will be able to handle the repeated action. The pump’s motor definitely does the job but it’s one of the louder ones on the market. The downside, according to our moms, is that at 8 and a half pounds, this pump weighs almost more than your newborn baby did. This won’t be an issue if you plan to breastfeed in one place, however, if you want easy transport outside of the house, you may want to consider a lighter option. Unlike the Spectra pump back flow option, moisture and condensation can build up in this tubing easily, unless you run the pump for a few minutes after you’ve finished pumping, so you will have to take this extra step to protect your baby from contaminated milk after each session. In terms of price, The Pump In Style is one of the more expensive options compared to most pumps but it’s a great option if you want to quickly express your breast milk so you aren’t feeling like your hooked up to a pump all day.
Features of the Medela Pump include:
- Two phase expression technology with a one touch let down button.
- Comes with several accessories (cooler bag, ice packs, four bottles)
- Strong inner motor
The Medela pump is available at Amazon ($159.99)
The Haakaa is a “manual” silicone breast pump and is great to have on hand when your baby first arrives. Essentially, it is a single piece of silicone and has two main components; the cone shaped top that attaches to your breast and the cup shaped base that catches your milk. The newest version of the Haakaa also has a suction base and flower stopper that help to avoid spilling. It doesn’t actually pump your milk, instead, it works by encouraging milk let down and catching milk that might otherwise be lost while you feed your baby. For example, by securing the Haakaa on your breast opposite of your baby nursing, it provides a gentle suction and is able to catch your let down and collect the milk for later use. Our mamas note that this pump is really comfortable. You may feel a slight pulling but essentially, the Haakkaa is just enhancing what your body is doing naturally. Its cord free, easy to use, as there are no small parts required for assembly and is quite (5oz).
Features of the Hakkaa Pump include:
- Especially soft and comfortable – made from 100% food grade silicone.
- Perfect for traveling. Cord free. Do not need to be charged or plugged in. Fit perfectly into any handbag or diaper bag.
- Easy to clean. Can be sterilized with any steam sterilizing system or boiling water.
- BPA, PVC and Phthalate free.
- Size: 5 oz (150 ml)
- Suction base ensuring your pump will not fall over meaning no spills!
The Haakaa pump is available at Amazon ($29.99)
We hope this guide provides you more insight into which pump is best for your lifestyle and routine. If you have any questions let us know in the comments!