In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Medela Freestyle Review

While this pump is efficient and portable, the "hands free" feature is difficult to use and not reliable
Medela Freestyle
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Price:   $380 List | $270 at Amazon
Pros:  efficient, portable, quiet
Cons:  difficult to use, uncomfortable
Manufacturer:   Medela
By Lindsay Smith and Curtis Smith  ⋅  Mar 4, 2014
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Efficiency - 30% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 3
  • Portability - 10% 7
  • Hygiene - 10% 6
  • Accoustics - 5% 7

The Skinny

The Medela Freestyle is great in theory, but in practice, we found it required patience and a little extra work. It's quite expensive, and all in all, we found that it just wasn't worth the price. This pump was designed with movement in mind and it seems great to be able to clip your pump to your belt and get some laundry done, but in all reality, it just wasn't practical. The parts that clip to your bra were kind of like a puzzle, and it was definitely not a one size fits all. While this pump can be efficient, it's hard to say how much milk you would express while "on the go" as most moms need to sit down and relax in order to express an optimal amount of milk.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Medela Freestyle
This Product
Medela Freestyle
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Value Award Top Pick Award  
Price $380.00 List
$269.99 at Amazon - 29% off
$200.00 List
$199.99 at Amazon
$300.00 List
$199.99 at Amazon - 33% off
$42.00 List
$29.99 at Amazon - 29% off
$44.99 List
$43.19 at Amazon - 4% off
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Pros efficient, portable, quietEfficient, comfortable, portable, fashionable, easy to use, quiet, hygienic, good customer serviceGood value, efficient, portable, easy to use, great accessoriessmall, lightweight, portable, comfortable, efficient, easy to use, quietlightweight, portable
Cons difficult to use, uncomfortableExpensive, only one bottle holder, incompatible with pumping bracondensation in tubing, loudsingle breast pump, hand operated, not for frequent useuncomfortable, difficult to clean, inefficient
Bottom Line While this pump is efficient and portable, the "hands free" feature is difficult to use and not reliableA little expensive but worth it for superior quality, efficiency, hygiene, quiet sound, comfort and style.Great pump with the most accessories for the best priceA great pump for traveling moms or moms who don't plan on pumping oftenThis pump gets the job done but with a few drawbacks including efficiency, comfort and hygiene.
Rating Categories Medela Freestyle S1 Hospital Grade Medela Pump In... Medela Harmony... AVENT Natural...
Efficiency (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
5
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
7
Portability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Hygiene (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
4
Accoustics (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
Specs Medela Freestyle S1 Hospital Grade Medela Pump In... Medela Harmony... AVENT Natural...
Weight 4 lbs 2 oz 5 lbs 10 oz 6 lbs 3 oz 6 oz 7oz
Pump Dimensions 4.5H x 3.5W x 2D 7.25H x 6.5W x 8D 4.25H x 4.75W x 5.5D 7H x 2.25W x 7.5D 6.75 x 3.5W x 5.25D
Closed vs Open System open L 43/4, W 31/2, D 21/8 closed open open open
Double, Single, or Both Double Double Double single single
Digital controls no yes no no no
Adjustable Speed yes yes yes yes- manual yes-manual
Adjustable Suction yes yes yes no no
Maximum Suction Strength unable to test 0-300 (per manufacturer) unable to test manual manual
2-Phase Expression yes no yes yes no
Flange Sizes yes- must purchase separately no yes-must purchase separately can purchase different sizes no
AC Adapter yes rechargeable battery and ac adapter yes no no
Battery Details rechargeable lithium-ion battery included rechargeable battery 8AA batteries/rechargeable battery pack not included manual manual
Battery Duration dry run: 6+ hours dry run: 4 hr, 33 min dry run: 6+ hours manual manual
Bottle Holder/Stand yes yes yes yes yes
Included Accessories pump, tote bag, 4 bottles, insulated bag, ice pack, 2 different size breas flanges, hands-free kit, rechargeable lithium ion battery. Pump, 2 breastshields, 2 bottles, 2 bottle nipples, pump tubing, 2 bottle stands, 2 disks, 2 caps,2 back flow filters, 2 valves pump, tote bag, 4 bottles with lids, ice pack, two breast flanges, 9-volt ac adapter, battery pack 2 bottles with lids, bottle stand, pump one bottle with lid, bottle nipple and bottle cover, pump, rubber inlay for breast flange, disk to cover breast flange
Miscellaneous Details both nightlight and timer pump built into tote bag, cannot be removed

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Medela Company began in 1961 in Zug, Switzerland and was founded by a man named Olle Larsson. They currently sell a variety of products world wide and are one of the most popular pumps available in the United States today. This pump is designed as a portable pump that will allow you to "get things done" while you pump. Read on to see what we ultimately thought of this pump.

Performance Comparison


Components  including the yellow "hands-free" straps that connect it to your nursing bra.  We got tangled up in these more than once!
Components, including the yellow "hands-free" straps that connect it to your nursing bra. We got tangled up in these more than once!

Efficiency


We scored this pumps at a 7/10 for efficiency. It creates a good amount of milk in a short amount of time. The reason we scored this pump a little low was because we found its design to actually have a negative effect on efficiency. We found it very difficult to relax enough to allow all our milk to be expressed while busily going about the house. As you use the contraption, it does become easier, but for us, it just wasn't practical enough to actually use as designed. If you are talented enough to get stuff done while pumping, we commend you!

Comfort


This pump received a 6/10 for comfort, similar to the Medela Pump In Style Advanced which scored slightly higher at a 7/10. The loss of points was mainly due to the straps and bra hooks that make the whole pumping experience a little more cumbersome and a little less comfortable.

Ease of Use


Part of the "hands-free" feature  clipping the motor to your belt/pants enables you to move about while pumping.
Part of the "hands-free" feature, clipping the motor to your belt/pants enables you to move about while pumping.
This pump scored poorly when it came to ease of use. In fact, out of every pump tested, it received the lowest score in the metric. The process of putting this pump on and hoping that it stays connected to your bra was quite a task. There are so many straps and connections its like trying to connect an octopus to your pumping bra. Our testers were very frustrated hooking it up, having a piece fall off, and then starting all over again! It has a lot of moving parts and could be extremely frustrating, especially for the frequent pumper, to set this thing up every time. On top of the extended set-up time, it wasn't even very reliable or practical in our experience.

Portability


Loaded up and ready to accompany mom to work.
Loaded up and ready to accompany mom to work.
We scored this pump at a 7/10 for portability. It comes with a great tote bag, plus an insulated cooler, ice pack and extra bottles to store your milk in. It also includes a rechargeable battery pack that lasted over 6 hours in our dry run (this time will shorten when in actual use and varies depending on the settings you use). The actual pump is tiny which makes it very easy to pull in and out of the tote bag, which is especially great if you choose to pump on the go.

Hygiene


This is an open system unit, very similar to the Pump In Style Advanced. However, we did not experience condensation in the tubing like the In Style Advanced, and we did not note any other reviewers stating they had this problem. The parts are pretty easy to dismantle and clean, but overall, as an open system requiring more cleaning, we had to give this pump a lower score in this area.

Acoustics


Not a super-quiet pump, we gave this pump a 7/10 on acoustics. As stated before, there are both positives and negatives to a louder pump. On the positive side, people can hear you pumping from afar and will usually give you some more privacy, such as in a work break-room. The more negative aspect might be that it's too loud to use if your baby or partner are sleeping nearby.

Best Applications


This pump is meant for a frequent pumper who desires the ability to "move around" while pumping. It is a double electric pump and is efficient in emptying both breasts in a timely manner. It also comes with a rechargeable battery in case you don't have a plug available. For the price, we would not recommend this pump to occasional pumpers.

Value


With a list price of $379.99, the Freestyle was the most expensive pump we tested. Although the accessories with this pump are great, we'd still recommend our Editors' Choice Award winning Spectra S1 as a better pump at the higher end of the price range.

Conclusion


This pump is portable and efficient but very difficult to use. It's expensive and doesn't deliver the experience we were hoping for from a pump at the top of the price range. If it is your goal to pump "hands-free" and be able to get things done around the house while pumping, then it may be an option for you. Expect to spend a lot of time making this pump work efficiently, and be prepared that it may not pan out to be exactly what you were hoping for.

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Lindsay Smith and Curtis Smith