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Medela Pump In Style with Max Flow Review

Minimal fuss and lots of included accessories, but we think there are better pumps on the market that offer more for less
Medela Pump In Style with Max Flow
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Price:   $250 List | $188.88 at Amazon
Pros:  Lots of accessories, efficient, hygienic closed system
Cons:  Price, unit doesn't keep track of anything, not very portable
Manufacturer:   Medela
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jan 9, 2021
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 7
  • Efficiency - 35% 8.0
  • Comfort - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5.0
  • Portability - 10% 2.0
  • Hygiene - 10% 6.0
  • Acoustics - 5% 4.0

The Skinny

The Medela Pump In Style with Max Flow is a closed system electric, double pump. This pump plugs into the wall, or it has a battery backup pack. The set includes lots of extras, more than any other pump we tested, including a pump bag, insulated milk storage bag, 4 bottles, and more. Testers appreciated how easy it is to use and the comfortable silicone breast flange. We like the more hygienic closed system that prevented the backflow of milk or condensation in the tubing. Unfortunately, this pump is not the quietest, and some testers felt it might wake a sleeping partner or baby. Also, it had a greater tendency than the competition to leave nipples sore with regular use. Overall, it isn't a bad pump, and there is much to love, but we think there are better pumps in this review that will cost you less.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Value Award 
Price $250 List
$188.88 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lots of accessories, efficient, hygienic closed systemEfficient, comfortable, portable, easy to use, quiet, hygienicPortability, use on the go, easy to use, closed systemEasy to use, passive collection, silent, comfortable, portableSmall, lightweight, portable, comfortable, efficient, easy to use, quiet
Cons Price, unit doesn't keep track of anything, not very portableOnly one bottle holder, incompatible with a pumping braPrice, hard suction can be painful, buzzing soundLess efficient, one-sided, potential milk lossSingle breast pump, hand-operated, not for frequent use
Bottom Line Minimal fuss and lots of included accessories, but we think there are better pumps on the market that offer more for lessWe appreciate this compact pump for its quality, efficiency, hygiene, quiet sound, and comfortImpressive portable pump that is easy to use but has a more aggressive suction and loud acousticsA passive system that is affordable, easy to use, and doesn't require hand pumping, but isn't very efficientA great option for traveling moms or occasional pumpers, but not as efficient or easy to use
Rating Categories Medela In Style wit... Spectra S1 Plus Baby Buddha Haakaa Medela Harmony with...
Efficiency (35%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
2.0
5.0
Comfort (25%)
5.0
9.0
3.0
8.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Portability (10%)
2.0
3.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Hygiene (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Acoustics (5%)
4.0
6.0
2.0
10.0
9.0
Specs Medela In Style wit... Spectra S1 Plus Baby Buddha Haakaa Medela Harmony with...
Max Suction Strength 295 mmHg 270 mmHg 320 mmHg n/a n/a
# of Suction Settings Not Listed 12 14 1 2
Weight 1.18 lbs 3 lbs 0.5 lbs 0.24 lbs 0.4 lbs
Available Flange Sizes 21mm, 24mm 24mm
28mm
24mm, 28mm 30mm 24mm
Open/Closed System Closed Closed Closed Open Open
Capability Double Double Double Single Single
Power Source Plug-in Adapter or External Battery Pack (AA) Battery Battery Manual Manual
Approximate Battery Life n/a 3 hours 1 hour n/a n/a
App No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Medela is a household name among new mothers, active in the pumping industry since the beginning, originating in Zug, Switzerland. The Medela Pump in Style has long been used as a staple, daily use pump, and the company sells their breast pumps and accessories in more than 90 countries. This family-run business places emphasis on breastfeeding babies. For more than 30 years, Medela has been selling pumps in the US.

Performance Comparison



Electric pumps do the hard work for you with variable suction and...
Electric pumps do the hard work for you with variable suction and speed so you can get pumping done efficiently and simultaneously from both breasts.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Likes


The Pump in Style Max Flow is a closed system pump that worked efficiently in our tests. Testers report it is easy to use with an intuitive setup and buttons that didn't require extensive manual reading to decipher. Our tester pumped about 3.5 ounces every 11 minutes on average during testing, putting it on par with other closed-system, electric pumps in this review.

Many modern-day pumps offer various flange sizes as everyone's...
Many modern-day pumps offer various flange sizes as everyone's nipples and breasts are different. If you experience discomfort, you should consider trying a different size flange before throwing in the towel or blaming the pump itself.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The pump includes silicone breast flanges for increased comfort, and the new Max Flowz version of the Pump in Style is a closed system, which is a massive improvement compared to some of the other Medela pumps from a hygiene perspective. There is no condensation build-up in tubing and/or backflow of breast milk traveling to the motor.

The Pump in Style comes with an insulated cooler bag and a cold pack.
The Pump in Style comes with an insulated cooler bag and a cold pack.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The full package has lots of extras and accessories, including the pump, a stylish bag, pump parts, 4 bottles, and an insulated cooler bag with an ice pack.

The Medela user interface is easy to use but doesn't give any...
The Medela user interface is easy to use but doesn't give any information like what suction level you are on or how long you've been pumping.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Dislikes


This pump is louder than other closed system electric pumps we've tested. While it isn't prohibitively loud, it can be heard and could wake a sleeping partner in the same room. It has to remain plugged in, which makes for some tricky transitions if you don't plan ahead or have somewhere to set up all your supplies. It does have a battery pack, but it still isn't as transportable as much of the competition. Last, our tester didn't like that there is no screen with information, and unless you keep track of the time or setting yourself, you can easily lose track of your suction level or how long you've been pumping.

The Pump in Style comes with more accessories than most of the...
The Pump in Style comes with more accessories than most of the competition including a carry bag and insulated cooler.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


While our testers liked how easy and straightforward this Medela is to use and all of the included accessories for storage and travel, it struggled somewhat to keep up with the similar competition. This pump has a higher price than higher ranking pumps, and it has fewer onboard features with slightly more discomfort after regular use. Overall, it is a good pump, but there are others we would choose over this option. However, should you receive it as a gift or hand-me-down, we suspect you'll be just as pleased with the efficiency and ease of use as our testers were.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz

Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.

BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.

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