Spectra S1 Plus Review
Pros: Efficient, comfortable, portable, easy to use, quiet, hygienic
Cons: Only one bottle holder, incompatible with a pumping bra
Manufacturer: Spectra Baby USA
Our Analysis and Test Results
We discovered that these pumps were first sold in the UK and Australia. After gaining popularity abroad, the company began selling its pumps in the US. Spectra is owned and run by moms who also hold the Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Consultant title. Those are titles you want to hear when you think about a breast pump you'll not only rely on but feel good about using.
The S1 Plus is an impressive pump for several reasons. This machine and all its accessories out-performed most of the other pumps in our tests. This very comfortable, efficient, and portable pump is a whisper-quiet, beautifully designed solution for your pumping needs. More than anything else, what really sold us is that you can use it repeatedly without soreness.
We feel this pump is the closest to the experience of breastfeeding and is the most natural feeling. This pump includes adjustable speed and suction settings, and even on the highest settings, we feel it was more efficient than most of the pumps in our tests. While milk production is different for everyone, in our experience, this pump produced the same amount of milk in a shorter amount of time than much of the competition. Our tester pumped about 2-3 ounces on average in 11 minutes.
This pump claims to be a "hospital grade" pump. We believe this is really more of a marketing ploy as the FDA doesn't recognize this term for breast pumps. Most of the time, a "hospital grade" pump distinguishes that the pump is meant for multiple users rather than a single user. Still, having used hospital pumps, we would say this option is similar in quality and surpasses some hospital pumps' efficiency, mainly because you can drain both breasts at the same time.
The S1 was surprisingly comfortable for an electric pump and did not cause any pain during pumping or soreness afterward. This pump has more of a gentle pulling sensation than an uncomfortable "tugging" we encountered on most of the other electric pumps we tested.
Ease of use
This pump is simple to set up and use. Directions are included, but it is very intuitive. This pump plugs in and has a built-in, rechargeable battery. There is a "cycle" and "vacuum" side, each with a plus and minus button. The cycle side controls pump speed, and the vacuum controls the suction strength. The power button is in the center and includes a nightlight, which we love! The digital display is sleek and easy to read. It relays cycle and suction settings and how long you've been pumping.
The Spectra is very portable and easy to use on the go. The pump alone does not come with a tote bag or insulated bag; however, there is an option to buy all three together. It is possible to fit the pump with all of its parts, as well as the insulated bag, inside the tote.
Some testers even received compliments on the sleek look of this pump. The tote bag is basic black and has a quilted thread running through it. There is one pocket on the outside and one on the inside for added storage. The insulated bag fits up to 8 bottles, more than most of the competition.
This pump is specially designed with "backflow hygienic protectors" to prevent the tubing from building up condensation that can pose a risk for mildew to develop. The pump parts are easy to take apart, clean, and dry. Our testers had no problems with condensation in the tubing and could clean and dry the product easily.
This is the quietest electric pump in our tests. Instead of a loud, squeaky motor, the Spectra S1 sounds more like it is whispering. The pump includes a whisper-quiet button as well. You only hear a "shhh, shhh, shhh" sound, and it doesn't get louder even on higher settings. We feel the pump is quietest when placed on a soft surface like a chair or couch.
There isn't much to dislike about this pump. However, after testing the pump for about six months, ours stopped working. This is very disappointing as this pump really was the stand out in our Breast Pump group. Luckily, the company has a user-friendly website, and we were easily able to contact customer service. They informed us that very few pumps had had the same problem, and in our case, they sent us a new pump. They did reimburse us for our shipping costs.
This pump delivers! Even with the set back of a replacement pump, the S1 is still our favorite. The customer service was great, and we can't ignore the wonderful qualities of this pump. It really hits the mark on so many levels, being efficient, portable, hygienic, easy to use, whisper-quiet, and cute. If you are looking for the absolute best, this is it, and we think you will appreciate it again and again. Our testers report they would definitely recommend this pump to a friend, thanks to the ease of use and cleanup alone.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Abriah Wofford