In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Spectra S1 Plus Review

A high-quality, efficient breast pump that's hard to beat
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Spectra S1 Plus Review (The Spectra S1 Plus has a rechargeable battery with up to 3 hours of operation on one single charge.)
The Spectra S1 Plus has a rechargeable battery with up to 3 hours of operation on one single charge.
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $216 List
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Manufacturer:   Spectra Baby USA
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Molly Bradac  ⋅  Nov 16, 2023
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Efficiency - 35% 9.6
  • Comfort - 25% 7.8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Portability - 15% 5.5
  • Hygiene - 10% 6.0

The Skinny

Finally, a breast pump that delivers! We think the Spectra S1 Plus is a top-ranked breast pump that most moms will enjoy. It performs well compared to the competition and shines with remarkable efficiency, consistently delivering notable results in our tests. What's more, it has a user interface that's refreshingly easy to navigate and a range of valuable features. It also has a built-in battery, which we think adds convenience, especially when finding an outlet is challenging. Unfortunately, this pump has a higher price tag than some options. But considering that a pump is contributing to your child's nourishment, we think the Spectra S1 Plus is a sensible investment. It incorporates all the essential elements we expect in a breast pump and does so with excellence. We recommend it as a valuable addition to your baby gear.
REASONS TO BUY
Efficient
Comfortable
Built-in battery
User-friendly
Various settings
REASONS TO AVOID
Cost
Bulky
Multiple parts
Editor's Note: On November 15, 2023, this gear review received a significant update as new products were added to the breast pump competition. We also updated our testing methods to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of all the pumps.

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Spectra S1 Plus
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Value Award Top Pick Award   
Price $216 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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57
51
Star Rating
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Bottom Line A superior breast pump that's high-quality, efficient, and easy to useDespite occasional reports of strong suction, this portable pump provides portability and efficient milk expressionOffering simplicity and convenience, this affordable and portable choice performs well in our testsA portable option for on-the-go moms or those who don't frequently pump, though it does demand more effort compared to electric pumpsA cost-effective option designed for passive letdown pumping to collect milk or provide relief from breast engorgement
Rating Categories Spectra S1 Plus Baby Buddha Lansinoh Manual Bre... Medela Harmony with... Haakaa Gen 1
Efficiency (35%)
9.6
7.9
5.7
3.8
3.2
Comfort (25%)
7.8
6.9
5.9
4.9
2.4
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
7.4
8.2
8.4
7.4
Portability (15%)
5.5
7.6
8.3
8.9
10.0
Hygiene (10%)
6.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Spectra S1 Plus Baby Buddha Lansinoh Manual Bre... Medela Harmony with... Haakaa Gen 1
Measured Ounces per Minute 0.55 0.45 0.28 0.13 0.19
Measured Suction 250 mmHg 290 mmHg 200 mmHg 240 mmHg n/a
# of Suction Settings 12 14 2 2 1
Measured Weight of Pump with Two Bottles 3.1Ibs 1.1 Ibs .2 Ibs (one bottle) 0.4 Ibs (one bottle) 0.2 Ibs (one cup)
Available Flange Sizes from Manu 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm 21mm, 25mm, 30.5mm, 36 24mm 30mm
Open/Closed System Closed Closed Closed Open Open
Capability Double Double Single Single Single
Power Source Rechargeable Battery Rechargeable Battery Manual Manual Manual
Manufacturer Claimed Battery Life Up to 3 hours Up to 1 hour n/a n/a n/a
App No No No No No
Night Light Feature? Yes No No No No
Measured Weight 2.9 Ibs .8Ibs .3 Ibs .3 Ibs .2 Ibs
Included Bottle Holder or Base? Yes - one built-in bottler holder Yes - bottle base Yes - bottle base Yes - bottle base No - n/a
What's in the Box 2 24mm Spectra Breast Flanges
2 28mm Spectra Breast Flanges
2 Spectra Tubing
2 Spectra Duckbill Valves
2 Spectra Backflow Protectors. Includes silicone membrane, uppercase, and lowercase for each Backflow Protector
2 Spectra Wide Neck Storage Bottles. Includes nipple, disc, cap, and cover for each bottle
1 Spectra 12V AC Power Adapter/Charger
Baby Buddha Rechargeable Breast Pump Unit (Black)
2 24mm Flanges
2 Sets of Duckbill Valves
1 Pair of Silicone Diaphragms
2 Bottles
2 Bottle Bases
2 Bottle Storage Caps
2 Bottle Hygiene Covers
2 Pump Covers
3 detachable tubes & T-connector.
USB-C Charging Cable (charge to full in 4 hours)
Lanyard
Carrying Tote
2 ComfortFit® flanges (25mm & 30.5mm)
1 Lansinoh® breastmilk storage bottle (5oz)
1 Manual Pump Body, stem, handle, silicone diaphragm
1 White valve
1 Bottle stand
1 Bottle cap and bottle collar
1 NaturalWave® slow-flow nipple
1 Bottle storage lid
1 Harmony Breast Pump
1 PersonalFit™ (24 mm) Breast Shield
1 5 oz/150 mL Breast milk bottle with lid and stand
1 Valve
1 Instructions for use and Breastfeeding Information Guide
Cup

Our Analysis and Test Results

What sets the Spectra brand apart is not just their pumps but also their ownership and management. They are proudly owned and run by moms who were also a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Consultant.

Performance Comparison


spectra s1 plus - we appreciate the design features the spectra s1 plus offers, such...
We appreciate the design features the Spectra S1 Plus offers, such as the built-in bottle holder, which adds a nice touch of convenience for users during pumping sessions.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Efficiency


The effectiveness of a breast pump significantly impacts a mom's ability to express milk quickly and efficiently. For the S1 Plus, it delivered consistent results in our tests, outperforming the others. Our findings were reinforced by the positive feedback we received from our testers.


The S1 Plus yields the same quantity of milk from the Emulait bottle but within a shorter timeframe. It maintained a strong and consistent latch during our testing, pumping at a rate of 0.55 oz of milk per minute. This resulted in 5.5 oz after 10 minutes. Other competitors needed more time, with some taking as long as 20 minutes to reach this amount.

The Spectra S1 Plus is a popular choice among breast pump users, and we understand why. In our tests, it generated a strong suction, and it consistently and efficiently expressed milk.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Also, our pressure gauge readings matched the manufacturer's claim of 270 mmHg, and this positively impacted the S1's score in this metric. We believe this match matters because it makes users feel more confident about the pump's performance, increasing the chances that it will deliver consistent and successful milk expression.

The Spectra S1 Plus is one of the most efficient pumps we've tested.
The Spectra S1 Plus is one of the most efficient pumps we've tested.
The Spectra S1 Plus comes with easy-to-use parts and components that...
The Spectra S1 Plus comes with easy-to-use parts and components that are quick to set up and straightforward to operate.

Comfort


This metric takes into account factors that we believe increase the likelihood of comfort for a mom. This includes the available flange sizes and their material and the pump's ability to offer a diverse variety of settings to cater to accommodate varied needs and pumping preferences of moms.


While testing, the S1 Plus emerged with flying colors. It caused no pain during pumping or any soreness afterward, and the positive feedback from our testers regarding comfort suggests that this pump has the potential to support breastfeeding moms in maintaining their pumping routine.

This pump is equipped with plastic flanges that come in 24mm and 28mm, and the manufacturer offers additional sizes (20mm and 32mm). The S1 Plus offers a wide range of settings to customize your pumping sessions to your liking. Both massage and expression modes have multiple options and a range of vacuum power levels to select from, including an impressive 12 power levels in expression mode.

The user-friendly interface on the Spectra S1 Plus provides information like suction level, cycle speed, timer, and more. The built-in nightlight adds better visibility during late-night or early-morning pumping.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


A user-friendly pump can be a game-changer for pumping moms, especially when time is of the essence. Nobody wants to fumble through complicated settings while juggling a busy day. Compared to the competition, the S1 Plus is straightforward to set up and use.


Navigating the S1 Plus is easy, especially with its user-friendly manual. It's a breeze to set up; just plug in or use the built-in, rechargeable battery. Control the cycle pump speed and suction strength, and the power button is placed in the center. It also features a built-in night light and bottle holder for added convenience. The digital display, while easy to read, lacks a backlight, making it hard to read in the dark. The screen displays information like cycle and suction settings, along with pumping duration. This pump is designed to turn off automatically after 30 minutes and remember your current settings for your next pumping session.

spectra s1 plus - the measurement markings on the spectra s1 plus bottle aren't as...
The measurement markings on the Spectra S1 Plus bottle aren't as visible as other contenders, but we don't consider this a deal-breaker.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The pump's screen doesn't have a backlight, which can be a bit challenging to read in the dark, but it's perfectly fine in well-lit rooms. You can also adjust the night light to off, low, or high settings. The pump has a comfortable handle on top for easy lifting, carrying, and positioning on a table. Also, it comes with a built-in bottle holder for added convenience.

spectra s1 plus - weighing 2.9 lbs, the spectra s1 plus is heavier than most...
Weighing 2.9 lbs, the Spectra S1 Plus is heavier than most contenders. It does include a handle to make it easier to carry and a built-in night light.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Portability


The inclusion of a built-in rechargeable battery benefits the Spectra's portability, and it can operate for up to 3 hours on one single charge. However, compared to others, it's bulky and large. Weighing 2.9 lbs, it's heavier than most.


Compared to others, the Spectra S1 Plus is on the quieter side for an electric pump. It produces sounds more like a gentle whisper, and we don't find them disruptive. If someone is particularly sensitive to noise or is a very light sleeper, it's possible that it may wake them. But, overall, we think it's relatively quiet for being a powerful pump.

The Spectra S1 Plus has several parts to clean. It's also essential that all parts are thoroughly rinsed and dried before reassembling.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Hygiene


With multiple parts that require cleaning and assembly, the process can require more effort. This keeps the Spectra S1 Plus from scoring higher. But it has a closed system, and that's a bonus.


This pump has “backflow hygienic protectors” designed to prevent the buildup of condensation in the tubing. This provides users with peace of mind as condensation can potentially become a breeding ground for microbes. While there are eight individual pump parts, which may sound like a lot, they are easy to take apart, clean, and dry. We noticed that a standard bottle brush gets the job done, making the post-pumping routine easy to manage for busy moms.

All parts in the Spectra S1 Plus pump kit are dishwasher safe.
All parts in the Spectra S1 Plus pump kit are dishwasher safe.
We used a standard bottle brush to clean the S1 Plus.
We used a standard bottle brush to clean the S1 Plus.

Should You Buy the Spectra S1 Plus?


There isn't much to dislike about this pump, and for many pumping moms, the Spectra S1 Plus is their ride-or-die. Honestly, we totally get it. It has a solid performance across the board, plus impressive efficiency results in our tests. Also, it's battery-powered, allowing you to feel less trapped when pumping. We appreciate its user-friendly interface, range of pump strength levels and speeds, and handy features, like a night light. So, if you're looking for the absolute best breast pump, this is it. We think you will appreciate it again and again.

spectra s1 plus - the spectra s1 plus offers a personalized pumping experience with...
The Spectra S1 Plus offers a personalized pumping experience with various settings. Though it requires more effort for cleaning and assembly due to multiple parts, it's valued for its efficient milk expression and comfort.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Breast Pumps Should You Consider?


The Spectra S2 Plus is significantly cheaper than the S1 Plus, and if you don't need a battery pack, it's an appealing choice for those looking to save some money and want the proven efficiency and quality of a Spectra pump. While it didn't score quite as well as the S1, it is still one of the best in the group, and the price is tough to beat for what you get. The Baby Buddha is a competitive option for those seeking affordability and portability. It's lighter and more compact in size than the S1 Plus. Plus, it can be worn in a pumping bra which can offer more freedom of movement around the house while pumping.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD and Molly Bradac