The Best Breast Pump Review

All hooked up and ready to go. Our experience revealed that the Spectra S1 is one of the easiest pumps to use.
Looking for the perfect breast pump for your needs? To help you find one, we took 10 of the leading pumps available and compared each one in side-by-side testing to determine which would come out on top. We tested each pump for multiple metrics including weight and size, ease of use, efficiency, comfort, portability, hygiene, and acoustics. We did all the research for you and we are "pumped" to share with you our results. Read on to discover which pumps were our favorites, and which one may be perfect for you.

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10 ≪ Previous | View All | Next ≫
Rank #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product
Spectra Baby S1
Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade
Medela Pump in Style with On the Go Tote
Medela Pump In Style Advanced
Back view showing the operating lever  and sitting in the included bottle stand.
Medela Harmony Manual
AVENT Comfort Double Electric
AVENT Comfort Double Electric
AVENT Natural Comfort Manual
AVENT Natural Comfort Manual
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Value Award  Top Pick Award     
Price $345.00 List
$174.05 at Amazon - 50% off
$300.00 List
$229.99 at Amazon - 23% off
$42.00 List
$27.50 at Amazon - 35% off
$200.00 List
$192.15 at Amazon - 4% off
$44.99 List
$23.19 at Amazon - 48% off
Overall Score 
100
0
91
100
0
80
100
0
74
100
0
65
100
0
62
Star Rating
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Pros Efficient, 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, quietportable, hygienic, quiet, easy to uselightweight, portable
Cons Expensive, only one bottle holder, incompatible with pumping bracondensation in tubing, loudsingle breast pump, hand operated, not for frequent useuncomfortable, inefficientuncomfortable, difficult to clean, inefficient
Ratings by Category Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade Medela Pump In Style Advanced Medela Harmony Manual AVENT Comfort Double Electric AVENT Natural Comfort Manual
Efficiency - 30%
10
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9
10
0
8
10
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7
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6
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6
Comfort - 20%
10
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9
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7
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10
10
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4
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5
Ease of Use - 25%
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5
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8
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7
Portability - 10%
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8
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10
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8
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8
Hygiene - 10%
10
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10
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7
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7
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4
Accoustics - 5%
10
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10
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5
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10
10
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7
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9
Specs Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade Medela Pump In Style Advanced Medela Harmony Manual AVENT Comfort Double Electric AVENT Natural Comfort Manual
Weight 5 lbs 10 oz 6 lbs 3 oz 6 oz 2 lbs 12 oz 7oz
Pump Dimensions 7.25H x 6.5W x 8D 4.25H x 4.75W x 5.5D 7H x 2.25W x 7.5D 4H x 5.25W x 2.75D 6.75 x 3.5W x 5.25D
Closed vs Open System closed open open Closed open

Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Friday
August 11, 2017

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Update — August 2017
These products are still at the top of our list when it comes to pumping, but Spectra has a new pump available that you may want to take a look at.

Editors' Choice Winner


Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade


Spectra Baby S1 Editors' Choice Award

$174.05
(50% off)
at Amazon
See It

The Spectra S1 earned the highest overall score in our review. While still relatively new to the United States, it has gained popularity stateside. It comes with a hefty price tag, (upwards of $320.00 for the breast pump alone or $370.00 if you want accessories such as a cooler and a tote bag), however after putting it through our tests, we found many reasons to love this superb product.

This pump beats our its competition by pumping a larger amount of breast milk in a shorter amount of time, making it much more efficient and effective. The pump has a timer which allows you to keep track of how long you're pumping and then saves the previous settings for the next round. This pump also has the benefit of a "closed hygienic system". The S1 did not build condensation in the tubing, thanks to the "backflow hygienic protectors" that you simply connect to the tubing before connecting your breast flanges and collection bottles. This is a feat that the Medela Pump In Style Advanced was not able to achieve. We were also pleasantly surprised to find this pump to be more comfortable than most when used repeatedly. As an added bonus, the included night light made it super convenient for night pumping. Spectra has released a new portable electric breast pump. Read more about the Spectra 9 Plus Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump in the full review.

Read Full Review: Spectra Baby USA S1

Best Value Winner


Medela Pump In Style Advanced


Medela Pump in Style with On the Go Tote Best Value Award

$229.99
(23% off)
at Amazon
See It

For the best bang for your buck, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced with the on-the-go tote is a workhorse and won our Best Value award. Although there are cheaper pumps available, this one delivers so much at what we feel is a reasonable price. Retailing for about $250.00, it includes the pump system, tote bag, bottles, and an insulated cooler bag. It ranked just under the much more expensive Editors' Choice Award winner, the Spectra S1. It was easy peasy to put together and worked very efficiently for us. As stated earlier, our one big gripe with this pump was the build up of condensation in the tubing. However, this problem can be resolved by replacing them on occasion.

Read Full Review: Medela Pump in Style Advanced

Top Pick for the Traveling Mom


Medela Harmony Manual


Back view showing the operating lever  and sitting in the included bottle stand. Top Pick Award

$27.50
(35% off)
at Amazon
See It

The Medela Harmony Manual is a versatile yet simple and compact pumping system. This pump scored highly in the sections of efficiency, comfort, ease-of-use, portability, and acoustics. As compared to the other manual pumps, this pump has a unique "two-phase expression", very similar to many of the electric pumps we tested. This is nice in a manual pump as it makes the pumping more comfortable without an instant sharp tug that can be very painful.
All set up ready to use.
All set up ready to use.

This pump would be great for two different important mommy purposes. First, as a "mom's night out" pump for a mom who needs to get away for a few hours on occasion. Retailing from $30-$40, this pump is very affordable and should meet most "occasional" pumping needs. Secondly, this pump is the perfect, compact traveling companion for any nursing mom. It can easily fit in most purses, diaper bags, or carry on luggage for a no-fuss travel experience. It can easily be used on the plane as well if your breast become engorged due to flying and/or your baby is too fussy to breastfeed.

Read Full Review: Medela Harmony Manual

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
91
$345
Editors' Choice Award
A little expensive but worth it for superior quality, efficiency, hygiene, quiet sound, comfort and style.
80
$300
Best Value Award
Great pump with the most accessories for the best price
74
$42
Top Pick Award
A great pump for traveling moms or moms who don't plan on pumping often
65
$200
A good pump that does the job and is easy to use but is lacking in comfort and efficiency.
62
$45
This pump gets the job done but with a few drawbacks including efficiency, comfort and hygiene.
59
$200
Smartly designed closed system pump, but still doesn't stand up to our award winners.
57
$380
While this pump is efficient and portable, the "hands free" feature is difficult to use and not reliable
52
$35
An affordable manual pump if you are on a tight budget and are only planning to pump on special occasions.
49
$287
This is a pump that has been on the market for a long time, but new pumps now have the edge.
48
$200
This pump is great for its memory function but lacking in ease of use and efficiency.

Analysis and Test Results


As ubiquitous as breast pumps are these days, interestingly it was only a little over 2 decades ago in 1991 when the Swiss company Medela introduced the first electric-powered, vacuum-operated pump for use outside of the hospital. In fact, the first pumps were patented in the mid-19th century to address issues with inverted nipples and small, weak newborns that were having too much difficulty with nursing. They've come a long way since then and have been an essential tool in providing nourishment to millions of babies ever since.

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Selecting the Right Breast Pump


By using a breast pump  your baby can still reap the benefits of your breast milk  even when you are away.
By using a breast pump, your baby can still reap the benefits of your breast milk, even when you are away.
Moms choose to pump for their children for a variety of reasons. For most moms, pumping is a way to ensure that their child reaps the benefits of their breast milk even when she can't be with them. Some moms are unable to physically breastfeed which leads them to become an "exclusive pumper". Others desire to create a supply of stored-up breast milk, thus allowing them to return to work, while continuing to provide their child's meal. Still, other mothers are pumping for some much needed mommy time, or maybe for that elusive date night one so rarely sees in their child's first year of life, or possibly, just in case of emergency. For whatever purpose you may be pumping, we have tested the best pumps on the market and determined why they may or may not be a good fit for you. Don't forget to check out the articles titled How to Choose the Best Breast Pump and How We Test for more detailed information to aide in your pre-pump purchase research. In addition, don't miss our article Best Practices for Handling Breast Milk as it indeed is liquid gold for your baby.

Types of Breast Pumps


When choosing a breast pump there are two major options: electric or manual. Each have their positive and negative attributes and we found we liked aspects of both for different purposes. We break this down even further in our article How to Choose the Best Breast Pump.

Electric


An electric breast pump, as the name states, is a pump that runs on electricity, normally via a wall outlet, but many also have the option to run on batteries, which is nice. All the electric pumps we tested were double breast pumps which means you can pump both breasts at the same time. We found them to be far more efficient than the manual pumps we tried, based on their power and consistent pumping rhythm combined with the ability to pump both breasts at the same time.
All the electric breast pumps included in our testing.
All the electric breast pumps included in our testing.

Manual


Manual breast pumps are those that require the user to do the work. They have a lever which attaches to the breast flange (the part that covers your breast) that generally uses a simple squeeze and release type of operation to express milk. We found manual pumps to be beneficial due to their ease of portability and lack of excessive parts. They can be a bit labor intensive, still, we found that they were very handy, especially for in certain situations, like during travel.
The three manual breast pumps we tested: AVENT  Medela and Lansinoh
The three manual breast pumps we tested: AVENT, Medela and Lansinoh

Criteria for Evaluation



Efficiency


Milk rendered from one pumping session with the Spectra S1.  Typically takes between five to ten minutes to render five to six ounces of milk total from both breasts.  It was one of the most efficient pumps we tested!
Milk rendered from one pumping session with the Spectra S1. Typically takes between five to ten minutes to render five to six ounces of milk total from both breasts. It was one of the most efficient pumps we tested!
Efficiency is the bottom line for a lot of moms when it comes to breast pumps. With the draw of a new baby finally in your arms, no one wants to be spending their time hooked up to a less-than-inviting milk machine. Like us, your first questions will most likely be: how much milk can this thing actually render, and, can I please be done already?! As far as milk quantity vs. time, we found this to be a quite subjective, as each mom will naturally produce and express their own unique amount of milk. Across the board, we found the most of the pumps consistently rendered the same amount of milk. The main difference was in the amount of time it took to pump that "x" amount of milk.


Two of the electric pumps that stood out above the rest when it came to efficiency were the Spectra S1 and the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. While these pumps often rendered the same amount of milk as comparable units, they were able to do it more quickly.

Comfort


Most moms are in for a little bit of suffering when they first begin to breastfeed. It can be very uncomfortable to start, but for most, it slowly becomes more comfortable. This can also be the case with breast pumps. Thus, comfort is very important to consider when purchasing a breast pump. We have found that some pumps were more comfortable depending on their breast flanges (the cone shaped part that covers the breast), while for others, it depended on the way their suction and pumping settings work.
Breast flange ready to attach to a bottle.  We found this component could often make or break a pump when it came to comfort.
Breast flange ready to attach to a bottle. We found this component could often make or break a pump when it came to comfort.


Our top two rated pumps in comfort were the Spectra S1 and the Medela Harmony Manual pump. These two pumps could be used four to five times a day with minimal discomfort.

Ease of use


Your breast pump has the potential to be used multiple times a day and even throughout the night hours. Because of this, an important thing to look at is exactly how involved setting up and using the pump is. We found that some pumps were very difficult to set up, while others were quite intuitive. This is especially key if you are an exclusive pumper, a working mom and/or travel often with your pump and need to use it in different areas.


A few other questions to take in to consideration might be:
  • How many parts are there?
  • How quickly can it be used, taken apart, cleaned, dried and then re-assembled?
  • Does the unit require a wall outlet or can it run on batteries?
  • Does it come with an insulated cooler to store pumped milk in?

Our two highest scoring pumps in this category were the Medela Pump In Style Advanced and the Spectra S1, both of which started out with great instructions and simple assembly. They were also easy to use, especially when it came to adjusting pump speed and suction, which we really appreciated.

Portability


If you are planning to travel with your pump often, portability will be high on your list. Women travel with a pump for a multitude of reasons, most commonly for work or on a vacation. When considering portability, it is important to look at ease of use as well as what storage the pump offers, such as a bag for the pump and an insulated cooler for your expressed milk.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced was ultra portable mainly due to its built-in motor  but it also had ample space for accessories  a cooler bag and more.
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced was ultra portable mainly due to its built-in motor, but it also had ample space for accessories, a cooler bag and more.


Our two highest rated pumps for portability were the Medela Pump In Style Advanced and the Medela Harmony Manual. We feel the Pump In Style would be more suited to the working mom or frequent pumper, while the Harmony would be more suited for a vacation or occasional pumping needs.

Hygiene


Hygienic back-flow protectors that aid in preventing mold and mildew from building up in the tubes.
Hygienic back-flow protectors that aid in preventing mold and mildew from building up in the tubes.
Most new moms are very concerned with hygiene, especially as it relates to their baby. This is important to consider when purchasing your pump as they come with many moving parts that need to be cleaned following use in order to ensure there is nothing (i.e. mold or mildew) that could potentially contaminate your baby's milk.


Our two highest ranked pumps for hygiene were the Spectra S1 and the Spectra DEW 350. These pumps scored so well mainly because of their "closed-hygienic system" design which prevents condensation from building up in the tubing. While some other pumps also offered a "closed system" they were not as well designed or as easy to use, take apart and clean as the Spectra products. Our lowest rated product in hygiene was the Medela Pump In Style Advanced due to the trouble we had with condensation in the tubing.

Accoustics


Many new moms will be surprised by how loud some of these pumps are. We came to appreciate the quieter pumps, especially if pumping in an office, or in the middle of the night when others are sleeping. Stress has been shown to delay your "let-down reflex"(when your milk begins to flow) and sometimes that loud pumping sound can hinder relaxation.


Our top rated pumps for acoustics were the Spectra S1 and the Medela Harmony Manual. For an electric pump, the Spectra S1 practically whispers. The Medela is a manual pump which are naturally very quiet, but was the most quiet out of all three manual pumps tested. The lowest rated pump in this category was the Medela In Style Advanced. It works so well but not without a lot of sound from the motor.

Conclusion


Tubing and motors and bags galore!  BabyGearLab's Breast Pump line-up!
Tubing and motors and bags galore! BabyGearLab's Breast Pump line-up!

Choosing a breast pump is a personal decision, and one that is complicated by considerations of budget, as well as what will work best for your body. That said, we hope that our extensive testing and rating information helps you to narrow down to a few pumps, and pick the one that is right for you and your situation.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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