The best breast pumps 2017 – top-rated reviews

What do these 2 breast pumps have that make them the best choice over 40 other breast pumps?

Last updated February 3, 2017.

Buying a breast pump can be frustrating and time consuming. I feel like the pump industry is full of pushy salespeople and there’s a lot of incorrect information out there.


After hours of research and comparing over 40 different best selling breast pumps, the Spectra S2 and the Medela Pump In Style Advanced clearly came out on top as the best choices in our reviews of the most popular breast pump brands. I recommend these two pumps as they have none of the problems women often complain about such as dying motors, expensive parts, difficult to clean, and poor suction control. Both machines are also made by companies with a solid customer service track record.

What are the common problems with breast pumps that shop keepers won’t tell you about?

  • the noise that sounds like a cross between a vacuum and a chugging train
  • harsh suction that hurts your nipples
  • no letdown mode or poor suction that’s not strong enough to induce lactation
  • non-closed systems that are difficult to clean and sanitize once milk gets in the tubes
  • cheap motors that burn out in less than 3-6 months of daily use
  • manual pumps seem like a good idea until you find out that your hands tire long before you’ve collected half a bottle of milk

#1 Spectra Baby S2 pump review

The newer Spectra (S1) Baby has a rechargeable battery and has all the same features as the Spectra S2 pump. If you want the freedom to pump away from home, while traveling, or at work, get the S1 instead of the S2!

I chose the Spectra S2 breast pump as the top-rated breast pump because it is the only pump that mimics the natural suckling sensation of your baby feeding at your breast. The S2 is also a “closed system” breast pump which means a backflow filter prevents milk from getting into the tubes and machine. Your breast milk goes straight into the collection bottle. This means that since liquids can’t get into the pump and tubing, mold spores and bacteria can’t get into the breast milk. The machine is easier to clean and more hygienic so you don’t have to worry about making your baby sick from improper sanitation.

While it’s one of the most popular breast pumps in Asia and Australia, the Spectra S2 has only been available in the US since 2013. And yet this new kid on the block is already leaving other breast pumps in the dust.

Pros

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  • the most comfortable pump for daily pumping and for new moms – Consistantly rated by moms as the most comfortable breast pump they’ve ever used. Pumping with the Spectra S2 is much less stressful and much less of an ordeal compared to traditional breast pumps. You can adjust the vacuum strength, rhythm, and time of the Spectra to mimic your baby’s natural suction. The expression mode of the Spectra S2 feels much more natural compared to the Medela PISA which feels mechanical in comparison. The S2 is not as intimidating to use as traditional breast pumps so it’s perfect for new moms who are not used to breast feeding or pumping. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for somebody to create a breast pump that customizes the pumping experience. It’s almost like women are actual human beings with our own rhythms and preferences and we’re not just milk expressing automatons!
  • the most gentle breast pump for sore breasts and nipples and the best pump to induce lactation – The ‘massage/letdown mode’ feels incredibly natural due to the gentle suction and soft silicone shields. While other breast pumps feel like they ‘tug’ at your nipples, women describe the sensation of the Spectra S2 as a ‘fluttering’ similar to when your baby explores to stimulate milk flow.
  • the best breast pump for low milk supply – Suction strength does not always mean more milk flow! Sometimes you pump more milk at a faster but gentler suction. Other times you will need stronger deeper suction but at a slower speed. Alternating speed and strength is a better way of stimulating milk flow than strong constant suction for a long period of time.[2] It takes a bit of trial and error, but once you find your perfect rhythm you can finish pumping in 5 minutes compared to 20+ minutes at the wrong settings. With the Spectra S2 you can adjust the vacuum speed and strength independently in ‘expression mode’ to customize your pumping experience. Other breast pumps like the PISA only let you increase both strength and speed together. If you need strong suction or you’re worried about not getting good milk flow, the S2 is a heavy duty hospital grade pump and has a maximum suction strength of 300mmHg. While not popular in the US, Spectra is widely used in Asia and Australia. In Korea, the S2 is the standard breast pump found in all hospital baby clinics.
  • the best double electric pump under $200* Have you guys seen the price on Amazon?!? On top of all the other pros, this pump actually costs less than the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. The motor life is also rated at over 1500 hours. Assuming that you spend 15 minutes pumping each time, this comes out to 6000 pumping sessions! Compare this to other pumps like Lasinoh or Avent that burn out and have to be replaced after 3 months.
  • the quietest and best portable pump for working moms – The S2 only weighs 3 pounds and it’s easy to carry to work. The design is sleek and modern. It doesn’t scream “breast pump”. People would probably think it’s a gadget or a smartphone dock if you didn’t have a bottle sitting in the holder. You will also want a quiet breast pump if you’re going to pump at work. The S2 is the quietest breast pump we found. While it is not completely silent, the motor sounds like a quietly purring cat rather than the constant ‘chug chug chug’ of other breast pumps.
  • the best closed system pump that’s easiest to clean – Unlike the Medela PISA, the Spectra S2 is a closed system. This means that a backflow filter prevents milk from flowing into the tubes and the motor of the machine. The milk goes straight from your nipple to bottle and this is the best choice for hygiene and your baby’s health. Cleaning the parts is easy as you don’t have to worry about milk or humidity build up inside the valves or tubing.
  • the best pump for twins – The Spectra comes with everything you need to double pump (tubes, collection bottles, breast shields) and it supports both single and double pumping. Do not try to use a single pump if you have twins or you’ll be attached to your breast pump 24/7! Even if you do not have twins consider double pumping. Not only is it better to evenly stimulate milk flow, but it’s been shown that by expressing milk from both breasts you actually create breastmilk with higher fat content.[1] And we all know that higher fat content means more of the good nutrients and brain building essential lipids that’s needed for healthy brain and immune system development!

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a tote, insulating carrier, ice packs, or a car adapter like the Medela PISA so you’ll have to get these separately. It’s not a big deal though as these are things you can find at Amazon, Target, or Walmart.
  • The breastshields (flanges) only come in a narrow range of sizes! The size of the Spectra breastshields ranges from 24mm to 32mm. Medela on the other hand makes breastshields from 21mm-36mm. I’ve seen that some women have successfully gotten the larger Medela shields to work with the S2. It does take a bit of DIYing but one lady was kind enough to post the instructions and pictures in their Amazon review.

Spectra S2: single & double hospital grade breast pump

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Rating: 5 out of 5

An super quiet and gentle breast pump that mimics the natural suckling motions of your baby. The Spectra S2 is one of the most popular breast pumps around the world and it’s finally available in the USA after many years.

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The newer Spectra (S1) Baby has a rechargeable battery and has all the same features as the Spectra S2 pump. If you want the freedom to pump away from home, while traveling, or at work, get the S1 instead of the S2!


#2 Medela Pump In Style Advanced review

While the Medela Pump In Style Advanced (PISA) is not as gentle as the S2, it has consistently came out at the top of buying guides because it is a durable machine that works consistently. Medela is also known for their amazing customer service as they will replace your pump or accessories if there’s a problem. No questions asked.

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Metro Bag

The best selling and the highest rated breast pump. The PISA does cost a bit more than other pumps, but it’s one of the few pumps that

  • doesn’t wear out after a couple months
  • isn’t made with cheap plastic parts
  • and is easy to use when you’re traveling

If you get one of the cheaper “non-name brand” pumps you’re probably going to have to replace it when the motor wears out in a couple months or because you can’t get a strong enough suction to induce milk flow. I know the higher initial cost is painful to swallow, but I would recommend that you save yourself the hassle and eventual cost of buying another pump. Just get the Medela to start with and think of the cost spread out over the next 2 years. Just remember that formula can cost $150 a month. See, the cost of a breast pump doesn’t seem so bad now, does it!

Pros

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Tote Bag

This is the best breast pump for travel.
* The PISA comes with an insulated cooler, ice pack, and easy to use spill proof collection bottles. The cooler bag and ice pack will keep your milk cold for hours while you’re away from home.
* It can be used with batteries, plugged into an outlet, or plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter. This way you can pump whether you’re on a roadtrip or on a plane.

* The PISA comes with 3 different styles of bags – tote, metro (messenger) bag, backpack – depending on how you like to carry your pump. While the backpack is easier to carry hands-free, the metro bag does have the advantage of being the only model with a removable pump.

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Medela PISA Backpack

  • While it is not as quiet as the Spectra S2, the Medela PISA is still quieter than other breast pumps. You can pump and still carry a conversation and hear the TV over the PISA, but it does go ‘chug chug chug’ like a train! On a scale of least noise to the loudest I would have to rank the breast pumps in this order: Spectra S2 < Medela PISA < Hygeia EnJoye
  • If you need stronger suction to induce milk flow, then the pump in style advanced is the perfect pump for you. Some women don’t like the strong tugging sensation of the pump, while others prefer the sensation.
  • Like the Spectra S2, Medela PISA does have both a ‘letdown mode’ and an ‘expression mode’. The letdown mode is stronger and more mechanical compared to the S2’s, but some women prefer the stronger stimulation of the PISA.
  • This is the most durable breast pump especially compared to the cheaper Chinese models that cost less than $150. You may be tempted to save money with the other pumps, but many women report that they can’t get a good consistent suction with them and often the motors burn out after a couple months of daily use.
  • You can use the PISA as either a single or double pump. I recommend double pumping as spending less time attached to the pump is always a positive in my book!
  • The PISA is the best pump for larger nipples – Medela is one of the few brands that makes breast shields in all sorts of sizes from S to XL. If you use a breast shield that’s too small you might not be able to empty some of your ducts when you pump. Of all the different brands and models of breast pumps, Medela has the best collection kits and accessories. Large, small, extra-large breast shields? Yep. Shorter tubes? Longer tubes? They’ve got you covered there too. Extra collection bottles? Yep.
  • Medela has amazing customer service! If you have problems with your tubes or accessories under the warranty period, give the customer service line a call and they’ll probably replace the parts for free and cover shipping costs too!

Cons

  • The Medela PISA is not a closed system. This means that the milk can get into the tubes. This adds an additional cleaning step and you’ll have to be extra careful when you’re sterilizing the parts to prevent contamination.
  • The entire kit is pretty heavy at 8 pounds. The pump itself is only 2 pounds or so, but since you can’t really remove it from the bag you’ll end up carrying the whole kit anyways. So the PISA is great for home use or travel, but if I had to carry a breast pump in to work every day I would prefer the Spectra S2.
  • The power adapter only works with American currents. So you’ll want to make sure you fully charge your batteries before leaving home and buy a travel power transformer to so you can plug your pump into 220V power grids like those in Europe and Asia and pretty much the rest of the world…

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

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Rating: 4 out of 5

The highest rated and best selling breast pump on the market. It’s not very stylish, but the Medela PISA is durable and dependable. If you need a breast pump that you can take with you so you can pump while you’re on the plane or in the car, then you should choose the PISA.

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Compare the two highest rated breast pumps of the year. Put them side by side to see which one is right for you.

In conclusion, if you don’t want to waste your time with breast pumps that

  • break and stop working after 3 months
  • irritate your breasts and give your sore nipples
  • take over 20 minutes each time you pump because it doesn’t consistently produce milk flow

then you should get the Spectra S1 or S2 breast pump or one of the Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pumps (Amazon | buybuybaby).

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Spectra S1 / S2

I want…

A breast pump that feels as close as possible to the sensation of my baby suckling at my breast.

I hate how the harsh vacuum of other breast pumps makes my nipples sore.

I want to adjust the speed and suction of the pump to the perfect rhythm for me so I can stimulate milk flow and finish pumping in the shortest amount of time with the least irritation.

I want a breast pump that I can use as for single or double pumping. I want a quality breast pump that costs less than $210.

The best breast pump for…

  • for working moms
  • for daily use
  • for nipple stimulation
  • for new moms
  • for inducing lactation and for low milk supply
  • for sore nipples
  • for smaller nipples

$$

Medela Pump in Style Advanced

I want…

A breast pump that is dependable and reliable.

I want a breast pump with a strong suction and letdown mode.

I need a breast pump that I can use when I’m traveling and away from home.

I want a breast pump that can run on batteries or plug into a car adapter so I can pump while I’m in the car or on a plane.

I have larger nipples so I need a pump that has large and extra large nipple shields.

The best breast pump for…

  • for travel
  • for women with larger nipples
  • for women who need stronger suction

$$-$$$

Spectra S2 (no battery):

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Spectra S1 (battery):

Check Prices

Tote:

Check Prices
Backpack:

Check Prices
Metro bag (removable pump):

Check Prices

* Prices at the time of publication. Actual prices may differ.


Sources:
[1]: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/breastfeeding/while-working/19-tips-better-pumping
[2]: http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbjulaug96p118.html


Other electric pumps that we tried and reviewed, but did not like

Here are some of the other models of electric breast pumps we looked at, but disqualified for serious design flaws which made them uncomfortable to use, ineffective, difficult to clean, or prone to breaking.
In our review we favored double electric pumps over single breast pumps due to the freedom of being able choose whether you wanted to single or double pump, and the better resale value. You can see that many of the pumps in the list below come in single or double models. If you were to pick one of these models, I would recommend that you choose the double electric breast pump option even if you don’t plan on double pumping regularly.

Ameda Purely Yours

We reviewed the Ameda Purely Yours double/single electric breast pump (Amazon.com | Buybuybaby.com) and we were not impressed. While this is a closed system pump, there are lots of small parts in the breastshield and valve that are difficult to clean and prone to breaking at the slightest bump or impact. If the parts and accessories break and need to be replaced, the cost of the parts is more expensive than comparable parts for Medela pumps. Another common complaint about the Ameda Purely Yours pump is the loss of suction after several months. Some users even have to reset the machine multiple times during a pumping session, doubling the amount of time it takes to pump out the same amount of milk compared to a functioning hospital-grade breast pump. The loss of suction will also result in incomplete expression, leaving milk left behind in your breast. Over time, this will cause you to lose your milk supply. It appears that the suction problem is a design flaw and a problem that persists even after sending the machine back to the manufacturer to be fixed. The Purely Yours motor is also very noisy, loud enough to disturb someone sleeping in another room and definitely loud enough to be inappropriate for the workplace. While this is one of the most common pumps covered by health insurance plans, we cannot recommend this breast pump if you’re paying out of pocket.

Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump

The Swing electric breast pump by Medela (Amazon.com | Buybuybaby.com) is a lightweight, budget breast pump. It only allows single pumping, which means more time spent pumping as you’ll have to pump each breast separately. The Swing is also an open system pump and according to our reviews, it’s very easy for milk to back flow into the difficult to clean tubing. This pump is also not meant to be used multiple times a day for an extended period, as people have reported loss of suction after heavy use over several months. The Medela Swing is a highly portable electric pump, weighing less than 3 pounds, with a rechargeable battery and no complicated parts. This makes it perfect for short term use such as during travel or once a day at work. If you plan to exclusive pump or need an electric pump for daily use, I would give the Swing a pass. However, if you are looking for an “on the go” electric alternative to a manual breast pump for use away from home, then the Swing is a good choice.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

The Freestyle is a double electric breast pump (Amazon.com | Buybuybaby.com) that’s small and rechargeable. This sounds like a great idea, and a great alternative to the larger an dolder Medela Pump in Style Advanced, but I cannot recommend this breast pump over the PiSA for several reasons. First of all, the Freestyle pump does not have a powerful or reliable suction compared to the Pump in Style Advance, I’m not sure if this is due to a weak battery, the breast shield, or the motor, but it takes longer to pump the same amount of milk. The parts and accessories for the Freestyle are also more expensive and need to be replaced every 1-2 months compared to the PiSA’s parts which cost less and last for about 4-6 months. The Freestyle breast pump also combines the strength setting and suction speed, so you have less control over the comfort level. These two settings are independent in the Pump in Style and Spectra S1/S2. The battery takes 24 hours to fully charge, so if you forget to charge before you leave home, you may end up with a weak useless pump. The parts around the breast shield and flow valves are also difficult to clean with lots of tight closed off spaces that accumulate milk and moisture. WHile the Freestyle is highly portable and comes with a cooler and collection accessories, the high price combined with all of the problems takes it out of the running for the best electric breast pump.

Medela Symphony Breast Pump

If you plan to rent a breast pump from the hospital, the Medela Symphony is probably what you’re going to get. It is a closed-system, hospital grade breast pump with the price tag to match. This is a double electric pump that allows single or double pumping and has both an expression and let-down mode. There is a membrane in the tubing kit (sold separately) that separates the pump from the breastshield/bottle and other pump parts. If you can afford to buy the Symphony, or have a very generous financial donor, then get this! This is one of the most trusted hospital grade electric pumps and uses almost all of the same parts as the other Medela electric breast pumps with the exception of the tubing kit which costs about $40. The downsides to the Medela Symphony are its size and weight of more than 5 pounds and the cost at almost $2000!

Freemie Freedom Double Electric Hands Free and Concealable

The premise behind the Freemie breast pump is that it allows you to pump without taking off your shirt or even using a nursing bra! This sounds great, but there are a few critical flaws in the design. First of all, the Freemie Freedom does not have the usual collection bottle and breast shield design. Instead, the breast shield has a bowl shaped outer cover which doubles as a collecting bowl. The entire flange/bowl fits over your nipple, areola, and most of your breast and it is held in place inside your bra cup. The downside of this is that it doesn’t fit very well if you have larger breasts. A poor fit means poor suction and many women have reported poor results, only pumping a fraction of milk compared to other electric breast pumps. Some women even lost their milk supply after using the Freemie Freedom pump! Another problem with the design is that pouring the milk from the collection bowl into regular breast milk collection bags or bottles often makes a mess. Also you cannot see how much milk is flowing out of your nipple and into the bowl with this pump so it is impossible to tell if your milk flow has stopped or if you should continue to pump. As for portability, the pump itself is about 4 pounds and it does not come with a battery or car adapter. The Freemie Freedom allows for double or single pumping and has a slow suction compared to other electric pumps. There is no setting to adjust the speed of suction, only the strength. The Freemie also lacks a let down mode so you should avoid this breast pump if you have trouble getting your milk flow to come in. All in all, the Freemie allows for a bit of discretion, but it comes with a lot of trade offs in effectiveness.

Evenflo Double Electric and Single Electric Breast Pumps

Evenflo makes a double electric (Amazon.com | Buybuybaby.com) and a single electric (Amazon.com | Buybuybaby.com) pump. Both versions come with three different sizes of breast shields so you don’t have to spend extra money if the default flange doesn’t fit. They’re also hygienic closed-system pumps. So good so far, but why did this end up on our ‘do not buy list’? The first problem with this pump is its poor durability. The Evenflo electric breast pumps were not built for daily or exclusive pumping. Women who tried to use these pumps regularly found that they lost suction after 3-6 weeks. This is an inexpensive pump so if you were gifted this at your baby shower you should keep it and use it as a back up option or as a travel pump. The second biggest problem with the Evenflo pumps is the noise! These pumps make an extremely loud and grating vibrating noise that’s intolerable even compared to louder pumps like the Ameda Purely Yours so you can’t use these breast pumps at the office or late at night without waking up the entire house. The fit of the breast shields are also poorly designed for expressing milk. You can turn up the suction setting all the to max and still fail to draw out an acceptable amount of milk even though it feels like the pump is about to pull off your nipples. 🙁 The strength of suction is adjustable all the way from barely noticeable up to ‘pull your nipples off’ and the speed of suction can be adjusted separately, but there is no let-down mode so you’ll have to fiddle with the settings every time you start pumping. The pump itself is small and discreet at under 2 pounds, but it doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery. Instead you’ll have to supply your own C batteries which are heavy, large, and expensive. All in all, keep this pump as a backup if you get it for free from your insurance company. Otherwise you’re better off buying another brand.

The First Years Breastflow Memory Pump

The Breastflow Memory breast pump by The First Years is the only breast pump that allows you to enter the amount of milk expressed for each pumping session. The pump has a light up digital display that doubles as a night light and a timer and tracker for your sessions. Most people won’t use all these features, but it’s nice to have if you’re a data nerd. 😉 This is a double electric breast pump that allows for pumping both breasts or just one side. The First Years pump is small, rechargeable, and comes with a cooler tote bag. All of this sounds great so why don’t we recommend the Breastflow Memory? First of all, it’s not a closed circuit pump and as we feared, there are complaints about milk getting crusted inside the tubes and other parts. The pump also has a weak suction even when turned up all the way to the max setting. While suction strength is not as important as finding the perfect rhythm when it comes to expressing milk, many women do need a stronger suction to pump a good volume of milk. While The Breastflow lets you adjust the speed and suction settings independently, there is no let down mode. All in all, we feel there are better double electric pumps on the market at a similar price.

The First Years Sole Expressions

The low price of this single electric breast pump was extremely attractive as it also comes with a tote that has many pockets and holders for your pump accessories. While we were not impressed with the performance of the pump, I would recommend buying this as a spare and using the tote with your preferred electric breast pump. So why didn’t we like The First Years Sole Expressions? First of all, it is not all that durable and not meant for daily pumping as it loses suction after 2-3 months of heavy use. Many women also reported that their pumps failed to completely express milk from their breasts and they had to resort to using their hands to manually empty their breasts, which completely defeats the purpose of using a breast pump! Compared to more expensive models which pumped out 2+ ounces of milk in 10-15 minutes, The Sole Expressions took 20-30 minutes to express the same amount of milk. The Sole Expressions is also an open-system pump, so unlike a closed-system electric breast pump, moisture will build up inside the tubing and machine over time and cause problems with mildew and bacteria. Another negative about this breast pump is that it uses non-standard collection bottles. While other breast pumps let you connect regular wide-mouth bottles, The Sole Expressions uses bottles with a different mouth size. This means that instead of saving money by using whatever bottles you already have on hand, you’ll have to buy The First Years brand if you need any extra collection bottles. The pump itself is small and portable, but it does not contain a rechargeable battery. It takes 4 AA batteries and each set of fresh batteries only lasts for about 60 minutes so you’ll need to replace them after 2-3 sessions. Over the long term the cost of batteries alone add up quickly!

BelleMa Effective Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

The BelleMa Effective Pro is a small double electric breast pump with soft, comfortable silicone breast shields. We liked that it is a closed-system pump with a let down mode to stimulate milk flow. On the other hand, while the suction strength can be adjusted by 10 levels, there’s no way to adjust the suction speed. Another downside is that it needs to be plugged in to a power source. There is a battery pack (sold separately) that uses 4 AA batteries, but you’ll need to supply your own batteries. A quirk of this breast pump is that it doesn’t work with regular wide-mouth or standard baby bottles and the other accessories (flanges, tubes, valves, bottles) are not easy to find so you’ll have to contact the company if something needs to be replaced. There’s also no easy way to set whether you want to pump the left or right breast, so each time you start up the pump or change the mode from let down to expression mode you’ll have to toggle the L/R setting, which can be annoying if you need to do this multiple times during each pumping session. The silicone breast shields that come with the pump are sized 24mm-27mm, and since it appears that there are no other flange sizes, this breast pump is only made for average nipple sizes. This pump does have a stronger suction compared to the BelleMa Melon breast pump, but the downsides and quirks are not really worth it.

BelleMa Melon Comfort Double/Single Electric Breast

Like the BelleMa Effective Pro pump, the Melon Comfort is a closed-system pump which also has a let down mode to help get your milk flow going. But unlike the Effective Pro, the Melon lets you adjust the strength and speed settings separately. There is also a memory function so you can save your preferred settings, unlike the Effective Pro. Another difference is that you can use standard width bottles with the Melon pump as well as Medela PiSA parts so you don’t have to worry about searching for hard-to-find accessories. The included breast shields are made of soft silicone and include a cushion inside, so they are very comfortable to use. Like the Effective Pro, the breast shields are only in size 24mm-27mm, so you’ll need to buy breast shields made for the Medela PiSA if the included ones don’t fit. While the pump does come with a power adapter, you’ll need to buy the battery pack and AA batteries separately if you want to pump on the go. This pump also does not come with a tote so that’s another thing you’ll need to budget for. Everything about this pump sounds great so far, but the one major flaw with the Melon as an electric breast pump is the suction strength. It is incredibly weak even on the highest setting, thus justifying the existence of the more expensive (and poorly designed) Effective Pro model. Once all the additional costs of a tote, batteries, and battery pack are included, you might as well get a Medela PiSA or Spectra S1/S2 which have most of the same features as the BelleMa Melon.

Philips AVENT Double

The Philips AVENT Comfort electric pumps come in both a single (Amazon | buybuybaby) and double (Amazon | Buybuybaby) pump model and both are pretty similar, but we always favor the double pump model since it can be used to pump one or both breasts. We liked that the breast shields came with soft silicone cushions inside so your bare skin doesn’t have to rub against the hard plastic of the flange. Unfortunately the AVENT only comes with a set of 25mm breast shields out of the box. You will need to order smaller or larger breast shields separately. While the pump does not work with standard bottles it does come with an adapter ring that you can attach which will allow you to use standard wide mouth bottles. This is a closed system pump which eliminates hygiene problems, but we had to deduct points for the accessories since they are only available from the manufacturer. This means that if your parts break you’ll have to call customer service and wait weeks while they process your claim and ship out your replacement parts. While the AVENT electric breast pumps have a let down mode, there is no way to adjust the suction speed. The settings on the machine only control the strength of suction and there’s only 3 settings, with most of them being on the strong side. If you have sensitive nipples, then this machine is definitely not right for you. The biggest problem with the Philips AVENT pumps is the lack of durability. There are many complaints about the pump losing suction after 2 to 3 months of regular use. Since this is one of the pumps commonly covered by health insurance companies, get this as a backup pump if you can get it for free. Otherwise, at almost $200, you’ll be better off with a more dependable brand like Medela and Spectra that also have easy to find accessories.

KidsTime Electric Hands-Free Double Breast Pump

The KidsTime breast pump is one of the few ultra-portable electric pumps on the market. It can be used as both a single and a double pump, however it is best used as a single pump since splitting the vacuum to two sides reduces the suction strength. This pump fits in the palm of your hand and is the only USB powered breast pump. This means that you can use the KidsTime breast pump in your car, with a power pack, or with your phone charger.There is a convenient button to toggle between let down and expression mode, which is an improvement over other pumps that make you power off and cycle through again to gain access to the let down mode. One major problem with this pump is that you get what you pay for. It is made in China and at around $30, the customer support and instructions reflect that. You’ll have to fiddle around with the pump to learn how it works as the instructions are either in Chinese or nonsensical English depending on which batch you get. The +/- buttons control both the strength and speed of suction and you toggle between the two different settings by fiddling with the buttons. You’ll also want to buy different collection bottles. While the KidsTime does come with two bottles, they are very flimsy and I wouldn’t trust them not to leak. You can use standard wide mouth bottles with this pump, so that’s not a big deal, just an extra expense. This is an open system pump so you’ll need to be diligent about keeping the parts clean. You will need to be very careful when you wash out the parts after each use as there is no way to order replacements online. Again, the customer service is lacking and you’ll be better off getting a new pump if something breaks. Speaking of breakage, the durability of this breast pump is poor, with reports of loss of suction after just one week of use. With all of the potential problems, I would only recommend the KidsTime as a temporary breast pump if you’re going on a road trip or vacation.

Bellema Mango Portable Single Electric Breast Pump

The BelleMa Mango is another small ultra-portable electric breast pump that you can just throw in your purse. There are no valves or split tubes for this breast pump so the Mango only allows single pumping which will increase the length of your pumping sessions. It is powered by 4 AA batteries which fit inside the motor body, so there is no need to buy an external battery pack like the other BelleMa breast pumps. The breast shields do come with soft silicone cushions on the inside and this is a closed-system pump. Another great feature is that the Mango is compatible with Philips AVENT Classic accessories including the breast flanges, valves, and bottle adapters. There are several problems with this pump though. First of all, there is no way to adjust the speed of suction, only strength. The Mango is also on the noisy side for a breast pump, noisier than the Spectra S1/S2, but quieter than the Medela PiSA. Performance wise, the Mango did poorly when it came to the amount of milk expressed and the time it took to finish pumping. But for an ultra-portable electric breast pump that you can use discreetly at work or while travelling, this is the best choice under $100.

NUK Expressive Double

NUK has both a double and a single electric breast pump, but the single pump has almost no suction so it’s not even worth mentioning. We will only look at the double electric breast pump version (Amazon | Buybuybaby). There are several inconvenient design flaws with this economy breast pump. First of all, it needs to be plugged into a power outlet to work and there is no battery pack that you can buy separately. Another annoying feature is that the accessories only work with NUK brand bottles. There are no adapters that will let you use standard bottles. The NUK Expressive does have a let down mode and the settings for strength of suction and speed of suction can be adjusted independently. The included accessories include valves and tubes to let you switch between double or single sided pumping. The NUK is one of the noisier electric breast pumps, more so than the Medela PiSA. The NUK Expressive is also an open-system pump so expect to have problems with condensation and bacterial growth in the vacuum tubes. The biggest problem with this breast pump is the loss of suction after several weeks. Thus we can only recommend the NUK Expressive as a backup option.

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

Lansinoh’s double electric breast pump (Amazon | Buybuybaby) has several positive features. It’s a closed-system pump with widely available replacement parts and accessories. It is meant to be used plugged in to a power source, but you can also use 4 AA batteries if you need to be mobile. This pump has a let down mode, but unfortunately it does not let you set the speed and strength of suction separately. There is only slow+strong suction or fast+weak suction so you’re out of luck if these settings don’t work for you. Another problem we had with the Lansinoh breast pump is that it only comes with a 25mm and a 30mm flange. You will need to buy your own set of breast shields if your nipple size falls in between or if you need a larger size. The entire breast shield + cap + bottle assembly is also heavier than other pumps so you will definitely want to get a hand free pumping bra if you choose the Lansinoh double electric breast pump as your daily machine. We also noticed several reviews mentioning that the Lansinoh pumps stopped working after 3-4 months, but since Lansinoh is such a common brand, you should be able to get it replaced under warranty.

Gland Nibble Electric Double Breast Pump for Baby

This is yet another budget-friendly electric breast pump without a long history. The Gland Nibble comes in both double pump and single pump models. The double electric breast pump does come with a valve that lets you switch to single-sided pumping. This is a closed-system pump with let down mode that also lets you adjust suction strength. There is no way to adjust the speed of suction. All in all, this is one of the cheapest double electric breast pumps on the market at around $80. So what’s the problem? Everybody reported that the Gland Nibble breast pumps break down after a couple weeks. And it’s not just a loss of suction or power, but a complete breakdown with an unresponsive motor that won’t turn on. We could not ignore these problems and we definitely do not recommend the Gland Nibble electric breast pumps.

Rumble Tuff Single/Double Electric Breast Pumps

Rumble Tuff makes both single electric pumps and double electric pumps. These are both closed system breast pumps that can be plugged into the wall or powered with 4 AA batteries, and even manually powered with an included adapter. The accessories for these pumps are not available in stores so you’ll have to call the company each time something breaks or you need a replacement. The Ruff Tumble breast pumps have a let down mode and multiple suckling patterns in expression mode, but you cannot fine tune the suction by adjusting the speed or suction. Judging by the long term reviews, this is an okay pump for occasional use or as a backup pump, but it performs poorly when it comes to the amount of milk expressed. The Ruff Tumble electric pumps express less than half the amount of milk as the Medela PiSA in the same amount of time. There’s also the fact that this is an expensive pump, comparable to the Spectra S1/S2 and Medela PiSA. Unless this is the only electric breast pump covered by your insurance provider, I would give the Ruff Tumble a pass and go with a more dependable brand like Medela or Spectra.


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19 Replies to “The best breast pumps 2017 – top-rated reviews”

  1. Also, the Spectra S1 DOES have a battery, and all internal parts are the same as the S2. That eliminates another of your cons 😉 It’s also still under $200!

  2. You say that with the S2 I could theoretically pump in 5 mins. As an exclusive pumper who is returning to work on a busy hospital unit soon, this is appealing! As a 1st time mom, I have no idea how to accomplish that. I’ve just been doing what feels comfortable for 20 mins but know I’m not completely empty. How should the settings be? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      When I start pumping or when I feel my flow slowing down, I always adjust the setting to the massage letdown mode and that encourages a fresh flow. I think the best feature of the Spectra is the massage mode. It feels *really, really* good compared to the other pumps on the market. I’ve found that short pumping durations mixed with massage durations works a lot better than pumping for a long time in one go. So I would pump for a couple minutes, switch to massage mode, and then go back to pumping for a couple minutes.

  3. Thank you for the great info! This article is perfect! I am a first time mom and had no idea about which breast pump to choose. You have made it much easier and less stressful!

  4. Super helpful, but your comment on sheild sizes not working for anything bigger than a D is incorrect. The size of your breast and size of your nipple are not related. I am rocking a G cup right now and the smallest 21mm shield is too large for my freakishly small nipples.

    1. Hi Jessica!

      Thanks for the comment. You’re correct that a larger breast size does not necessarily mean a larger nipple, there is a correlation between nipple and breast size, but there are always exceptions. In general though, it is more likely that a larger breast will have larger nipples and a smaller breast will have smaller nipples.

  5. Hi, I was interested in trying the spectra s2 pump, but I’d like to know if it’s durable?.. It mentions on here how dependable and reliable the medela pump is, but does that go for the spectra s2 as well? That’s the only thing holding me back. Please help:)

    1. Hi!

      The durability and lifespan of breast pumps are usually determined by the motor inside. While the tubing, flanges, and other parts are replaceable, once the motor is kaput, the machine is toast… I looked up the motor hours for each of the models and found that the Spectra S2 is rated for 1500 motor hours and has a 5 year warranty. The Medela PIS is rated for 250 motor hours and has a 1 year warranty on the motor.

      While both of the machines are made to last, the Spectra S2 is the more durable and dependable choice!

  6. Thanks for the reviews! I’m wondering how often you have had to replace the tubing for the S1? I’m from Canada where it’s not easily sold (I finally found one on eBay!), so I have to take ease and frequency of buying parts into consideration. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Daniella,

      I’ve never had to replace my tubing. The only time you should replace the tubing is when milk or water gets inside. Unlike with the PiSA, you shouldn’t have moisture problems inside the tube with the Spectra unless your backflow membrane breaks.

      But if you do have to replace them, the manufacturer does ship from the US to Canada. If you contact customer service before your item is shipped, they can find a lower shipping price than what’s automatically calculated by their site. You’ll still have to deal with import duties and exchange rates, though. Their website is http://www.spectrababyusa.com/

  7. I was debating between Medela & Spectra so this really helped me! Thanks so much for the great info. Any advice from experienced users on how the Spectra works with the car adapter? We travel often & I really want the Spectra but I also don’t want to have to try to find places to stop for a power source. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Mattie,

      The Spectra works great with the car adapter, and I didn’t notice any difference in strength compared to plugging it in at home. If you get the car adapter by Maymom, make sure your Spectra pump has a serial number starting with USS21507. Spectra changed the size of their power plugs around 2015 so you’ll need to get another adapter if you have an older model Spectra.

  8. Has anyone tried the Hygeia Enjoye pump?

    My insurance offers this one as well as the other 3 mentioned (Ameda purely yours, Medela PISA, Spectra S2). I’m thinking the Spectra S2, I don’t like the idea of a non-closed system. Not sure about sucking pressure as a consideration since I will soon be a first time mom. S2 seems like a good option for working moms if you buy the accessories and tote mentioned.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      If your insurance company gives you a choice, I would go with the Spectra. Replacement parts are easy to find and there are a lot of accessories and adapters that let you use Medela flanges and bottles.

      The Hygeia is plagued with suction problems and milk backing up into the tubing. The biggest downside is that the replacement parts are non-existent. Most people underestimate how many times they’ll need to buy new/extra valves and membranes. The Spectra and Medela pumps are the easiest to get replacement parts with Ameda running a distant third and Hygeia being the worst.

      Hope this helps!

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