Table of Contents
- Our Picks For Best Breast Pump
- 1. Medela Freestyle Breast Pump
- 2. Medela In Style Breast Pump
- 3. Spectra S1
- 4. Haoquin Micro Cube Breastfeeding Pump
- 5. Spectra S2
- 6. BelleMa Effective Pro Double Electric Breast Pump
- 7. Medela Symphony Breast Pump
- 8. Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
- 9. Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump
- 10. Zenda Naturals Silicone Manual Breast Pump
- Criteria Used To Evaluate The Best Breast Pump
- Things To Consider When Selecting A Breast Pump
- The Different Types Of Breast Pumps
- When Should I Use Breast Pump?
- Should I Buy breast pump New or Used?
- Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Breast Pump
- How Do I Use A Breast Pump?
- How Do I Clean A Breast Pump?
- What breast pump Accessories Will I Need?
- Other breast pump Tips & Hacks
- FAQs ……”
- Other People’s Opinions
- Our Top Pick Summary – 150
Many moms prefer to breast feed their newborn babies. Unfortunately, they don’t have the circumstances to be a stay-at-home mom, which is the most ideal situation for breastfeeding.
They might have to return to work, and employers just don’t have provisions in place for babies to come to work. Without a job in the equation, there will be times when a mom’s presence isn’t always possible, even during feeding time. Or, it could be that the baby doesn’t latch on properly, but handles baby bottles much better.
If you’re in any one of these situations, and you’re set on breastfeeding your baby, then you should consider purchasing a breast pump.
There are good breast pumps out there, but what works for one mom may not work for another. So let’s take a look at our picks for the best breast pump – maybe you can find the right one for you.
Our Picks For Best Breast Pump
The Medela Freestyle’s crowning strengths are its mobility and overall performance. At home, your pumping is limited only by the length of the cord. The rechargeable battery will help you keep on pumping wherever you go without disruption in your activity.
- Lightweight and cordless make it easy to bring anywhere.
- Create custom pumping sessions and get pumping quickly.
- Excellent battery.Depending on use, you could get up to 5 days on a full charge.
- Only works well on high. Lower settings produced low-or-no suction
- High setting noisy.Suction good on high, but too noisy.
The Medela Freestyle is a product mainly aimed at the mom who is determined to feed their babies breast milk, but are too busy to breast feed at feeding time.
To Buy or Not To Buy?
The cons we found are very likely a matter of quality assurance error or manufacturing glitches. Maybe we just got a bad unit to test.
But the Freestyle’s quality materials, easy set-up and digital programming functions made it very portable and user-friendly. It out-pumped the other pumps in this review, even with the settings issues in cordless mode.
The thing about performance with the Freestyle is that our subjects felt that excellent performance outweighed any discomfort they felt, which was minor at best.
So based on our findings, we can recommend this one as a keeper!
The Medela In Style had some pluses that kept it in the running for the winner. This pump has a powerful pump, and is for the busy mom who needs medium size fittings and uses the breast pump a lot. Let’s look in on the pros and cons of the In Style.
- Ideal for women with medium sized breasts. Pump includes medium attachments, but may accommodate larger sizes.
- Strong suction (See Con #2)
- No built-in rechargeable battery; eats up batteries quick.
- Suction too strong.
- Motor issues. Noisy and stopped working after so much use.
The ideal person for this product is a woman who has medium size or larger breasts, and plans to use the pump several times a day.
To Buy or Not To Buy?
Like our winner in this review, there appear to be some manufacturing or quality control issues. When it ran, it was noisier than our winner. And some subjects, mainly of smaller size, had a hard time with the strong suction. It could just need some manufacturing tweaks.
We would recommend getting a car adapter if you plan to use it outside of the house. It uses “AA” batteries (not included), and the machine drains them quickly. If you were to use it a lot, you’d spend a small fortune on batteries.
So if your breast size is medium to large, and you need a strong pump, and most importantly have none of the mentioned issues, this could be a good buy.
The S1 is marketed as a “hospital strength” breast pump. For its price we decided to see how it stacks up to other non-hospital strength pumps.
It did shine in a couple areas, such as portability and being user-friendly. However, we found that after a short period of promising results, it had couple of areas that took some of the shine away.
In the big picture, we’d call it a decent pump for however long it stays running, but we can hardly call it hospital strength.
Here’s our list of pros and cons.
- Quieter operation than most.
- Closed system, good protection from mold, bacteria, etc.
- Suction lost after a few weeks of use
- Hoses fall off
To Buy or Not To Buy?
This machine was presumably marketed to moms who want a quality machine. Hence, the use of the phrase “hospital strength.”
While it did have the appearance of a quality machine, had a quieter motor than most, and a good system for contamination protection, hoses falling off and lost suction after being used did not lend itself at all to “hospital strength.”
In fact, the only plus that was close to hospital strength was the contamination protection, a by-product of the closed system pump.
So, on this basis, if you’re only planning to use it for a few months, maybe you’ll be fortunate to receive a machine that has all of the kinks worked out – and get your money’s worth of use out of it.
The Haoquin was a bit of a surprise. Designed to feed the baby while pumping, it pumps the milk into a small bottle through a tube. Another tube leads to a silicone nipple, where the baby nurses.
So it’s not like the other machines. Still, its simple design made it good enough for many moms to use, at a surprisingly affordable price.
This one had a shelf life not unlike several pumps we reviewed here. You might get a few months out of it. But if that’s all you need, then it could be a good buy.
Before making a decision on this one, take a look at the pros and cons.
- Compact, lightweight
- Good suction
- Inconsistent performance
To Buy Or Not To Buy
Comparing this pump to the others was like comparing apples to oranges. It isn’t a pump for collecting milk into several bottles and then storing them. You still pump from the breast into a bottle; but then the baby nurses from the same bottle through another tube and nipple.
For the price, it was a decent pump, user-friendly and you can take it anywhere.
For its design it did pump pretty well. But after a couple weeks’ use, the performance lost its consistency. In fact it turned into a consistent downward spiral of poorer and poorer performance.
Again, it had one of the lowest prices of anything in our review. If you’re not a diehard breast pumper, this still could work out okay.
For starters, like its predecessor, the S1, the S2 it had a few good things to talk about. But it seems like Spectra has yet to resolve the issues mentioned in the S1 review. It’s obvious that they haven’t carried over to the S2.
There a couple differences between the two we can point out. The S2 was not marketed as a hospital strength breast pump, possibly the only thing in its favor. And the S2 is 2 pounds heavier. Big whoop, right?
Anyway, here are some pros and cons.
- Closed system, good contamination protection
- Good suction strength, when working
- Stopped working after a couple uses
- Customer service not helpful
To Buy Or Not To Buy?
The truth is, it’s a shot in the dark to have these companies send you a unit that operates the way it was built. The issues that this machine has are probably simply a matter of the company stepping back and taking a good look at their products to see if there are some design flaws or missteps in manufacturing.
We can safely say this because while it seems that half of their customers are getting good machines, the other half is getting lemons. And they all pretty much have the same issues. At least, there are common threads to many of these,
So on the one hand, we can recommend it if you get a sound product sent to you. But based on our experience, it’s a guessing game.
Designed for both working and stay-at-home moms, the Pro Double is marketed as “the only closed-system electric breast pump in the market which allows double pumping without suction power reduction.”
The Pro Double is definitely one of the lightest pumps we have ever tested. Another plus is the IDC technology that allows you to pump each breast at different settings. But there was a big minus that has been all too common in our tests.
In other words, here we go again. But take a look at the pros and cons.
- Very lightweight
- No loss of suction when double pumping
- Price not bad
- Stopped working after a few months
- Not built for heavy use
- Difficult to get additional bottles for storage
To Buy or Not To Buy?
To be fair, we have no problem recommending this for either very part time use, or for a mom who wants to use the pump during the first few months of the baby’s birth. Assuming you get a good one, the investment might be worth it.
But, as with so many other products, some of which we included in our review, this one had an excellent start and some fairly good points. But then after a few months of use, it’s done. It just stopped working altogether.
Sad to say, our experience is not isolated. We’ve noticed that many who have purchased this pump are having the same problem. Manufacturer: Take note.
The first thing that jumped out at us with this pump is its price. It was significantly high. However, that sometimes means they put better design, quality or something that justifies the price. We decided to take a look.
The Symphony is marketed as hospital grade pump designed to help moms collect milk quickly, and has the unique feature of simulating actual nursing.
Our experience with the Symphony is that it did pump very well, and lasted longer than other models we tested. At this price point, we felt that the interface could have used digits instead of bars for easy reading of the pumping level, and better user-friendliness. One high point is that it lived longer than most other models, especially among those we tested.
- Got more life than most models
- Pumped as well or better than others
- Priced too high
- Interface not user-friendly
- Carrying case too bulky
To Buy or Not To Buy?
First of all, if you have a generous budget to spend on a breast pump, then the Symphony might be a comfortable investment for you. It pumped as good as or better than others, and has outlived them too.
However, being the most expensive of all that we tested, most moms will not be able to afford it. So don’t go into hock to get this. There are units, even in our list, that can do a fair job pumping at a more affordable price.
What we liked about the Harmony was that it was lightweight and therefore very portable. Two-phase technology is usually found in the electric models, so it caught our attention as a feature in this pump.
Quite frankly, this would be a great manual pump if they designed it with thicker, more durable O-rings. We found that the pump would lose proper suction after a few pumps. After some investigation, we discovered that the O-rings are quite inadequate. They have a tendency to break after a few pumps.
Of course, this pump is not designed for heavy duty use. Still, it was very counter- productive to have to stop and try to get a better seal with the O-ring so it could pump steady and strong.
- Pumps good in ideal condition
- O-ring inferior
- For light or part time use
- Suction lost due to constant O-ring failure
To Buy or Not To Buy?
The Harmony is designed for the stay-at-home mom who needs a little time away from baby, while being able to collect milk to feed them.
As a manual pump, it was definitely user-friendly, and had good suction – until the O-ring failed. The quality of O-rings they put in the pump is sadly inferior. They are not thick enough or sturdy enough to handle the manual pumping.
Fixing that one little design flaw would definitely make this a real good manual pump. Until then, dissatisfied customers and poor reviews will continue.
There are a few things we like about the Avent. It’s lightweight and very compact, making it ideal for moms who are constantly on the run. They can throw it in their purse or bag and go. Another thing moms will like is the massage cushion which makes stimulation of milk production very comfortable.
Of special note is that a mom using this pump does not have to lean forward to get expression, which is a problem for most pumps. She can sit naturally and comfortably, which is the best condition for producing milk. And produce milk it did!
Here are the Avent’s pros and cons.
- No need to lean forward for expression
- Produced good amount of milk when working
- Squeaky noise after a few uses, with no suction
- Comes apart
- Sealing issues
To Buy or Not To Buy?
The Avent is aimed at busy moms who need an easy, comfortable and inexpensive way to pump breast milk, which it did satisfactorily for a while. So when it works, it can satisfy those requirements just fine.
However, the unit we tested had issues with sealing, made an annoying squeaky noise after a few uses, which accompanied the loss of suction, and started to come apart even after normal operation.
If you can put up with these things, then more power to you. On the other hand, look at other models in our review. You’ll probably find something better.
The Zenda is our ultimate loser in this review. Sure, it was portable and produced milk fairly well to begin with. It’s hard to mess those two things up. But the only thing it had going for it otherwise was that it was by far the most inexpensive pump that we ever tested.
The implication is that it didn’t have much else going for it. At first, it drew about 3 ounces of milk each use. But then it just stopped. Sound familiar?
So it goes that this pump, even with its great start, fell into the “you get what you pay for” category.
- Produced good amount of milk at first
- Performance ceased after a couple uses
- Pain experienced by some subjects
To Buy or Not To Buy?
The Zenda is basically designed to be a cheap option for the busy mom. It was user- friendly, easy to transport and produced milk fairly quickly. On that front, it would be a hit if it had not broken. For the low price, assuming you get a machine that continues to work beyond a few uses, then it’s a great buy.
Sadly, like so many pumps we tested in this review, both manual and electric, we encountered either design flaws or manufacturing slip ups that led to unit failure. We also discovered that many users had similar experiences and issues.
If the folks at Zenda work those kinks out, this pump could climb quite a bit higher in a future review.
Criteria Used To Evaluate The Best Breast Pump
Things To Consider When Selecting A Breast Pump
Even when it comes to breast pumps, there are a few things to consider when selecting one.
- Do I need one? If you have a ton of things to do at home, or you’re heading back to work after having the baby, you might consider buying one.
- Do I want a manual pump or electric? If you don’t plan to pump very often, then a manual pump may be all you need. If you do plan regular breast milk pumping, consider an electric.
- How much should I spend? There are good pumps in a wide variety of price ranges.
The Different Types Of Breast Pumps
Here are the different types of breast pumps:
- As the name implies, this is completely hands-on operation. There’s a handle to manually operate the pump.
- Some are powered by plugging them into the wall, some operate on several replaceable batteries, and others that have a built-in rechargeable battery.
- Closed system.Usually the preferred pump, it keeps the milk from getting into the lines or the motor, to eliminate contamination and cleaning of the entire unit.
- Hospital grade.If it’s something a hospital would use, then it’s hospital grade.
That’s a short list, but these are the basic types of breast pumps.
When Should I Use Breast Pump?
Most often, if the baby is having trouble latching on, a breast pump is the first choice. But this can also be conjoined with other factors.
Some women use a breast pump because they want to. They may just need some space from the baby, but still need pumped milk to keep the baby fed.
Other moms may be headed back to work after maternity leave, but insist on giving their baby breast milk. So they might do their pumping at work.
Even a stay-at-home mom might be resuming their household chores, but can still pump while they work around the house.
Should I Buy breast pump New or Used?
This is not simply a matter of economics. It’s a matter of protection from contamination of various types.
For example, there have been reports of unscrupulous vendors selling “new” pumps, when they are actually used. Evidence of hardened milk or dirt found in some of these units has women outraged. They are intent on being careful about whom they buy their pump from. So if you’re set on a used model, please exercise caution.
On that note, most women prefer new breast pumps, and they make sure they buy them from reputable vendors. That way they know that their pump is actually new.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Breast Pump
First, note what settings are most comfortable, the most effective, or the setting that has the best of both worlds.
Parts need cleaning, especially if the machine is used a lot. Other times, parts need replacing. Monitoring the performance of your pump will help you detect anything unusual in its operation.
Monitor are your valves and tubing. Valves help regulate the flow of milk from your pump. Make sure they work properly and are unobstructed. Tubing that doesn’t fit snug on your fittings could hinder or halt pumping. If you have an open pump system, these will need regular cleaning. Otherwise, replace as necessary.
How Do I Use A Breast Pump?
There are some basic instructions common to most pumps.
There’s a suction cup that will be attached to your breast. If it’s a manual pump, you operate a small lever to pump the milk through an attached tube and into a small bottle. From there you either feed the baby or store the milk.
If it’s an automatic or electric pump, you attach the suction cup, make sure everything is hooked properly, start the machine at a low setting, and let the pump do the rest.
The best source to know how to use your pump is your user guide.
How Do I Clean A Breast Pump?
Most often, you will have to worry more about cleanup with an open system. Your tubing will need the most attention, as milk travels through them. Follow the instructions for your particular pump to see if there are special instructions. Otherwise, warm soapy water might be enough. You might need to blow them out with air to dry them completely so they’re ready for sanitary pumping again.
You also should disinfect the suction cups that latch to your breast. This will ensure that you don’t unwittingly invite a buildup of bacteria inside.
As mentioned earlier, consult your user’s manual to get the proper clean up instructions.
What breast pump Accessories Will I Need?
Most breast pump manufacturers include an accessories kit. Some don’t. If your kit is missing some items, then here’s a list that will help you make sure you have what you need.
- Extra bottles for storage.
- Any replacement parts, like O-rings, suction cups, etc.
- Cooler for keeping stored milk cool while pumping
- Spare tubing – even after several cleanings, these will one day need replacing.
- Spare breast shields – to make sure you use a clean one with each use.
- Spare valves
Most of all, determine what you personally need, and check your kits. If anything is missing, buy it.
Other breast pump Tips & Hacks
Cleaning. It is generally held that it’s safer to clean your pump parts after each use. But with so many other things to do, maybe you can see if you can try cleaning less frequently. Instead of cleaning after each use, maybe you can safely clean every other use, once a day, once every other day, etc. Please note, we emphasize the word “safely.”
Relax. Numerous studies have been done to show that mothers produce more milk when they’re relaxed. Employing a relaxation technique for at least 20 minutes a day will contribute to good milk production.
When can I start pumping breast milk? Moms returning to work should think about beginning your pumping a few weeks before returning to work. This will help you get used to the idea. During this process, your baby should be introduced to drinking from a bottle – so they can get used to the idea.
What type of pump is the best? The best pump is the one that’s best for you. Nothing is cookie cutter in the world of breast pumping. What works for one person may not work for you.
Is it okay to pump with a used pump? No. It’s potentially dangerous for your baby.
Other People’s Opinions
Sometimes it helps to read reviews of other people to help you make a wise decision when choosing a pump. So we included the responses of five people who had a good experience with the Medela Freestyle, our winner in this breast pump review. The names have been removed for privacy reasons
On the plus side:
Consumer #1: “I have tried so many different pumps, and this one is by far my favorite!”
Consumer #2: “If you’re feeding long term, buy this pump. It will free you up for whatever you do, wherever you go.”
Consumer #3: “Still working after several months use. Definitely worth the investment.”
Consumer #4: “I can take this anywhere, and it’s built tough. I also appreciate the included accessory kit that has what I need. Awesome product!”
Consumer #5: “Bought this for my daughter who gave birth to a premature baby. She loves it, and is able to keep the baby fed regularly.”
Again, this pump was our winner, and there are a host of others who wholeheartedly agree with them. We sincerely hope that the opinions of these people have been of some assistance to you as you decide on a new breast pump.
Our Top Pick Summary – 150
In closing, we would like to summarize our review. First, the Medela Freestyle was our winning breast pump. It had the performance, the portability, and the quality construction necessary to help on-the-go moms pump breast milk while doing other things.
Testing the units in this review was grueling. Each test revealed either a design flaw or possible oversights on the manufacturing side. We discovered too that the negative points we encountered were not exclusive to our tests. Countless other consumers had the same issues.
In many cases, these are things that the manufacturer should be catching – and addressing. Getting a good pump to test was like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.
Still, in this massive testing effort, we found some a few good breast pumps that were worthy of high rank in our review. And through it all, the Medela Freestyle survived it all, and took the crown of the best breast pump.