best electric breast pump

The 7 Best Electric Breast Pumps (To End The Search)

The 7 Best Electric Breast Pumps (To End The Search)

Over the past four months, I’ve pumped over 100,000 ml of milk and used my breast pump over 1,000 times.

I’ve also used four different pumps, from hospital grade pumps that cost thousands of dollars to $25 hand pumps in times of desperation/experimentation.

I’ve also followed almost every “pumping model” (which is just another way to say how often you pump vs. breastfeed vs. supplement with formula).

I’ve exclusively:

  • Breastfeed for period of time.
  • Pumped for a period of time (while my daughter was in the NICU as a premie), and
  • Pumped opportunistically (usually late evening) to build up a stash for some extra freedom.

So to say that I’ve done my fair share of research to find the best electric breast pump is a bit of an understatement.

I’ve spent hours scouring Amazon reviews, combing Google, asking opinions of lactation consultants, nurses, and paediatricians to find the best electric breast pump on the market.

And now I wanna help you find the best pump for you, so you don't waste hundreds of dollars.

Already convinced you need a breast pump? Then check out our top picks now.

Do You Really Need an Electric Breast Pump?

The short answer is: Yes.

If you plan not to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with baby, then yes, you'll want an electric pump to extract your breast milk so it can be fed later.

Now, of course you can feed your baby formula when you're not around, but since you're reading this, I expect you know the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life.

But for some people, a pump just isn't in the cards. If so, no problem: definitely use formula so you catch a break. Because “fed is best”. It doesn't matter how you do it. Just make sure you provide the best food you can. And then relax, they'll be fine 🙂

What to Look for in an Electric Breast Pump

If you plan on pumping more than very occasionally, you need an electric pump. But what else do you need to look for in an electric pump beyond the fact that it's… well, electric? A surprise amount, as I found out.

Here’s what you need to look for:

Hygiene
Closed systems are better than open systems. Closed system pumps eliminate the potential for milk to get inside of the pump motor. That translates into ultimate hygiene by reducing the likelihood of getting mold occurring on or in the pump and thereby threatening the safety of your little one. Many open system pumps are cheaper, but a little less hygienic.

Effectiveness
Unfortunately it tends to be that the more expensive the pump, the more effective and efficient it is. An inefficient pump can take much longer to drain the breast (if it ever completely does so) and can even threaten your supply (because you need proper emptying of the breast to stimulate sufficient breast milk production). So if you’re going to be an exclusive pumper OR if you have to go back to work and plan on pumping more than 50% of the time, you need a highly efficient pump. Check out pumps #1 and #2.

Single vs. Double
It takes about 15 – 20 minutes to pump each breast. If you use a single pump, that means you have to pump each breast separately, wasting twice as much time. You’re a parent. You don’t have a spare hour in your day to pump each breast separately. If you can afford it, always go for a double pump.

Portability
Usually pumping moms are moms returning back to work, travel for work, or spend at least a bit of time away from their little ones for whatever reason. That means that you need your pump to be portable. There are uber-portable, hand-sized lightweight pumps (e.g., the Medela Freestyle), and then there are pumps on the extreme other side that need to be plugged into a wall. All. The. Time.

Price
No one likes getting gouged. But when it comes to babies, we also want something the will work and won't break on us—it's just not worth the headache. Don't worry, we've got you covered. The price score considers the overall dollar value compared to the pump features and functions.

Drumroll, please…

The 10 Best Electric Breast Pumps


Spectra S1 Hospital Grade Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Spectra S1 is a relatively new pump on the market, so I ended up getting the 2nd best breast pump in this list (the Medela Freestyle), because I’m skeptical of new brands.

But the joke’s on me, because while the Freestyle is a great pump, the S1 is comparable to it in almost every way… except it’s a hospital grade pump. So not only is it a double electric, closed system portable pump that’s quiet and discreet, but it’s also super strong without being uncomfortable. Plus, it’s rechargeable, which is important.

Compared to Spectra’s “budget” version of the S1 (conveniently called the S2), here’s what one reviewer had to say:

”the S1 is definitely worth the extra $$ for the freedom from the plug! I find I can get about 3 1/2- to 4 full pumping sessions out of my S1 before recharging!”

Every time I’ve used a hospital grade pump, I pumped waay more milk. But Medela’s hospital grade version is over $2,000, so I’m beginning to regret not getting this bad boy.

Pros

  • Hospital grade, closed system.
  • Double electric breast pump (w/ rechargeable batts).
  • Built-in night light.
  • Lightweight at 3.3 lbs.
  • Quiet and super comfortable.

Cons

  • Slightly heavier and larger than the #2 ranked Freestyle.
  • It’s one of the more expensive pumps on this list (though the cheapest hospital grade pump by far).
Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 4.5 Stars ( 4.5 / 5)
Average:4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)

Next in line is the Medela Freestyle, which is the pump I ended up buying after using the Medela In Style and the Medela Symphony.

The Freestyle is efficient, quiet, and amazingly portable. I’ve travelled all over with it, and I was able to pump discreetly on one flight because it’s so compact. It’s touted as “the smallest double electric breast pump in the world”.

It’s a closed-system, so milk can’t get into the motor and rot (yay!) which is surprisingly more than I can say for a few.

The downside is the price. It’s not as expensive as the Symphony, but it is one of the more expensive pumps, because the quality is so high (although we had a initial issue with the pump motor, customer service was amazing and we had a new system mailed to us within days).

Pros

  • Closed system pump.
  • Double electric pump (w/ rechargeable batts).
  • Backlit screen light and programmable.
  • Very quiet and lightweight (< 1 lb).
  • Super comfortable and great customer service.

Cons

  • More expensive than others
Spectra S2 Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)

Another Spectra, the “lesser” version of the S1 is the S2. While the S2 isn’t hospital grade, it’s still a closed system pump that won over a lot of new moms.

The S2 is quiet—this is something that many people commented on being a great feature, and it’s also reported to be super comfortable.

This is a plug-in pump. Meaning it’s not portable; you can only pump near an outlet when it’s plugged in, so it’s not suitable for traveling, working, or on-the-go moms.

This is basically the same pump as the S1, except it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery.

Pros

  • Double electric pump.
  • Closed system.
  • Built-in night light.
  • Very quiet.
  • Super comfortable.

Cons

  • Must be plugged into an outlet.
  • Not a hospital grade pump.
Medela In-Style Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Effectiveness: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

The Medela In-Style is easily one of the most popular breast pumps on the market, probably because it’s pretty affordable. It’s a double electric pump, that is sold as “portable” because it comes sort of built into a pumping bag and can take batteries (needs 8 AAs inserted into it’s battery pack).

Unfortunately it’s NOT a closed system pump, which is problematic for hygienic reasons.

I used this pump for a couple of days when my daughter was in the NICU (she was a premie), and my biggest beef was that it’s not nearly as efficient as some of the more pricey models.

Great for if you have a more than abundant milk supply or you’re not pumping very often, even though it’s sold as a “every-day pump”. If you’re pumping for a premie this is probably not your best friend.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • It’s relatively portable.
  • If you only need a pump for the occasional pump or you have a very strong milk supply this could be a great budget option.
  • It’s purchase is covered by many insurance policies.

Cons

  • It’s not a closed system pump (so milk can get into the motor and mold).
  • It’s not strong enough to establish your milk supply or for the exclusive pumper.
  • Rechargeable battery not included (needs 8 AAs).
Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 2.5 Stars ( 2.5 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

The Ameda Purely Yours is a comfortable double electric pump that costs about ½ the amount of the Medela Freestyle and similar models, but that cost also comes at a price to the performance: this pump is not strong enough for everyday use.

Pros

  • Closed system.
  • Double electric pump.
  • Affordable.
  • If you only need a pump for the occasional pump or you have a very strong milk supply this could be a great budget option.

Cons

  • Not very portable; pump is clunky and can’t fit in your pocket for hands-free pumping.
  • It’s not strong enough to establish your milk supply or for the exclusive pumper.
  • No rechargeable battery included.
Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:4 Stars (4 / 5)

This budget version of the double electric pump, made by Lasinoh (everyone’s favorite lanolin brand), is super affordable though admittedly not very strong.

It’s a closed system design that has 8 adjustable suction speeds and a timer on the display, though many report that it’s suction did not maintain their supply and weakened as time went on, and it’s noisy to boot.

Pros

  • Double electric, closed system pump
  • Lightweight at 2 lbs.
  • Affordable.
  • If you only need a pump for the occasional pump or you have a very strong milk supply this could be a great budget option.

Cons

  • Pump is very noisy.
  • Not strong enough to establish your milk supply (or adequate for the exclusive pumper).
  • Not very portable.
  • No rechargeable battery.
Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump

Hygiene: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Effectiveness: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Single or Double: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Portability: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Average:3.8 Stars (3.8 / 5)

Philips makes a decent manual pump, so if you have some brand loyalty, know that there are many better options out there (like the top 3 – 4 pumps in this guide!). This pump has some good features—the fact that it’s a double electric pump and that it’s nice and light. But it’s performance leaves a lot to be desired.

Pros

  • Double electric, closed system pump.
  • Light at 2 lbs.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Pump is very noisy.
  • It’s not strong enough to establish your milk supply (or adequate for the exclusive pumper).
  • Loses suction over time.
  • No rechargeable battery.
  • Pump is bulky

So there you have it: over 100,000 ml of milk pumped and 1,000+ pumping sessions (and counting!) distilled into this guide.

While I don't have all the answers, I know the info in this guide is accurate (because it's based on firsthand experience and countless hours of research) and will surely help you choose a great breast pump for you.

Happy pumping, mommas!

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