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Spectra, Medela, Lansinoh — Which breast pump rules them all? Here’s the scoop on the best breast pumps from moms who’ve used them.

Many parents don’t need a breast pump, but if you find you need one, and it’s now time to decide on a breast pump, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

We get it! Decision making can be stressful, especially in the final stretch of pregnancy or the early months of parenting. So to offer you a bit of a breather, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best breast pumps on the market (and descriptions of why they might be the right match for you).

A breast pump is considered a medical device, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines it as a device that helps a lactating person maintain or increase their milk supply.

Breast pumps can be manual or electric, and they can be single expression (pumping one breast at a time) or double expression (pumping both breasts at the same time). They can also be deemed closed or open system.

Breast pump glossary

Closed system breast pump: A closed system breast pump uses a barrier between the different parts of the breast pump, such as the valve, breast shield, flanges, and connectors. These pieces (which can be a pain to clean) prevent liquid, be it the breast milk itself or the moisture from the heat of the pumping parent’s body, from affecting the electric motor. It also helps to maintain a more hygienic environment for the milk.

Open system breast pump: Open system breast pumps don’t have this separation between the pump parts and the motor, which may cause milk to get into the motor if you use an electric pump. The milk is at greater risk of contamination with an open system.

Electric breast pump: Electric breast pumps are connected to an electronic device that creates suction. This type of breast pump is ideal for parents who pump frequently and need to express a significant amount of milk at a given time.

Manual breast pump: A manual breast pump requires you to manually remove milk from your breasts. They are more affordable.

Double pump: A double breast pump allows you to pump from both breasts simultaneously, which is the most efficient way, especially if your goal is to create an excess milk supply or if you’re pumping instead of nursing.

Single pump: A single breast pump only allows you to pump from one breast at a time, which may come in handy if you plan on pumping from one side while your baby nurses from the other.

Hospital-grade pump: These offer a higher level of suction and are more efficient than some of their less innovative competitors. Many major breast-pump brands offer hospital-grade models.

Wearable breast pump: A wearable breast pump, also known as a cordless or wireless breast pump, is a type of breast pump that you can wear in your bra and that doesn’t require being connected to cords.

Hand expression: This is the process of manually extracting milk from your breasts without a pump. You can do this by forming the letter “c” with your hand around one breast and gently squeezing from the outer breasts towards the nipple. Though not a popular way to pump, it’s certainly an option when you need it.

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Closed system vs. open system breast pumps

As you shop for a breast pump, you’ll first want to consider whether you want a closed or open system. “Closed system” and “open system” aren’t formal medical terms, so brands may use them in different ways. It’s important to make sure you know what a particular brand means by the term if you see it in a product description.

A closed system breast pump is one that includes a barrier to prevent overflow milk from leaking into the pump system. This helps to keep the whole system hygienic. No system can be completely closed, as some air is needed to flow in and out for the vacuum action of the pump. But a closed system will come as close as possible.

An open system breast pump lacks this barrier.

It’s possible that you’ll encounter used breast pumps on the market. (After all, according to research, most mothers in the United States who breastfeed also pump.) While it can be tempting to go after a great bargain, there are some parts of a breast pump that can’t be cleaned well once they’ve been exposed to another person’s breast milk.

Because of the higher risk of someone else’s milk having reached the pump in an open system, many people avoid buying these types of pumps secondhand.

  • Customer reviews: When choosing what pumps to include on this list, we looked first and foremost at consumer experiences.
  • Price: We aimed to include a variety of pumps and prices as we understand that different types of pumps work best depending on the reason for pumping — and budgets vary!
  • Convenience: In addition to popularity and prices, we looked at features that make the whole process of pumping easier and more convenient. Let’s face it — when it comes to something you’ll potentially use several times a day, comfort and ease of use should be paramount.
  • Brand reputation: Our team thoroughly vets the products we recommend for medical credibility, good business practices, and social impact. You can read more about that process here.
  • Personal experience: As editors and writers who are also moms, we’ve tried many of these breast pumps ourselves, so we’ve woven in our own personal feedback and hands-on experience to offer insight.

Price guide

  • $ = $0–$99
  • $$ = $100–$249
  • $$$ = $250–$499
  • $$$$ = $500+

Best all-around breast pump

Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

Price: $$

A closed system, the Spectra offers the option for single or double pumping, and has a strong, adjustable vacuum pump that many insurance plans will cover.

It’s lightweight and portable, with a carrying handle in its design. (The S1 version includes both power cord and battery options, which is very useful on the go!) It also has a nightlight with two light levels and a timer that can be useful for those 2 a.m. pumping sessions.

Particularly in the beginning, it’s important to be careful putting together the backflow valves to keep moisture out of the tubing. The bottles included are not a fit for every baby, so you may need to use a separate bottle brand.

What our testers say

“I used this pump for both of my children, born 3 years apart. Despite originally seeking out a wearable option, I found the Spectra S1 to be the most effective pump to actually suction out enough milk in one pumping session and to do so without causing much discomfort. I love the varying suction levels offered.

Unlike its sister pump, the S2, this pump does not need to be plugged into an outlet during the entire pumping session, so I can move around freely so long as I’m holding onto the unit. Another plus is that the battery lasts a decent amount of time, so I only find myself charging it once a week at most.”

— Jenn Sinrich, Healthline writer

“As a first-time mom, I used the Spectra S1 pump in the beginning of my pumping journey based on recommendations from other moms. I did the ‘small price upgrade’ to the S1 primarily for the cordless version of the Spectra pump over the S2, which was slightly cheaper through insurance.

While the S1 cordless version was a plus, I wasn’t really lugging around the pump in the middle of the session, so in reality I did not find this to be a huge perk. The best part of the Spectra is really that they are workhorses. Strong suction, multiple settings, and [they] seem to be very sturdy (another mom has been using mine for the past 6 months now).

[Also], you can set up one-on-one video consultations with credentialed lactation experts through Spectra for free in order to ensure you’re using the correct flange size.”

— Lauren G., mom of one

Best natural suction breast pump

Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

Price: $

This is a very affordable and portable option. The Haakaa offers a convenient way to store breast milk that might otherwise go to waste.

To use it, attach the Haakaa to the opposite breast from the one your baby is feeding on to preserve milk that’s let down at the same time! It’s also perfect for taking out a specific small amount of milk when weaning or trying to reduce breast fullness between feedings.

Because there’s no actual pump involved, there are no concerns about open or closed systems — and it’s easy to completely clean! But the Haakaa requires more manual labor than an electric pump. The Haakaa’s shape can easily result in spilled milk if knocked over, so it may be worth it to invest the extra money for the storage cover.

What our testers say

“As a new mom, I had no idea how much I would need this. I wound up buying it a few days into coming home from the hospital, and it’s served me well through different phases of nursing. In the beginning, I wore it on whatever breast the baby wasn’t feeding on to catch leakage.

As time went on and the baby was sleeping longer and longer, it proved to be invaluable when I woke up in the middle of the night with engorged breasts that needed a release. I also tried the Elvie Curve, which still works great and is conveniently wearable in your bra, but I still found the Haakaa to be the gold standard with much better suction.”

— Catherine Conelly, Healthline editor

“The Haakaa is a great backup manual milk collection tool for any nursing mother. There are many versions from Haakaa, but my favorite has a silicone foot for attaching to a table or desk. I like to use it when I’m starting nursing to build up a supply and then any time I need to manually pump. You can attach it on one side while your baby nurses on the other side. It can collect your letdown but also can stimulate some nursing.

My favorite trick is to bring it to events, where I am away from the baby and might need to hand-express, like a concert or night out. It is small and you can smush it into a concert size purse then use it in the restroom to relieve pressure.

It is very easy to clean, and I like to give them as a baby shower gift for new moms. There are knockoffs, but I find them to be less effective and made from a cheaper material, so they don’t stay on as well.”

— Nora B., mom of two

Best manual breast pump

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

Price: $

A key component of any manual breast pump is the handle. And the swivel handle of the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump sets it apart from the rest.

The Harmony offers a great amount of comfort and ease for a manual pump. This is because of the ability to move the handle to the most comfortable position for each individual user and switch positions every time if needed.

Plus, it has a lower price and higher portability than most electric models. Like the Haakaa, the Harmony is easy to clean, since there’s no motor or tubing.

The pump can lose suction over time as the O-ring becomes ragged, but it’s fairly easy to locate spare Medela parts to replace or fix this pump. (Additionally, the low price makes it more affordable to completely replace this pump if necessary.) Like with all manual pumps, if you intend to do a lot of pumping, this may not be the choice for you.

Best cordless breast pump

Willow Wearable Breast Pump

Price: $$$$

A hands-free option, the Willow is a useful pump for working parents and anyone frequently on the move. Because it fits inside your bra without the need for cords, this is an extremely popular option for people who need to pump on the go (ehm — while driving).

It comes with extensive customer service options and doesn’t get a lot of complaints about lost milk due to leaking. They even have a Mom Care “white glove” service to help with pumping onboarding, which is available for all moms using Willow.

Because of the Willow’s size, its bags hold a smaller amount of breast milk than other pump containers, so some lactating individuals find it necessary to switch storage bags mid-session. The Willow also involves a slightly more complicated method of assembly and can be more difficult to latch in the beginning.

What our tester says

“I purchased this pump as a new mom. I appreciate the ability to pump while moving about the house and getting other things done. There was a bit of a learning curve with the process of unlatching without spilling, but nothing I couldn’t overcome after a few tries. I also found that it’s most effective and comfortable when you wear the right bra. I eventually caved and bought the Willow brand bra, and that’s been the best fit compared to other standard nursing bras I was concerned would get stretched out.

I will caution that while I can be mobile during a pumping session, I would look ridiculous walking around the grocery store or wearing this anywhere in public. I am around 120 pounds with a smaller build and breast size, and the pump is larger than I expected it to be based on a lot of the photos. And I definitely wouldn’t be doing yoga while wearing the pump, as some of the marketing photos imply is possible.”

— Catherine Conelly, Healthline editor

Most discreet electric breast pump

Elvie Stride Breast Pump

Price: $$$

The Elvie is another hands-free option that parents appreciate. They also appreciate the fact that it’s nearly half the cost as the Willow and can be equally useful if you’re looking for a breast pump that you can wear and that’s cordless and portable.

Another plus to the Elvie is that it’s very quiet thanks to noise-reducing technology even with a hospital-grade motor that gets up to 300 mmHg. It’s lightweight, weighing in at less than 5 ounces per cup, and connects to an app that lets you adjust the level of suction and tracks your entire pumping history.

What our tester says

“Exclusively pumping was a lot more intense mentally and physically than I thought it would be. Being trapped to an outlet every 3 hours for about 20 minutes felt like torture even though I knew what I was doing was good for my baby.

I started researching wearable and portable breast pumps and came across the Elvie. Positive features that enticed me to purchase were the wearability, hands-free factor, the very quiet pump, and that it was pretty discreet underneath the right top. It was a bit awkward to wear the first few times while getting used to them.

While the Elvie definitely won’t replace your stronger pump, it is very helpful for on-the-go parents. It helped me to keep pumping longer than I would have had I not made the purchase. One time, in particular, I took a day trip out of state to go wedding dress shopping with a friend. I was able to stick them in my bra on the ride home and didn’t have to worry at all about skipping a session and losing my supply.”

— Cassie M., mom of one

Most comfortable manual breast pump

Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump

Price: $

The makers of the Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump really were thinking about comfort in the creation of this pump. It’s designed to allow you the option of manually pumping in a reclined position. The silicone liner also makes the actual pump more comfortable than those made only with plastic.

Like most manual pumps, the parts are easy to disassemble and clean. It’s also easy to transport and comes with a more affordable price tag.

Reasons we didn’t name it the best manual pump: The Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump is on the louder side for a manual pump, as the handle doesn’t have a bumper to prevent it from banging against the collection bottle. It also can give your hands a bit of a workout since the handle doesn’t swivel like the Medela Harmony and the grip can’t be adjusted.

Although parts can wear out, because this is a more common pump brand, replacement parts are easy to locate.

Best portable breast pump

Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow

Price: $$$

Inspired by Medela’s most expensive electric breast pump, Symphony, this more affordable pump is still hospital-grade and worth considering. It was designed to optimize suction and pumping efficiency, so speedy pumping sessions are frequently noted.

It doesn’t offer the same amount of control over suction levels as some other pumps, however. It’s also a little louder than the Spectra — not the quietest option.

As a closed system pump, it’s considered hygienic. Because it weighs in at just over 1 pound, it’s lighter than most. This makes it very portable and travels well — something to consider if you’re going back to work soon or planning to take trips to visit family.

What our tester says

“With my first child, I pumped when I returned to work and loved the Medela Pump in Style with the tote bag. It was so convenient that I could keep it plugged in and on my desk. It also has a good storage capacity inside for pump parts and other things, like wipes and milk bags.”

— Julie P., mom of two

Best hospital-grade breast pump

Medela Symphony Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $$$$

We’re not going to lie: This is a major splurge, and your situation is unlikely to require buying it — but you can consider renting it. If you’re trying to initiate or increase your breast milk supply, a hospital-grade pump will provide the higher suction your breasts need.

The Medela Symphony is the choice of many hospitals. It might be a good choice if you’re trying to establish a milk supply for an adopted baby.

This pump has great suction that mimics a baby’s actual nursing pattern. It’s such a well sealed closed system pump that hospitals are willing to let multiple lactating parents use the same machine. It’s also a quieter pump, which many parents appreciate.

While this pump has great longevity, it’s heavier and not great for portability. Also, due to the hefty price tag on this pump, it may be worthwhile to see if there’s a hospital or birth center in your area that rents out this pump.

What our tester says

“For my second child, I was an exclusive pumper for 19 months and started out with the hospital-grade Medela Symphony, which worked well. I ended up renting one for home use and it was covered by insurance due to my child with complex medical issues and my being an exclusive pumper. Otherwise I think it’s quite expensive. The medical supply company contracted with my insurance was easy to work with and they delivered and picked up when I was done.”

— Julie P., mom of two

Best lightweight breast pump

Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $$$

This is a hands-free option for the mom on the move. The Medela Freestyle is very light, weighing in at just under 1 pound, and it’s super small in size, so it fits in a purse or diaper bag.

It comes with a digital display and timer that includes a memory function to save your favorite expression suction patterns. It’s also compatible with most top flap nursing bras.

It’s a great alternative portable option if you’re considering Medela and don’t want to fork over quite as much money as you would for the Symphony or the Pump In Style.

However, the downside to the Medela Freestyle Flex is that it doesn’t include as strong of a motor as the hospital-grade options. When the battery is low, the suction decreases significantly, so it may be necessary to plug it in. The Freestyle Flex is also a louder pump.

What our tester says

“The Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric pump was incredibly light and simple to use. Its motor is quiet enough that I was more or less able to ignore the sound. It was also straightforward to clean, and extra parts were easy to order. I also appreciated that it could charge via USB. The trade-off for the size and lightweight is that it’s not the most powerful pump out there.

My supply was super low to begin with, and I never quite figured out how to use this pump to increase my output. I also didn’t have great luck finding a flange size that worked for me, but that’s not necessarily a brand- or pump-specific problem.

Another reason I opted for this version was that I thought I would use the wrist attachment and multitask (e.g. wash bottles or do laundry) while pumping, but when I tried doing that, the motor dangling from my arm would inevitably get in my way, or I would snag the tubes on something.”

— Sarah B., mom of one

Best budget breast pump

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $

This is a more affordable pump that, while not technically hospital-grade, promises a comparable suction strength. It focuses on the comfort of the pumping parent, which is quite refreshing. It has soft and flexible flanges that don’t create indents on your breasts the way other plastic flanges do. It’s also lightweight and portable, has a backlit LCD screen, and runs on a power cord or batteries.

Despite being a budget pick, this pump comes with eight suction levels along with three pumping styles (option to go cordless with batteries, plugged into the wall, or use a car power adapter). The adjustable suction options help with letdown, and the closed system keeps the pump hygienic.

Reviewers do note, however, that this pump removes less milk than some more expensive electric pumps, such as the Spectra. It isn’t the quietest of the breast pumps available and can run through batteries quickly. Still, it’s affordable for people seeking a near hospital-grade pump without spending over $100.

If a baby is having trouble breastfeeding, a breast pump can sometimes help a parent increase or maintain their milk supply. Going back to work or any planned separations from a baby often also require the use of a breast pump.

When choosing a breast pump, there are many things to consider:

  • Your pumping needs and lifestyle: How often are you going to use your pump? What’s your goal for pumping: maintaining milk supply, doing it daily during work hours, etc.?
  • Which pumps your health insurance will cover: As of late 2012, private health insurers in the United States do need to cover breast pumps under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Price: Find that balance between your budget and the type of pump that will serve your needs best.
  • Portability: Pumps vary in this department, so it should be a factor you strongly consider. Some breast pumps require you to be plugged into an electric outlet at all times, which confines you to a certain area. Others are charged with a battery, so they allow you to move around freely so long as you’re attached to the battery-operated device, which can range in size and heaviness.
  • Strength/variability of suction: Not all pumps are created with the same suction and efficiency. It’s a good idea to check the mmHG, or millimeters of mercury, a measurement that indicates the strength of the suction.
  • Comfort: Does the pump fit your body well? With any pump, it’s crucial to make sure you can get compatible flanges that fit the size of your nipples.
  • Loudness of the pump: Some pumps have motors that are louder than others. It can be hard to know how loud a pump is until you’ve tried it, so be sure to read reviews to determine whether a pump you’re interested in purchasing is louder or on the quiet side.
  • Additional parts: In addition to your breast pump, you may look for other accessories that can help streamline the pumping process, such as breast milk storage bags, nursing pads, nipple creams, and nursing bras.

Don’t forget to consider cost-effective ways to test out a potential pump before buying it for yourself. Some hospitals offer pump rentals. Talk with a local lactation consultant about why and how to use a breast pump and where to rent them.

When should I start using my breast pump?

When your baby is gaining weight and keeping a moderate weight, experts recommend waiting 6 weeks to use a breast pump to first establish a nursing routine. However, low birth weight, separation from your baby, and other factors may mean your medical team recommends you start pumping sooner (but never during pregnancy).

How often should I clean my breast pump?

If you’re using a shared pump, such as a rented medical-grade breast pump, clean it before each use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend cleaning any breast pump parts that come into contact with breast milk after each use and ensure they dry thoroughly. This is true for both shared pumps and if you own your pump.

How do I know which breast pump will work for me?

Most breastfeeding parents don’t need a pump at all. If you decide to get a pump, most lactation experts agree that a double expression breast pump is ideal, though a single expression pump can be beneficial in certain scenarios, such as when nursing and pumping at the same time.

You can also choose between manual and electric breast pumps, which comes down to preference.

If you have a low milk supply, need to build up stores, or establish your milk supply, a hospital-grade breast pump is a good choice. If your baby spends time in the NICU or is born prematurely, your healthcare team may recommend one. In most cases, a double electric pump will fulfill pumping needs.

How do I pump breast milk?

Always wash your hands and then assemble the breast pump parts.

For electric breast pumps, center the breast shield over your nipple, pressing gently. Start on a low intensity and then increase slowly if you want. It should never feel painful.

Manual pumps require a slightly different process. You will want to stimulate your breast by hand first and then center and press the pump to your breast before you start manually pumping the handle. Check out our full article on how to pump here.

What breast pump do lactation experts recommend?

Lactation experts all may have different favorite breast pumps they recommend, but they do all agree that a double expression pump is the best so you can pump on both sides at the same time.

Will a breast pump change my breasts?

Your breasts after breastfeeding and pumping may be different than before having your baby, but many people experience minimal long-term changes. Nipples may change in size and appearance while breastfeeding, and stretch marks may intensify.

Pumping should never be painful, but breast pumps can cause trauma to breasts when used incorrectly or too often. So it’s crucial to choose the right size shield and not to overpump, which can lead to engorgement and mastitis.

There’s a breast pump for every person and situation.

Whether you need to pump every day on the go, want something to help take a bit of the edge off in the middle of the night, or are looking for a pump designed to help bring in your milk, these options should help take one more decision off your to-do list. (Don’t worry. You’ll still have plenty of other ones to make.)