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Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer

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Since learning you’re having a baby, you’ve been making decisions, decisions, decisions. You’ve had to decide on a car seat, crib, stroller, and changing table. You’ve had to choose doctors, make medical decisions, and figure out child care.

Many moms 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. 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 FDA defines it as a device that helps women maintain or increase their milk supply. They 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.

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 vacuuming action of the pump. But a true 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 U.S. mothers 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 well cleaned once they’ve been exposed to another woman’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.

Product NamePriceTypeClosed vs. openPortable
Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump$$ElectricClosedNo
Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump$ManualN/AYes
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump$ManualN/AYes
Willow Wearable Breast Pump$$$ElectricClosedYes
Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump$ManualN/AYes
Medela Pump In Style Advanced On-the-Go Tote$$ElectricClosedYes
Medela Symphony Double Electric Breast Pump$$$$ElectricClosedNo
Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump$$$ElectricClosedYes
Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump$ElectricClosedNo
Bellababy Double Electric Breast Pump$ElectricClosedYes

  • 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 price points 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.

Whatever your needs, one of these options should work for you.

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 insurances 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 it may be necessary to use a separate bottle brand.

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: Simply attach the Haakaa to the opposite breast from the one your baby is feeding on to preserve milk that is 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.

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.

In part because of the ability to move the handle to the most comfortable position for each individual user and switch positions every time if needed, the Harmony offers a great amount of comfort and ease for a manual pump. Plus, it has the lower price point 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 point makes it more affordable to completely replace this pump if necessary.) Like all manual pumps, if you intend to do a lot of pumping, this may not be the choice for you.

Best hidden/discreet breast pump

Willow Wearable Breast Pump

Price: $$$

A hands-free option, the Willow is a useful pump for working women 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 in public. It comes with extensive customer service options and doesn’t get a lot of complaints about lost milk due to leaking.

Because of the Willow’s size, its bags can only 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.

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.

The Philips Avent Manual 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 and the grip can’t be adjusted. Although parts can wear out, because this is a more common brand of pump, replacement parts are easy to locate.

Best portable breast pump

Medela Pump In Style Advanced On-the-Go Tote

Price: $$

Built into a bag, this pump is ready to be taken on the go! The Medela Pump In Style was designed to optimize suction and pumping efficiency, so speedy pumping sessions are frequently noted when using it. (It doesn’t offer the same amount of control over suction levels as some other pumps, however.) As a closed system pump, it’s more hygienic than some other options.

A little louder than the Spectra, this breast pump isn’t the quietest, but it’s easy to find spare parts for it. It’s lightweight, so it travels well.

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 more suction your breasts are needing. The Medela Symphony is the choice of many hospitals. It might be a good choice if you are trying to establish milk for an adopted baby.

This pump has great suction that mimics a baby’s actual nursing pattern. It is such a well-sealed closed system pump that hospitals are willing to let multiple lactating women 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 worth your while to see if there is a hospital or birth center in your area that rents out this pump.

Best breast pump for multitasking

Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $$$

This is a hands-free option for the mom on the move! The Medela Freestyle is extremely light and fits conveniently 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 flat nursing bras.

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

Best budget hospital-grade breast pump

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $

This is a very price-effective hospital-grade pump. The Lansinoh is lightweight, portable, and has a backlit LCD screen. It runs on a power cord or batteries. The three pumping styles and adjustable suction options help with letdown, and the closed system keeps the pump hygienic.

The Lansinoh isn’t the quietest of the breast pumps available and can run through batteries quickly, but it’s a very affordable option for people seeking a hospital-grade pump.

Best budget electric breast pump

Bellababy Double Electric Breast Pump

Price: $

The Bellababy Double Electric offers a touch HD display screen with a sensitive touch panel. This screen has all the information a lactating individual could hope for, as well as a convenient one-touch option for controlling the pump. The Bellababy Double Electric offers a closed system with strong suction that continues well even with a low battery.

While the Bellababy Double Electric is portable, it’s not the most compact option on the market. It also tends to run a little louder than some pumps. It has a lot of parts to clean and sanitize.

If your baby is having trouble breastfeeding, a breast pump will help you maintain your supply. Going back to work or any planned separations from your baby often also requires mothers to use 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 point. Find that balance between your budget and the type of pump that will serve your needs best.
  • Portability.
  • Strength/variability of suction.
  • Comfort. Does the pump fit your body well?
  • Loudness of the pump.
  • Other parts you might need in addition to the pump.

Don’t forget to consider cost-effective ways to test out a potential pump before purchasing 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 healthy weight, experts recommend waiting six weeks to use a breast pump to first establish a breastfeeding routine. However, low birth weight, separation from your baby, and other factors may mean your doctor recommends you start 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 (CDC) recommends 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 mothers do not 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 doctor 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 breast, 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 the baby, but many women 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 important to choose the right size 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.)