Whether you plan to exclusively pump or just want a breast pump as back up when you can’t nurse your baby, you probably want the best breast pump available. But if you are unfamiliar with pumps, breast pump reviews can be downright overwhelming.
There are so many different kinds, a lot of different parts, and it all can make it difficult to determine which one is the best breast milk pump for you.
In this review, we will break it all down. We will cover the different parts of a breast pump, what to look for when you’re shopping, common breast pump FAQs, and most importantly we’ll review the top breast pumps.
Before we jump in, here is a look at our top picks:
- Best Breast Pump On the Whole: Spectra S1 Plus Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump
- Best Breast Pump for Working Moms: Bellababy Double Electric Breast Feeding Pumps
- Best Manual Breast Pump: Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
- Best Electric Breast Pump: Medela Pump in Style Advanced Electric Breast Pump
- Best Portable Breast Pump: Motif Medical Duo Portable Breast Pump
- Best Affordable Electric Breast Pump: Eccomum Breastfeeding Pump
- Best Hospital Grade Breast Pump: Medela Symphony Hospital Grade Breast Pump
- Quietest Breast Pump: Willow Wearable Breast Pump
- Best Wearable Pump: Elvie Pump Double Silent Wearable Breast Pump with App
- Best Custom Fit Breast Pump: BabyBuddha Portable and Compact Breast Pump
If you are trying to figure out what is the best breast pump, it is a good idea to know why you need a pump and what kind is best for you. Breast pumps come in handy when your baby is unable to nurse. This could be because you are away at work, they have difficulty feeding on your breast, or you want to express extra breast milk to store.
Some moms are exclusive pumpers, which means they do not nurse their baby but instead pump milk for bottles. Other moms only use their pump occasionally, such as to build a stash of frozen milk or to pump when they’re away from home.
There are many different types of pumps. The best manual breast pump can be very different from the best electric breast pump so you should familiarize yourself with your options.
Manual. Manual breast pumps do not use electricity via an outlet nor do they have a battery. As the name implies, these pumps are hand-operated. A manual pump can provide excellent backup if your electric pump fails or if the power goes out. In most cases, manual pumps are single and not double, meaning you can only express from one breast at a time.
Electric. Electric pumps, as you may have guessed, use electricity. These pumps have to be plugged into an outlet to work. There are a lot of different models and brands of electric pumps. Most electric pumps are double pumps so you can express from both breasts simultaneously.
Portable/Wearable. There are portable pumps that are made for travel, and there are wearable pumps. Portable pumps are often small and can be plugged into a car outlet or even a cigarette lighter.
Wearable pumps are battery operated. They are small and discreet. These pumps can be self-contained and worn entirely inside your bra. Or they can have a pump that you wear around your neck, or place in your pocket, and flanges with bottles that attach to a hands-free bra.
Hospital Grade. A hospital-grade breast pump is generally more powerful than a standard pump and may have different modes to mimic a baby, making it more effective. These are commonly loaned out from a hospital and given to moms whose little ones cannot nurse, such as babies in the NICU.
Battery-Operated. Battery-operated pumps can be wearable pumps or they can be standard sized. These pumps don’t require an electrical outlet. They can use rechargeable or disposable batteries. They are ideal for when electricity isn’t available or you need to move from place to place and don’t want to unplug your pump each time.
Though there are various types of breast pumps, they all have nearly the same parts.
There is the pump itself, this consists of the motorized portion and the batteries or electrical connections. The pump is what creates the suction.
Then there is the tubing (in most models) the tubing connects the airflow of the pump to the flanges or breast shields. The flanges/breast shields are what you place on your breasts to mimic the suckling of a baby.
Some models use backflow protectors to connect the tubing to the flanges and produce suction, others have the tubes connect directly. The flanges use connectors to attach to collection bottles or bags, these are where you will collect your breastmilk.
The connectors require valves or membranes for adequate suction. While it may seem complex at first, it can be learned very quickly.
The Willow Wearable Breast Pump is an awesome discreet breast pump that can be worn inside your bra. This double electric pump has rechargeable batteries that last for up to five pumping sessions.
Its small size makes it easy to fit in your top but each pump can still hold up to four ounces. It claims to be leak-proof in any position so you can wear it while chasing your toddler or reclining on the couch.
You can pump directly into the storage container or a storage bag. This makes cleaning up simple, especially because there are only three parts to clean.
With seven different pump settings, this pump is effective for almost every mom. The syncing app helps you to measure output and keep track of when you need to pump next.
- Quiet and compact
- Leak-proof in any position
- Available with various flange sizes
- Pairs with app
- Automatically shuts-off when storage bottle/bag is full
- Some mothers find it uncomfortable against their skin
- FITS IN YOUR BRA: The Willow Wearable Breast pump has a quiet, compact, in-bra design with no cords, tubes, or dangling bottles so you can pump wherever, whenever. This hands free breast pump that fits in your bra offers 7 levels of suction comparable to most traditional double electric and hospital grade pumps, as well as a sensitivity setting for comfort.
- LEAK-PROOF PUMPING: For every way you move, achieve 360 degrees of freedom with patented, continuous suction technology with the Willow breast pump & All-in-one disposable milk collection and storage bag.
- TWO WAYS TO PUMP: Flexibility to pump on the go and keep milk safe with spill-proof, self-sealing hygienic storage bags or pump, pour, repeat with eco-friendly reusable containers (sold separately).
If you are looking for the best breast pump brand, consider Spectra. They are loved by many moms and the Spectra S1 Plus Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump is no exception.
It can be used while plugged into an outlet, but it also has a rechargeable battery. With one of the quietest motors around, you can pump discreetly nearly anywhere.
This pump can also be used as a single or a double, making it convenient for moms who want to nurse on one side and pump on the other side. Its closed system, complete with backflow protectors, means you won’t have to clean the tubing.
The other components are top-rack dishwasher safe, a welcome feature for new moms. The front panel contains many modes and adjustment features, as well as a nightlight so you can pump in the middle of the night without disturbing anyone.
- Rechargeable battery
- Two different modes, letdown mode and expression mode
- Includes a night light
- Backflow protector prevents milk from getting in the tubing
- Switching from single to double can be difficult
- Duckbill valves may wear out quickly
- Natural Nursing Technology: Our Spectra S1 electric breast pump features technology that allows comfortable suction levels that mimic the experience of natural breastfeeding as closely as possible
- Perfect for Travel: The Spectra S1 is portable and rechargeable, making it ideal for an on-the-go mom, with the back compartment that fits a Spectra bottle
- Single or Double Pumping: Can be used as a single electric breast pump or a double electric breast pump and for best results, authentic Spectra Baby accessories are recommended
The Bellababy Double Electric Breast Feeding Pumps is the best breast pump for working moms because of its adjustability. Pumping enough milk while you are away can be challenging, the multiple settings and modes make this pump super-efficient.
There are four sucking modes, massage, continuous, normal, and frequency conversion. There are also nine different levels of suction. All of this is managed by a small lightweight battery back with an HD screen.
You can easily slip the pump in your pocket and pump on the go. When the battery is low the USB or adapter power supply can be plugged in nearly anywhere. The unique petaled silicone flanges are comfortable and great for encouraging milk flow, ideal for working mothers.
- 4 modes and 9 levels of suction
- Petaled massaging silicone flanges
- Compatible USB charger
- Closed system is easy to clean
- Slightly noisy
- Have to cycle through each suction level to return to one
- 🎄 Come with 2 pcs of milk bag adapters and 10 pcs of storage bag,moms can express to the milk storage bags directly by the adapters.BPA and Phthalates Free
- 🎄 Closed System,4 modes and 9 levels of suction for choice,massage and stimulate breasts before pumping,comfortable and pain free.
- 🎄 High Definition Screen,display the working mode,suction level,time and battery status clearly
Medela is a well-recognized breast pump brand and the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Electric Breast Pump is their version of an ultra-portable pump.
This pump is conveniently packed into a portable tote. The tote has a zippered flap to access the pump, a shoulder strap, a cooler bag, a battery pack, and a pocket. Taking all your necessities along is a breeze.
The pump has an expression mode and a letdown mode as well as a variable suction dial. You can customize your pumping experience to find the most comfortable and effective level.
From the outside, the stylish microfiber bag is very discreet. The cooler bag is removable and perfectly holds four bottles.
You can pump, store, and transport without worrying about where to plug the pump in or where to store your milk to keep it cold. This makes it great for those traveling or simply taking their child to the park.
- The bag has many well-organized pockets
- Variable suction level dial
- Removable cooler bag holds up to 4 bottles
- Two-phase expression technology
- Tailored and stylish microfiber tote
- Not quiet
- Pump cannot be removed from tote for cleaning & inspection
- Medela is the #1 Physician Recommended Breast Pump Product in the U.S.*
- DISCOUNTED MONTH OF 24/7 LC Breastfeeding Support: Receive 30 days of discounted access with your purchase of Pump in Style Advanced and instantly connect to live lactation consultants anytime; look inside your pump box for a BONUS OFFER PROMO CODE, an $80 value for just $29.99
- DOUBLE ELECTRIC BREAST PUMP: Pump in Style is designed for daily use and moms who pump several times a day, thanks to its patented, research-based 2-Phase Expression technology which produces more milk in less time** for efficient expression and maximized flow
The Medela Symphony Hospital Grade Breast Pump is the best hospital grade breast pump. Though other pumps claim to be hospital-grade, this pump is frequently used in medical settings.
Its two-phase expression technology helps to simulate a baby’s sucking to achieve a letdown and then keep the milk flowing. This helps moms to establish their supply and pump enough milk to nourish their little one.
The pump is extremely effective and powerful. Its variable suction dial is excellent for finding the perfect level of suction to both maintain comfort and express the maximum amount of milk.
The accessories are sold separately from the pump so that the pump can remain hygienic. Overflow protection prevents milk from getting in the tubing and coming into contact with the pump making it a safe closed system. The pump is easy to use, produces great results, and is very quiet so you can pump wherever, whenever.
- 2-phase technology proven to express 18% more milk
- Closed system is hygienic and safe
- Variable suction dial
- Can be used for single or double pumping
- Pump is sold separately from accessories kit (tubing, bottles, valves, membranes, etc)
- HOSPITAL GRADE: Helps initiate and maintain milk supply with Medela’s patented, research-based 2-Phase Expression Technology, designed to closely mimic a baby’s natural nursing rhythms and proven to express 18% more breast milk when double pumping
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN FEATURING OVERFLOW PROTECTION: The Symphony Breast Pump’s kit (sold separately) is independent from the pumping mechanism and protected from milk overflow by a specially designed membrane to create a closed system.Phthalate free
- EFFICIENT, COMFORTABLE, WHISPER-QUIET: Clinically proven to achieve faster milk ejection and flow when pumping at Maximum Comfort Vacuum for optimal efficiency; whisper-quiet operation ensures discretion during late night or early morning pumping
Another great pump in the battery-operated breast pumps category is the Motif Medical Duo Portable Breast Pump. It weighs less than half a pound. Its small contoured shape is perfect for slipping into your pocket or bag.
This closed system includes tubing bottles, flanges, valves, lids, and even bottle nipples, rings, and covers. The easy to read LCD screen has a dim light that is unobtrusive when pumping at night.
You can adjust the suction and can choose from three modes, massage, expression, and memory mode. Rechargeable batteries allow you to roam freely while you pump. The super silent motor is discrete and quiet.
- Very lightweight
- Includes bottles and bottle nipples
- 10 expression levels
- 10 massage levels
- Memory mode remembers your customizations
- Battery only lasts 2.5 hours
- Tubing is a little short
- QUIET, PORTABLE, DISCREET - Less than half a pound, the super-quiet Duo fits in one hand and discreetly slips into any bag. Whether you're traveling, working, or just multitasking, the Dup helps reduce your stress when you need to pump.
- LASTS 2.5 HOURS BETWEEN CHARGES - The Duo is convenient, rechargeable, and lasts 2.5 hours between charges. Recommended as an everyday work or weekend travel pump. CLOSED SYSTEM - Backflow protection keeps the motor and tubing clean, preventing contamination.
- BACKLIT LCD SCREEN AND QUIET MOTOR - Easy-to-read LCD screen that won't strain your eyes. Also features a low hum motor that is ideal for pumping while your baby is sleeping.
The Elvie Pump Double Silent Wearable Breast Pump with App is perhaps the best wearable breast pump. It claims to be the smallest, lightest, and quietest pump.
There are no tubes required, you simply pump right into the breast-shaped pump shields. You can slip these into your nursing bra and pump in any location.
The app and self-monitoring pumps track your history, monitor your volume, and can be remote controlled. The pumps sense a letdown and will automatically switch from massage mode to letdown mode.
There are only five parts to clean, so you don’t have to take unnecessary time out of your busy day. The five-ounce bottles hold more than most wearable pumps. With seven different suction levels and three included flange sizes, you can customize your pump for the most comfortable experience.
- Pumps sense letdown and automatically switch modes
- Includes three different flange sizes
- Large 5oz bottles
- Very lightweight and quiet
- App for tracking and monitoring
- Sensors are almost too sensitive
- Cannot pump while lying down
- SILENT: Revolutionary technology eliminates noise so that you can pump in peace - anytime, anywhere. It’s in stealth mode so that you don’t have to be.
- WEARABLE: Small and lightweight, Elvie Pump is worn inside a standard nursing bra, making it truly hands-free. Nothing to tie you down or slow you down.
- HASSLE-FREE: From setup to clean up, using Elvie Pump is simple - it has just 5 parts to clean and takes seconds to assemble. No cords, no wardrobe changes, no fuss.
The Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump is a great slim profile pump for moms who only need to pump one breast at a time. The small but efficient motor is quiet and fits nicely on any flat surface.
The pump flange is unique in that it allows you to recline instead of having to sit upright. The petaled soft silicone design helps to stimulate milk flow.
The stimulation mode is also wonderful for helping to get the milk flowing. In expression mode, you can choose from three different suction levels. With fewer parts than other pumps, this model is easy to clean and a breeze to assemble, making it convenient for busy moms.
- Compact and lightweight
- Tilted flange allows you to recline
- Petaled soft flange stimulates milk flow
- Backflow protector keeps milk hygienic and system clean
- Can use batteries or an outlet
- Only three levels of suction
- Suited for only 0-6 months
- Quiet Efficient Pump with a comfortable pumping position due to unique no lean forward design
- Choose from 3 expression settings (low, medium, high) after starting in the gentle stimulation mode
- Soft, warm stimulation massage cushion now has a soft, warm texture intended to help stimulate breast milk flow
The BabyBuddha Portable and Compact Breast Pump has a unique lanyard design. This allows you to wear the small and very light pump around your neck, keeping your hands free.
The included kit contains everything you need, but the bottles are universal, meaning you can use them with any flange of your choosing. The super clear LCD screen shows your suction level and the time. A super easy to use trackball lets you scroll through the two modes and various levels for each.
It can be used as a single or a double pump. The nearly silent motor can be recharged with any USB adapter. The battery takes a short time to charge and will then last approximately four to five sessions.
This wearable pump is also more budget-friendly than others on the market.
- Includes wearable lanyard
- Universal bottle connectors can be used with any flanges
- Scrolling easy-to-use trackball
- Closed hygienic system
- 5 levels on stimulation mode and 9 levels on expression mode
- Battery lasts one hour after charging
- Short lifespan
- PORTABLE AND COMPACT: While other breastfeeding pumps are too bulky and drag you down with their weight, the BabyBuddha double electric nursing pump is conveniently small and can be hung around your neck using the included lanyard. You can now free your hands and pay more attention to your baby as you pump.
- EXTRA-QUIET OPERATION: We’ve fitted our machine with an impressively quiet mechanism that makes for discreet and silent pumping. Freely pump without waking up your little one or drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.
- HYGIENIC DESIGN: We take the safety of your newborn very seriously. That’s why our breast milk feeding pump comes with a closed system to ensure milk doesn’t flow backward and get contaminated. The BabyBuddha infant breastfeeding pump is also BPA-free to keep the integrity of the expressed milk intact.
Maybe the best double breast pump for you is an ultra-safe one. Eccomum Breastfeeding Pump is made from food-grade materials, making it safe and comfortable.
It can withstand temperatures up to 270 degrees which is excellent for sanitizing. The small portable battery allows you to use this system on the go with up to 2.5 hours of pump time.
Its touch screen makes it effortless to switch between the four modes or the nine levels of suction power. Both the screen operation and the pump motor are very quiet, perfect for those late-night pumps.
- LCD touch screen
- Long-lasting batteries
- Food-grade BPA free materials
- Closed system with backflow protectors
- Built-in memory recalls previous settings
- Screen is very sensitive
- Doesn’t offer different flange sizes
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The Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is an awesome tool for busy moms. It doesn’t require batteries or an outlet. It is made of silicone and doesn’t require manual pulling of a lever. Instead, you simply squeeze it, attach it to your breast, and let natural suction do the rest for you. You can use it hands free with a pumping bra or to catch milk from the breast your baby isn’t feeding from during a nursing session.
There is only one part, the silicone pump, so cleaning is insanely easy. However, the kit also comes with a lid so you can store your milk in the pump instead of transferring it to a bag or bottle. Its unique suction base even allows it to safely stand on its own without the risk of being tipped over.
- Lightweight and portable
- Doesn’t require any batteries or electricity
- Little manual work required due to natural suction
- The flange, pump, and bottle are one solid silicone unit
- Lid and suction base for easy storage
- Learning curve for new users
- When milk supply is regulated it may not be as effective as electric pumps
- The award-winning and best-selling Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump, recommended by nursing moms, magazines, celebrities, doulas and lactation consultants all over the world! Make sure you’re giving your child the best by purchasing the original Haakaa-brand Silicone Manual Breast Pump!
- The Haakaa Silicone Breastpump lets you express milk using the power of natural suction! Simply squeeze, attach to your breast and let it work its magic. Forget expensive electric breast pumps that are difficult to use and impossible to clean – the Haakaa Silicone Pump doesn’t require any cords or assembly, smooth inside and extremely easy to clean that by simply boiling in water for 2-3 minutes.
- Our Manual Breast Pump is lightweight, portable and the perfect tool for every baby bag. Use it on long distance trips or anywhere you would like to express silently, discreetly and quickly. While breastfeeding, attach it to the lateral breast to catch any letdown that would otherwise be lost in a disposable nursing pads. The Gen. 2 Haakaa Manual Breast Pump comes with a suction base that sticks to flat surfaces to prevent accidental spills.
The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump works without electricity, so you can use it when the power is out or electricity is not available. You control the suction and the pace, making it very comfortable and customizable.
Manual pumps like this are also perfect for when you want to express a tiny amount of milk just to relieve engorgement. The soft-touch ergonomic swivel handle makes finding the best fit and position a cinch. The pieces are easy to assemble and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
- Can be used without electricity
- You control the suction level
- You can change the pace and speed
- Comfortable swivel handle
- Includes two bottles and two membranes
- Not great for frequent use
- Not as effective as an electric pump
- EASY AND CONVENIENT PUMPING: Harmony is a manual pump that has been designed for the occasional time when you’re away from your baby. Features a soft-touch, ergonomic swivel handle for enhanced comfort
- EASY TO USE: Manual controlled vacuum allows you to adjust the suction for the most optimal comfort level and efficient flow of breastmilk. Once milk starts to flow, you switch to the longer side of the handle which creates a slower sucking cycle to express the majority of your milk
- RESEARCH-BASED TECHNOLOGY: Unique to Medela breast pumps, this research-based and patented design allows mothers to pump more milk in less time. It resembles a baby’s natural nursing rhythm for improved comfort and efficiency.
How to Choose a Breast Pump
Your lifestyle plays a significant role in which pump you choose. You will want to think about if you are a stay-at-home mom, who needs a portable pump so you can pump while watching your other kids.
Or, are you needing a pump to pump at work, so a larger electric pump is fine? Maybe you need a hospital grade pump to better establish your supply during those first few months.
Figure out what type of pump best suits your lifestyle then look for top-rated breast pumps in that category.
Not all breast pumps are equally comfortable for every mom. A pump that comes with different flange sizes may help you find the most comfortable fit. Also, look for a pump that has different levels of suction and different modes.
Breast pumps can be expensive. The price of a pump varies from affordable to very expensive. Manual pumps tend to be the cheapest while wearable pumps usually are the most expensive.
Thankfully, most insurance programs cover a portion of the cost of a breast pump. Some insurances may cover the entire cost of a breast pump. It is always an excellent idea to check with your insurance and your hospital.
If you plan on taking your pump out of the house portability will be important. When searching for a portable breast pump consider the size and weight, power source, and accessories, like a travel bag or sanitizing bag.
Manual pumps often don’t have adjustable suction strength or flexibility with modes. Electric pumps usually have adjustable suction strength as well as a letdown mode and an expression mode. The more flexible and adjustable your pump is, the more effective and comfortable it will be.
A quiet pump can be a wonderful thing. A quiet and discreet pump is ideal for pumping at work or in public places. It also won’t wake up your child or partner during those middle of the night pumps. Some pumps specialize in being quiet, others are very loud.
Finally, think about your power supply. Do you need to pump in the car? Will you have an outlet available at work? Do you want a pump that you can wear and won’t tie you to an outlet?
When can you use a breast pump?
You can use a breast pump any time you are lactating. They can be used when you are away from your nursing baby when you want to express extra milk to store or to relieve engorgement.
Do you need a breast pump?
While you may not necessarily need a breast pump, having one is advised. A breast pump is great for after you give birth and throughout your nursing journey.
It allows you to express milk when you are away from your baby (such as at work), when you want to pump extra milk bottles, or when you need to relieve engorgement. Even if you plan to nurse exclusively, a breast pump can help to express milk should your baby not want to nurse or not be able to nurse.
Which type of breast pump is best?
There are many different types of breast pumps. Everything from a double electric breast pump to a single battery-powered pump. The best breast pump for you depends on your needs and your lifestyle.
Which is better, breastfeeding vs pumping?
Generally, supported and fed is best. This means that whatever makes you feel supported and results in your baby being fed is best. There are pros and cons to both breastfeeding and pumping. Many moms do both.
Is it better to pump both breasts at the same time?
If you are exclusively pumping, such as when you are not nursing, it is best to pump both breasts at the same time. It is quicker and easier.
However, some women pump during a nursing session, in which case you can only pump on one side while your baby nurses on the other.
Is it safe to use a breast pump during pregnancy?
Generally, using a breast pump during pregnancy is not recommended. Nipple stimulation may stimulate contractions.
You should only use a breast pump during pregnancy under the recommendation of your doctor. They can provide you with a recommended breast pump and safety guidelines.
While the best breast pump is a very personalized decision, our pick for the best breast pump is the Spectra S1 Plus Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump.
This double electric pump can work while plugged in or with its rechargeable battery. Either way, it is very effective and comfortable while being whisper quiet.
The night light is a nice added touch that moms will appreciate while pumping at night. Overall, this pump is user-friendly, reliable, and yields great results.
Which one would you go for? Do you have any experience using any of the best breast pumps listed above? Tell us in the comments!
Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API