Breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. In the US, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for up to six months. Aside from being the best source of nutrition for babies, it also lowers the risks of diseases for mother and infant.
Now, women have breastfed for thousands of years without a breast pump, so you don’t actually need one. However, women’s circumstances vary, and lifestyle choices will impact whether you’ll have to get a pump or not.
For instance, mothers who have to be away from their babies regularly are recommended to buy one. These include those who may have to leave for a trip or who choose to work. If you’re looking to maintain supply or provide your baby with expressed milk, breast pumps are the way to go.
But with countless models available on the market, choosing a breast pump can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a first-time mom or not, we’re here to help you out. Below, we’ve narrowed down our top picks, including favorites vouched for by mothers like you.
Best Breast Pump Comparison Chart
Elvie Pump Double Electric Pump
Best hands free breast pump
Today’s breast pumps have evolved from manual to motorized devices. Some even have a companion mobile app, just like the Elvie Pump Double Electric Pump. Through the Pump With Elvie App, mothers get step-by-step guides on how to use the device. Users can also monitor the milk volume they’ve expressed.
With its sleek, hands-free design, the Elvie Pump discreetly slips under a bra. The Double model also comes with four sizes of breast shields — two 24mm and two 28mm. You also get four valves, storage lids, and bra adjusters.
Mothers who ‘undersupply’ vouch for this device. One writes, “I get probably 15% more output with these [than other brands].” And since it’s cord-free, you can pump while carrying your baby, driving, or even at work. No one will know because of the patented silent suction technology.
Each Elvie Pump hub has a set of controls to change the pump intensity settings. You can make the same adjustments using the app. Moreover, the Pump With Elvie platform can track your pumping history, giving insights into how you express breast milk throughout the day.
System: Closed | Battery Life: 2.5 hours | Milk Capacity: 5 ounces | Weight: 7.9 ounces
Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
Best manual breast pump
While electric pumps are easier and more efficient to use, it’s good to have a backup when you don’t have access to a power source. The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is our pick for this situation. Compact and lightweight, the Harmony pump is small enough to fit your handbag for on-the-go pumping.
The Medela Harmony is a single, hand-powered pump with an intuitive and ergonomic design. Its handle has a two-phase design closely mimicking a baby’s natural suckling rhythm. Meanwhile, the PersonalFit Flex breast shield adapts to your shape without compressing your milk ducts. It also comes with a soft rim for comfort and is available in four tunnel sizes.
Assembling and disassembling this manual pump is a breeze. This makes it almost effortless to clean and sanitize the entire unit. Each purchase of the Medal Harmony also includes a connector, valve, membrane, lid and stand, and a 5-ounce bottle.
System: Closed | Battery Life: — | Milk Capacity: 5 ounces | Weight: 3.7 ounces
BabyBuddha Portable Breast Pump
Best portable breast pump
If you want a portable pump but one that isn’t manual, consider the BabyBuddha Portable Breast Pump. At just 1.1 ounces, this electric unit is small, compact, and easy to carry around. Its battery-powered pump also comes with a lanyard, so you can hang it around your neck. This allows mothers to multi-task even while they’re pumping milk.
The plug-in module also offers straightforward operation. Once connected to the tubes, you simply navigate through 14 different modes using the trackball — five for massaging the breasts and nine for expression. BabyBuddha’s kit also includes a switch valve, allowing you to switch from double to single breast pumping.
Mothers share that the pump’s suction is also impressive. One user shares, “It empties me so quickly. I usually have at least an ounce pumped by the 5-minute mark, while other pumps usually took me at least 20 to get the ounce.” The only downside is that the unit can get loud.
As for hygiene, the BabyBuddha pump ticks all boxes, with its components 100% BPA-free. It’s also a closed system with an anti-backflow design, so you don’t have to lean forward while expressing. BabyBuddha includes 24mm flanges, bottles, bottle bases, and covers in the box. You also get a tote bag and USB charging cable.
System: Closed | Battery Life: One hour | Milk Capacity: 5 ounces | Weight: 1.1 ounces
Medela Pump In Style with MaxFlow Breast Pump
Best breast pump covered by insurance
Motherhood can be overwhelming — and expensive. Fortunately, some breast pumps are covered by insurance. One of them is the Medela Pump In Style with MaxFlow Breast Pump. Taking a cue from the hospital-inspired Medela Symphony, the Pump In Style delivers advanced pumping technology for effective breast milk expression.
This double electric breast pump relies on what Medela calls MaxFlow. Its essentially a feature that generates a vacuum using micro-vibrations. Together with the PersonalFit Flex shields, the unit can increase milk volume by 11.8%. If you’re a mother struggling with undersupply or someone who pumps several times a day, the Pump In Style will benefit you.
Operating the pump is simple. The main unit includes four controls — one for power, one each for increasing or decreasing the vacuum, and a key for switching between stimulation and expression. Plus, all speed and vacuum settings are pre-programmed to eliminate guesswork.
Medela’s Pump In Style tubes attaches securely, while all components that touch breast milk are BPA-free. A few other parts are dishwasher-safe and can be cleaned and re-assembled with ease. You also get two sizes of breast shields, for 5-ounce bottles, and a microfiber bag to take the pumping kit anywhere.
System: Closed | Battery Life: 2 hours | Milk Capacity: 5 ounces | Weight: 1.18 pounds
Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump
Best breast pump for first-time moms
For first-time moms, picking the right breast pump can be intimidating. With so many models in the market, it’s hard to find the right one. However, countless first-time mothers vouch for one model — the Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump. With its intuitive design and fuss-free controls, the Spectra S2 Plus will have you pumping in no time.
Despite its toy-like appearance, the electric breast pump has advanced features. For instance, the unit comes with adjustable vacuum and cycle settings, helping you find the best speed for pumping. Its LCD is backlit, and you get a nightlight for pumping at any hour. The unit also features an integrated handle for portability.
Like other models in this list, the S2 Plus has dedicated modes for massaging the breast or expressing milk. It also features an anti-backflow design, protecting milk from harmful bacteria. Meanwhile, the pump’s suckling action uses gentle vibrations, making the process comfortable and quiet, operating only at 45 decibels.
System: Closed | Battery Life: — | Milk Capacity: 10 ounces | Weight: 3 pounds
Among these breast pump reviews, the Elvie Pump and Specta S2 Plus are the standouts.
Whether you’re a first-time mom leaving for a trip or an experienced mother going back to work, breast pumps can help you maintain a supply of milk for your baby. The hard part is choosing which model to buy. While all pumps in our review come highly recommended, two units stood out the most.
If you want the latest technology, consider the Elvie Pump Double Electric Pump. The discreet unit slips under your bra and is completely handsfree. This means you can pump while at work without anyone noticing. It even comes with an app that tracks milk volume and pumping history.
For first-time mothers, the budget-friendly Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Milk is a solid entry-level purchase. While it doesn’t have a mobile app, it offers adjustable speed settings and a baby-friendly closed-system design. Thanks to an integrated handle, the S2 Plus is portable, too.
Breast pumps can either be an open or closed system. A closed system means there is a barrier between the pump and milk collection kit. This ensures no bacteria or toxins seep through the expressed milk. With an open system, there is no barrier.
The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump comes with a 30-day limited warranty.
The BabyBuddha Portable Breast Pump takes four hours to fully charge.
The Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Milk Pump uses 8 AA rechargeable batteries.