Family Health




Spectra vs. Medela: Which Pump is Best?

the image of parenting and breast pump

Spectra vs. Medela: Which Pump is Best?

There is a large market for breast pumps, and finding the right one to do the job can be hard with so many options. For the purposes of this article, we’ll take a look at two of the larger breast pump brands and compare Spectra vs. Medela. We’re going to take a look at the reviews and the features of each brand, as well as which was voted the best among major publications. These reviews examine features, including usability, noise level, the weight of the device, and other user-friendly features. There are a few models of the Spectra vs. Medela breast pumps that made their way onto this list, so we’ll do our best to illuminate the features of each. By the end of this, you’ll have a clear picture of which one will be best.

A breast pump is an investment. You want to be sure the one you’ve chosen will not only fit your lifestyle but be easy and efficient to use. According to the CDC, pumping can help your body continue to produce breast milk at a rate that will benefit your baby. Not to mention, it helps you to relieve the build-up of breast milk and to store it for moments when you can’t breastfeed or aren’t available during a feeding. All this to say, what pump you get is important, as are its features. So, let’s take a closer look at Spectra vs. Medela breast pumps and see what we discover. 

What Is The Spectra Breast Pump?

Starting off with the Spectra S1 Plus, which holds Wirecutter’s top spot in terms of New York Times-reviewed breast pumps. The Spectra breast pump is quiet, compact, and portable. It has a rechargeable battery and multiple modes for suction strength. This breast pump also made the top of Good Housekeeping and Healthline’s list of best breast pumps. This model costs $204 at Amazon and $209 at Walmart. There is also an S2 model ($176) that doesn’t feature a rechargeable battery which impacts its portability. It’s not as heavy as the S1 model, but it does need a plug.

General Information About Spectra Breast Pumps

Spectra, as a company, promotes the use of “Natural Nursing Technology.” This means they use vibrations that mimic suckling to stimulate effective milk production. Overall, it’s a more comfortable, more efficient pumping experience. They have hands-free pumping options and lots of portable breast pump models with features like LED screens and bright colors. Each side of the pump is adjustable so that you can customize the speed and suction power. Overall, Spectra has five models of breast pumps available, ranging between $350 – $172. Their most expensive pump is the Double Adjustable Electric Breast Pump which won the 2023 “Top Choice Award” from the Baby Maternity Magazine.

A electric breast pump on white blackground.
Having a rechargeable, cordless breast pump can make pumping on the go so much easier.


What Is The Medela Breast Pump?

The Medela Breast Pump made Wirecutter’s list of best breast pumps. They referred to the manual Medela Harmony as one of their “top picks,” a pick that was echoed by Healthline. It has a swivel handle for adjustable grip, and there’s a stimulation mode that features smooth, smaller squeezes and a comfortable suction power. Medela’s portable electric breast pump, the Pump in Style with MaxFlow, made Good Housekeeping’s list, although admittedly below the Spectra S1 Plus. This electric breast pump regularly costs around $260. It is a compact, very efficient breast pump with an accessory battery pack ready for portable pumping. The MaxFlow breast pump is available for $160 from Amazon.

General Information About Medela Breast Pumps

Medela makes breast pumps for personal use as well as for professionals. The company, which has been in healthcare devices for the last 60 years, works hard to make its products accessible, easy to use, and effective. Medela has seven models of breast pumps. They also have a Swing Flex milk expressor, connective accessories, a shield, a bustier, and a silicone milk collector.

Of the pumps, only the manual Harmony pump is featured as a top choice on Wirecutter’s review list. This model features a single, lightweight manual pump perfect for the occasional expression of milk. It costs $25 on Amazon and $29 from Walmart. Good Housekeeping actually ranks this pump below the Medela Symphony, a hospital-grade breast pump, which is not technically a single-user breast pump. It’s also notably heavy and quite costly. This hospital-grade breast pump rings in between $2,103 at Amazon and $1,899 at Walmart.

manual breast pump and parts on wooden table
Medela’s Harmony manual breast pump is widely reviewed as a great choice for self-pumping milk.


Spectra vs. Medela Breast Pump: Which Pump Is Best?

Overall, the Spectra S1 Plus tops the lists from most of these major product review sites. Moms alike agree that the portability of having the rechargeable battery makes up for the weight. It is also relatively quiet, customizable, and user-friendly. However, Medela still shows up consistently on these lists, with quite a few products. If we’re comparing the most reviewed and recommended Spectra vs. Medela products, it would be the Spectra S1 Plus and S2 models of electric pump compared with the MaxFlow electric pump or Medela’s Harmony manual breast pump. A comparison shows that the Spectra breast pump models have more features like a timer, and nightlight setting, as well as customizable suction and pumping speeds. So, even though Medela’s breast pumps are perfectly great options if you’re looking for a breast pump that can really be tailored to your needs, it seems Spectra is the better option.

Also included on these review lists are the BabyBuddha portable breast pump ($190 from Amazon), the Hakaa Silicone breast pump ($13-$20), the Haakaa Manual Breast Pump and Milk Collector, the Willow 3.0 Wearable Breast Pump ($500), and the Elvie Double Electric Pump ($388). As you can see, there’s quite a range in pricing for breast pumps, so it’s important to research the features and accessories that will make or break your experience with pumping. 

the image of parenting and baby bottles
Finding the right breast pump can be an important step in setting a routine for your feeding times.


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