What to Expect: The Best Breast Pumps

Many new moms find that pumping is an essential part of breastfeeding. But picking the right pump can feel like a daunting task. After all, there are so many different options out there! Whether you’re looking for something portable and easy to use, powerful enough to match the hospital-strength pumps available to rent from some insurance providers or a budget-friendly option that’ll give you high-quality results, there’s sure to be a model out there that meets your needs. We consulted with multiple experts to identify the best breast pumps, including an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who has decades of experience directly helping nursing mothers and the CEO of Healthy Horizons, a company that sets up and maintains lactation rooms for companies nationwide. We also asked dozens of moms in the What to Expect community to evaluate our contenders and help us rank them on multiple factors, such as noise level, suction power, ease of use, comfort, size, hands-free capability and portability.

The Spectra S1 Plus won our top spot for the best electric pump because it packs in a lot of power in a small, easy-to-carry package. It’s an excellent choice for working parents, moms who want to pump at work and on the go or those with a low supply. Its streamlined design has a handle for convenient carrying and a space in the back to secure a bottle, as well as a screen that shows a digital stopwatch during pumping sessions. It also has a wide range of settings and modes, making it more customizable than the average double-electric pump.

In our testing, the Spectra S1 Plus earned high marks for its smooth operation and powerful suction. It was relatively quiet, compared to other models in the category, and it offered the option to adjust speed and suction for maximum comfort. It also has a rechargeable battery, which makes it portable and convenient for pumping away from home. Some reviewers noted that it has a bit of a learning curve and requires some trial-and-error when it comes to flange alignment, but this is typical with all single- and double-electric pumps.

The manual pump contenders we tested—including the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump and Medela Harmony with Flex—also scored highly for their quiet and user-friendly operations. Both have closed systems, which make them easier to clean and less likely to clog than open models. The Haakaa Gen 1 is also a standout for its quiet, hands-free operation and minimal, streamlined design. Its no-motor design means it has a very low vibrating sound, which during our testing was only slightly louder than the Spectra Stride.

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