When it comes to baby registry decisions, choosing the best breast pump isn’t nearly as fun as picking out a cute layette, but the right one can change your life (really!). Pumping not only allows you to collect breast milk when you’re separated from baby; it helps breastfeeding moms keep up their milk supply. Plus, pumping lets you build up a milk stash to freeze and store if you’re returning to work or traveling without baby. All good things for women who’ve decided to breastfeed.
How to Choose a Breast Pump
Since the first at-home electric breast pump debuted in the US in 1991, moms have been able to take more control of baby’s feeding schedule. And while all breast pumps promise to do the same thing—retrieve your milk—not all pumps are equal when it comes to a mom and her specific needs. There are many factors to consider, from suction speed and flange style to whether or not the carrying case is insulated. Here, we break down the three main types to help you find the best breast pump for your needs.
1. Electric breast pump. Considered the most popular of the three choices, personal breast pumps allow you to adjust both the speed and suction. A double electric breast pump empties both breasts at the same time, making it an especially efficient choice for women pumping at work. Most electric breast pumps can be plugged in or run on batteries, and range from $100 to $400.
2. Manual breast pump. This style pump doesn’t have a motor, meaning you’ll have to squeeze the lever repeatedly to create the suction needed to express milk. While they’re not as efficient as electric pumps, they’re much more quiet, smaller and cheaper, making them a great travel option or a good choice if you don’t pump often. Manual breast pump prices are typically right around $40 or less.
3. Hospital-grade breast pump. The most efficient type of breast pump out there, a heavy-duty hospital-grade pump sucks at a faster and stronger frequency. It’s also the most expensive type of breast pump—typically above $1,000—so they’re often available to rent.
Best Breast Pumps
Whether you're looking for a highly efficient double electric breast pump, something lightweight and portable or a pump that won't break the bank, we've rounded up the best breast pumps available on the market today.
Best Electric Breast Pump
The Sonata Smart Double Electric Breast Pump, the latest offering from Medela, offers hospital-grade performance and high portability, thanks to a rechargeable battery, making it one of the best electric breast pumps in our book. (It also snagged a 2019 Best of Baby award.) Adjustable speeds and presets make it easy to find a setting that works for you. You can even connect to the MyMedela app to track your pumping sessions and get personalized tips from lactation consultants.
Buy it: $310, Amazon.com
Best Manual Breast Pump
If you plan on pumping a bottle for baby once in awhile (or want a backup pump), you may only need a manual breast pump—and the best manual breast pump for the job is the best-selling Harmony Breast Pump by Medela. It works to produce more milk in less time with “2-Phase Expression” technology, mimicking the fast beginning and slower progression of breastfeeding. And it comes with a convenient stand to prevent spills.
Buy it: $27, Amazon.com
Best Breast Pump For Working Moms
The Medela Pump In Style Advanced has been a working mom favorite for years thanks to its efficiency and easy portability. The 2-Phase Expression technology with a one-touch letdown button helps women produce more milk in less time, which is key when you’ve got back-to-back meetings. What really earns this the title of best breast pump for working moms is that the motor is conveniently built into a discreet black tote bag, ready to sling over your shoulder; plus, it comes with a portable battery pack and removable cooler bag that fits four milk bottles.
Buy it: $200, Amazon.com
Best Hospital-Grade Breast Pump
The Spectra S1 electric breast pump packs the best of two worlds; it has the strength and high performance of a hospital-strength breast pump, but its built-in rechargeable battery means you can bring it just about anywhere. Another winning feature is its closed system, which prevents milk (and therefore bacteria, mold and viruses) from backing up into the tubing.
Buy it: $200, Amazon.com
Best Hands-Free Breast Pump
Billed as the world’s first all-in-one, in-bra wearable breast pump, the Willow lets moms pump hands-free while going about their daily lives, whether tackling house chores, taking conference calls, meeting up with friends or even lying down to read a book. It doesn’t come with any of the usual cords or long tubes—instead, the flanges, milk collection bags and ultra-quiet motor are combined into two separate pumps that you slip over your breasts and into your bra. Willow senses your letdown and automatically switches phases from stimulation to expression. You can track how much you’re pumping and for how long using the corresponding app.
Buy it: $500, shop.willowpump.com
Best Hands-Free Breast Pump Accessory Kit
Without a special pumping bra, even the best breast pumps don’t always offer hands-free freedom. For those who have a traditional electric breast pump but don’t want to sit there holding their flanges, Moxxly Flow is a genius accessory kit. It connects directly to your pump motor and replaces the original accessories—but unlike the flanges and bottles that came with your pump, you can slip the Flow inside your regular bra under your shirt (with the flanges inside and bottles below the bra band) and keep your hands free for other things. It’s compatible with many of the leading breast pumps, like the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and Symphony, as well as the Spectra S1, S2 and 9Plus.
Buy it: $80, Moxxly.com
Best Smart Breast Pump
You don't always need a hospital-grade breast pump for high-tech efficiency. The motor of the Lansinoh Smartpump Double Electric Breast Pump quietly powers three pumping styles and eight suction levels. And it connects via Bluetooth to Lansinoh's free tracking app, letting you record milk volume as well as log each session date and time.
Buy it: $123, Amazon.com
Best Affordable Breast Pump
The only thing the Evenflo Deluxe Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump lacks compared to its more expensive double electric counterparts is a Bluetooth-enabled app. Sure, it’s not a flashy breast pump, but it comes complete with insulated cooler bag, ice packs, three different flange sizes and additional milk storage bottles, making it among the best affordable breast pumps around. An added bonus? Evenflo includes two educational programs with expert advice for breastfeeding in every purchase.
Buy it: $96, Target.com
Best Travel Breast Pump
Going on a road trip and it’s a given you want to travel light? The Philips Avent Comfort Breast Pump is small, with fewer parts for easy cleaning. And it boasts intelligent design: The neck is angled for sitting and pumping comfortably, while the included bottles and nipples are shaped more like mom to help baby switch back and forth from breast to bottle. Bonus: you can pump right into them—meaning fewer bottles to pack.
Buy it: $200, Amazon.com
Best Rechargeable Breast Pump
The Medela Freestyle Mobile Breast Pump is among the best breast pumps for moms on the move. It’s a double electric pump strong enough for daily use but comes with a small, lightweight motor that fits in the palm of your hand. No need to hunt around for an outlet—the rechargeable battery lasts up to three hours. Plus, it features a one-touch letdown button, a memory button, timer and backlight for easy tracking and recording.
Buy it: $325, Amazon.com
Updated May 2019
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