spectra s2Web site: SpectraBabyUSA.com

Price: $200 for S1; $137 for S2

Type: Professional

Comments: South Korea-based Spectra Baby has made a big splash with their the Spectra S1 and Spectra S2 (pictured) pumps, rocketing to the top of Amazon’s best-selling list for breast pumps.  The S2 is Spectra’s top seller on Amazon for only $120. And the pumps are excellent, say our readers.

Both the S1 and S2 use a closed system (so you can lend or sell your pump without worry of contamination). They come with a nightlight, timer, digital display and two bottles with two backflow protectors. The system allows you to set the speed and rhythm to suit you. It starts with a massage mode for let down, then switches to a deeper, slower suction pattern.

The only difference between the S1 and S2: the S1 features a rechargeable battery for portability. FYI: if you visit Spectra Baby’s web site, you’ll see they have two other electric pumps, the Dew and the Spectra 9. They don’t seem to be widely available in the US, so we haven’t reviewed them yet. If they appear in more stores, we will add separate reviews of them to this category.

Fans of these pumps say they are darn quiet and overall quality is excellent. Some claim they got more milk from the Spectra pumps than from Medela pumps. And many noted these were painless to use.

The biggest complaint: parts are expensive and hard to get (especially when compared to Medela, whose accessories are more widely available). Spectra’s collection bottles are also inferior—the markings wash off after a run through the dishwasher and the bottles are tippy. More than one mom has lost a whole session of milk when the bottles became detached from the flanges, spilling the milk.

New to the US is Spectra’s S9 Plus, a compact, portable breast pump smaller than any pump on the market. It weighs a mere half pound and fits in your hand. It’s been available in other markets around the world and the feedback is generally positive.

Spectra s9 plus Breast pump hand

If you need to travel frequently or will be away from a power, the S9 might be a good fit—it can pump for about an hour and a half on a full charge. No it isn’t as adjustable as the S1 or S2, but that’s a trade-off with the smaller size.

As for caveats, based on feedback from European parents (the S9 has been available there for two years), the S9 has long-term reliability issues if you use it as your full-time pump and plan to pump for an extended period of time (more than six months, say). For light duty and travel, the S9 is great. For more heavy duty daily pumping over a longer period of time, the S1 or S2 would be better bets, in our opinion.

Overall, we recommend Spectra. The S1 and S2 are excellent breast pumps. The S9 is a good solution for frequent travelers. Rating: A