Last Updated: Sep 24, 2020 @ 11:18 am.

What's the best breast pump? We surveyed our parent readers and interviewed 5 lactation consultants to find the best bets. Which was easiest to use? Easy to clean? Lightweight? Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating gear for moms, babies and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Lightweight Breast Pump

Most up-to-date technology
Revised and improved, this Medela pump is a lightweight wonder at just 1 lb. We loved how easy it is to use (very comfortable) and how fast it is. Speed and vacuum settings are pre-programmed—no guesswork.
$189.99

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Best Lightweight Breast Pump: Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow

Medela is to breast pumps what Apple is to smartphones—they pretty much set the standard. 

So when Medela launches a new model, like the Pump in Style with MaxFlow, it’s big news.

The MaxFlow is Medela’s first major revision of its mainstay breast pump in years . . . and the company has done its homework. Gone is the bulky, heavy pump—now, it’s a sleek, 1 lb. motor that is built off the technology of Medela’s hospital-grade pump (the Symphony). 

The MaxFlow is also Medela’s first closed system pump, which makes it much easier to clean. And as you’d expect from Medela everything here from the flanges to the breast shields are designed with comfort in mind. 

Here’s more: 

What We Liked

• Super easy to use.

• Comfortable.

• Includes battery pack (8 AA batteries not included) for portable pumping.

• Easier to clean than past models. Yes, just three parts—that’s it. Medela’s previous pumps had many more parts.

• Includes cooler bag, microfiber pump bag and four bottles with lids. 

• Great for travel or pumping on the go. This pump is lightweight at just 1 lb. 

• Excellent brand track record. Medela has set the standard for breast pumps since the 1990’s.

What Needs Work

• Must use Medela’s “PersonalFit” connectors. This pump is not compatible with third-party connectors. And it isn’t even compatible with Medela’s older pump parts. So if you need replacement parts, be sure to order the correct ones!

• Hard to tell what suction level the pump is set at.

• A bit loud.

• No timer. It would be nice to see how long you’ve been pumping.

• Battery pack isn’t rechargeable. That means you could go through quite a few AA batteries if you plan to do a lot of pumping on the go. If this is an important feature to you, you may want to consider a cordless breast pump with rechargeable battery—which we will discuss next!

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Best Cordless Breast Pump

Customizable settings
We liked the rechargeable battery, which lets you pump on the go. Quiet, small and efficient, this pump does an excellent job. Also great: pumping timer, night light and easy to clean design.
$191.66

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Best Cordless Breast Pump: Spectra Baby USA S1Plus Electric Breast Pump

Pumping on the go is part of life—whether you need to pump at the office or in the car while stuck in traffic. For the best cordless breast pump, we’d recommend Spectra Baby USA S1Plus model.

This excellent pump can be customized to your heart’s content—and the rechargeable battery (as well as quiet operation) makes pumping on the go much easier. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Smaller, quieter and lighter in weight than the competition. That means it’s more portable and less intrusive when pumping at work or on the go. This pump weighs about 3 lbs.—that’s about 35% less than other competitors. (Okay, the new Medela MaxFlow reviewed above is lighter . . . but that is the exception).

• Night light!

•  Customizable. You can adjust both the cycle and the suction (volume). Yes, other pumps are adjustable as well, but Spectra is the most flexible. And that makes pumping easier.

• Timer tracks how long you’ve been pumping.

• Massage mode—our testers loved this feature.

• Easy to clean. Spectra’s “closed system” means cleaning is easier. And this system prevents mold and bacteria from building up in the pump mechanism.

• Affordable. 

What Needs Work

• Somewhat slow. The Spectra S1 doesn’t empty breasts as quickly or completely as some other pumps, based on our conversations with parents and lactation consultants. 

• Fragile. We see a few reports that various parts on the Spectra can easily break. Yes, you can get replacement parts quickly, but there is a general perception among our testers that competitor’s (like Medela) parts/supplies were somewhat higher quality.

• Collection bottles. Spectra’s collection bottles are ok, but our testers thought Medela’s were better made.

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Best Manual Breast Pump

Easy on the wallet
An excellent pump, even if it is a bit bulky. Fans of Medela love the availability of parts (sold in many retail stores) and excellent customer service. Caveat: a bit pricey and harder to clean than newer versions.
$12.94

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Best Manual Breast Pump: Haakaa Manual Breast Pump

Breast pumps are like tools—you need the right one to do a certain job.

Take engorgement, for example. A manual breast pump is a quick (and affordable) way to deal with this sometimes painful condition.

Manual breast pumps are also great for an occasional (very occasional) bottle.

Our top pick for best manual breast pump is the incredibly simple Haakaa Manual Breast Pump from New Zealand. In our testing, the Haakaa beat out veterans for ease of use and overall quality.

What We Liked

• Affordable. Other manual pumps can run twice as much.

• No moving parts. You merely center the flange on the nipple then squeeze a couple times to get the milk started. Beyond the first couple pumps, you don’t have to do anything else. It does all the work for you.

• Easy to sterilize. If you have a steam sterilizer or just a pot of boiling water, the entire unit can be sterilized.

• Fits every breast size—no need to purchase special flanges, like some competitors.

What Needs Work

• Trial and error. Our testers noted that when trying to center Haakaa’s flange on the breast, you may miss the “sweet spot” and have to break the seal to reposition.

• Spills! Haakaa’s collection bottle falls over easily when left on a table top. Consider buying the version with a silicone cap or a flower stopper to keep that precious breast milk in the bottle.

• Not fast. With other manual pumps, you can speed up the expression by squeezing the handle faster. Haakaa just has one speed.

• Suction loss over time. A few of our testers were frustrated the Haakaa pump can lose suction over time. On the plus side, there are videos online that offer fixes.

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Best Tried & True Breast Pump

Workhorse gets the job done
An excellent pump, even if it is a bit bulky. Fans of Medela love the availability of parts (sold in many retail stores) and excellent customer service. Caveat: a bit pricey and harder to clean than newer versions.
$159.99

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Best Tried & True Breast Pump: Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump

When it comes to a mission-critical piece of baby gear like a breast pump, you may want to stick with the tried and true —Medela’s Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump may be 20+ years old . . . but that is a feature, not a bug!

This pump has an excellent quality track record. Sure, the newer Medela MaxFlow is less expensive and lighter weight, but if weight isn’t an issue, then this model won’t disappoint.

The Medela Pump in Style Advanced is the 800-pound gorilla of the breast pump category. This workhorse has legions of fans among moms and lactation consultants.

Some pros and cons:

What We Liked

• Fast. Our testings showed this pump emptied breasts quicker than competitors.

• Battery pack lets you pump on the go.

• Includes cooler and ice packs.

• Mimics the way babies nurse. Medela’s “2-Phase Expression” adjusts the pressure during pumping to mimic the way a baby would nurse —quickly at first then a more slower pace. Our testers loved how you could dial the pressure for comfort.

• Comes with 4 bottles.

• Handy accessories. Need to pump in a car? Hands-free? Different size collection bottles? Medela has accessories for all that.

• Good quality track record for reliability. That’s important, because the last thing you want is the pump to break down at 2 in the morning.

What Needs Work

• Bulkier and heavier to carry around. While it does come with its own carry backpack, the unit itself is quite heavy (about 6 lbs.). 

• Loud. This pump is far from quiet—we found competitors to be noticeably quieter.

• No timer to track pumping.

• No sharing or resale. Medela’s open system of tubing means you can’t clean it completely–some milk will remain in the system. Because of this, Medela does not recommend selling or sharing their pumps with other moms.

• No night light. Nice to have when pumping at night.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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