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Breast pumps allow a lactating person to store breast milk and can help stimulate milk production. Many electric and manual breast pumps are commercially available, including hospital-grade options.

There are various types and classifications of breast pumps:

Manual

Manual breast pumps do not have any energy supply and rely on suction alone to draw milk from the breast. Some, like the Lansinoh Manual, feature a handle that a person squeezes to create the suction. Others, such as the Haakaa, rely on natural suction.

Manual options are typically lower cost and more compact than electrical breast pumps. They may suit people looking for budget and travel-friendly breast pumps or who pump infrequently.

A manual breast pump may not suit people with a low milk supply or time constraints when pumping.

Electric

Most commercially available breast pumps are electric. They use a power plug or a battery. Some, such as the Philips Avent, use rechargeable batteries. People can control them using control panels or apps, as with the Willow.

Electric breast pumps are typically faster and more powerful at collecting milk than manual options. They may suit people pumping regularly or with time constraints.

They are typically higher cost, bulkier, and more complicated to use than manual options, so they may not suit people looking for a budget or easy-to-use breast pump.

Single vs. double

A single breast pump allows a person to express and collect milk from a single breast at a time. It may suit people who want to pump while using the other breast to feed or who do not want to collect a significant amount of milk.

A double breast pump allows people to simultaneously express and collect milk from both breasts. This option may suit people who are exclusively expressing or who wish to quickly collect a significant volume of milk.

People can typically use double pumps on a single setting when desired.

Closed system vs. open systems

Closed and open systems are not terms the FDA regulates, but they are common when discussing breast pumps.

Closed-system pumps have a barrier preventing milk from leaking into the pump, helping maintain hygiene and safety. Some airflow is still present to create suction.

A breast pump with an open system will not have this barrier. This makes the risk of bacteria becoming trapped within the pump higher.

With both closed or open system pumps, the Food and Drug Administration FDA states that sharing or renting commercial breast pumps is not safe, as it can risk the spread of bacteria. Buying a breast pump for personal use is a safer option.

Hospital-grade

Many commercially available breast pumps, such as the Willow, are marketed as hospital-grade. However, the FDA does not recognize or regulate the term ‘hospital-grade‘ in breast pump marketing.

A breast pump may be referred to as hospital-grade if it is safe for regular use by multiple people. The Medela Symphony is an example of this kind of hospital-grade pump.

The Medela Symphony and similar hospital-grade breast pumps are sometimes available for commercial purchase, though they are typically much higher cost than more commercial options.

People looking for a true hospital-grade breast pump should speak to hospitals, lactation consultants, or similar organizations about renting and purchase options.

Medical News Today chooses breast pumps that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Types: MNT chooses products to suit different needs, including manual and electric pumps and portable or discreet options.
  • Materials: MNT chooses products that have safe and durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Ease of use: MNT selects simple-to-use products that have clear instructions.
  • Quality: MNT chooses companies that adhere to high quality manufacturing processes that ensure its products are safe for personal use.
  • Reputable: MNT chooses products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices and offer reliable customer service and support.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best breast pump for low milk supply: Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $269.95
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: provides massage to encourage milk flow, allows for double pumping
  • Cons: bulky and not easily portable
  • Who it’s best for: those who need stimulation to help lactate

Philips claims this double pump allows a person to express more milk in a short period and may help promote milk production.

Philips’s Natural Motion technology simulates suckling and massage, encouraging milk flow. It has eight stimulation and 16 expression levels.

This breast pump uses a closed system and is rechargeable.

The silicone flanges can fit nipple sizes up to 30mm/1.18 inches.

The kit comes with a travel bag and insulated pouch, a pumping belt, two flanges, two bottles with nipples, two sealing discs, and two disposable breast pads.

Best budget breast pump: Haakaa Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $28.99
  • Type: Manual
  • Pros: simple design, easy to clean, travel-friendly
  • Cons: may be less effective than electric options
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a simple and low cost breast pump

The Haakaa breast pump is simple to use and lower cost than many other options. It has no moving parts, is easy to clean, and is travel-friendly.

A person can use a Haakaa breast pump to collect breast milk from one breast while the baby is feeding on the other breast. It collects natural milk letdown using suction.

This breast pump may not suit people looking to stimulate milk production or collect large quantities of milk. However, it may suit people who prefer not to pump but still wish to collect milk.

The Haakaa breast pump is BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free.

Best portable pump: Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $216
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: portable and lightweight
  • Cons: only 3 hours battery life
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a travel-friendly pump

The Spectra S1 Plus Breast Pump is a portable option that offers both single and double pumping options. It weighs 3 pounds (Ibs) and has a carry handle.

A back compartment allows for bottle storage. It uses a rechargeable battery and has 3 hours of battery life.

The pump has a built-in night light and operates quietly, which may help people pumping at night when others, including infants, may be asleep.

The suction is adjustable, and there are letdown and expression modes. This pump uses a closed system.

Best electric pump: Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $86
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: offers 8 suction options, double pumping available
  • Cons: must be plugged in unless using batteries, requires six AA batteries
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a low cost electric pump

The Signature Pro Double Electric Pump is a relatively low cost electric pump.

It has eight suction options and three pumping styles to match an infant’s feeding pattern. It allows for single or double pumping. It uses a closed system.

The LCD screen is useful for use in low light conditions.

A kit also contains two bottles, two flanges, two diaphragms and cups, a nipple and cover, storage lids, and a tote bag.

This pump is BPA and BPS-free.

Best manual breast pump: Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $32.99
  • Type: Manual
  • Pros: low cost, easy to use, portable
  • Cons: less powerful than electric options
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a manual pump

Lansinoh also offers a manual breast pump. A person activates the pump by hand, and the breast milk goes directly into a reusable bottle.

Manual breast pumps are typically lower cost than electric versions and are simple to operate. They may also be useful for people wishing to travel with breast pumps.

This breast pump has stimulation and expression modes that people can switch between as necessary.

The kit includes two flange sizes, a storage bottle, a stand, a slow flow nipple and cap, an extra valve, and a lid.

This pump is BPA and BPS-free.

Best double pump: Medela Pump In Style Max Flow

  • Price (RRP): $260.49
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: lightweight, robust kit with bottles and shields
  • Cons: customer reviews report that it operates loudly
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a manual pump

This pump is hospital-grade and uses a closed system. It weighs 1.1 lbs making it travel-friendly.

People may wish to double pump to save time or to collect a significant amount of milk. It may be preferable for people exclusively expressing milk.

Medela claims that this pump may help to increase milk volume.

The kit includes four bottles, four breast shields, a travel bag, and battery packs.

Best wearable breast pump: Willow Wearable Breast Pump Generation 3

  • Price (RRP): $499.99
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: wearable and discreet, app compatibility, smart features
  • Cons: high cost in comparison to other options
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a wearable, discreet pump

The Willow Wearable Breast Pump offers dual pumping capabilities. It is free of wires and tubing, making it a compact and portable option.

It fits over the breast and can be worn discreetly under clothes. This allows the user to work, play with the baby, and do many activities while pumping.

The flanges that fit around the nipple come in three different sizes to fit several breast shapes and sizes.

This breast pump uses smart features and is app compatible. The pump can automatically switch modes based on expression, and the user can track milk supply in real time via the app.

This hospital-grade pump has a rechargeable battery and offers seven suction levels.

The kit includes access to the app, two flanges, 24 recyclable and BPA-free milk bags, and two cleaning brushes.

Best hospital-grade breast pump: Medela Symphony Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $2,102.79
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: hospital-grade equipment, offers single or double pump options
  • Cons: very high cost, difficult to transport,
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a high-level pump or experiencing lactation issues

The Medela Symphony is a hospital-grade electric pump that offers double or single pumping options.

This pump may help initiate, build, and maintain milk supply. Hospitals use this model to help people experiencing low milk supply.

Medela claims the pump can help people experiencing various lactation issues. For example, Medela may relieve engorgement and mastitis symptoms and correct inverted or flat nipples.

This pump is notably high cost. People may wish to research whether it is possible to rent a model in their local area or from a hospital.

Best quiet breast pump: Evenflo Deluxe Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $159.99
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: noise cancellation features, double pump, fits different breast sizes
  • Cons: fewer features and accessories than other electric double pumps
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a quiet and discreet electric double pump

The Evenflo advanced double electric breast pump is a quiet breast pump that fits several sizes of breasts.

The pump offers a comfortable design and allows for single or double breast pumping. The company claims this pump is lightweight and portable.

The Deluxe kit includes a shoulder bag, an insulated cooler bag, three ice packs, and two bottles.

It uses a closed system. The Advanced Double also comes with a 3-year warranty on the pump.

Best flexible breast pump: Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): $379.99
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: adaptable to different breast shapes and sizes, single or double options
  • Cons: higher cost than other pumps
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an adaptable breast pump

The Medela Freestyle Flex offers an adjustable size pump. The flexible, oval shaped rim can be rotated 360 degrees, so the user can easily adapt its position to suit their breast shape.

It operates on rechargeable batteries and uses a closed system. It weighs less than 1 Ib, making it travel-friendly.

The pump is hand-held and allows for double or single breast pumping.

The kit includes four breast shields, four bottles, a carry bag, and a cooler bag.

Best smart breast pump: Elvie Pump

  • Price (RRP): $549.99
  • Type: Electric
  • Pros: wearable and discreet, app compatibility, smart features
  • Cons: high cost in comparison to other options
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a wearable pump with app compatibility

This electric breast pump can be controlled from the user’s phone, where they can monitor real-time milk volume, track pumping history for each breast, and receive personalized insights.

There are no cords, so users can wear the pump discreetly within a bra. It operates quietly and uses a closed system.

The pump stops when the bottle is full and automatically switches between Stimulation and Expression modes as needed.

A kit includes four bottles, four shields, storage lids, and two carry bags. A single pump version is available at a lower cost.

The table below compares the breast pumps in this article:

Price
(RRP)
Type Main featureBest for
Philips Avent$269.95electricmassaging functionlow milk supply
Haakaa$28.99manualuses natural suctionease of use
Spectra S1 Plus$216electrictravel-friendlyportable
Lansinoh Signature Pro$86electriclow cost electric optionelectric
Lansinoh Manual$32.99manuallow cost manual optionmanual
Medela Pump In Style
with Max Flow
$260.49electricrobust kitdouble
Willow Wearable Generation 3$499.99electricwearable,
compatible app
smart features
Medela Symphony$2,102.79electrichigh-grade pump,
used in hospitals
hospital-grade
Evenflo Deluxe Advanced$159.99electricdouble pump,
noise cancellation
quiet operation
Medela Freestyle Flex$379.99electriclightweight,
adaptable
flexibility
Elvie$549.99electricwearable,
compatible app
wearing on-the-go

Breast pumps come in many shapes, styles, and price ranges. Choosing the right one can come down to personal preferences and which one will suit a person’s lifestyle.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when picking a pump:

  • How easy is it to clean? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidelines on cleaning a breast pump safely.
  • How easy is it to transport?
  • How expensive is the pump if not insured? Is it a good investment?
  • How quiet is the pump?
  • What other accessories are useful to have for the pump?
  • What is the person’s overall lifestyle? For example, consider how often they will need to pump, or if they are experiencing lactation issues.
  • What type of warranty does the pump provide? This is particularly helpful if choosing a more expensive option since it can give an idea of how long the pump may last.

From 2012, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies in the United States to cover breast pump costs for new parents. People should contact their insurance company to see what pumps are covered. Insurance companies do not often cover a second pump.

The following are common questions asked about breast pumps:

How do I get a hospital-grade breast pump?

Some hospital-grade breast pumps are available to purchase online, including the Medela Symphony.

People may also be able to access or rent hospital-grade pumps via local hospitals, lactation consultants, or similar schemes. Brand websites may also provide local contacts.

In some cases, insurance may cover breast pump purchases or rentals.

What type of breast pumps are there?

There are three basic types of breast pumps:

  • Manual: These use a handle or lever, which a person squeezes to create suction and express milk from the breast. Some rely on natural suction alone.
  • Electrical: These require plugging into an outlet. They may have a switch or control panel that controls the suction strength.
  • Battery-powered: Another type of electrical breast pump, relying on batteries. Rechargeable battery options are available.

What breast pumps do lactation consultants recommend?

Consultants will recommend breast pumps based on an individual’s needs. For example, if a person is experiencing lactation issues, a high-grade electrical pump with massaging qualities may be preferable.

Sometimes hospital-grade pumps are required, whereas others can still benefit from a manual pump.

A 2016 study suggests that most people may benefit from portable electric single or double breast pumps. However, the researchers note that people with lactation issues or significant supply needs may prefer hospital-grade pumps.

People should speak to a lactation consultant for individualized breast pump recommendations.

Many breast pumps are available, including manual or electric options and single or double pumps. A person should research the different options and consider their unique needs.

For example, people expressing milk infrequently may prefer a manual or single breast pump. People expressing regularly or with lactation issues may benefit from electrical or double breast pumps.

Other factors to consider include whether the person needs to travel with the pump, how often they will use it, and what pumps their insurance will cover.