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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.

Medical News Today’s methodology

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

  • Price: MNT selects 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 selects products that have safe and durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Ease of use: MNT chooses simple-to-use products that have clear instructions.
  • Quality: MNT selects 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.
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There are various types and classifications of breast pumps. Below, we explain how each type works and how they differ.

Breast pump terminology


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.


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 Food and Drug Administration (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 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.


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.

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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.

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 for low milk supply: Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $270
  • Type: electric
  • 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. The silicone flanges can fit nipple sizes up to 30mm/1.18 inches.

This breast pump uses a closed system and is rechargeable.

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.


  • provides massage to encourage milk flow
  • allows for double pumping
  • allows for more rapid milk expression


  • bulky
  • expensive
  • some users report poor suction
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Best budget breast pump: Haakaa Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $28
  • Type: manual
  • 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.


  • simple design
  • easy to clean
  • travel-friendly
  • affordable


  • may be less effective than electric options
  • some users report it was painful to use and remove
  • measurements may not always be accurate
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Best portable pump: Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $216
  • Type: electric
  • 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 (Ib) 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.


  • portable
  • lightweight
  • can do single or double breast pumping
  • some buyers report it is quiet during use


  • relatively short battery life may mean frequent charging is necessary
  • some buyers report the tubes fall out during use
  • others comment that dust can easily get into the filter
  • it may not work properly in humid environments
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Best electric pump: Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $100
  • Type: electric
  • 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.


  • offers eight suction options
  • double pumping available
  • more affordable than other electric pumps


  • must be plugged in unless using batteries, requires six AA batteries
  • pumps slowly
  • reports of poor durability
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Best manual breast pump: Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $35
  • Type: manual
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a simple-to-use, 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.


  • low cost
  • easy to use
  • easy to travel with
  • comes with a range of accessories


  • less powerful than electric options
  • reports of valve falling off and into milk
  • some buyers comment on poor durability
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Best double pump: Medela Pump In Style Max Flow

  • Price (RRP): around $260
  • Type: electric
  • Who it’s best for: those looking for a compact double pump

People may wish to double pump to save time or to collect a larger amount of milk. Medela claims that this pump may help to increase milk volume by 11.8%. It features letdown and massage modes that the pump cycles through automatically. People can decrease the vacuum strength using the control panel on the main unit.

This pump uses a closed system. It weighs 1.18 lb, making it travel-friendly.

The kit includes four breast shields, four 5-ounce (oz) bottles, a battery pack, a travel bag, and a cooler bag.


  • lightweight
  • robust kit with bottles and shields
  • reportedly easy to clean
  • includes a range of accessories, including a cooler bag


  • customer reviews report that it operates loudly
  • overflow protector may not be reliable
  • some users report poor suction
  • expensive
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Best wearable breast pump: Willow 3.0 Pump and Container Bundle

  • Price (RRP): around $530
  • Type: electric
  • 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 people can wear it discreetly under clothes. This allows the user to work, play with the baby, and do many other 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 a two-pack of reusable milk containers.


  • wearable and discreet
  • includes app compatibility
  • people can track their milk supply
  • has a unique design


  • high cost in comparison to other options
  • reports of poor customer service
  • reports of pumping less milk than other types of pumps
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Best hospital-grade breast pump: Medela Symphony Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $2,102
  • Type: electric
  • 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 want to research whether renting a model in their local area or from a hospital is possible.


  • reportedly “hospital-grade” equipment
  • offers single or double-pump options
  • may help a person produce more milk
  • may address symptoms of lactation problems


  • very high cost
  • difficult to transport
  • reports of poor customer service
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Best for natural suckling function: Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $350
  • Type: electric
  • Who it’s best for: those who want a discreet and natural-feeling pump

This Medela model is a hands-free, rechargeable pump. People can wear the pumps on the go, with the lightweight collection cups able to fit into a person’s bra.

It has a two-phase suction function, which the company says mimics a baby’s natural suckling. The cups may reduce compression and support the underside of the breast while also maximizing milk flow.

People can also connect to the company’s app to track their feeding schedule.

The kit comes with a remote, two collection cups, two breast shields, and a power adapter.


  • discreet
  • rechargeable
  • fits in bra cups
  • hands-free design


  • expensive
  • does not come with many accessories
  • some buyers report issues with durability
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Best smart breast pump: Elvie Pump

  • Price (RRP): around $550
  • Type: electric
  • Who it’s best for: those looking for detailed milk supply information

A person can control this electric breast pump from their 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 the 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.


  • wearable and discreet
  • advanced milk supply insights
  • automatically changes modes as needed


  • high cost in comparison to other options
  • requires a smartphone
  • buyers report frequent leaks
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The table below compares the breast pumps in this article.

Type Main featureBest for
Philips Aventaround $270electricmassaging functionlow milk supply
Haakaaaround $28manualuses natural suctionease of use
Spectra S1 Plusaround $216electrictravel-friendlyportable
Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pumparound $100electriclow cost electric optionelectric
Lansinoh Manualaround $35manuallow cost manual optionmanual
Medela Pump In Stylearound $260electricrobust kitdouble
Willow Wearable Generation 3around $530electricwearable,
compatible app
smart features
Medela Symphonyaround $2,102electrichigh grade pump,
used in hospitals
Medela Freestyle Flexaround $350electriclightweight,
natural suckling function
Elviearound $550electricwearable,
compatible app
milk supply insights

Breast pumps play a significant role in making it possible for millions of people worldwide to feed their children with breast milk. Research shows that in the United States, 92% of breastfeeding individuals used pumped milk at some point during their infant’s first year.

Additionally, pumping milk between sessions can help a person concerned about their production expand their milk supply.

Using pumped breast milk can be helpful for people in many different circumstances, such as when:

  • an infant is in a neonatal intensive care unit, and medical professionals recommend breastfeeding
  • an infant cannot latch or accept the breast
  • parents or caregivers need to monitor how much milk the baby consumes
  • a nonbreastfeeding care provider is going to help with feeding the baby
  • breastfeeding has not been successful for other reasons

Circumstances affecting the lactating person can also make pumping breast milk a helpful option, including:

  • complications, such as oral thrush or engorgement
  • returning to work outside the home
  • juggling multiple responsibilities at home
  • if a person wants to produce more milk for longer
  • when breastfeeding is not sustainable for other reasons

Below, we answer common questions 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 that relies 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 2020 study found that the breastfeeding people they surveyed preferred the following qualities in a breast pump:

  • portability
  • ease of use
  • low weight
  • fast milk extraction
  • comfort

A sub-group of those surveyed additionally preferred breast pumps that were quiet and discrete.

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

Which breast pump produces the most milk?

The same breast pump is likely to produce different amounts of milk in different individuals. Breast pumps that allow a person to pump two breasts at once may arguably produce more milk in a shorter amount of time than a single pump, but the most important factor to consider is suction strength.

Opting for a hospital-grade breast pump may offer the higher suction needed to increase milk supply.

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 less frequently may prefer a manual or single breast pump. People expressing regularly or who have 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.