The Best Breast Pump: A Buyer's Guide for Nursing Mothers

Feeling overwhelmed with the breast pump selection these days? Use this guide to find the best options on the market, whether you're looking for a manual breast pump, electric breast pump, wearable breast pump, or more.

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An image of a breast pump.
Photo: Getty Images.
01 of 16

Types of Breast Pumps

Pumping at Work

If you're going to pump every day, you should invest in a double electric pump. There are two types of double electric pumps: the "single-user pumps" that you buy in the store, and the "multi-user pumps" that you rent (they're often referred to as "hospital-grade"). Multi-user pumps are generally more durable and take 10 to 15 minutes, while single-user pumps tend to be more portable and take 15 to 20 minutes. Some electric pumps are also wearable, which lets you use it hands-free.

If you're going to use a pump only occasionally, consider getting a lower-cost manual breast pump instead. Denise Altman, a registered nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in Columbia, South Carolina, says a manual pump usually takes about twice as much time as a double electric single-user pump. If you're not returning to work, or you work from home and have more flexibility in your schedule, a manual option may be the best breast pump for your lifestyle and budget.

02 of 16

Breast Pump Cost

Increase Breast Pump Output
Pavel Ilyukhin/Shutterstock

The price depends on the type of pump you buy, and it can range from $50 to more than $400. Because double-electric pumps are pricey (though still much less expensive than buying formula), many women register for a pump, so family and friends can pool together to gift it. Some health insurance plans will also cover the full or partial cost; check with your policy provider to understand any stipulations.

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Breast Pump Lifespan

Cleaning Breast Pump

No matter what type of pump you choose, consider its lifespan before buying. Altman says that even a good electric pump will last through "one and a half babies." Some of her patients, she says, have purchased a motor, rather than an entirely new pump, to extend the lifespan. If you're planning to use the pump for a long time, find out if the manufacturer will sell replacement motors. That way, you won't have to purchase another breast pump as your family grows.

04 of 16

The Best Breast Pumps

Best Breast Pump
Pavel Ilyukhin/Shutterstock

Are you looking for the best breast pump for your lifestyle, budget, and personal preference? Check out 11 options that ranked high on our list.

05 of 16

Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

The Spectra S1 tops many "best electric breast pump" lists across the internet, and with good reason. Real moms and lactation consultants love its adjustable suction levels, massage mode that simulates natural suckling, and backflow protection that keeps harmful bacteria out of your baby's dinner. Thanks to its manageable weight and quiet motor, the light blue pump is ideal for discreetly pumping in public places. A digital display and night light also let you handle midnight pumping sessions with ease.

Price at time of publication: $216

06 of 16

Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

This simple double electric breast pump, which comes with an even simpler black tote, doesn't look like much. But it's actually one of the best breast pumps for working moms—especially those who pump several times a day. A research-backed two-phase technology mimics a baby's natural suckling, while adjustable settings give you personalized comfort. The portable breast pump is actually built inside of the easy-to-carry tote, which comes with a battery pack and removable cooler bag.

07 of 16

How to Pump Breast Milk

Learn everything you need to know about pumping breast milk! Watch this video to see the best breast pump for you, when and how long you should pump, and how to store the breast milk.

08 of 16

Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

Medela Harmony Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

A single manual pump comes in handy for relieving engorgement or providing the occasional bottle for your baby. Our pick for the best manual breast pump is the Medela Harmony, which features an ergonomic swivel handle for comfortable use. Store the lightweight and portable breast pump anywhere you need, whether it's the diaper bag, the glove box, or your office drawer. The quiet pump also has a bottle stand to prevent spillage.

Price at time of publication: $21

09 of 16

Bellababy Double Electric Breast Pump

Bellababy Double Electric Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

This affordable breast pump has everything moms seek: a closed system that stops milk from unhygienically leaking into the pump mechanism, a high-definition screen, and a quiet working noise that won't disturb other people (including your sleeping baby). It also boasts four pumping modes and nine suction levels for customizable usage. Thanks to wireless capabilities, which let you pump without plugging into an outlet, it's a great choice for on-the-go moms too!

Price at time of publication: $77

10 of 16

Willow Generation 3 Wearable Breast Pump

Willow Generation 3 Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

Have a busy day ahead? That's not a problem with the Willow Generation 3! This all-in-one product is our pick for the best hands-free breast pump on the market today. It fits snugly into your bra without any dangling cords or external tubes. Milk discreetly flows into a collection bag or reusable container, without spilling a drop. The Willow pump also has an app for tracking pumping sessions and milk volume.

Price at time of publication: $500

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Medela Symphony Breast Pump

Medela Symphony Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

This is a hospital-grade (multi-user) breast pump that's usually rented on a monthly basis—hence the insane price tag. The electric pump has a reduced pumping time—thanks to technology that encourages faster let-down and milk flow—and a secure system that protects against milk overflow. And even though the Medela Symphony is heavy and not easily portable, it's one of the best breast pumps for low milk supply.

Price at time of publication: $2,103

12 of 16

Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump

Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

This Phillips Avent product is another pick for best manual breast pump. The compact, easy-to-assemble pump lets you express milk on the go. It also has a soft massage cushion that encourages milk flow without the need to lean forward (hello, comfort!)

Price at time of publication: $35

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Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump

Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

Medela makes our list again with their Freestyle Flex electric breast pump. The compact, lightweight design makes it one of the best portable breast pumps and best breast pumps for working moms! A digital screen displays vital information like pumping time and suction level; you can even save your favorite settings with a memory function. The Freestyle Flex also has a USB-chargeable battery that lets you pump without searching for an outlet.

Price at time of publication: $299

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Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

Even though the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump has a manual design, it couldn't be easier to use. Once it's suctioned to your breast, the pump does all of the work for you—no hands necessary! It's also useful for relieving engorgement, encouraging milk flow, and catching extra drops of milk when nursing your baby (just attach it to the free breast that your baby isn't latched onto). Moms will love the soft food-grade silicone material and cord-free portability.

Price at time of publication: $13

15 of 16

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

This best electric breast pump is all about comfort. Soft and flexible flanges fit against the body perfectly, and moms can choose between three pumping styles and eight suction levels. A two-phase technology simulates baby sucking motions for maximum output. Other features include a hygienic closed system that prevents milk overflow and an easy-to-read LCD screen.

Price at time of publication: $100

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Elvie Pump

Elvie Breast Pump
Courtesy of Amazon

Touting itself as the "world's first silent wearable breast pump," it's no wonder that Elvie makes our list for best wearable breast pump! It fits into a standard nursing bra with no tubes, wires, or noise—letting you live unattached to a pumping machine. The hands-free pump also connects to an app that tracks pumping history and milk volume. Choose from a single pump or a double pump for added time-saving benefits.

Price at time of publication: $549

Additional reporting by Kate Silver
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