Babies Breastfeeding Breast Pumping The Best Wearable Breast Pumps We Tested While Multitasking These pumps truly leave your hands free for everything else parenting requires. By Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN Updated on May 14, 2023 Medically reviewed by Yamel Belen, R.N., IBCLC Fact checked by Rich Scherr Share Tweet Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Photo: Parents After reaching new levels of exhaustion trying to care for my newborn, who was born prematurely, and my four other children—plus deal with the endless cleaning of the accessories and supplies necessary to pump breast milk—I was ready to throw in the towel. Then I discovered the world of wearable breast pumps—and it changed everything. To help others find similar relief, the nursing and pumping parents on our staff tested the most popular wearable breast pumps on the market to help find the best options out there. A pump that fully fit inside my bra let me move around and care for my baby while boosting my supply. I didn’t have time to sit in a chair, strapped to a pump. With my wearable pump, I could change my baby’s diaper, feed her a bottle, switch laundry, drive in the car, prep dinner, or even take a walk, all while pumping with my shirt on. My milk supply even increased because I wasn’t stressed every time I pumped. “I was restricted to sitting on the couch (or maneuvering a complicated hands-free pumping bra) with the [pumps] I had previously,” explains Erin Heger, a freelance writer and mom of three from Olathe, Kansas, who was able to acquire a wearable pump through insurance for her third child. “I’ve been able to work, cook, unload the dishwasher, and put the older two kids to bed while pumping with [a wearable pump].” But as wonderful as wearable breast pumps are, they’re not all built alike. While testing wearable breast pumps at home, we considered factors such as comfort, how easy they are to use, pump strength, and portability. We also looked at their prices, which can range from $13 (for something manual) to $500, before finally coming up with this list. Our Favorite Wearable Breast Pumps Best Overall: Elvie Pump Easiest to Use: Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Breast Pump Best Hospital-Grade Strength: Elvie Stride Best Manual: Elvie Curve Best Affordable: Momcozy S12 Pro Best Overall: Elvie Pump Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Why We Like It: It has both the pump motor and pumping parts built into one shell that fits directly into your nursing bra or top for completely portable pumping. But Take Note: It comes at a steep price point and it might not be the best choice for full-time pumping, as output can vary from person to person. The Elvie is my personal favorite and the pump I turned to when I was an exclusive pumper for my fifth baby—it was a game-changer for me and allowed me to keep pumping when I couldn’t even stand to look at my traditional plug-in pump a second longer. It’s pricey, but I was able to purchase the pump on my own, then send in my receipt to my insurance company, which reimbursed me for half of the cost. As a wearable pump, we love how easy the Elvie is to use: You just pop the whole unit into your bra or shirt and go. It’s very slim and quiet, so we’d be comfortable using it while on Zoom meetings and commutes, too. The pump has auto-detection, so it will shut off automatically when it senses you have reached the full 5-ounce capacity. Or you can monitor your levels in the accompanying app. You can store the freshly pumped milk directly from the unit in the fridge with the included lids, so there’s no need to pour it into a new container. Through the app, you can choose between different pumping rhythms: a single switch from stimulate to express, a mode that switches back and forth between those multiple times, an “express and collect” rhythm for heavier let-downs, and a slow and gentle mode. Elvie’s customer service is also top-notch, so if you have any issues at all, you can contact them via email or phone and they have a lot of information on their site as well. For instance, when I had problems with overfilling, they informed me that pumping with a darker shirt or bra on would help the auto-detect feature work more effectively. The one drawback of the Elvie is that there are a lot of pieces involved, and it can be cumbersome to clean. You also need to make sure all of the parts are thoroughly dry between pumping sessions, or the suction and seal won’t work properly. I had no problems with my output, but we did find some of our parents didn’t get as much milk as compared to other traditional pumps, so keep that in mind if you’re using it as a primary pump. Still, one of our editors said she couldn’t love the Elvie more, and I’d have to agree with her assessment: “Not sure what else a working, pumping mom could want out of a portable pump.” Price at time of publication: $550 The Details: Power type: BatteryBattery: Rechargeable battery (with USB), lasts 2.5 hoursMilk capacity: 5 ouncesWeight: 7.9 ounces Parents Easiest to Use: Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Breast Pump Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: This pump is lightweight and easy to use, relatively quiet, and has an automatic stimulation to letdown mode. But Take Note: The suction is not quite as strong as some other pumps we tested. We really liked some of the thoughtful features of this breast pump, like the ice packs that fit around the included bottles and make transporting safely more convenient, and the thin wall charger that doesn’t take up as much space as other pumps. We also found the pump very lightweight and easy to carry—the motor is small enough to fit in the pockets of a pair of yoga pants, or you can wear it with the included wrist strap. It’s so comfortable that we even forgot we were pumping at times. The motor is on the quieter side of the pumps we tried, but we found we wouldn’t wear it during a Zoom meeting unless the motor was in our laps or stashed in a pocket. We also experienced two glitches with the pump during testing: First, we couldn’t control the pump speed or mode, and second, the LED screen froze entirely. Both times, shutting off the whole thing by olding the power button for 10 seconds fixed the issue. Moving around with the Medela is not as easy as the Elvie Stride (which has a similar external, battery-powered motor), but the tradeoff is that it’s more straightforward to use, with fewer parts and set-up. We like the transparent design that lets you see actually how much milk you’re pumping. But if you’re not interested in watching your milk accumulate, you can also use the corresponding free Medela app that tracks pumping sessions, output, and volume over time. The fact that this pump has only three parts per side was what really thrilled us when it came to setup and cleaning. Anyone who’s had to wash pump parts can attest that this is a situation where less is so much more. Price at time of publication: $350 The Details: Power type: BatteryBattery: Rechargeable with USB adapter, lasts up to 2 hoursMilk capacity: 5 ounces each sideWeight: 2.16 ounces The Best Breast Pumps, Tested by Parents and Their Hungry Babies Best Hospital-Grade Strength: Elvie Stride Double Electric Breast Pump Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: By far, the Elvie Stride was the quietest pump we tested, so it’s an ideal pump if you spend a lot of your workday on Zoom calls or meetings. But Take Note: You can’t use it while it’s charging and all of the pump parts need to be dried thoroughly in between pumping sessions to ensure a good seal and suction. The Elvie Stride combines the convenience and popularity of the original Elvie Pump with the power of a hospital-grade motor for maximum pumping efficiency. It’s a double electric wearable pump that has cups that fit inside your bra, but unlike some of the other wearable pumps it has a separate motor that can hang between your breasts, outside of your shirt, fit in your pants pocket, or clip wherever you’d like. In testing, we were impressed that it really pumped as much milk as traditional-style breast pumps. You can control the entire pump through an Elvie app on your phone, allowing you to turn it on and off, change suction levels (there are 20 different total stimulation and expression modes), and check your pumping levels and history. You can also set your own default custom settings or customize each pumping session. It comes with 21 mm and 24 mm flanges, and you can purchase a 28 mm set separately if needed. We loved how quiet and intuitive this pump was to use, so it’s a great option for someone who wants to pump while on a call or attending a Zoom meeting. But we did find it necessary to be extremely careful when removing the pump when it was full of precious liquid gold, because the design does allow for spilling. The instructions also emphasize that all parts need to be dry before using them again, which was inconvenient when we wanted to pump again soon after cleaning it. Another small complaint: While the pump includes the necessary micro-USB charging cords, it doesn’t come with the wall plug. (Some retailers sell the Elvie Stride Plus, which is the same pump, plus a three-in-one carrying bag, a wet bag, a cool bag, and other accessories, for about $40 more.) Price at time of publication: $270 The Details: Power type: Battery Battery: Built-in rechargeable battery; 3 hour-chargeMilk capacity: 5 ounces on each sideWeight: 2.5 pounds Parents The Best Baby Bottle Warmers for Fuss-Free Feedings Best Manual: Elvie Curve Wearable Breast Pump Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Why We Like It: It’s super simple to use, consists of only two dishwasher-safe pieces, and can be tossed into a bag with no fear of damage. But Take Note: It’s a manual suction-powered pump, so it has nowhere near the power of an electric option. Similar to the popular Haakaa pump, the Elvie Curve uses nothing but suction to pump milk. All you have to do is decompress the silicone bottom, attach it to your breast, and the suction power will pump the milk with no electricity needed. You can use it on an opposite breast while your baby nurses on the other side or use it solely as a manual pump when you just need something quick and easy. It’s not as strong as an electric pump, but not everyone needs that all the time. Unlike the Haakaa, the Curve is a completely wearable, hands-free pump, fitting directly into your bra or nursing top. We also loved how portable and simple it is—with only two dishwasher-safe pieces—as well as how durable it proved. “The silicone bag made it easy to smush down in a bag without worrying about breaking a plastic bottle or another more delicate part of a pump,” explained the editor who tested it. It’s also one size fits all and you can control the suction intensity by pressing a valve to suit your desired level. We also appreciated the stable design, which ensures that even if you have put the pump down in a hurry, the milk won’t spill out. (Shoutout to parents of newborns and toddlers intent on wreaking havoc the second you try to sit down and nurse.) As simple and straightforward this pump is, keep in mind the price listed is only for one pump, so if you want to pump both breasts at once, you will need to pick up a second one. Price at time of publication: $50 The Details: Power type: Suction/manualBattery: NoneMilk capacity: 4 ouncesWeight: 4.23 ounces Parents Best Affordable: Momcozy S12 Pro Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: It offers super strong suction, a very affordable price for a wireless pump, and a convenient pour spout for post-pumping milk storage. But Take Note: Assembly can be tricky at first, and the parts are hand-wash only. This pump was a hit during testing; we were shocked at how affordable this pump is and how well it worked. Actually, we might say pumps, plural, because like with the Elvie Pump, you get a self-contained pump for each breast. And the sucking power of each pump is actually comparable to that of a hospital-grade plug-in pump—so much so that our editor could only tolerate using it at level 1 instead of its default level 6 intensity. We loved the parent-centric features it comes with, like a bra adjustment buckle to accommodate the size of a pump without having to buy a new bra, a nipple size chart to help you determine your correct flange size, cleaning accessories, and the light-up LED buttons that make pumping at night much easier. The fact that the pump is completely clear is also helpful to be able to see how much milk you are pumping. (Side note: While the milk containers can technically hold 6 ounces, the manufacturer recommends only pumping to four to avoid spillovers.) We also like how lightweight and portable the Momcozy is, even standing up well to chores around the house. The pump fully charges within one and a half hours and will last for five to six pumping sessions at 30 minutes each. But while it’s very portable, it’s not as discreet-looking or as quiet as the Elvie Pump, so we’d be less inclined to wear it out of the house or on video calls. The one major drawback to this pump is that the food-grade safe silicone inserts are so delicate that the manufacturer recommends all parts be hand-washed only. That means no popping parts in the dishwasher, no bottle sterilizers, and no microwave sterilizing bags. It’s also recommended that you replace the valve membranes and duck valves every two months, the backflow protector diaphragms every three to six months, and the breast shields every six months. Take that additional cost into account when you’re deciding whether to buy this. Price at time of publication: $140 The Details: Power type: ElectricBattery: Rechargeable lithiumMilk capacity: 6 ounces, but recommended to only fill to 4 ouncesWeight: 1.9 pounds Parents We Tested the Best Travel Strollers for Every Type of Adventure Our Testing Process Six real-life pumping parents on our staff put all of the wearable breast pumps on our list to the test. They used all of the pumps for at least a week, with some parents opting to pump longer, even up to almost a full year. With input from Jessica Madden, MD, FAAP, IBCLC, medical director of Aeroflow Breastpumps and breastfeeding medicine and infant feeding specialist, we developed a framework to test each pump for: ComfortEase of UsePumping strength PortabilityPower typeBatteryMilk capacityWeight We also interviewed Julie Brill, IBCLC, CCCE, CLD, CHLC, a lactation consultant, childbirth educator, doula, mentor for childbirth educators and doulas, writer, speaker, and owner of WellPregnancy in Bedford, Massachusetts. We Also Tested Willow 3.0: While we wanted to love this pump because of its design, it just didn’t perform as well as we had hoped. We found it cumbersome to set up and use, even after watching multiple instructional videos. It was extremely loud and consistently provided less milk output than the other pumps we tested. For the price, there are other options we felt worked more effectively. Willow Go: Although the Willow Go has the benefit of hospital-grade suction, it still didn’t seem to provide the output we expected. We also found it to be extremely loud, heavy, and bulky. It comes with the risk of leaking on the top. Plus, the pump has to be completely dried between pumping sessions or it won’t work, making it harder to stash freshly pumped milk in the fridge without transferring it to another container. Bellababy Wearable Breast Pump: This one had some pluses, like being budget-friendly and comfortable for some pumping parents, but its extremely loud noise, cumbersome battery, questions on durability, and requirement of extra bottles to store milk brought it down on our scoreboard. Parents Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Wearable Breast Pump When choosing a wearable breast pump, you’ll want to focus on a type that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle. For instance, if you need to use the pump primarily in meetings at work, you might want to choose the quietest,most low-profile option. Someone using the pump at home may want to focus more on comfort or budget without noise consideration. There are different factors that will work depending on how you need to use the pump, but in general, these are the overall factors we found to be helpful in considering a wearable breast pump. Comfort You’re going to have to actually wear your wearable breast pump, so comfort is key. Not to mention that comfort helps you maintain your milk supply. Consider the shape of your breasts and nipple size options against the breast pump design, as well as how well it will fit into the type of bra or shirt you plan to pump in. If there are any other add-ons to the pump that need to be used regularly, like a battery pack or different flanges, be sure to consider those for comfort purposes as well. Ease of Use If you’ve never used a wearable breast pump before, they can come with an initial learning curve. It’s a good idea to take a precursory look at the instructions—most come with videos on YouTube—to preview the setup and use. Additionally, we’ve found it very helpful to take a look at what kind of customer assistance the breast pump company offers. The more responsive and accessible they are, the better chances you’ll get help with initial start-up, using the pump, and troubleshooting. Pumping Strength Take a look at what pumping power options are available. Wearable breast pumps can be different from plug-in pumps, because they depend on built-in batteries, so the strength outputs can vary. Additionally, a huge component of pumping strength is the right flange size, so be sure to check that the pump you’re looking at offers different flange sizes for your breast and nipple size. The wrong size flange inhibit your ability to pump effectively and can cause you pain in the process. “Like with traditional pumps, poorly fitting flanges can lead to pain, a decrease in the amount of breast milk pumped, or both,” says Dr. Madden. Portability Last but not least, consider the portability of not just the pump and accessories itself, but also the milk you get out of the process. For instance, does the pump offer storage caps that allow you to pump directly into a container, then cover it and pop it in a fridge or freezer? Or will you need to bring separate storage milk bags or bottles to pour the milk into? What about cleaning supplies? If the pump parts need to be cleaned and dried between each use, you’ll also need to make sure cleaning supplies are portable too. 7 Tips for Using a Wearable Breast Pump Using a wearable breast pump—especially for the first time–can be daunting for some people. I personally found that using my Elvie was incredibly easy initially (I had it on within minutes of opening the box), but I did need to do some occasional troubleshooting throughout my year of using it. If you’re struggling at any point with your wearable breast pump, here are some tips: 1. Don’t assume you are the problem. If you’re getting a low milk output from your wearable breast pump, you should never assume that you and not the pump are the problem, says Brill. If you notice any drop in output with your wearable pump, as compared to a traditional pump, or are getting insufficient yield right off the bat, she suggests working with a lactation consultant. You could also reach out to the pump manufacturer for troubleshooting. And she suggests getting help as soon as possible because if not, you may face long-term challenges. “Lower yield can lead to lower production,” Brill adds. 2. Don’t force it. Brill explains that a wearable pump can be a “handy option” for exclusive pumpers on the go or for parents who have demanding jobs and can’t count on regular breaks to pump at work. But wearable pumps are not for everyone, and if it’s not working for you, that’s OK. “There are folks for whom a traditional pump works much better,” she says. Traditional pumps are often fully covered by insurance and many have portable options that work well with pumping bras to provide hands-free pumping. 3. Mix and match if you need to. Pumping is like feeding your baby—it’s fine to mix and match if you need. Dr. Madden explains that while wearable breast pumps are a great option for hands-free pumping (she even has peers who have performed surgery while pumping!), they don’t have to be your only option for pumping either. “Wearable pumps are also a good option for occasional use for those who are exclusively pumping milk to be able to pump ‘hands-free’ every once in a while,” Dr. Madden explains. “However, if someone is exclusively pumping, I recommend that a double-electric pump be used for most pumping sessions. This is because the suction in double-electric pumps is stronger than the suction in wearable pumps and, as result, there is usually a higher yield of milk and fuller emptying of the breasts.” 4. Build up a supply first. Because a traditional double electric pump can give a stronger suction and yield, Dr. Madden notes it may be helpful to make sure your supply is built up first before turning to a wearable pump. This can help give you and your baby the best chance for success. 5. Plug it in. “Always make sure to charge your pump before use,” Dr. Madden says. And while it sounds simple, maintaining a full charge on a wearable breast pump is crucial because without it, you won’t get the full suction and power you need. I kept my charging cords in my kitchen so I could easily plug my pumps in to charge immediately after cleaning. Parents 6. Consider purchasing extra accessories. Dr. Madden also recommends making sure you have a stash of extra accessories and storage containers on hand—and as a former exclusive pumper, that’s a recommendation I second. I actually ended up purchasing a second set of pumping parts so I could ensure I always had one clean and ready to go, no matter what. 7. Buy it new. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) explains that wearable breast pumps are designed for individual use only, and using someone else’s pump could expose you and your baby to harmful bacteria. “As with any pump, wearable pumps are made for single use and should not be shared due to a risk of bacterial contamination,” says Dr. Madden. In addition to the safety risks, if you buy a used pump, you no longer have access to the manufacturer’s warranty or customer service that could help you. Your Questions, Answered Do wearable breast pumps actually work? Wearable breast pumps do work, although there are different types and styles. It’s also important to be sure any pump you choose fits your own individual body, because the right flange size will determine how well the suction can work. Is it safe to buy a used wearable breast pump? The FDA considers individual breast pumps to be medical devices that are only safe for one person to use. According to the FDA, there is no way to ensure that any breast pump designed for an individual user could ever be properly cleaned and sanitized to be safe as a used product. Can you get a wearable breast pump through insurance? Every insurance company is required to cover a breast pump for any new parent. However, the rules do vary by insurance company. Some insurance companies may only cover certain types of breast pumps, require a doctor’s prescription, or only cover part of a wearable pump. Check with your specific insurance company for coverage details. Who We Are Chaunie Brusie is a registered nurse from Michigan. She bought a double Elvie Pump as an exclusive pumper (EP) with her fifth baby and will sing its praises to anyone who wants to listen because she loved it that much. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Parents uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. What to Know When Buying or Using a Breast Pump. Food and Drug Administration. 2020. Buying and Renting a Breast Pump. Food and Drug Administration. 2020.