Medela Vs. Spectra: Battle Of The Breast Pumps

Breastfeeding can be a challenge for many moms. It is exhausting and very noble work. You might have to go back to work. Maybe your baby isn’t latching on as they should. Now, you need to buy a breast pump. What are the best pumps to buy? Spectra? Medela? Both pumps have good features. But which is the better breast pump – Spectra or Medela?

Spectra or Medela, which is the better breast pump brand for new moms? Both Medela and Spectra have their pros and cons.

There are so many choices. Gone are the days of the manual breast pump being your only pump option. Advances in technology have changed the breast-pumping experience for modern mothers. Two of the best hospital-grade breast pumps are Medela and Spectra. You have probably already heard of both.

Spectra Or Medela: Which Breast Pump Brand Is Better?

The Pros And Cons Of The Most Popular Breast Pump Brands On The Market

Both the Medela pump and the Spectra are great pumps. It honestly depends on what you are looking for or your price range. These pumps are quite costly, and you will often find them used in hospitals. The latter can be just as good, depending on what you need. You might also want to consider which brand your insurance covers to avoid the additional cost of paying for it on your own. Insurance plans fully cover certain models or brands.

To give you an insight into what these two pumps offer, we made a list of the highly-rated breast pumps on Amazon. We included a detailed product description for each pump so you can compare and finally decide which one you will choose. If you continue reading, you will also see more information, key differences, or comparisons between Spectra and Medela and their pros and cons.

Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump With Tote Bag

  • The Pump in Style Maxflow from Medela utilizes research-based and advanced technology to help moms produce more milk in less time when pumping.
  • This Medela pump is simple and customizable.
  • The Medela Pump in Style includes essential accessories for easy use and storage.
  • Unlike other models, this Medela pump doesn’t use duckbill valves.
  • This Medela pump is a favorite among many new moms.

Sonata Smart Breast Pump

  • The Sonata Smart breast pump has innovative and smart features that allow moms to access tons of content and resources to improve their breast pumping experience.
  • It offers hospital performance for maximized milk flow and some of the highest suction available on the market.
  • Like Medela and Spectra, this pump has many fans.

S2 Plus With Gray Tote And Cooler

  • The Spectra S2 Plus (the pink one) is a great option for quieter sound and discreet pumping.
  • This Spectra pump allows mom to pump confidently at any time of the day as it comes with a built-in night light for easy pumping in the dark.
  • This Spectra model also comes with two breast shield sizes.
  • You can customize settings to adjust and increase the flow of expressed milk if you want a slower pumping speed and a soothing pumping experience.
  • A con of the Spectra S2 is that you must stay plugged in while pumping.

Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump

  • The Spectra S1 Plus is hospital grade and offers the same features as the s2, except it has a rechargeable battery option which makes it a more convenient and portable breast pump for traveling.
  • You can use a duckbill valve set to increase this Spectra model’s suction power. Spectra parts are also easy to clean.
  • The Spectra S1 is the favorite pump of many new moms since its battery lasts a bit longer than others.

Before we can really look at which is better, we need to understand some of the different terms used with reference to breast pumps.

Breast Pump Verbiage

Definitions Of The Most Commonly Used Terms In Breast Pumping

Here’s a list of some of the things you’ll read about when you’re trying to decide on the right breast pump for your needs.

  • Open system – An open-system breast pump doesn’t have a barrier between the pump itself and the breast milk that’s been expressed.
  • Closed system – A closed system breast pump does have a barrier that separates the pumped milk from coming into contact with any of the pump parts or the pump motor. It keeps the milk supply more hygienic.
  • Backflow protection – The backflow protectors are the barriers in the closed system pump that keep the milk from overflowing into the pump in the closed system.
  • Expression mode – You’ll find there are usually two modes to switch between when it comes to a breast pump—stimulation phase and expression mode. Many women will start pumping in stimulation mode or letdown mode (others refer to it as massage mode), which will prime the breast for expressing milk more quickly once it goes into expression mode. Advanced expression technology lets you pump the milk out more quickly, so you don’t have to spend so much time pumping. Stimulation phase expression technology helps to get the maximum flow of milk and amped up faster. Find a model that automatically switches for convenience.

Which Breast Pumps Have The Strongest Suction?

Both breast pumps have wonderful suction strength. They are exclusive pumpers that operate at a low noise level, allowing for discreet and quiet pumping sessions. From experience, the Pump In Style breast pump seems to be better than the two regarding suction level, but not by much.

The speed and vacuum force of the breast pump you choose can definitely make a difference in how much time you have to use in your pumping sessions and how much milk you will get per session. You should consider cycle speed or vacuum force when choosing the best breast pump for yourself.

A yellow breast pump placed by a mom on a colorful striped bed ready to be used for pumping breastmilk.

Things You Need To Know About The Top Breast Pump Brands On The Market

Is S1 A Hospital Grade Pump?

Yes, it is considered a hospital-grade breast pump. It is a closed system, meaning the pump will not have any breast milk enter it. This protects the system and allows your pump to last longer. It also has different suction settings to mimic the sucking of an infant. This causes the breast pump to go faster but its suction isn’t as strong as other pumps.

You have to control this feature on how long you want to pump during this setting. This electric breast pump lets you choose different amounts of time for the stimulation phase with expression technology. There will be a different pace and vacuum strength during that first phase. Then, the suction pace can change during the expression mode. Both pumps are hospital-grade pumps, so they’re on the same playing field.

How Long Does A Spectra Pump Last?

This breast pump lasts as long as you take care of them.  They can last for years.  The battery life of the Spectra S1 lasts about 3 hours. Its battery is inside the pump and cannot be replaced if it dies.  You will have to replace the entire pump.  There is no way of replacing it as there are no replacement parts.

The Medela Pump in Style can run on batteries. However, the battery pack can be replaced. It takes 8 AA batteries, which are not included when you purchase the pump. You need to buy a separate battery pack. Of course, both pumps come with a car adapter, so you’ll be fine as long as you can plug it in. It’s worth mentioning that the Spectra electric breast pump comes with a 2-year warranty, while the Pump in Style has only a 1-year warranty.

What Comes With Spectra Pump?

It comes with two breast flanges sizes: 24 mm and 28 mm.  This is wonderful if you don’t know your size and need to test both.  It also comes with all the pump accessories, like the tubing and 2 bottles. The best accessory is the little night light that comes with it, so if you need nighttime pumping, you can easily press a button to turn on the light.

This breast pump also has a digital display that tracks how long you have been pumping.  This is great if you forget to check the time or need a way to track your exclusive pumping session.

A pink Spectra breast pump set with accessories ready to used by a mom for pumping breast milk.

Is The Pump In Style A Hospital Grade Pump?

Yes, it is a hospital-grade breast pump.  It is different than the S2 in the fact that it doesn’t have a barrier between the pump itself and the suction.  This can allow breast milk to get into the tubing and the pump motor. Now, if you are careful, breast milk will not go into the tubing.  Just make sure you keep an eye on it and make sure the parts are positioned appropriately.  There is less chance breast milk will go into the tubing and pump, but there is still a chance compared to the S2.

This also has a setting where you can pump at a higher rate with lower suction to mimic the baby’s feeding speed separately. This differs from the Spectra in the fact that it has a timer that will automatically go back to regular pumping after two minutes, while the Spectra, has to change the setting when you want to go back to regular pumping.

Do Medela Bottles Fit Spectra Breast Pump?

No, they do not. You must buy an adapter if you want to use their bottle with a Spectra pump. One advantage is that many different brands of bottles fit it, while with the Spectra, there are fewer options. Also, the Pump in Style comes with 4 bottles, while the S2 only comes with 2.

Breast milk in 2 bottles pumped by a mom using the Medela breast pump.

How Long Does The Medela Pump Last?

These breast pumps last as long as you take care of them. But if you want to know about the battery life, it should last three hours, not two hours, as others say. Now, it uses normal AA batteries, which differ from the S2 and can be replaced with those batteries.  It also has an adapter for an outlet if need be.

What Comes With The Pump In Style?

This breast pump comes with the same type of accessories as the Spectra breast pump, except there is only one size flange.  If you get the “pump in style” or the “pump in style advanced,” it automatically comes in a small case that you can carry over your shoulder.

The pump doesn’t have a digital screen like the S2 breast pump. This conserves battery life, but this also means you will need to keep time for how long you are pumping. You’ll also get a cooler bag with the Pump in Style. There are breast milk storage bags that you can put in the cooler bag, which comes complete with a BPA-free ice pack. The 4 included bottles are also BPA-free.


Which Breast Pump Is Best?

These two are two leading breast pump brands that are usually being compared in the market for marketing purposes. Each pump has its advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on what you are looking for. The first is more expensive because it has been around a lot longer than the other. Spectra was just brought about in 2001 by a labor and delivery nurse. Spectra breast pump is the better choice if you want to go the cheaper route. The Pump in Style has better suction, and the tubing seems more substantial than the Spectra, but parts to replace the latter are inexpensive.

In a side-by-side comparison of the S2 or Pump in Style, you’ll find a lot of similarities. They’re both closed-system pumps. They’re both double electric breast pump systems, so you can double breast pump to get things done more quickly. They both have multiple suction speeds and vacuum settings to choose from. You can even use a hands-free bra with each of the double electric pump options we’re talking about to get the job done faster and with more freedom.

However, a side-by-side comparison of the S2 or Pump in Style will also reveal some differences. The suction speed and vacuum settings of the Pump in Style are said to be better by many nursing moms. Looking at what comes with the Spectra or Medela pump, more useful accessories are included with the latter. Setting the suction speed of the S2 is done through the automatic settings, while the Medela has a manual dial. Both can be used hands-free, but only the Medela can be used with other kinds of bottles.

This really comes down to what you are willing to spend and what you think your pumping needs are. But, in our opinion of Spectra or Medela, the latter is slightly superior to the former. Either will make for a happy mommy, though. Not only that, but there are many brands that have the best breast pumps that aim to tailor to your child’s needs.

Spectra Or Medela: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use other bottles with Spectra?

Can you use other parts with a Spectra pump?

Can you pump into bags with Spectra?

What is the best breast pump to get the most milk?

Which pump is hospital-grade?

Is Spectra breast pump hospital grade?

Can you pump both breasts at the same time?

How do you use a breast pump for the first time?

Last Updated on May 6, 2023 by Rejie Salazar

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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