Are you a new mother searching for a breast pump from Spectra Baby USA but unsure which model to buy?
Let’s check out the main features and differences between the Spectra 1 Plus and Spectra 2 Plus so you can decide what works best for your breast pumping needs.
We’ll look at the pros and cons of both the Spectra S1 vs S2 as well as what customers say about these breast pumps. Keep reading to learn all about it.
What Are The Differences Between The Spectra S1 And S2?
Both models are nearly identical, but here are some key differences that can help you decide which, if any, will be best suited for you and your baby:
- Battery: The Spectra S1 has a rechargeable battery, but the Spectra S2 doesn’t have one
- Portability: The Spectra S1 is portable, but the Spectra S2 isn’t
- Price: The Spectra S1 costs more, while the Spectra S2 is a bit more affordable
- Weight: The Spectra S1 weighs a bit more (2.42 lbs), while the Spectra S2 weighs a bit less (2.0 lbs)
- Color: The Spectra S1 comes in a blue/white combination, while the Spectra S2 comes in a pink/white combination
(Note: These prices are from the official Spectra Baby USA website.)
Quite handy because of its portability, the Spectra S1 has batteries that can last up to 3 hours.
It can be a convenient option for working moms who need to pump at work but can’t plug one in at their cubicles for obvious reasons.
However, because of the batteries, the Spectra S1 breast pump costs more and weighs slightly more than the Spectra S2.
(Note: Even though they both have a ‘plus’ in their names, these two breast pumps are the upgraded version of the older S1 and S2 models. Since those models are no longer being sold, the terms may be used interchangeably.)
No two breast pumps are created equal. So, let’s go into detail about the key features of each one to help you decide.
Powerful Motor & Hospital-Grade Pump
- Both can produce up to 270 mmHg of power
- Both are closed systems (milk doesn’t go to the tubing, thanks to duckbill valves and a backflow protection system)
- This system makes this pump more hygienic than open-system pumps because contamination risks are reduced
- Both pumps are generally quiet
- Both are free from BPA (bisphenol-A), a harmful chemical used in plastic manufacturing
Personalized Settings With Massage & Expression Modes
- Both have settings that you can personalize depending on your preferences (e.g., speed, power, and modes of expression)
Single & Double Pumps
- Both can be used as single or double pumps
- No need to switch equipment when you need to change between single or double pumping because these options are available on the pumps’ settings
- Both come with complete sets of bottles and pump parts, two sets of flanges, user manuals, and a backflow protection system
- The company is certified by the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) as a women-owned company (it makes sense to choose a product designed and owned by women because moms do know best about breastfeeding and pumping)
Do Spectra S1 And S2 Use The Same Parts?
As you can see below, these two breast pumps have similar features and comparable accessories, except for the batteries.
Warranty & Customer Service
- Warranty: 2-year warranty (pump) and 90-day warranty (accessories) starting on the original date of purchase
- Customer Service: [email protected] or 1-855-405-0993 from Mondays to Thursdays, 9 am to 8 pm EST, and on Fridays, starting 9 am to 5 pm EST
Spectra S1 Comfort & Key Features
- Battery life: the rechargeable battery may last up to 3 hours. This means you can still bring it to work or wherever you need to go and pump a couple of times before needing to recharge the battery
- 12 levels of suction strength (up to 270 mmHg) and different pumping speeds so you can find the best one that you feel most comfortable with
- The massage mode helps promote letdown
- Personalized settings allow you to set the pump so you wouldn’t have to go through the settings each time you use it
- Single or double pump capability ensures that you can also use the Spectra S1 to pump both breasts at one time; this will help you save time, especially if you’re pumping at work or on the go
- Hospital strength durability
- Made from BPA-free materials
- The closed system with backflow protectors allows for hygienic pumping because milk doesn’t get stuck in the tubes
- The powerful motor is surprisingly quiet
- The pump parts can also be sterilized using a bottle sterilizer
- Getting a breast pump bag with the premier bundle option lets you bring the S1 anywhere you need to go
Accessories that come with the box:
- One (1) Spectra 12-Volt AC adapter
- Two (2) 24mm Spectra breast flanges (shields)
- Two (2) 28mm Spectra breast flanges (shields)
- Two (2) Spectra tubing
- Two (2) Spectra duckbill valves
- Two (2) Spectra wide neck storage bottles(with nipples, caps, discs, and lids)
- Two (2) Spectra backflow protectors(with silicone membranes)
Spectra S2 Comfort & Key Features
- Different pumping speeds and 12 levels of suction strength so you can find the most comfortable option
- There’s also a massage and expression mode to help promote letdown
- Personalized settings allow you to use the machine without having to set it up with each use
- Single or double pump capability allows flexibility, so you can pump faster by double pumping on both breasts at the same time if needed
- Hospital-grade breast pump
- BPA-free materials ensure this product is safe to use
- The closed system with backflow protection promotes hygienic pumping
- Powerful but quiet motor
- The pump parts can be placed in a bottle sterilizer for sterilization
Accessories with each breast pump:
- One (1) Spectra 12-Volt AC adapter
- Two (2) Spectra tubing
- Two (2) Spectra duckbill valves
- Two (2) 24mm Spectra breast shields (flanges)
- Two (2) 28mm Spectra breast shields (flanges)
- Two (2) Spectra backflow protectors (with silicone membranes)
- Two (2) Spectra wide neck storage bottles (with nipples, caps, discs, and lids)
Pros & Cons
Is S1 Better Than S2?
Pros of Spectra S1
- The rechargeable battery is the main selling point of this model; this makes it easier to pump on the go even if you’re away from home.
- This model comes with a built-in nightlight that has two light modes.
- Compared with some breast pump brands, the Spectra S1 has a powerful but quiet motor; this makes pumping discreet even if you have to do it in a public place.
- The personalized settings memorize your favorite modes to ensure you can quickly start the next session without changing settings.
Cons Spectra S1
- The Spectra S1 is slightly more expensive than the Spectra S2 because of the batteries; though not by a lot, the nearly $40 difference might be significant to some parents.
- It might take a long time (probably longer than overnight) to charge the battery when using it for the first time.
- Compared with the Spectra S2, replacement parts (such as the battery) may add to your expenses.
- The Spectra S1 weighs a bit more than the Spectra S2.
Is The Spectra S2 Breast Pump Better?
Pros of Spectra S2
- The Spectra S2 is less expensive than the Spectra S1. This might be the main deciding factor for you to choose this model
- The Spectra S2 weighs a little bit lighter than the Spectra 1
- This double electric breast pump can be used right away
- It’s also possible to connect the Spectra S2 with a car charger
Cons Spectra S2
- The Spectra S2 doesn’t have batteries; so, pumping sessions can only be done near an AC power outlet.
- It isn’t portable.
- Suction power may become weak after a few months of regular use.
- The suction level might feel weaker when used as a dual pump.
Common Cons & Disadvantages
Although many moms consider their prices to be reasonable and they’re usually available through insurance (e.g., via Aeroflow or Edgepark), they can still be pricier than other pumps (e.g., BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump).
The pumps have a bigger body than many other breast pumps.
Limited Flange Sizes Provided
Only two sets of flanges are provided (you might need to get additional flanges if the ones that come in the box don’t fit your breasts).
Lack Of App Integration
Other breast pumps can connect to a smartphone.
Limited Availability Of Replacement Parts
Some complaints that the replacement parts are more difficult to find and aren’t readily available in retail outlets or shops than other breast pump brands
What Customers Are Saying
The following are breast pump reviews from customers on Spectra Baby USA, Amazon, Target, and Walmart:
Spectra 1 Positive Reviews
“It is cute in its design, I’m not embarrassed by carrying it around.” – Spectra Baby USA reviewer
“I actually have the S1 and the S2, they are basically the same pump, except the S1 is rechargeable, (and blue) while the S2 MUST be plugged in to work, it does not have a battery of any sort (and it’s pink). I LOVE both pumps! but the S1 is definitely worth the extra $$ for the freedom from the plug! I find I can get about 3 1/2- to 4 full pumping sessions out of my S1 before recharging!” – Amazon reviewer
“Love being able to pump hands free. So glad I paid a bit more for the S1 rather than S2. I originally couldn’t decide as I didn’t think i’d need to pump anywhere but home but the portability is needed at home as I often need to move around the house whilst pumping.” – Spectra Baby USA reviewer
“I pump every 3 hours going from vacuum 8-12 (12 being the highest setting) and the motor has been putting up with the demand! The suction is still great after using it for almost a month and the parts are still in good condition too! It’s amazingly quiet with very minimal hum at the highest setting, which I think is remarkable.” – Amazon reviewer
Spectra 1 Negative Reviews
“Worked great for all of three months. Just started the warranty process and it’s already a nightmare. Customer service not answering their phone. The website says that the first step before any warranty is obtained is to send them a video showing them exactly how the product is not working.” – Amazon reviewer
“This pump does not hold a charge ever. The flanges are not perfect and do not screw into bottles correctly or easily resulting in spilled milk. They also do not collect all milk.” – Reviewer on Target
“I did tons of research and had friends who raved about the Spectra so I ordered this pump. I also ordered extra flanges and special Spectra containers. After going home I was still pumping 6-8 times a day since I exclusively pump for my baby who is fed through an NG tube. Each day I was getting less and less milk during each pump on the Spectra. After 2 weeks I wasn’t pumping a single drop on the Spectra and had to supplement with formula.” – Amazon reviewer
“After 9weeks of bliss the pump lost all suction and already had a power button issue. I looked up a ton of troubleshooting guides and tried everything!! I rely on this pump and am really really x1000 screwed without it. Trying to get another immediately but not happy with the return/replace process so far!” – Amazon reviewer
Spectra 2 Positive Reviews
“Definitely prefer this over my Medela Pump In Style. The suction IMO is better. I get at least an extra ounce from this pump. The only complaint I have is that the tubing could be longer. I love that it is a closed system, very quiet, and light. I absolutely love that I can pump right into the Lansinoh bags without an adaptor. Having a timer on it is helpful as well.” – Target reviewer
“It’s SUPER quiet and also comes with a nightlight that has 2 settings so if you’re pumping near your baby during a nap or bedtime you don’t have to worry about waking baby – plus you won’t feel like your pump is trying to “sing you the song of its people”!” – Amazon reviewer
“I’ve used Medela pumps before I had gotten my spectra. This pump is probably the best thing I’ve ever used. It’s so quiet, and has a display screen that shows how long you’ve been pumping, as well as your suction levels. Bonus feature, it has a light on it.” – Walmart reviewer
“I wish I knew about this pump when I had my first child, I loved this pump, it doesn’t hurt my nipple, it’s not noisy and my milk comes out much more than the other pumps I’ve already bought.” – Amazon reviewer
Spectra 2 Negative Reviews
“I went with this brand cause it had good reviews and it was new. My mistake! The only features I like about this is the light and the timer. It’s too big, not compact to take to work and home again. The “extraction” is not strong enough, it takes too long and I feel like it was a waste of money. Good thing insurance paid for it.” – Target reviewer
“Felt like it was yanking my nipples and not proper mimic of baby.” – Target reviewer
“This pump did not work for me. I purchased it through insurance with my third kid. I used a Medela Freestyle with the other 2 kids and loved it. But this one does not empty my breasts all the way so I’ve struggled with clogged ducts and now supply issues.” – Walmart reviewer
“Horrible, cheaply made piece of crap with the horrible noise. Not even worth one star. I really wanted to like this pump after reading all the good reviews. I don’t know what the rave is about – from the product design to easiness of use and effectiveness, quality – There is nothing to praise about.” – Amazon reviewer
Summary & Recommendation
Which Breast Pump Should You Get: Spectra S1 Or S2?
The Spectra S1 and S2 have nearly identical features. Choosing what to buy will depend on your circumstances.
Main purpose and frequency of use:
- Choose Spectra S1 if you need a portable breast pump
- Choose Spectra S2 if you’ll only use it at home
- Choose Spectra S2 if you want the cheaper one
Is It Worth Upgrading To Spectra S1?
If you don’t mind the slightly higher price tag, we recommend the Spectra S1 for its portability. Just make sure to charge the batteries.
Moms Who Can Benefit The Most With The Spectra Breast Pumps
- Breastfeeding mom who wants to have a pump for excess milk or to help unclog ducts
- Moms who want the convenience of being able to pump anywhere
- Exclusive pumper who’s usually on the go
- Moms who love to travel and prefer a portable pump
- Moms who don’t mind the pump’s heavy weight and large size
- Moms who don’t mind paying extra for the convenience of a portable pump (if your insurance policy doesn’t cover this)
- Moms who pump everyday but spend most of their time at home or in the same place (e.g., if you keep an extra pump in the office or workplace)
- Moms who don’t need a portable pump
- Moms who don’t mind using a plugged breast pump
Factors To Consider When Choosing Breast Pumps
Features & Usability
- Do you need backlights or prefer a pump that connects to your phone?
Single Vs. Double Pump
- Do you prefer a single pump or a double pump?
Manual Vs. Electric
- Manual breast pumps are usually cheaper, but they require more work from your end than electric pumps.
- This can come in handy when you need to pump in a spot away from an electrical outlet or when you need to travel.
- Quiet pumps are preferable so you won’t disrupt your little one’s sleep while pumping.
Maintenance & Available Parts
- Special and rare pumps can have advanced features, but finding replacement parts might be a challenge
- Will the pump’s motor last long enough, and will the company replace it?
- Is it within your price range?
- Will the milk go to the tubings? That’s what happens in an open system. You might consider pumps with a closed system, which can be more hygienic.
Flange Sizes & How To Choose The Best One
Using a ruler or measuring tape, find your nipple diameter (excluding the areola) in millimeters (note: 1 cm = 10mm).
These are the ideal flange sizes based on your nipple diameter:
- 20 mm flange for up to 16 mm nipple size
- 24 mm flange for up to 20 mm nipple size
- 28 mm flange for up to 24 mm nipple size
- 32 mm flange for up to 28 mm nipple size
Are you new to pumping for breastfeeding? Let’s also cover some of your other pumping concerns:
How Often Do I Need To Pump Every Session?
The more you breastfeed/pump, the more milk you will likely produce.
If you’re doing exclusive pumping or need to be away for several hours per day, you can keep your milk supply steady by pumping every three to four hours.
How Long Do Pumping Sessions Usually Last?
You’ll need around 15-20 minutes to pump a single breast, but you can do both breasts at the same time for faster pumping time.
For either Spectra breast pump, you’ll find two holes covered with a clear plastic cap at the bottom of the machine. Just remove the caps and plug a tube in each hole to convert it into a double electric breast pump.
Does A Higher Suction Help You Produce More Milk?
It’s a “yes” for some moms and a “no” for others.
Choose a cycle speed and suction level that’s comfortable for you. Too much vacuum in a higher suction may hurt your breasts and nipples.
What’s The Use Of The Breast Flange (Breast Shield)?
These fit over your nipple and create a seal around your areola to help you express milk during pumping. These are only used for pumping, not breastfeeding.
Where Can I Store My Pumped Breastmilk?
It’s ideal to store breastmilk in the freezer or fridge to make it last longer. But if you’re pumping at work and your office doesn’t have a fridge, your baby can still drink the pumped milk for up to four hours after collection.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) set these guidelines for human milk storage and preparation: (1)
Freshly expressed or pumped:
- Room temperature: up to 4 hours
- Refrigerator (40°F or 4°C): up to 4 days
- Freezer (0°F or -18°C): best up to 6 months; may still be used up to 12 months
Thawed from previously frozen supply
- Room temperature: 1-2 hours
- Refrigerator (40°F or 4°C): up to 24 hours (1 day)
- Freezer (0°F or -18°C): NEVER refreeze thawed breastmilk
Leftovers that baby didn’t finish in a bottle
- Room temperature: use within 2 hours
- Refrigerator (40°F or 4°C): use within 2 hours
- Freezer (0°F or -18°C): NEVER freeze leftovers
How Do I Sterilize A Spectra Breast Pump?
The Spectra S1 Plus and Spectra S2 Plus both have a closed system, so the milk doesn’t get into the tubes.
Use warm, soapy water to clean all the parts. But make sure you don’t insert anything into the duckbill valves, even while cleaning.
You can sterilize the parts by boiling them but don’t go beyond 5 minutes.
Can I Plug The Spectra Breast Pump In The Car?
Both the Spectra S1 and S2 can be plugged into the car using an adapter. The suction power isn’t as strong, but it’s still enough to be used in the vehicle.
What’s The Charging Time For Spectra S1?
It may take 4 hours for the Spectra S1 to be fully charged. But the initial charging time might last for at least 12 hours.
Does Insurance Cover Spectra Breast Pumps?
Insurance companies in the US must cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women’s preventive health services under the Affordable Care Act (2010). (2)
However, different insurance plans have different coverage.
Current laws don’t require health insurance companies to cover a certain type of pump. So, check your insurance plan to see if it covers electric pumps.
Many companies don’t fully cover ‘upgraded’ breast pumps, such as Spectra S1 with rechargeable batteries. The plan might cover the cost of the pump, but you may be required to pay for the batteries. (3)
Can I Use My Spectra When Traveling Internationally?
Yes. Spectra S1 and S2 pumps have dual voltage and can be used internationally. However, you might need to get a plug adapter for the specific country you’re going to.
Which Baby Bottles Are Compatible With Spectra Pumps?
Baby bottle brands with wide-neck products can be compatible with the Spectra pumps, including:
- Philips Avent
- Dr. Brown’s
- Tommee Tippee
Which Breast Pump Bag Should You Get For Your Spectra Pump?
These pumps aren’t likely to fit most diaper bags, so you need to get a breast pump bag instead.
You can get a breast pump bag with Spectra’s premier bundle option, so you can bring your S1 or S2 anywhere you need to go. The bag is especially designed for these products to provide the best fit than other pump bags available on the market.
Comparison With Other Breast Pumps
What’s The Best Spectra Pump?
There’s a different Spectra breast pump to meet your every need. Read our article on the best Spectra pumps for an in-depth review of each one:
- Spectra S1
- Spectra S2
- Spectra S3 Pro
- Spectra S9
- Spectra Synergy Gold
Spectra Pumps vs Medela Pumps
Medela pumps are generally more expensive than Spectra pumps, with the exact price difference ranging from $50 to $80 for comparable models.
Both have portable options with a rechargeable battery.
You can also read our in-depth comparison review of Spectra S2 vs. Medela Pump in Style.
What If You Have A Medela Pump Already?
Some parts of the Medela breast pump may also be used for comparable models of Spectra pumps.
Spectra Pumps Vs. Motif Luna
Spectra pumps cost more, weigh more, and are bigger than the Motif Luna. However, the Motif Luna has a slightly stronger pump (up to 280 mmHg compared to Spectra’s 270 mmHg).
These pumps have many similarities, including backlights, night lights, remembering your last settings, and the availability of varied settings for massage or expression.
They also have a closed pump system, interchangeable and washable flanges and backflow protectors, and bottles and flanges included in the box with your purchase.
All these pumps are also available with insurance.
Like the Spectra S1, Motif Luna also comes with rechargeable batteries for portability. However, it doesn’t have handles like the Spectra pumps.
Spectra Pumps Vs. Super Genie
These pumps also have many similarities, including:
- Heavy-duty and hospital-grade breast pumps
- Different adjustments for vacuum strength and cycle speed
- Closed systems with backflow protection
- Compatible with wide neck bottles
- Night lights
- Bigger and heavier than most portable pumps
- Can be compatible with narrow neck bottles if you have a bottle adapter
The Super Genie also has built-in batteries. Spectra S1 can last longer than the Super Genie, with some parents complaining that the Super Genie only lasts about half the time (about 1.5 hours compared to the Spectra S1’s 3 hours).
Although the Spectra pumps are easier to transport because of their handle, the Super Genie is smaller, lighter, and takes less space in a pump bag.
The Super Genie has more setting options, includes liquid flange inserts for added comfort while pumping, and connects to your smartphone using an app.