Fertility

Comparison Review (2021): Spectra S1 vs S2 Breast Pumps

Updated on 13 July 2021 • 9 minute read
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Overview 

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. 

 

Spectra S1 vs S2 Comparison: Main Differences 

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:

  • The Spectra S1 has a rechargeable battery, but the Spectra S2 doesn’t have one
  • The Spectra S1 is portable, but the Spectra S2 isn’t
  • The Spectra S1 costs more ($200), while the Spectra S2 is a bit more affordable ($159)
  • The Spectra S1 weighs a bit more (2.42 lbs), while the Spectra S2 weighs a bit less (2.0 lbs)
  • The Spectra S1 comes in 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 cubicle for obvious reasons.

But 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.)

 

Key Features 

No two breast pumps are created equal. So, let’s go into detail about the key features of each one to help you decide.

Spectra S1 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
  • Accessories that come with the box:
  • 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

 

Spectra S2 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 to you 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
  • 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)
  • 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 

 

Pros & Cons

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

 

But how about Spectra S2 breast pump? Check this out:

 

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

 

What Customers Are Saying 

The following are breast pump reviews from customers on Spectra Baby USA, Amazon, Target, and Walmart:

Spectra 1 Positive Reviews 

“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

 

“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

 

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

 

Summary & Recommendation 

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

 

Cost: 

  • Choose Spectra S2 if you want the cheaper one

 

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.

 

Pumping Concerns

Are you new to pumping for breastfeeding? Let’s also cover some of your other pumping concerns:

 

How often do I need to pump?

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 I need to pump for?

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 mean you’ll 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 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, 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 a Spectra breast pump?

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)

But 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)

 

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

 

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. 

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm
  2. https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog/breast-pumps-insurance
  3. https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/spectra-s1plus-breast-pump

 

 

 

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