Fertility

Comparison Review: Best Spectra Breast Pump & Which One is Right for You

Updated on 21 June 2021 • 11 minute read
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Overview 

Are you a mom planning on breastfeeding your baby with a Spectra breast pump but unsure which one to get? 

Let’s see the pros and cons of each model so you’ll know which Spectra breast pump might be best suited for your pumping needs. 

 

Main Differences 

Spectra Baby USA is among the most popular brands offering different kinds of breast pumps to help establish your milk supply and also allow you to store breast milk for your baby.

The brand offers these breast pumps:

  • Spectra S2 Plus is the brand’s most popular breast pump. It’s offered by several medical supplies companies, such as Edgepark, as an option for a free breast pump through insurance.
  • Spectra S1 Plus has all the features of the S2 Plus but has batteries for portability.
  • Spectra S3 Pro also has all the features of Spectra S2 Plus but was designed for multiple users. This heavy-duty hospital-grade breast pump comes with a protective hardshell carry case.
  • Spectra 9 Plus is the brand’s smallest and lightest breast pump, weighing just 0.5 lbs. But just like the others, it can also be used for double pumping. It’s a portable model and may also be used hands-free.
  • Spectra Synergy Gold (SG) is an upgrade to the S2 Plus. It comes with more vacuum levels to choose from, plus the ability to independently adjust the levels for each breast when double pumping.

 

Key Features 

Spectra S1 Plus

  • Pricing/Packages: $200
  • Weight: 2.42 lbs
  • Color combination: pastel blue and white
  • Portable and rechargeable
  • Rechargeable battery life: up to three hours
  • Single or double pump capability
  • Up to 270 mmHg
  • 12 vacuum suction levels
  • Built-in night-light
  • Two years warranty on the pump, 90 days on accessories

 

Spectra S2 Plus

  • Pricing/Packages: $159
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Color combination: pink and white
  • Not portable or rechargeable
  • Single or double pump capability
  • Up to 270 mmHg
  • 12 vacuum suction levels
  • Built-in night-light
  • Two years warranty on the pump, 90 days on accessories

 

Spectra S3 Pro

  • Pricing/Packages: Only available to lactation centers, medical facilities, and select vendors; price available if you contact the sales department (1)
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Color combination: light green and white
  • Portable and rechargeable
  • Rechargeable battery life: up to three hours
  • Single or double pump capability
  • Up to 270 mmHg
  • 12 vacuum suction levels
  • Built-in night-light
  • Three years warranty on the pump
  • Engineered for heavy-duty use

 

Spectra 9 Plus

  • Pricing/Packages: $180
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs
  • Color: white
  • Portable and rechargeable
  • Rechargeable battery life: up to three hours
  • Single or double pump capability
  • Up to 270 mmHg
  • 10 vacuum suction levels
  • Built-in night-light
  • Two years warranty on pump, 90 days on accessories

 

Spectra Synergy Gold

  • Pricing/Packages: $499.99
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
  • Color combination: gold and white
  • Not portable rechargeable
  • Single or double pump capability
  • Up to 270 mmHg
  • 15 vacuum suction levels
  • Suction levels can be adjusted for each breast
  • 5 stages of soft massage mode settings
  • Built-in night-light
  • Two years warranty on pump, 90 days on accessories

 

Note: All prices are from the official website of Spectra Baby USA, except Spectra Synergy Gold (price from Aeroflow).

 

Pros & Cons

Spectra S1 Plus

  • Pros: It’s portable and can be used for up to 3 hours while running on a rechargeable battery
  • Cons: It’s a bit more expensive and heavier than the Spectra S2 Plus and Spectra 9 Plus (the brand’s other portable model).

 

Spectra S2 Plus

  • Pros: It’s the cheapest of all Spectra breast pumps, and you can get it for free through insurance, subject to your plan’s coverage.
  • Cons: It’s not portable and is quite bulky.

 

Spectra S3 Pro

  • Pros: It’s the most heavy-duty of all Spectra breast pumps and the only one with a 3-year warranty on the pump. The rest only have a 2-year warranty.
  • Cons: It’s not available for retail and is only sold to medical facilities, lactation centers, and select vendors.

 

Spectra 9 Plus

  • Pros: At just 0.5 lbs, it’s the lightest of all Spectra breast pumps. It’s also portable and costs less than the much bulkier and heavier portable Spectra S1 Plus.
  • Cons: Many users complain that it’s loud, whereas the rest of the Spectra pumps are known to be quiet. This pump also comes with fewer vacuum suction levels (only 10 while most have 12) and fewer accessories than the other pumps (only 24mm flanges compared with 24mm and 28mm flanges in other pumps).

 

Spectra Synergy Gold

  • Pros: It’s the most powerful and customizable of all Spectra breast pumps. It comes with more vacuum suction levels (15 instead of the usual 12), and you can adjust the levels for each breast. Its powerful motor can also provide 270 mmHg for each breast, instead of the shared power used in the other breast pumps.
  • Cons: It’s the heaviest (4.2 lbs) and most expensive of all Spectra breast pumps. Despite costing twice the price of the Spectra S1 Plus, this model doesn’t have batteries.

 

What Customers Say: Spectra S1 Plus

Positive Reviews 

This is just the best pump ever. I got an S2 for free from my insurance. Since pumping ended up taking me a really long time in the mornings (close to an hour) I wanted the option to walk around more. Got the S1 and a pumping bra, and could make myself breakfast while pumping at the same time. I knew I didn’t want to bring one back and forth to work every day, so I leave my S2 plugged in at work and use this around the house. Worth every penny.” – Reviewer on Amazon

 

Negative Reviews 

After 9 weeks 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!” – Reviewer on Amazon

 

What Customers Say: Spectra S2 Plus

Positive Reviews

I was formerly a Medela pumper (like most people), but wanted to see if there was something  better. Turns out, the Spectra S2 is fantastic! It’s so quiet and sounds like a little drum roll rather than a super loud “WEE-OO! WEE-OO!” There are more parts, but the additional parts seem to do a great job keeping the milk from going back into the tubing. And you can clean the tubing – fantastic. I didn’t really get the importance of the little light on it – but I use it almost constantly – and I LOVE the built-in timer.” – Reviewer on Amazon

 

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. I would stick with a brand I trust, in fact I went back to my Medela.” – Reviewer on Target

 

What Customers Say: Spectra 9 Plus

Positive Reviews 

This is a great, compact alternative to the bulkier S1/S2. As others have mentioned it is certainly louder and with fewer settings than the S1/S2, but good to have on hand. The charge lasts as described and I have not noticed a dip in output, though letdown does take ~60 second longer. I wouldn’t replace this for an everyday, heavy use pump, but I really enjoy having it on hand and would buy again.” – Reviewer on Target

 

Negative Reviews 

This pump sucks. It takes too long to empty my empty breast and it’s loud. Only used it a couple of times and it already lost its strong suction.” – Reviewer on Target

 

What Customers Say: Spectra Synergy Gold (SG)

Positive Reviews 

I ordered this pump a few weeks before my baby was due thinking I wouldn’t need it for a while. After a while wind emergency c-section and my baby being life flighted I quickly learned what a saving grace this machine has been. My baby is 6 days old and still has not eaten, but I have been able to pump and build a small stock pile up for his first few feedings, and didn’t have to worry about losing my supply. This particular machine was better than any Medela hands down. I can set it to different settings for each breast which is absolutely needed. There is a message feature which let’s my milk down then an expression feature which really gets it flowing. – Reviewer on Aeroflow

 

Negative Reviews 

My Spectra S1 broke after only 6 months! I had to make an emergency trip to Target and thought I would treat myself to this pump after the ordeal. This is a PLUG IN pump! It’s the same size as the others. For $200 more than the S2, it should be portable. Spectra also needs to make a pump that’s not round. So inconvenient to bring anywhere. Just buy a Medela and save yourself time.” – Reviewer on Target

 

Benefits of Spectra Breast Pumps

No matter which Spectra breast pump you choose, you’ll get the following benefits:

  • Comfort
  • Flexibility for Single or Double Breast Pump: Even the smallest portable model can be used as a double electric breast pump.
  • Hospital Grade Pumps: All pumps have motors with hospital strength that could reach up to 270 mmHg.
  • Quiet Pumps: Spectra pumps are known to be quiet. The company claims that the motor operates at 45 dB (decibels) and works “like the hush of a library,” so you can pump quietly even in the middle of the night.
  • Adjustable Suction Levels: This varies across models but ranges from 10 to 15 vacuum suction levels.
  • Customer Service
  • Closed System Pump & Backflow Protection: Both make the pumps hygienic and prevent milk from entering the tubings and motor.
  • Night Light
  • LCD with auto-timer
  • Massage Mode: It simulates the natural suckling of a baby for better milk flow.
  • Natural Nursing Technology: Mimics the experience of natural breastfeeding as closely as possible.
  • BPA Free: All plastic parts and accessories are BPA-free for safer milk storage. BPA (bisphenol-A) is a harmful industrial chemical used in many commercial products (including food containers and hygiene products).
  • Two-Year Warranty on the motor (three years for the Spectra Pump S3 Pro), 90 days on the pump accessories

 

Most of the breast pumps come with these accessories:

  • Two 24mm Spectra Breast Shields & Flanges
  • Two 28mm Spectra Breast Shields & Flanges
  • Two Spectra Backflow Protectors (with silicone membrane, lowercase, and uppercase for each Backflow Protector)
  • Two Spectra Tubing
  • Two Spectra Duckbill Valves
  • Two Spectra Wide Neck Storage Bottles (with cap, nipple, disc, and lid for each bottle)
  • One Spectra 12V AC Power Adapter

 

Spectra Breast Pump Through Insurance

You can get the Spectra S2 breast pump for free through insurance, subject to your insurance plan’s coverage. 

This model is a popular choice offered by medical supplies companies such as Edgepark and Aeroflow that work with insurance companies so that moms like you might get it for free.

Most of the other Spectra breast pumps may also be purchased through insurance, but you’ll likely need to shell out extra cash because these are categorized as upgrades.

Some insurance companies also let you get replacement parts for your breast pump for free. Make sure to verify your insurance plan before placing your order.

 

Do You Need a Breast Pump?

While every mom’s situation is unique, having a breast pump at home provides you with the flexibility to pump and store breast milk for your baby to have milk even if you’re busy or out of the house.

Here are possible reasons why you might need a breast pump:

  • You want to establish and maintain your milk supply.
  • You’ll be regularly away from your baby for several hours.
  • You are dealing with engorgement or low breast milk supply.
  • You’re an exclusive pumper who prefers giving your baby expressed milk in a bottle.

 

But even moms who prefer direct breastfeeding can also benefit from having a breast pump at home, especially when there are emergencies, urgent matters you need to attend to, or times when you’d like to enjoy a date without bringing your baby.

 

Types of Breast Pumps

There are several types of breast pumps for you to choose from, so make sure to pick the pump that suits your needs and budget best:

Manual breast pumps

These are much cheaper than electric breast pumps, but you’ll need to pump by hand. So, this isn’t ideal if you need to pump regularly.

Electric breast pumps

These are the most common types because having a motor means that getting more power from these breast pumps. 

Portable breast pumps

Having batteries makes these breast pumps portable, but this might affect the suction power.

Hospital-grade breast pumps

These heavy-duty pumps are ideal if you’re planning to pump until you wean your baby. Not all electric breast pumps are hospital-grade.

Wearable electric breast pumps

These hands-free pumps let you do other things while pumping instead of needing to hold the bottles until the pumping sessions are over. They fit inside your bra so you can pump discreetly.

Closed or open system breast pumps

If you can, choose a breast pump with a closed system because that’s more hygienic and safer for your baby.

 

When Can You Use a Breast Pump?

That depends on your situation, but most moms begin pumping when breastfeeding is well established. That’s usually around four weeks after your baby is born.

But if you’re having trouble getting your baby to breastfeed, you can ask for help from a lactation consultant. Depending on your situation, your lactation consultant might recommend that you start using your breast pump to help establish your milk supply.

Breast pumping can also help you deal with engorgement.

 

How to Sterilize Pump Parts

These are the pump parts that you should wash and sterilize in between pumping sessions:

  • Backflow protectors
  • Bottles
  • Bottle caps
  • Bottle necks
  • Breast shields
  • Sealing discs
  • Teats or nipples
  • Valves

 

Don’t ever wash or sterilize these parts:

  • Pump motor
  • Tubing

 

To clean your Spectra breast pump, follow these steps:

  • Carefully remove the parts that need to be cleaned.
  • Using a dedicated sponge or brush, clean the pump parts with delicate soap and warm, soapy water.
  • Wash each part thoroughly and make sure no milk is stuck in any section of the pump parts.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • You may use a bottle sterilizer or boil these pump parts to sterilize between pump sessions.
  • Make sure to completely dry these parts in a clean area before the next use.

 

Spectra vs. Medela Breast Pumps 

Spectra and Medela are among the most popular breast pump brands and are often compared because of their similar products. But both have a wide range of different models, with their respective pros and cons.

Your choice might be affected by which particular brand offers a model with features you needed in a breast pump or the one that’s covered by your insurance plan.

 

Other Top Choices for Breast Pumps

Aside from Spectra pumps, there are also lots of other brands that you can choose from:

Most Efficient All-Around Breast Pump

  • Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump; $200 (strong, portable, and quiet but still relatively cheap)

 

Best Manual Breast Pump

  • Lansinoh Manual; $25 (compact and portable, with only a few parts to clean)

 

Best Single Electric Pump

  • Nuk Expressive; $67 (a quiet, battery-operated pump that’s easy to assemble)

 

Best for Working Moms

  • Motif Duo Breast Pump; $159 (compact, quiet, and comes 10 expression modes and 10 massage settings)

 

Best for Travel

 

Best Wearable (Hands-Free) Pump

  • Willow Generation 3 Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump; $499.99 (it’s quiet, discreet, and can pump in any position)

 

Best Bag-Free Wearable Pump

  • Elvie Pump; $500 (quiet, entirely hands-free pump)

 

Simplest Manual Pump

  • Haakaa Breast Pump; $12.94 (a one-piece pump that’s so affordable and easy to use, with no separate parts to clean)

 

Best Lightweight Pump

  • Spectra 9 Plus; $180 (it’s portable and only weighs 0.5 lbs)

 

Most Affordable Electric Pump

  • Bella Baby Double Electric Breast Pump; $53.99 (it’s cheaper than most electric pumps but is lightweight and portable)

 

Best Hospital Grade Pump

  • Medela Symphony Breast Pump; $2,002.49 (it’s big, bulky, and expensive, but you might get this on a monthly rental basis for a lower price)

 

Best Pump Accessories

  • Freemie Next Generation Cups; $79.95 (transforms regular pumps into a hands-free pump)

 

Most Comfortable Pump

  • Philips Avent Comfort; $199.99 (lightweight and comes with built-in massage cushions)

 

Best Custom Fit Breast Pump

  • Evenflo Deluxe Advanced; $130 (comes with three different flanges)

 

Best Breast Pump for EBF (exclusive breastfeeding) Moms

  • Ameda Purely Yours; $255.81 (a bit loud but can be used as a backup for EBF moms)

 

Quietest Breast Pump

  • Spectra S2 Plus; $159 (quiet but powerful, according to most Spectra breast pump reviews)

 

Factors in Choosing Breast Pump

With so many pumps to choose from, think of these factors so you can choose the one that suits your needs and preferences:

  • Weight
  • Noise/sound
  • Cost
  • Hands-free options
  • Portability
  • Cleaning
  • Ease of use
  • Product recalls

 

Summary & Recommendation 

Arguably, all breast pumps are good. And all of them have their strong and weak points, possibly making them the best or worse option for a particular factor or feature. So, the best breast pump won’t be the same for all pumping moms.

To choose which one is the best Spectra breast pump, consider the following:

Most Powerful Spectra Portable Pump

  • The Spectra S1 Plus is the best portable Spectra breast pump because it’s more powerful than the Spectra 9 Plus and has more adjustable levels.

 

Best Value Spectra Breast Pump

  • Spectra S2 Plus is the best value of all Spectra breast pumps because it’s quiet and powerful, even if it’s the cheapest of all.

 

Best Heavy-Duty Spectra Breast Pump

  • Spectra S3 Pro is the best heavy-duty Spectra breast pump, but you can’t buy it if you’re a personal/single user.

 

Lightest Portable Spectra Breast Pump

  • Spectra 9 Plus is also the best portable Spectra breast pump, considering that it’s the lightest and smallest of all the models. It’s also cheaper than the Spectra S1 Plus.

 

Best Customizable Spectra Breast Pump

  • Spectra Synergy Gold (SG) is the best and most customizable of all Spectra breast pumps, but it’s also the most expensive (more than twice the Spectra S1).

 

But if you want one with the best value for your money, choose the Spectra S2 Plus. It’s powerful, quiet, has lots of different customization options (cycle speed, vacuum strength, and mode), yet it’s the cheapest Spectra breast pump of all.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.spectrababyusa.com/store/s3prohospitalgrade/

 

 

 

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