Comparison Review: Spectra S1 vs Spectra S9, Which is the Best for You?
Did you know that Spectra has two different portable breast pumps? The Spectra S1 Plus is the portable version of the popular Spectra S2 Plus, while the pocket-sized Spectra 9 Plus is the lightest breast pump you can buy!
These Spectra breast pumps have different key features, but which one is the best for you?
Continue reading to know the pros and cons between Spectra S1 and Spectra S9 to help you choose.
You’ll find two portable options offered by Spectra Baby USA.
The main differences between Spectra S1 vs. Spectra S9 can help you choose the best portable breast pump you’ll need to increase your milk supply and stock up on your breast milk, especially during days when you need to be out of the house for several hours.
Both are portable, double electric breast pumps, but here are their main differences:
- costs $200
- is bigger (7.5 x 7.5 by 8.5 inches)
- is heavier (2.42 lbs)
- is a hospital-grade pump that’s more powerful (up to 270 mmHg)
- has more customizable settings
- lasts up to 3 hours (2x Spectra S9’s battery power)
- costs $180
- is smaller (5 x 3 x 1.8 inches)
- weighs just 0.5 lbs
- is a weaker pump (only up to 260 mmHg) that’s not hospital-grade
- has fewer settings and accessories
- lasts only up to 1.5 hours
- Spectra S1: $200 on all outlets
- Spectra S9: $180 on Spectra Baby USA, $150 on Walmart and Amazon
Pump Type: Single or Double Breast Pump
- There’s no difference between the Spectra S1 vs. Spectra S9 in terms of pump type.
- You can use both for single or double pumping.
- Both can easily switch from single to double pump using a T-connector.
- Spectra S1: 2.42 lbs
- Spectra S9: 0.5 lbs
Both have a rechargeable battery, but their capacities differ:
- Spectra S1: up to 3 hours
- Spectra S9: up to 1.5 hours
Type of System
- Both the Spectra S1 and Spectra S9 use a closed system pump with backflow protectors acting as physical barriers to ensure that milk doesn’t go into the tubing and pump. This allows for a more hygienic milk collection compared to an open system.
- The Spectra S1 is a heavy-duty hospital-grade breast pump.
- The Spectra S9 isn’t a hospital-grade pump and could easily wear out if you regularly use it several times a day.
- The Spectra S1 breast pump has three settings: vacuum strength, cycle speed, and mode (expression mode or massage mode).
- The portable Spectra S9 only has two settings: vacuum strength and mode (massage mode or expression mode). You can’t change the cycle speed.
Both pumps use Spectra’s Natural Nursing Technology to promote letdown by mimicking the suckles of your baby for a natural breastfeeding experience.
Many moms alternate between the massage mode and the expression mode to stimulate a second or even third letdown to collect more milk. That’s why the massage mode is also known as the letdown mode.
- The Spectra S1 has an LCD display with a night light.
- The Spectra S9 uses an LCD but doesn’t have a night light.
Pump & Suction Strength
- The bigger Spectra S1 has a stronger pump that can go up to 270 mmHg.
- The lighter Spectra S9 has a weaker pump that only goes up to 260 mmHg.
Adjustable Suction Levels
- You can adjust the more powerful Spectra S1 up to 12 vacuum levels.
- The weaker Spectra S9 only has 10 vacuum levels.
- Even if it’s also portable, the Spectra S1 is bulkier (7.5 x 7.5 by 8.5 inches) and heavier (2.42 lbs).
- The Spectra S9 is smaller (just the size of a smartphone but thicker) and so light (0.5 lbs) that it can fit inside your pocket.
- The Spectra S1 is a trusted pump known to be quiet.
- The smaller Spectra S9 Plus is a noisy pump, according to several breast pump reviews.
- Both the Spectra S1 and Spectra S9 have a 2-year warranty on the pump motor and a 90-day warranty on pump parts.
Breast Shield Diameter
- The Spectra S1 comes with two sizes of breast shields in the box: two sets of 24mm and two sets of 28mm Spectra breast flanges.
- The Spectra S9 comes with just one size: two sets of 24mm Spectra breast flanges.
Bottles and Accessories in Milk Collection Kit
Both Spectra S1 and the Spectra S9 come with the following bottles and accessories:
- Two Spectra wide-neck storage bottles (each with a nipple, cap, disc, and lid)
- Two Spectra duckbill valves
- Two Spectra tubing
- Two Spectra backflow protectors (each comes with a silicone membrane, uppercase, and lowercase)
- One Spectra 9-Volt AC Power Adaptor (with detachable power cord prongs)
Cooler and Bag Options
- Both the Spectra S1 and the Spectra S9 don’t come with a cooler and bag in the box. But you can purchase a separate cooler ($29.99) and Spectra tote ($39.99).
- The Spectra S1 can also be purchased as a Premier Bundle ($245) that comes with a cooler, tote, ice pack, and two extra bottles (worth $12.99).
If you need these additional accessories, it’s cheaper to purchase the Premier Bundle than to order everything separately or as an add-on to your Spectra S1 pump.
- Spectra S1 has a built-in handle that you can use for carrying the pump around.
- Spectra S9 doesn’t have a handle but is still much easier to carry around than the bulkier Spectra S1.
Ease of Use
- Spectra S1 is easy to use, with the pump remembering the settings you used from previous pumping sessions.
- Spectra S9 can also be used as a hands-free pump. You can purchase a special hands-free pumping bra (ranges from $20 to $30).
You can also use the Spectra S9 with Freemie hands-free milk-collection cups ($85 to $90) or the Caracups Wearable milk-collection inserts ($75) that you can slip inside your bra.
Other Special Features
Both the Spectra S1 and the Spectra S9 have the following special features:
- Timer with auto shut-off
- BPA/DEHP-free plastics. These toxic industrial chemicals, BPA (bisphenol A) and DEHP (Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate), are used in making commercial plastic products.
Pros & Cons
These two portable Spectra breast pumps have similar features, but these pros and cons can help you decide which one to buy:
Pros of Spectra S1
- It lasts twice longer than the Spectra S9 on a single charge.
- It’s a powerful hospital-grade pump.
- It features a night light.
- It’s quiet despite being more powerful than the Spectra S9.
- It has more levels, more customizable settings.
Cons of Spectra S1
- It’s bulky and heavier.
- It’s more expensive than the Spectra 9 Plus. The $20 to $50 difference might be significant to some parents.
- You can’t use it as a hands-free breast pump due to its size and weight.
Pros of Spectra S9
- It’s lighter, smaller, and cheaper than the Spectra S1.
- It’s still a powerful double-breast pump despite its compact size.
Cons of Spectra S9
- It’s less powerful but noisy.
- It has a smaller battery capacity that’s just half that of the Spectra S1.
- It’s not hospital-grade and tends to easily wear out when used several times a day.
- You can’t adjust the cycle speed.
What Customers Say: Spectra S1
“I have been using this pump 8 times a day for over two months now, and it still works perfectly. I get great results and find it easy to clean. Amazing value for money. It works just as well plugged in as it does on the battery, and I find that the battery lasts very long! I tend to use it all day and only plug it in at night…” – Reviewer on Amazon
“I have the S1 and absolutely love it. That said, I also just bought a 9 Plus off Amazon as well. I will use that mostly for traveling and back and forth to work. The S1 is a GREAT pump, but it is heavy. I commute by subway and walking, and it was way too cumbersome. I’m going to use the 9 for back and forth to work and the S1 at home (still pumping at night after the baby is in bed to maintain supply and make sure LO has enough pumped milk while I’m away the next day).” – Reviewer on What to Expect Community Forum
“OBSESSED! Best thing ever. I ordered it and never looked back- so much more comfortable, efficient, and slightly more productive. I love the way it sucks – it doesn’t hurt! I just recently gave away my S2 and bought this one so that I could pump without being plugged in. In one week, I pumped in the car four times! It’s small, portable, and so effective! Now my recommendation – get the Maymom adapters for Medela pieces, cut the Medela tubing to use it with the Spectra, and use duckbill valves sold on Amazon. It is a gamechanger. If you’re still on the fence, DO IT! It’s the best pump on the market. If you’re between the S1 and S2, go S1. It will be the best $$ you’ve spent!” – Reviewer on Amazon
“WHEN this pump works, it is the best pump on the market!! It has the best customization as far as rhythm, suction, and speed. I get the most with it. I have tried the Medela Symphony in the hospital, a PISA, the Ameda Purely Yours, and the Evenflo none come close to this pump. The problem is these pumps die, and the manufacturer warranty does not apply to Amazon purchases. I have now had two of these die in 9 months. What happens is when you turn it off, the screen goes off, but the machine will continue to pump until the battery dies, and then it will never turn back on. I am now buying a third pump.” – Reviewer on Amazon
“Worked super great when I first purchased it. It was quieter than the Medela I had with my previous kids. I really enjoyed the ability to change the suction strength and speed. If it still worked, I would give it a 5/5, but it cuts off randomly mid-pump. For the money, I spend that’s complete crap and not worth it when the Medela, which is the same price, works the same five years after purchasing it. This Spectra has lasted three months since I first used it.” – Reviewer on Amazon
“For the first couple months (2-3), this was perfect! I could pump multiple times on a charge. But recently (months 4-5), the battery has taken a complete dump. I can pump 5-10 minutes on a fully charged battery before having to plug it in. I haven’t done a ton of research on a replacement battery, but for the cost, I expected the battery to last me much longer. I will say even within the first few weeks, it would have a full charge, I would unplug it and it would immediately drop from 4 bars to 3. I’m not sure if mine is defective, but I am disappointed with the battery life and am not sure I would purchase this again.” – Reviewer on Amazon
What Customers Say: Spectra S9
“Perfect for the mom on the go! I’m an exclusive pumper. Now that my kiddo is a little older and mobile, this pump comes with us everywhere we go if we’re out for a while. I have a Medela PISA as my primary pump, and I don’t see a difference in the amount of milk I pump out between the two breast pumps. Definitely worth it!!!” – Reviewer on Target
“I love this pump works just as good as the bigger Spectra s1. Small and light. Stays charged for at least 6 to 8 pumps before needing to be charged. So happy with it.” – Reviewer on Walmart
“This is a great pump! I am exclusively pumping with it, so I’ve put a lot of miles on it. I’ve dropped it several times, splashed water on it, and it keeps on chugging. It’s so easy to tuck it in your waistband and get things done while pumping. I use a Medela hospital grade pump at work, and I get the same amount of milk with my little S9!” – Reviewer on Target
“I had to return because it pulled milk out too slow. After 15 minutes, it only pulled one ounce out, and I was full. I also had it at the highest speed, and it still worked slowly.” – Reviewer on Target
“I bought this as a backup pump to my S2 that I use at work. I used this S9 a few times a week in the car since going back to work on May 23. It has no suction anymore. I hooked up the exact same tubes, flanges, backflow protectors, and valves, and nothing was moving on the S9, but I immediately pumped 8 oz with the S2. Spectra will not honor their warranty with pumps bought on Jet. An expensive piece of junk.” – Reviewer on Walmart
“Seal convenient and portable are some of the benefits. However, the sucking power is not as good as the S1, S2, and you can’t control the speed, only the vacuum suction power, and I like being able to control the speed as well. Also, because it’s so small, when I tried to set it on the counter to do makeup or dishes, my arms got tangled in the rubbing, and I ended up pushing it off the counter, and my breasts (whole body) were pulled along as well! Ouch! It needs a clip or something to attach to you; otherwise, you run the risk of knocking it over while trying to use it. Otherwise, it’s fairly good, especially for the price.” – Reviewer on Target
Spectra Pump Parts and Accessories
Using a small-cap bottle adapter ($6.99), you can collect your breast milk using bottles from other breast pump brands.
Other accessories you can buy for both Spectra breast pumps:
- 9-Volt portable vehicle adapter ($7.99)
- 12-Volt portable vehicle adapter ($8.99)
- Spectra air caps ($4.99)
- Simple Store milk collection kit bags; 200 ml, 10 pcs ($24.99)
Spectra vs. Medela
Both portable Spectra pumps are often compared with Medela Pumps with similar features.
Spectra S1 Plus vs. Medela Pump in Style
Both are portable, double electric breast pumps that can last up to 3 hours on a single charge. But these are their main differences:
The Spectra S1 Plus
- is cheaper ($200)
- weighs less (2.42 lbs)
- has a more hygienic closed-pump system (milk doesn’t go to the tubing)
- has highly customizable settings
- has a longer warranty (2 years)
- comes with fewer accessories
The Medela Pump in Style MaxFlow
- is more expensive ($249.99)
- has an open-pump system (milk goes into the tubing)
- has less customization
- has a shorter warranty (1 year)
- offers more accessories (pump bag, cooler, ice pack, and more bottles)
Spectra 9 Plus vs. Medela Freestyle
These pumps are also portable and are similarly sized, but these are their main differences:
The Spectra 9 Plus
- is cheaper ($180)
- weighs less (0.5 lbs)
- uses the more hygienic closed-pump system
- has 10 vacuum levels
- has a longer warranty (2 years)
- has fewer accessories and lasts only for 1.5 hours.
The Medela Freestyle
- is more expensive ($324.99)
- weighs slightly more (0.82 lbs)
- uses an open-pump system
- has fewer vacuum levels (nine)
- has a shorter warranty (1 year)
- has more accessories (has a tote and cooler, and comes with more bottles and breast shields)
- lasts for three hours
Spectra Through Insurance
You can get a breast pump for free through insurance, but the type and model will vary among insurance companies.
Medical supplies companies such as Edgepark and Aeroflow can assist you in getting a Spectra breast pump that suits your insurance plan.
However, there aren’t too many options to choose from on Edgepark, and you might have to choose basic electric breast pumps such as the Spectra S2 Plus.
Many insurance companies still allow you to purchase portable models such as the Spectra S1 or the Spectra 9 Plus, but you’ll likely have to pay the price difference for the ‘upgrade.’
Types of Breast Pumps
Manual Breast Pumps
A good option as a backup for EBF moms (exclusively breastfeeding moms), manual breast pumps aren’t suitable for extended use because you have to use your hands to make the pump work.
Electric Breast Pumps
These breast pumps are a popular option for exclusive pumping moms (you only give your baby pumped breast milk in a bottle) and even for moms who simply wish to enjoy the convenience of pumping.
There are several subtypes of electric breast pumps:
- Single or double electric breast pumps
- Hospital-grade vs. non-hospital grade pumps
- Closed-system vs. open-system pumps
- Portable vs. plugged electric breast pumps
How to Choose Your Breast Pump
These are things to consider when choosing your breast pump:
- How much is your budget?
- Will you need a portable pump?
- Will you need a quiet pump for discreet pumping at work or in a public place?
- Will you need one with a nightlight and timer?
- Will you need one exclusively for home use, or do you need to bring it to other places constantly?
- Do you need a powerful pump, or are you alright with a less powerful pump?
- Do you want a more customizable pump, or are you content with a few settings?
- Do you need a single pump or a double pump?
Summary & Recommendation
Both the Spectra S1 Plus and the Spectra 9 Plus are good pumps that help with your lactation needs. But choosing the one that’s best for you will depend on your needs and preferences.
Choose the Spectra S1 Plus if
- You need a more powerful pump with longer battery life (three hours) and more customizations.
- You don’t mind the higher price tag ($200) and heavier pump (2.42 lbs).
Choose the Spectra 9 Plus if
- You prefer a cheaper breast pump ($150 to $180) that’s so much lighter and more portable (0.5 lbs).
- You don’t mind having less power, shorter battery life (1.5 hours), and less customization.