Fertility

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Travel Breast Pumps & Pumping On The Go

Updated on 30 June 2021 • 14 minute read
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Overview 

Are you looking for the best travel breast pumps to take during your trip? You can pick a manual breast pump or electric breast pump with a rechargeable battery for pumping sessions on the go.

If you’re a working mom who regularly travels for work, you might be wondering if you can use your pump while driving.

Or, if you’re traveling somewhere, you might want to know whether you can use your breast pump in the car, airplane, or boat. 

You might also want to carry and store your breast milk while traveling and know the best portable breast pump.

You’ll learn more about travel breast pumps in the review below:

 

The Best Travel Breast Pumps

In choosing the best breast pump for traveling, it might be a good idea to use a wearable breast pump so you can discreetly pump your breast milk even if you’re riding a public vehicle.

But a hospital-grade breast pump with hands-free options can also be useful. You can use these with a pumping bra.

These types of devices can help you pump milk in less time, though it can be challenging to find a private spot for pumping while traveling.

Here are some of the best travel options for pumping moms like you to express milk for your little one while you’re on a trip or away:

 

Manual Breast Pumps

Manual breast pumps can be ideal for traveling because they’re quiet, easy to clean, and don’t need a power source

Here are some of the best manual breast pumps:

  • Haakaa – $12.94
  • Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump $25
  • Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump – $32.99
  • Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump – $38.49

 

Single Electric Breast Pumps

They are usually smaller and have fewer parts to clean than double electric pumps, so these pumps might also be a good choice to bring for a trip:

  • Nuk Expressive – $67
  • Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump – $195.49

 

Double Electric Breast Pumps

Though they’re usually bulkier, double pumps can let you pump in less time. So, the following breast pumps can also be useful for traveling:

  • Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump – $82.77
  • Evenflo Deluxe Advanced – $130
  • Ameda Mya Portable – $169.99
  • Baby Buddha Portable and Compact Breast Pump – $189.99
  • Motif Duo – $190.00
  • Spectra S1 – $200
  • Medela Pump In Style Advanced – $268.00
  • Medela Freestyle Flex – $379.99
  • Medela Sonata – $399.99

 

Wearable Breast Pumps

If you need to pump on the go while traveling in public, these discreet wearable pumps can hide beneath your clothes and quietly express your milk:

  • Freemie – $359.99
  • Elvie –  (single): $279.99; (double): $499.99
  • Willow – $499.99

 

The following are our top picks for the best travel breast pumps:

 

Haakaa

  • Pricing:  $12.94
  • Weight: 0.24 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Manual milk catcher pump; closed system
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it can easily fit in any bag.
  • Special Features: It’s a one-piece pump made from food-grade silicone. The simple pump body is easy to clean.

 

Cons

  • You manually adjust the suction strength.
  • Because it’s a manual pump, the suction strength might not be as strong as other pumps.
  • This pump might be prone to contamination because it catches and collects your breast milk in its suction/catcher body.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

It can be used while nursing OR pumping on the opposite breast. It consistently pulls 2-3 oz per feeding/ pump/ let down. When applied correctly, it is VERY comfortable. It’s compact – great for travel or use in the car. It takes up very little room in the diaper bag.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

The Haakaa catches 1 oz of milk for me while I pump my other breast. It is foremilk which is watery. I don’t think it’s worth having another dish to wash.”  – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump 

  • Pricing: $25
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Manual pump with a lever; closed system
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it’s small and can easily fit in any bag.
  • Special Features: This is a quiet, lightweight, and portable pump with fewer parts to clean.
  • It features two pumping modes: stimulation and expression for letdown.

 

Cons

  • It might be tiresome for you to operate the pump’s lever to express your breast milk.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I use this to pump 2-3 times a day. It’s easy to assemble, break down, clean and sanitize, and very comfortable to use.” – Reviewer on Lansinoh.

 

Negative Reviews 

Terrible. I have other pumps that work great. This one doesn’t do anything. I get no milk when this one is used.” – Reviewer on Lansinoh.

 

Medela Harmony

  • Pricing: $32.99
  • Weight: 0.9 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Manual pump with ergonomic swivel handle; closed system
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but the pump is small enough to fit in your bag.
  • Special Features: This pump uses 2-phase expression technology and has PersonalFit Flex breast shields for a more comfortable fit.

 

Cons

  • The handle can pop off if the suction is strong.
  • The seal can easily get damaged and make the pump lose suction just after a few uses.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Easy to use! It got much of my milk supply and didn’t hurt me while doing so! Plus, it’s super affordable and includes helpful booklets.” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Negative Reviews 

The pump lost its suction after 3-4 weeks of daily use. I loved it till the time it was working. It was very handy and efficient!”  Reviewer on Target.

 

Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $38.49
  • Weight: 0.65 lbs
  • Noise Level: Noisy

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Manual pump with a lever; closed system
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it can easily fit in a bag.
  • Special Features: It’s a small pump compatible with other Philips Avent feeding products, including Natural and Anti-colic bottles and milk storage containers.
  • The flange has food-grade silicone cushions for your comfort while pumping.

 

Cons

  • The cushion can make the flange size smaller.
  • It’s a noisy pump.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

This pump saved me during lunch at restaurants, rides in the car, and many other times I was away from home while breastfeeding. I could literally pump in the passenger seat and pass a bottle back to my little one.” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Negative Reviews 

Makes a lot of noise! I solely pumped for nine months, and this thing helped me express a ton, but it was super aggravating hearing it squeak with each pump, and the handle would pop off also.” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Nuk Expressive – $67

  • Pricing: $67.00
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Noise Level: Noisy

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single electric; closed system
  • Batteries: It uses three AA batteries or a 1.5V battery.
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it’s small and fits in your bag.
  • Special Features: It’s lightweight, portable, and has a hygienic closed system.

 

Cons

  • It’s a noisy pump.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I bought this electric pump, and it’s been working fine so far. It’s kind of noisy, but it does the job.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Negative Reviews 

Bought this pump to use while on vacation to use instead of my hand pump while in Disneyland. I tried the pump, and it has such low suction it took significantly longer than a hand pump to empty the breast.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Pricing:  $82.77
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single and double electric; closed system
  • Batteries: Yes, six AA batteries sold separately (eight AA rechargeable batteries at $20.00)
  • Bag and Cooler: 1 tote bag
  • Special Features: It’s small, lightweight, and can be used with batteries.
  • It features three pumping styles and eight suction levels that you can adjust for comfort.
  • The LCD screen has a back-lit display.
  • You can pump directly into a milk storage bag.

 

Cons

  • The flanges can leak if you don’t lean forward while pumping.
  • There are 12 separate pump parts to clean if you’re double pumping.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

So far, I love it. I love how it’s small and has the battery option when I travel out.” – Reviewer on Lucina Care.

 

Negative Reviews 

“My main complaint is that it leaks. It leaks from the flanges unless you bend almost completely over. Then, it leaks from the top if you turn it even slightly sideways. And it doesn’t have to be full — it leaks as you pump so it can leak from the first drop.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Evenflo Deluxe Advanced

  • Pricing: $130
  • Weight: 5.44 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single and double electric; closed system
  • Batteries: Six AA batteries, sold separately (eight AA rechargeable batteries at $20.00)
  • Bag and Cooler: Universal shoulder bag and insulated cooler bag
  • Special Features: It’s a quiet, relatively inexpensive double pump.
  • It has a three-year warranty, while most breast pumps only have a one-year warranty.

 

Cons

  • It has no programmable options. 
  • It’s a hospital-grade pump but can only reach up to 250 mmHg. 

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I love how gentle this is! Most pumps feel like they’re sucking off my entire boob, but this one drained me completely without issue. I used medium-low suction. It does go higher if needed.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

Unfortunately, it ended working for a few weeks, and the suction stopped working. I tried changing the flanges, and that didn’t help. Don’t waste your money on this! Do yourself a favor and don’t get this pump.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump

  • Pricing: $195.49
  • Weight: 1.68 lbs
  • Noise Level: Noisy

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single electric pump; closed system
  • Batteries: Four AA batteries; sold separately (around $15 for four AA batteries with a charger)
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it’s small enough to fit in any bag.
  • Special Features: It’s a lightweight and portable pump with built-in massage cushions in the flanges for comfortable breastfeeding sessions.

 

Cons

  • It can be noisy.
  • The milk collection bottles (4 oz) are small, so you might need to stop mid-session.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Compact, comfortable, and reasonably priced. I have no complaints at all! It is small enough to throw in a bag for pumping at work if needed, and clean-up is easy. I would highly recommend this.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

Suction is just ok. However, the unit is loud, and it takes a long time to use a single pump.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Spectra S1

  • Pricing: $200
  • Weight: 2.42 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single and double electric; closed pump
  • Batteries: With built-in batteries that can last up to three hours.
  • Bag and Cooler: Sold separately: bag/tote ($39.99) and cooler ($29.99)
  • Special Features: It has 12 levels of suction and memory for your custom settings.
  • There’s an LCD display with a nightlight and timer.
  • It’s great for traveling because of its long battery life of up to three hours.

 

Cons

  • This Spectra pump is bulkier than other portable pumps.
  • It’s an upgrade and isn’t fully covered by insurance.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I am able to continue to nurse as well as pump and feel like I have my life back! While I wish my insurance had covered it, the S1 was worth every penny! Thank you!” – Reviewer on Spectra Baby USA.

 

Negative Reviews 

After nine weeks of bliss, the pump lost all suction and already had a power button issue. Trying to get another immediately but not happy with the return/replace process so far!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Freemie Liberty

  • Pricing: $359.99
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Wearable double electric; open system
  • Batteries: It has a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged using a micro-USB or AC adapter.
  • Bag and Cooler: Carrying bag
  • Special Features: It’s a wearable pump with a large (8 oz) reusable milk collection container.
  • It was designed for working moms by a working mom
  • It’s lightweight, compact, and can pump discreetly under your clothes.

 

Cons

  • The open system can cause milk to enter the tubes.
  • The battery can only last for around one hour.
  • It’s not fully covered by insurance.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

I have been using this for four months! I love it. Being in public, and no one even notices. I thought it was obvious because, to me, the cups make my boobs look huge, but everyone else says you really have to look to notice.” – Reviewer on Freemie.

 

Negative Reviews 

The suction is not strong enough to express much milk (even on the highest setting), and if I moved around with the pump on, the milk would leak or spill or stop expressing.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Medela Freestyle Flex

  • Pricing: $379.99
  • Weight: 5.09 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single and double electric; closed system
  • Batteries: Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that can last up to two hours.
  • Bag and Cooler: Tote bag and cooler
  • Special Features: It’s a smart pump that can be controlled using an app on your smartphone.
  • It’s a nice option for traveling because the battery can last for two hours.

 

Cons

  • It’s an expensive pump.
  • It’s heavier than other portable pumps.
  • It’s not fully covered by insurance.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

There is a built-in timer, and it automatically switches to let-down mode. It’s so simple to use. Plus, it’s no longer painful for me. The vibration helps increase my milk flow without having to increase the suction.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

This upgrade was a waste of money. The suction wasn’t as good as my original Medela pump that was free through insurance (the square black box pump), and the parts are interchangeable with my other Medela pump. I wouldn’t recommend it.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Medela Sonata

  • Pricing:$399.99
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Single and double electric; closed
  • Batteries: Built-in batteries with 1.5 hours of life between charges.
  • Bag and Cooler: Black bag
  • Special Features: It’s Medela’s quietest personal-use breast pump.
  • It’s lightweight and portable.
  • It’s a smart pump that connects to an app.
  • It has a two-phase expression setting.
  • It comes with an illuminated touch screen display.

 

Cons

  • It’s an expensive pump.
  • It’s an upgrade that insurance won’t cover for free.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

High quality, easy to use, and quiet pump – highly recommend it!” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

The tubing that needs to be purchased in a set with other accessories (that I did not need) made it expensive to replace just the tubing. The membranes also became expanded and lost suction, although that was cheap and easy to replace. The worst part is the battery. It no longer holds a charge at all, sometimes throwing the word CALL on the display. The battery is not serviceable.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Elvie Pump

  • Pricing: (single): $279.99; (double): $499.99
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Wearable single or double electric, depending on what you buy; closed system
  • Batteries: The built-in batteries can last for 2.5 hours, with a two-hour charging time using a micro-USB.
  • Bag and Cooler: One carry bag for each pump
  • Special Features: It’s a lightweight wearable pump that you can use for discreet pumping on the go.
  • It can be controlled and monitored using a smart app.
  • This hands-free breast pump only has five parts to clean.

 

Cons

  • The light on top of the pumps makes them visible under your clothes.
  • It’s an expensive pump that insurance companies don’t fully cover.
  • If you buy just one pump, you’ll have to wait at least 60 minutes to pump your other breast.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews
The Elvie is great for relieving pressure and pumping anywhere. It does leak slightly after pulling it off because milk can get trapped in the breast shield, but if you are prepped for that, you get used to having a tissue around to take care of it.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

I hate this breast pump. It is incredibly finicky. If you slightly move and become misaligned, you may pump for a half hour and get nothing. I do not recommend this product.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Willow Pump

  • Pricing: $499.99
  • Weight: 5.59 lbs
  • Noise Level: Quiet

 

Why It’s Good for Traveling

  • Pump Type & System: Wearable double electric; closed system
  • Batteries: The built-in rechargeable batteries last up to five sessions.
  • Bag and Cooler: None, but it easily fits in most bags.
  • Special Features: It’s a quiet wearable pump, so you can discreetly pump on the go.
  • It connects to the Generation 3 Willow app so you can monitor the amount of milk collected without removing the pump.
  • The spill-proof cups let you pump in any position.

 

Cons

  • It’s more expensive ($499.99) than most breast pumps.
  • The cup size (only 4 oz) might be too small for your pumping session. You might need to stop mid-session to replace the milk collection bag or to pour the milk out.
  • It’s not fully covered by insurance.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Reviews 

Willow is great for convenience — pumped in the car on vacation, pumped while doing chores around the house, and will be used once I go back to work.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Negative Reviews 

I have had several issues with the Willow 3 pump. First, I had a battery overheating issue which took several days to replace (but it was replaced for free, which was great). Also, you cannot pump while it is charging, and it takes six hours to charge fully, so make sure you plug it in after each pumping session.” – Reviewer on Aeroflow Breast Pumps.

 

Factors In Choosing The Best Travel Breast Pumps

Pros & Cons Of Manual Breast Pumps

  • Pros: They’re cheap, lightweight, and can easily fit your bag.
  • Pros: They’re great for traveling because there are very few pump parts to clean.
  • Cons: They’re not as powerful as electric pumps.
  • Cons: They’re not really as discreet as wearable pumps.

 

Pros & Cons Of Electric And Battery-Operated Breast Pumps

  • Pros: They’re usually powerful and can let you pump more milk in a lesser amount of time.
  • Pros: The batteries allow you to pump on the go.
  • Cons: They’re more expensive than manual pumps.
  • Cons: Running out of battery power means you can’t use the pump unless you find a power outlet at a spot where you can pump.

 

There are pumps such as the Spectra S2 Plus that can only be used while plugged in. They might be ideal for pumping in your hotel room, but not while you’re on the road.

 

Pros & Cons Of Discreet & Wearable Pumps

  • Pros: They’re quiet and lightweight.
  • Pros: You can pump discreetly with the pump inside your clothes.
  • Cons: They’re usually more expensive than most double electric pumps.
  • Cons: Latching may be difficult, and the milk collection cups may be prone to spilling if you tend to move around while pumping.

 

Single Vs. Double Breast Pumps

  • Single pumps are usually cheaper, but they can only let you pump one breast at a time.
  • Double pumps are usually more costly, but they can let you pump your breasts simultaneously.

 

Closed System Vs. Open System Pumps

  • Closed system pumps have a more hygienic system that doesn’t allow milk to reach the tubings. But they might have less suction power.
  • Open system pumps might have stronger suction power. But your breast milk can enter the tubings, making these pumps less hygienic.

 

Noisy Vs. Discreet Pumping

Wearable pumps such as Freemie, Elvie, and Willow allow you to pump in public places discreetly.

But the following are rated by moms as noisy pumps. You can still use these models if you’re pumping in your hotel room and don’t mind the noise:

  • BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump – $53.99
  • Nuk Expressive – $67
  • Philips Avent Single Electric Breast Pump – $195.49
  • Ameda Purely Yours – $255.81
  • Philips Avent Comfort – $199.99

 

Easy To Clean For Washing On The Go

  • You might not always find time and enough space to clean your pumps after each use. So, the best travel pumps might be those that have fewer parts to clean.
  • Manual pumps aren’t as strong as electric ones, but they only have a few pump parts to clean. 

 

Size And Portability

  • Depending on what vehicle you’ll be taking, you might want a lightweight pump that can easily fit your bag and carry-on luggage.
  • It might also be better to buy a pump with longer battery life.

 

Cost

  • Wearable pumps are discreet, lightweight, and portable, but they are usually more expensive than most pumps.
  • Manual pumps are cheap, but they might not be as powerful and discreet as wearable pumps.
  • Single and double electric pumps have varied prices and different features. They’re usually not as discreet as wearable pumps, but you can use these for pumping more milk in less time.

 

Planning For Traveling And Pumping

Finding A Power Source

Air Travel

  • Different airlines have different policies on breast pumps which are considered a medical device.
  • Contact the airline ahead of time to check if you’re allowed to bring your breast pump in your carry-on bag. They might even make arrangements so you can pump on board or breastfeed your baby in private.
  • Don’t check-in your breast pump. If your luggage gets lost, you might not be able to find a breast pump sold at your destination.

 

Land Travel

  • Some breast pumps can be used while you’re traveling in a land vehicle.
  • You can pump using a car adapter. But you might notice that the pump isn’t as powerful compared to when it’s plugged into a wall socket.
  • You can pump while driving, but only when you’re using wearable, hands-free breast pumps.

 

Sea Travel

  • It can be challenging to find sockets in the boat. 
  • Choosing a portable breast pump and carrying extra batteries can let you pump during your trip.

 

Travel Essentials for Breast Pumping

Storing & Transporting Your Breast Milk While Traveling

  • Book a room with a fridge
  • Insulated bottles or coolers
  • Milk storage bags
  • Cooler bags
  • Ice packs
  • Tote

 

Other Essentials For Pumping On The Go

  • International power adapter
  • An extra battery pack or some rechargeable batteries
  • Extra flanges and breast shields
  • Extra milk collection kit
  • Other breast pump accessories
  • Breast pads
  • Breast pump wipes
  • Lanolin

 

Summary & Recommendation 

As a breastfeeding mom, you can ask your lactation consultant for recommendations for the best baby products for your child, especially the best breast pumps ideal for your baby’s needs.

You can also choose from any of the pumps we reviewed above. The following are our top picks for the best travel breast pumps:

Best Manual Breast Pump

  • Lansinoh Manual – $25

 

Best Single Electric Breast Pump

  • Nuk Expressive $67.00

 

Best Double Electric Breast Pump

  • Spectra S1 – $200

 

Most Discreet Breast Pump

  • Willow – $499.99

 

 

 

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