Spectra vs Medela – A 2020 Breast Pump Comparison Guide

Choosing a breast pump can be tricky. Do you go for manual or electric? Do you go for a single or double pump? Should I buy a closed or open system? These are all questions that you will need to answer before you can decide on your purchase. Once you have chosen your preferences, it should make your search for the perfect breast pump easier.

I am going to compare two breast pump brands: Spectra vs Medela. This information will help you answer the questions above and help you to make an informed decision on which one would be best for you and your breastfeeding journey.

TitlePricePrimeBuy
Spectra Baby USA - S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast PumpPrimeEligibleBuy Now
Medela Pump in Style Advanced with TotePrimeEligibleBuy Now

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

 

The Main Differences Between Spectra vs Medela

The models that I am going to compare are the Spectra S2 and the Medela Pump In Style. There are some differences between these pumps as you would expect. Check these out below.

Price

This is going to be a dealbreaker for many parents when deciding on their ideal breast pump unless you have an unlimited budget. But for those that don’t, here is the deal: the Spectra and the Medela are very similarly priced. Although the Spectra is a few dollars more.

Spectra pump

Warranty

When you are buying a product like this, few people consider the warranty to be a selling point. In fact, a point they don’t check at all.

Buying a breast pump is a large financial investment so you should check your warranty. The Spectra S2 comes with a two-year warranty that covers manufacturer defects. The Medela has a one-year warranty that is limited to the motor of your breast pump, and 90 days on other parts.

Power Supply

Both the Spectra and the Medela are powered by an AC adapter which is included in the box your receive. However, the Medela PIS also has the option to run off on batteries 8AA. This makes the Medela portable so you can use it on the go.Medela PIS Set

System

This is one of the differences that you should take note of. The Spectra has a closed system which means that the backflow protection ensures that your breast milk will not flow back into the tubing. This tubing can be very difficult to clean and sterilize, meaning that there is potential for your milk to become contaminated.

The Medela PIS uses an open system that does not prevent your milk from getting into the tubes. These tubes are notoriously tricky to keep clean and mold-free. If you are unable to prevent this then they will need to be replaced, which adds an extra cost to an already sizeable financial commitment.

Accessories

Some accessories are included with both the Spectra and the Medela pumps. You also have the option to purchase others from their websites if required.

The Spectra comes with two bottles. You can also purchase a cooler from their website. Although I feel that this would be a waste as the pump is not one that can be used on the go so you don’t really need a cooler system.

The Medela PIS comes with 4 five-ounce bottles with lids, a cooler bag, and an ice pack, which you can put inside its own Tote bag to carry everything in. This is a great little add on as its quite easy to lose all the bits and pieces that come with a breast pump. This way everything is kept in one place.

Spectra S2

The Spectra S2 is a hospital-grade double/single breast pump. The kit comes with everything that you will need to have a successful breast pumping experience. The S2 has one of the quietest motors available to ensure that it is not only quiet but discreet. It also avoids the drone that some breast pumps make!

The S2 comes with backflow protection. This means that your milk is prevented from entering the breast pump motor or tubing, ensuring that your milk is sterile and sanitary at all times. It creates a physical barrier between your milk and the pump motor or tubing. This is also a great feature as those tubes are tough to clean and sanitize.

Spectra pump

This breast pump is quite small and only weighs around three pounds making it easy to pack in your luggage if needed. It can be used as a single or double pump with just a quick removal of a small plastic top.

The pump comes with a nightlight feature that makes pumping at any time easy and convenient. The auto-timer and display let you set the pumping program to the speed and rhythm best suited to you making this breast pump completely customizable.

Spectra S2 Features

This small and compact pump comes with some great features that have been very well designed.

  1. Massage Mode – This feature allows you to replicate the natural suckling of a baby which helps with let down.
  2. Ultra Quiet mode – The Spectra S2 uses one of the quietest motors which operates at 45 decibels, which is the equivalent noise level of a soft conversation like you would hear in a library.
  3. Backflow protector – Protects your milk from harmful bacteria and makes your S2 easy to maintain.
  4. Adjustable suction levels – Helps to provide a more natural flow of your milk as it would when your baby feeds.
  5. Night light – Great for those nighttime pumping sessions.
  6. Auto-timer with Display – Allows you to set the pumping program suitable for you.

Spectra S2 Pros

  • Extracts a good volume of milk
  • Very quiet
  • Nightlight feature
  • Lightweight and quite small
  • Very efficient without being painful
  • Customizable options for suction and cycle
  • Comes with 2 bottles

Spectra S2 Cons

  • Complaints of terrible customer service
  • Lack of support from Spectra when things go wrong
  • The pump has some issues with longterm use
  • Not recyclable through Spectra
  • Bottles discolor after a short period of use
  • No bag included
  • No battery option
  • Cooler is an extra accessory

Medela Pump In Style (PIS)

The Medela Pump in Style is a double electric breast pump. It is designed for moms who want to pump several times a day and is supposed to make your breastfeeding journey easier.

The PIS comes with 2-phase expression technology with a one-touch letdown button. This is a patented technology that is shown to get more milk when double pumping and set to the highest comfort level. With this, you can spend less time pumping with the Medela as you would with another pump to get the same amount of milk.

All moms know how precious time is when you have a newborn on your hands.

This pump comes with its own bag to carry everything that you need to pump discreetly. The bag is available in three microfiber designs: Backpack, the Metro Bag, or the On-the-go tote.

All three packs are designed to carry everything you need but the Metro bag is the only one that has a removable pump whereas with the backpack and tote the pump is built-in.

The On-the-go tote bag comes with built-in bottle holders and a storage pocket for tubing keeping everything organized between pumping. While the Metro bag comes with two sizes of breast shields, a removable pump in a separate bag and a work surface and mesh storage bag making pumping and portability flexible.

The Medela also has a battery pack meaning that it is totally portable. You can pump anywhere you wish without having to worry about a power supply. This is a great feature if you will be pumping at work.

It also comes with its own cooler bag and ice packs so that you can then store your milk, keeping it safe and fresh for later use. With a dual voltage system of 110-240 volts, Medela allows mom to pump while traveling outside of the USA as does the battery pack.

Medela PIS Features

This powerful yet discreet dual breast pump has some great features to help a pumping mom.

Medela PIS 1

  1. Two-phase expression and one-touch letdown button – You get more milk when double pumping.
  2. On-the-go tote bag – Carry your pump wherever you need to go discreetly.
  3. Battery pack – This allows you to pump on the go anywhere, anytime.
  4. Cooler bag with contoured ice packs – The bag holds four feeding bottles and ice packs, ensuring that your milk stays cool and fresh while you are on the go.
  5. Dual voltage – 110-240v allows mom to pump while traveling outside of the USA.

Medela PIS Pros

  • Offers a recycling service for used breast pumps
  • Comes with a Tote bag to keep all the kit in one place
  • Easy to set up and use for the first time
  • Comes with its own cooler and fits four bottles
  • Comes with 4, 5oz bottles

Medela PIS Cons

  • Can be quite noisy
  • Issues with consistent suction power after a few months of use
  • Complaints that this pump is not gentle on your breasts, causing some to experience blisters
  • Has an open system- so issues with mold in the tubes

FAQ Spectra vs Medela

 

Do the Medela bottles come with feeding nipples? Or do I need to purchase them separately?

The bottles will not come with feeding nipples. You can pump directly into the bottles and then use the solid lids that are included for storing your breast milk. The nipples and collars for these bottles are widely available.

Will I be able to recharge the battery pack when I travel overseas?

You can use rechargeable batteries in the battery pack and most of these come with their own charger. You would need to purchase one that is suitable for the country you are traveling to. However, the battery pack itself is not rechargeable.

What size are the flanges that come with the Spectra S2?

The flanges that come with the S2 are a set of 24 mm and a set of 28 mm.

How long can breastmilk be kept in a cooler carrier?

When the ice pack is frozen solid you can safely store your breast milk for up to 10 hours with the Medela PIS cooler bag. There are exceptions to this timescale such as leaving your cooler in direct sunlight or leaving your cooler in a car.

The liquid inside the cooling elements is water with food-grade dye, meaning that the liquid is non-toxic.

breast pumps and a mother with her child

Spectra vs Medela – The Best One For You

Both these breast pumps are perfect for someone’s personal circumstances so it makes it very difficult to recommend just one. If you’re looking for a small compact pump that you will only need to use while at home where you have access to a power source, then the Spectra S2 is perfect.

It comes with lots of great features such as being hospital-grade, exceptionally quiet, and with the ability to fully customize your individual pumping program. Another great feature is that it can be used as either a single or double pump.

If you are looking for a pump that is completely portable and is packed into its own bag, then the Medela Pump In Style is the one for you. This too has some great features such as their two-phase technology. It comes with its own cooler bag and ice packs again making the portability even easier for moms on the go.

To be totally honest with you, there will be avid fans of each of these pumps who will try to sway you to one or the other. In my opinion, the best advice that you can give a mom is to arm her with all the facts, pros and cons, and allow her to make the best decision for her and her family’s specific circumstances.

So, that’s what we have done here, provided you with all the information, pros and cons that you will need to make the right decision for you and your family.

Personally, I think that if you pick either of these pumps, you will have made a really great choice!

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