When it comes to the best breast pump brands on the market, Spectra and Medela often stand out among the best. We decided to take a look at these two machines and break down and compare Spectra vs Medela.
The need for a breast pump in today’s world is pretty much a necessity for moms. Whether it is storing for future feedings, or pumping for work, there are so many reasons to have a breast pump.
Spectra vs Medela: How did we rate them?
Medela has been focusing on breastfeeding support for over 50 years. They offer a wide range of pumps and accessories to suit the needs of breastfeeding mothers. This comparison will focus on the Pump In Style with Max Flow (not to be confused with the Pump in Style Advanced).
Spectra is a company established by moms and registered nurses who developed Natural Nursing Technology. Their award-winning pumps support the moms in their breastfeeding journey. This comparison will focus on the Spectra S2 Plus.
The comparison of the Pump In Style and Spectra S2 will be based on the following categories that are important when considering a breast pump:
- Ease of Use
Comparing Their Strength
When on the hunt for the perfect pump, you will probably see the term “hospital grade” used. This generally refers to the power of the pump. The more power the pump has, the faster pumping will go until the breast is empty for that session. Too much power can be uncomfortable and not yield enough breast milk. Features such as adjustment dials and buttons help the user decide the right amount of pressure that is comfortable. Thankfully, both the Pump in Style and the S2 have letdown modes to get your milk flowing.
Pump In Style by Medela is a great time saver as it is categorized as “hospital grade”. The two-phase expression mode process mimics suction so that it has a more natural feel similar to your baby. It is designed for multiple uses in the day, so moms who work can use it during their break at work as frequently as needed and not be away for a long time. Comparatively, the Pump In Style has been clinically proven to increase milk volume by 11.8% compared to the Personal Fit model.
Spectra S2 by Spectra also has strength where it is needed. The S2 measures a max pressure of 270 mmHg vs the 235 mmHg of the Pump in Style. This pump has adjustable suction. Despite its power, it still is gentle enough to massage the breast and stimulate it. Day or night, it can pump enough without causing pain from the suction.
Strength Category Winner: Medela Pump In Style
When it comes to Spectra vs Medela in strength, the “Hospital Grade” Medela wins out for its handling of multiple daily uses. This also makes it a great option if you need to power pump to increase supply.
Which Option is Quieter?
When do you plan to use a breast pump? The lactation room at work? At night while everyone is asleep? The noise that is generated from a breast pump can make or break a decision to purchase one model over another. With greater motor power can also come greater noise.
Pump In Style is one of the noisier pumps out there. Hospital-grade pumps generate more volume, and this one is no exception. This can disrupt others around you, but it can signal to co-workers if you are done using a breakroom that is designated as a lactation room.
S2 is impressively quiet. In the privacy of the home or the workplace, others will not be as aware that it is in use. This quiet motor only registers at 45 decibels, which is similar to the noise level of a library.
Noise Category Winner: S2
Unless you want the world to know that you are pumping, the quiet strength of the S2 takes the win.
Spectra vs Medela: Portability
Nothing is more portable than breastfeeding. Babies feed on demand, so a mom has to be ready anywhere, anytime. Breast pumps are also more and more portable. The pumps in the hospital are big and bulky, able to roll around but not far away from an outlet. Today’s breast pumps allow options to go wherever mom goes.
Pump In Style is easily portable. The stylish bag is an all-in-one container to hold the pump, bottles, and a cooler bag. The adapter cord and tubes can come out, but the pump can stay in and be in use without unpacking every little thing. The Pump in Style also has a battery pack that goes 8 AA batteries for on-the-go without needing an outlet. The biggest downside is that the pump itself weighs around seven pounds, which can be heavy when moms are also carrying a baby, diaper bag, purse, and other supplies for the day.
The Spectra pump also has a tote to hold the pump and the tubing, but the cooler must be purchased separately and does not fit within it. The same is true for other accessories for moms on-the-go like a car adaptor. The advantage is that the weight of the pump is three pounds, more than half the weight of the Pump In Style. While it may be less convenient to take to and from work, it won’t weigh a mom down as much. If you are looking for long battery life from the Spectra S1 is actually a better option than it’s successor.
Portability Category Winner: Medela Pump In Style
The included accessories and battery pack outscore the weight comparison.
Spectra vs Medela: Ease of Use
If it is not easy to use, a pump may not be used effectively or even at all. Busy moms do not have time to set everything up for long periods of time when there is not a lot of time in the first place. Cleanliness and extra features are things that moms look at and speak of when they are recommending breast pumps.
The Medela Pump In Style with Max Flow is ideal because there are fewer parts to clean and assemble than some of the other pumps on the market. It is even adaptable to use with other mainstream bottles so that you can use more than just the set that comes with the kit. However, there are some concerns about condensation build up in the tubing after a few uses. It is not as easy to clean out and it is ideal to replace the tubing at an affordable cost.
Rookie Mom Gabriela says that The 2-Phase Expression Technology is what makes the Medela Pump in Style with Maxflow so easy to use for her. It mimics your baby’s natural sucking rhythm which keeps you comfortable during each session. Plus, this new pump has the convenience of being used with a battery pack that is included with or with a power outlet.
S2 is a closed system pump. This prevents milk from backflowing into the tubing that can lead to bacteria. Other great features are a night light for those who are nighttime pumpers and an auto-timer to keep them on schedule. The flanges connect with wide-mouth bottles, so that may limit the types of bottles that can be used to store breastmilk.
Ease of Use Category Winner: Tie
In this case, the Spectra vs Medela ends in a tie! Both pumps are easy to use. The types of bottles versus the backflow protection from bacteria are comparisons that the individual can decide for themselves.
Breastfeeding is free, so purchasing a breast pump is an investment to support nursing mothers. Sometimes insurance can help with the cost of a breast pump while many just purchase it out of pocket. The value of the pump comes from all of the categories mentioned above as well as the warranty for the pump and parts.
As of August 2020, the Pump In Style sells for $199.99. This includes everything in the stylish bag from the tubing and flanges to the battery pack (batteries not included). The Pump In Style has a one-year warranty for the motor and a 90-day warranty for the pump parts. While Medela does offer breast pumps to rent, the Pump In Style is not an option. Check it out here!
As of August 2020, the S2 sells for $159. This includes the pump and the needed accessories. The bundle kit with cooler bag, ice packs, and other accessories cost $195. The S2 has a two-year warranty for the pump and a 90-day warranty on the accessories. Check it out here!
Which Breast Pump is Better?
If you need a strong breast pump for quick sessions that is easy to use and portable in style? Are you going to use it multiple times a day because you are away from your baby but want to feed them the best milk for them? The Medela Pump In Style may be the best choice for you.
If you need a quiet breast pump for your home to increase milk flow? Are you stocking up for those evenings that you need a full night’s sleep? Are you planning your family close together so that a longer warranty will cover both babies? Then, the Spectra S2 may be the best choice for you.
I hope this article helps you choose the model that is right for you mama. If you have any questions feel free to leave one in the comments below.
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