Best Breast Pumps

Breast pumps can be an invaluable tool for nursing moms, but with lots of different types and features to wade through, it can be hard to know which one to buy. We surveyed more than 10,000 Pampers Parents to get the low-down on the best manual, electric, and battery operated breast pumps, and collated lots of insights and information on how to choose and use a breast pump. Discover everything you need to know about breast pumps right here.

What Is a Breast Pump?

Breast pumps are devices that help you extract your breast milk so that you can store it for later or give it to your baby via a bottle. The basic parts of a breast pump are:

  • Breast shield or “flange.” This is the cone-shaped piece that fits over your nipple.

  • Pump. The pump is either attached to the flange or connected to plastic tubing that connects to the flange. The pump is what “expresses” the milk from your breast.

  • Milk storage container. This is often a bottle or a pre-sterilized, disposable bag.

Why Use a Breast Pump?

Breast pumps are useful for many reasons and in many situations, including:

  • To collect breast milk for later use. Breast pumps are handy when you need to express milk while you’re away at work, for example. A breast pump is also great because you can express milk that other family members, like your partner or one of the grandparents, can then give to your baby, letting them participate in the bonding experiencing of feeding.

  • To maintain or increase your breast milk supply. If you plan to return to work, for example, and won’t be able to breastfeed your baby during the day, your milk supply could decrease. However, if you’re able to pump at regular intervals during your workday, you can reduce the chance of your milk supply decreasing. Likewise, if you need to increase your milk supply, pumping your breasts between feeds will send a signal to your body to produce more breast milk.

  • To relieve pain from an infection. If you have mastitis (a breast infection caused by a plugged milk duct), for example, using a breast pump can help clear this blockage and relieve the pain.

  • To prevent engorgement. When your breasts are overly full with milk, they are engorged. This can be uncomfortable for you and might make it difficult for your baby to latch on. Pumping can help relieve some of the fullness and allows you to store the breast milk for later.

  • To correct flat or inverted nipples. A flat or inverted nipple is one that doesn’t fully protrude. It can be difficult for a baby to latch on to your breast in these cases. A breast pump can help correct this issue so your baby can latch on to your breast more easily.

Types of Breast Pumps

There are two main types of breast pumps, powered pumps and manual pumps. What’s right for you may depend upon how often you plan to pump. Read on to learn more about each type.

Electric and Battery-Powered Pumps

Powered pumps, using either an electrical plug-in or batteries, have a motor that creates suction to express milk from your breast. These pumps have one or more long tubes that connect the breast shield to the pump mechanism. Powered pumps are ideal if you pump often, as they can work more quickly than manual pumps. Powered pumps have a control panel to adjust the level and speed of suction. Electric breast pumps and battery-powered pumps come in single or double versions. Single models express milk from only one breast at a time. Double pumps can extract milk from both breasts at once. Some electric breast pumps can convert to battery-powered pumps for easier portability when needed. If you go with an electric or battery-powered pump, you might also want to have a manual pump for backup in case you lose power or don’t have extra batteries on hand.

Manual Pumps

With manual pumps, you place the breast shield over your nipple, Then, often by squeezing some kind of handle or lever, you create suction to express milk from your breast into an attached container. Manual pumps are simple and small. They’re great if you need to pump only occasionally. However, it may take more time and effort to pump using a manual pump compared to an electric pump. Manual pumps are often single pumps, which means they extract milk from only one breast at a time.

What to Consider When Choosing a Breast Pump

Pampers Parents helped narrow down the huge selection of breast pumps on the market by voting for their favorites, but there are still some things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the best breast pump for you:

  • Open- or closed-system electric pump. An open-system pump allows milk to flow through pumping tubes and other parts of the pump including, possibly, the pumping mechanism. A closed-system pump has a barrier that prevents milk from getting into any part of the pump besides the milk container. Open-system pumps are harder to sterilize, but they’re usually less expensive.

  • Comfort. Using a breast pump might be a little uncomfortable at first. However, that initial discomfort should go away quickly. A breast pump shouldn’t cause any pain. If you experience pain, then you might need to switch to another kind of breast pump or perhaps change the size of the nipple flanges to better suit your breast size. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.

  • Cost. Electric breast pumps can be quite expensive. Some private insurance companies and some state health departments and local clinics offer assistance in buying or renting a breast pump. Contact them to see what your options might be.

  • Portability. If you need to carry your pump to and from work, for example, then consider whether the pump is light enough. Some models come with a carrying bag.

  • Noise. Depending on where and when you’ll be pumping, you might prefer to look for a super quiet model.

  • Flange size. Your nipple should comfortably fit in the center of the flange. Some manufacturers sell different flange sizes in case the included one doesn’t fit your breast.

  • Pump assembly and care. Go for a breast pump that is easy to take apart and clean, as you’ll need to do this regularly.

Tips for Using Your Breast Pump

Here are some tips to help get the best results when you use your breast pump:

  1. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before pumping

  2. Wash your breasts beforehand if you have been using some kind of ointment or cream that you want to remove

  3. Assemble your pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions

  4. Find a comfortable place where you can relax while you’re pumping

  5. Properly position the flange so your nipple is directly in the center and you don’t feel any pinching or discomfort while pumping

  6. If you’re using an electric or battery-powered pump, turn the pump on to the lowest setting to stimulate your milk flow. If you’re using a manual pump, start gently pumping. Adjust the suction or speed as you feel comfortable.

  7. Pumping sessions usually take about 10 to 15 minutes, so you might want to have a good book on hand or maybe scroll through some photos of your little one

  8. When you finish pumping, insert your finger gently between the flange and your nipple to break the suction and release your breast

  9. Use what you've pumped right away or safely store your breast milk.

Tips for Cleaning Your Breast Pump

Follow these guidelines for cleaning your breast pump:

  • Each part of the breast pump that comes into contact with breast milk should be carefully cleaned after each use. These parts typically include the flange, valves, and the bottle. Let them air-dry afterward and limit touching the parts that come into contact with breast milk.

  • There’s no need to sterilize each of these parts. Carefully washing them with soap and hot water will wash away any germs and bacteria. Many breast pump parts can be cleaned on the top rack of your dishwasher but check the manufacturer’s instruction manual first.

  • You’ll need to wash the tubing part of your pump only if it comes into contact with your breast milk. If this is the case, after washing the tubing, hang it to air-dry before reattaching it to your pump.

  • Wipe down the part of the pump that holds the motor after each use with a clean paper towel or cloth

  • For the best results, review the instruction manual that comes with your pump for the product’s specific cleaning recommendations.

Top 5 Electric and Battery-Operated Breast Pumps

Many electric breast pumps can convert to battery power. Powered pumps are best if you need to pump often.

1. Spectra Baby USA—S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump

Why pick this one? This electric single or double breast pump system from Spectra Baby USA was chosen as the top electric breast pump by Pampers Parents. It’s quiet and offers an adjustable pumping rate to help suit the natural milk flow rate of your body. Spectra’s closed-system pump prevents milk from getting into the pump tubes and motor. This pump set includes two wide-neck bottles, two backflow protectors, two duckbill valves, two tubes, four flanges, and an AC adapter. Some Pampers Parents thought that this breast pump system was not ideal if you travel a lot or want to take it to and from work each day.

Highlights: This breast pump has a built-in night-light that’s handy if you need to pump in the middle of the night.

Price*: about $159.00 on Amazon.com

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2. Medela Pump in Style Advanced with On-the-Go Tote

Why pick this one? This model’s complete electric double breast pump kit has everything you might need for easy breast pumping. This open-system, electric pump can convert to being battery-operated when you need it to. This pump is great if you need to pump several times a day because the electric power or battery power makes expressing easy and reasonably fast. The pump settings are customizable with a knob, plus there is one-touch easy vacuum release. Keep in mind that several Pampers Parents mentioned they’d like the motor to be a bit quieter. This set includes two breast shields to help you find a comfortable fit for your breast. It also includes a four-pack of five-ounce bottles with lids, an AC adapter, and a battery pack (batteries not included). You’ll also get a handy microfiber carry bag and a cooler pack to keep your pumped breast milk cool until you can refrigerate or freeze it.

Highlights: With the purchase of this breast pump kit, among other helpful support options, Medela offers access to lactation consultants through its website and app.

Price*: about $285.00 on Amazon.com

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3. Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Portable Electric Breast Pump

Why pick this one? This closed-system pump has eight suction levels as well as three pumping styles to suit your body’s natural flow level. It can be used as a single or a double breast pump. Along with the basic components, this set includes a two-pack of five-ounce bottles with caps, two flanges, three connection tubes, a Y-tubing connector, a tote bag, and an AC adapter. A few Pampers Parents mentioned that the print on the bottles can wear off easily.

Highlights: It offers the option to pump directly into pre-sterilized Lansinoh breast milk storage bags, which can be purchased separately.

Price*: about $82.49 on Amazon.com Pampers Parents pros and cons:

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4. Elvie Double Electric Wearable Smart Breast Pump

Why pick this one? If you’re looking for a wearable breast pump, look no further than the Elvie. It’s small, light, quiet, and can be used practically anywhere. Wear it at home, while at work, or during travel. You no longer have to be wired to a breast pump. You can use any standard nursing bra with the Elvie, so it’s completely hands-free. Setting it up and cleaning it is also very simple—there are only five parts that need cleaning. The pump can automatically switch from stimulation mode to expression mode when it senses letdown. It also pauses when the bottle is full.

Highlights: Connect to the free app to monitor your milk volume, track pumping history, and control the pump remotely without having to undo your bra.

Price*: about $497.95 on Amazon.com

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5. Philips AVENT Double Electric Comfort Breast Pump

Why pick this one? This double breast pump set is a closed system, meaning that your breast milk never comes into contact with the suction tubing. The pump features a soft massaging cushion to help stimulate the flow of your breast milk. Once you complete the initial stimulation mode, this pump has three expression settings. This pump set includes a two-pack of four-ounce bottles, breast pad sample packs, and a travel bag. Some Pampers Parents mentioned that they thought this pump would be even better if it was a little quieter.

Highlights: This Philips AVENT breast pump set includes two extra-soft silicone newborn-flow nipples so you can go easily from pumping your breast milk to bottle feeding.

Price*: about $206.20 on Amazon.com

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Top 3 Manual Breast Pumps

Manual pumps are ideal if you don’t need to pump very often, or if you would like to tote one around for “emergency” situations such as preventing engorgement. These are the manual breast pumps that Pampers Parents voted as their favorites:

1. Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

Why pick this one? This 100 percent soft silicone breast pump expresses milk with manual suction. All you have to do is attach this pump to your nipple and begin gently squeezing the soft bottom portion of the pump. This breast pump comes in handy when you’re out and about and quickly need to relieve the engorgement. It can also be used to help prevent you from losing milk that’s let down (when your breast milk is ready to flow) in one breast when you’re feeding your baby on the other breast. Several Pampers Parents mentioned that the volume measurements on this pump aren’t accurate.

Highlights: Its small size makes it handy for travel. It’s also easy to clean since it doesn’t have multiple pieces and is dishwasher safe.

Price*: about $12.94 on Amazon.com

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2. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

Why pick this one? This manual breast pump is great for occasional use. It has a soft-touch, ergonomic handle for your comfort. This pump comes with a two-pack of five-ounce bottles, a bottle stand, a nipple with a collar, a cap, and two filter membranes. A few Pampers Parents noted that the filter membranes tear somewhat easily and then need to be replaced.

Highlights: This single breast pump features “2-Phase Expression Technology,” which is supposed to mimic the way a baby suckles. The first phase involves faster suction to get the milk flowing, and the second phase happens once the milk’s flowing and is a slower suction rate.

Price*: about $34.90 on Amazon.com

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3. Philips AVENT Breast SCF330/30 Pump Manual

Why pick this one? This manual pump has a soft, textured cushion to help comfortably massage your breast to stimulate milk flow. This lightweight pump is easy to tote around when you’re on the go. This pump comes with a naturally shaped nipple to attach to the pump bottle for easy bottle feeding right after pumping.

Highlights: Because of this pump’s angled neck, you can sit comfortably upright and your milk will still flow naturally from the breast to the bottle.

Price*: about $44.99 on Amazon.com

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The Bottom Line

A breast pump is a nice convenience, and sometimes even a necessity if you plan to express and store your breast milk for later. Supplementing breastfeeding with bottle feeding breast milk also gives your partner and other family members the opportunity to share the beautiful experience of feeding your baby. We hope this Pampers Parents list of the top-voted breast pumps helps you choose one that works well for you!

Recall Notice

Before buying a product, always check that it’s approved and hasn’t been recalled on sites like the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

How We Got These Results

We surveyed thousands of parents in the Pampers Community and asked them to choose the products they love the most, and to share their views on specific products and product categories. Based on the survey responses, we have taken the top product picks and added our own research to create this article. The aim is to help you choose the right product for you and your family. We might receive commissions on purchases made from the links in this article, but the products featured are the Pampers Community’s top choices.