The 8 Best Breast Pumps of 2021

Express milk with these top-picks

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Our Top Picks
This pump is designed to be easy to use, has 10 settings, and runs very quietly.
A closed system pump with nine vacuum settings and four modes, including massage to help stimulate the breast for milkflow.
Instead of being attached to a pump, this style attaches the pump to you so that you can go about your day while you collect milk.
This manual breast pump is a fan favorite because it’s easy to use, comfortable, and effective.
Closely mimics a baby’s natural sucking, allowing for better stimulation and milkflow during pumping sessions.
Can be used as either a single or double breast pump and can be used by plugging into a power outlet or using the battery.
These are worn in your bra and even though they are not individual pumps, they’re still great at collecting breast milk.
Features adjustable settings, a letdown button to help you get more milk, and a super quiet motor for discrete pumping sessions.

For breastfeeding moms, a breast pump can be an essential piece of equipment. Shopping for one, though, can be difficult because there are so many factors to consider like how it works, how loud it is, whether or not it’s portable, and how simple it is to use. If you have plans on going back to work outside of the home, for example, a quiet and portable option is essential. On the other hand, if you intended to exclusively pump and bottle feed, being able to quickly and efficiently express your milk is a must.

Every pump out there will have features that you love and a few that you could live without. According to lactation consultant Natalie Ward, IBCLC, BS, this is to be expected. "While you might come across rave reviews online for the newest, glitzy pump on the market, it might not be the best fit for you, figuratively and literally. Each breast pump comes with pros and cons, so it is key to consider which features of the various pumps might suit your personal preferences as well as your pumping goals.”

It takes a lot of work to find the right pump, so we’ve ranked some of the best ones on the market to help you narrow down your options. 

Best Overall: Medela Pump In Style with MaxFlow Electric Breast Pump

Pros
  • Has a battery for on-the-go pumping

  • Travel bag included

  • Equipped with 10 vacuum settings

Cons
  • Requires 8 AA batteries (to run on battery power)

  • Included flanges don’t work for everyone


You get so much more than just a pump and parts with this set. Complete with four five-ounce bottles with lids, two bottle stands, four flex breast shields, a cooler bag, a cooling element, a microfiber bag, a battery pack, and a power adapter, this set is the ideal starter pack.

It has a closed tubing system so that you can be sure no milk will enter and damage the pump and it can run with a power cord from the wall or on the go with batteries. The unique two-phase expression technology starts by mimicking your baby's natural suckling motion to encourage let down while the super-powered vacuum motor delivers micro-vibrations for the most effective pumping session.

This pump is designed to be easy to use, has 10 settings, and runs very quietly.

Type: Electric with battery option | Product Weight: 5.62 pounds | Product Dimensions: 9.08 x 6.13 inches

Best Budget: Bellababy Double Electric Breast Pump

Bellababy pump
Pros
  • Budget friendly

  • Four modes with nine vacuum levels

  • Compact, lightweight design

Cons
  • Only two bottles included 

  • Is too powerful for some, causing pain

If you’re looking for a pump that isn’t manual and won’t break the bank, then this is the one for you. It’s a closed system pump with nine vacuum settings and four modes, including massage to help stimulate the breast for milk flow.

This pump features an intuitive and easy-to-use display with setting controls. Users love that it can be used with either batteries or a power cord, making it portable-friendly. If your hand-eye coordination is shaky at best, you'll love that this pump comes with two adapters designed to make pumping directly into storage bags a breeze.

Type: Electric | Product Weight: 2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 14.02 x 10.24 x 4.13 inches

Best Handsfree: Elvie Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump

Pros
  • Hands free pumping

  • App for remote control and data tracking

  • Whisper quiet and lightweight

Cons
  • On the pricier end

  • Can be difficult to get the hang of

  • Leaks show up on your clothing

If you're a lover of modern technology, then this hands-free, cord-free pump will be right up your alley. Designed to slip into your bra, simply line your nipple up with the pump and press start. If you want to control the pumps more easily, you can download an app that allows you to manage everything from your phone and also gives you the option to track and gather data on your pumping times, output, and more.

The pumps are super quiet, offer adjustable suction options, and come with four five-ounce bottles with lids, four breast shields (in two different sizes), two bra adjusters, two USB charging cables, and two carrying bags.

Type: USB/Electric | Product Weight: 0.46 pounds (each) | Product Dimensions: 3 x 2.56 inches (each)

Best Manual: Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump
Pros
  • Lightweight and portable

  • Easy to use

  • Dishwasher safe

Cons
  • Requires manual pumping

  • No suction setting options, so may be painful for some

This manual breast pump is a fan favorite because it’s easy to use, comfortable, and effective. It’s made from silicone, so it’s dishwasher safe and comfortable on the breast. It can hold up to four ounces of milk and is incredibly easy to use.

Thanks to the very lightweight and compact material, it can fit into a purse or car console for transport. Finally, the design also allows you to use the pump as a milk catcher for letdown during nursing sessions.

Type: Manual | Product Weight: 0.6 pounds | Product Dimensions: 8 x 4 inches

Best Hospital Grade: Medela Symphony Breast Pump

Pros
  • Mimics a baby’s natural sucking

  • Whisper quiet

  • Simple knob control to increase or decrease suction

Cons
  • Hefty investment

  • Large and heavy

  • Requires a pumping kit, which is sold separately

If you’re willing to invest the money into a hospital-grade breast pump, then you can’t go wrong with this model. It uses Medela’s patented two-phase expression which closely mimics a baby’s natural sucking, allowing for better stimulation and milk flow during pumping sessions.

To use the pump, you need to purchase the Medela Symphony Double Pumping Kit separately and you cannot use other brands with universal designs as they can cause serious damage to the pump. While the price can be a bit jarring, this pump can be rented instead of outright purchased.

Type: Electric | Product Weight: 7.5 pounds | Product Dimensions: 10.25 x  8.25 x 12.5 inches

Best Electric: Spectra S1 Plus Double Electric Breast Pump

Pros
  • Includes a rechargeable battery for on the go pumping

  • Extremely quiet

  • Strong, effective suction

Cons
  • Some customers are unhappy with its longevity

  • Settings/controls are a bit complex for some

Ideal for single or double breast pumping, users love that it can be plugged in or run off of a rechargeable battery. In addition to the pump and tubing, this set also comes with handy accessories like two wide neck bottles, two backflow protectors, two duckbill valves, four flanges in two different sizes, a removable power cord, and a rechargeable battery.

This pump offers two-phase expression technology to closely mimic a baby’s natural sucking, an adjustable control system with an LED screen, electronic memory control, and a timer and nightlight.

Type: Electric | Product Weight: 3 pounds | Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.5 inches

Best Milk Catcher: Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Milk Collector

Pros
  • Made from soft, comfortable silicone

  • Dishwasher Safe

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • May be too small for larger nipples

  • Can feel bulky in a bra

When you’re not breastfeeding or pumping, swap out your breast pads with milk catchers. Simply slip Haakaa's milk caters into your bra, covering your nipples, and press them gently to securely seal them. Anytime you let down throughout the day, the lightweight, silicone cups will safely catch your milk so not a drop goes to waste.

Each catcher is designed with a small plug on the top to make it easy to squeeze and pour the milk into a storage container, and they also feature little feet along the bottom to ensure there are no spills when it’s sitting on a flat surface waiting to be transported into a storage container.

Type: Milk catcher | Product Weight: 0.13 pounds | Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.75 x 3 inches (each)

Best Portable: Medela Swing Breast Pump

Pros
  • Option for electric or battery power

  • Lightweight and compact

  • Adjustable settings

Cons
  • Single pump design

  • Suction power isn’t strong enough for everyone

  • Somewhat pricey for what it is

Chances are very high that you’ll need to pump on the go from time to time, and this little pump is built to help you do just that. It’s a single electric breast pump (so you have to pump each breast separately, not simultaneously) that can be powered by an outlet or with four AA batteries (not included).

The compact design is so small that you can clip it to your belt and walk around while it does the pumping. It features adjustable settings, a letdown button to help you get more milk, and a super quiet motor for discrete pumping sessions. It also comes with a carrying bag, two five-ounce bottles with lids, a neck strap to carry the pump around hands-free, and a breast shield.

Type: Electric | Product Weight: 2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 3.43 x 9.63 inches

Final Verdict

The Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump (view at Amazon) ranks highest on our list for its size, ease of use, quiet functions, and all of the accessories that come with the pump.

What to Look for When Buying a Breast Pump 

Portability and Noise

If you're headed back to work outside of your home or want to maintain your pumping schedule when you're out and about, making sure your pump is portable-friendly is essential. Lactation consultant, Natalie Ward, IBCLC, BS, suggests asking yourself the following questions: How portable is the pump? Is it heavy or bulky? Does it fit easily into a bag or purse? Is it so small that you are liable to accidentally crush it in your bag or during your commute?

The type of portable pump that you will need will be partially contingent on where you're headed. You'll like want something electric but compact to go to work with to speed up your pumping sessions while the silicone Haakaa manual pump may be ideal for throwing in your diaper bag while running errands.

Breast pumps can be very noisy, which can be particularly bothersome if you’re trying to discreetly pump while you’re at work or out in public, so it’s a good idea to do some research and read reviews to find out how loud the pump is. Ward suggests specifically looking into the noise level of the pump on higher settings, as that’s when it’s working the hardest. 

Type

There are several different kinds of pumps available and a lot of them have different power sources (or none at all). The best style for you depends entirely on your lifestyle and how you plan to use it. 

Hospital Grade

If you deliver your baby at the hospital, they will most likely have a pump in the room that you can use while you’re recovering. These pumps are considered hospital grade because they’re more powerful and designed to handle constant use, and they’re often larger and less portable. While you will most commonly find them in hospitals, these pumps are available for anyone to purchase or rent. Many choose to rent them since they can be quite a financial investment.

Manual

Manual breast pumps are great for keeping in your bag or car in case you find yourself engorged or needing to pump but you don’t have access to your electric pump. Every model is a little different, but all of them require you to power the pump manually with your hand. Typically, these are single pumps which means that you have to pump each breast separately.

Electric

This is the most common type of pump and uses electric power, either from batteries, a USB port, or an outlet, to run the motor. Most of them are similar to hospital-grade but smaller for portability and general ease of use. Some more recent models, however, attach to the breast and can be worn so you can move around while pumping hands-free. 

Milk Catchers

These aren’t actually pumps, but they’re designed to collect your milk throughout the day so you don’t waste a single drop. They’re meant to be worn instead of breast pads so that when your breasts leak throughout the day the milk is collected and can be transferred to a bottle or freezer bag. 

Depending on the style pump you get, Ward suggests considering the following questions: “What kind of power source does the pump require? Does it have to be plugged into the wall? Can it be recharged with a power cord? Can it be charged via USB? Does it take batteries in case you live in an area that is prone to storms or power outages? If it is rechargeable/takes batteries, how long does the battery life last?”

Price

Breast pumps can be quite an investment depending on the type of pump that it is and the brand. The good news is that there are several options at varying price points that can fit just about any budget out there. Moreover, the more expensive options and hospital-grade units are available to rent rather than buy outright, which can be ideal if you don't plan on using it for an extended time period.

The most affordable way to obtain a breast pump is through your health insurance. According to Healthcare.gov, health insurance providers are required to cover the costs of a breast pump. Keep in mind, however, that your exact plan will specify the type of pump they will cover (electric or manual), the length of a rental, and whether the pump will arrive before or after you've given birth.

Check with your healthcare provider for specific details to help you properly plan.

Ease of Use

No matter what, most breast pumps will require you to read the instruction manual to figure out how to successfully use it. That being said, you don’t want something that you have to read the instructions every time you pull it out because it’s so complex you can’t remember how to make it work.

On the flip side, if it’s an electric pump, you’re going to want one that has different settings, so if all you have to do is push a power button without any settings, it’s probably a little too easy to use (and won’t be as effective). Questions Ward suggests asking yourself include: “How complex is the pump features-wise? Are there so many buttons/bells and whistles that you feel lost? Is it so basic that the settings can’t be adjusted to produce let-downs/optimal milk removal?”

FAQs

When should I start using my breast pump?

When you should start using your breast pump depends on your breastfeeding goals and personal journey. If your plan is to exclusively pump or if your baby is in the NICU and is unable to nurse, pumping very soon after delivery would be ideal.

However, if your goal is to exclusively breastfeed and it’s going well for you, then there is no rush to start pumping since feeding your baby is going to be what helps your milk come in and your supply to increase. If you’re having difficulty breastfeeding, you should consult with a lactation expert to decide when is the right time to start using your pump. 

How often should I clean my breast pump?

Electric pumps are designed in a way that the only parts that get exposed to breastmilk are attachments that can be removed easily for cleaning. According to the CDC, all attachments that come in contact with milk, like flanges, valves, membranes, connectors, and milk collection bottles, should be thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible after every pumping session.

If you’re using a manual breast pump or wearable pumps, this same rule applies to any part that is exposed to breast milk. Check your pump's instructions to determine if the parts are dishwasher safe, otherwise washing with warm soapy water can get the job done.

When it comes to the pump itself, there is minimal cleaning necessary. “The pump itself should not need cleaning very often other than the occasional dusting or wiping with a damp cloth,” says Ward, “[and] it should not be because milk has entered any part of the pump.” However, if you are using a shared device, the machine should be wiped down before you use it.

How do I know which pump will work for me? 

“When selecting a breast pump it is important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect pump,” says Ward. That being said, she explains that the most important thing to focus on is how the flanges fit. “If the flanges are not properly fitting, this can cause pain and abrasion to the nipple as well as the potential for minimal output,” she adds.

As for the pump itself, it’s often not clear whether or not a pump is a right fit for someone until they’ve been able to use it a few times, so there’s no way to know for sure if it will work before you actually try it out. 

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. She has personal experience in researching and purchasing a variety of women’s and children’s products and key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include design and user reviews.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Breastfeeding Benefits. Healthcare.gov.

  2. How to keep your breast pump kit clean: the essentials | healthy childcare | hygiene | healthy water | cdc.