The 8 Best Manual Breast Pumps of 2021

Express milk without electricity with these top-picks

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Verywell Family

For breastfeeding mothers, pumps are essential because they allow you to express your breast milk when you are away from the baby so that you don’t experience pain or engorgement. There are two different types of breast pumps: electric and manual. They each have their own benefits, but having a manual breast pump on hand is always helpful for unexpected situations.

Before heading out to buy a manual pump, research options that are ideal for your breast size to ensure that each pumping session is comfortable and efficient. Also, consider when you’ll be using your manual pump. If you plan on keeping it in your diaper bag or work purse, a compact option would be ideal.

Since it can be tricky to decipher what specific pump is best, we’ve rounded up some of the best options on the market to help you out.

Our Top Picks
You’ll be able to easily carry this pump around because it is lightweight and small.
It's great for not only pumping but also for getting your milk to start flowing.
The silicone breast shield gently and comfortably attaches to the breast and also allows the pump to be virtually silent.
With an easy-to-use handle pump that pivots, it makes it comfortable to hold on both the left and right sides.
This pump comes with a 100 percent silicone breast shield that is made to conform to your body.
Best for Milk Catching:
Elvie Elvie Curve at Amazon
By far one of the most unique designs, it's worn directly on the breast inside the bra and allows for hands-free expression.
Not only is this a budget-friendly manual pump, but it’s also super easy to use because it’s one piece.
Made for optimum comfort, it's designed with an angled breast shield that has a soft, textured cushion.

Best Overall: Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

New Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
Pros
  • Two-phase stimulation technology

  • PersonalFit shield for better milk production

Cons
  • O-Ring may have to be replaced

This lightweight and compact pump will be your go-to for pumping on the go. It has an oval-shaped shield with a padded rim and a 105-degree angle so that you can easily find the right fit for your body. It also uses “two-phase” technology to closely mimic a baby’s natural sucking so that it won’t interfere with your regular breastfeeding routine. The pump is designed with a handle, diaphragm, and stem with an “o-ring” to make manual pumping easier.

The soft and flexible rim of the PersonalFit shield is clinically proven to make every pumping session more efficient and produce more milk. The set comes with one 5-ounce bottle, a lid and stand, one harmony connector, one valve, and one membrane.

What Our Editors Say

"This manual pump was a must for me when I was on-the-go and didn't know if I could plug in. I've used this in the bathroom at weddings and even on an airplane. I always got the same amount of milk as I did with my electric pump, plus a hand workout." Dwyer Frame, VP of Commerce

Best for Letdown: Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump, Hand Pump for Breastfeeding

Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump, Hand Pump
Pros
  • Stimulation and expression modes

  • Two breast shields

Cons
  • Noisy

This pump has two different modes, stimulation and expression, so it is great for not only pumping but also for getting your milk to start flowing. It has an easy-to-use design with a handle for pumping and comes with two different-sized breast shields to help you find the one that fits you best.

You also get one pump, a NaturalWave nipple, cap, collar, wide-neck bottles that are compatible with Lansinoh’s electric pump, as well as a few non-leak milk storage bags.

What Our Editors Say

"The Lansinoh pump is easy to use and has two suction modes for letdown and the rest of your pumping session. I especially love that you can easily pump straight into the brand's milk storage bags—a game-changer for pumping on-the-go! I've used this on car rides and at a concert." —Ashleigh Morley, Editorial Director of Verywell Family Commerce

Best for Travel: Tommee Tippee Made for Me Single Manual Breast Pump

Tommee Tippee Made for Me Manual Breast Pump
Pros
  • 5-ounce feeding bottle included

  • Quiet pump

Cons
  • Lot of parts to clean

If you’re looking for a small pump you can easily carry around with you, it’s this one. It has a silicone breast shield that gently and comfortably attaches to the breast and also allows the pump to be virtually silent.

The pump has an ergonomically designed squeeze handle to make the process of expressing milk easier on your hand. The set comes with one 5-ounce feeding bottle with a slow flow nipple.

Best for Large Nipples: Evenflo Advanced Manual Breast Pump

Evenflo Advanced Manual Breast Pump
Pros
  • Two flanges included

  • Pivoting pump

Cons
  • Many parts to clean and assemble

With this manual breast pump, you get both a 24.5-millimeter flange and a 30.5-millimeter flange, which is helpful for a person who needs something that will accommodate larger nipples. If those two sizes don't work, there are four additional size options you can purchase separately.

It has a lightweight, compact design with an easy-to-use handle pump that pivots so it’s comfortable to hold on both the left and right sides. The pump also comes completely apart so that you can easily clean every crevice without worry.

Best for Small Nipples: Dr. Brown's Manual Breast Pump with Softshape Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's Manual Breast Pump with Softshape Silicone Shield
Pros
  • Comes with 5-ounce bottle

  • Mimics baby's natural feeding

Cons
  • More expensive option

Designed with a 100 percent silicone breast shield, this pump is made to conform to your body and stay comfortable while you use it. It has an easy-to-use squeeze handle, two pumping modes to mimic a baby’s natural feeding, and all of the parts are top-rack dishwasher safe.

Along with the pump, you get one 5-ounce Dr. Brown’s wide neck bottle with a level-1 nipple, a wide neck cap, and a cleaning brush for when you need to handwash the pieces.

Best for Milk Catching: Elvie Elvie Curve

Elvie Curve Manual Wearable Breast Pump
Pros
  • Hands-free

  • Catches milk

Cons
  • Expensive

By far one of the most unique designs, this silicone manual breast pump is worn directly on the breast inside the bra and allows for hands-free expression. It is able to collect up to 4 ounces of milk at a time and gives you the ability to control the level of suction it uses.

After you’ve pumped, it is designed to stably sit on its front to prevent spilling any milk. Finally, there are only two parts to this breast pump and they are both dishwasher-safe.

Best Budget: Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump
Pros
  • One piece

  • Lightweight and portable

Cons
  • Initial learning curve

Not only is this a budget-friendly manual pump, but it’s also super easy to use because it’s one piece. It’s made from 100 percent soft silicone and all you have to do to attach it to the breast is squeeze the bottle at the bottom, rest your breast in the shield, and release the bottle to create suction, then you just repeat as needed until you’ve sufficiently pumped.

It can hold up to 4 ounces of milk, is designed for comfort, and is dishwasher and hot water safe.

What Our Editors Say

"I used this in the morning on the opposite side than where my baby was feeding and I was able to get a few ounces and build a stash of foremilk for when I went back to work. I would also keep this by my bed in case my baby slept longer and I needed to release some milk. I had to watch videos to learn how to keep it on." —Dwyer Frame, VP of Commerce

Best Pump & Bottle Combo: Philips Avent Breast SCF330/30 Pump Manual, Clear

Philips Avent Breast SCF330/30 Pump Manual
Pros
  • Comes with a bottle and nipple

  • Minimal parts for easy cleaning

Cons
  • Squeaky

This breast pump is designed for optimum comfort with an angled breast shield that has a soft, textured cushion to create a secure fit and stimulate the nipple for feeding. It has an easy-to-use grip handle to do the pumping and it comes with an Avent bottle, which is perfect if you’re using those bottles with your baby at home.

Finally, there are only a few parts to this pump, making it simple to put together and to take apart to clean.

Final Verdict

All of these breast pumps have their advantages but the Medela Harmony Breast Pump (view at Amazon) ranks highest for us because of its ease of use and thoughtful design.

What to Look for When Buying a Manual Breast Pump

Fit/Fit Options

You want to have a pump that is as comfortable as possible, so look for something that is either made for your breast size or that comes with different shield options so that you can find the best fit. The pump won’t work if it doesn’t create a strong suction/hold on your breast, so fit is extremely important. 

If you have larger breasts, it is a good idea to opt for a pump that is compatible with multiple flanges size options.

Hygiene

It’s important to find a pump that is easy to thoroughly clean because bacteria can quickly grow and then get passed on to the baby through the milk. Look for something that is easy to take apart or is one big piece without a lot of crevices to get into. To aid in killing possible bacteria, choosing a manual pump that is dishwasher safe can ensure that it is squeaky clean after each use.

Efficacy

Breast pumps are only good if they are able to express milk from your breast, so you’ll want to be sure to read through user reviews to get an idea of efficacy. Some pumps may have a slight learning curve while others may be straightforward and easy to use right out of the box. Either way, if you aren't able to use the pump properly, you won't get the full benefits. If possible, shop from retailers with flexible return policies in case the one you purchase doesn’t work for you.

Size 

Chances are high that you’ll be carrying this pump around with you so that you have it on hand in case you need it, so make sure it’s made of durable materials and is a size that is easy to tote around. Whether you're pumping at work, at a friend's house, or during a store run, having a manual pump that is compact and lightweight is ideal.

FAQs

How do you use a manual pump? 

Exact instructions depend on the style of pump you get, but generally speaking, manual breast pumps work by creating suction through squeezing and releasing the pump while the breast shield is pressed up against the areola and nipple. If you only have one pump, you’ll want to switch breasts about every five minutes during your session. 

How do you sterilize a manual breast pump?

The CDC recommends taking the pump completely apart (if applicable) and thoroughly rinsing each individual piece. If your breast pump is dishwasher friendly, then you can pop it in there. If it is,t you can wash it by hand using hot soapy water. If you’re handwashing, make sure you’re using a brush that you only use for cleaning bottles, then rinse the pieces again and let them air dry.

To further sterilize it, you can place the pump in a pot of boiling water for five minutes before letting it air dry (however, check your pump’s manufacturer’s guide before you do this). 

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 products that are essential to motherhood. Key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include functionality and purchaser reviews.

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1 Source
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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to keep your breast pump kit clean: the essentials. Updated July 8, 2020.