Are you looking to buy an electric breast pump, but don’t know which features are most suited to you? Our breast pump buying guide is here to help you wade through all the different types of pump to find the best breast pump, which suits all your needs. You can also read our extensive reviews on
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Electric Breast Pump Guide
1. Which grade of pump do you need?
Electric breast pumps have two grading systems, hospital grade and personal use. Hospital grade breast pumps are heavy duty with a powerful suction system. These breast pumps are very expensive to buy so you may need to rent or loan one from your hospital. This type of pump is recommended to those who may have serious problems establishing a milk supply, e.g premature babies, special care babies and mums with medical conditions which affect milk supply. Hospital grade pumps are mostly double pumps to minimise the time you will spend pumping.
Yuor breast pump will be met by using a personal use pump , however you may have already been advised to use a hospital grade pump from your health care professional. Breast pump technology has advanced quickly over the last few years and you are now being offered more powerful, portable and comfortable pumps available at affordable prices.
Best Rated Hospital Grade Pump: Spectra S1
2. How often will you pump?
Pumping once/twice a week: You should opt for a economy electric breast pump. This will be the smallest and cheapest of a brands range as they are designed to be used infrequently. The downside is these are often single pumps with a low suction rate. If you intend to pump both breast in one pumping session then it will take double the time as you will need to pump one side then repeat on the other. It’s false economy to buy an economy pump for high usage as the motor will burn out quickly and you’ll need to replace it sooner.
Best rated pump for infrequent use: Medela Mini Electric
Pumping once/twice a day: You want a mid range electric breast pump. These pumps will have a stronger motor and can be single or double pump to decrease pumping time.
Best rated for occasional use:Medela Swing
Pumping 2-5 times a day: You should choose a top-end pump. These models will not be as expensive as a hospital grade pump, however they are equipt to deal with high frequency use. If you plan on expressing when you return to work look out for models which come with car chargers or extra battery packs.
Best rated for regular use: ARDO Calypso
Exclusive Pumping (5-12 times a day): You need a hospital grade home pump. Exclusive pumping will use up a lot of your time. Buy a double breast pump with effective suction will free up a lot of your precious time by expressing your milk faster.
Best rated for exclusive pumping: Medela Symphony
3. How much time do you have?
Did you know that ’emptying’ all the milk from one breast can take from 10-30 minutes? If you plan to use a pump more than twice a day then you will spend at least 1 hour of your day expressing. A breast pump with an adjustable suction cycle and double pumping facility will stimulate your milk supply and cut down your pumping time dramatically. Double pumps are essential if you have twins or triplets.
Best rated Double Breast Pump: ARDO Calypso Double
4. What’s your budget?
You can get electric breast pumps to suit any budget ranging from £45 right up to £300. Please be aware that if you are considering borrowing or buying a second-hand personal use pump (especially if the seller is unknown to you) this may present a health risk and voids the warranty in a single user pump.
A general guide for breast pump prices:
- Budget electric breast pumps range from RRP £40 – £79 – Best Rated: Babytec Electric Breast Pump
- Mid Range electric breast pumps range from RRP £80-£199 – Best Rated: Haberman Lovi
- Top Grade Electric breast pumps range from RRP £200-500 – Best Rated: Medela Swing Maxi
5. Do you need to carry it around?
If you intend on be travelling a lot or taking the pump to work everyday you need a breast pump which rates high for portability. A lightweight model which comes with accessories such as a carry bag or a milk storage case will save you money from having to buy these as extras.
Best rated portable pump: Medela Freestyle
6. How noisy is the pump?
Do you need a pump which is discreet for using at work. Would a noisy pump make you tense and unable to relax? Some pumps can be quite noisy so ensure the pump you choose scores highly for noise level. Expressing milk only works really when when you feel relaxed. If you find the pump sounds irritating it will prevent the release of your good hormones which help your milk to flow
Best rated pump for noise: Ameda Lactaline
7. How easy is it to assemble and clean?
If you are using the pump frequently you will want a model that is easy to assemble and clean. Loads of little fiddly parts are a pain to put back together and you’ll run out of patience very quickly. A breast pump which is easy to assemble and clean is a priority for you. A clear and simple to read instruction manual is essential, or you will be left wondering why the thingy-ma-bob isn’t connecting to the whatcha-ma-callit!
Best rated pump for easy assembly: Medela Swing
8. How is it powered?
Do you intend on travelling a lot? Have you thought about what happens if there is a power cut? Some models come with a battery option or a car power adaptor, which is great if you’re not near, or have no access to a main power source. This option is also useful if you’ll be pumping ad-hoc or at work.
Best rated pump for power sources: Ameda Lactaline
9. Does it have comfort features?
Do you have really sensitive nipples? You will be able to choose your own suction rate and speed with a model which has an adjustable suction rate, making expressing more comfortable for you. Regardless all mums need to be relaxed to allow milk to flow when breastfeeding and pumping otherwise you’ll get very little milk. If the suction strength is too high this will cause you to feel pain when pumping and result in a low milk supply. To increase your comfort levels, look for a pump which has a range of different sized flanges.
Best rated pump for comfort: Philips AVENT Comfort