Spectra vs Medela: Which is the Better Breast Pump?

When it comes to the all of the breast pump brands on the market, Spectra and Medela often stand out among the best. We decided to try out these two machines so we could break down and compare Spectra vs Medela for mamas like you!

Having a breast pump is a necessity for many moms in today’s world. Whether it is storing for future feedings or pumping for work, there are so many reasons to have a breast pump. 

Here’s What We Took into Consideration When Rating the Spectra vs Medela

In this article, we will be comparing the Medela Pump In Style vs Spectra S2. Our reviews will be based on the following categories which are important to consider when choosing a breast pump:

  • Strength
  • Portability
  • Noise
  • Ease of Use
  • Price

The Breakdown: Spectra vs Medela

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 MaxFlow (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 moms on their breastfeeding journeys. This comparison will focus on the Spectra S2 Plus.

Let’s get into it!

Category Winners


Your breast pump strength (and the ability to adjust it) is extremely important. Features such as adjustment dials and buttons will help you find the strength or suction that is comfortable for you. Both the Pump in Style and the S2 have letdown modes to get your milk flowing and stronger modes for optimal expression.

When on the hunt for the perfect pump, you will probably see the term “hospital grade” thrown around a lot. This refers to the power of the pump’s suction, but here’s the kicker… there is no standard for what hospital grade actually is. This is important to keep in mind when looking at different pumps!

Here’s what we think about both when it comes to strength:

  • Pump In Style by Medela is categorized as a hospital grade pump and has a suction level of 30 to 270 mmHg. I love that this pump has a Two-Phase Expression Mode process which mimics the natural suction of a baby. It feels really similar to breastfeeding in my opinion. The Pump In Style has also 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. This pump has adjustable suction. Despite its power, it is also 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 strength of the Medela breast pump wins out. This breast pump is a great option for mom’s looking to power pump to increase their milk supply. 

Noise Level

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.

Here’s what we think about both the noise levels of the Spectra and Medela breast pumps:

  • The Medela Pump In Style is one of the noisiest pumps out there. Hospital-grade pumps tend to generate more volume, and this one is no exception. One perk; it will signal your co-worked to the fact that you’re pumping so that they will leave you alone!
  • The Spectra S2 is impressively quiet. Whether you are in the privacy of your home or your 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: Spectra S2

Unless you want the world to know that you are in the midst of a pumping session, the quiet strength of the S2 takes the win.


Babies are easily portable and can be fed just about anywhere, but the same hasn’t always been true of breast pumps. Until recent years, breast pumps would keep moms tied to an outlet. Luckily, today’s breast pumps are way more flexible and sometimes even hands-free!

Here’s what we think about both when it comes to portability:

  • The Pump in Style is easily portable. It comes with a stylish bag that 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 even unpacking it. The Pump in Style also has a battery pack (it takes 8 AA batteries) so that you can use the pump without 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.
Rookie Mom Gabriela pictured with limited time Rebecca Minkoff x Medela Pump and Baby Bag
  • 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. You will also have to buy the car adaptor separately. The advantage is that the weight of the pump is three pounds, less 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. However, 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.

Ease of Use

If it is complicated to set up, use, or clean… you won’t use your pump effectively if even at all. Cleanliness and extra features are things that are really important to consider when comparing breast pumps. 

Here’s what we think about both when it comes to ease of use:

  • The Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow 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.
  • The Spectra S2 is a closed system pump. This prevents milk from back flowing 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.

A word from our Rookie Mom Squad: Rookie Mom Gabriela says that The 2-Phase Expression Technology is what makes the Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow so easy to use. 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 without a power outlet.

Ease of Use Category Winner: Tie

In this case of the Spectra breast pump vs Medela breast pump, we are calling it 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.

Price Comparison

A breast pump can be a big investment for new parents, so finding a pump that fits their needs is important. The value of the pump comes from all of the categories mentioned above as well as the warranty for the pump and parts. 

We do have so good news. You might be able to get your breast pump COMPLETELY COVERED by your insurance. Learn if you qualify for a Medela or Spectra breast pump here!

Here’s what we think about both when it comes to price:

  • 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.
Shop the Medela Pump In Style

  • The Spectra S2 sells for $172. 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.
Shop the Spectra S2

The Final Verdict: Which Breast Pump is Better?

There are pros and cons to both the Medela Pump In Style and Spectra S2. After trying them both out and going into these in-depths reviews, I would have to say my favorite is the Medela Pump In Style.

The Medela is great for quick sessions, easy to use, and can easily be taken on the go. My absolute favorite thing is that you can use it without having to find an outlet because it has the battery pack. If you are on the go often like me, the Medela Pump In Style is the best choice for you.

If you need a quiet breast pump or are looking for a more affordable option, the Spectra S2 is a great choice. It also has the longer warranty of the two. If you are planning to have babies close together, the fact the warranty lasts longer is a huge perk.

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. 


Is Spectra better than Medela?

If you are looking for a light-weight, quiet pump then Spectra is better than Medela. However, Medela pumps do tend to have stronger hospital grade strength.

Is Spectra or Medela easier to clean?

The Spectra breast pump is easier to clean. The Spectra S2 is a closed system pump preventing milk from back flowing into the tubing that can lead to bacteria and making this a very hygienic pump.

Which breast pump is closest to hospital grade?

Any double electric pump is going to be fairly similar to a hospital grade pump. The Medela Pump in Style is one of my favorites.

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