Spectra offers two fantastic breast pumps for exclusively pumping – the S1 and the S2. What are the differences, and which one is right for you? Here are the features of each pump, and what you need to know to choose between the two Spectra breast pumps.
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What factors should you consider in choosing a breast pump?
Buying a breast pump – especially if you are planning on exclusively pumping – is a huge commitment, and kind of nerve-wracking. You’re going to be spending two hours a day hooked up to your pump, but often you have to buy it without trying it out or seeing it in person. When I got my last pump through insurance, I spent two hours staring at the website trying to figure out which one I should get.
The best way to determine to which pump you want is to think about what is most important to you. That might be mobility (whether or not an electric outlet is required), noise (being able to pump while you’re on the phone), usability (features like timers), or price. Also, talking to people who have used the pump before to get an idea of their experience is really helpful. For this post, I interviewed three Spectra users from our Facebook group to get their thoughts.
What features do both the Spectra S1 and S2 breast pumps have?
The S1 and S2 Spectra models are double electric breast pumps. (A “double” pump means that you can pump both breasts at the same time using it.) Each has a “massage mode” to help with the letdown reflex, and an “expression mode” for once your milk has let down.
The following features are included with both models:
- An auto-timer (which I have always found really useful for knowing when I should stop pumping).
- A backlight, so you can see the settings and the timer in the dark.
- Adjustable suction control.
- The ability to check and see how many hours you’ve pumped
- A two year warranty from date of purchase.
How are the Spectra S1 and Spectra S2 models different?
There are two differences – rechargeable battery and size.
- The S1 has a rechargeable battery; the S2 does not.
- The S2 is slightly smaller than the S1.
There is a comparison chart here that may be helpful.
What are the pros to getting a Spectra Breast Pump?
The three biggest advantages to Spectra pumps cited by users that I interviewed in the Facebook group were comfort, noise level, and customer service.
Many Spectra users said that what they liked most about their pump was that it was much gentler than other pumps they’d used. “I liked it much better compared to my Pump in Style because it was kinder to my nipples,” said Lisa, who used the S1.
Michelle said, “My experience is it’s much softer than my other pump. I didn’t get more output, but it made the experience so much better.”
Pump Noise (or lack thereof)
The Spectra website states that the pumps are about 45 decibels, which is somewhere between a computer and refrigerator in terms of noise level. Cari, a Spectra S2 user, said, “I would use it while on conference calls at work and no one knew.”
Everyone that I interviewed said that Spectra customer service was very responsive and helpful. Many people suggested reaching out for help on Facebook messenger.
“When my pump lost suction, they sent me new tubing and a new pump overnight. They said compare both and decide which I wanted to keep,” said Cari.
Are there any cons to Spectra Breast Pumps?
One disadvantage that was noted with regard to Spectra breast pumps is that it can be difficult to find replacement parts in stores – in most cases, you can’t run to Target and pick them up like you can with some other brands.
How do the Spectra pumps compare to Medela pumps?
The S1 and the Medela Freestyle are pretty comparable, given that they each have a rechargeable battery and are both reasonably easy to move around with. (The Freestyle has a clip you can attach to your pants, and the S1 has a handle.)
The S2 is more equivalent to the Medela Pump in Style, given the need for an outlet. Here is a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of the Pump in Style and the Spectra S2.
If you’re buying your breast pump out of pocket, the Medela pumps are generally at a higher price point than the Spectra pumps. Prices fluctuate but generally the Medela pumps are $50-$80 more than the comparable Spectra pumps.
What if you already have a Medela pump?
If you already have a Medela Pump in Style (or a different pump that uses PISA pump parts), it is possible to use Medela pump parts with a Spectra. Here is information on a few hacks to make this work.
This can be useful if you want to continue to use your old pump parts versus buying all new sets, or if you prefer Medela pump parts. (Some women prefer pump parts with a separate flange and connector – it can make using a hands-free pumping bra easier, for example.)
So what’s the bottom line? Should I get a Spectra S1 or S2?
For an exclusive pumper, a rechargeable battery makes life so much easier. When you’re just pumping at work, it’s fine to be tied to an outlet in the lactation room – but when you are exclusively pumping, you need to be able to pump at home, at work, in an airport, etc. Therefore, I’d highly recommend choosing the S1.
If your insurance only covers an S2, check and see if they offer the option to upgrade. Some insurance companies offer basic pumps free through insurance, as well as the ability to pay the price difference between the basic pump and an upgraded pump.
(If this isn’t possible, another option is to get a portable battery pack for your S2.)
Most medical device companies (I recommend Aeroflow Breastpumps) will walk you through this process.
If you’ve used any of the Spectra pumps, please feel free to chime in with your experience in the comments!References
- Spectra Baby Australia. “Check the Total Hours on your S1 or S2.” https://spectra-baby.com.au/buying-second-hand-breast-pump/
- Spectra Baby USA. “Compare Spectra Electric Breast Pumps.” https://www.spectrababyusa.com/store/s1plus/
- Noise Help. “Noise Level Chart.” https://www.noisehelp.com/noise-level-chart.html
- Interview with Spectra breast pump users (Lisa, Michelle, and Cari). Conducted 5/21/18.