The 10 best breast pumps 2019
Breastfeeding can be an emotionally complex time, so a little help can go a long way. In our mission to help new mums, we've researched and tested the best breast pumps on the market. Here are our breast pump reviews.
While not all parents find that they need a breast pump, there are many reasons why you might decide to use one. You may need to relieve engorgement, boost milk supply, express at work, or want to share feeding duties with a partner or family member.
But even when you’ve decided that a pump is the right choice for you, it can be hard to know which one to choose. We spoke to parents and experts to find the best value products for most mums.
How we chose the best pumps
In our effort to find the best of the best, we commissioned Alison Williams, a journalist and mum of two, to review the top breast pumps. Having grown-up children, she has experienced almost every stage of parenthood and, as a journalist, has written articles on a wide variety of parenting subjects including baby car seats for Mumsnet.
Alison spent 18 hours conducting research to find out which products real mums were recommending. This included manual pumps, single and double electric pumps.
She scoured the Mumsnet Talk boards, talked to experts (including Rachele Lowe, a breastfeeding counsellor from La Leche League and Emma Pickett, chair of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and an International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners lactation consultant) and looked at new and exciting products as well as those with the best reputation.
How real-life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique
After narrowing down the list of recommendations to 15 products, she partnered with parent tester, Sam, a mum to newborn twins and a seven-year-old who put each pump to the test over a period of four months.
While it would, of course, be quicker and cheaper to send each product out to a different tester, we believe that consistent scoring and like-for-like comparisons are crucial.
During testing, the products were scored on six key areas: safety and stability, assembly, day-to-day use, cleanliness, aesthetics and value for money. Analysing the feedback and the scores, the results are in. Here are the best breast pumps for most parents.
Watch our video round-up
1. Ardo Calypso Double Plus: Best Double Electric Breast Pump
This pump has turned out to be a lifesaver.
Totally customisable, with no less than 64 different suction levels, we think that the Ardo Calypso Double Plus is the best double electric breast pump for 2019 and the best to use if you're expressing with twins.
The clear digital display and three breast shield sizes means you can express in comfort whatever time of day it is, so it's ideal for discreet pumping or night feeds.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- An efficient and sturdy hospital-grade pump that's simple to use
- Mechanism is really quiet despite being powerful
- In the no-guarantees world of expressing, we reckon the Ardo Calypso is as close to a sure bet as you can get
Great for parents who
- Want to express frequently, but mostly at home
- Have twins
- Transitions from a single to double pump with ease
- Used widely in hospitals and milk banks – it’s WHO code-compliant and ethically-produced
- Dishwasher-safe (consumable parts only)
- Can be sterilised using an electric, microwave or cold water steriliser
- Not visually appealing – looks a bit clinical
- Portable, but not compact
- Expect some fiddling before you find the settings that suit you perfectly
Warranty: one year with an extended guarantee for up to 400 hours use
Additional sized breast shields (22 mm and 36 mm) available to purchase online
2. Medela Harmony: Best Manual Breast Pump
The Medela Harmony is small, quiet and easy to use. I went to the cinema with friends and actually pumped out a full bottle without anyone noticing!
Looking for a serviceable pump costing not much more than your fortnightly nappy bill? Meet the Medela Harmony manual breast pump.
While this model might not be ideal for parents who want to express frequently throughout the day (Medela's electric model, the Medela Swing, may be more suitable here), this tiny, low-budget product still feels high-quality – and it won't break the bank as you start your pumping journey either.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- An attractive, but effective, manual pump
- At less than £30, it's an affordable option for the majority of parents
- Portable and slimline
Great for parents who
- Only want to express every now and then
- Are on a tight budget
- Quiet and discreet
- Comes with a Calma bottle teat, which is specifically designed to suit breastfeeding babies
- A thoughtful design, with a gentle breast stimulation mode to make expressing that little bit easier
- Open system
- Not suitable for heavy-duty expressing
- Only one bottle and breast shield supplied – replacement shields are a steep £13.99 each
Warranty: one year – consumable parts excluded
Comparatively low resale value – maximum £10
Price: £25 from Amazon
3. MAM 2-in-1: Best Breast Pump for Working Mums
I've got a MAM 2-in-1 which is brilliant. I like the fact that it has a battery so I can take it around with me if I need it.
A real game-changer for tired, busy mums, especially those who are just returning to work, the MAM 2-in-1 does as it says on the tin. It’s one pump that functions as both a manual and an electric.
While the price tag is on the higher end of the scale, which may be off-putting for some, the fact that you're getting two pumps in one makes it somewhat justifiable.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Flexible to suit different needs
- Offers the benefits of both an electric and manual pump – convenient, but simple and discreet
- Pricey, but worth the investment
Great for parents who
- Want to express on the go or at work
- Are first-timers who aren't sure which type of pump is best suited to them
- Quick and easy to switch between manual and electric
- Features simulation and expression modes that mimic a baby's natural suction speed
- Ergonomic shape
- Electric unit has a rechargeable battery
- Included storage pots means you can store your breast milk in the fridge or freezer
- Our tester found that the bottles started to leak after a few weeks' use
- Has a one-size-fits-all funnel, which could be problematic for women with larger breasts
- Only compatible with MAM bottles
Single breast pump
Warranty: two years – more than most other pumps we tested
Compatible with MAM's full range of Easy Start bottles and Food Storage pots
4. Elvie: Best Discreet Breast Pump
A friend of mine has one and it looks amazing. I ordered one as soon as I saw her use it.
The Elvie really is one-of-a-kind and offers mums something they’re crying out for – a completely hands-free breast pump that's so discreet you can't even see it.
It simply pops into your nursing bra and connects to a free app on your smartphone that allows you to monitor milk flow and track pumping history.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- A revelation for those who want to express discreetly and efficiently without being tethered to a wall
- Pricey, but worth the investment when it comes to convenience and comfort
Great for parents who
- Want a wearable breast pump that's really discreet
- Need a device small enough to fit in the palm of their hand
- Have a high budget
- Completely hands-free
- Quiet – the manufacturer says that it’s completely silent (it's not, but it isn't far off)
- Worn inside a nursing bra, but isn't bulky
- Rechargeable – no cables, so you’re completely unrestricted
- The price!
- You have to pump into the compatible Elvie bottle and then transfer the milk to another bottle to feed your baby.
Warranty: two years for the hub and a 90-day warranty for washable components
RRP: £249.00 (single); £449 (double)
Resale value fairly high at £100-£200 online
5. Lansinoh Compact: Best Single Electric Breast Pump
I've been using a Lansinoh single electric for the past two weeks as my DS won't breastfeed. It works just as well as the Medela hospital-grade I used.
With five adjustable suction and rhythm levels, mimicking the way a baby naturally feeds, the Lansinoh Compact is a comfortable, easy-to-use single electric breast pump.
The lightweight, compact hub is small enough to fit easily into a handbag or changing bag, which makes it one of the best pumps to use if you're on the move.
Verdict in 10 seconds
- A good on-the-go pump – USB-adaptable and compact, as its name suggests
- Fewer bells and whistles than other electric pumps, like the Ardo Calypso, but it still does its job well
Great for parents who
- Are returning to work
- Want a simple electric pump
- Small in size
- Easy to clean
- Easily adjustable
- Only one bottle with teat provided
- One size breast shield (25 mm)
BPA- and BPS- free
NaturalWeave® teat helps (with cap) to maintain established feeding patterns
Warranty: one year
Resale value of around £30
Price: £69 from Amazon
6. Lansinoh 2-in-1
While the Lansinoh 2-in-1 didn’t quite make our top five, it’s well worth a look if you’re after a lightweight double breast pump that won’t break the bank. At under £100, it’s much cheaper than the Ardo Calypso, and while it’s not as portable or as discreet as the Elvie, it’s a good alternative if you’re expressing at work.
- Fairly quiet and small
- Can be used with batteries (6 x AA, not included – lasts up to two hours)
- Awkward to hold unless you have a bra that can hold the pumps in place
- Short power lead means you have to sit quite close to a plug socket or use an extension cord if you’re using this without batteries
Warranty: one year on the pump mechanism; 90 days on all other components
Price: £99 from Amazon
7. Philips Avent Comfort
The Philips Avent is a little noisier than other pumps we tested, but the three suction settings are easy to adjust and the cushioned breast shields make this pump very comfortable to use. Our tester also appreciated the extra long power cable which meant she didn’t have to sit too close to the wall when expressing.
- Extra long power cable
- Noisier than other pumps we tested
- Travel bag not included
Warranty: two years
Price: £88 from Amazon
8. Medela Swing
The Medela Swing is designed to offer more flexibility than a traditional breast pump. The power pack can be clipped onto your clothing and a sling is included which holds the pump in place if you’re on the move. While it’s not 100% hands-free, our tester found it to be a good single electric breast pump that's compact enough for occasional use on the go.
- Battery operated (4 x AA batteries, not included – lasts for two to three hours)
- Only comes with one size of breast shield (medium) but there are 5 sizes available from Medela (£13.99 for a pair)
- Not as portable as the Elvie
Warranty: one year
Price: £111 from Amazon
9. Ardo Amaryll Smart
Manual pumps are handy in the early days of expressing or at night-time when you don’t want to fuss with cables or beeping machines. While it didn’t quite make our top five, the Ardo Amaryll Smart is a small and reliable manual pump that should last a long time.
- Lightweight and straightforward to use
- Only comes with one size breast shield (26mm) other sizes can be bought from Ardo
- No travel bag
Warranty: 12 months
Price: £19 from Amazon
10. Haakaa Silicone
While the Haakaa isn’t technically a breast pump, it’s such a nifty breastfeeding accessory that it deserves a place on our top 10 list. The Haakaa doesn’t require any pumping. You simply stick it to your breast while your baby feeds from the other side.
- Really useful in the early days of breastfeeding when you don’t want to lose any milk
- Very small and cord-free, so ideal when you’re on the go
- Starts to hurt a little if you use it too much
- Not a replacement for a breast pump
BPA, PVC and Phthalate-free
Price: £14 from Amazon
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What you need to know about breast pumps
They help you to express your milk so that you can feed your baby with a bottle.
How does a breast pump work?
- The flange, also known as the breast shield (the bit that’s attached to the funnel), goes over your nipple
- The pump uses suction to create a vacuum around the nipple
- The vacuum works like your baby sucking and then the milk flows down into the bottle
Manual pumps extract the milk with a lever you work yourself, while electric pumps create a rhythmic vacuum that does the work for you (hurrah!). Before use, make sure you read the instructions carefully.
Does breast pumping hurt?
Pumping shouldn't be uncomfortable, but you may experience some discomfort if the flange fit isn't quite right or if the suction strength is too high when using an electric pump.
Why buy a breast pump?
There are a number of reasons why you might decide to buy a pump. While every mum should feel happy and comfortable breastfeeding, there will be times when it won’t be possible or when you simply won’t want to. You might consider expressing milk if:
- Your baby is premature or unwell and spends time in the NICU
- You have a health condition, such as mastitis, which can make breastfeeding painful
- Your baby struggles to latch in the early days of feeding and you’re worried about how much milk they are taking in
- You return to work and want to continue breastfeeding
- You want to up your milk supply – breast pumps may help to increase milk supply through stimulation of the breast. Double breast pumps, in particular, will also yield more milk
- You want to share the feeding load
- You're worried about supply – knowing you have breast milk stored in the freezer can relieve some of the pressure that comes with breastfeeding
The different types of breast pumps
There a several different types of pumps to suit different needs. Remember that not all breast pumps suit every women. If one isn’t working for you, do try another.
1. Manual breast pumps
Manual pumps are used when milk supply is established. To use a manual pump, you squeeze a lever or a bulb to create suction, but you will need to keep squeezing to find the correct rhythm.
Manuals tend to be smaller and less noisy (most of the time) than electric pumps so they can be easier to carry around and less irritating to listen to.
They also cost less than an electric pump, so if you aren’t expressing regularly or aren’t completely sure that you want to express, then it may be better to go for a manual option first.
Manual pumps are a good choice if you’re not planning to use a pump very often and want something lightweight, easy to use and easy to assemble.
2. Manual silicone pumps
Soft silicone pumps, like the Haakaas and the NatureBonds, are more of a breastfeeding accessory than a proper pump. Cheap, small and simple to use, they suction to your boob and collect milk automatically.
They are a good choice if you want to collect milk from one breast while breastfeeding from the other.
3. Electric breast pumps
An electric pump is designed for women who have an established milk supply. They come in single and double models and work by themselves, which can be a huge time-saver for mums who regularly express.
4. Battery-operated and rechargeable breast pumps
Not as powerful as electric pumps, but, like manual models, they are usually portable and lightweight. Battery-powered and rechargeable pumps can be very discreet and easy to use on the go, unfortunately most of them, like the Elvie, come with a hefty price tag.
5. Hospital-grade breast pumps
Hospital-grade devices are more powerful than standard electric pumps. They are typically double pumps and can be used on both breasts at the same time.
They’re closed system pumps which means they are safe to be used by multiple mums – often you can rent these through your local hospital.
What’s the difference between an open and closed system?
All pumps will have some sort of tubing that connects the pump to its milk collection parts.
In a closed system pump, the milk can’t get into the tubing. This means that the pump is easier to keep clean, can be used for future children and can even be sold or passed on when you’re done with it.
Open system pumps allow the milk to enter the tubing. This means that they’ll need to be cleaned and dried carefully to ward off any mould or bacteria.
If you’re still not sure about which pump is best for you, our buyer’s guide has more information
Things to consider before buying – a checklist
Do you want to express regularly or occasionally?
Where are you likely to pump most often?
- Can the pump be transported easily?
Is it durable – can it be used daily?
Is it easy to clean?
Does it have any other power options, ie USB?
Can you use any type of bottle with it?
How much are you willing to spend?
Open or closed system?
Does it come with added extras?
How we tested and why you should trust us
With far fewer variables in the testing process than other sites, we are absolutely confident in our recommendations.
We put each product through its paces with a real mum and two new babies to give honest feedback about performance, reliability and value.
Safety and stability
- The pumps were chucked into the car boot, thrown on the floor and shoved into handbags to test for sturdiness
- Different suction settings were also tested and any discomfort noted
- We timed assembly and disassembly, noting how easy or tricky it was, and got an estimation of each pump’s noise level using a decibel reader
- We also looked at aspects like customer service, warranty and if it was easy to source spare parts. Did the manufacturer also offer advice through articles or helplines as well as online instruction videos?
- Our tester expressed at home, at work, in the car, when out shopping… almost anywhere that a mum might need to express
- She noted how easy or fiddly each pump was to use depending on the situation, how discreet it was (an important factor for a lot of mums) and how quickly and efficiently she could get the job done
- The bottles were also dropped on hard floors and the wires were sat on, pulled and tugged to make sure they dealt well with the rigours of busy family life
- We thoroughly investigated materials and hygienic design
- Each pump was put through the dishwasher, the microwave and an electric steriliser a number of times to see if it would stand up well to frequent washing
- What did each pump look like?
- We looked at size as well as appearance, considering whether it was portable and compact enough to carry around day-to-day
Value for money
- Finally, we assessed price, looking at exactly what you'd be getting for your money and, if pricey, whether it was worth the investment
Find out more about how we tested breast pumps
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All prices on this page correct at time of writing