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Best manual breast pumps of 2023 for breastfeeding mums: tried and tested

Whether you’re planning on pumping occasionally, on the go, or simply need a backup in case your electric breast pump packs up, we’ve rounded up the very best manual breast pumps to make your breastfeeding journey that little bit easier.

By Tammy Jacks | Last updated Sep 7, 2023

Best manual breast pumps UK

When it comes to your breastfeeding journey, a good breast pump can make all the difference to your overall experience, allowing you to relieve engorgement, build up a stash of breastmilk for future feeds and allow your partner or another family member to take over some feeding sessions if you need to catch up on sleep or are away from your baby for any length of time.

Whilst electric breast pumps are useful for longer at-home or in-office pumping sessions, there’s no doubt that a manual breast pump deserve a place in every mum’s changing bag or purse too. Mumsnetter grey12 agrees. She says, “It's good to have a small manual pump just in case you need it at the hospital (a friend pumped for her baby in the incubator) if you need to be away from your baby, and even if you pump all the time, who knows if maybe your electric pump may fail!”  As the NHS highlights, manual breast pumps are cheaper, simpler to use, lightweight and generally quieter than electric breast pumps. They’re also ideal for travel as they’re compact, don’t require electricity and are easier to clean. 

To help you choose the right manual breast pump for your needs and lifestyle, we've diligently scoured the Mumsnet forums, the UK's largest online community for parents, to uncover the favoured makes and models among our users. Alongside this, we analysed the insights of industry professionals and validated loads of consumer reviews across the web, looking specifically at the overall quality, ease of use, size and comfort level of the manual breast pump in question. This meticulous process guarantees that our top 10 list showcases only the best manual breast pumps currently on the market.

You might also like to check out our guides to the best baby bottles and best maternity and feeding bras to meet all your breast-pumping needs.

Here is our list of the best manual breast pumps to buy.

Best manual breast pumps- at a glance:

Best overall manual breast pump: Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

Best budget manual breast pump: Little Bloom Manual Breast Pump

Best manual breast pump for everyday use: Lansinoh Silicone Breast Pump

Best manual breast pump for travel: MAM Manual Breast Pump

Best wearable manual breast pump: Mochi Manual Wearable Breast Pump

1. Best overall manual breast pump: Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: Two – stimulation phase and expression phase | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 12 months from date of purchase

What we like

  • Ergonomically designed for easy pumping

  • Two-phase expression handle for more efficient pumping

  • Light and compact

What we don’t like

  • Some say the cleaning is time-consuming

  • Measurements on the bottle aren’t clear enough

What Mumsnet users say 

“The Medela Harmony is brilliant, I used it for over 5 years (2 babies). I have recommended it to lots of friends who also thought it was good.” (Loved by Mumsnet user, Choconuts)

“I love mine. I find I can easily get a bottle full in a short time. I like that I can easily bring it from place to place at home. I'm really glad I didn't bother with an electric one. But I also don't pump too often, just a few times a week.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user, AnakinPadme )

Our verdict

The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is designed to provide efficient and comfortable milk expression and it offers just that with no frills or fuss. Most mums have given the ergonomic handle and lightweight design a thumbs up as it makes this manual pump a breeze to use – no painful hands after endless pumping! We like the smart two-phase expression technology on the handle, which allows you to alternate between stimulation and expression modes.

One of the standout features of the Medela Harmony is the soft and flexible PersonalFit breast shields that feel more comfortable than some standard shields as they’re bendier and fit the body better. This pump is discreet, portable, and doesn't require batteries or an electrical outlet, making it convenient for on-the-go pumping. With its compact size, ease of use, and reliable performance, we believe that the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is an excellent choice for occasional or supplementary pumping.  

Read the full review on the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump.

2. Best budget manual breast pump: Little Bloom Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: N/A

What we like

  • Soft petal design to gently stimulate letdown

  • Comes with a carry tote

  • Is attached to a 150ml bottle

What we don’t like

  • Some say it doesn’t come with proper instructions

  • Warranty information is not clear 

What Mumsnet users say

“For the occasional pump (if I'm away from baby and need to take down engorgement, I use this hand pump.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user, sylbunny)

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a budget friendly manual breast pump, but that doesn’t compromise on quality or comfort, then the Little Bloom manual silicone breast pump is a good choice. This award-winning manual pump is small enough to fit in your handbag or diaper bag, but is also attached to a 150ml size bottle, which is ideal for pumping and then feeding straight away. It’s also been designed with a hands-free suction feature to collect milk on the other breast whilst breastfeeding, simply lock and let it sit comfortably on the breast.

This model is also easily washed and sanitised with no extra tubes or parts to faff about with, and we like the company’s “no nasties” motto where they emphasise that their products are 100% baby safe and never contain BPA, heavy metals, short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), toxins or phthalates.

Related: The best wearable breast pumps for hands-free pumping

3. Best manual breast pump for everyday use: Lansinoh Silicone Breast Pump

Price on writing: £14 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 1 -2 years with 90 days for seperate parts

What we like

  • Good value for money

  • Simple to use

  • Hands free

What we don’t like

  • Suction isn’t as strong as other manual pumps

  • May need readjusting on the nipple

What Mumsnet users say

“I had a manual Lansinoh for use while at work and it was brilliant. I have got a Philips electric one and I actually preferred the manual.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user, Mrs Hopity)

Our verdict

The soft and flexible silicone design of the hands-free Lansinoh Silicone Breast Pump makes it a popular choice amongst Mumsnetters who claim that the gentle suction works really well to extract breast milk without any hand pumping motions needed. All you do is gently compress the lower portion of the pump and unfold the pump's opening outward. Next, position the pump's opening over your nipple and return the cushion to its initial position, covering the nipple area. This creates the suction you need to start expressing.

We also like that the wider shield accommodates more breast shapes and sizes, plus it comes with a sealable cap and adjustable neck strap which helps to keep the manual breast pump in a comfortable and accessible position.

Another feature of the pump is a nifty suction base for stability and the fact that it can be used for collecting leaking breastmilk while feeding from the other breast. The only downside? Some say the suction isn’t as strong as other manual pumps on the market and may take longer to express your desired amount.

Related: The best baby monitors Mumsnetters swear by

4. Best manual breast pump for travel: MAM Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £48 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 1 -2 years with 90 days for seperate parts

What we like

  • Comfy handle

  • Easy to clean

  • Pump milk straight into bottle

What we don’t like

  • A little pricey

What Mumsnet users say

“I used to get on with a hand trigger type pump. Had to have baby on my lap to get milk though. I think pumping is easier after a few months, when just thinking about baby, brings the flow.” (Suggested by Mumsnet user, Redebs)

Our verdict

Known for their expertise in designing and manufacturing top-quality baby products, we're not surprised that MAM’s manual breast pump is popular on our Mumsnet Forum. While it might look like other manual breast pumps, it’s evident that a lot of thought and consideration has gone into this breast pump’s design to make it as simple and as comfortable to use as possible.

The softer, ergonomic handle on this manual pump allows you to control the level of suction by adjusting the pressure you apply to the handle, and the extra soft silicone inlay cushion, which fits into the one-size-fits-all funnel, makes it softer on the breast as you pump. It also fits onto a bottle you can use to feed right away and is compatible with all MAM easy start bottles and milk storage solutions. What makes this manual pump a hassle-free travel companion? It's small enough to fit into almost any purse or bag, is virtually silent whilst pumping and is super easy to clean.

Related: Feed in comfort with the best nursing chairs  

5. Best wearable manual breast pump: Mochi Manual Wearable Breast Pump

Price on writing: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 5 years  

What we like

  • Hands free

  • Offers good suction through the vacuum system

  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

What we don’t like

  • Not as effective if you have low milk supply

Our verdict

If you’re worried that your hands might get tired or sore with a handheld manual pump, then the Mochi Manual Wearable Pump is a good option. The sleek, compact design is super lightweight and made from 100% medical grade silicone, so it won’t weigh your breasts down. And we like that the flange structure is designed to adapt to all breast and nipple sizes.

It works in a similar way to other wearable pumps in that you simply squeeze the bottom, centre over your nipple and let go, whilst the pump does its job. However, what sets it apart is the design – with an upper and lower vacuum ring, plus a middle vacuum band to effectively extract your milk. The handy milk stopper is another great feature as it prevents spillages and stores the breast milk airtight, whilst also doubling up as a cup feeder for your newborn, should you fancy the cup feeding method.

Related: 10 best sterilisers for baby bottles, dummies and more

6. Most comfortable manual breast pump: Philips Avent Natural Comfort Breast Pump

Price on writing: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 2 years  

What we like

  • Easy to pump with one hand

  • Compact and portable

  • Fully compatible with the full bottle range

What we don’t like

  • Pricey for a manual pump

What Mumsnet users say

“I swear by the Philips Avent ones. I have both manual and electric and I actually prefer the manual one. Both are extremely comfortable and easy to use.” (Loved by Mumsnet user, Ava50x)

“Philips Avent one. It's easy to use and very easy to clean. Use it almost daily to pump when LO is in bed.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user, SnowdropFox)

Our verdict

Super comfortable, easy to put together and use, Mumsnetters love that you don’t have to lean forward with the Philips Avent Manual Pump and can rather sit back, fully upright and relax whilst pumping.

Another great feature of this pump is the massage cushion which is designed to ensure that your nipple is properly centred within the breast shield. Plus, the soft, flexible petals of the cushion help to create a massaging motion on the breast as you pump, thus helping to stimulate more milk flow. Some reviewers have said that’s it’s so comfortable and easy to use that they can breastfeed on the other side, whilst using this pump on one breast – simply because it’s so easy to manoeuvre with one hand. It also comes apart well and is easy to clean, what a bonus!

Related: Newborn essentials: your ultimate checklist

7. Best manual breast pump with a bottle: Tommee Tippee Made For Me Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £21 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 2 years  

What we like

  • Comes with a Tommee Tippee bottle

  • Quiet and discreet

  • Comfortable, ergonomic handle

What we don’t like

  • There are no alternative flange sizes

What Mumsnet users say

“I had both. I could keep the manual in my bag and use in bed in the night (DC2 was in nicu) and the electric for in the day. I used Tommee Tippee ones.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user, Gin4thewin)

Our verdict

If you’re keen to simplify your breast pumping routine and like the idea of a simple, fuss-free manual pump with compatible bottles, then the Tommee Tippee Made For Me pump is a good choice. This manual pump includes clear assembly instructions for its seven components, all of which are BPA-free and can be safely washed in the dishwasher. It's also compatible with Tommee Tippee’s complete range of bottles, including their popular Back To Nature range.

When it comes to its shape and size, we like that it’s small enough to fit in your purse and the cleverly crafted design features a narrow neck and gently curved handle, perfectly tailored to fit comfortably in your hands. And, like some of the other manual pumps on this list, this pump’s silicone cup also comes with massaging petals that are gentle on tender breasts and help to stimulate milk flow. However, it’s good to keep in mind that some users have complained that this pump takes some getting used to and requires a lot of initial pumping to get the milk flowing.  

Related: Best baby bottles for newborns and beyond

8. Best manual breast pump for larger nipples: Evenflo Advanced Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £40.80 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 90 days

What we like

  • Good quality

  • Flange sizes for larger nipples

  • Easy to use

What we don’t like

  • Some say the suction is strong and takes a while to get used to

  • Tricky to clean all the parts

Our verdict

Yes, it’s a little pricey, but if you have larger nipples and want a breast pump to fit and support your breasts well so that you can pump effectively, then the Evenflo Advanced Manual Breast Pump is ideal. It comes with the standard 24.5mm flange as well as a larger 30.5mm flange, which you won’t find in many other manual pumps on the market. Plus, the pivoting pump handle is easy to hold in either hand and rotates to allow for multiple pumping positions.

The pump itself is also compact, lightweight, and portable – with fewer parts to assemble, clean or maintain. If you register your pump with the company, you’ll also get access to the company’s team of breastfeeding experts for one-on-one pumping support as well as educational material. The Evenflo website also contains plenty of useful guides to help you master pumping, should you need additional support.

Related: The 10 best maternity bras for comfort, style and nursing

9. Best manual breast pump for smaller nipples: Dr Brown’s Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £49.40 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: Two | Closed system: Yes | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 90 days 

What we like

  • Soft silicone shield for less friction

  • Suitable for smaller nipples

  • Good suction power

What we don’t like

  • Pricey

  • Slightly larger than other models

Our verdict

This is the only other pump on our list (besides the Medela Harmony) that has two expression modes, allowing you to alternate between the two whilst pumping. The first mode, called "Let-Down," mimics a faster, lighter suction to initiate milk flow. Then, once milk flow starts, you can switch to the second mode, known as "Expression," which involves a slower, deeper suction to efficiently collect milk.  

The manual pump also comes complete with all the features you’d expect such as an ergonomic handle, compact size, soft shape silicone shield and the storage cap ensures no leaks or spills. We also like that this complete set includes 150ml options, plus a Wide Mouth Anti-Colic Bottle and a level 1 slow flow silicone teat.

10. Best natural suction manual breast pump: Haakaa Manual Breast Pump

Price on writing: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Single or double pump: Single | Number of settings: One | Closed system: No | BPA free: Yes | Warranty: 90 days

What we like

  • Offers great natural suction

  • Easy to use and clean

  • Good value for money

What we don’t like

  • Some say it can be knocked or kicked off easily

  • Might not be ideal for those with low milk supply

What Mumsnet users say

“I use a Haakaa which is brilliant.” (Loved by Mumsnet user, AnneLovesGilbert)

“I second the Haakaa. Yes, they are the ones that you stick on one side while you feed on the other. It's the only way I ever got milk out. Plus, it doesn't take up any extra time. I've also had success using it when I needed to take off excess milk when I was away from baby. And they are not expensive so worth a punt!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Avariceagain)

Our verdict

Mumsnetters can’t stop talking about the clever one-piece design and effectiveness of the Haakaa Manual Breast Pump, which is why we’ve included it in our top 10 list once again! (You’ll also see the Haakaa in our best breast pumps roundup for 2023).

This flexible manual pump is made of 100% food grade silicone, making it extremely soft and skin friendly. It also has clear measurement markings along the side, so you know exactly how much milk you’re expressing and mums love how simple it is to use – either to express or collect leaked milk from the other breast, whilst breastfeeding. But perhaps the biggest benefit of the Haakaa is how much milk mums can express with its effective suction method. (Simply fold back the flange and squeeze the bottom of the pump for maximum suction). The pump itself is also flexible enough to squeeze and pour milk accurately into storage bags. This model comes with a durable silicone cap that’s leak proof and great for milk storage.

Read our full Haakaa review.

What is a manual breast pump?

A manual breast pump is a small-to-medium handheld device designed to extract breast milk from your breasts. It relies on manual squeezing or gentle pumping motions to create suction, which stimulates milk flow and draws out the milk.

These pumps are operated by hand, without the need for electricity or batteries. They’re also portable, compact, and often more affordable than electric counterparts, making them suitable for occasional use. Simply put, they give you the flexibility to express milk on your terms, providing a convenient option for on-the-go pumping.

How do I choose the best type of breast pump for me?

When choosing a manual breast pump, there are a few important factors to consider before you buy:

  • Efficiency - Look for a pump with adjustable suction levels/buttons and a comfortable pumping rhythm to suit your needs.

  • Comfort - Opt for a pump with soft and comfortable breast shields that fit well as this will prevent discomfort during pumping.

  • Ease of use- Save yourself time and effort by choosing a pump with intuitive assembly, disassembly, and cleaning processes.

  • Portability- Look for a compact, lightweight design that’s easy to carry and suitable for on-the-go pumping as this is what you’ll be using it for.

  • Customisation- Some pumps offer adjustable features to mimic your baby's nursing pattern, enhancing milk expression.

  • Durability - Look for a well-built manual pump made from high-quality materials to ensure that it keeps working for you – even with repeated pumping sessions.

  • Noise level - If you’re planning to pump whilst out and about, a discreet pump is important. Although most manual pumps are quieter than electronic ones, it’s a good idea to read the product packaging and more customer reviews to find out how quiet the pump truly is.

  • Price - Consider your budget and choose a pump that offers the best features within your price range. The good news is that manual breast pumps are generally a lot more affordable than electronic versions.

  • Accessories - Check for additional accessories included with the manual pump, such as storage containers, carrying bags, or extra parts as this adds value to the product and will help to make your life easier.

Which is best: manual or electric breast pumps?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages and the answer to this question largely depends on your individual needs.

Here are a few pros and cons of both types to consider:

Manual breast pumps:

Pros: Manual pumps are generally more affordable, compact, and portable. They’re simple to use and don't require a power source, making them convenient for travel or occasional use. They can also be useful for relieving engorgement or catching letdown milk on one breast while nursing on the other.

Cons: Manual pumping can require more effort and repetitive hand movements, which might be tiring or painful for some. They may also be less efficient for long or frequent pumping sessions.

Electric breast pumps:

Pros: Electric pumps offer adjustable suction levels and pumping settings for more comfort and efficiency. They typically allow for double pumping which is a big time saver if you’re in a rush to express milk before work etc. Electric pumps are well-suited for regular or exclusive pumping and can help maintain milk supply over time.

Cons: Electric pumps are usually more expensive and bulkier than manual pumps. They require a power source (either rechargeable batteries or an electrical outlet), making them less portable unless you have a portable option.

Things to consider when choosing a manual breast pump

When deciding on which model to choose, consider how often you’ll be pumping and where you’ll most likely spend the most time pumping – as this will more than likely affect your final decision. For instance, if you’ll be relying on quick pumping sessions on the go, then a manual breast pump with a stronger suction and adjustable buttons might be best.

Regardless of how often you plan to use your manual breast pump, for ultimate comfort it’s best to choose one with adjustable suction levels to suit your preferences, ergonomic handles, and soft breast shields that can help stimulate milk let-down and expression. Many Mumsnetters also find silicone manual breast pumps, such as Haakaa-style pumps, to be quite simple and convenient. These pumps attach to the breast and use gentle suction to draw out milk without requiring manual squeezing or pumping.

What’s the best manual breast pump to buy?

Much-loved brand, Medela have claimed the top spot on our list with their highly efficient Harmony Manual Breast Pump. This pump gets a lot of love on our forums with some mums claiming they’re able to express as much if not more breast milk with this pump, versus their electric pump.

The Medela Harmony scored highly on our product testing as it offers a unique 2-phase expression technology that mimics your natural breastfeeding rhythms, plus it’s compact, light and portable. The ergonomically designed lever is also super smooth and we like that the handle twists so that you can find the most comfortable position without having to move your hands and arms too much. In a nutshell, it’s a nifty little breast pump packed with plenty of brilliant features!

Tips for using a manual breast pump

Whether it’s your first time using a manual breast pump, or you’re having to return to pumping with your second or third addition, here are a few tips to get you started on the right track.

1 Sit comfortably - Choose a comfortable and relaxed seating position that allows you to lean slightly forward. This can help gravity assist with milk flow and prevent straining during pumping.

2 Stimulate milk flow first - Before pumping, gently massage your breasts and use a warm compress to stimulate milk flow. To mimic your baby's natural nursing rhythm, Mumsnetter kagerou has some useful advice, “Make sure the seal around your nipple is strong and start off with a faster, lighter pump action to stimulate the flow. Then, once it starts, switch to a slower, stronger pull. Try to keep it up consistently and you’ll find the more you pump the easier it'll be to get large amounts. I always expected to just use a manual while I saved for a good electric pump but ended up not needing another at all.”  

3 Find the suction level you’re comfortable with - Using the pump's vacuum control, adjust the suction level until you feel comfortable. The suction should be strong enough to effectively express milk but not uncomfortable or painful. Experiment with different settings to find the right balance.

4 Try additional breast compression - While using the manual pump, consider using your free hand to provide additional breast compression. Gently massage and compress your breast tissue as you pump to help empty your milk ducts more effectively.

When mastering how to use a manual breast pump efficiently, remember that practice and patience are key. It may take a few sessions to get the hang of it and find the technique that works best for you. If you're new to manual pumping, consider seeking advice from a lactation consultant or experienced breastfeeding mums to improve your pumping experience.

How we choose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

Mumsnet users regularly talk about breastfeeding-related topics and have lots of opinions on the best ways to feed and express milk. So, the first stop on our journey to find the best manual breast pumps was the Mumsnet forums.

We sought out their trusted opinions and recommendations. It was vital for us to know which manual pumps they rated and used every day. We also took note of the products they felt could have better value, were poorly made and generally ineffective.

Expert opinions

Next, we scrutinised the reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be sure that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we focused on trustworthy, durable and award-winning manual breast pumps and those well thought of by some of the founders whose businesses stemmed from their own breastfeeding journeys and challenges.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, in our definitive list of the best manual breast pumps available in the UK, we investigated comprehensive customer reviews on retailer websites such as Amazon, John Lewis and Partners, Argos and Mamas & Papas with the aim of taking a wide range of consumer experiences into account.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice that you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

About the author

Tammy has 19+ years' experience in the publishing industry, enjoying a long and fruitful career as Managing Editor and Health & Beauty Editor for Woman & Home magazine in South Africa. She later went on to become Assistant Editor of the popular South African parenting title Living and Loving, and has written for numerous lifestyle publications including Oprah Mag SA, Health Intelligence, Your Family Magazine, Longevity, and pharmaceutical company Clicks Clubcard Magazine, as well as edited books for popular fitness influencers and health professionals.

Tammy is passionate about fitness, wellness and nutrition and is a keen marathon runner and cyclist. When she’s not running on the road, you’ll find her trying to keep up with her busy eight-year-old daughter, and two cats Zoe and Nala.