In this running post, I will keep track of different pumps that I've been able to try out, their features, pros and cons, and whether or not I think they're worth it!
If you have any requests for new pump reviews, or would like to send me a pump to try, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!
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Spectra Synergy Gold
Power: Outlet only, 12v AC
Size: Large - Just under 4 pounds
Cost (new): $325
Insurance covered: Can be partially or fully covered by insurance through medical equipment companies such as Aeroflow
Warranty: 2 years
Noise Level: Low
Suction Power: Up to 270 mmHg each side
Number of motors: Two, both adjustable. Can pump single or double
Motor life: Expected 3 years
Buttons: Touch screen
Night light: 3 levels
Auto shutoff: 30 minutes
Standard hard flange size in the box: 24mm, 28mm
Easy to navigate controls: yes
Massage/letdown (bacon) mode: 5 cycle speeds- 64, 67, 70, 73, 76. Vacuum strength levels 1-5. Intended to generate letdowns.
Expression mode: 5 cycle speeds- 38, 42, 46, 50, 54. Vacuum strength levels 1-15. Cycle speed stays the same on both sides, vacuum can be adjusted on each side.
Synergy Gold remembers your settings for the next session.
Cost of replacement parts (brand name): $32.99 PER SIDE ($65.98 for full set flanges/bottles/duckbill/backflow protector/tubing/tubing caps) CAN BE COVERED BY INSURANCE.
Cost of replacement parts (off brand): $29.99 full set (flanges/duckbills/backflow protector/tubing/ without bottles, tubing caps)
Compatible with other parts: Almost all other closed system parts, collection cups etc
Handle/etc: Handle on the back
Powerful, good "tickly" vibration
Dual motor function great for "slacker boob"
Off brand or other brand parts can be used with universal tubing
Can be covered partially or fully by insurance
Easily viewable screen and settings in the dark, but harder in direct sunlight
Can be made portable by use of battery bank and a special "pump fanny pack"
Can't be used (easily) without outlet, battery packs are available but the pump is heavy and buttons can be easily bumped in a carrying bag
Touch screen easily turned on/off by child or slight bumps from objects
Not very portable, you can use it in the car if you have a power outlet or buy a cord with a car plug
Stock flanges are almost always too large, you have to buy smaller ones (off brand because spectra doesn't sell smaller sizes)
Ps- check out that cami and get 10% off with code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD!
I definitely recommend it if you don't ever need to get up while pumping- which is rare past the newborn days. I rate this pump 4/5, with one point taken off for the lack of portability. I love that you can use lots of other flange kits with these as well, such as Pumpables Liquid Kits, Lacteck flanges, Legendairy cups and more. Though I personally don't see the need to use discreet cups with a wall pump- it CAN be done. I also really love all the different ways you can have the settings, dual motors is a huge plus especially for those with "slacker boobs".
I do know that they sell battery banks and I believe Idaho Jones sells a sort of pump fanny pack type bag- so it could become portable, but it's kinda heavy for that and the touch screen buttons are unbelievably easy to bump into. Literally one swat from my baby and either the suction is turned up/down or the whole thing is shut off. I've also done it myself with a small bump of the elbow.
Pumpables Genie Advanced
Power: Battery, 3 hour life, charge in 4.5, USB-C cord (like phone, iPad, MacBook)
Size: Just under half a pound
Cost (new): $180 for full kit, $150 pump only. Discounted 10% with the code SHOP10-TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD (down to $162 full kit or $135 pump only) Insurance covered: not currently covered by any medical equipment companies but you can get a form to request reimbursement. FSA/HSA eligible.
Warranty: 2 years
Noise Level: Medium (under 45 db)
Suction Power: 15 - 330 mmHg
Number of motors: Single motor, dual or single pump
Motor life: 800 hours
Buttons: Standard soft buttons
Night light: Screen constantly on
Auto shutoff: 40 minutes
Standard soft flange size in the box: You can measure and choose your own size
Easy to navigate controls: yes
Massage/letdown (bacon) mode: 70 cpm, constant, vacuum strength levels 1-10
Expression mode: 23 - 70 cpm between vacuum strength levels 1-10, cycle speed levels 1-3
Genie Advanced can be programmed to remember your settings.
Cost of replacement parts: Liquid inserts $12/pair, diaphragms $10/pair, tubing $10/pair, Liquid seal cap $18/pair (not often replaced), you can buy entire "kit" including bottle, stand, and hard shell piece of liquid shield for $30 per side- but the most often replaced parts are only inserts and diaphragms. HSA/FSA funds accepted.
Compatible with other parts: Almost all other closed system parts, collection cups
Handle/etc: Belt clip, lanyard
Powerful for the small size, yet not too overpowering
Portable enough to take anywhere and everywhere without holding a giant pump on your lap or table
Liquid shield kits are extremely comfortable compared to hard flanges
You can pump and walk, pump and drive, pump and use the bathroom (but maybe shouldn't), pump and carry baby, the freedom is truly limitless!
You can hook up basically any other closed system flange kits, Lacteck flanges and Legendairy Collection Cups are two that I use.
Single motor doesn't allow for different suctions on each side
Letdown mode is only one speed (cycles per minute)
Some women actually don't respond to the silicone flanges - however this pump can be used with tons of other flange setups, it is not exclusive to the liquid kits.
The little silicone bit that covers the charging port and one tubing hole (if you choose to single pump) can possibly detach, this has been fixed in newer models though
Liquid shields need to be replaced pretty often - monthly for exclusive pumpers doing 4+ sessions per day. This is the same as duckbills from other brands (the duckbill is built in)
The code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD will get you 15% off at Legendairy Milk!
A note on the Freemie Slimfit 5 hack- my friend sent me this picture of her setup and she said it has very poor suction. I would personally try shortening the tubing to see if it made a difference, maybe sometime I can get a pair and MacGyver it myself to see.
A note on the Elvie Stride cup hack- This picture was also sent to me by a friend of mine, she says you can alternatively plug the pumpables tubing into the bottom of that white Elvie tubing connector instead of using the Elvie tubing (from which you have to remove the end cap, pictured here on the right)
I absolutely recommend this pump to everyone who asks me what portable pump to buy. I have heard that portables should not be relied on as a primary, but I've used it as a primary for seven months with exactly the same output as that Spectra Synergy Gold. The portability has made it completely invaluable to me - I could not have continued exclusively pumping without it.
It gets a solid 5/5, there's very little I would change about this pump aside from maybe having another letdown mode setting rather than constant 70 CPM. I've been able to pump in places I have never dreamed of pumping, and for that I am unbelievably grateful - especially for the price point! The Liquid Shields are my absolute favorite flange setup, though I wish they could last just a little longer. However they may not be as comfortable if they were made thicker, so I'm okay with how they are. $12 a month plus the $10 a month for diaphragms is not bad at all.
I also love that the buttons are able to be easily identified even in the dark, I can turn it on, switch from letdown to expression, and get up to my suction level all without having to see the buttons. I am also a huge fan of the ability to "pause" it (one push on the power button)- sometimes you have to stop for a moment to listen for something or set down the pump before you've actually finished the session.
Not only is the pump a home run, but the Pumpables Community and customer service team are impossible to beat. I spend lots of time in the Facebook group and on the Instagram page- I definitely recommend checking those out and joining!
Medela Pump in Style With MaxFlow
Power: Outlet or battery pack (with 8AA batteries)
Size: 1.18 pounds
Cost (new): $200 (via Target) Insurance covered: Yes, sometimes upgrade cost required (especially for units with a backpack or other accessories)
Warranty: 1 year limited on motor, 90 days on parts. (I tried exchanging mine because it felt like it wasn't sucking much anymore and they are impossibly frustrating to deal with, they asked to listen to the pump over the phone, but left me on hold for 40 minutes before I hung up.)
Noise Level: Medium-loud
Suction Power: According to specs it gets pretty high but in my case mine felt weak.
Number of motors: Single motor, double or single pump
Motor life: "operating life 6 months"
Buttons: Simple buttons, but lack of screen makes it impossible to tell what levels you're on.
Night light: None, no screen at all.
Auto shutoff: 30 minutes
Standard flange size in the box: 21mm and 24mm "Personal fit flex" which are a very unusual, curved shape that don't fit every breast size.
Easy to navigate controls:
Vacuum Range: -50 to 240 mmHg
Cycle Per Minute Range: 54 to 120 CPM
Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow cannot be programmed to remember your settings.
Cost of replacement parts: Full connector pieces $20/pair, Membrane only $12/pair (this is new since I had the pump, when I owned this you had only the option to buy entire new connector pieces not just membranes), tubing $15.
Compatible with other parts: With modifications, yes. Stock Medela tubing does not fit into other flange kits.
Small size, portable with battery pack
Covered by insurance
No screen, you can't see what setting you're on or change in the dark easily.
Suction isn't great (mine petered out in a matter of days, warranty claim nearly impossible)
Not many compatible hacks without altering tubing
Stock flanges are not the best
Battery pack does not last long
Expensive out of pocket for a truly not great pump
The tubing is extremely stiff and you can't even stand the bottles up without the tubing pulling them over
Relatively noisy compared to other pumps
You don't even know what cycle or vacuum level you're on without a screen
I did not like this pump, I used it for about two weeks before the suction suddenly decreased by a LOT. My husband had to run to Target and buy a new pump because it was 9pm, I exclusively pump, and this stupid thing would not work properly. At that time, you could also only buy replacement connectors NOT just membranes, so it was expensive to replace. Which I felt like I had to too far too often.
I do not recommend this pump to anyone, it was a waste of my insurance covered pump. I really wish I had listened to my cousin who recommended a Spectra.
A note on my attempt to claim the warranty: there was no online option, you had to call on the phone. They asked to "listen to the pump" (I called because the suction was HORRIBLE, I don't know how they could hear that anyways) and I was left on hold for 40 minutes. I had to give up and tend to my baby and pump again anyways. I think they made me wait that long on purpose, honestly!
Stay tuned for more reviews as I'm able to get more pumps on hand!
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