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The best breast pumps – electronic, manual, singles and doubles tested

Breast pumps are a great choice if you need or want to express breast milk regularly, so we highlight the best breast pumps as tested by real mums

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Breast pumps are used to collect breast milk, called expressing, so you can store and give breast milk to your baby with a bottle. This is important if you are unable to breastfeed straightaway as no matter how eager we are to breastfeed our babies, breastfeeding may not go as planned.


Expressing is also necessary if you need to be away from your baby for any reason but want to continue to give breast milk – whether you’re going back to work, one of you is poorly or you want someone else to do the feeding. And if you suffer from engorgement or over-supply, expressing can relieve discomfort and build-up.

While hand-expressing works for many women, expressing using a breast pump is usually quicker, easier and more effective, particularly if you need to stimulate, maintain or boost your milk supply. To find the best breast pumps out there, we’ve analysed the breast pump market and rigorously tested a range of different pumps. Each of our recommended breast pumps has been used regularly by a breastfeeding journalist with a young baby. We’ve also combined these results with feedback from breastfeeding mums to bring you our top picks.

How to choose the best breast pump

Manual vs electric breast pumps: what’s the difference?

Manual pumps require the user to pump a handle in order to create suction and extract breast milk. It can take a fair amount of effort and time to pump a volume of milk, and it’s not always possible to adjust the level of suction, therefore manual pumps are often more suited for occasional use.

They are cheaper and tend to be more compact and weigh less than electric versions. They are almost quieter than motorised pumps and more convenient as you don’t need to remember to charge a manual pump or worry about batteries.

Many mums who want or need to express milk may start with a manual pump to see whether expressing works for them, and then progress to an electric to produce more milk, more quickly.

Electric pumps create suction using a motor powered by mains, USB cord or batteries. They look very similar to a manual version, with a breast shell and milk collection bottle, but there’s no handle because you don’t need to pump with your hand.

Electric pumps create a rhythmic suction pattern and allow you to control suction strength, enabling you to pump larger volumes of milk in less time, but they are more expensive and often noisier and bulkier than manual ones.

Sophisticated electric pumps have 2-phase programmes that are designed to closely mimic the way a baby feeds – light but fast sucking initially to stimulate flow, followed by slower and deeper sucks that draw out large quantities of milk – promoting greater comfort and efficiency.

Single vs double breast pumps: which should you use?

Manual pumps are only available as singles because, well, you’ve only got one pair of hands and you need both – one to hold the breast shield in place, the other to pull the handle.

Electric pumps are either sold as singles – which allow you to express milk from one breast at a time – or doubles – which enable you to extract milk from both breasts simultaneously. While double pumping cuts expressing time in half, double pumps are more expensive (not twice the price of but certainly more than their single counterparts) and can be difficult to master.

Conventional double pumps require you to use both hands to keep them in place, making it tricky to adjust the speed and suction settings for each side. However, accessories such as specially designed expressing bras or bustiers that hold the breast shields and bottles in place give you a hands-free option, as do the latest wireless breast pumps.

Does portable, hands-free or wireless make a difference?

In short, yes – and a big one. If you don’t want to be tethered to a plug socket while you pump, look for a pump that can run off batteries or a rechargeable power pack. This will mean you can move around while pumping – be it wandering into the kitchen to find a snack or striding across the living room to stop your toddler emptying paint over the floor.

Hands-free pumping makes it possible to pump without having to hold the breast shield (or breast shields if you’re double-pumping) in place, leaving your hands free – though if the motor unit isn’t portable, you may be still be restricted to staying in one spot.

Wireless pumps have the motor, breast shield and bottle integrated in one unit and don’t require mains power or your hands to hold them in place, offering both discretion and freedom as you can carry on virtually as normal – be it at home or out and about.

The best pump for you will depend on your needs and preference. As with virtually all parenting products, there are dozens of different choices on offer so if you’re unsure which breast pump is right for you, use our buyer’s guide to help you decide.

Best breast pumps, at a glance

  • Medela Swing Flex Premium Electric Breast Pump
  • Elvie Single Breast Pump
  • MAM 2-in-1 Single Breast Pump
  • Medela Freestyle Flex Double Electric Breast Pump
  • Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump
  • Tommee Tippee Made For Me Electric Breast Pump
  • MAM Manual Breast Pump
  • Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump
  • Lansinoh Compact Single Electric Breast Pump
  • Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

Here’s our pick of the best breast pumps for expressing milk …

1. Medela Swing Flex Premium Electric Breast Pump, £139.99

Best for comfort

Type: Electric| Hands-free: No | Power: Mains or conventional battery | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.5 stars | Awards: MadeForMums 2020, Electric/battery breast pump – Gold

This is the latest incarnation of the best-selling Medela Swing single, the brand’s smallest and lightest 2-Phase breast pump, which mimics a baby’s different rhythyms of feeding. The upgrade comes courtesy of a rubber-tipped, oval breast shield, supplied with the pump in 2 sizes (21cm and 24cm), in place of a single-size, rigid plastic cone-shaped breast shield.

These new flanges have an opening angle of 105 degrees (compared to the standard 90 degree opening) and can be rotated 360 degrees, reducing pressure on the breast and allowing mums to find their most comfortable fit. The result, according to Medela’s studies, is that milk flows more freely – to the tune of 11% more expressed breast milk per session – impressive when every drop counts.

The Swing Flex uses a pumping pattern that mimics a baby’s suckling at the breast to encourage ‘let-down’ of breast milk. Our reviewer and mum-of-5, Sybilla, discovered that this programme, combined with the new breast shields, makes the pump “incredibly effective – I had lots of milk coming out – pain free – in no time at all.”

Other attributes that help catapult this pump into our top picks are its portability (it can run from batteries or mains), simplicity and quality. “The Swing has very few parts – making it so easy to put together that you barely need the instructions and quick to wash,” continued Sybilla. Though it’s worth keeping in mind that it isn’t the quietest pump as MFM tester Amy found: “The only thing I dislike about this pump is how noisy it is.”

Pros: Flexible breast shields, simple to use, easy to clean
Cons: Noisy

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Medela Swing Flex single breast pump

Available from: Medela, Amazon and John Lewis

2. Elvie single breast pump, £249.00 (single)

Best for hands-free pumping

Type: Electric | Hands-free: Yes| Power: Rechargeable via USB | MFM Review Star Rating: 3.6 stars |Awards: MadeForMums 2020, Electric/battery breast pump – Joint Silver

Billed as the first silent wearable breast pump, all the parts of this high-tech pump are hidden away inside the minimalist white hub (there are no garish colours here). The Elvie’s unique features are that it is completely tube-free, hands-free – it’s powered by an internal battery that can be charged via a USB cable so there’s no need for a power cord when it’s in use – silent and designed to be worn inside your bra so you can, in theory, pump anywhere.

“This is a game changer as, instead of being chained to the sofa holding the breast shields and attached to a motor by wires, you can carry on as you were,” revealed MFM home tester Tamara. “I also found the pump so quiet, I could pump when we had company over, often without them realising.”

The lack of tubing also means there is no chance of breast milk getting sucked into tricky-to-clean plastic and fewer parts to clean and assemble, as MFM reviewer and mum-of-3 Gabrielle discovered, “putting the Elvie pump together took moments as there are only 5 parts.”

The Elvie App is essential to control pump remotely as, once it’s in your bra, it’s impossible to change the settings. “Plus, it allows you to monitor your milk production and track your pumping history for each breast,” commented Gabrielle. “Luckily, it’s easy to install and navigate, even for the least techno-savvy person or sleep-deprived mum.”

Pros: No tubes or wires, portable, wearable
Cons: Expensive

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Elvie single breast pump

Available from: Elvie, John Lewis and Boots

3. MAM 2-in-1 Single Breast Pump, £130.00

An electric and manual pump in one

Type: Electric and manual | Hands-free: No | Power: Rechargeable battery | MFM Review Star Rating: 4 stars

Two simple steps turn this pump from manual to electric mode, offering mums the option to choose whichever method best suits their pumping needs. In both modes, the pump is easy to use and allows for different sized bottles and storage cups (supplied) to be attached directly to the breast pump, “removing the need to pour milk between containers and avoiding making a mess,” explained MFM reviewer and mum-of-3 Felicity.

As an electric pump, it stands out for its rechargeable battery which has an impressive five-hour life, a whopping 9 levels in both stimulation and expression stages, plus a digital touchscreen that includes a timer, which Felicity commented is “useful if you’re pumping to increase milk supply or want to ensure you’re pumping the same number of minutes on each breast.” However she did find it was a little too sensitive and would accidentally end up pressing the wrong buttons.

This pump has no fewer than 7 5-star MFM user reviews. One MFM user said, “I found this breast pump very easy to set up, comfortable to use and I am impressed with the convenient features it has. I also find it quite discreet to use as it’s not overly noisy.” Another MFM user agreed and said, “one of the main perks was that I could hear the TV over the pump unlike others I’ve used.”

Pros: Converts from manual to electric, includes milk storage pots and feeding teats, quick to charge, long battery life
Cons: Overly sensitive touchscreen, one-size only funnel may not suit all users

Read our full MadeForMums review of the MAM 2-in-1 single breast pump

Available from: John Lewis, MAM and Boots

4. Medela Freestyle Flex 2-Phase Double Electric Breast Pump, £349.99

Best for double pumping

Type: Electric | Hands-free: Only with accessory (not included) | Power: USB and built-in rechargeable battery | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.5 stars | Awards: MadeForMums 2020, Electric/battery breast pump – Joint Silver

Behold Medela’s most advanced breast pump, the double electric Freestyle Flex, which combines all of Medela’s latest advances, including rubber-tipped oval breast shields proven to extract 11% more milk than regular flanges, a lightweight palm-sized motor with built-in USB-chargeable battery and connection to the MyMedela tracking app, plus Medela’s tried-and-trusted bi-phase expression pattern that mimics a baby’s sucking rhythm.

Our MFM reviewer and mum-of-3 Christy liked the addition of the 2 pairs of Flex breast shields to help you get the best fit. “The soft, flexible rim on each shield also makes it much more comfortable than the harder edge of the old-style shields I had used in the past”, she said. “A little extra that makes me feel like it’s a really good quality product.”

For a hands-free pumping solution at home you can use Medela’s Easy Expression Bustier but this comes at an added cost of £25. Christy found this particularly useful, “When you’re a tired, time-poor mum of a new baby, being able to move around to make a cuppa while you pump is like gold dust.”

As this is a double pump it also halves the time spent expressing while collecting around 18% more milk compared to pumping from each breast in turn, according to research. “I’m not an expert pumper but have found I’ve managed to get almost a bottle’s worth in one sitting, which I’m happy with,” shared MFM tester Stacey.

Pros: Comfortable shields, comes with cool bag, ice pack and extra milk storage bottles
Cons: Hands-free bustier not included

Available from: Medela, John Lewis and Boots

5. Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump, £99.99

A versatile electric pump 

Type: Electric and manual | Hands-free: Cordless | Power: Rechargeable battery and USB cable | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.5 stars | Awards: MadeForMums 2020, Electric/battery breast pump – Bronze

For those deliberating between a manual and an electric pump, this mid-range model offers both in one neutral coloured package. In either mode, the soft silicone breast cup and flexible flange gently squeeze the breast to imitate the action of a breastfeeding baby, offering “easy, pain-free expressing and the most comfortable pump ever,” according to Laura, MFM reviewer and mum-of-two.

In electric mode, the pump has a 9 different speed settings in 2 different suction patterns, allowing for a really tailored, controlled pumping session that is sure to suit even the most sensitive of users.

As well as outstanding comfort and control, the efficiency of the pump is one of the overriding themes of the online reviews for the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone. On John Lewis’ website, where it’s currently rated 4.8 out of 5, the majority of shoppers note just how good the pump is at expressing milk, with some even commenting that it helped them to maintain and even increase milk supply.

MFM home tester Bonny revealed, “I believe using this pump has helped me to increase my milk supply, as it’s a lot faster and more effective than my previous pump, so I can also pump more frequently during the day and build up a milk stash.”

Just keep in mind the mains battery needs to be fully charged before you can use it, which our MFM reviewer said wasn’t made clear at first.

Pros: Electric and manual, wide range of settings
Cons: Mains unit battery needs to be fully charged before you can use it

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump

Available from: Vital Baby, John Lewis and Argos

6. Tommee Tippee MadeForMe Electric Breast Pump, £135.00

Best for using on the go

Type: Electric | Hands-free: No | Power: USB rechargeable power pack | MFM Review Rating: 4.5 stars

This Tommee Tippee model is designed for use on the go with a USB rechargeable power unit, so is ideal for taking to work or using around the house. Our MFM reviewer and mum-of-1 Kayleigh even managed to vacuum while pumping with this gadget – impressive! Remember that it will need regular charging as the battery only lasts around an hour.

The breast shield is a soft, cushioned silicon cup that’s gentler and more comfortable on breasts than hard plastic while the pump offers 5 massage setting to stimulate milk flow and 9 different expression settings to drain the breast efficiently. The hand-held power unit has an LED display showing time of each pumping session and three control buttons. It’s also very light and features a hanging strap which you can slip onto a finger – hence the hoovering.

Kayleigh explained that the pump’s strengths “lie in its comfort, portability and ease of use”. She added, “I love that the lightweight and compact power unit can easily slip into a pocket, nixing the need to spend hours sitting by a plug. Plus, it’s straightforward enough to be put together by a bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived mum.”

She’s not the only one that feels this way; plenty of Argos customers also found the pump easy to use, with an impressive 90% giving it 5/5 for this, while nearly half of Tommee Tippee customers praised this aspect, too.

Pros: Can be used while charging, lightweight and compact power unit
Cons: Requires regular charging

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Tommee Tippee MadeForMe Single Electric Breast Pump

Available from: AmazonBoots and Argos

7. MAM Manual Breast Pump, £40

A manual pump with adjustable suction strength

Type: Manual| MFM Review Star Rating: 4.3 stars| Awards: MadeForMums 2020, Electric/battery breast pump – Joint Silver

A manual and easily portable option, the MAM Manual Breast Pump was praised as “gentle and comfortable to use” by MFM reviewer Sarah thanks to its padded and adjustable funnel that is angled slightly and can be rotated all the way round, allowing the user to find a secure fit.

Another feature our home tester Nikki appreciated was the dial to control expression strength – turned up, the vacuum is held for 3 seconds, maximising the volume of milk expressed. She said, “being able to vary the intensity and speed [of the pump] more frequently than my electric does a really great job of mimicking a baby and getting a good yield. I also found I could ease myself into a session with less initial pain or discomfort than my electric.”

As well as these impressive features, the pump consists of just four parts, making it really easy to assemble and clean. And it’s built to last – “It feels robust and has held up very well after almost daily use the past month”, Nikki commented.

Pros: Padded and adjustable funnel, dial to control strength
Cons: Occasionally squeaky

Read our full MadeForMums review of the MAM Manual Breast Pump

Available from: Amazon

8. Lola & Lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump, £137

A ‘smart’ pump with no tubes or wires

Type: Electric | Hands-free: No | Power: USB-powered rechargeable battery pack

Brand new for 2020, this streamlined breast pump boasts smart-touch screen technology and has no tubes or wires, making it portable and easy to assemble and clean. It offers 5 ‘massage’ settings and another 9 for expression, giving pumpers a good range of levels for individual comfort.

Bonny, a MFM home tester, raved about this pump. She said, “it works really well compared to a more expensive pump. Not being tied by cables and tubes is great, and the power the unit has is excellent – it pumps effectively and the battery life is good.”

The pump is also virtually silent, as MFM home tester Sarah discovered. “It was so quiet, I pumped next to my sleeping baby without any risk of disturbing him.” Sarah also praised the pump for its “sleek and compact design – I’ve taken it out with me and found it easily mobile.”

These features are impressive enough but what also makes this pump brilliant is that it’s compatible with most standard baby bottles and has pump adaptor that allows you to pump directly into storage bags and then attach a bottle cap to the storage bags for easy feeding.

Our MFM testers did find there were a couple of bugs with the display screen as it’s very sensitive. For example MFM tester Bonny found when trying to switch off the pump it reverted to the massage function.

Pros: Extremely quiet, no tubes or wires, compatible with most standard bottles
Cons: Digital display screen overly sensitive

Available from: Lola & Lykke

9. Lansinoh Compact Single Electric Breast Pump, £115

Small but powerful

Type: Electric | Hands-free: No | Power: mains or USB powerbank (sold separately)

Small but powerful, the Lansinoh Compact Single Electric breast pump claims to be hospital grade, making it highly efficient and effective. No wonder the pump has 18 5-star reviews on the John Lewis website, including this from a customer, who pitted the Lansinoh pump against another leading single electric pump.

“I manage to express more milk (10-30mls more) using the Lansinoh pump and I’ve tried two different pumps at various times of the day and at various points between feeds or whilst feeding on the other breast,” she said. “I’ve double pumped and changed up which pump has been on which breast and still express more milk from the Lansinoh.”

John Lewis customers also praised the 2-phase functionality of the Lansinoh pump with a ‘Let Down’ phase to initiate milk flow then an ‘Expression’ phase which pumps slower to get the most from your milk flow.

Other parent customers have commented on the pump’s silicon-tipped breast shield, which makes expressing more comfortable, as well as how easy it is to assemble and clean, though the pump’s efficacy and portability are the main highlights.

“Comfortable to use whilst being extremely effective at expressing milk – it’s really lightweight and easily fits in my changing bag for on-the-go use,” explained one Lansinoh customer on its website.

Pros: Option to express directly into milk storage bags, small, portable
Cons: Charging powerbank sold separately

Available from: Lansinoh, John Lewis and Argos

10. Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump 150ml, £20.99

A simple affordable manual pump

Type: Manual | Hands-free: No

Part milk collector, part manual pump, the soft and squishy Haakaa is made from 100% BPA-free food grade silicone – there are no tubes to get tangled, parts to lose in the sink or batteries to drain. Instead, the fluted bottle either sits on your breast to catch let-down milk while your baby feeds on the other side (alternatively you can pump from the other breast) – or you can use it as a manual pump by gently squeezing and releasing the bulb to encourage milk flow.

“It would have been perfect to use on my opposite side while I was nursing my son to catch heavy and difficult-to-control let-downs,” shared MFM home tester Wioleta Hamilton, who described the pump as “light, portable, with good suction but easy to remove and always ready to use – you don’t need to remember to charge it.”

On Amazon, it’s attracted a staggering 1,057 global ratings, with a star rating of 4.5 and 73% five-star reviews. One customer, said, “It’s safe to say that the Haakaa pump has revolutionised my expressing. It works even without the baby feeding – I can get 50ml from each side in 20 minutes.”

Pros: Single piece, very light, no cords, cables or batteries, affordable
Cons: Can be difficult to get the right suction, unsuitable to help establish milk supply

Available from: Haakaa and Amazon


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