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Spectra S1 vs Medela Freestyle Flex

Updated
Which is the better breast pump?

The number of breast pumps on the market can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve combined the real-world experiences of moms like you with online reviews and web-based research to bring you a complete, in-depth side-by-side comparison of the Medela Freestyle Flex vs the Spectra S1 breast pumps.


Spectra S1 Vs Medela Freestyle Comparison Chart

Product Spectra: S1 Electric Breast Pump Medela: Freestyle Flex Breast Pump
Price Check Price
Best Best Breast Pump For Nighttime Use
Lightest Electric Breast Pump
Weight 2.9 lbs 9.5 oz
System Closed Closed
Timer Auto timer with digital display
Yes – 30-minute auto shut-off
Modes 72 12
Vacuum Speed Levels 1 – 12
Cannot be independently set or changed
Cycle Speeds 70, 54, 50, 46, 42, & 38 cycles p/m
Cannot be independently set or changed
Settings Selection Pushbuttons Touchpad
Display Digital
Touchpad lights up
Bottles 4 4
Storage bags 0 0
Cooler Included Included
AC Adapter Included Not included
Batteries 1 Lithium-ion battery included
1 Lithium-ion included
Car Adapter Available separately
Available separately

Product Overviews

Are you ready for the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S1 match-up?

1. Spectra S1 Electric Breast Pump

Best Breast Pump For Nighttime Use

The Spectra S1 is a closed system breast pump with everything you need to start pumping straight out of the box. There are two sets of tubing, bottles, lids, and two of each size flange.

This pump is incredibly comfortable and with intuitive controls. It’s easy to adjust its strength and speed and the clear digital display makes it easy to identify and choose your preferred settings.

The clarity of the information on the display also means it is easy to set up precisely the same cycle and vacuum combination as in your last pumping session.

The Spectra S1 has a rechargeable battery that allows you to continue pumping without being tethered to an electrical outlet. This is especially convenient if you have other kids to run around after.

Pros

  • Mimics the natural movement, suction, and rhythms of breastfeeding.
  • Designed by moms who are nurses and lactation consultants.
  • Can be used as a single or double pump.
  • Exceptionally quiet motor.
  • Built-in light for night-time feedings.
  • Up to three-hour battery life.

Cons

  • Included cooler isn’t incredibly sturdy.
  • The tote bag lacks style.

Take Note

You can buy the Spectra S1 without the bag and cooler.

Additional Specs

Weight 2.9 lbs
System Closed
Timer Auto timer with digital display
Modes 72
Vacuum Speed Levels 1 – 12
Cycle Speeds 70, 54, 50, 46, 42, and 38 cycles per minute
Settings Selection Pushbuttons
Display Digital
Bottles 4
Storage bags 0
Cooler Included
AC Adapter Included
Batteries 1 Lithium-ion battery included
Car Adapter Available separately

2. Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump

Lightest Electric Breast Pump

In 2020 Medela updated their Freestyle breast pump to bring us the Freestyle Flex. This is a smaller, lighter, more quiet version with Bluetooth technology and a tracking app to counter mom-brain.

You can charge via the USB charger included or pick up an AC adapter. The battery will provide up to two hours of pumping — although if you’re pumping two breasts on a higher setting, this time is significantly reduced.

You can use the Freestyle Flex for either single or double pumping, and it can be used completely hands-free. However, you have to purchase the Medela Easy Expression™ Bustier separately to use the breast pump hand-free.

Pros

  • Exceptionally small.
  • Bluetooth connectivity to the optional app.
  • It weighs only 9.5 ounces.

Cons

  • A maximum of two hours of pumping on a single charge.
  • Cycle and vacuum cannot be changed independently.

Additional Specs

Weight 9.5 ounces
System Closed
Timer Yes – 30-minute auto shut-off
Modes 12
Vacuum Speed Cannot be independently set or changed
Cycle Speed Cannot be independently set or changed
Settings Selection Touchpad
Display Touchpad lights up
Bottles 4
Storage bags 0
Cooler Included
AC Adapter Not included
Battery 1 Lithium-ion included
Car Adapter Available separately

In-Depth Feature Comparison

Basic specs are helpful, but to make an informed decision, you’ll want to check out these in-depth feature comparisons.

Flexibility of Settings

While the Medela Freestyle Flex has 12 settings, it does not allow you to alter the cycles per minute or the vacuum independently of each other. The Spectra S1, on the other hand, lets you choose the number of cycles per minute and the vacuum level.

Cycles per minute refers to the number of times the pump will “suckle” every 60 seconds. A baby suckles faster to stimulate the let down reflex and then slows once your milk is flowing. Being able to choose cycles per minute provides a more realistic pattern of pumping.

The vacuum level allows you to choose how strong the pump “sucks.” The Spectra S1 will enable you to finely tune precisely how fast and how strongly your pump draws your milk.

Winner

Spectra S1

Display

The Medela Freestyle Flex has a flat control panel with pressure points you press to change the settings. The points for changing the settings are permanently illuminated, and the pumping level is displayed as a lit-up number.

In addition, the Medela Freestyle Flex displays the battery level and a count-up timer. This lets you see for how long you have been pumping.

We prefer the digital display on the Spectra S1. This display shows the cycle speed, vacuum level, the letdown mode indicator, and the battery indicator. The display is not illuminated, meaning you can go dark or use the built-in nightlight, which sheds light on the display.

Winner

Spectra S1

Battery Life

The Medela website says you can get up to eight double pumping sessions from a single charge (1). However, exactly how many sessions you will get depends on how long you pump for in a single session.

When you look at the amount of time the battery lasts, the stats are less impressive. The maximum amount of time you get from a full charge on the Medela Freestyle Flex is two hours, which may not be enough for a long day at work.

The Spectra S1, on the other hand, will provide up to three hours on a single charge. This could make a significant difference if you pump at work but do not have anywhere to charge your pump.

Winner

Spectra S1

Portability

The Medela Freestyle Flex weighs less than a pound and is by far the smaller, lighter, more easily carried of the two pumps. It will fit into most average-sized pockets or a snug elastic waistband, but unfortunately does not have a belt clip.

On the other hand, the Spectra S1 weighs just under three pounds and is a much larger, more rounded construction. Although it is infinitely more stylish, it is not the most discrete or convenient thing to carry.

And carry it, you must. The Spectra S1 is way too large to fit into a pocket and must be held by the built-in handle. This might not be a big deal if you only want to move from room to room occasionally. However, if you’re going to be more mobile, one hand is always busy holding the pump.

If you want to be genuinely mobile, the Medela Freestyle Flex is by far the better option.

Winner

Medela Freestyle Flex

Spectra S1 vs Medela Freestyle Conclusion

Do smart pumping moms choose the Spectra S1 or the Medela Freestyle?

Spectra S1 Breast Pump: The Verdict

We prefer the Spectra S1 because it allows you to control both the number of cycles per minute and the vacuum level. This flexibility makes it incredibly comfortable to use and allows you to fine-tune your pumping routine as your needs and those of your baby change.

We’re also big fans of the display and built-in nightlight!

Medela Freestyle Flex: The Verdict

If you want to be truly mobile, the Medela Freestyle Flex is much easier to use as you move about. The only caveat to that being that you need to buy their hands-free pumping bra to achieve this.

While you don’t have quite the control with the Medela as you do with the Spectra, it is still an excellent pump. It’s definitely the option to choose if portability was critical.

Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.