Battle of the Pumps: Spectra S1 vs Medela Freestyle

Spectra S1 and Medela Freestyle are two breast pumps with great reputations. Choosing between them is a bit like deciding whether you want a Ferrari or a Corvette – it’s hard when they’re both good products.

If you’re struggling with your decision between the Spectra S1 vs Medela Freestyle, read our in-depth comparison of the two popular models.

Side By Side Comparison

Medela FreestyleSpectra S1
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Our Rating4.254.5
Warranty1 Year2 Year
Weight5.2 Pounds3.3 Pounds
AC AdapterIncludedIncluded
BatteriesRechargable L-Ion (Included)Rechargable L-Ion (Included)
Car AdapterSold SeperatelySold Seperately
Pump TypeDouble ElectricDouble Electric
SystemNot DisclosedClosed System
Bag OptionsCarry Bag IncludedSold Seperately
Bottles4 Included2 Included
CoolerSold SeperatelyIncluded (Holds 4)
PlasticBPA FreeBPA Free
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price


What Makes the Spectra S1 Better?

Spectra Baby USA - S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump,...

You’ll get greater suction strength with the S1

The Freestyle offers suction strength up to 250mmHg (mmHg is a unit of pressure). But the S1 takes it a step further, offering a maximum suction of 300 mmHg. Just because it offers that high of suction doesn’t mean you can’t crank it down if you find it uncomfortable.

You’ll be feeling those good vibrations

The S1 isn’t a one-trick pony. It does more than offer a sucking motion like many breast pumps. It also offers a vibration, which is reminiscent of the way a baby nurses.

It’ll give you a super quiet pumping experience

The Freestyle is a louder pump than the S1. If you don’t want to deal with the additional noise, you’ll appreciate how quiet the S1 is.

Closed system pump

Moms are fans of closed system pumps for a good reason – they help keep their baby safe by cutting down on the risk of contaminated breast milk. Closed systems keep breast milk particles out of the pump parts that aren’t generally washed.

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The S1 is more affordable

Moms watching their bottom lines will appreciate how much cheaper the S1 is compared to the Freestyle.

This pump has 12 different suction levels

If you can’t find a comfortable suction level with the S1, you may be out of luck. It gives you a lot of options in the expression mode.

It has a massaging letdown mode

As with the suction mode, you’ll have multiple speeds in the letdown mode too. It has five suction levels.

Auto shutdown after 30 minutes

This is a nice safety feature in case you fall asleep on the job or just forget to turn off the pump when you’re done.

What Makes the Freestyle Better?

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

Two sizes of breast shields

Unlike the S1 which only gives you one size of breast shields, the Freestyle ponies up two different sizes. That’s a big benefit to moms who don’t use standard-sized shields and don’t want the inconvenience and expense of ordering more. Moms who don’t get their breast pumps until close to their delivery dates may be delayed with breastfeeding if they don’t have the proper-fitting breast shields.

Moms love accessories and this pump comes with two bags

You get both a cooler bag and another bag that carries the pump and all its accessories. Not only will it help you stay organized, but the basic black bag will go with all your outfits.

You’ll get more bottles

This pump comes with four 5-ounce bottles and lids, while the S1 only comes with two bottles. Those extra two bottles can really come in handy so you have more storage options after you pump.

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Medela Freestyle Review

The Freestyle has a hands-free option

Moms often need extra hands to get everything done that they need to. While this pump won’t give you extra hands, it can free up the two you already have. You can pump hands free with the addition of the Easy Expression bustier.

This pump won’t clash with the nursery color scheme

The S1 only comes in blue, which can cause a problem for moms who like everything to match. The Freestyle is a white pump with yellow accents, so it is more gender neutral than the S1.

Which Is Right For You?

Both these pumps are solid choices for moms who plan to pump every single day. They’ll help their milk production stay up and they’ll pump quickly and effectively.

But considering the differences, I think each of these pumps is best for the following situation:

  • The Freestyle is a better choice for moms who don’t mind spending extra money to get the additional accessories offered by this pump. The bags and extra breast shields are nice.
  • The S1 is a good choice for moms who are returning to work because of how quiet the pump is, and it’s a more affordable option for moms who feel every dollar counts.

1 Reader Comment

  1. KW

    A couple things to consider: Despite the weights noted above (does that include all the extra accessories?), the Freestyle pump itself is much smaller than the Spectra pump. Also, while the Spectra battery lasts 1 hour, the Freestyle lasts 3-4. I’m torn because the Freestyle (which I already own), appears to be a better pump for travel.

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