Best breast pumps 2021: 8 tried and tested breast pumps

Buying a breast pump? Read our roundup of the best pumps – each one put to the test by parents – to help you choose which one is right for you.
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • A breast pump is an indispensable piece of kit if you’re breastfeeding. But working out which is the best breast pump for you can be a complicated business.  

    To help you make your mind up, our baby gear expert, Heidi Scrimgeour, has rounded up her pick of the best breast pumps – and, asked a panel of mums to put them to the test.

    Best breast pumps at a glance

    The Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump gets our vote as the best breast pump you can buy. It’s easy to clean and assemble, comfortable to use, and highly efficient at extracting milk. We particularly like the fact that you can express straight into your baby’s bottle. This means less time transferring milk between storage pots and bottles when you’re ready to use it.

    The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is equally impressive and easily won the best premium breast pump category, based on our testers’ feedback.

    Best breast pump overall: Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump – Philips | £250
    Best premium breast pump: Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump –Mamas and Papas | £249
    Best budget breast pump: Nuby Double Digital Electric Breast Pump – Nuby | £124
    Mam 2-in-1 Electric and Manual Breast Pump – John Lewis | £103.99
    Lansinoh Smart Pump 2.0 – John Lewis | £265
    Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump – Amazon | £99.99
    Tommee Tippee Double Electric Breast Pump – Argos | £169.99
    Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump – Medela | £250

    Things to consider when buying a breast pump

    There are lots of reasons why you might decide to invest in a breast pump. Perhaps you’re returning to work from maternity leave but you aren’t ready to stop breastfeeding. In that case, a breast pump enables you to express milk while you’re away from your baby, for use when you’re at home. Or maybe you’re breastfeeding your baby and want to express some milk so a family member can help with feeding your baby. The benefit of expressing is flexibility – with breastmilk stored in the fridge or freezer, you can leave your baby in someone else’s care whilst continuing to breastfeed.

    The key thing to consider when buying a breast pump is which type of pump will suit you best. A manual breast pump is operated by hand – you squeeze the handle to express your milk into the attached container. In contrast, an electric breast pump automatically extracts the milk for you once you apply the suction cup to your breast. We tested electric breast pumps as they tend to the most efficient option, but they’re also typically more expensive than manual pumps.

    If you’re only expressing occasionally, a manual pump will do the job. If you plan to express every day, an electric pump is a more practical choice. And if you’re not sure which type of pump you need, go for the combined 2-in1 breast pump which can be used in either electric or manual mode.

    Expressing your breastmilk can also help boost milk supply, and relieve discomfort if your breasts are engorged.

    1. Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump

    Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Philips Avent

    A highly efficient pump that’s quiet and comfortable to use

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: Yes

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Power
    ✅ Comfort
    ✅ Ease of use
    ❌ Not hands-free
    ❌ Fiddly to position
    ❌ Has to be held in place

    VIEW AT PHILIPS | £250

    The Philips Avent Ultra Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump is an efficient breast pump that’s quiet and comfortable to use.

    “This double pump is a godsend,” says our tester, Darryl Hannah Baker, mum to daughter Cole, aged three weeks. She was impressed to discover that she could express between one and three more ounces of milk than usual during a pumping session. She also loved that she can use it as a double pump to express from both sides in one sitting, increasing her yield even further.

    “The only downside to this pump is that you have to physically hold the pumps in place. Unlike wearable pumps, you can’t position it inside your bra, meaning you literally have your hands full while you’re expressing,” says Darryl. “That means you need to find time when you can pump and do very little else. It’s possible to balance the pumps on your knees so you can scroll through your phone or change the TV channel, but that’s about it.”

    Overall, this is an impressive, comfortable pump. Although our tester found she used it less than other pumps because it’s not hands-free, she says it’s powerful enough to make up for that. Impressive power and unrivalled  comfort make it the best breast pump of all those we tested. It’s ideal if you can dedicate time to pumping, and it’s a good choice for mums seeking to increase their milk supply.

    Read our in-depth review of the Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump 

    2. Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump

    Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Elvie

    A game-changing wireless breast pump that’s discreet and hands-free

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: Yes

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Truly hands-free
    ✅ Fits easily into your life
    ✅ Easy to control
    ❌ Fiddly to position
    ❌ Shields warp easily
    ❌ Expensive

    VIEW AT MAMAS AND PAPAS | £249

    The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is a completely hands-free, wearable breast pump that’s small enough to fit discreetly in your bra. This means you can express discreetly at work or in a cafe without feeling conspicuous. It was a hit with our tester from the moment she unboxed it.

    “From taking this out of the box to everyday use and cleaning, Elvie have clearly put a lot of thought into making this as simple and hassle-free as possible,” says Lisa Murphy-O’Reilly, mum to Arlo, aged three months.

    It has seven different settings so you can choose the intensity, and it’s easy to adjust. But the standout feature for our tester is the fact that it fits in her handbag and is discreet enough to use at work. “I’m still on maternity leave but you could use it in a busy office,” she says. “The pump isn’t completely silent but the noise would be drowned out in an open-plan office or restaurant. You couldn’t wear a tight top and expect people not to notice, but you could definitely hide it underneath a baggy jumper.”

    Admittedly this isn’t a budget option, but Lisa feels it’s worthy of its price tag. “It’s an expensive product but the design, ease of use, the functionality of the app and the overall appearance of the pump make it feel like a premium product,” she says. “It looks great and it’s truly portable.”

    On balance, we’d recommend this breast pump to someone who loves gadgets and appreciates excellent design. “It’s the perfect pump for a busy mum who is prepared to spend a bit of extra money on a premium product that will truly make her life easier.”

    A double version of this pump is also available to buy.

    Read our in-depth review of the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump

    3. Nuby Double Digital Electric Breast Pump

    Nuby Double Digital Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Nuby

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: No

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Affordable
    ✅ Time-saving
    ✅  Comfortable and efficient 
    ❌ It’s not hands-free
    ❌ Lots of parts to assemble and clean
    ❌ Not discreet for pumping on the move

    VIEW AT NUBY | £124

    The Nuby Ultimate Digital Double Electric Breast Pump impressed our tester before she had even put it to the test – mainly because it’s such brilliant value. “Most double electric breast pumps cost considerably more than this,” says Deborah Cicurel, mum to Mia, aged six months. “It was also fairly easy to clean and put together. There are quite a few different parts but I got the hang of it quite quickly.”

    It has nine intensity levels, soft silicone breast shield cushions, and a handy digital display with a clock so you can check how long you’ve been pumping for. “The silicone breast shield cushions are really comfortable and make for a pleasant, pain-free pumping experience, while the touchscreen digital display looks sleek and is handy to use,” adds Deborah.

    This can be either mains or battery operated for flexibility when pumping. You can also use it as either a single or double pump, depending on what you need.

    It’s not handsfree, but this is easily rectified. “You could buy a generic pumping bra to keep the pump in place. This will free you up to play with your baby, work on your laptop or do anything that doesn’t involve moving around too much while you express.”

    Overall, this is a brilliant budget breast pump. “It’s so much more affordable than other double electric breast pumps, and very comfortable to use,” says Deborah.  “Most importantly, the pump gets lots of milk out by mimicking a baby’s feeding actions, and I also really like that you can pump straight into the same bottles you can feed your baby – anything that saves time with a little one is a huge bonus!”

    We’d recommend it to anyone who likes value for money and prioritises time-saving, and is mainly going to pump at home rather than when out and about.

    4. Mam 2-in-1 Electric and Manual Breast Pump

    Mam 2-in-1 Electric and Manual Breast Pump

    Credit: Mam

    A flexible breast pump that switches from electric to manual mode

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Both | Dishwasher safe: No

    Pros Cons
    ✅ No need to be plugged in
    ✅ Manual and electric
    ✅ Anti-colic bottles
    ❌ Expensive
    ❌ Took a while to express enough milk

    VIEW AT JOHN LEWIS | £103.99

    Find it difficult to choose between a manual breast pump and an electric one? Problem solved – this is definitely the best breast pump for you. It’s highly flexible too. You simply swap the top of the pump unit to switch between manual and electric modes. 

    It has stimulation and expression modes that mimic a baby’s natural sucking reflex, plus nine different suction strengths that you can adjust to suit you. It  has a sleek touchscreen that’s easy to use. The pump can be plugged in or used on the go, thanks to the rechargeable battery, which lasts for around five hours.

    The MAM 2-in-1 is compatible with Mam’s full range of Easy Start bottles and Food Storage pots, which attach directly to the bottom of the pump. This is handy for time-pressed mums, allowing you to store your milk in the fridge or freezer easily.

    Annie Quinn, mum to Leo, aged five months, was impressed by this pump before she even unpackaged it. “At first glance, you can tell it’s high quality – the box itself has lots of easy-to-read snippets of information on it,” she says. “Each part is well packaged and presented, so you can immediately see each individual item. The instructions are very easy to follow, especially for someone who doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing! I was able to clean, sterilise and put it together with ease.”

    Cleaning the pump is particularly easy. The top and bottom of the bottle come off so you can clean hard-to-reach areas. It also comes with containers for storing milk.

    “I had previously tried a different combined electric and manual pump and just couldn’t get on with it, but I managed to express four ounces on my first go with this,” says Annie.

    Overall, Annie gave this pump the thumbs up. “It’s brilliant and so comfortable,” she says. “It’s ideal for a new mum that would like something easy and convenient to express with.”

    5. Lansinoh Smart Pump 2.0

    Lansinoh Smart Pump 2.0

    Credit: Lansinoh

    A smart, portable pump that’s easy to clean

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: Yes

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Portable
    ✅ Easy to use
    ✅ Very comfortable 
    ❌ Less powerful than other pumps
    ❌ You have to experiment a lot

    VIEW AT JOHN LEWIS | £265

    This SmartPump 2.0 Double Electric Breast Pump from Lansinoh is their quietest breast pump, while still having adjustable hospital strength suction levels. It has a backlit LCD display for easy reading, and large buttons to help control the variable suction speed and pumping style. Plus the hygienic closed system breast pump helps prevent milk backup into the tubing for easier clean-up.

    The Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0 Double Electric Breast Pump is lightweight with an ergonomic carrying handle, which means it’s easy for you to take to work or on holiday. It’s also compact enough to carry around the house as you do your daily routine. It seamlessly connects to the Lansinoh Baby 2.0 app (free from your app store) via Bluetooth to automatically track your pumping sessions. The app helps you  keep track of your feeding and pumping sessions.

    Our tester, Nicky Poole is mum to William, 16 weeks. “I’ve used Lansinoh milk bags, nipple cream and shields before, so this felt like a trusted brand My first impression of this pump was ‘Wow, this is portable’. The device itself is lightweight but sturdy. It came complete with a cool bag with a little gel freezer pouch and a bottle holder/cooler.”

    The instructions were easy to follow and the pump came assembled. “That was great because pumps are often ultra-fiddly,” adds Nicky. “I felt like this wasn’t going to be torture to assemble or use, and far less mechanical and bovine like than other pumps.”

    The pump has three modes that mimic different feeding styles. “It’s easy to switch on and very gentle, so there’s zero risk of accidentally clamping your nipple in it when turning it off,” adds Nicky. “It also remembers your settings so you don’t need to fiddle around each time you use it. Plus there’s a timer on the screen, which is very useful.”

    Despite the variable suction levels, Nicky found she got less milk than she typically does when using her own breast pump. “I’d say this make would be best for an infrequent pumper returning to work, or for medium-light use.”

    6. Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump

    Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Vital Baby

    A cordless, portable pump with rechargeable battery

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe:

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Strong suction
    ✅ Affordable price
    ✅ Useful extras
    ❌ Touch screen is fiddly
    ❌ Lots of parts to sterilise
    ❌ Not wearable

    VIEW AT AMAZON | £99.99

    This breast pump has 2-phase expression to help you express more milk in less time. The first phase stimulates your breast, while the second phase uses longer and slower pulses to encourage let-down.

    It has nine speed settings in each phase, so it’s highly adaptable to suit your preference. The ergonomic design makes this a good choice for travelling with or for use outside of the house. It also comes with a handle, so you can use it as a manual pump if you wish.

    Mum Georgia Sharp put this breast pump to the test with her son, Indigo, 11 weeks. “I hadn’t heard of this brand before but on first impressions I liked the packaging and design of the product,” she says.

    The pump comes in lots of pieces which makes it a bit fiddly to clean and re-assemble,  but Georgia found it easy and intuitive to use. “I was able to produce a lot of milk in a single session, and found it really handy being able to pump directly into a bottle,” she says.

    It’s easy to control via a touch panel and can be cordless when charged or plugged in with the USB cable provided. However, Georgia found the touchscreen a little temperamental. “On two separate occasions I accidentally turned it off simply by picking it up and having my finger on the on/off button,” she says. “Also I couldn’t use my thumb with the touch screen – only my index finger.”

    Overall, this is a powerful pump that will appeal to anyone who wants the flexibility of a rechargeable unit. The battery life is good, and it’s great value for money.

    7. Tommee Tippee Double Electric Breast Pump

    Tommee Tippee Double Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Tommee Tippee

    Summary

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: No

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Easy to use
    ✅ Handy milk storage
    ✅ Rechargeable
    ❌ Changing modes is tricky
    ❌ Not hands-free

    VIEW AT ARGOS | £169.99

    The Tommee Tippee Made for Me double electric breast pump is a good choice for mums who need to express as much milk as possible in a short amount of time, according to our tester, Anna Watt, mum to Joshua, 12 weeks old.

    This small, discreet, and quiet breast pump has five massage modes that mimic your baby’s latch-on to stimulate milk flow. Once your milk starts flowing, you can choose from nine expressing modes. The soft, cushioned silicone cups are designed to be gentle on your breasts.

    There’s no backflow into the tubes, so every drop of milk gets saved. It’s powered by a lightweight, slimline USB rechargeable power unit, giving you around 90 minutes of cord-free pump time.

    “I have a single electric pump already but as a working mum with a five-year-old and a three-month-old, I am short on time so every minute counts,” says Anna. “I wanted to try a double pump in the hope of pumping twice as much milk in one go.”

    Anna found the pump easy to assemble, with instructions that are clear and easy to follow. “I really liked the light-up buttons on the power unit, which make it easy to use in dim light,” she says. “It also clearly shows when the pump is charging and at full charge; something I’ve found lacking in other pumps, when you only realise it’s out of charge halfway through use.”

    The pump has good suction, with five massage settings and nine express modes. Anna found level two sufficient and pumped 6oz-3oz from each breast in less than 20 minutes.

    However, a downside of this pump is that it doesn’t automatically change from the initial massage motion to express mode. “In order to do this you need to press a button on the power unit, which is tricky to do when you’re using both hands to hold the handsets in place,” says Anna.

    “Therefore, to make the most out of this pump, you really need to purchase a pumping bra. It would be great if the pump came with one, as you’d be able to enjoy a cup of tea whilst pumping, or rattle a toy to entertain your baby.”

    In addition, the parts are easy to take apart to clean, and the pumped milk is easily stored as you don’t need to pour it into other containers. “You pump into the same bottle you can use to feed your baby,” explains Anna. “Once you’ve finished pumping, you just twist off the bottle, put the lid on, and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to use the milk, simply swap the lid for a bottle teat.”

    All in all, we’d recommend this pump for busy mums who don’t have much downtime, or who pump out of the house. Anna feels this pump did exactly what she wanted it to, enabling her to pump twice as much milk as usual in the same amount of time.

    8. Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump

    Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump

    Credit: Medela

    A highly portable electric pump with rechargeable battery

    Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Electric or Manual: Electric | Dishwasher safe: Yes 

    Pros Cons
    ✅ Very comfortable
    ✅ Intuitive to use
    ✅ Can be hands-free with the bustier 
    ❌ Not hands-free
    ❌ Cumbersome to hold
    ❌ Not silent

    VIEW AT MEDELA | £250

    The Medela Swing Maxi double electric breast pump is a portable electric breast pump which mimics a baby’s natural sucking rhythm. It’s billed as the perfect pump for mums who want to express more milk in less time.

    It has nine adjustable levels that let you find the right rate of suction. The breast shields are designed to put less pressure on your milk ducts than traditional breast shields, resulting in a more effective and comfortable pumping experience. It has a USB type C connector, as well as a built-in rechargeable battery. It lasts for up to six pumping sessions when fully charged.

    Lex Courts, mum to Idgy, aged seven months, was looking forward to trying this pump. “I had heard good things about this brand, and lots of people recommended it to me when I was looking for a breast pump,” she says. “I was excited to try it out and see if it was as comfortable and easy to use as everyone said.”

    The pump is very easy to assemble and use. “After sterilising all the parts, it was intuitive to set up and start pumping. It’s also compact compared to other pumps I’ve tried, and very comfortable – there was no pulling sensation or discomfort at all.”

    Also, Lex found this quieter than other breast pumps, but still loud enough that she had to turn the TV volume up when expressing.

    Overall, Lex thinks this pump is comfortable, efficient, and excellent value for money. “It performs really well and the functionality rivals premium brands, but it costs considerably less,” she says. “It’s not a cheap buy but you do get a lot of value.”

    To summarise, we’d recommend this pump to a mum who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive premium pump, but doesn’t want to compromise when it comes to functionality.

    Latest Stories