- Fits into your life
- Easy to control
- Fiddly to position
- Shields warp easily in a steam steriliser
We’ve named the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is the best premium model you can buy in our round up of the best breast pumps.
The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is a hands-free, wearable breast pump. It’s small enough to fit neatly inside a normal bra – so there’s no need to buy a fancy, expensive pumping bra – and the discreet design means you can pump on the go, without anyone noticing. If you’re looking for a versatile breast pump that will allow you to express breastmilk quickly and easily whilst carrying on with your life, look no further.
We asked mum Lisa Murphy-O’Reilly to put this breast pump to the test with her baby, Arlo, aged three months. She says she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. “It’s completely changed expressing for me,” she says. “It means I can go out for the evening with friends without carrying a big bulky pump. I won’t end up hiding in the toilet expressing.”
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Manual or electric: Electric | Dishwasher proof: Yes
The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is brilliantly designed. It’s small and lightweight, and it fits into a standard bra unobtrusively. You really can use it in the office – or on a Zoom call – without anyone noticing it’s there.
“I’d heard about the Elvie before, and had seen various adverts for it on social media, but had been slightly put off by the price – it’s definitely one of the most expensive pumps on the market,” says our reviewer, Lisa. “However, I was intrigued by the idea of being able to pop it in your bra. That was definitely the most appealing aspect of this pump for me.”
Breast pumps can be complicated to assemble, but that’s not an issue with the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump. There are only five parts to clean and it takes seconds to assemble. “It arrived in very slick, modern-looking packaging and comes fully assembled, so there’s no fiddling around trying to work out how it all fits together,” says Lisa. “That’s very welcome for a mum operating on very little sleep!”
There are clear instructions on how to clean and sterilise the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump, and tips on how to position it correctly. “The pump is easy to disassemble and clean – it’s much more straightforward than other pumps I’ve tried.”
“It comes with two different sized shields and it’s worth trying both out first to see which one works better for you” says Lisa. “Once you get the hang of positioning it – I recommend doing it infront of the mirror first – it’s super easy to pop in your bra and get pumping.”
However, using the right bra is crucial. Lisa found the pump worked better in some bras than others. “The pump needs to sit against your skin an if my bra wasn’t tight enough against the pump I’d experience leaks,” she explains. “The suction can also be a bit hit and miss for various reasons, such as if you’re using a shield or bra that’s too big, or if any of the parts are wet or the seal isn’t positioned completely flat against the shield.”
Comfort and features
If you wish, you can connect the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump to a free Elvie Pump app on your smartphone. The pump works without the app too, but you can use the app to monitor milk volume, track pumping history and even control the pump remotely.
“The free app is easy to use and handy to keep track of when and how much milk you’ve expressed, as well as controlling the pump itself. That’s ideal if you are pumping on the go and want to increase or decrease the suction without delving into your bra,” says Lisa.
Although the app can tell you how much you’re expressing in real-time, Lisa found it wasn’t always totally accurate. However, she didn’t see this as a problem. “In fact, not being able to see how much I was expressing was actually a perk for me. A lactation consultant recommended covering up the bottle of my old pump with a sock, as sometimes seeing how little you’re expressing makes you anxious which then means you express even less – a vicious cycle,” she says.
The Elvie app and website have great FAQ and troubleshooting videos to help you solve any problems. “That means any issues you encounter are easy to avoid once you’re aware of them,” adds Lisa.
When it came to sterilising the pump, Lisa found the shields didn’t always survive steam or microwave sterilisation. “Elvie were excellent at sending replacement shields for free, but there’s only a 90-day guarantee,” she says. “Coldwater sterilisation would protect against this. But I like the speed and ease of my microwave steriliser. For such an expensive product, this feels like somewhat of an oversight.”
Value for money
The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is an expensive piece of kit. But it more than delivers when it comes to value for money. Overall, Lisa was able to express more milk with the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump than with other pumps.
The Elvie pump leaked occasionally when our tester lay down or bent over. However, this was easily rectified. “If you’re pumping in bed you have to sit pretty upright,” she says. “As well as expressing on the go around the house, it’s small and discreet enough to use out and about. That’s essential if you want to gain some independence back and spend time away from your baby without affecting your milk supply.”
Overall, the Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump gets our vote as the best premium breast pump you can buy. It impressed us – and earned a five-star review from our tester – because it’s wearable, versatile, and truly makes life easier for mums.
The “absolute standout” feature is the fact that it makes pumping hassle-free. That makes the Elvie “worth every penny” according to our tester.
“I hated pumping before I got the Elvie. Between feeding a newborn baby around the clock, I didn’t want to be tethered to the sofa like a cow at a dairy farm,” says Lisa. “Using a traditional pump made me feel like a milk machine. However, the Elvie made me feel like myself again,” she adds.
“As a new mum, time to yourself is like gold dust. The Elvie means you can use the time you’d be pumping with a traditional pump to do pretty much anything. Do your hair or make-up, clean the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, etc. The novelty of knowing I was expressing while comfortably getting on with normal activities didn’t wear off. In fact, that made me much more willing to pump, which was great for my supply. It literally takes seconds to pop into your bra, so it doesn’t interfere with your life at all.”
"The Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump is a revolutionary product that gives mums time to do something for themselves," says Lisa Murphy-O'Reilly, mum to Arlo, three months. "The fact you can express handsfree, without having to sit down in place, makes it worth every penny."