Willow Go, Elvie Stride, which is BETTER?
Willow Go and Elvie Stride are newly released versions of their original counterparts, the Willow and Elvie. This post is mostly about the Elvie Stride and the Willow Go but it is going to reference the original version of these pumps. It should help you understand what these pumps are and which one might work best for you!
Many working moms like to have a wearable pump as an option because it gives them more flexibility in the workplace. If you’re struggling to know what kind of pump to get as a working mom, or how to fit pumping into your busy work schedule, consider our Pumping for Working Moms Program. We’re here to help you get the support you need! Book a consultation call to see if this program is the right fit for you!
(This post was originally a video. You can check it out below!)
At the time of this post, the Elvie Stride has been out for a couple months. Willow Go has only been out for a couple weeks. So this review is based on the user information that was available as of April 2022.
The Elvie Stride had more information which helps make a more well-rounded review, so keep that in mind when thinking about the Willow Go. As more user information is gathered, the reviews might change!
Main Differences between the Elvie Stride and Willow Go
One difference is the motor placement, obviously. Willow has their motor inside, it’s an all in one wearable pump. The new Elvie Stride has an external motor, it comes with two cups and a pump that you can clip somewhere.
Currently the price difference between these two pumps is only $20.
How is the Willow Go Different than the Original Willow?
Let’s talk about Willow Go and how it is different from before.
The Willow Go can have a larger storage capacity than the Willow. You buy an additional seven ounce container. It will be bigger, obviously, but that’s a nice option. A lot of moms complained about their wearable pumps not holding enough milk, especially if you are one of those moms that pump a lot of milk per session. Willow really listened to what users were saying about the original and made it better and cheaper.
Graphing the Willow’s Unique Suction
The Willow is the only pump that has this interesting type of suction and you either love it or you hate it. Here’s what it looks like on a graph:
It was actually pretty hard to measure! Here’s what’s interesting about this: you can see that at the beginning this pump is trying to find suction. The original Willow requires a constant suction at the breast so it pulls in your nipple and it holds it there. Notice with the second 2/3s of this graph the bottom is only going to like 70 mmHg. That’s because, in the original Willow, if it can’t find suction to a breast it’s not going to work right. That’s what this graph is showing because I couldn’t get it to suction correctly to my machine. So you can see that it’s got the little dips, that’s where it was trying to regain suction again.
Expression Mode on the Original Willow
The original Willow also requires that you have a certain amount of milk inside before it will automatically switch to expression mode. This can be good and bad. They were trying to go for ease of use but a lot of moms complain about that. Sometimes you don’t have a letdown, or you just want to go to expression mode because it’s easier, etc. The original Willow is interesting in that way.
Expression Mode on the Willow Go
Let’s look at the Willow Go. It’s very much more like a traditional pump. In stimulation mode it goes from zero, so from no suction, up to almost 70 cycles per minute. That’s different from the original Willow.
The Willow Go can switch back and forth between modes easily, expression or stimulation whatever you want.
Here’s what the Willow Go looks like in expression mode:
I was able to get just under 250 mmHg max suction on the Willow Go, (but remember, my device is not set up for an ideal suction on wearable cups like this). I did use another device to test the suction where I could get excellent suction and it was well over 300 mmHg. The Willow Go has plenty of suction! It’s just going to depend on how well you have it against the breast and how sealed it is to get the suction you want.
The suction pattern is an up and down pattern, a very standard traditional pumping style.
How does the Elvie Stride’s suction graph compare?
The Elvie Stride has a suction pattern looks like this:
You can see that it looks a little bit different. The Elvie Stride had a nice up but then it had this little dip on the way down. It didn’t drop straight down like some of the other pump suctions do. That might be better or worse for you, it’s hard to tell.
The original Elvie’s suction graph looks like this:
It’s more of a gradual up and down. It does pause occasionally. The Elvie Stride does that as well. Which, like mentioned before, isn’t necessarily good or bad.
The suction is very gentle on both Elvies. Graphs don’t represent what the Elvies feel like. Both the original Elvie, and the Elvie Stride have the gentlest suction that you can find. This can be a pro or a con depending on what you like.
Some moms like to feel a harder suction. They say it helps them get a letdown. So, if you like strong, hard suction, you probably won’t like the Elvie style of suction.
If you’re okay with a gentler style, the Elvie Stride might be a great fit for you! It’s a unique style.
Things to note about the Elvie Stride and the Willow Go
One big complaint with wearable pumps is that you cannot see your nipple and make sure that it’s lined up correctly. So, a cool new feature that the Elvie Stride has is a pop top. It’s actually where you pour the milk out when you’re done but while you’re pumping you can see your nipple in there which is really cool.
The Willow Go is easier to purchase right now. You can buy it straight from their website. The Elvie Stride is only available through insurance companies at this time. (I was able to buy it through One Natural Way which is a direct medical equipment company. I didn’t use my insurance.)
They just released the Elvie Stride Plus. It is available to purchase without insurance on the Elvie website but it is more expensive.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the Elvie Stride as your only pump. If you’re using your insurance to purchase an Elvie Stride, just know that you will likely purchase another pump in the future. The Elvie Stride might be enough to cover your needs if you’re only pumping occasionally. But if you’re full time pumping, it likely won’t be enough long term.
Some other good features to highlight from the Willow Go:
The parts are pretty big and easy to clean. It has the standard five parts to clean, but the duckbill valve is big and easy to clean which is great.
The setup is pretty straightforward. There is one thing that’s a little bit tricky about the setup of the Willow Go. If you like to utilize the fridge hack, where you put your pump parts in the fridge in between pumping sessions and then just pull them out again for the next one instead of washing them (which the CDC does not recommend but no judgment if that makes your life easier!) it’s very difficult with the Willow Go because of where the motor is placed. The motor is in the middle of all of these parts so it does make it a little bit tricky to utilize that hack.
How bulky are these pumps when in use?
I tested the bulkiness of both pumps under clothes, specifically scrubs. I think it’s interesting to try under scrubs because they’re not very stretchy.
The Elvie Stride is slimmer than the Willow Go but not by that much. It does have a visible divot under clothes where the plug part is located so it’s a little bit more noticeable that you’re wearing a pump.
There’s really no wearable pump that is going to be 100% discreet. Even with the original Elvie, which is probably one of the most trim in the bra wearable pumps, you would still notice that someone is wearing that pump. If you’re interested in discreetness for wearable pumps, check out this video!
You can run the Elvie Stride tubing down your shirt. You can even clip this on a pocket or a waistband if you want. There are also really cute and functional bags from Mimi and Pal that are kind of like a fanny pack but for all of your pumping stuff so you can be totally hands free!
Overall Thoughts about the Willow Go and Elvie Stride
The Willow Go has only been out for a short time (April 2022) but so far the reviews have been much more positive on the Willow Go than they have been on the Elvie Stride. The Elvie Stride has really mixed reviews, some people hate it, some people love it.
This was a general overview of the main differences between the Elvie Stride and the Willow Go. The Milky Hub has a great side by side chart comparison the Elvie Stride, the Elvie, the Willow Go, and the Willow. It compiles a lot of the features mentioned in our review here, but puts it altogether in one handy chart! Check it out!
If you have more questions about some of the specific differences or a part that I didn’t cover you wanted me to, please put it in the comments and I will do a follow-up for you!
If you have any questions about the best breast pump for you especially if you’re a working mom, you can join our next webinar and I would love to talk with you and help you figure this out! Some of the topics we cover are:
- Can you use wearable pumps as your only pump?
- Can you use a portable pump as your only pump?
- What do you do after you get a pump/how do you figure out how to use it?
And if you’re looking for even more help than one webinar can offer, check out our Pumping for Working Moms Program. We’re here everyday answering questions from moms like you!
See you there!