Willow vs. Elvie: An Honest Breast Pump Comparison
Willow vs. Elvie, which is better? This is the number one question about wearable breast pumps! These two pumps started the wearable pumping craze and even though there are lots of other wearable options now, Willow and Elvie are still top of the market! So, this post is going to dive deep into these two pumps. It will be divided into several categories and decide a winner for each. At the end, you can decide which pump might be best depending your needs!
(This post was originally a video. Check it out below!)
If you want specific help choosing a breast pump, join the working moms program! In this group you can get personalized help on choosing a pump. There is no perfect pump for everybody and your needs depend on your situation, your budget, etc. New Little Life can help!
Willow vs. Elvie Price Comparison
Both of these pumps are about $500.
One thing to consider is that the Elvie comes with everything you need to get started. It comes with 2 chargers, two flange sizes and bottles. This pump does not offer a bag option.
With the Willow you are probably going to want a couple of extra accessories. If you don’t want to use the disposable bags, you are going to need to purchase the reusable milk container separately. That runs about $50. If you choose to use the bags, the are about 50 cents a piece. You need to take that extra cost into consideration. The Willow only comes with one wall charger, so if you want to charge both at the same time, that will be an extra expense. The wall charger is $29.99.
How much can you really move around with these two pumps?
With the Elvie, you are pumping into a hard plastic bottle. It does have to stay upright. The milk goes through a flange and down into the bottle. If you bend over, it’s likely going to leak and spill out. So, as long as you remain relatively upright with this pump it will be fine. No exercising or laying down with this one.
With the Willow, if you are using the reusable milk containers, the same rules apply with the Elvie. But, if you are using the bags, you can pump in any crazy position you want. I actually used this pump while doing yoga and I had zero leaks. (Check out my video on that, here!)
Willow is the winner of mobility.
Willow vs. Elvie: Battery Life and Charging
Both of these pumps take about 2 hours to go from an empty charge to a full charge. The Willow says you can get about five pumping sessions on one full charge, which seems about right. A quick 20 minute charge will get you through one pumping session if you are in a pinch.
The Elvie stats were very similar. It was about 2 1/2 hours of pumping on a full battery charge. Again, charging the Elvie for about 15 minutes and you will be able to get through a pumping session.
The Willow’s suction goes from about 35 mmHg to 245 mmHg. That is a really wide range of suction levels for you! It also goes up to 90 cycles per minute, which is cool.
I could not find the Elvie’s cycle per minute that it went up to, but the pumping range was 40 to 220 mmHg for the suction level.
You don’t necessarily need higher suction, but the Willow did have a broader range both at the low end and the high end and a lot more variance in the cycle speed, so the win goes to Willow.
But, if we are talking user experience on the suction, the Elvie has a lot gentler suction than the Willow does.
I used the Willow 2.0 for this comparison. They now have a Willow 3.0 and the main difference was that they brought the suction way down and it’s much more comparable to the Elvie now. So user experience there I have preferred the Elvie, but again, the newer Willow 3.0 would be very comparable.
Willow vs. Elvie: Size
The Elvie is much smaller than the Willow.
Both have a nice shape.
Because smaller is usually more discreet, the win goes to Elvie.
The Willow is a little louder while in stimulation mode and while it is trying to find suction. During expression mode it is very quiet.
The Elvie is quieter. When it is trying to get better suction it just pauses and then starts again.
Point is going to Elvie on this one.
The Willow weighs 364 grams (12.8 ounces) when it is empty.
The Elvie is 247 grams (8.7 ounces)
Point for Elvie on weight.
Willow vs. Elvie: Set Up and Cleaning Process
The Willow only has three parts. You have the pump motor, the flange and the flex tube. Easy, easy cleaning! If you are using the reusable milk container, that does add one extra part.
For the Elvie, there are a few more parts. You have the pump, flange, a green piece of plastic, a valve, and the bottle.
Because the Elvie has more parts to clean, the point goes in this category of Willow vs. Elvie is the Willow.
Both of these pumps have dishwasher safe parts.
The Elvie comes with everything you need to start pumping. You can buy a three pack of the bottles so that when you are done pumping, you can remove it from the pump, put a little lid on it and store it in the fridge.
It also has the USB chargers which is awesome. That means you can charge them on a laptop or lots of other options.
The Elvie also came with a bra strap adapter. It was a little clip that you could add to your nursing bra to make it a little bit bigger to allow room for the pump.
We already covered a few extra accessories that you might want to have with the Willow. The cool thing about the Willow is those bags allowing you to pump in any position you want, or using the milk containers. The Willow charger is dual voltage if you are worried about that.
They are both awesome in this category so between Willow vs. Elvie, it’s a draw.
Willow vs. Elvie Ability to Customize
Both pumps have the double expression technology. First, stimulation mode that mimics the baby sucking quickly at the beginning and then after the let down it goes to the expression mode.
With the Elvie, you can completely customize that. You can start in either mode and change at any time. Whatever works for you. You do have to manually change that.
The Willow does it automatically. This is both good and bad, according to your preference. Some moms complain that they can’t get out of stimulation mode and move to expression mode when they want. You do have to have a certain amount of milk that it registers before it automatically switches. That usually happens around the letdown. There is no way to override that.
So, if you want total control, you probably want to go with the Elvie. If you don’t want to think about it and have the pump just do its job, then Willow is for you.
It all depends on your preference. If I had to choose, I would probably want to be more in control, so I’d prefer Elvie. But, really this category is a tie.
Both Pumps Have An App to Use
The app can tell you how much milk you are pumping. You can control the pump via the app.
The Willow does have a specific right and left side pump.
The Elvie has a little button to switch and it doesn’t matter which side you put it on.
If you are not tracking output, then it really doesn’t matter keeping track of which side your pump is on.
The apps are pretty similar so this is a tie, too!
The Ultimate Question: WHICH ONE? WILLOW VS. ELVIE?
I really can’t choose for you. I like both of them but for different reasons. Let me say why and then maybe that will help you decide which pump is right for you.
What I really like about the Willow is that is gives you a lot of freedom.
You can pump in any position, while you’re sleeping, exercising, anything. I like that you can use the bags or reusable milk container. Sometimes I want to use the bags so that I can through it straight into the freezer and be done. Sometimes I want to use the milk container because I know I’m going to be feeding right away. So, if you plan to move around a lot or chase a toddler or continue working or you just have a very active lifestyle and you need a pump that can fit that, the Willow is probably for you.
What I like about the Elvie is the feeling of the pump.
The Elvie is very gentle. It seems to be really effective for me and took milk out very quickly, gently. If price is a determining factor for you, the Elvie is a little bit more cost effective for you. You are limited to only using the little bottle on the bottom and in an upright position, though.
Some moms have complained about a little more leaking with the Elvie as well. If you are worried that you will be pumping at work and don’t want to deal with any leaks, maybe the Willow would be better? I haven’t experienced much leaking with the Elvie. I did once, but I overfilled the bottle and the app didn’t quite register it right. That was probably on me. I should have been paying better attention.
They are both really good pumps! Wearable pumps are such a convenient option, especially for working moms. If you want more help choosing and using pumps like these effectively, you can come work with Allison and the New Little Life team inside the Pumping for Working Moms Program.