WILLOW vs ELVIE vs FREEMIE: Wearable Breast Pump Comparison
Willow vs Elvie vs Freemie is a match up of three popular wearable breast pumps. Wearable, hands-free breast pumps are so popular right now, and for good reason! New moms are busy and breast pumps like the Willow, the Elvie, and the Freemie are making it so moms can more easily meet their breastfeeding goals. But how do you know which wearable pump to invest in?? This review will cover ten categories and hopefully you will be able to decide for yourself which pump best fits your needs!
(This post was originally a video. Check it out, here!)
Let’s start with the most expensive which is the $500 Willow. This pump will even cost a bit more due to some of the accessories that you might want to purchase like an extra charger, reusable milk containers and some extra bags.
The Elvie costs $500 but comes with everything you need to get going. That make things really easy! And, unlike the Willow’s extra cost of replacing the disposable milk storage bags, the Elvie comes with its reusable milk container.
The Freemie is the least expensive of the three wearable pumps. Sometimes on their website they run a sale which puts them just under $200 which is cool. The regular price is $349. That comes in quite a bit lower than the Willow and the Elvie.
Freemie wins on cost, but keep reading, there are some other features to consider!
The Elvie is great! It is a wearable pump. You stick it right in your bra. You do need to keep it pretty upright because it could spill, but you can walk around, you can sit at your desk and you can feed your baby on the other side while using it. Many different options there.
The Freemie you can also move around with. The pump and cups are separate though. The pump is probably going to be worn on your waist hooked to your pants. The cup goes inside the bra. You do have to run a tube that connects the two. You could run the tube down your shirt so that it’s not noticeable.
There is an air hole at the top of the cup so that the suction loop can get air in and out. That could potentially leak if you bend over or something. (You would have to bend over pretty far though!)
The Willow, if you use the bags, can be used to pump in any position. It is a completely closed pump, there are no air holes or vent holes. I did a video on my site where I did yoga while using the Willow to pump. Feel free to watch that!
If you use the reusable milk containers though, it is the same as the other two, you have to stay upright because of the hole up on top.
But the Willow has that option to use the bags and that means you can pump while you sleep, exercise, stand on your head, chase your toddler, WHATEVER!
The Willow is the most mobile of the three wearable pumps!
The Willow takes about two hours to charge and you can get about 5 pumping sessions per charge. It does have a light that will tell you its energy power. If the light is red – you’re not going to make it through a pump, yellow means charge it soon, green, it’s ready to go!
The Elvie is very, very similar. It takes about two hours to charge it. You can do a quick 20 minute charge to get through one pumping. You get about 2 1/2 hours of battery life out of one full charge on the Elvie. (That’s about 5 pumping sessions). The Elvie does have USB chargers though, which is awesome. You could charge it in your car, on your laptop, or your favorite USB brick in the wall.
That’s definitely cool with the Elvie which is why the Elvie is the winner in battery life!
The Freemie Battery Life is not Great, but it’s Good Enough
The Freemie pump is the worst of the three, unfortunately. If you think about it, it’s powering two pumping cups at the same time. You probably could single pump with it and have the battery last a bit longer.
The Freemie takes about 60-90 minutes to charge, so it’s a little faster, but you don’t get as many pumping sessions out of that charge. It says it will last about 3 – 4 sessions of about 15 minutes each.
I have noticed that as a user, the battery life is not as good as the other two more high end pumps… but still good enough to get you through what you need to do!
The Willow weighs 12 ounces. It is probably the heaviest of the three.
The Elvie weighs 8.7 ounces.
The Freemie pump itself weighs 9 ounces but that part is going to be clipped onto your pants or belt. The cup that goes into your bra is super light at 2.8 ounces. But remember that there is no motor attached to the cup like the other pumps.
So, in-the-bra lightness goes to Freemie!
The Elvie is the sleekest and has the best shape to fit into your bra. It kind of looks like a breast!
The Willow is a little bit bulkier than the Elvie. It is also shaped like a breast.
The Freemie and Willow are very similar in size, but the Freemie is not shaped like a breast.
It is a little flat on one side which might look a bit awkward while pumping. But, when you’re done pumping, you can set it down on that flat side and it’s not going to roll around and spill everywhere. So it makes sense why they made that feature, but while you are wearing it (unless you have a good padded bra) it might be noticeable.
The Willow has a really wide suction range that goes from 35-245 MMHG, so it has the widest range between soft suction to heavy suction of all of these pumps.
The Elvie is very similar, 40-200 MMHG. You don’t necessarily need the most suction ever to get the most milk so this shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
It was hard to find the suction strength number for the Freemie. The Freemie works very similarly to the Elvie and Willow. The Freemie also has something called Turbo Mode, which I’ve been too terrified to try. But…it’s there. (Anything called Turbo, I’m not sure I that want to put that on my nipples!)
Everyone is a winner in this category.
Set Up and Cleaning
Let’s talk about the parts of these pumps.
The Elvie has the most parts. It has the cup, valve and another little piece. You also have the motor, the flange and the little suction thing. You will need to clean all of these parts every time you use it (except the motor of course, don’t get that wet!) It’s pretty easy to put back together though.
The Willow is pretty easy to clean. You only have two parts that need to be cleaned so the Willow is the winner in this category! If you are using the bags, you only need to clean the flange part and then the flex tube. Super easy. It comes with a brush too to get into that flex tube real easy. If you are using the reusable milk containers, the cleaning is very similar.
The Freemie has a few more parts. You have the collection cup(the part that collects the milk), and then the flange, the backflow protector and two other pieces to clean. Quite a few parts there. It’s not too difficult to set back up, but you are going to have to make sure to clean them all every time you pump.
The Elvie can hold 150 mL/5 ounces. It really can only hold that much because then it will start to leak on you. Trust me.
The Willow can hold about 5 ounces as well. The bags say 5 ounces, although you can pump with the bags on the outside of the pump and fill it quite a bit more. So, you have a bit more wiggle room there, and bonus, it’s not going to leak on you at all. If you’re using the reusable containers, they hold 5 ounces as well, and they will leak if you get them too full.
The Freemie cups however, can store all the way up to 235 ML/8 ounces! So Freemie is the winner of storage capacity! If it is that full though, you would not be able to move much, because the milk would be really close to that upper air vent hole, so just be cautious!
The Elvie comes with everything you need to get started. It comes with two chargers, two flanges (24 and 28 mL). You can also get a pack of the bottles along with some lids so that when you are done pumping you could put the milk in the fridge real quick and deal with it later.
The Elvie also comes with a little clip that would extend the nursing bra, making it a little bit bigger to accommodate the pump. This definitely makes your experience with this pump easier. You can also buy those little clips on the Elvie website if you just want those little extenders.
You are also going to have to continue to buy bags and they are about 50 cents a piece, a little expensive, but they do give you so much flexibility so it might be worth it to you. It comes standard with a pack of bags for you to try out. But, if you want the reusable milk containers, you are going to have to buy those separately. The Willow has 3 sizes of flanges, 21, 24, and 28.
The Freemie is the winner of the accessories category because the parts are inexpensive!
If you need to replace any valves or such like that, the parts are less expensive than the Willow or the Elvie. What is really cool about the Freemie is that they had inserts for a variety of different sizes for the flange. So if you don’t fit in one of the traditional three sizes, the Freemie had 12 flange options ranging from 15 – 26 mL, so you can really dial in on the size that you need.
Ability to Customize Pumping Session
With the Elvie, you have different suction levels that you can choose from. There’s a stimulation mode, and an expression mode. You can control that on an app or up on the top of the pump with controls., which is really cool.
With the Willow, it does have the stimulation and expression mode, and it will automatically switch over from stimulation to expression when the bottle has 0.5 ounces in it.
If for some reason it doesn’t recognize the amount of milk, you may get stuck in simulation mode and there is no way to override that. A nice thing about that though is if you don’t want to have to think about it, it will take care of that change for you.
The Freemie is a lot more like your traditional pump. You can set some presets where you can store your favorites. That is actually pretty cool. You can adjust the suction as well as the speed cycle. You can customize way more of the Freemie in you want some options of what is happening during your pumping session.
Again, all three are winners since they are all great with customizing your experience.
All pumps have some dishwasher safe parts. They all make your life a little bit easier while you are a pumping mom.
As a side note, a lot of insurance companies are covering these three pumps or at least a portion of them so make sure to check that out!
One bonus with the Freemie is that it is compatible with other pumps. The hands free cups and tubing will hook up to other pumps. You don’t have to buy the entire Freemie setup. Instead, you can buy just the cups and tubing. This will allow you to try the hands free style pumping. Your larger pump won’t be as portable, but it will work.
So… Which is the Grand Prize Winner??
It all depends on your specific needs!
- Are you looking for the most cost effective option? (FREEMIE)
- Are you looking for a pump that gives you the most mobility? (WILLOW)
- Are you looking for the gentlest, quietest, and lowest profile? (ELVIE)
It depends on your budget, how much you are pumping and what your pumping goals are! Hopefully this post gives you a reference point for all of the different features you should consider when choosing which wearable pump will be best for you!