Spectra vs Medela

Spectra vs Medela. Medela vs Spectra. Consistently, the most popular thing searched by you guys is “Which one should I get?” So, we’re gonna talk about that today. We’re going to discuss why these two brands are so popular and often pitted against each other.

(This post was originally a video. Check it out below!)

Now, Spectra versus Medela is a little vague because each company has a bunch of different pumps. In this post we’re mainly talking about the Medela Pump in Style and the Spectra 1. But let’s talk about these two brands, what pumps they have, which ones are good, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Then, maybe we can determine which ones are better.

History of These Two Companies

Spectra and Medela are two titans in the breast pump industry, and they have been for quite a while now. But what gives them that edge? Let’s talk about it.


When we’re talking about Medela, the brand really has brand longevity and innovation going for them. They’ve been in the breast pumping space for a long time. So, lactation consultants, moms, La Leche leaders, they know and trust this brand because they were some of the first people doing breast pumps.

Medela wasn’t not the only ones doing it; we have long-standing brands like Ameda and Hygeia as well. But in the beginning, there just weren’t that many people doing what we now know as the current breast pump market. Some of the first electric breast pumps were created in the 1940s, which is kind of crazy to think about.

Different Medela Pumps

  • In 1980, Medela came out with their Classic pump, the first portable hospital-use pump. This pump became really popular in hospitals especially, and it hasn’t gone away.
  • In 1983, they created a manual pump, which was awesome because now you can have a really inexpensive thing at home to get the milk out.
  • In 1991, they created their first mini electric pump, a handheld pump with an electric motor.
  • In 1996, they came out with the Pump In Style, a personal use double electric pump that was manufactured and sold for like 25 years. This pump was very popular, and it became the brand that you could just get that people knew and trusted.
  • In 2001, they came out with the Symphony, a hospital-based pump, and it kind of became the gold standard. Medela had contracts with hospitals, WIC offices, distributors, and that’s why you see their pumps everywhere.
working moms program

How the Affordable Care Act Changed the Breast Pump Industry

Then, in 2010, we had the Affordable Care Act which expanded the breast pump industry. Companies realized that they could manufacture and sell breast pumps covered through insurance, and there was a huge market for this.

That’s what has led us to our current market today, where there are just like millions of breast pumps. Okay, maybe not millions, that was an exaggeration, but there’s a lot, and it really is because this is a lucrative business for companies looking to make money. Unfortunately, it’s also leading to some cool innovations, but also some crappier pumps. That’s just kind of how economics works in a market like this.


Then, in 2011, a Korean company called Spectra came into the game. They realized that they could manufacture a hospital-grade pump at an affordable price. The Spectra pump quickly became popular on the market, known for as a really strong and effective pump that was affordable. It had quality and was portable, which was a big deal.

The Spectra S1 and S2 came out, (The S1 and S2 are basically the same pump but the S1 has a rechargeable battery so it doesn’t have to always be plugged into the wall.) This pump is an awesome pump and has remained consistent and popular, especially with moms.

Spectra vs Medela: Why are They Still so Popular?

So, why do we have this continued love for Spectra and Medela despite all the other options rising, and honestly, some that might even be better? The answer really is familiarity and trust. They’ve been around a long time, we trust them, there are many reviews and information about them, and they’re very visible to both professionals and consumers.

Lactation consultants often recommend these brands due to their experience with them, but it’s important to note that lactation consultants don’t receive formal training on pumping. Some are well-versed and do a great job, but most of them pick the pump they know or have experience with.

That’s where we run into the problem of recommending pumps, especially from lactation consultants who are mostly trained in breastfeeding. We have actually created a training for lactation professionals if they want to learn more about pumps.

How Do Spectra vs Medela Compare to Newer Pumps?

However, some of the pumps Medela is putting out aren’t measuring up as well to other pumps on the market. Spectra has remained consistent and popular with users, making it a go-to choice for many.

In conclusion, the breast pump market is like a kid in a candy store, with many options available. While Spectra and Medela are still popular due to familiarity and trust, it’s essential to explore the market and find the pump that suits your specific needs and pumping goals.

We have resources like webinars, videos, and coupon codes to help you with that exploration. Happy pumping!

Spectra vs Medela