If you’ve talked to other breastfeeding moms, you’ve probably learned that the Spectra breast pumps are highly recommended. However, the big question is, Should I choose the Spectra S1 or S2 and what’s the difference?
If you’re planning on breastfeeding your new baby, you must be aware that pumping will probably be part of your journey. Pumping is probably the most tedious activity, but if you have the right pump it can take your job so much easier!
I have used both Spectra pumps while nursing my three little ones and am doing a comparison review for you below.
This post may contain affiliate links which I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase.
Similarities between the Spectra S1 vs S2
In my opinion, the most important aspect of a breast pump is the suction power and both of these pumps provide the same suction. The Spectra S1 and S2 will completely empty your breast within a short amount of time.
Here are the similar features of each pump and how they help to make the Spectra pumps the best out there.
Hospital-Grade, Double Electric Pumps
The Spectra S1 and S2 are both hospital-grade, double electric breast pumps. A double electric breast pump provides powerful suction with no manual effort that you can use on both breasts at the same time.
Pumping both breasts at the same time (using a hands-free pumping bra especially) will save you valuable time which is a must-have for new moms! However, you still have the option of doing a single breast pumping session as well.
Hospitals use the most powerful electric suction offered for nursing moms, but these types of pumps are typically not available for home purchase. However, some portable, personal pumps can offer hospital grade status, which simply means that it is a highly powerful pump for at-home use.
Hospital pumps are often available for rent to use at home, however they are very large and bulky. Instead of renting, you can get the same quality pump using either the Spectra S1 or S2.
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Most Powerful Suction
In my personal opinion, what sets both Spectra pumps apart from the competition is its powerful suction. As stated before, the hospital-grade suction offers high power that can completely empty both breasts quickly and efficiently.
I’ve compared the suction power with other pumps, including the Medela Pump N Style and the Ameda Finesse, and the Spectra is unmatched. This allows you to complete a pumping session faster and retrieve more milk for your baby than a pump with lower suction.
The powerful motor of both the Spectra S1 and S2 motors can go up to a 250mmHg suction rate. That means less time spent pumping, and more milk output per session.
The closed pump system provides easy clean up because the milk never passes through the actual electric pump. This prevents mold and bacteria from building up in the electric part of the pump because milk never passes through it. You don’t have to risk your breastmilk becoming contaminated with a closed system as long as you wash the external parts thoroughly.
Since this pump is long-lasting and very powerful, keeping it for more than one child is perfectly safe because you don’t have to worry about any build up from old, spoiled milk ruining your pump.
Personalized Settings for Speed and Power
Both the Spectra S1 and S2 allow you to adjust the electric settings to meet your needs. With simple to use buttons, you can increase or decrease the cycle speeds and power of the suction within a pumping session or between different sessions as your milk supply changes.
When you first begin a pumping session, you’ll typically want to use a higher speed to increase let down and get the milk to start flowing. Once the milk has started flowing, you can decrease the milk’s speed flow to suction out more milk faster.
The power and intensity of the suction can also be changed with the touch of a button. You may want to increase the power as time goes on to maximize your output and milk flow.
Both pumps have two pumping phases – the massage mode and expression mode.
The massage mode operates at 70 cycles per minute, and when using this option, you cannot change the speed. However, you can adjust the suction strength from one to five.
During the expression phase, you can adjust it from 38 to 54 CPM, while adjusting the vacuum strength from one to 12.
It’s important to note that neither Spectra pumps switch from massage mode to expression phase automatically. You have to do so after your breast start to letdown.
Single and Double Pumping
With both Spectra breast pumps, you can pump both breasts at the same time. This is convenient and faster, so if you’re pumping during breaks at work, then this is ideal.
These pumps also let you pump one breast at a time.
Some studies show that double pumping helps mothers produce more milk. It’s nice to have the option to pick what works for you at that moment.
Option to Pump Right Into Bags
For me, I like to pump directly into bags because my pumping is typically used for storing and using at a later time. You can purchase additional accessories including adapters that can allow you to pump directly into bags.
This eliminates a step of pumping into the bottle and transferring into bags which ultimately decreases the amount of washing you have to do. Storing in bags also takes up less space in your refrigerator or freezer.
Both Spectra pumps offer discreet pumping with a quiet motor. So whether you need your pumping to be quiet to not wake the baby or want to be a little more discreet in your desk cubicle, the quietness of the Spectra is great to have. Now while it is not silent, it’s not as noisy as many other pumps.
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Extra Accessories and Features
Timer: The LED digital display screen on both Spectra models gives you a timer to let you know how long you have been pumping. This is helpful to gauge how long it takes to empty your breast or see how long you want to pump for.
Night light: Simply press a button to light up the screened to show you the time that has lapsed, battery life, and power level.
Various sizes of flanges: Spectra pumps come with various sizes of flanges, and you can also purchase different sizes sold separately. Both Spectra pumps come with a pair of 24mm and 28mm flanges, but you can buy 20mm and 32mm flanges separately.
Every women’s nipples are different sizes and shapes so this will help to ensure you have the perfect fit to maximize milk output.
BPA free: We’re all well aware now of how bad plastics can be for our bodies. This is why plastics that are BPA-free are so important. All the accessories and parts to both Spectra pumps are BPA free so you can be confident that there is no BPA contamination in your baby’s milk.
Can be sterilized: All the parts and accessories that come with the Spectra pump are microwave and boiling safe for sterilization.
Require a pumping bra to make it hands-free: They both can be hands-free if you are using hands-free pumping bra. I also believe that this improves the suction and will help to get more milk out with less effort.
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Spectra S1 vs S2 – What’s the Big Difference?
Both the Spectra S1 and S2 are amazing pumps that provide powerful suction throughout your entire breastfeeding journey. You really can’t go with either, but the major difference between the two will truly be dependent on your intended use of the pump.
S1: Rechargable Battery = Increased Portability
The main difference between the Spectra pump is the rechargeable battery that lasts for multiple pumping sessions which allows you more flexibility of where you are pumping than the S2. The Spectra S1 is completely portable in which you can charge up the breast pump and walk around with it.
This portability will allow you to pump anywhere and multi-task while pumping which is a must for most nursing moms. If you have never breast pumped before, you may not truly understand the significance of portability with a pump, but it is so important!
You’ll soon realize that you may need to pump at the most inconvenient times or places. Need to pump on a road trip? On a plane? At the park? In a closet “pumping room” at work with no outlet? You can do all of that with the Spectra S1!
Typically, while pumping, you will have to be seated close to an electrical outlet so that your pump can be plugged in. Therefore, you’ll have to make sure that you’re only pumping while your baby is sleeping or under someone else’s care.
The only downside is that you still have to carry around the pump with you, so it’s not completely portable. Using a hands-free pumping bra will increase the flexibility that you have with the Spectra S1, however you will still always have the flanges hanging off of you.
Continuing to have the flanges hanging off your chest makes things like holding your baby a bit harder, but it is still better than being stuck to an outlet while pumping.
For a truly portable pump, consider the Willow Pump (a wearable pump that fits right in your bra) which I highly recommend if multi-tasking and freedom while pumping are necessary.
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One thing to note is when comparing Spectra S1 vs S2 is that S1 has a decrease in suction when the battery is low. That is the only time the suction strength may differ.
S1: Long Battery Life
You only need about 2-3 hours to charge up the battery on the Spectra S1. After that, you can enjoy up to 3 hours of pump time without having to recharge again!
If every pumping session is around 20-25 minutes, that gives you about 9 pumping sessions before you have to charge again. For me, that was an awesome feature since I can be a bit forgetful when it comes to recharging my devices!
S2: Less Expensive
If you ask me, I think the $40 price increase for a rechargeable battery is money well spent. The increased flexibility of this pump with its rechargeable battery is absolutely a great investment.
If you are getting your breast pump free through your health insurance, the cost may not matter. However, many insurances won’t cover the higher-priced option (S1). They may offer you the choice to pay the difference which is a great opportunity if you are thinking about purchasing the Spectra S1.
Although this isn’t a deal breaker, it’s something to note. The Spectra S1 is only available in blue and the Spectra S2 is only available in pink.
So if you see the image of the Spectra when you’re buying, note that the color indicates what model it is. You can not get a different color in each model.
Pros and Cons
Both pumps are exceptional options whether you’re exclusively pumping or just pumping at work. You have probably already gotten a sense for the advantages and disadvantages to both, but here are the pros and cons broken down for you on the Spectra S1 vs S2:
|Spectra S1||Spectra S2|
|Powerful Suction||Powerful Suction|
|Rechargeable battery (portability) with long lasting charge||Cheaper|
|Ideal for exclusive pumping or working mothers||Great for SAHMs|
As you can see, the most important feature, they both have. The biggest advantage of the S1 is its portability, however the S2 costs less.
So Which Pump is Best?
The pump you choose will depend on your needs, however I believe that the Spectra S1 Breast Pump is (hands down) the best choice to make. Whether or not you have other kids in the house or need to work while pumping, any new mom could use the flexibility to multi-task while pumping.
The Spectra S1 offers you the freedom to move around your home while pumping which you can’t put a price tag on.
This will certainly depend on how often you will be pumping and if it’s worth the extra money to spend, however most nursing moms do end up pumping more than they would have imagined.
If portability is a priority to you so that you can work, clean, and eat while pumping, the Spectra S1 will be perfect. Also, if this flexibility is highly significant, you may also want to consider the Willow Pump, a wearable pump that sticks right inside your bra, for maximum portability.
How to Decide Which is Best for You: Spectra S1 vs S2
I might think that Spectra S1 is the best choice, but you have to consider what will work best for you.
Here are some things to consider.
- Where will you be expressing milk most often? Do you have to work outside of the home, or do you need to pump to increase your freezer stash?
- Does having a rechargeable battery seem important to you?
- What is your budget? Are you comfortable paying more or do you need to stick to a specific budget?
While portability is a big deal for me, many mothers only need to pump from time to time. So, for them, the Spectra S2 breast pump could be a better choice.
FAQs about the Spectra Breast Pumps
Can I Charge the S1 or S2 Pumps in the Car?
Yes! Both Spectra pumps can be charged in a vehicle using a 12V car lighter adapter. You have to make sure the adapter was made after February 2015 to ensure the pump will charge.
Can I Use Other Bottles with the Spectra Pumps?
When sing the bottle pump adapters, the Spectra pumps work with most baby bottles, and it doesn’t always need an adapter. Spectra creates wide neck bottles that work with the pumps, and many other wide neck bottles work with them as well.
Some bottles you can buy to work with these pumps include:
- Avent Bottles
- MAM bottles
- Medela (with an adapter)
- Kiinde (with an adapter)
- Dr. Brown’s (with an adapter)
How to Get a Free Breast Pump
Before you even start researching breast pumps, check in with your health insurance to see which ones will be covered. Most health insurance companies offer a free breast pump to all new moms, but your selection will vary depending on insurance.
Some may offer only one model for free, but others will give you a choice. You also may have the option to pay the difference between the pump that they offer for free and a more expensive option.
In my experience, a lot of insurances offer the Spectra S2, but you can pay to upgrade to the Spectra S1. Depending on your needs and financial situation, this is a great option to get the S1 at a discounted rate.
The easiest way to streamline the process of getting your free breast pump through insurance is to sign up with AeroFlow Healthcare. Just let them know what your health insurance is and they take care of the rest!
They will let you know what pumps are available to you and contact your healthcare provider for the prescription. This eliminates the tedious process of calling your insurance company and getting notes from your doctor.
Ultimately, the Spectra S1 vs S2 comparison comes down to your priorities. If multi-tasking and having freedom and flexibility are very important to you, go with the Spectra S1 pump. If keeping the cost low because you don’t plan on pumping that often, you will be satisfied with the Spectra S2 pump.