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Spectra S1 vs S2: Which Is Better?




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

In the quest to find the ideal breast pump, I know your choice often comes down to the Spectra S1 vs Spectra S2. Both are top-of-the-line models known for their performance, comfort, and efficiency in supporting nursing mothers. Understanding the key differences and unique features of each model can help in making an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and lifestyle.

When I was pregnant with Caden, I knew NOTHING about pumping. I knew that the Spectra S2 was covered by my insurance and I would have to pay for an upgrade for the Spectra S1. But that's about all I knew. I had no idea how to even go about making a decision, so I did what I do best: research, research, and more research. Let's dive deeper and discover which one might be the better fit for you.

Text image reading "spectra S1 vs. S2: which is better?"

Which Spectra Pump Is Right For You?

Both Spectra breast pumps are classified as ‘hospital-grade' electric breast pumps. Hospital-grade pumps are designed to be the highest level of quality, performance, and hygiene in breast pump technology. They are known for their powerful, efficient suction and for maintaining a closed system, which means that milk never comes into contact with the pump's motor. This ensures that the milk remains sterile and safe for your baby, minimizing the risk of contamination.

Also, the robustness of hospital-grade pumps means they're built to last and can withstand frequent, long-term use without losing efficiency. When you're comparing the Spectra S1 vs S2, remember you're choosing between two premium, hospital-grade pumps, both designed with your needs and your baby's health in mind.

Spectra S1 vs. Spectra S2 comparison

Spectra S1
Spectra S2

Let's dive into a detailed comparison, covering the specifics, similarities, and differences between the Spectra S1 and the Spectra S2.


Both the Spectra S1 and S2 share several key features:

  1. Hospital-grade: Both models are categorized as hospital-grade pumps, which means they are designed for high performance, hygiene, and durability.
  2. Suction Power: Spectra S1 and S2 are renowned for their efficient and adjustable suction capability, allowing for effective milk expression.
  3. Closed System: Both Spectra models have a closed system, ensuring milk never comes into contact with the pump's motor and remains sterile.
  4. Adjustable Settings: The Spectra S1 and S2 come with customizable settings, allowing you to adjust suction strength and speed according to your comfort level and milk flow.
  5. Quiet Mode: Both models have a quiet motor, and are said to be “whisper-quiet,” allowing for discreet pumping.
  6. Modes: Both models feature the ‘massage mode' to help with the letdown and the ‘expression mode' to help once the letdown occurs.
  7. Timer: Both Spectra breast pumps have timers to be able to keep track of how many minutes you pumped on each side.
  8. Light: Both models feature an integrated night light with two brightness levels, a useful feature for sessions in the middle of the night.

Text image comparing the similarities of spectra S1 vs. S2

Key Differences

While the Spectra S1 and S2 share many similarities, there are a few important differences to consider:

  1. Weight: The Spectra S1 is slightly heavier than the S2.
  2. Battery Life: The Spectra S1 has a built-in rechargeable battery pack that can last up to 3 hours on a single charge, while the S2 needs to be plugged into a power outlet to operate. This is the most critical difference between the two of them, and this factor should be heavily considered.
  3. Color: The Spectra S1 comes in blue, while the S2 is pink. This is a minor difference but can be a deciding factor for some.
  4. Price: The Spectra S1 tends to be a bit more expensive than the S2, primarily due to the integrated battery. The Spectra S1 isn't usually covered by insurance.

Text image comparing the differences of spectra s1 vs. S2

How to Choose Between Spectra S1 and S2

When it comes to choosing between the Spectra S1 and S2, it's essential to consider your budget, lifestyle, and personal needs to make the best decision for you and your baby.

Consider Your Budget and Insurance Coverage

The S2 is generally more affordable than the S1, making it a great choice if you're on a tighter budget or if your health insurance plan is limited. Many insurance companies cover the cost of breast pumps, but the models and brands covered may vary based on your plan. Keep in mind that investing in a breast pump is not just a one-time cost. You will likely need replacement parts and additional accessories over time.

Consider Your Lifestyle

If you lead a busy life, are a working mama, or are always on the go, the S1 might be a better choice because it has a rechargeable battery which makes it portable. This feature allows you to pump virtually anywhere without needing to search for an outlet, unlike the S2. You can also purchase a car charging adapter for the S1, providing even more flexibility for on-the-road pumping. On the other hand, if you're more comfortable pumping at home, work from home, or are more of a homebody, the S2 can serve your needs perfectly well.

Tips for Using Spectra Breast Pumps

Regardless of whether you choose the Spectra S1 or the Spectra S2, knowing how to effectively use your breast pump will enhance your pumping experience and optimize your milk supply. Here are some essential tips for using Spectra breast pumps.

Pumping Frequency

Pumping frequency refers to the number of times a nursing mother uses her breast pump within a certain period, most commonly within 24 hours. This frequency is a crucial determinant of successful breast milk expression. For newborns, the usual recommendation is to pump every 2-3 hours, approximating to 8-12 sessions daily. However, as your baby grows and consumes more milk per feeding, you may decrease your pumping frequency. Spectra breast pumps offer customizable settings to control the rhythm and suction of the pump to imitate the baby's nursing pattern. This personalized adjustment enhances comfort and efficiency throughout the pumping journey.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Maintaining and cleaning your Spectra breast pumps is essential for optimal performance and hygiene. Begin by disassembling all pump parts that come in contact with the milk. Rinse these components under cool running water, then clean with warm soapy water, using a soft brush to reach all areas. Spectra parts are also safe for the top rack of the dishwasher. After cleaning, allow the parts to air dry on a clean paper towel. It is advised not to use a cloth to dry them because lint can contaminate the components. The pump motor should never be submerged in water. Instead, wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth.

Using Spectra Pumps Efficiently

There are several tips to consider when trying to enhance efficiency. First, start with a lower vacuum level and then gradually increase the suction until you reach a comfortable level. Finding the right balance between comfort and effectiveness is key to efficient milk expression. Both Spectra S1 and S2 provide adjustable suction levels, allowing you to find your sweet spot.

Second, make sure that you're using the correct flange size. A flange that's too large or too small can affect the amount of milk you're able to express and can cause discomfort. Spectra offers a variety of flange sizes to ensure a good fit for every mother. Lastly, remember to stay relaxed and comfortable during pumping sessions. Stress can inhibit milk letdown, so create a soothing environment and consider using the 2-minute massage mode on your Spectra pump to stimulate milk flow and letdown.

Final Decision: Splurge for the Spectra S1

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the Spectra S1—it was a game-changer for me. The freedom of not being tethered to an outlet during pumping is totally worth it. Be sure to purchase a pumping bra while you're at it – I love the Bodily Do Anything Bra when I'm WFH or running errands or for days when I need better shape because I have f2f meetings or events I like the Natori nursing bra, and then I use this pumping bustier. It makes the whole experience much more convenient. Being able to pump hands-free lets you multitask, which is a lifesaver because pumping can be quite time-consuming.

Now we spent time today covering these Spectra options, but if you are exploring a wearable breast pump (you need both IMO), here are my favorites. For more pumping resources, I highly recommend you check out my roundup of the best breast pumps for working moms as well as the best breast pump bags.

Feature image by Изображения пользователя Yevhen


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