Spectra S1 vs S2: Everything You Need To Know To Make The Right Choice

spectra s1 vs s2 breast pump

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When it comes to choosing between the Spectra S1 vs S2, there isn’t much to distinguish which one is better.

However, there are some differences that might make one option better than the other for you and I’m here to let you know what they are, mamas!

While I’ve personally only used the Spectra S2 breast pump, a good handful of local moms have the Spectra S1 pump and they’ve only ever said good things about it.

Plus, I’ve done a good amount of online research which I’ll share with you shortly.

As with many products, there are lots of breast pumps on the market, as companies compete to make the best and most eye-catching product to score a profit.

pump full with mother milk

But it’s not always the most visually appealing devices that are the most effective products in their field.

These contests are often won by the “ugly duckling” of the bunch, the simple design with an inner (functional) beauty.

Spectra pumps are one such product, though they’re not exactly an eyesore, either.

I should say that I’ve heard good things about other pumps like the Medela and the Unimom, but when I took everything into account, they just weren’t for me.

That’s why they’re not the topic of today’s article and why this contest is between two products from the same company.

The Spectra Series

In my opinion, the Spectra has no equal, regardless of the model you choose.

This could be because the Spectra Baby USA company was founded by moms.

And not just any moms, but moms who work in the medical care sector, including nurses and lactation consultants, so you know the Spectra pumps are made with quality and mommy-comfort in mind.

In a contest between the Spectra S1 and S2, both emerge as amazing breast pumps, but what makes them so good?

Well, first of all, the Spectra breast pump is hospital grade. And it’s not just a stapled-on label to get some extra attention.

No, unlike other products where they tack this label on because it’s such a broad term, the Spectra series actually performs as well as hospital grade pumps in terms of suction strength.

What’s more, they feel even more comfortable, too.

Breast milk in bottles ready for the fridge

That’s because of their two cycle speeds: the massage (letdown) mode, a somewhat swifter mode with soft sucking motions, mimicking the suckling of a newborn baby.

This mode helps train your letdown reflex and should be used to help you get adjusted.

There is also the expression mode, which is a slightly stronger but slower suction that will help tap into your natural milk supply once the letdown reflex has kicked in, once again reflecting how your baby would suck when at the breast.

This is only but a fraction of the great potential of a Spectra as once you find a rhythm that fits you, you can save it as a setting for future sessions!

And speaking of session customization, the Spectra breast pumps contain an automatic timer that you can adjust so that it will turn itself off once the session is complete.

This is quite a useful feature in case you ever accidentally fall asleep while pumping (it happens!) or if you have your hands full and you can’t tend to the pump at the necessary moment.

It also helps that both pumps sport 12 different suction levels.

Mother holding breast pump

This was a real timesaver and comfort option for me when I had to sit through my pumping sessions.

Another wonderful thing is that the spectra breast pumps are a closed system, meaning that the breast milk doesn’t touch the pump itself, which keeps it mold and bacteria free.

Being a closed system gives it an advantage over open system ones for the reasons mentioned above, but also because of the potential resale value when you’re finally satisfied with your family size and no longer need a pump.

People tend to only buy closed system pumps, because, as mentioned, this means the tubes and the breast pump itself will not become contaminated with mold or any other nasty stuff that might be found in open system ones.

This saves you hours of unnecessary cleanup time and keeps your milk as clean as when it came out of your breasts, meaning it is lovely and fresh for your baby’s tummy.

This is all thanks to the backflow protector that keeps the pump parts separate from the milk.

Speaking of health concerns, both the Spectra S1 and the Spectra S2 breast pumps are free from any BPAs.

As we all know, BPAs, phthalates, PVCs and the like have often been found in abundance in baby products and finding those that don’t contain such materials is a blessing in and of its own.

Mother feeding baby with milk bottle

And, unlike some other breast pumps that can only work one breast at a time, the Spectras can function as both a single and a double electric breast pump.

This means that you can alternate between one or two breasts when filling bottles, so the process is faster and the pump doesn’t have to suck on a dry breast.

Plus, double pumps let you balance the pressure out on your bosom.

Arguably one of the most important things is the low level of noise these pumps produce. It’s virtually non-existent.

This is one of the main reasons why I opted for one.

I could work uninterrupted at home while pumping and it wouldn’t bother my husband or my kid (kids later on) and the pump would finish without me even noticing it was on.

Silence is golden, and in this case it comes in the form of a wonderful little lifesaver of a machine.

I’m starting to sound like a TV commercial by this point, but they’re just that good for every penny you invest in them.

Since I’m on the topic of investing, most insurance companies let you insure both models, no matter which one you pick – just make sure you find an insurance policy where the insurance covers it.

Speaking of insurance, the Spectra breast pumps come with a two year warranty, so if you were to get a faulty model by accident, or something breaks down, you can get your pump replaced with a new, tested one.

The one downside is that the process can be needlessly meticulous, but it’s for good reason – mostly to prevent fraud and it doesn’t tend to happen that often.

Plus, quality feedback helps them improve and prevent the same thing from happening again.

woman breast pumping

Another perk that they both have, albeit one I personally haven’t used often, is the addition of a night light.

You can leave it on for your child if need be without needing to buy a separate one, letting your little one sleep soundly.

It’s quite soothing and non-invasive, but neither of my kids needed it so I haven’t needed to use the function much.

Last, but not least, are the parts that come with the pumps, which include (almost) everything you need to keep a breast pump lifestyle up.

Aside from the mentioned AC adapter and the actual pump, the rest of the kit consists of 4 flanges, 2 backflow protectors, 2 duckbill valves, 2 tubes, and two wide-necked bottles, all carrying the Spectra brand.

But, if you have parts from other pumps, they should also be compatible with the Spectra pump.

Do take care that the parts you order fit your proportions so you won’t have to order twice, but Spectra should have you covered.

All this just goes to show how versatile the brand is and why they’re one of the best breast pumps – if not the best breast pumps – on the market currently.

RELATED: How to Set Up a Pumping Station for Expressing Milk at Home

The (Main) Differences

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

There are four differences when it comes to the showdown between the Spectra S1 and S2 – one minor and three major ones.

The minor one is the color. Where the Spectra S1 pump is blue, the Spectra S2 is a nice soft pink.

I mention this because I know color can make a world of difference for some mamas.

The three main differences are price, portability, and weight.

All of these come from one factor and that’s the added battery pack of the Spectra S1 breast pump.

This rechargeable battery pack is what makes the difference, what makes the S1 more expensive than the S2, what makes the Spectra S1 more portable and versatile than the S2, and also what makes it weigh about 200 grams more than the S2.

It has a battery life of about 3 hours and takes about 4-5 hours to charge so you can take it on the go.

It is the best option if you’re a busy mom who has an office of her own, or if you have a spot where you can take the pump out of your tote/pump bag and pump while going about your work.

RELATED: Best Breast Pump Bag in 2020: The Best Guide For Choosing Your Perfect Fit

Breast Pump Bag: The Best Guide For Choosing Your Perfect Fit

Sure, the S2 can do the same, but the S2 breast pump requires you to have an AC adapter handy and cables can get unwieldy at times, especially if this private time is scarce.

Just make sure to keep the battery charged before you go out otherwise you’ll have paid extra for no reason.

Now, the weight bit might not seem like a big deal, at first, but when you consider everything else that you put in your bag, 200 grams can make a world of difference to you and your back.

It all adds up over time and I’ve personally always tried to make things as easy as possible for myself.

All that weight that the pump bag has from all of the other baby products you have to carry around, plus your laptop, can damage your health.

I’ve rarely ever carried mine around, like I’ve said, only ever needing a diaper bag and having milk pre-pumped at home, ready for carrying, but all of my friends have complained about how hard it is to carry everything with you like a mule.

It’s the same thing I used to see with my students when they were lugging around so many textbooks on their backs.

Definitely not healthy.

Why I chose the Spectra S2 breast pump over the S1

Despite the major benefit that the Spectra S1 provides, when I was initially dealing with breastfeeding, I was mostly stuck at home for the first few months on maternity leave so I didn’t really have much use for a portable breast pump.

I just ended up getting the S2 and using it at home for one to two hours a day.

Once I had to go back to work and leave my little daughter with the nanny, I continued using the S2 when I was at home grading homework and the like.

You don’t really get a chance for private time when you’re a teacher, definitely not an hour, that’s for sure, and it’s not really the smartest thing to show to school children.

Frozen breast milk next to baby

Plus,I had to watch my budget quite a bit so I went for the cheaper option initially, although I didn’t really need the portable part of it.

The same exact thing happened when my son was born.

I ended up having to breastfeed for the first few months, then began using the breast pump to build up a store of breastmilk for when I wasn’t around.

So, if you have a similar lifestyle to mine or are just looking to keep your budget low, I’d suggest getting the Spectra S2 pump as the breast pump of choice.

So which pump is better in the Spectra S1 vs S2 battle?

So, now that you’ve read everything, how can you decide which is the best breast pump for you?

Well, I’ll sum it up for you so you don’t have to go through everything again.

The Spectra S1 breast pump is a more portable option.

You are not limited to being near a power socket and it can be used anywhere you can keep steady. It does require frequent charging of the battery, though.

Plus, your back may feel a bit worse for wear due to the added weight in your bag, but at least you’ll have to deal with wires a lot less and if you like the color blue, this one is a sure purchase. If you don’t mind the added cost, that is.

Mother pumping breastmilk to bottles

As for the Spectra S2 breast pump, the model weighs less and costs less for all the conservative mamas out there (like me!), but you do have to find a room with a power outlet when you want to use it.

Otherwise it just becomes a more expensive paperweight. At least it’s pink!

However, if you don’t plan to take it out and you are only going to use it when you are at home, it should not be a problem for you at any point of your maternal journey.

Conclusion

Overall, I may be a bit biased when it comes to pump experience, but I try to be as objective as possible when it comes to these contests.

In the duel between the Spectra S1 vs S2 it all boils down to personal preference in the end and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for you.

Or if you even need a breast pump at all.

I can attest that it definitely makes life for new moms a whole lot easier and you should try to get one if you have the budget for it, although you can live without one.

I’m just here to help guide all of you through the wonderful, but sometimes strenuous journey of being a mom and to help you make the right decisions by learning from my mistakes and experiences so you won’t have to repeat the bad ones.

I hope I’m succeeding in my task and that I’m helping to dispel any fears you may have in this crazy endeavor.

Until next time, mamas!

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Written by Ivana Davies

Hey there mamas! I'm Ivana, a millenial mom of two wonderful kids. I was a teacher, but now I'm a stay-at-home mom running this blog with the goal of uniting all moms into a supportive community and providing insight into the everyday battle of motherhood.