Whether you have a baby who is struggling to latch when feeding, are a working mom or are looking to share feeding with your partner, you will probably have – or be thinking about buying – a breast pump.
Breast pumps allow you to express milk as and when you need to, even if your baby isn’t ready for a feed. Plus, they give you the freedom to return to work, run errands, go on a date or spend time with family and friends without having to worry about rushing home.
While formula offers the same flexibility, it doesn’t offer the same natural nutrients as breast milk (though some formulas come very close). This makes using a breast pump a preferred option for many moms. With some many models on the market, however, the question then becomes which to buy?
Lansinoh and Medela are two of the most well-known and well-loved names when it comes to breast pumps. Both are often cited as the first choice of both moms and pedestrians, and we featured models by both brands in our top five list of the best double electric breast pumps available.
Each brand offers a range of models at a range of different price points, meaning – in theory – there should be an option out there that meets your needs, regardless of what these needs are. Here, we’re going to look at both brands in more details, explaining who they are, the breast pumps they offer and which of these are (in our opinion) the best. First, though, we’ll quickly look at the types of breast pumps available and what you need to think about before deciding to buy one.
- 1 Different types of breast pumps
- 2 Questions to ask yourself when buying a breast pump
- 3 Lansinoh vs. Medela Breast Pumps – Which is better for you?
- 4 Lansinoh Breast Pumps
- 5 Parents popular opinion on Lansinoh Breast Pumps
- 6 Medela Breast Pumps
- 7 Parents popular opinion on Medela Breast Pumps
- 8 The verdict
- 9 FAQ’s Lansinoh and Medela Breast Pumps
- 10 Final thoughts on Lasinoh vs. Medela Breast Pumps
Different types of breast pumps
Electric Breast Pumps are probably the most commonly used. As the name suggests, they run on electricity which comes from either a mains source or batteries (some of which are built-in, rechargeable batteries).
Electric breast pumps are easy to use and work quickly, making them an ideal choice for working moms or those who need to express milk regularly. They come in single or double breast models, which allow you to express milk from both breasts at the same time, speeding up the process even further.
The main downsides of electric breast pumps are they can be bulky, making them awkward to carry. Plus, regardless of how quiet the manufacturers claim they are, the fact that they are electric means there will always be some level of noise, which can be off-putting.
Hospital Grade Breast Pumps are also electric. However, they tend to be bigger than a typical electric breast pump, making them harder to carry if you need to express milk at work or if you are traveling. They also tend to be more expensive, and many insurance companies won’t cover them unless there is a specific reason. Lansinoh doesn’t offer hospital grade breast pumps. Medela has one – the Symphony.
Manual Breast Pumps are much less expensive – in fact, they are the least expensive option of all three available. This is because there isn’t much to them – and is probably why both Lansinoh and Medela only offer one manual breast pump each.
As well as the price, manual breast pumps are great for traveling because they are lightweight, and you don’t need to worry about finding a power socket or the batteries running out. The downside of this is that the speed at which you can express milk is solely down to the power you can exert on the pump.
Questions to ask yourself when buying a breast pump
Buying a breast pump isn’t one of those decisions that you rush, especially if you are looking at some of the more expensive models. The one you buy must work well for you and fit in with your family and your lifestyle. If you like to travel, for example, you probably don’t want to buy an electric breast pump that only works off the mains.
Earlier this year, we wrote in detail about how to find the best breast pump, a detail we won’t go into here as you can always go back and read our article. These, however, are the things we consider most important when choosing a breast pump:
- Use: Why you need a breast pump will go a long way to determining the type you should buy. If you need one for occasional use, if you’re heading out for date night for example, then a manual one should do just fine. If you plan on using it every day because you’re returning to work, a double electric breast pump with a rechargeable battery is probably your best option.
- Strength: Expressing milk isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, so you probably want it to be over quickly. Which is why you need to look at the strength of the breast pump. The stronger the suction, the quicker it will be. One of the best things about electric and hospital grade breast pumps is that they allow you to set the suction strength so that you remain comfortable but can still express milk quickly.
- Comfort: A major complaint of many moms when they first start using a breast pump is the comfort level (or lack of one). The reality is, breast pumps will never feel the same as your baby feeding, but they shouldn’t be painful either. Before you buy, make sure you read reviews and see what people who have used the pump say about how comfortable it is.
- Portability: Today’s breast pumps seem to be trying to out-do each other sometimes with the number of options they offer including strength levels and suction types as well as night lights and reminders. The more that’s added, however, the greater the chance the pump will be heavy or hard to carry. This might not be a problem if you’re using it at home, but it will be if you need to take it to work each day.
- Noise: Noise is something else a lot of working moms say they need to consider, especially if they work in an open plan office and find themselves expressing milk in bathrooms or rooms where there might be a lack of privacy. In these instances, the quieter the pump, the better, so make sure you check out the decibel level most manufacturers provide.
You’ll need to think about accessories too – some breast pumps come with everything you need. Others don’t. Check to see if the one you are looking at includes spare parts, a cooler, a pump bag, and milk storage bags.
Lansinoh vs. Medela Breast Pumps – Which is better for you?
Both Lansinoh and Medela offer a great range of breast pumps, predominantly electric but also manual. They are well-known brands that have loyal followers and receive plenty of positive reviews. Neither range is perfect, however, and we’ll look at some of these cons (as well as the pros) below along with the key features each brand offers parents looking for a good quality, affordable, breast pump.
Lansinoh Breast Pumps
Lansinoh was founded thirty years ago by a mom who wanted to develop a better breast pump than those available to her. Since then, they have developed a range of products designed to help moms with breastfeeding. They are, however, probably best known for their breast pumps, which have received numerous awards including the PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Gold Award, Mom’s Choice Awards, The Bump Best of Baby Award and the Love by Parents Award.
Lansinoh Breast Pumps on the market
Compared to Medela, Lansinoh doesn’t offer a particularly broad range of breast pumps. There are only three available on their website, two electric (both double breast) and one manual. The electric breast pumps are known as the Smart Pump and the Signature Pro. The manual pump doesn’t have a name; it is listed simply as a manual breast pump on their website.
Both the Smart Pump (which is the more expensive of the two) and the Signature Pro feature:
- 3 Pumping Styles and 8 Suction Levels
- BPS and BPA free
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- A closed system that stops breast milk backing up into the tubing, meaning your breast milk is free of bacteria or allergens.
- Comes with (almost) everything you need including two flange sizes, a cooler with an ice pack, storage bottles, bottle nipples and stands, a pump bag, power cord, and spare parts. It does not come with a rechargeable battery, so if you want to use it away from the mains, you’ll need to buy six AA batteries.
The only real difference is that the Smart Pump lets you link to a Lansinoh Baby App through Bluetooth that allows you to track your pumping sessions, set reminders for when to pump and provides access to breastfeeding tips and resources.
- The price – both models are affordable and you get a lot for your money
- Flanges allow it to work for different breast sizes and is compatible flanges from other manufacturers (though this needs to be checked based on the flange you are using).
- The LCD screen means you can easily monitor your pumping time
- Protects your baby from allergens, bacteria, and viruses
- Offers three pumping styles and eight suction levels
- Easy to keep clean (dishwasher safe)
- Comes with everything you need including bottles, a cooler and a pump bag
- For the Smart Pump only: the App helps you monitor your pumping schedule and alerts you when it’s time to pump
- Is noisier than some other models on the market
- Doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery
- There seems to be a big difference in price (almost $40 on Amazon) when the only real difference in features is the Smart Pumps App.
Parents popular opinion on Lansinoh Breast Pumps
With a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Amazon and hundreds of reviews across parenting sites, most people who have used the breast pump have positive comments to make, including:
- Lightweight and portable, easy to take to work
- Comes with great accessories
- Excellent suction, meaning you can express the milk you need
- Soft breast cups, making it comfortable to use
Medela Breast Pumps
Medela is a Swiss-based company that was founded in 1961. They have two divisions, healthcare, and breastfeeding, which they believe is vital to the growth and development of healthy babies. They develop products through ongoing research as well as customer feedback, which has led to their offering moms an innovative range of breast pumps, all of which tend to receive good reviews.
List of Medela Breast Pumps on the market
Medela has a range of breast pumps including manual, electric and (one) hospital-grade model:
- Sonata double electric pump
- Freestyle double electric pump
- Pump in style double electric pump
- The Symphony hospital grade double electric pump
- Harmony single manual pump
All of their breast pumps, including the Harmony, have the following features:
- Two-phase expression
- BPA free
- Easy to clean
- Closed systems, meaning your baby is safe from allergens, bacteria, and viruses
- Calma feeding system (includes bottles etc. designed to make it easier for your baby to feed).
- Rechargeable batteries
- One month’s access to a lactation specialist (24/7)
The Sonata and Freestyle models also come with touch screen displays and memory functions, while the Sonata also has a MyMedela App that allows you to manage your pumping schedule.
Perhaps the most interesting is the Pump in Style model which has the pump built into a bag or backpack. These pumps are designed for portability, meaning they are lightweight and have a cooler system included.
- Wide range means moms can pick the one that suits their needs best
- Portable, working on batteries (those for Pump in Style are not rechargeable)
- A closed system that helps keep your baby healthy
- Easy to use and easy to clean
- Some models come with memory functions, so you don’t need to keep setting your preferences
- Some models are expensive, especially the Symphony
- The Sonata and Symphony are too heavy to be truly portable
- Don’t come with as many accessories as the Lansinoh, meaning you have to pay extra for these
Parents popular opinion on Medela Breast Pumps
Medela is a favorite brand that gets excellent reviews and has an average four-star rating across some online sites and all models. It’s fair to say, though, that some of these models perform better than others, with the Symphony probably getting the worst reviews, though even here they are scoring 3.5 out of 5. Here are what some of the people who left reviews had to say:
- Incredibly quiet, more so than other models
- The App that comes with the Sonata works well and help track pumping schedules
- A great range of features, even in the more basic models
- Comfortable and easy to use.
Both Lansinoh and Medela have a lot going for them. Both were developed by well-known companies with a history of producing high-quality breast pumps that get great reviews and are committed to helping moms find it easier to stay breastfeeding for longer, recognizing this is better for their babies.
Out of the two, Lansinoh gets the best reviews across multiple sites, and this needs to be taken into account. One of the main themes through these reviews is how light and easy to use their pumps are and how affordable. For less than $130, you can get a pump that offers a range of suction levels and phased expression as well as everything you need to use your pump, including spare parts.
You don’t get anywhere near as much with the Medela. Instead, you have to buy extras, including cooler bags for all but the Pump In Style model, which adds to the already higher costs of all of their pumps (when compared to Lansinoh).
Price is a big factor when it comes to making a decision on which is the best brand here. Because, which it should never come before quality, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. You get a high-quality product with Lansinoh at a fraction of the price of Medela. This, added to the reviews and their reputation built up over thirty years, means they would be our first choice.
FAQ’s Lansinoh and Medela Breast Pumps
Do the pumps come with a mains adapter?
All the pumps bar the Pump in Style come with a mains adapter. In the Medela models, this is used to charge the rechargeable battery. In the Pump in Style model, you need to use 8 x AA batteries. In the Lansinoh pumps, you need to use 6 x AA batteries.
Can you use supplies from other breast pumps?
You can use other flanges and bottles with the Lansinoh breast pumps, though you’ll need to check compatibility. The Medela does not accept supplies from other breast pumps as readily; you also cannot use those from the Sonata on the Symphony.
How long do the batteries last?
The battery life for the Lansinoh is not known. It will, in part, depend on the brand of battery you use. The battery life on the rechargeable batteries for the Medela breast pumps are between one and three hours.
Final thoughts on Lasinoh vs. Medela Breast Pumps
When you’re looking at two such well-respected brands as Lansinoh and Medela, to a degree it’s fair to say you can’t go far wrong with either. However, Medela is more expensive and doesn’t get ratings as high as those of Lansinoh. They also don’t offer as much in the way of accessories, meaning the overall cost will likely be higher than the first figure you see when you look them up.
There is also something about the look of the Medela that isn’t as appealing. It feels slightly old-fashioned and slightly clinical. The Lansinoh, meanwhile, is simple and clean and comes in a signature purple and white that makes it look like something you would want to see on a bedroom shelf.
If we had to pick, and we are, we would have to go with the Lansinoh based on price, features, and user reviews as well as the overall design.
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