Pumping is no joke. I don’t know how other moms have done it but it almost broke me.
So being prepared mentally, getting the right social support, and of course, having a suitable breast pump is crucial in making your breastfeeding journey a success.
If you’ve finally narrowed down your option between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2, then this article is for you.
I have done a detailed and thorough research on both breast pumps, listing down their features, pros, and cons.
I’ve also taken into account the personal feedback and reviews of other moms, which can be useful in helping you decide between the Spectra S2 vs Medela Freestyle Flex.
So without further adieu, let’s start with their differences.
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Medela Freestyle Flex
Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Feature Comparison Table
This is best viewed on a desktop. Here’s a quick comparison guide on the features of the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2.
|Features||Medela Freestyle Flex||Spectra S2 Plus|
|Rechargeable battery||Available||Not available|
|Weight||1 lbs||3 lbs|
|Price||Expensive||Cheaper than Medela Freestyle Flex|
|Warranty||1 year||2 years|
|Single and Double Pump||Yes||Yes|
|Comes w/ complete accessories||Yes||Yes|
|Suction Rate||270 mmHG maximum||270 mmHG maximum|
|Adjustable Pumping Settings||Available||Available|
|Auto Turn Off||After 30 minutes||After 30 minutes|
|Gentle and Comfortable||Yes||Yes|
|Easy to Clean||Yes||Yes|
|Universal Voltage||100V-240V / 50-60Hz||100V-240V / 50-60Hz|
|Can easily buy accessories online||Yes||Yes|
Medela Freestyle Flex
Differences Between Spectra S2 vs Medela Freestyle Flex
Let’s dive in a little deeper about the differences between these Medela vs Spectra breast pumps.
This is one of the main differences between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Plus – its battery. Or the lack of it.
The Medela Freestyle Flex has a rechargeable battery, which is super convenient. Especially if you’re traveling or if you want to do some chores in the house while still pumping.
It’s also easier to use for C-sect moms or those with back pain to use. As you don’t need to bend to plug in your breast pump every time you pump.
You also only need to charge it for 2 hours (for first-time use), to get 2-hour battery life.
There is some mixed feedback though about its battery life, with some moms complaining it doesn’t fully charge or worse, the pump dies on them completely.
When this happens, try pressing on the on/off button for 10 seconds or better yet, request for a replacement asap.
The Spectra S2 on the other hand, doesn’t have any rechargeable batteries. This means you always need to plug it in if you want to use it.
This can become a hassle as you would be stuck to a wall pumping for 15 or so minutes.
Some genius moms have found a way to hack this.
They’ve advised buying a carrying case and battery pack, attaching the batter pack to the Spectra S2 and voila, you have a portable breast pump!
Hospital-grade breast pumps mean that it has a powerful motor and that many persons can use them, provided that they have their own set of accessories.
This also means hospital-grade breast pumps can be sold and reused.
In this case, the Spectra S2 is considered a hospital-grade pump while Medela Freestyle Flex is not considered as one.
If you’re looking for a hospital-grade Medela breast pump, check out Medela Symphony.
The weight difference can become a factor if you’re looking for something lightweight for pumping on vacations or business trips.
You can get some open box options though for the Medela Freestyle Flex, at a cheaper price.
You can also find some gently used Spectra S2 online, at a much lower price.
Check out the links below for more pricing options.
Medela Freestyle Flex
The Spectra S2 has a 2-year warranty on its motor and a 90-day warranty for its accessories that came with the breast pump.
Just make sure to buy it from a legit third-party seller or straight from the Spectra website itself, so they can honor the warranty.
Take note that Spectra warranty is only within the United States
The Medela Freestyle, on the other hand, has a 1-year motor warranty and a 90-day warranty on its accessories.
Not every insurance fully covers breast pumps.
So you have to check with your insurance company if they can fully or at least partially cover either your preferred breast pump before buying it.
Spectra S2 Plus is usually fully covered though but still, check first with your insurance.
The Spectra S2 Plus has a built-in LED nightlight with 2 lighting levels. Which is useful when you’re pumping in the dark.
The Medela Freestyle Flex doesn’t have a nightlight but its motor control units do light up when it’s switched on.
And those are the differences between the Spectra S2 vs Medela Freestyle Flex.
Medela Freestyle Flex
Now let’s take a look at Medela vs Spectra’s similar features.
Spectra S2 vs Medela: Similarities
Closed System for Hygiene
This means its system prevents the milk from going up the tube or motor. This is to avoid bacteria or mold forming in the tube or your breastmilk getting contaminated.
BPA Free Parts
This means any material that comes in contact with the milk doesn’t contain any harmful or toxic ingredients that can cause negative health effects.
Turns into Single and Double Pump
Which means you pump on both breasts or just one breast.
You can easily adjust the settings in both pumping modes for both the Medela and Spectra.
Both the Spectra S2 and Medela Freestyle Flex come with their own complete set of accessories.
However, the Medela Freestyle Flex comes with a travel bag while the Spectra S2 Plus doesn’t include that.
The Medela Freestyle Set includes:
- (1) breast pump with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- (2) 21mm PersonalFit Flex™ Breast Shields
- (2) 24mm PersonalFit Flex™ Breast Shields
- (2) PersonalFit Flex™ Connectors
- (4) 5oz/150ml bottles with lids
- (2) bottle stands
- (1) tubing
- (1) carry bag
- (1) cooler bag with a cooling element
- (1) power adaptor with USB-C charging cable
While the Spectra S2 Plus breast pump kit includes:
- (1) 12 volt AC power adapter
- (1) detachable power cord prongs
- (2) Spectra bottles
- (2) Spectra backflow protector
- (2) Spectra duckbill valve
- (2) Spectra tubing
- (2) Spectra flange 24mm
- (2) Spectra flange 28mm
Motor/ Suction Rate
Some moms say that both have great suction power. While others are complaining that both have very poor suction and gets relatively weaker after only a few months of use.
Some said you can’t even use both for pumping after only a few months! So it’s really a mixed bag of motor reviews.
For example, some moms said the Spectra S2 lets them empty out in only less than 5 minutes, getting 4oz on each side.
Other moms, however, mentioned that they can’t even get a decent amount of milk, even if they’ve adjusted it to the strongest suction level.
Same mixed feedback as well with the Medela Freestyle Flex. For eg., one mom shared that she can even get 200ml of milk for about 15 minutes.
While some complained that it can’t even go to the maximum suction rate and its suction power gets weaker and weaker after only a few months of use.
Both the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Plus breast pump has adjustable settings or pumping modes, to suit your preferred suction power and pumping speed.
The Medela Freestyle Flex has the Stimulation phase and Expression phase. The Stimulation Phase is to stimulate milk flow, while the Expression phase is more for efficient and steady pumping.
Both can be adjusted from L1 up to L9. However, the Medela Freestyle doesn’t have any speed setting.
Which means you can’t control the speed of pumping.
All the suction and speed settings can be controlled via a separate motor unit, which beeps after 15 minutes, reminding you of how long you’ve been pumping.
This control motor unit can be connected to the MyMedela app, to help you track your pumping sessions, record the sleeping habits of your newborn, diaper output, and more.
The control motor unit though is a bit sensitive and it can easily change your settings accidentally. It can also become unresponsive at times, according to some moms.
The Spectra S2 Plus has the Massage and Expression mode. The Massage mode is used for stimulating a letdown while the Expression mode is used after, for a steadier pumping.
The Massage mode can be adjusted from L1 to L5, while the Expression mode is adjustable from L1 to L12.
The Massage mode has only one-speed setting while the Expression mode has a 5 cycle speed.
Both these Spectra and Medela breast pumps are relatively comfortable to use.
Moms have been commenting on how much more gentle and comfortable the Spectra breast pumps are though, compared to the Medela brand.
Which is discreet enough for you to pump in the dark while your baby sleeps or behind the closed door of your office.
Some parents though find both a little too loud for their taste, more so the Medela than the Spectra.
Easy to Clean
That means you can use it in another country!
Do take note to get an adapter if you’re traveling abroad, as the outlets there might have a different plug shape.
Both these Medela and Spectra breast pumps automatically turn off after 30 minutes of pumping.
Here are more accessory related tips as given by other moms online:
- Measure and get another set of flanges or breast shields, as the one that comes with the set might not fit you
- A hands-free pumping bra will save you time to pump and do chores or work at the same time.
- Get a carrying case for your breast pumps, so it’s more convenient to lug them around anywhere
- Spectra is compatible with Medela and Avent storage bottles
- Pumpin Pals flanges can be used for both Medela and Spectra
Spectra S2 vs Medela Freestyle Flex: Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick overview of the advantages and drawbacks of the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Plus.
Medela Freestyle Flex Pros
- Rechargeable batteries
- Lightweight and portable
Medela Freestyle Flex Cons
- Not hospital grade
- More expensive than Spectra S2
Spectra S2 Plus Pros
- Cheaper than Medela Freestyle Flex
Spectra S2 Plus Cons
- Heavier and less portable
- Must be plugged in at all times when in use
FAQ on Medela vs Spectra Breast Pump
What is the difference between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Plus?
It has 4 main differences – its batteries, weight, price, and hospital grade.
The Medela Freestyle Flex is rechargeable, the Spectra S2 Plus is not.
The Medela Freestyle Flex weighs less than the Spectra S2.
The Medela Freestyle Flex is more expensive than the Spectra.
And finally, the Medela Freestyle Flex is not a hospital-grade breast pump, unlike the Spectra S2 Plus.
Is Medela Freestyle a good pump?
Yes, it’s a good breast pump but of course, it depends on how it fits you, how comfortable its suction feels, and a whole lot of other factors.
Is Medela Freestyle hospital grade?
hare or resell this to other users and its suction power can only come at a maximum of 245 mmHg, unlike Spectra S2 Plus’ 300mmHg.
Is the Medela Freestyle closed system?
Yes, it is. Its closed system has an Overflow Protection design that prevents the milk from going up the tube.
Which One Is Better: Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2?
If you don’t mind being tethered to a wall for 15 minutes or so and lugging around a heavy pump, then the Spectra S2 can work out for you.
It has a more powerful suction than the Medela, it’s hospital-grade so you can sell it if you don’t have a use for it anymore. Plus it’s way cheaper than the Medela Freestyle Flex.
But if you’re looking for a more portable breast pump, give Medela Freestyle Flex a try.
I would recommend getting both – get the Spectra S2 via insurance as the main pump for home use then use the Medela as an extra or back up pump for work or traveling.
I hope this article has been useful in helping you decide between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S2 Plus breast pump.