Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9: Which One To Get?

Portable breast pumps are seriously one of the best baby gadgets that anyone can make for moms. Imagine not being tethered to a wall, worrying that your newborn might wake up anytime.

Or the fact that you can still do chores and even clean your house with a toddler at home!

If you’ve narrowed down your choice between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus, then this article is for you.

I’ve listed here a detailed comparison review of the features, pros, and cons of these Medela and Spectra pumps. 

I’ve also researched the most common and popular comments (or complaints) from moms, which can be useful in helping you gauge between the Spectra S9 Plus vs Medela Freestyle Flex.

Let’s start with their very few differences.

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The Spectra S9 Plus, which is cheaper, has 30 minutes more battery life, and has a 2-year warranty, compared to the Medela Freestyle Flex.

Check Spectra S9 Plus on buybuyBaby

Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 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 S9.

FeaturesMedela Freestyle FlexSpectra S9 Plus
PriceExpensiveCheaper than Medela
Warranty1 year2 years
Complete accessoriesYes (includes travel bag)Yes
Rechargeable batteryYesYes
Hospital-gradeNoNo
WeightLess than 1 lbs.5 lbs
Closed systemYesYes
BPA Free partsYesYes
Turns into Single and Double PumpYesYes
Motor270mmHg260mmHg
Adjustable Pumping SettingsAvailable but no speed settingsAvailable but no speed settings
Auto Turn OffAfter 30 minutesAfter 30 minutes
Gently and Comfortable To UseYesYes
QuietYesYes
Easy to CleanYesYes
Universal Voltage100V-240V / 50-60Hz100V-240V / 50-60Hz
NightlightAvailableAvailable
Replacement partsAvailableAvailable

Below is a more detailed info on the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S9

Differences Between Spectra S9 vs Medela Freestyle Flex

Let’s dive in a little deeper about the differences between these Medela vs Spectra breast pumps.

Price 

The Medela Freestyle Flex is pricier than the Spectra S9 Plus.

Which I think is a bit weird but its kit comes with a lot of other accessories than Spectra S9 Plus, so maybe that explains the price.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can get an open box Medela Freestyle Flex.

Open-box means packaging has been opened but not used.

Warranty 

Medela Freestyle Flex has only a 1-year motor warranty and 90 accessory warranty.

While Spectra S9 Plus has a 2-year warranty and also a 90-day warranty on its accessories.

Just take note that the accessories should come with the breast pump if you want them to honor the warranty.

Remember to also buy breast pumps from legit third-party sellers or straight from the brand’s website themselves, to guarantee that warranty.

Package

Both the Spectra S9 vs Medela Freestyle Flex have a complete set of accessories. 

The difference though is that Medela Freestyle Flex has a lot more, which includes a travel bag. Which is quite convenient for working moms or for when you’re traveling.

The Medela Freestyle Set includes:

  • (1) breast pump with 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 cooling element
  • (1) power adaptor with USB-C charging cable

While the Spectra S2 Plus breast pump 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

And those are the differences between the Spectra S9 Plus vs Medela Freestyle Flex.

Now let’s take a look at Medela vs Spectra’s similar features.

Spectra S9 vs Medela: Similarities

Battery 

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S9 Plus have a rechargeable battery, making them convenient to bring to work or vacations.

You can use both while charging them.

You can also charge both these breast pumps in your car, provided you have the right adapter for S9 Plus (9 volts) and Medela Freestyle Flex’s power adaptor.

The Medela Freestyle Flex has a 2-hour battery life, while the Spectra S9 Plus has 2.5 hours.

For first-time use, the Spectra S9 Plus should be charged for 3-4 hours while the Medela Freestyle Flex needs 2 hours of charging.

Just remember to not charge it overnight as it can damage the battery.

Hospital Grade 

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S9 Plus are NOT hospital-grade breast pumps.

They can both easily wear out if you use them regularly several times a day.

Both are also not multi-user pumps – you can’t rent them or resell them for that matter. This is quite unfortunate since both are a bit expensive.

If you want a hospital-grade breast pump, you can try checking out Spectra S1 or S2 Plus or the Medela Symphony.

Weight 

Both the Spectra S9 Plus and Medela Freestyle Flex are light and portable. The Medela weighs less than 1 lbs while the Spectra at .5lbs.

Both are convenient to bring to work or long trips and vacations.

Closed System

Both the Spectra S9 vs Medela Freestyle Flex are closed system pumps.

This system prevents your breast milk from going back into the tube or motor, which can contaminate the milk or cause bacteria or mold in the tube.

BPA Free

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus are BPA Free.

Any part that comes in contact with the milk is BPA Free. This means it doesn’t have any toxic ingredients that can cause some serious negative health effects in the long run.

Turns into Single and Double Pump

You can use both the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S9 Plus as a double or single pump, which basically just means you can pump on both breasts or just one.

Both breast pumps have adjustable settings for both pumping modes.

Motor

Both of these Medela and Spectra pumps have some mixed feedback regarding their motors. With some moms saying that either is great, while others are complaining about both its poor motor suction.

It’s probably because both are not really hospital-grade pumps. 

The Medela Freestyle maximum suction sometimes can only go as high as 245mmHg, even though its supposed to go up to 270mmHg. The Spectra S9 Plus can’t be used several times a day at a maximum pumping rate or else, the motor will easily wear out.

So if you either use one as a primary or as your sole breast pump, it can easily wear out, especially if you pump several times a day.

Adjustable Pumping Settings

Both these breast pumps have adjustable settings for your preferred suction power.

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S9 though don’t have any speed suction control.

Check Medela Freestyle Flex on buybuyBABY

Check Medela Freestyle Flex on Walmart

The Medela Freestyle has 2 phases for pumping – the Stimulation phase and the Expression phase.

The former is to stimulate milk flow, while the Expression phase is more like a baby feeding with a slower, deeper suck, bringing out more milk faster.

The Medela Freestyle doesn’t have any speed settings but both phases can be adjusted from Level 1 up to Level 9.

All settings can be adjusted and controlled through its very sleek motor unit. This control motor unit can connect to the MyMedela app, a useful app for tracking your pumping sessions and even your baby’s diaper output, and more.

The touch screen display though can be a bit sensitive and can also be a bit unresponsive, as noticed by other moms.

Check Spectra S9 Plus on buybuyBaby

Spectra S9 Plus also has 2 phases or pumping modes – the Massage and Expression mode.

The Massage mode mimics that of a baby sucking fast to stimulate milk flow.

After the milk is flowing, you can then adjust it to the Expression mode, which is a slower-paced, steady sucking, just like what a baby does after a letdown.

The Massage mode can be adjusted from Level 1 to 5, while the Expression mode is adjustable from Level 1 up to Level 10.

AutoTurn Off 

Both these Spectra and Medela automatically turn off after 30 minutes of pumping.

Comfortable

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S9 are generally gentle and comfortable to use, more so the Spectra than the Medela.

Quiet

Both the Spectra S9 vs Medela Freestyle Flex have relatively quiet motors but some moms mentioned that both are a little too loud for their taste.

For those that like the low level of noise that either makes, it is discreet enough to use when you’re pumping in your office or when your baby is sleeping.

Easy to Clean 

Both are generally easy to clean but one mom mentioned that the Spectra S9 flange piece does not come off easily, which makes it hard to clean thoroughly.

Universal Voltage

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus have the same universal voltage of 100V-240V / 50-60Hz. Which means you can use it anywhere in the world.

Just remember to get an adapter, to make sure it fits in the outlet of another place you’re traveling to.

Accessories 

Replacement parts are easy to buy for both the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus.

They are readily available in popular eCommerce stores such as Amazon or even on buybuyBaby, Walmart, Target, and more.

Just remember to replace them when needed, when it’s showing signs of wear and damage.

Here are more tips on its accessories or pump parts, according to some moms online:

  • Get a hands-free pumping bra for a convenient pumping
  • Buy a carrying case for the Spectra S9 Plus
  • The flanges that come with the kit might not fit you so better measure yourself and get another set.
  • Pumpin Pals flanges can be used for both Medela and Spectra
  • Spectra is compatible with Medela and Avent storage bottles

Nightlight 

Both the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus doesn’t have a nightlight. Which is a bit unfortunate, since that feature can be convenient for pumping in the dark.

But both do have a backlit display.

Insurance

Some moms got the Spectra S9 Plus for free through their insurance. But for the most part, it’s better to verify with your insurance agent if they can fully cover either the Medela Freestyle Flex or Spectra S9 Plus.

Spectra S9 vs Medela Freestyle Flex: Pros and Cons

Both have generally the same main pros and cons (rechargeable and portable but not hospital grade).

But if we’re nitpicking here, here are some advantages and drawbacks of the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus.

Medela Freestyle Flex Pros

  • Easy to recharge via USB
  • Kit comes with a travel bag

Medela Freestyle Flex Cons

  • 1-year warranty only
  • More expensive than Spectra S9 Plus

Spectra S9 Plus Pros

  • Cheaper than Medela Freestyle Flex
  • Motor control unit has fewer issues than Medela

Spectra S9 Plus Cons

  • First time charging takes 3-4 hours
  • Doesn’t come with a travel bag

FAQ on Medela vs Spectra Breast Pump

What are the differences between the Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus?

It basically only has 3 differences – price, warranty, and the accessories that come with the kit.

The Medela Freestyle Flex is more expensive, comes with more accessories in its breast pump kit (including a travel bag) but has only a 1-year warranty.
The Spectra S9 Plus is cheaper than Medela, has a 2-year motor warranty but doesn’t come with a travel bag.

Is Spectra S9 a hospital-grade?

No, the Spectra S9 Plus is not a hospital-grade breast pump. It doesn’t have a powerful motor nor can it be shared with multiple users.

How long does the Spectra S9 battery last?

After the first time charge of 3 to 4 hours, it can take 2.5 hours for it to fully charge. For that, you’ll get about 2.5 hours of battery life. 

But if you pump at a higher, stronger setting, you might see a significant decrease in its battery life.

How long does Medela Freestyle Flex last?

Depending on how you use it and according to feedbacks from moms in popular forums and groups, it can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Which One Is Better: Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9?

Both are great portable breast pumps but it seems that Medela Freestyle Flex is more of the popular choice, based on forums and online groups and even ratings from well-known online stores.

I seriously would have thought that the Spectra S9 Plus would be a better choice, given that its motor performance is more or less the same as Medela Freestyle Flex but it’s cheaper and its battery can last 30 minutes longer.

Maybe because Medela has a travel bag or is easier to charge or has an app that connects to the breast pump so you can track your pumping sessions that make it seem like the better pump?

Maybe those features are giving a subliminal message that it’s the better breast pump? Who knows.

They’re still both amazing pumps and you can’t go wrong with choosing between Medela Freestyle Flex vs Spectra S9 Plus.

Julie