The Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 has 7 differences and 13 similarities. Read on to find out more.
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Have you heard about the new updated Medela Freestyle and do you want to compare it to Spectra S1’s?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
The Medela Freestyle Flex is a relatively new breast pump, just released last 2019.
Spectra S1 on the other hand has been in the market way longer but it’s quite interesting to see how the Flex measures up to the S1.
In this article, I’ve researched the differences and similarities between Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1.
I’ve also included the pros and cons regarding their features.
Let’s start with the differences between the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1
List of Contents
What’s The Difference Between Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1?
The Medela Freestyle Flex is so much lighter, weighing less than 1 pound compared to Spectra S1’s 3 pounds.
That’s quite a difference there which is quite helpful for compact and lightweight carrying, especially if you’re going to the office or on a trip.
The Medela Freestyle Flex is way pricier than the Spectra S1.
But that’s probably because for the whole set, you’ll get more from the Medela Freestyle Flex.
You can also sell both at a really good price, not just because they are high-quality breast pumps, but also because of a feature called “closed system”
Check out that term below, under the similarities of the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1.
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
Spectra S1 includes:
- (1) Spectra S1 Electric Breast Pump
- (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
So in short, with Medela Freestyle, you get 4 bottles with lids, 2 bottle stands, a carry bag, and a cooler bag with a cooling element.
Which the Spectra S1 doesn’t have. Well, they have at least 2 bottles.
Not all breast pumps are considered as “hospital grade” and that is the case with the Medela Freestyle Flex.
Spectra S1 however, is a hospital-grade breast pump. Medela too has a hospital-grade pump, which is the Medela Symphony.
Hospital-grade means it’s one of the strongest pumps in the market (270mmHG max suction) and other people can use it, as long as they use it with their accessory kit.
The Medela Freestyle Flex has a separate motor unit to control the pumping mode.
This motor unit can also be connected to the MyMedela app.
The MyMedela app allows you to track your pumping and breastfeeding sessions. It can even record diaper output, sleeping habits of your newborn, and more.
It can connect easily with Bluetooth, making it convenient and seamless.
Some moms though have mentioned the screen of the control unit is a tad sensitive and at times, unresponsive.
The Spectra S1 on the other hand doesn’t have a separate control unit nor an app. You can easily adjust the pumping mode right on the pump itself though.
What’s neat about the Spectra S1 though is it can automatically save your last pumping mode session. So you don’t need to adjust it next time you pump some milk.
Spectra S1’s breast pump has a 2-year warranty and its accessories have a 90 days warranty.
The Medela Freestyle has only a 1-year warranty on its motor and 90 days warranty on other parts.
On that note, one mom complained how hard it was to get Medela to honor its warranty when the battery stopped working.
But some moms have had an easier time getting their parts replaced.
Awesome Customer Service
Spectra S1 has very responsive and quick customer service, which moms love. While Medela has mixed reviews when it comes to prompt customer service, especially with regards to their battery issues.
Similarities of Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1
The Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 have some things in common so let’s get to that while discussing the pros and cons of each of their similar features.
Both the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 have rechargeable batteries which is a super convenient feature.
Imagine the hassle of plugging in a breast pump, only to have the power go out. Or looking for an outlet in your office or a public place.
Which you won’t experience with both the Medela Freestyle and Spectra S1, so long as the batteries are working fine.
This rechargeable feature is also helpful for CS moms or those with back pain and you want to avoid bending over to plug in your breast pump all the time.
Charge the Spectra S1 for approximately 4 hours to charge, to get its full 3 hours of power.
The Medela Freestyle only needs 2 hours of charging (for the first time), to get a battery life of 2 hours.
But here’s the thing, there are some mixed reviews about the battery life of the Medela.
Some moms are saying it doesn’t fully charge and others have mentioned battery issues, with the pump completely dying on them.
If you find yourself in this predicament, try rebooting the Medela by pressing the on/off button for around 10 seconds, as some users have suggested.
Call also their customer service and request for a replacement asap.
Anyway, it’s highly recommended to fully charge both pumps to prolong their battery health.
Take note to only use the power adapter and cable that comes with your breast pump for safety purposes.
The Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S1 are both closed system breast pumps.
That means its system prevents the breastmilk from entering the tubing or motor.
This blocks air or bacteria or for molds to form in the tubes, which can contaminate your milk.
BPA Free Parts
Same as well with the Medela Freestyle Flex.
For the Medela Freestyle, the materials that come in contact with the milk are made of the following:
- Breast shield: Polypropylene, thermoplastic elastomer •Connector: Polypropylene, silicone
- Bottle: Polypropylene
- Lid: Polypropylene
The Spectra S1 has a motor suction rate of 270mmHg.
That’s considered powerful, giving you more milk output per session at a lesser time.
The Medela Freestyle Flex is also supposed to have the same maximum suction rate but it seems it can only go until 245mmHG.
Some users have also mentioned that they can’t seem to use the maximum suction rate and will usually use 4 to 5 out of 9.
There’s also a lot of mixed reviews about how much milk some moms are getting from the Medela Freestyle.
Below are some personal pumping sessions from moms, to give you an idea of how Medela Freestyle Flex’s suction performance:
- Pumping 3-4 times a day, 30min each, level 4 at the beginning and then changing slowly to 6. Gets at least 200ml a day.
- Pump 15 mins every 4 hours, not regularly though, starting at start out on 7, then bump it up to 8 or 9 but can still get 6-8 oz every pump
Some users have also complained about the weakening suction power of both breast pumps after several months of use, more so for the Medela Freestyle Flex.
Both the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 have the same universal voltage of 100V-240V / 50-60Hz so you can practically use it any place and in any country.
Both the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 have a really quiet motor at 45DB.
The noise level is similar to a refrigerator or is between a hushed library setting and hearing a conversation in a quiet suburb.
Quiet enough not to wake up your baby and discreet enough for pumping at work or outdoors and quiet.
2 Pumping Mode
The Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 has both the same 2 pumping modes, but they have different terms for it.
Plus there are also slight differences with these pumping modes.
Let’s go first with the Spectra S1, which has massage and expression mode.
Spectra S1 Pumping Mode
The Massage mode is for stimulating the letdown reflex by using the motor’s suction strength range from levels 1-5.
Once the milk is flowing, you can turn to Expression mode, with a suction strength level of 1 to 12.
The Expression mode has also 5 varying cycle speeds, while the Massage mode has only 1 single cycle speed.
Medela Freestyle Flex Pumping Mode
The Medela has 2 Phase Expression (which means pumping mode, basically, just like the Spectra S1)
It has the Stimulation Phase, which is the fast sucking pumping mode to stimulate milk flow.
Then it has the Expression Phase, the slower sucking mode for more comfortable and efficient pumping.
The Medela Freestyle has also an adjustable suction mode, with its level starting at L1 up to L9.
However, it doesn’t have any speed settings. So that means, you can’t make the pumping go faster or slower. You can only control its suction power.
Now here are the pros and cons of the adjustable pumping mode of both these breast pumps.
Pros of Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 Pumping Mode
The pros of this 2 pump mode feature are, you can choose how fast or slow you want to pump.
This can be helpful if you’re quite familiar with your baby’s nursing patterns and you want to mimic that with the Medela Freestyle or Spectra S1.
Both breast pumps start with the Expression mode but you can adjust it with no issues.
Cons of Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 Pumping Mode
The cons of these 2 pumping mode are actually more for first-time moms.
Since you’re not yet familiar with your baby’s nursing patterns, it can be quite overwhelming to find the right setting combos for pumping.
And both have varying suctions modes. Spectra S1 even has 5 cycle speeds for the Expression mode!
So with all those pumping mode options to choose from, it can be quite a hassle for a new mom who just wants to pump milk at the most comfortable and quickest setting possible.
Turns into Single and Double Pump
You can use both the Medela Freestyle and Spectra S1 as a double or single pump and can easily adjust the setting for both.
It’s quite easy to find both accessories for the Medela Freestyle and Spectra S1 online. It’s available on Amazon, Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Bed Bath and Beyond.
FYI, Medela Freestyle Flex is only compatible with their PersonalFit Flex Breast shields, which they claim will give you 11.8% faster milk flow, compared to regular shields. Just throwing it out there.
Anyway, back to finding accessories online.
Most users said that when it comes to buying in a physical store, some people are saying it’s pretty hard to find the accessories.
So it’s better to order extra accessories online.
And when you order online, consider these other tips, as given by other moms online:
- The set of flanges or breast shields that’s include in the set might not fit you, so get one that suits you. Here’s the flanges or shield guide for the Spectra and Medela.
- Pumping Pals flanges can be used for Spectra S1 breast pump
- Spectra is also compatible with Medela and Avent storage bottles
- You can use a Maymom flange adapter, to use a Medela spare part
- Get a hands-free pumping bra, so you can pump and do chores at the same time
- Buy also a carrying case, if budget permits, or other cases that can fit your pumping breast set
Automatically Shuts Off
Both the Medela Freestyle and Spectra S1 stops automatically after 30 minutes, but take note of a slight difference:
Spectra S1 shuts off after 30 minutes of pumping time.
Medela Freestyle Flex turns off after 30 minutes IF there is no user interaction with the pump.
Also, the Medela beeps after 15 minutes, reminding you of how much you’ve pumped.
Built-in Light For Night Pumping
Both breast pumps lights up, so it will be easy to see the settings at night but there’s a slight difference.
The Medela Freestyle Flex’s motor or control unit lights up when the breast pump is switched on.
The Spectra S1 has no control unit, but its pump has a LED built-in light, which has 2 light modes.
Both breast pumps are comfortable to use, according to many users.
Although there are mixed reviews regarding its suction strength and battery, (more so for the Medela Freestyle), both breast pumps have been so far, stellar in providing a gentle pumping experience.
Easy to Clean
Both the Medela Freestyle Flex and Spectra S1 are easy to clean, compared to other brands.
Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 Comparison Table
This is best viewed on a desktop. Check out the features of the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1 and compare them at a glance.
|Features||Medela Freestyle Flex||Spectra S1|
|Weight||less than 1 pound||3 pounds|
|Price||more expensive than Spectra S1||Cheaper|
|Set Package||more accessories than Spectra S1||Adequate accessories|
|Warranty||1 year||2 years|
|Customer Service||Excellent||Mixed reviews|
|Rechargeable Battery||charge for 2 hours to get full 2 hours of power||charge for 4 hours to get full 3 hours of power|
|BPA Free Parts||Yes||Yes|
|Suction rate||Great- maximum 270mmHg||245mmHG|
|Universal voltage||100V-240V / 50-60Hz||100V-240V / 50-60Hz|
|2 Pumping Mode||Available – Massage and Expression Mode||Available – Stimulation and Expression Phase|
|Single and Double Pump||Available||Available|
|Accessories||– Easy to find online|
– Has PersonalFit Flex Breast shields, which claim will give you 11.8% faster milk flow
|– Easy to find online|
|Auto Shut Off||– Turns off after 30 minutes IF there is no user interaction with the pump||Shuts off after 30 minutes of pumping time|
|Built-in Light For Night Pumping||Available on motor (control) unit||Available on breast pump|
|Easy to clean||Yes||Yes|
Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1: Which One is Better?
The Spectra S1 seems like an obvious winner for a number of reasons:
- It’s been in the market longer
- It has more positive reviews of it online
- Way cheaper than the Medela Freestyle Flex (which is a new model, by the way, just released last Nov 2019)
But don’t easily disregard the Medela Freestyle. It has its advantages:
- It’s way lighter and super portable
- Comes with a handy control unit that connects to an app to easily track your pumping sessions and other data
- As comfy as the Spectra S1
Some moms have also reported an increase in their milk supply when using the Medela Freestyle Flex.
Probably because of their PersonalFit Flex Breast shields? So that’s something to consider.
If it’s possible to rent both, try it out and see which suits you better.
But if you’re after reliability and price, Spectra S1 is the better breast pump. If you want a more compact and handy pump, then Medela Freestyle Flex is more suitable for you.
I hope this article has helped choose between the Medela Freestyle vs Spectra S1.
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