Best Wearable Breast Pumps of 2022
Best Wearable Breast Pumps of 2022
May 20, 2022

Best Wearable Breast Pumps of 2022

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Best Wearable Breast Pumps of 2022.
Best Wearable Breast Pumps of 2022

Wearable breast pumps are completely changing the experience of pumping milk for your baby. What used to be a task you’d have to do sitting down and tethered to the wall is now something you can knock out while changing a diaper, cleaning up from dinner or while typing away on your laptop.

Before you dive into the world of wearable breast pumps, however, there’s some information you need to know to help you set your expectations and get the most out of your wearable pump.

Whether you’re thinking about buying a wearable, are already pumping with one but are struggling with production or just have a few questions about pumping hands-free, this comprehensive guide can help. We talked to Tamari Jacob, Certified Lactation Consultant and the pumping mastermind behind One with the Pump, about all things wearable breast pumps. We also break down the pros and cons of our favorite wearable pumps if you’re ready to start shopping.

What Is a Wearable Breast Pump?

As the name implies, a wearable breast pump is a hands-free, tube-free, wireless and completely portable breast pump that you can wear right in your bra.

Most wearable pumps consist of a few main parts:

  • Motor, usually either housed inside the main body of the pump or as a separate piece that you clip into the top of the pump
  • Flanges
  • Valves and membranes
  • Collection cups or breast milk collection bags

Most wearable breast pumps allow you to move around fairly freely while pumping, but there are varying degrees of mobility depending on which brand of wearable pump you’re using.

“You’ll always be aware that you are pumping,” says Jacob. “But wearable pumps give you the best chance of keeping your pump in place and not spilling milk while you’re doing other things.”

Wearable breast pumps are also much more discrete than traditional pumps. Again, this will vary by which brand of pump you’re using, and wearables are definitely noticeable while you’re using them (despite what some marketing claims lead you to believe!). But because of their slimmer profile and since there are no bottles protruding from the flanges, wearable pumps are a lot less noticeable than traditional pumps, and in most cases you’ll be able to slip your wearable into your bra without having to take off or even pull up your shirt.

Wearable Breast Pumps Vs. Portable Breast Pumps

Wearable pumps and portable pumps both offer less bulk and increased portability over more traditional breast pumps; however, they aren’t the same thing.

Wearable pumps are truly hands-free and cord-free. Everything you need to pump—the motor and battery, the flanges, the bag or container that collects the milk—is built right into a wearable pump. Because of this, there are no exterior tubing, wires or collection bottles needed.

Portable pumps are like a cross between a traditional pump and a wearable pump. Portable pumps take the body of a traditional pump (think a Spectra or a Medela, for example) and shrink it down to a smaller, more compact size.

If you’re pumping with a portable, you’ll still need to run tubing from the pump to your flanges. To collect the pumped milk, you can use either standard breastmilk collection bottles or collection cups (a wearable milk collection insert) for extra portability.

Portable breast pumps are also much lighter than an average breast pump. Whereas a traditional pump may weigh around two to three pounds, many portables are weighed in ounces—anywhere from a few ounces for some of the smallest to about 10-12 ounces for larger portables.

It’s important to note that not all portable pumps are created equally. Each brand has different suction strengths and suction patterns, so you’ll want to research as much as possible before purchasing.

Do Wearable Breast Pumps Work?

Wearable breast pumps have transformed how, when and where pumping parents can express milk for their babies. Most wearable pumps do work and are a great option for many people. But—and this is a big but—they do have some limitations that are important to learn about before you start using one.

“Wearable pumps should be considered secondary pumps,” explains Jacob. “None of them should be used 100% of the time.”

That’s because wearables don’t fully empty your breasts as well as traditional breast pumps do. Breast milk production works on supply and demand. If you’re not fully emptying your breasts at every pumping session, you’re signaling to your body to make less milk—and that can cause a dip in supply over time, something Jacob warns that most pumping people simply aren’t aware of.

“I have people come to me and say they want to use a wearable all the time, as their primary pump,” says Jacob. “But if you do this, you’re going to lose supply,” she cautions.

“Wearables should be used once or twice a day, and never for your morning or night pump,” she says. “If you’re an exclusive pumper or someone who pumps more than three times a day, you still need a primary pump.”

And while wearable breast pumps are much more portable than traditional pumps, most wearables do have limitations on what you’ll be able to do while pumping.

“Just understand that what pump brands put out is an advertisement. There aren’t a lot of people who are going to pump and attempt to do yoga. Adjust your expectations” she says.

Are Wearable Pumps Worth It?

Like many things when it comes to parenting, what works for one person may not work for another. Figuring out if a wearable breast pump is worthwhile for you will depend on your particular circumstances and personal preferences.

It’s also important to keep your expectations around wearable breast pumps in check.

“You need to adjust your thinking around wearable pumps,” explains Jacob. “Your expectations of what you’re getting out of a wearable pump should not be the same as with a primary pump.”

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a wearable breast pump.

  • Pumping frequency. Are you primarily nursing your baby and only pumping once a day to build a small stash or boost supply? A wearable breast pump might be a good choice for you. But if you’re an exclusive pumper or away from your baby for long periods and pumping frequently, you’ll want a traditional pump as your primary breast pump and may consider a wearable as a nice-to-have convenience.
  • Pumping goals. “Everyone has certain things that they want out of a pump. Not everyone’s goal is supply,” says Jacob. Think this through as you consider whether or not you need a wearable.
  • Location. Are you on your feet a lot for work or plan to be pumping while also taking care of other children? Wearable pumps are convenient for expressing milk while you’re on the go; just remember you can’t rely solely on your wearable if you’re pumping many times each day.
  • Budget. Wearable pumps range in price, but most are fairly expensive. Consider your budget and how often you think you’ll use a wearable when making your decision.

How to Use Wearable Breast Pumps

Hoping to pop your wearable breast pump out of the box and into your bra and be on your way? Not so fast. Learning how to use a wearable breast pump properly is key to being sure you’re maximizing milk output and protecting your nipples from pain and damage.

“The two things to focus on with a wearable breast pump are the flange size and your bra,” explains Jacob.

To find your proper flange size, you’ll need to measure the size of your nipple. Consult your pump brand’s instruction manual on how best to do this. (Some brands recommend using a measuring tape or a printable ruler tool while others come with their own size chart.)

As for your bra, because a wearable needs to form a tight seal around your breast in order to work correctly, a full coverage, tight-fitting bra is a must.

“You need to find a bra that keeps your wearable pump in place. You can’t have the pump shifting,” explains Jacob.

Do wearable breast pumps work with large breasts?

Wearable breast pumps can work with all breast sizes—but it’s actually the size of your nipples that you should be paying more attention to than the size of your breasts.

“Many people don’t realize that the size of your breasts and the size of your nipples are not connected,” says Jacob. “The size of your nipple is more important when you’re using a pump.”

Be sure you’re using the correct flange size and that you aren’t experiencing pain or nipple damage during or after pumping.

If your nipples are larger or smaller than those for the flanges that are provided with your wearable pump, you may have to purchase a different size flange separately or purchase a flange insert.

Can wearable breast pumps overflow?

Most pumpers don’t have to worry about their wearable breast pumps overflowing. Many wearable pumps either run on an auto shut-off timer or link to an app that indicates when the pump’s storage is nearing capacity.

If you’re an oversupplier, you’ll want to factor in storage capacity when deciding which wearable pump is right for you. You’ll also want to avoid using collection cups for your first morning pump.

Does Insurance Cover Wearable Breast Pumps?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, health insurers must cover the cost of a breast pump. However, what type of pump your insurance will cover differs depending on your particular health insurance plan. Each plan has its own set of guidelines around whether the covered pump is manual or electric, if you’ll be able to keep the pump or rent it and if you’ll receive the pump before or after you give birth.

Reach out to your insurance provider well before your due date and get as much information on what types of pumps they cover and what the ordering process is like. If you know which wearable pump you want, check the brand’s website for specific insurance information. (Both Willow and Elvie have dedicated insurance information pages on their websites. You can find Willow’s insurance page here and the Elvie page here. Other major brands like Freemie, Medela and more also have insurance info on their sites.)

You may also be entitled to reimbursement for a breast pump if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA). Be sure to reach out to your insurance provider or your employer’s human resources department to check.

What Are the Best Wearable Breast Pumps?

We’re breaking down our best wearable breast pumps into three categories: best wearable breast pumps, best portable pumps and best collection cups. We chose our top picks based on information from several lactation consultants and through our own research and expert insight.

Best Wearable Breast Pumps

Most Comfortable Wearable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Sleek, lightweight and quiet
  • Pump into reusable bottles
  • Lots of parts to clean
What Our Experts Say

Pumping with a wearable breast pump takes some getting used to, but many pumping parents say that the Elvie is the most comfortable on the market. It’s small, sleek and lightweight, and the breast shields have guide lines to help you with nipple placement for the right fit.

A few other standouts of this popular wearable breast pump include lots of settings (two modes and 14 intensity settings), the ability to pump into reusable bottles instead of disposable plastic bags, an app that helps you track milk volume and pump history and a feature that detects let-down and switches the pump from stimulation to expression mode automatically. The pump is really quiet while it’s running and users say it’s one of the most efficient and effective wearables available.

What’s Worth Considering

The Elvie is pricey. Elvie’s app works well for some things (like pumping history and operating the pump) but not very well for measuring how much milk you’re producing during a session. This can get frustrating since it’s not easy to look down to check your milk volume like you would with a traditional pump.

There are lots of parts to clean: five for each pump, so 10 total if you’re pumping both breasts. The pump can be finicky and lose suction if all the pieces aren’t completely dry or perfectly aligned. And while you can move around fairly well while pumping, you need to stay upright; the pump will leak if you bend over.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I bought this 2 months ago and I have a 3-month-old baby. This pump is worth every penny, it has changed my view and experience of expressing milk! It allows you to be having coffee with a friend, breastfeeding on one side, doing chores, or reading a book in public whilst expressing milk at the same time!” -Hinal

Additional Specs
What’s Included Single Pump comes with: 1 Hub, 2 Bottles (5oz/150ml, BPA free), 1 Breast Shield (24mm), 1 Breast Shield (28mm), 2 Valves, 2 Spouts, 2 Seals, 2 Storage Lids, 2 Bra Adjusters, 1 USB Charging Cable, 1 Carry Bag and Instructions
Dimensions 5”H x 2.5”W
Weight 7.4 oz

Best Portable Wearable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Pump in any position without leaks
  • Two parts to clean
  • Pump into bags or reusable containers
What Our Experts Say

Willow was the first wearable breast pump to claim you can pump with “360 degrees of freedom”—and we’re happy to report that it delivers on its promise. Whether you’re pumping while leaning over to chop veggies for dinner or working on your yoga headstand (hey, you do you), you can rest easy knowing you won’t spill a drop of liquid gold.

The Willow has seven levels of suction as well as a sensitivity setting for comfort. You can choose what you’d prefer to pump into, spill-proof plastic storage bags or reusable containers. There’s an app to track session volume, pump history and more. And one of our favorite features: only two parts to clean. (And they’re dishwasher-safe.)

What’s Worth Considering

Because of the way the Willow suctions over your nipple (to prevent leakage), some pumpers report it can feel a little uncomfortable. There’s also a pretty big learning curve with the Willow. Users say it can be tricky to properly align your nipples and many also struggle with inserting the bags, preventing air from getting in and pouring milk from them without spillage.

There’s also cost; the pump is expensive, as are the disposable storage bags.

What Babylist Parents Say

“You have to be accurately sized and there’s a huge adjustment period since the style of suction of completely different than a regular pump but once your body adjusts it’s amazing to be completely hands-free!” -Katerina

Additional Specs
What’s Included 2 Willow Pumps, 2 Flanges (24mm, or 27mm depending on size you purchase), 2 cleaning brushes, 24 4 oz Spill-Proof Breast Milk Bags and Charger
Dimensions 6.85”H x 4.4”W x 5.5”D
Weight 5.9 lbs

Best Affordable Wearable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • More affordable wearable option
  • Pump into reusable containers (5 or 7 oz)
  • 5 parts to clean
What Our Experts Say

If you have your eye on the Willow or the Elvie but don’t want to spend over $500, you’re in luck. The new Willow Go is a wearable breast pump that shares many of the same features users love about the OG Willow but at almost half the cost.

The Willow Go fits in your bra for portability and discrete(ish) pumping. The pump has two modes and six or nine suction settings in each mode, respectively. A nice-to-have feature with the Go is the containers you’ll pump into. They’re reusable and come in either a five- or seven-ounce size, good news if you have a strong supply. You’ll get five pumping sessions without having to recharge the battery and there’s a compatible app to help you keep track of everything.

Other than cost, a few of the biggest differences between the Willow 3.0 and the Go are portability (you can move around with the 3.0 without worrying about leaking milk, while you’ll need to pump while upright with the Go), pumping directly into disposable bags (not an option with the Go), and the number of parts you’ll have to clean (two with the 3.0 versus five for the Go). For a full breakdown, check the brand’s comparison chart.

What’s Worth Considering

Like the original Willow, it can be tricky to get the right nipple alignment with the Go. You can’t control the pump via the app; it’s only useful for timing your sessions. It takes a little practice to get the hang of assembling the pump, and there are a lot of parts to clean at the end of each pumping session.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 2 Willow Go Pumps, 2 Flanges (21 mm and 24 mm), 2 5 oz reusable containers and Charger
Dimensions 5.3”H x 4.7”W x 3.15”D
Weight 0.84 lbs

Best Even More Affordable Wearable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Budget-friendly
  • Pump into reusable 7 oz containers
  • Motor rests on top, less discrete
What Our Experts Say

Unsure if a wearable pump is right for you or simply don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars? Legendairy Milk’s Imani2 is an affordable, effective wearable breast pump that won’t break the bank. Similar to other wearables, the Imani slips right inside your bra for hands-free, wireless pumping. But instead of a motor that’s built right in, this one rests on top and clips in when it’s time to pump. (It’s still possible to pump with a shirt on and be somewhat discrete, but the motor makes things a lot more obvious.) The breast shields are made from soft, flexible silicone and the reusable containers each hold seven ounces of milk.

What’s Worth Considering

Unlike with more expensive wearable breast pumps, there’s no app to control the pump or monitor your pumping session. It can be tricky to get a secure fit and some users report reduced milk output when compared to other wearables. The breast shield that’s included is on the larger side; most pumpers will need to purchase an insert to bring the size down. You need to remain (mostly) upright while pumping, and there are a lot of parts to clean.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 1 x motor, 1 x 7 oz/200 ml clear plastic cup, 1 x silicone membrane, 1 x 28 mm silicone breast shield, 1 x 25 mm silicone insert, 1 x valve base, 1 x duckbill valve, 1 x charging cable

Another Budget-Friendly Wearable Option

The Scoop
  • Another solid budget-friendly wearable
  • Very similar to Imani2
  • Pump into 6 oz reusable containers
What Our Experts Say

The Momcozy is another very popular budget-friendly wearable breast pump. It’s similar to the Imani2 in almost every way: price, design (collection cup on bottom, clip-on motor on top), suction options and levels, silicone breast shields and more. The Momcozy does come with smaller flanges—24mm—that will fit nipple diameters between 19-21mm. There’s also an auto shut-off after 30 minutes of pumping time and a six-ounce milk storage capacity in each collection cup.

What’s Worth Considering

Trying to decide between the Imani2 and the Momcozy? They’re truly so similar and you can’t go wrong with either if you’re in the market for a well-priced wearable breast pump. We’ve talked to lots of pumping parents and most have the same likes (and dislikes) for each pump.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 1 x pump motor, 1 x 24mm silicone shield, 1 x silicone diaphragm, 1 x linker, 1 x duckbill valve, 1 x milk collector, 1 x USB cable, 1 x bra adjustment buckle
Dimensions 7.08”L x 5.90”W x 4.5”H
Weight 0.96 lbs

Best Portable Breast Pumps

Lightest Portable Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Small and ultra-lightweight
  • Powerful suction
  • Can use with bottles or collection cups
What Our Experts Say

While not quite as freeing as wearable breast pumps (you’ll still have tubing to contend with), portable pumps offer a good and often much more affordable alternative and can be used as a primary pump for most pumpers—and the BabyBuddha is one of the most popular around. Weighing in at less than a pound and about the size of most smartphones, this portable pump is small but mighty. There are 14 different modes and a rechargeable battery that lasts for about four pumping sessions before you’ll need to plug it back in.

One more thing to love about the BabyBuddha is that the pump’s tubing is fairly universal. This means you can hack it in lots of different ways (pump + wide-mouth bottles, pump + collection cups etc.) to find the combo that works best for you.

What’s Worth Considering

The suction on the BabyBuddha is strong—almost too strong for some pumpers. (Even the lowest setting is pretty powerful.) If you’re looking for a similarly portable pump with gentler suction options, check out the Pumpables Genie Advanced (reviewed below).

Additional Specs
What’s Included BabyBuddha pump, 2 x 24mm flanges, 2 sets of duckbill valves, 1 pair of silicone diaphragms, 2 bottles, 2 bottle bases, 2 bottle storage caps, 2 bottle hygiene covers, 2 pump covers, 3 detachable tubes and T-connector, USB charging cable, detachable lanyard, carrying tote
Dimensions 8.3” x 7.6” x 9”
Weight 1.41 oz

Most Buzzworthy Portable Pump

The Scoop
  • Gentler but strong suction
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Affordable
What Our Experts Say

If you follow any pumping, nursing or even parenting accounts on social media, you’ve likely heard about Pumpables’ Genie Advanced portable pump. There’s a lot of buzz behind this small, powerful pump, and for good reason. With strong but comfortable suction, a rechargeable battery with about four hours of pumping time and a weight of about half a pound, it’s easy to see why this pump is such a popular choice. Lots of pumpers use it as their primary pump and, like the Baby Buddha, it works with either traditional flanges or collection cups.

What’s Worth Considering

Many pumpers like to pair their Genie with the brand’s Liquid Shield system, a flange system with a special insert made from soft, liquid silicone. The insert molds to the breast tissue and mimics the way a baby sucks, and many pumpers report that it’s a lot more comfortable than using a traditional hard plastic flange. Just keep in mind that you need to use the entire Liquid Kit when pumping; you can’t use just the liquid insert with breast shields from another brand.

Additional Specs
What’s Included Genie Advanced, charger (with option to also add Liquid Shield Kit)
Weight 8.8 oz

Other portable pumps to consider:

Best Collection Cups for Pumping

Most Comfortable Collection Cups for Pumping

The Scoop
  • Comfortable silicone breast shield
  • Large containers
What Our Experts Say

Paired with a portable breast pump, collection cups can help you make your pumping session more discreet and offer a more affordable alternative to a wearable breast pump.

Legendairy Milk’s cups feature a breast shield made from food-grade silicone, which many users say is much more comfortable to use than a traditional plastic flange. The cups hold eight ounces each and are compatible with a slew of popular pumps. (Check the brand’s website for the full list.) We also like the finger grips to help you keep a tight hold of the cups to prevent spilling, and the built-in pour spout.

What’s Worth Considering

These take a bit of practice to assemble, and there are a lot of parts to clean when you’re done. You’ll need to stay mostly upright while pumping with these to prevent spillage. (A slight lean forward is fine, though.) And keep in mind that many pumpers report they don’t get quite the same output when using collection cups rather than traditional flanges, something you’ll want to consider if you’re an exclusive pumper or pumping more than once or twice a day and hoping to achieve a certain volume of milk output.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 2 x 8 oz / 240ml Cups, Y-shape tubing, 2 x Membrane Caps, 4 x Silicone Breast Shields (pair of 24 mm and 28 mm), 2 x Valve Bases, 4 x Duckbill Valves, 2 x Tubing Adapter A, 2 x Tubing Adapter B
Cup Capacity 8 oz per cup

The Collection Cups That Started It All

The Scoop
  • OG collection cup
  • Flat base to minimize spills
  • Less discreet shape
What Our Experts Say

Freemies are the collection cups that started it all. These lightweight cups each hold eight ounces of pumped milk and, like the other collection cups on our list, are compatible with lots of different brands of breast pumps. There’s also a spout for easy pouring, a flat base (to lessen the chance of spills) and two flange sizes to choose from plus the option to customize with inserts if needed.

What’s Worth Considering

Rather than a wider shape, Freemies are more conically-shaped, so they’ll protrude forward from your bra more than some other collection cups. (Looking for a slimmer cup? Check out the brand’s SlimFit 6. They hold two fewer ounces than the original cups but have a much slimmer profile.) The flanges are made from plastic, not silicone. And they’re the most expensive collection cups on our list.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 2 x 25mm breast flanges, 2 x 28mm breast flanges, 2 Cups parts, 2 valves, 2 valve bases, 2 barriers, 3 tubing parts, 1 Y-connector
Cup Capacity 8 oz per cup

Best Collection Cups for Spectra Breast Pump

The Scoop
  • Designed for Spectra pumps
  • Available in 2 sizes
  • Wide base for discreet fit
What Our Experts Say

Spectra makes some of the most popular (and most-loved) breast pumps around. These collection cups can be used with any of the brand’s pumps to make your pumping experience hands-free, eliminating the need to “hack” your cups to work with your particular pump. Each cup holds eight ounces of milk and most pumpers report that they’re more comfortable than the standard plastic flanges that come with most Spectra pumps.

What’s Worth Considering

These cups are designed to work only with Spectra pumps. There’s no spout or other feature to help you pour the milk and prevent spills. The shields are made from plastic, not silicone.

Additional Specs
What’s Included 2 milk collection cups, 2 valve connectors, 2 x 24mm or 28mm flanges, 2 backflow membranes, 2 backflow protector caps, 2 silicone valves, 2 breast pump bases, 2 tubing adapter ends, 2 tubing
Cup Capacity 8 oz per cup
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