The best portable pump isn’t going to be the same for every mom. “The best portable pump for you is going to depend on what kind of pumping you do and where you plan to do it,” says Hale. “If you’re planning on using it at home, a manual pump might be the best option.” Manual pumps work by squeezing a lever; you press the short side to stimulate letdown and the long side in a slower rhythm to express milk. They’re lightweight and don’t require electricity or batteries, but they also don’t allow for hands-free pumping and you’ll need to clean each piece in between use.
If you’ll be using it at the office or on the go, a more powerful electric pump is probably the way to go. You might consider something like the Medela Spectra S1, which is a double electric pump that can be worn discreetly under your shirt and has an app that lets you control suction, detect letdown, and more. Its rechargeable battery lasts two hours, and it’s also compatible with wide-neck bottles so you don’t have to transfer milk between containers.
Another good choice is the Lansinoh iComfort, which has no tubes or wires and you wear it directly against your breasts (similar to a bra) to create a feeling of discretion during pumping sessions. You plug it in and pump, then unplug and move on to other tasks while the pump is expressing milk in the insulated bottle you’ve placed inside of it. It has a trackball to easily navigate the menus and nine high-powered pumping levels, plus it comes with an extra battery so you’re never without power for those bleary-eyed 2 a.m. pumping sessions.