Spectra S1 vs Spectra S2 – What is the Difference?

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2When you think of breast pumps, Spectra might not be the first name that comes to mind. This brand has not been in the US market for very long but it is quickly gaining steam among stiff competition. 

Two of Spectra’s most popular pumps are their S1 and S2. 

The Spectra S1 and S2 are often referred to as the “Cadillac” of breast pumps. They are hospital grade pumps but carry a very affordable price tag, making them a standout in the breast pump market.

What is the Difference Between the Spectra S1 and S2?

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2

Spectra S2

Honestly, not much. They are the same exact pump. The main difference, aside from color, is the Spectra S1 has a built-in rechargeable battery. The S2 only comes with the AC-Adapter as a power option.

When choosing between the two pumps, it really comes down to what you will be using it for. If you plan to pump while traveling, working, etc then the S1, in my opinion, is worth the upgrade. Having the battery option can be a lifesaver in situations where you need to pump with no access to power.

I have pumped in strange places in my working days so the portability of a battery was a must.

The S2 is great for moms who need to pump a lot and need the powerful, hospital-grade pump motor but want to save some money and don’t need a portable pump. 

You can read my full review of the Spectra S1 here and Spectra S2 here.

(Related: Need a Sample Pump Schedule? Click here to see how to plan your day!)

What Makes the Spectra Pumps so Great?

I love Spectra pumps. You have probably heard me rave about them before. They are just amazing.

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2

Spectra S1

Here are some Key Features:

  1. Hospital grade
  2. Powerful pump performance with a maximum suction strength of 350mmHg.
  3. Closed system pump.
  4. Can be used as a single or double pump.
  5. Digital controls that allow you to set the speed and rhythm that is most effective for your body.
  6. Digital controls also allow you to save your favorite settings and set a program.
  7. The suction is adjustable whether in let-down or expression mode.
  8. Super quiet
  9. Very light – weighs as much as 4 apples!
  10. 2 level built-in light
  11. BPA Free parts

One of my favorite features has to do with the pump settings. It has a Massage and an Expression Mode and the ability to control the pump cycle. This makes your pumping session very personalized and easy to control with the digital screen (no cheap dials to turn).

(Add the Spectra to your Baby Registry:)

The pump will start in Massage mode, a short, shallow mode designed to stimulate your body’s letdown reflex which mimics how a baby sucks at the breast when it first starts nursing. It will then switch to Expression mode, a deeper, slower pattern of suction which mimics how your baby nurses after your milk has let down.

The great thing is that you can switch back and forth between the two which is helpful for women who find it hard to get a letdown when pumping.

The Spectra also has the ability to save your favorite pump settings and will follow that pattern in future pump sessions. This makes pump very easy. 

(Related: What do I carry in my Pump Bag? Click here to see a complete guide!)


See the Spectra in Action

This video goes through all of the features of the Spectra S1. Keep in mind all this would be exactly the same for the S2 except for the built-in battery.

It really is an easy pump to set up and use!

 (Related Article – Pump Hands-Free. Click here to see my favorite Pumping Bra!)

Bottomline: Spectra S1 or S2?

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2

Spectra S1

So, which is better? The S1 or the S2?

My answer, again, is it depends. 

It depends on what you are using your pump for. If it were me, I would shell out the few extra dollars for the S1 because I love the rechargeable battery. But not all moms have a need or want for the battery, in which case, you can get yourself a great pump at a super low price in the Spectra S2.

You will not find a pump on the market (yes, even my beloved Medela Freestyle) that rivals the Spectra in price and quality combine. They are extremely affordable. I have to think that low price won’t last once the demand for them picks up. They are still new here in the US, as I mentioned.

You cannot go wrong with either pump. Picking between the S1 and S2 is like picking between a convertible or coupe of the same car. Just personal preference. (My Husband would be proud of the car reference there…just saying)

Have a Spectra? Tells us what you think? Have questions? Leave them here in the comments!

Click here to read more about the Spectra S1!

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2

Spectra S1

Click here to read more about the Spectra S2!

spectra-s1-vs-spectra-s2

Spectra S2


 


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This entry was posted in Blog.

37 comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you for your helpful reviews! Do you notice any difference in suction or power between the S1 and S2, particularly if you are using the battery power for the S1?

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I did not notice a difference in suction unless the battery of the S1 was low. Not having the battery fully charged does make a difference in my opinion. But The S1 with a low battery is still much better than trying to pump with some of the other portable pumps out there like the Medela Pump in Style (it uses disposable batteries and I found the suction to be dreadful when using the battery pack). I hope that helps! Thank you for your comment!

  2. Emily says:

    I LOVE my Spectra. I rented a hospital grade Madela for the first few weeks I started pumping. My insurance covered the S2 completely so that’s what I got. When I got my S2 in, it on average collected about 2 ounces more. I thought maybe my milk was more established so I tried again with the rental. Nope. We made it to our first goal, then our second, and now we are on our way to our 3rd goal (one year) of being back to work! I even bought a second one off of ebay to keep at my office. I’ve only been on a few trips that were longer than my pumping time and I bought an adapter off Amazon to use in the car. Any time I hear a new mom talk about having trouble pumping I recommend the Spectra! The only downside I’ve experienced is the flanges that come with the Spectra were too big (and seem to be too big for most of the moms I’ve spoken to) so I did have to buy smaller ones.

    • Emily says:

      Also, the wide necked Avent bottles will screw right on to the flange or the Kiinde system is amazing as well.

    • Heather Grace says:

      Thank you, Emily, for sharing your experience with the Spectra S2! I have heard many stories just like yours where moms found the Spectra pumps were more efficient than most larger more expensive ones. I am glad it has worked so well for you! You gave some great tips here for new moms and I think others will find this extremely helpful. The adapters for the S2 really help in making the pump portable. There is also a massage insert for the flanges if anyone is having difficulty with the fit. And huge congratulations on meeting your goal of one year working and breastfeeding/pumping! That is amazing and goes to show that it is possible. Thank you again for sharing!

  3. Ann says:

    hi i was looking whether to buy a medela freestyle double or spectra s1…i really like s1 for its backflow protection…and medela for its reliability..what do you think?

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Ann,
      Great question! Both the Freestyle and S1 are amazing pumps. In terms of strength and output, you will see great results with both. Two things I would consider when choosing between the Medela Freestyle and the Spectra S1:
      1) S1 is Closed System (You mentioned it- backflow protection): Open vs closed systems seems like a big deal since an open system has the potential to see milk particles enter the tubing and the pump motor and thus cause mold. The Freestyle is open system but with proper care, this is a non-issue. All you need to do is after you are done pumping is unhook the breast shields from the tubing and let the pump run and “dry pump” the tubing to help dry it out to prevent mold. Sanitizing the tubing every so often is important as well. Proper care is key and you will not have any issues. But this is definitely a plus to having the S1.

      2) Portability – While the S1 is a portable pump with a built-in rechargeable battery (as is the Freestyle), it is still on the bulky side. You will need a pump bag to haul it. The Freestyle is tiny. It will fit comfortably in your hand. You can easily pop it and the attachments in a purse if needed. It is much more discrete. Depending on when and where you plan to pump, this might be something to consider. I will also add, that I found the Freestyle to lose some suction strength if the battery gets to low. The Spectra would as well to a certain extent but not to the same degree as the Freestyle. You can use both plugged in, however.

      And I will add 1 more thing to consider- Price. The Freestyle is pricier than the S1. You can find the best deals on Amazon but expect to pay upwards of $100+ more for the Freestyle. That may be worth the money if you need a small portable pump.

      I hope this helps! I would love to hear back from you on what you decided to get. Thank you for your question!
      -Heather Grace

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Amanda,
      So the official answer to this questions is that, no, the S2 does not have a car adapter. Spectra makes the S2 to connect to an outlet only. The S1 is the portable unit that has a rechargeable battery and that is the answer you will get if you asked Spectra directly.

      Now, there are after market products that can be used with the S2 to make it portable that are not made by Spectra. There is a car charger adapter for the S1 and S2 (for models after Feb 2015 only) and a power bank kit that will run the S2 like a battery. You can find both of those listed on my Spectra Pump Parts page under “Additional Accessories.” I hope this helps! Let me know if I can answer any more questions!

    • hallie says:

      i bought a car charger for my S2 off of amazon, just some random brand. it worked out great for our road trips!!! just do a search for spectra s2 car adapter, and you’ll find a few of them to choose from

      • Heather Grace says:

        Thank you for the input, Hallie! And, yes, you are correct. There are off-brand car chargers and power cells that can make the Spectra S2 portable. I am glad it worked for you! Maymom is a good off-brand to buy. Using after market items can blow your pump, so being sure it is a reputable brand is important.

        For anyone else- I have a link to a car charger and a power cell (for portable pumping) for the S2 if any of you need one and aren’t sure which ones to buy. You can find them on the Spectra Pump Parts page here. Scroll down to “Additional Accessories” and you will see the link.

        Take care!

  4. Dawn Morey says:

    I love your blog! I am 24 weeks pregnant as a surrogate and will be pumping full time. I had problems with my son and could only nurse for the first month. My daughter went better, but I only ended up using a hand pump. This is a whole new world for me, plus it’s been 10 years! Looking forward to it, but trying to figure it out too! This is the most comprehensive info I have found 🙂 My insurance will only cover the S2. I’m thinking of selling it to get the S1 though since I REALLY want it to be mobile. I loved all of the links to the different products as well. Pinning this so I don’t lose it 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi, Dawn! I have always thought about becoming a surrogate (unfortunately I don’t qualify because of a condition that makes my pregnancies high risk). What an amazing gift! The wonderful thing about pumping and breastfeeding is that each baby has a different journey. Just because a mom struggled with one baby, doesn’t mean she will struggle with the next.

      The S1 or the S2 will be perfect for the amount of time you will need to spend pumping. It’s a stretch but some insurance companies allow you to get a voucher instead of the pump. Maybe try asking them if they will give you a certain amount instead of the pump to go toward the S1. Great pumps, with lots of power! I hope to see you around here more often and let me know if there are any questions! Exclusively pumping can be exhausting especially at first but hang in there. I wish you nothing but the best in your pregnancy!

      • Dawn Morey says:

        Thank you so much Heather! I did think about asking if they would let me just pay the difference 🙂 It’s worth a shot, but it looks like the company that my insurance uses stocks 3 pumps and you pick from those. I have seen the S1 on groupon and may just buy that and see if I can sell the S2 for the difference. I know the parents would pay for it, but I don’t want to ask them to when it’s me that wants the portable option 🙂 Thanks again!

        • Dawn Morey says:

          I feel like an idiot 🙂 I was reading your “pumping while driving” post and didn’t even think about getting a car adapter! That was basically the whole reason that I wanted the S1. I’m sure other times would come in handy, but I was mostly thinking of pumping in the car either while driving or while out at the beach this summer 🙂

          • Heather Grace says:

            Pumping while driving is a lifesaver! I highly recommend it, obviously haha. One thing you could do with the S2, though, is buy a car charger adapter that converts DC to AC so it has an AC plug. I have one built into my car so the S2 would work great since I can just plug it in (I have the S1, however). Here is an example of one on Amazon. Do be sure you check the voltage capability on the adapters, though, to ensure it can handle the pump. That might solve the issue if you had to go with the S2 if pumping while driving was the only issue. Hope that helps!

        • Heather Grace says:

          Selling it is a great idea! And yes, I’ve seen good deals on Groupon as well. Outside of something like that, the cheapest I have found the S1 is on Amazon. Time to time it goes on sale for really low as well. Keep your eye out and you could get a great deal!

    • Karen says:

      Try aeroflowinc they allow you to pay the difference. You just submit a picture of your insurance card and a prescription from your ob for a breast pump.

      • Heather Grace says:

        Yes, there are quite a few companies out there that will work with your insurance company to get you the pump that your insurance covers. Not all insurance companies and plans cover the same pumps. My insurance company, for example, only covers one type of pump (not the Spectra) so that’s the only pump I can receive through them. So I paid for a Spectra out of pocket because I needed the stronger pump since the one through my insurance was not the best and I planned to pump daily.

        Definitely worth a call to your insurance company to see what you may qualify for!

  5. Ashley says:

    can you use Medela parts with spectra S1 or S2?
    seems you can use any parts since they all have the connections for tubes is this seem true?

    • Heather Grace says:

      You can use the medela parts with the Spectra pumps but you need an adapter to attach the backflow piece from the Spectra tubing. Maymom makes an adapter. I have not personally tried this set up so I can’t say if it affects the suction strength at all. If you do decide to try it, I would love to hear back from you on what you thought of it! Here is where you can find the adapter: Click Here

  6. KC says:

    Hi, Can you use Tommee Tippee bottles or Munckin Latch with the S2 pump? Or will I have to transfer milk from the S2 bottles?

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi, I have not found adapters for either the Tommee Tippee or the Munchkin Latch that fit the S2. There may be some made by a secondary brand like MayMom but I have not come across them. So you would likely need to pump into the Spectra collection bottles and then transfer the milk to the Tommee Tippee or Munchkin Latch to feed.

      Another option might be to look at the Kiinde Twist system. It will allow you to pump into the Kiinde Twist bag and then you can use an adapter to use the nipple from any brand of your choosing like Tommee Tippee. Nice alternative if you want the ease of pumping into one bag and feeding from the same bag. You can read about that here.

      I hope that helps!

  7. Anita X says:

    Can you use the Spectra 1 or 2 with a hands free nursing bra? I really want to get this pump but I’ve heard you cant use it hands free, which may be an issue for me as I want to use it while working at the computer. Expecting twins so I want to make life as easy as possible. I may need free hands!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi, Anita! Congratulations on your twins! I don’t blame you for wanting your hands free. I have used the Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra and the simple Medela one with my Spectra S1. It does fit. I typically just push the flanges (the part that touches your breast) through the holes and have no issues with that.

      You can read my review of the Simple Wishes bra, here.

      I hope this helps!

  8. Leah says:

    I just wanted to say for those who are looking I was able to borrow a medals symphony hospital pump and I bought a spectra 1 on eBay and it gets way more milk out. Only thing is it’s been dropped a few times so now I’m afraid the pump power isn’t as strong or the battery life but I still yield more milk than the symphony. At first I paid $75 a month for renting the symphony while I had the spectra because I assumed it worked better after a while I realized it was my spectra that did the job! Everyone’s different but worth a try for only $140 is what I paid

    • Heather Grace says:

      Thank you, Leah, for your comment! I have not personally used the Medela Symphony so your comparison is incredibly interesting to me. The Spectra Pumps are hospital grade and the price seems almost too good to be true which it appears is a good thing for all of us! Thank you for sharing this information. I hope it will help any moms who are paying a ton for the hospital grade rentals!

  9. Deepika says:

    Hello…did you get an update on the battery pack option.I tried finding it too but no luck yet.I see a madela battery pack though which is a 12 V and i am wondering if its a good choice.

    • Heather Grace says:

      I have not seen another on the market as of now, no. I dropped a note to a few other mommy bloggers who review pumps and they all said the same thing, the one that we all knew of is no longer in production and no one has seen another. I would be careful trying to force fit the Medela one. It very well may work but it could also ruin your pump. I completely understand the need to have a portable battery option (I personally own the S1 for that reason). Since the S2 is covered by your insurance, perhaps a good backup would be to get a manual pump. You can get them for around $30 (Medela is my favorite manual pump) and that way if you are ever in a situation where you needed the portable option, you will have a pump to use. If you think you will be using the battery option a lot, then I definitely recommend just putting the money out for the S1. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to steer you to a new product option!!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Hi Deepika,
      I wanted to follow up to this as I have found another battery option, well two actually. Both are compatible with the Spectra S2.

      The first is a car adapter but will only work on Spectra S2 models AFTER Feb 2015. You can find that here.

      The second is a power bank that you can use rechargeable batteries with. My only caution with this option is that if the battery power gets too low the pump loses some suction. You can find that kit, here.

      Both of these are good options for converting your S2 into a portable pump. Hope this helps!

  10. Diane says:

    You mention for the S2 a battery pack can be purchased for disposable batteries. I went to Spectra and asked about this since I couldn’t find it anywhere. Their response was “I do apologize we do not make any type of battery pack for the S2 since we have our S1 model with built in rechargeable battery. The S2 is 12V, 2Amp so it would have to consist of these values or it would blow the motor.” Can you advise where you found a battery pack available for purchase? Thanks!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Thank you for asking this question! I had to go back and double check because I thought I was crazy, haha but yes, there was a battery pack for the S2 but it was not made by Spectra. You will find it common for third party companies to make parts for pumps. I contacted the company that I knew had them and they told me that they are no longer producing them… So, as of now, I am not aware of where you can get a battery pack for the S2.

      I will update this post when I find one since I am now on the hunt to find another company. With that said, yes, only purchasing from a reputable company and not trying to force fit something that will harm the motor is a big part of it. Nene Supply, Maymom are both examples of companies I would trust when buying pump parts.

      I hope this helps! I will let you know if I find anything!

      • Kathy says:

        I was curious if you have found a battery pack for the S2. I am debating which one to get. I would like the S2 because my insurance covers it but would also like to two that I may have a battery option at some point if needed.

        • Heather Grace says:

          Hi Kathy,
          Unfortunately, I have not seen one as of yet. I am keeping my eyes peeled! You have to be sure it is the correct voltage as you don’t want to fry your pump so I wouldn’t recommend trying to force one. The original one that I had found and I know some moms used, is out of stock/not being produced anymore… So I don’t expect to see it available again for the time being.

          I think if you need the portable battery, you may need to look into an upgrade to the S1. Is the S2 your only pump option? Or do they have another option? If I find anything, I will drop you a note!

          Take care!

  11. jeffrey16201 says:

    I found your website and product very interesting, being a guy I myself would not use such a product. I will share your product and website with anyone I meet who might have a need for this product.

    sounds like a very high quality product, is it come one size fits all?

    Excuse me, I am very unfamiliar with these modern things.

    • Heather Grace says:

      Breast pumps are not “one size fits all,” no. Most mothers will fit into the standard medium size flanges that typically come with the pump. There is an option to purchase other sizes in most cases.

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