Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 – Which Breast Pump is Better

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This comparison of Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 may come in handy to all breastfeeding moms out there — especially for those who find it difficult choosing between the Medela Symphony and Spectra S1. 

 

The Medela Symphony and Spectra S1 have several similarities as well as differences and in this article, you are going to learn about all of that. 

 

Breast Feeding Moms — Why Do You Need a Breast Pump?

 

I am going to start by saying that breast pumps for moms have become really vital as it plays the role of an alternative baby breastfeeder. This is true, especially for every working mom, or a mom who is always traveling and does not have enough time for their newborn baby.

 

That’s not all, if you are a breastfeeding mom, you will understand that looking after your newborn comes with lots of work and consumes a great amount of your time and energy. Hence the idea of breast pumps for moms – to allow you that resting opportunity especially when the body needs it. 

 

This is why breastfeeding moms have come to rely on breast pumps like the Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 to help them get over those tiring and weary days. These breast pumps for moms help maintain milk supply to feed their little ones while the mom can take some time off.

 

Medela Symphony and Spectra S1 have paved the way in personal breast-pump products. They help breastfeeding moms produce enough breast milk for the newborn by increasing milk supply during pumps, inducing lactation, and helping moms maintain milk supply in case of health issues. 

 

With that said, when it comes to comparing both devices, there is a whole lot to be discussed and I am going to cover all of that here. Before I continue, if you are an expecting mom, see the list of all items needed when packing for your Excepted Date of Delivery. 

 

The Comparison: Spectra S1 vs Medela Symphony

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 (1)

  • The Differences Between Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1

Features Medela Symphony Spectra S1 Plus
Price Expensive Above $2000 Price is Reasonable
Battery Both rechargeable and non-rechargeable versions are available Comes with a built-in rechargeable battery
Insurance  Can be fully covered by insurance even when you rent it • Is hardly covered by insurance
• Have to pay an upgrade fee
Accessories Bottles and double pumping kit is sold separately Comes with a complete set of breast pumping kit
Weight 7.05 lbs 3 lbs
Built-in LED light LED display screen only Available
Warranty • 3-year warranty on motor
• 90-day warranty on accessories
• 3-year warranty on motor
• 90-day warranty on accessories (must come with motor)
BPA-free parts Yes Yes
Quiet Yes Yes
Powerful motor Yes Yes
Hospital-Grade Yes Yes
Closed-System Yes Yes
Easy to clean Yes Yes
Comfortable Yes Yes, more than the Medela
Adjustable pumping mode Available Available
Saved settings Available Available
Both single and double pump Yes Yes
Auto turn off a feature Available Available
Customer service Generally quick and responsive Generally quick and responsive
Universal voltage 100V-240V / 50-60Hz 100V-240V / 50-60Hz

 

Pricing 

When it comes to pricing, the Medela Symphony is on the steep side. It is very expensive and almost 10X the price of the Spectra S1 Plus. 

 

Due to its ridiculous price, it makes it very difficult for lots of moms to afford —  that is why most prefer renting it. Renting the Medela Symphony with insurance can cost anywhere between $50-$70/ month. 

 

On the other hand, the Spectra S1 is much more affordable since the pricing is not very much. so, rather than renting, you could buy a new one of the Spectra S1 with ease. 

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Battery Life of Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1

The Spectra S1 Plus

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 - Spectra S1 Plus 2

The Spectra S1 Plus comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that allows you us the breast pump on the go. This is one of its many amazing features. 

 

With the built-in rechargeable battery, you don’t need to be stuck in a place during the breast milk pump. You could move around as you use the machine — giving you the ability to keep an eye on your kids and still continue with other work. Let’s say your baby is in the room and you are using the breast pump in the living room, you could easily go to the room to check up on your baby without stress. 

 

And if you are planning on a vacation, you don’t need to worry about power outages since you can always recharge whenever there is power and use it when the power is out. 

 

The Spectra S1 Plus battery takes about 4 hours for a full charge and it is recommended you give it that amount of time during charge. And it lasts for about 3 hours during usage — if fully charged. 

 

Medela Symphony

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 - Medela Symphony3

On the other hand, the Medela Symphony comes in two versions — there’s one with a rechargeable battery and the one without. — the one with a rechargeable battery is a bit more expensive than the other. 

 

There is the Medela Symphony PLUS which comes with a rechargeable battery, and the Medela Symphony electric breast pump that is without a rechargeable battery.

 

The only issue with the rechargeable Medela Symphony Plus is that you will need a whopping 12 hours to get it to full charge — although it can be used while charging. And then you only get an hour of usage on a full charge. That amount of time for charging is just ridiculous and considering you only get an hour of usage. 

 

Another great reason why people may just consider the Medela Symphony electric breast pump. Although the Medela Symphony Plus comes with a very powerful motor that really helps you get enough solid supply of milk from it in a very short time.

Built-in Light

With the Spectra S1 Plus, you get a built-in nightlight with 2 lighting modes — this enables you to see in the dark while pumping. You don’t need to put on the light especially when your kid is sleeping. 

However, the Medela Symphony only comes with an LED display screen.

 

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 Accessories 

Both breast pumps come with their own set of accessories and we will look at them below. 

Accessories that come with the Medela Symphony include:

  • Symphony 2.0 Program Card
  • Protector for card/cord
  • Container stand
  • Quick start card 
  • Instructional manual

The breast pump kit includes:

  • (2) 24 mm PersonalFit breast shields
  • (2) 5 oz/150 ml breast milk bottles with lids
  • (2) tubes
  • (2) PersonalFit breast shield connectors
  • (4) membranes
  • (2) valves
  • (2) protective membranes
  • (2) membrane caps

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Below are the accessories that come with the Spectra S1 Plus: 

  • A pair of 24mm Spectra Breast Flanges.
  • A pair of 28mm Spectra Breast Flanges.
  • A pair of Spectra Tubing.
  • A pair of Spectra Backflow Protectors. Includes silicone membrane, uppercase, and lowercase for each Backflow Protector.
  • A pair of Spectra Duckbill Valves.
  • A pair of Spectra Wide Neck Storage Bottles. Includes nipple, cap, disc, and lid for each Bottle.
  • One Spectra 12-Volt AC Power Adapter including detachable power cord prongs.

 

Weight of Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1

The Medela Symphony appears to be weightier than the Spectra S1. It has a weight of 7.05lbs while the Spectra S1 weighs 3 lbs — meaning the Medela Symphony weighs twice more than the Spectra S1. 

 

  • Their Similarities

Although there are some differences between the Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1, there are also similarities since both are breast pumps and we are going to look at their similarities below. 

 

Built with a Powerful Motor 

The Spectra S1 and Medela Symphony are manufactured with powerful pumping motors. These pumping motors allow you to pump a good quantity of milk in very little time. 

 

Some moms have shared that they can get about 5 – 7 oz on each side within 10 minutes when they pump with the Medela Symphony breast pump. 

 

Both breast pumps have a great suction rate —  the Spectra S1 suction rate goes up to 270mmHg and the Medela Symphony ranges between -30 to -270 mmHg.

 

You might decide to go for the Spectra S1 due to its suction rate, however, the Medela Symphony has proven to last longer. Also, according to some moms, there were some complaints about the Spectra S1 having weakening suction power after several months of use. 

 

Another mom also shared that the Medela Symphony takes her about 15 minutes to empty while the Spectra S1 takes her about 20-25 minutes to empty. 

 

Hospital Grade 

The Medela Symphony and Spectra S1 are both considered hospital-grade breast pumps. 

 

Super Quiet

The pumping motors that come with these breast pumps are super quiet. They are so silent that you can even decide to pump beside your sleeping kid and he/she won’t be disturbed. It also makes using it at work super easy — you can breast pump without disturbing anyone at your workplace. 

The noise level is below 45DB.

 

BPA Free Parts 

The accessories of the Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 that touches the breast milk are all BPA-free.

 

Can be Used as Single and Double Pump

You can easily turn either the Medela breast pump or the Spectra S1 into a double or single pump. 

 

Universal Voltage

The Medela Symphony vs the Spectra S1 has a universal voltage of 100V-240V / 50-60Hz.  this allows you to use the product anywhere in the world.

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Automatic Turns Off

Both devices can be turned off automatically after 30 minutes of pumping time without usage.

 

Comfort

According to reviews from moms online on the Medela vs Spectra breast pumps, lots of moms mentioned that the Spectra S1 is much softer and gentle during usage. They also confirm that it is softer and more comfortable to use than any other breast pump on the market — including the Medela breast pump

 

Closed System 

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 breast pumps is manufactured with a closed system barrier. This barrier helps block milk from entering the pump during usage thereby preventing germs and providing good hygiene. 

 

Easy to Clean

These breast pumps have an easy cleaning mode. 

 

You can easily sanitize the Medela Symphony breast pump kit by boiling or by using the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam bag — this bag is sold separately. 

 

The Spectra S1 on the other hand is also easy to clean and convenient to assemble. So you won’t have to worry about cleaning any of the devices.

 

Pumping Mode – Both Have Adjustable Pumping Mode

Medela Symphony comes with two pumping modes.

The pumping modes can also be referred to as phases. 

 

The first mode or Stimulation phase of the Medela Symphony is what mimics the letdown reflex. And it has an adjustable vacuum of up to 4 levels.

 

The second mode or Expression phase is responsible for milk production in breastfeeding moms. It has an adjustable vacuum of up to 6 levels

 

When using the Medela Symphony, there is usually an automatic switch from the stimulation phase to the expression phase after 2 minutes. With the automated switch, there will be no need for any manual adjustment.  

 

Unlike the Spectra S1 plus, you have less adjustment to do with the Medea Symphony since it offers fewer vacuum-level options.

 

The Spectra S1 Plus features two adjustable pumping modes as well.

One of the pumping modes comes as a massage mode — this stimulates the letdown reflex and its vacuum strength can be adjusted up to level 5. 

And then, there is the Express mode pump that is always used after the massage mode. The express mode has a vacuum strength of up to 12 levels with 5 cycle speeds.

With the express mode adjustable speed, you can choose the speed at which you want the machine to pump. This means you can adjust it to suit 

your body responds or adjusts it to mimic the baby’s natural nursing rhythm. 

 

Spectra S1 pumping usually starts from the Expression mode. However, you can easily switch to Massage mode and vice versa when needed. These adjustable modes are usually found useful for breastfeeding moms especially in the personalized setting — since it gives them the ability to choose their own pumping mode

 

Saved Settings

In Summary: both the Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 plus are able to save the settings used for your last pump. The Spectra S1 plus is able to remember your last pumping mode setting helping you avoid setting up each time you want to use it and the Medela Symphony saves and stores your last vacuum setting in the stimulation phase.

 

The Medela Symphony Breast Pump

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 - Medela Symphony

The Medela Symphony Breast Pump is a powerful hospital-grade breast pump that’s designed with innovative 2-Phase Expression technology. This technology helps it to closely mimic a baby’s nursing patterns and rhythms while helping moms effectively initiate and maintain their breast milk supply. 

 

This breast pump also has the ability to successfully accommodate multiple users, with its uniquely designed double breast pump that features two separate membrane units for convenience. There is also an ultra-easy switching mode between single and double pumping, based on the mom’s preference.

 

The Pros

  • The Medela Symphony breast pump provides the best suction for you and seems to be the most powerful breast pump out there.  Even if you have a low milk supply in your boobs, it will get it out — making it a great fit for moms with a low milk supply. The powerful suction makes it very easy for you to get a huge amount within a very short period of time. 
  • It features a let-down phase that provides faster pumping with lower suction, and the expression phase that provides slower pumping with higher suction and you can adjust the suction to suit anyone you need. Making it easy to use. However, you can’t change the pumping rates. And there is an automatic switch that takes it from one phase to the other — no need to worry about changing phases. 
  • It also features a Powerful motor, Less overwhelming settings, and a Longer Warranty. Most importantly it is designed to mimic a baby’s natural nursing rhythm which is very cool. 

 

The Cons

  • The Medela Symphony is very heavy as a breast pump. Coming at 7.02 lbs, you can imagine how much weight it carries.  Plus, the rechargeable battery doesn’t last long, this means you have to plug it in almost at all times — providing you with zero mobility.
  • It is very expensive for the price and considering you still have to buy some of the kits separately like the Medela Symphony Double Pumping Kit if you want the two separate, independent membrane units that allow switching between single and double.
  • It doesn’t come with a timer to let you know how long you have been pumping. So, you have to manually keep track of time during pumping. 

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The Spectra S1 Breast Pump

Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1 - Spectra S1

The Spectra S1  Plus is another hospital-grade breast pumps that most breastfeeding moms love. The Spectra S1 electric breast pump features technology that allows comfortable suction levels that mimic the experience of natural breastfeeding as closely as possible. It comes as a portable rechargeable device — making it easy for mom-on-the-go. It can be used as a double electric breast pump, or as a single electric breast pump.

 

The Pros

  • It features a Let-down and Expression phase pumping rates and suction strength that you can easily customize.  While the Let-down phase has a pumping rate of 70 with a suction strength of 5 to 12 points.  The Expression phase features a max cycle of 54 and a max vacuum of 12. You can manually switch between these two phases and choose how long you want to be in each phase.

 

  • The Spectra S1 comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that makes it easy to use without electricity and also very portable — this means you can walk around the house while still breast pumping with it. — you don’t have to be stationed in a spot to pump. However, note that there is the Spectra S2 that doesn’t come with a rechargeable battery.
  • The Spectra s1 breast pump is relatively light so you can easily carry it on the go especially when you are traveling.
  • The Spectra S1 comes with lighting and a timer so you don’t have to always turn on the light at night to pump and you don’t have to manually keep track of how long you’ve been pumping.

 

The Cons

  • The suction of the Spectra S1 is relatively weak when compared to the Medela Symphony.  
  • If you are a low producer, you’ll have to pump longer to get all the milk out.  
  • Unlike the Medela Symphony, the motor gets weaker over time and it’s not as durable and long last lasting as Medela Symphony
  • If you want hands-free pumping, you have to buy a special pumping bra which comes at an extra cost.  

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FAQs About Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1

 

Is Medela Symphony really better?

The Medela Symphony has claimed to be the number breast pump brand used in hospitals over the years and it is also very powerful and trusted with a long-lasting warranty. And it is also considered a hospital-grade with a suction level of -30 to -270 mmHg, the Symphony can be used as a single or double electric pump as well. On the other hand, Spectra S1 has designed its products to address the complex needs of nursing parents.

 

What brand of breast pump is best?

Spectra and Medela have been at the forefront of leading the breast pump industry. If you want a breast pump that gives you a personal experience and also mimics your baby’s natural breastfeeding mode, then you should go for any of these brands

 

Which is easier to clean Medela Symphony vs Spectra S1?

The Spectra S1 breast shields and connectors come as one part, while the Medela has two separate parts — (a detachable breast shield and connector) making it easier to clean. People who have used both breast pumps prefer the two separate pieces, because it is easier to use a hands-free pumping bra, and it is easier to clean.

 

Is Spectra hospital-grade?

The term Hospital-grade is defined as a multi-user pump (not a single user). The FDA doesn’t recognize the term hospital-grade as used for breast pumps, — this term may be used only for marketing purposes. 

 

Do hospital-grade pumps make a difference?

As stated earlier, the term hospital-grade may be used for marketing purposes. However, breast pumps that are labeled as Hospital-grade pumps are more powerful and effective than many personal-use pumps. This is because the added strength helps mimic your baby’s natural breastfeeding style and helps in stimulation and removal of milk — this is very helpful for moms especially in their first month when they’re still establishing their milk supply.

 

Which Spectra pump is the best?

The Spectra S1 Plus in my opinion is the best portable Spectra breast pump — since it’s more powerful than any other Spectra breast pump out there including the S9 and S2 Plus. It also has more adjustable levels plus a powerful motor and a built-in rechargeable battery.

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