Medela's Manual vs Electric Breast Pump: Which Should I Choose?

Medela is an amazing brand, being recognized as hospitals #1 choice in breast pumps. Not only that but, they are also dedicated to funding extensive research for breast feeding for 50 years and for almost 20 years funding innovative medical vacuum technology. They also carry a full line of nursing and pumping products designed for an ultimate feeding experience. The constant commitment to advancements that Medela strives to discover, is the reason they are the most recommended brand by hospitals.

Medela offers two types of breast pumps, Harmony manual breast pump and multiple varieties of electric breast pumps. See pros and cons charts below for differences between the two pumps

                         Manual                                                                Electric 







Fatigue from manual pumping can occur

Easier to use

More expensive

($218.00-$599.00) depending on which pump you purchase

No noise

Physically do the 2-phase vacuum steps

2-phase system is performed by the motor

A bit louder than the manual

Easy to travel with

Light weight (118g)

Quick and easy for working moms who don’t have time to manually pump

Heavier Depending on which electric pump you purchase

Easy to assemble; less pieces

Easier to assemble than competing brands

More pieces

Comes with a Bottle stand

Two out of four comes with bottle stand

Two out of four doesn’t include bottle stand

Doesn’t run out of battery

Medela carries rechargeable batteries for electric pumps

Easy to clean

Easy to clean

The Medela Symphony electric pump is used in maternity wards

Pricing Differences

Medela has five different styles of breast pumps to fit every mother's needs. The manual breast pump called the Medela Harmony is priced at $68.95 included is a bottle stand.

Medela has a single electric breast pump called the Medela Swing Single Electric and it is priced at $248.00. This is a better option for moms who would like to spend less but do not want a manual breast pump.

The third breast pump is a double breast pump called the Medela Pump in Style which is priced at $369.00. The double pump is better for moms who like to pump several times a day. A double breast pump is beneficial because it improves milk production by tricking your body into thinking you are needing to produce milk for twins. This helps you produce more milk and for longer.

The forth breast pump is the Medela Freestyle Flex which is priced at $499.95. Lastly the Medela Sonata which is priced at $599.00


The 2-Phase System

  1. Stimulation Phase – when babies first go to the breast, they suck fast and light to start milk flowing.
  2. Expression Phase – after milk flow or “let-down” starts, babies breastfeed with a slower, deeper suck, bringing out more milk faster. 

Usually takes 2 mins to start letting milk after the stimulation- some are slower or quicker for the expression phase
Usually takes 10 mins to express - everyone is different for the amount they will produce in that time

Medela has focused a lot of attention to perfecting their 2 phase system to mimic the actions of a baby to provide mothers with the best breastfeeding experience and more milk production in less time.

LC-lactation consultant

30 days free Medela 24/7 lactation consultant with the purchase of any of the double electric breast pumps which gives you unlimited direct access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants from your smart device with the MyMedela app.


Which is best for you? 

This decision is a very personal one but to make it easier, here are some suggestions. 

If you will be pumping only on occasion or when you are travelling or you are looking for a light weight no hassle breast pump then the manual breast pump may be the option for you. 

If you think you may be pumping at home, more often or primarily pumping then the single electric may be a better fit for what you're looking for. The single electric breast pump is also a great budget conscious option.

The double electric breast pump would be recommended if you're planning on pumping often and promoting increased milk production. It is also a good option for working mothers who need to have a quick and efficient pumping session.  


Whether you are deciding to go with a Medela manual breast pump or a Medela electric breast pump, Little Canadian is here to provide you with all the essentials.