Becoming a parent means familiarizing yourself with many new things: sleepless nights, diaper changes, baby monitors, postnatal vitamins, and… a lot more. For those who choose to breastfeed, this list also includes breast pumps. With classic plug-in versions, this means sitting in front of an outlet until you’re done, which can total several (boring) hours every day.
Enter: Wearable breast pumps.
As a new mom, when I had the chance to test out some wearable pumps, I was thrilled. Would I finally be able to get the laundry done again? Might I be able to vacuum while pumping? Could I actually be a productive human once more?
I tried the most popular wearable breast pumps, from the trendy Willow to the budget-friendly Momcozy. After hours of portable pumping, I found the Elvie to be the best by far. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and quiet—all things you want in a wearable pump. However, plenty of other great pumps performed almost as well in our testing.
Here’s how the best wearable breast pumps stack up:
- Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump (Best Overall Wearable Breast Pump)
- Momcozy S12 Wearable Breast Pump (Best Affordable Wearable Breast Pump)
- Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump (Runner-up)
- Willow 3.0 Double Electric Breast Pump
- BabyBuddha Breast Pump
The Best Wearable Breast Pumps
Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump
- One of the smallest portable pumps on the market
- Connects to an app that monitors your pumping and saves your preferred settings
- Automatically detects letdown and stops when full capacity is reached
- Capacity: 10 ounces
- Smaller and more discreet
- Stops pumping when full
- Has to be charged frequently
Believe the hype you’ve heard about the Elvie: It really is that good. For starters, it’s so easy to set up. I struggled to put my wall pump together, so I loved that the Elvie is straightforward and ready to go in just a few simple steps clearly explained in the guide. All you have to do is pop a few pieces together (like snapping Legos together). More importantly, it’s the smallest and most lightweight of all the pumps I tried, which is important when you want something that you can wear on the go. It hid easily inside my regular bras and didn’t add too much bulk.
The Elvie looks like 3D versions of those cups you find inside a sports bra, which means they fit seamlessly over your breasts (as opposed to the funnel shape of a wall pump’s flanges). My husband swore he couldn’t tell I was even wearing a pump—a big win and a big draw for anyone who wants a discreet pump you can wear anytime, anywhere. The suction was powerful enough for me to fully express my milk every time, yet didn’t cause any pain or soreness. It was also effective enough that, even when I was at home with plenty of access to outlets, I still chose to use the Elvie over my wall pump just for the convenience and comfort.
My second favorite thing about the Elvie is how smart it is. The automatic sensing function is amazing. It knows when the cups are full and turns itself off. This means there’s no leaking and you don’t have to keep peeking inside your shirt to check. Plus, it senses letdown (the reflex that causes breast milk to flow) and automatically adjusts the suction to maximize milk production. It also pairs with an app that allows you to track your pumping history from your phone and save your preferences—like your intensity, rhythm, and pump time—so you don’t have to start from scratch every time. Its size and ease of use make it the best wearable breast pump overall, and the best wearable breast pump for working moms.
My only gripe with Elvie is that the battery doesn’t last as long as other pumps—about one hour compared to 2.5 hours with the Medela (the longest-lasting pump on this list). I ended up charging it after every use just to ensure it wouldn’t die on me.
Best Affordable Wearable Breast Pump
Momcozy S12 Wearable Breast Pump
- Completely wireless design
- Comes in a variety of flange sizes (17, 19, 21, 24, and 27 mm)
- Capacity: 12 ounces
- Affordable price
- Easy to pour
- Doesn’t leak
- Noisier than other pumps
You don’t have to spend $500 to get a decent wearable breast pump. One of the most popular affordable options is the Momcozy S12, which is a fraction of the price of most other pumps. I immediately liked that it has no wires or tubes, so I didn’t have to worry about the pump getting caught on my shirt or a baby hand yanking it out of place. This design makes it easier to move around freely while wearing it, and it’s powerful enough to extract adequate milk per session. Plus, it’s comparable in comfort to the Elvie and Medela (although a tad bulkier). It also comes with a universal USB charger, which means I could easily charge it in the car.
Of course, a lower price often means lower performance. In the case of the Momcozy, I mostly noticed this in the sound. It’s much noisier than other pumps, which means there’s no hiding the fact that you’re pumping. (It also doesn’t have an app, but I didn’t find that I missed it.) If this doesn’t bother you, the Momcozy is a great pick. But if you want to secretly pump during a conference call, look elsewhere.
Medela Freestyle Flex Wearable Breast Pump
- Weighs less than one pound
- Features lightweight cups designed to fit snug over your breast
- Capacity: 10 ounces
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to put on
- Fits well inside a nursing bra
- Lasts for hours on a single charge
- Can spill when removing
The Medela is the first wearable pump I tried—and the one that originally got me hooked. While some pumps take a few tries to fit, I got this one on the first try. I could just shove it blindly into my bra and it slipped right on properly, with no extra adjustment necessary. I could also fit it inside a regular bra (not a nursing bra), which I loved. The pump itself is the size of a remote control, so I could stick it in the pocket of my robe or tuck it into my leggings’ waistband while I walked around the house.
This pump provided the Goldilocks of suction—not too much, not too little. I was able to fully express my milk during each session, yet my nipples didn’t get sore or chafed. There’s an automatic rhythm designed to imitate a baby’s sucking, so you don’t have to manually switch between stimulation and expression. You can just set it and forget it, which I really appreciated because what new mom needs one more thing to think about?
Like the Elvie, the Medela has an app that tracks your pumping schedule and output, which my barely functioning mom brain appreciated. I equally valued how easy the Medela is to clean. The closed system meant no milk got into the tubing, so all I had to do was wash the cups and the breast shields—easy peasy.
One complaint about the Medela: You have to be careful pulling the cups out of your bra—or bending over—because the cups are open at the top. This makes it easy to pour the milk into a bottle, but also makes it a little too easy to spill if you aren’t very careful (or if there’s a wiggling baby in your arms).
Other Wearable Breast Pumps To Consider
Willow 3.0 Double Electric Breast Pump
- Fully cordless pump that comes with self-sealing bags
- “Smart Suction” technology that automatically switches between modes
- Capacity: 8 ounces
- Strong suction
- Closed cups prevent leaking
- Doesn’t require monitoring
- Larger than the Elvie
- Must pump into bags
Willow vs. Elvie is a common debate. While the Elvie is my top choice, I understand why Willow is such a close contender. It has a smaller capacity than the Elvie (8 ounces compared to the Elvie’s 10) but the pumping experience is just as comfortable. I had no trouble fitting the flanges onto my breasts and found the suction to be the equivalent of my Spectra wall pump, which is a big feat for a portable pump. I could wear the Willow while I cooked, while I cleaned, while I did laundry… heck, even while I walked on the treadmill. It’s truly a hands-free pump, too, which I loved.
Thanks to the automatic sensors that detect letdown and know when to switch modes and intensity, I didn’t have to manually adjust anything while I pumped. Like the Elvie, the Willow has an app, which allows you to control the pump from your phone and record your pumping sessions. I found this helpful and easy to navigate.
My biggest complaint about the Willow—aside from the fact that it’s a little bulkier than the Elvie—is that you have to pump into the brand’s single-use bags, which attach to the flanges. This adds an extra step: You have to then transfer the milk from the bag to the bottle. I prefer pumps that allow you to deliver milk directly into the bottle. Plus, the disposable bags feel wasteful, and, at $29.99 for a pack for 48, the cost adds up.
BabyBuddha Breast Pump
- Can be used in double or single mode
- Universal pump that can fit any flanges
- Capacity: 9.46 ounces
- Powerful suction
- Pump is easy to operate
- 14 different settings
- Doesn’t fit into regular bra
- Not discreet
The BabyBuddha is a wearable pump that looks and feels like a regular wall pump. The flanges connect to two standard-sized bottles, which protrude dramatically from the chest. The flanges—which are available in different sizes—fit comfortably without chafing and offered just the right amount of suction. The BabyBuddha can fit flanges and bottles from any pump, which was convenient when I didn’t feel like washing the included flanges. I could just pop my Spectra ones on instead.
Caution: The BabyBuddha is very powerful (just as much as my Spectra wall pump, if not more so!). Those with sensitive nipples, take heed. Still, with 14 different settings and modes—which range from “gentle massage” to “strong expression”—you should be able to find a level that works for you.
The style of the pump can also be a drawback. Because of the size and shape of the flanges, they don’t fit in a regular bra and they aren’t easily concealed unless you’re wearing a very bulky jacket or oversized top. This was a huge con to me as it almost defeats the purpose of being a wearable pump. However, it’s great for anyone who wants a pump that’s almost exactly like their plug-in version, only battery-powered.
Are Wearable Breast Pumps Worth It?
Take it from an overtired, over-stressed, over-busy breastfeeding mom: A wearable breast pump is absolutely worth it. I started with a standard well plug-in, but the difference between that and my wearable pump—which also meant the difference between sitting by an outlet for hours and being ambulatory—is huge. In fact, I might say it’s the best thing I invested in postpartum.
A wearable breast pump is just what it sounds like. It runs on a battery and doesn’t need to be plugged into an outlet, so you just slip it into your bra and go.
They’re especially great for people returning to work who want to pump with discretion. One study that evaluated women physicians Breastfeeding Medicine “The Impact of Wearable Breast Pumps on Physicians' Breastfeeding Experience and Success” View Source found that wearable pumps, when compared with traditional pumps, correlate with shorter lactation time and an increased likelihood of providing adequate breast milk.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the demand for wearable breast pumps is expected to grow. The market was valued at about $350 million in 2021 and is projected to Market Analysis Report “Wearable Breast Pumps Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Component (Wearable Pumps, Accessories), By Technology (Manual Pumps, Battery Operated Pumps, Smart Pumps), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030” View Source , according to one report.
Of course, because of the convenience and the technology involved, wearable breast pumps can get very expensive very fast. Some models cost upwards of $500. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of hands-free pumps, so check your plan first.
How Do Wearable Breast Pumps Work?
A wearable pump runs on a rechargeable battery, while a standard pump plugs into a wall outlet and needs electricity to operate. This means you can use a wearable breast pump anytime, anywhere—no outlet required. Many hands-free pumps also don’t have tubing. Instead, they use suction to collect milk directly in cups, containers, or bottles. This means having fewer parts to clean and less chance of having your pump get caught on something (and thus losing precious milk).
Additionally, you’ll often find that wearable breast pumps are more lightweight than standard pumps (no bulky equipment here!). This enhances their portability factor and makes them much more convenient and comfortable.
How We Found The Best Wearable Breast Pumps
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Amanda, a first-time mom to a baby girl. Along with 10 years of experience in service journalism and commerce editorial—specifically in the lifestyle and health spaces—I recently gave birth to little Addison Mae at the end of December 2022. I’m currently doing a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding, which involves a lot of pumping now that I’m back to work.
I’m one of those outliers who doesn’t mind pumping. What I did mind was being tied to an outlet for 20+ minutes five to six times per day. (I’m an active person!) So when I had the chance to test out wearable pumps, I was all for it—especially knowing that I would be pumping for at least the next year.
Our Testing Process
I began by narrowing down the most popular wearable breast pumps based on reviews and ratings, ultimately picking the five featured in this review. Elvie and Willow sent samples for testing and The Nessie purchased the rest. I then wore each pump every time I pumped in a 48-hour timespan. In the beginning, I was pumping up to seven times per day (and night) every two to three hours. Now, I still pump three to four times a day. I evaluated the pumps on a variety of factors, including how comfortable and discreet they were, how much milk they were able to extract, and their overall ease of use.
The Wearable Breast Pumps Buying Guide
Trying to pick out the best hands-free breast pump can be overwhelming. There are so many brands, so many options, and so many sizes. (Not to mention price points.) Fortunately, I learned a thing or two in my quest for the best.
Here are a few important factors to keep in mind when choosing a wearable breast pump:
- Comfort: How comfortable are the cups? Is it lightweight? Does it provide enough suction, too little, or too much?
- Ease of use: Is the pump easy to operate? Are there a lot of parts to clean and wrangle?
- Capacity: How much milk can each cup hold? Does it leak easily?
- Portability: Is the pump discreet and easy to conceal? How long does the charge last? Is it noisy?