The best electric breast pumps for busy breastfeeding mums

Electric breast pump

by Eleanor Weaver |

Being a new parent is a juggling act, so anything that can make the early stages easier is a no-brainer in our books. Ideal for working mums, busy households, premature babies, or little nippers with a big appetite, an electric breast pump does all the work for you. Designed to mimic your baby’s sucking action and comfortably express milk for feeding later: an electric breast pump is hands-free, so you can spend that time busy with other tasks around the house or just taking a breather – it’s well-deserved.

We’ve shared the best electric breast pumps available to buy in the UK and a handy guide to buying and using them.

What is an electric breast pump?

An electric breast pump is powered to automatically create suction in the breast shield to express milk from the breasts into your baby’s bottle. You can adjust the suction and speed settings to find the most comfortable for you and the best level that mimics your nursing baby.

To express using an electric breast pump, the NHS advises the following:

• Make sure every part of the electric breast pump is clean and sterile before use.

• Find a comfortable and relaxing place to pump.

• Massage your breast for a few minutes to help with the let-down reflex.

• Place the breast shield over your nipple and switch it on.

• Start with a slow speed or one that feels comfortable to you – once milk begins to flow, you can increase the speed.

• Once you’ve emptied your breasts, put a lid on the baby bottle and either refrigerate or leave at room temperature for no more than four to six hours.

• Wash and sterilise all equipment.

Read next: 11 of the best breast pumps tried and tested by mums

Woman expressing milk
©Getty Images

How to choose an electric breast pump

If you’ve decided an electric breast pump is best for your needs and lifestyle, there are a number of things to consider before you buy:

Single or double breast pump

A double breast pump allows you to express milk from both breasts, which is handy if you're feeding twins, a premature baby, or are juggling breastfeeding and working full-time. Recent scientific research suggests there are benefits to double pumping, as it stimulates additional milk ejection and has been found to stimulate prolactin levels. It means you pump a higher volume of milk, but the milk pumped has more fat and higher energy content for your little one. That said, most mums find that a single electric breast pump suits their needs just fine, and you can alternative its use on both breasts.

Power supply

You can find electric breast pumps that a battery-powered, can be recharged via USB, or need to be connected to a power supply during use. You can even find some that are 2-in-1. A battery-powered pump means you can move around while expressing milk, but one connected to a power source won't run the risk of running out of battery or charge. If you're prone to forgetting to charge electricals when they run out of juice, a mains-operated pump might be best.

Portability

Feeding into this, if you're after an electric breast pump you can use on the go, a battery-powered breast pump is a must. You'll also find some electric pumps are heavier than others. Choose a lighter, portable model that's practical for use on the move and compact in size to easily fit in your handbag.

Suction settings

Different pumps will have a range of settings to help you personalise your experience, as well as various control panels. Choose a pump that you feel will satisfy your suction needs - you’ll need to experiment with the settings to find the right option for you - and that you think will be easiest to use. Expressing is much easier and far more efficient if you feel relaxed.

Noise

Electric pumps tend to be pretty noisy, which can be impractical if you’re expressing while your baby is asleep nearby, feeding on the other breast, or when you’re at work. However, this is improving with technology, and newer models are much quieter.

Best electric breast pumps

This super-smart breast pump comes with touch screen technology, a memory button, and a timer for easy tracking and recording of pumping sessions. The streamlined design is great for super-convenient pumping, and you're guaranteed a comfortable experience. The ultra-soft silicone breast shield helps massage the breast to promote let-down and optimise milk flow. Pump directly into the newborn baby bottle, feed directly from the bottle, and store milk safely with the handy adapter - great for pumping on the go.

Specs

Settings: Six stimulation settings, nine expression modes

Power: USB rechargeable battery with two-hour battery life

Includes: Electric breast pump, 24mm breast shield, breast pump stand, USB charging cable, breast shield cap, and newborn baby bottle with nipple teat

Pros

• Super portable, quiet and lightweight design

• Easy to use and clean

Cons

• Would benefit from a carry case to protect it on the go.

Our mum tester, Brogan, said: "This makes my life easier as a mum as this is one powerful breast pump! This is very powerful compared to others I’ve tried I had given up with pumps as they never seemed effective at all even with an oversupply of milk! I love how all of the functions are on top of the bottle/pump makes life so much easier as there are no complicated buttons to fiddle with!"

This breast pump was awarded Gold for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

The MAM 2-in-1 Single Electric Breast Pump offers mums the most flexible solution for expressing their milk. Offering both electric and manual pumping - the option to plug in or charge to take on the go, the device features stimulation and expression modes that mimic baby's natural sucking behaviour. It has an easy-to-use touch-screen, and the pump itself is compatible with MAM's full range of Easy Start bottles and Food Storage pots. They can be screwed directly to the bottom of the pump so mums can then store their milk for later use.

Specs

Settings: Nine different stimulation and expression suction levels

Power: Option to use plugged in or with a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery with five hours of battery life

Includes: Electric 2-in-1 breast pump, rechargeable motor unit, plug, manual pump handle, 130ml Easy Start bottle, 160ml Easy Start bottle, and two storage pots.

Pros

• Option to use as a manual or electric breast pump

• Compatible with the MAM's entire range of Easy Start bottles

Cons

• Instructions could be clearer

Our mum tester, Catherine, said: "The fact that it comes with 2 modes of expression- both manual and electric- is really handy. The manual pump means you can do more discrete pumping on the go. Also, it comes with a rechargeable battery meaning you don't have to be sat next to the plug whilst using the electric mode. It comes with handy bottles and storage cups. It is also relatively easy to clean."

This breast pump was awarded Silver for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

For an electric breast pump that's both simple to use and simple in design, we'd recommend the Medela Solo. It's compact and effective with a rechargeable built-in battery, two-phase expression technology, and a PersonalFit Flex breast shield. Intuitive and hassle-free, the pump only has a few parts making it easy to clean and assemble. With its four-button interface and nine pre-programmed settings, you can start pumping at just the push of a button!

Specs

Settings: Nine two-phase suction levels

Power: Built-in USB rechargeable battery with 1.5 hours of charge

Includes: Electric breast pump with 24mm breast shield, 150ml baby bottle, bottle stand, and USB charging cable

Pros

• Simple device that's easy to use

• Noticeably quiet at just 45dB

Cons

• Only provided with one baby bottle

Our mum tester, Danielle, said: "Having a more compact breast bump is a dream. It was sleek and compact enough to be able to fit comfortably into the change bag or into my handbag, I love how once it’s charged the battery lasts, and I’m not stuck in one place attached to a plug socket. With fewer parts, it makes it easier to not lose a piece and the pump shield was super comfortable and fit perfectly against the breast without any issues."

This breast pump was awarded Bronze for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

This electric breast pump has dual-pump functionality to mirror your baby's feed. You can use as a single or double pump, and you can use it either plugged into electrical mains or with batteries with you'd prefer to take it on the go. It's a very effective pump, great value for money with fantastic accessories included, such as two pairs of ComfortFit soft silicone breast cushions in sizes: standard or large, a portable bag for carrying equipment out the house, and bottles.

Specs

Settings: Three pumping styles and eight two-phase suction levels

Power: Mains powered or powered with six AA batteries (not included)

Includes: Double electric breast pump, two breast cushion sets, two 160ml containers, tote bag, bottle stands, Naturalwave slow flow teat and cap, and connection attachments.

Pros

• Very comfortable fit

• Easy to use LED display, allowing you to express in low light conditions

Cons

• Noisier than some other breast pumps

Our mum tester, Sarah, said: "This breast pump is great for so many reasons. It allows me to pump both breasts at the same time without having to have two separate pumps, that way I don't miss out on the let down of the breast not being pumped. I loved that it came preassembled so I could see where all the parts were supposed to attach. I also liked that the pump had a timer on it so I knew how long I had been pumping for. Finally, it comes with so many extra bits like a bag to carry and store it in and covers for the bottles so you don't have to put a teat on it until use."

This breast pump was awarded Bronze for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

The Philips Avent Single Electric breast pump has a unique design, so your milk flows directly from your breast into the bottle, even when you're sitting up straight. It means that you can sit more comfortably when pumping - no need to lean forward to ensure all your milk ends up in the bottle. The breast pump has a compact and lightweight design which you can personalise with a great choice of stimulation and expression levels. This helps to generate a quicker milk flow.

Specs

Settings: Eight stimulation and 16 expression levels

Power: Rechargeable motor unit

Includes: Electric breast pump, power adapter, sealing disc, 125ml natural bottle and newborn teat, and a set of two disposable breast pads

Pros

• Gentle and comfortable breast shield that adapts to your nipple

• Stylish and effective design

Cons

• Could be quieter

Our mum tester, Clare, said: "This product makes your life easier as it is compact and so easy to take with you to work or to travel with. The fact that it is rechargeable also saves you money buying batteries in the long run. The pump is powerful and you can adjust the settings to suit you and your own flow so this makes pumping sessions quicker and more efficient. I like how easy it is to set the pump up and get going along with how easy it is to clean and pack away when you are finished."

This breast pump was Shortlisted for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

It's never been easier to find the right breast pump, thanks to the Tommee Tippee range. Made for busy mums: it's lightweight, slimline, and super quiet compared to others on the market. Plus, the double pump and rechargeable battery means you can express naturally and quickly wherever and whenever you choose. That being said, you can choose to use it as a single or double breast pump or switch between either breast with just the push of a button to make for a more comfortable experience.

Specs

Settings: Five massage and nine express settings

Power: USB rechargeable with 90 minutes of runtime

Includes: Double electric breast pump and two Tommee Tippee bottles

Pros

• Quiet so could be used anywhere

• Easy to use and quick to set up

Cons

• It can be quite fiddly when trying to clean

Our mum tester, Leah, said: "I don’t respond well to breast pumps normally and so using manual can become tiresome and I give up. The electric made this so much easier as I could just sit and pretty much leave it to do its job and it did well. It’s also comfortable which is good. It’s easy to use, not complicated which is great for me because I don’t do well with things that take too much time to figure out when running around with 2 young children."

This breast pump was Shortlisted for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

The Medela Swing Maxi is quite similar to the Medela Solo, but there's double the pumping with this double electric pump - for 18 per cent more milk with a higher energy content than expressing from each breast. With a built-in rechargeable battery with a fast charge, you get improved mobility from this breast pump, making it an ideal solution for active mothers who need to pump regularly and increase their milk supply.

Specs

Settings: Nine two-phase suction levels

Power: USB rechargeable with 1.5 hours of power on a full charge

Includes: Electric breast pump, two 150ml bottles with lids, two bottle stands, four PersonalFit Flex breast shields (two 21mm, two 24mm), and a USB cable and adapter

Pros

• Portable and lightweight for a double breast pump

• Easy and comfortable to use

Cons

• There’s no digital display, so you’ll have to get old-school if you want to track how long you’ve been pumping

Our mum tester, Pippa, said: "For me, with a big hungry baby, it has enabled me the opportunity to have a break or some much-needed sleep. Meaning I am better equipped to be the best mum I can be to both our children. It has also given my husband the ability to have some priceless bonding time with our new baby. Compared to others on the market it is so easy to use, it takes the stress out of expressing."

This breast pump was Shortlisted for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

This pump is designed to mimic your baby's feeding action and produce more milk in less time. The touch-screen makes it easy and intuitive to operate the timer feature being super handy when it comes to timing how long you've been expressing. Our panel of mum testers loves the range of settings available as it made the experience more personal, allowing you to choose your own speed and the strength of suction. The silicone is soft and comfortable, and there's a super long lead, meaning you don't have to fix yourself next to a plug if you don't want to.

Specs

Settings: Nine stimulation and expression levels

Power: Mains-powered or rechargeable battery with three hours runtime

Includes: Double electric breast pump, two Natural Touch 180ml bottles, two bottle cradles, UberDummy, and mains adapter plug

Pros

• Super quiet and discreet

• Option to convert from a double to single breast pump

Cons

• Cleaning can be time-consuming as there are a number of different parts to disassemble

Our mum tester, Harriet, said: "This product makes my life easier as it’s a really efficient breast pump but requires minimal effort on my part. Once the pump is set up you just have to hold it on and press go. It’s super easy to control speed and function. It also automatically switches from stimulation to expression if you haven’t done so after a few minutes. The timer is great as you can easily keep track of how long you’ve been expressing. It’s also convenient you can use the pump via mains power or battery."

This breast pump was Shortlisted for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

The SmartPump 2.0 Double Electric Breast Pump is fully customisable with three pumping styles, eight suction levels, two breast cushion sizes, and is said to be the quietest Lansinoh pump yet. Not to mention, it connects to the free Lansinoh Baby App that automatically tracks your pumping sessions, has a personalised dashboard, and makes the whole process easier to understand. The pump saves your previous pumping session, which saves time for when you're next expressing, whether that's at home or on the go.

Specs

Settings: Three pumping styles and eight adjustable hospital-strength suction levels

Power: Mains-powered or use six AA batteries (not included)

Includes: Double electric breast pump, two breast cushion sets in different sizes, two 160ml containers, tote bag, breastmilk cool bag and ice pack, Naturalwave slow flow teat, and connection attachments.

Pros

• Great for keeping track of your pumping sessions

• Designed to customise and simplify your routine

Cons

• Expensive piece of kit

Our mum tester, Samantha, said: "This breast pump is great! It was super easy to put together and not too many parts to take apart to clean, the pump itself is quiet and discreet and I managed to express enough for a full feed in less than ten minutes each time which is a massive selling point for a busy mum of three like myself. I exclusively breastfeed but the pump is great to have to hand to express milk for my partner to feed the baby and to ease pressure from any excess milk. The app is a great feature if you wish to track when you last expressed and when you need to express again along with other really handy features."

This breast pump was Shortlisted for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2022. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

The Elvie is not only the world's first silent breast pump (yes, really!), it's also the first wireless, wearable breast pump that's completely hands-free. Just pop it inside a standard nursing bra and start expressing. Perfect for pumping anywhere, anytime, you can turn it on and press play, or use the free app to start. The app also monitors milk volume, your pumping history, and lets you control the pump remotely. A revolutionary product for mums, we also love that there are minimal parts, so it's easy to clean too.

Specs

Settings: Two modes and 14 intensity settings

Power: Battery USB rechargeable with 2.5 hours of runtime (setting dependent)

Includes: Electric breast pump hub, two 150ml bottles with lids, 24mm breast shield, 28mm breast shield, two bra adjusters, two USB charging cables, and pump attachments.

Pros

• World's first silent breast pump

• Very discreet, designed to be operated within a standard nursing bra

Cons

• One of our testers found that you can't charge the Elvie and pump at the same time

Our mum tester, Helen, said: "This is fantastic to use whilst travelling and to pump at work. No wires make such a difference. I have not returned to work yet, but this will make it so much easier for me when I do so and much more discreet. I was able to pump in the car on a long drive to Cornwall which was brilliant. As a mum of three, I no longer feel tied to my pump when the older two need me for something."

This breast pump was awarded Gold for Best Breast Pump at the Mother&Baby Awards 2020. Read the full review from our mum testers here.

FAQs

Do electric pumps get more milk?

An electric pump won’t get more milk. But it will express your milk quicker compared to a manual breast pump. As a result, you can express and store more in the same amount of time. You may find that you pump more efficiently as it does most of the work.

Read next: The best manual breast pump for feeding your baby

Should I choose an electric or manual breast pump?

The best choice for you depends on several factors that are worth considering before you splash out on an electric breast pump:

Frequency: If you plan to use a breast pump infrequently, a manual breast pump is best for the price. An electric breast pump is a better investment for busy mums, twins, premature or frequent feeding.

Portability: If you're looking for the best pump for portability, a manual breast pump is smaller and lighter which makes it perfect for trips and casually pumping on the go.

Budget: While there is a variety in the price for electric breast pumps, none are as affordable as a manual breast pump. Are youre working on a tighter budget? A manual will do the trick and save you money. These pumps can cost as little as £15: the cheapest electric pumps on the market are around the £50 mark.

Milk supply: Electric breast pumps are super-efficient at expressing a high volume of milk in a short period of time. If you have a large milk supply and find your breasts become uncomfortable or need to feed twins, an electric breast pump will do the job more efficiently.

Lifestyle: Manual breast pumps are much more labour intensive, so if you lead a busy lifestyle, an electric breast pump might be worth the investment. However, if you're planning to pump on the go and are looking for a more discreet option, a manual may be best.

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