Spectra S2 Review: Best Value Breast Pump in 2021

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The Spectra S2 breast pump is designed to make your breastfeeding journey as easy as possible. It delivers a hassle-free and repeatable experience through clever functionality at an affordable price.

In this article, we will provide a detailed review of its features and settings so that you can best understand if it will serve your needs. We will also cover some basic terminology that is unique to the Spectra breast pump range that will help you understand the performance standards of the S2.

We will also briefly discuss some alternatives in case you find that you and the S2 are not a match.

Quick Summary

If you do not want to read the full Spectra S2 review we have summarized your buying decision into a few easy to digest points.

It is also worth noting that it rated highly on our list of the best breast pumps available on the market. So you know you are getting quality for your money.

Buy the S2 breast pump if:

  • You will be pumping a lot of milk.
  • You always have access to a power outlet.
  • You are looking for a mid-priced but top-quality breast pump.

Do not buy the S2 breast pump if:

  • You need to be able to pump anywhere and away from a power outlet.
  • You are on a tight budget will do minimal pumping – there are cheaper options out there.
  • You want a small breast pump unit.
Spectra Baby USA S2

Introduction to the Spectra S2

The Spectra S2 double electric breast pump is a closed system, hospital-grade pump, that offers an affordable entry point and reliable levels of performance.

If you didn’t understand all of that terminology then read on. We will cover some of the basics and S2 facts before we jump into our comprehensive review.

What is a Closed System Breast Pump

A closed system pump is made with special backflow protection to prevent breast milk from entering the tubing and motor.

This protects the motor from damage and also prevents the build-up of moisture that can lead to bacteria growth – which can then end up in your pumped milk.

A closed system pump like the S2 will ensure your milk stays clean while reducing the hassle of cleaning those hard to reach places.

It is a massive time saver compared to open system pumps that require a lot more cleaning.

What Are Hospital Grade Pumps

This is an internal Spectra definition that is not supported by an external body like the FDA. However, the standards that are set are still meaningful and demonstrate a minimum standard of performance:

  • Capable of initiating and supporting milk supply.
  • Able to be used by multiple users safely and hygienically.
  • Durable enough to be used by a mum expressing often (i.e. 8 x a day) and has a long motor life.

As you can see, this pump can stand up to heavy-duty use. This is important if you have multiple children and plan to pump for years. You will be pumping 6-8 times per day, and possibly more if you need to power pump to increase low milk supply.

Always remember that if more than one person will be using the same pump it would be best to change up the parts used (see the spare parts section at the end of this article).

It is also worth noting that the S2 has a higher maximum suction strength than most other pumps on the market. You have adjustable suction levels of course and are likely to find it more than adequate for your ideal pumping session.

  • Spectra S2 – up to 320mmHg
  • Medela PISA – up to 235mmHg
Spectra Baby USA Accessories

Standard Inclusions

Your standard package includes the following items. There are additional parts you can buy separately but more on that later:

  • Pump main unit
  • 2x Breast Flange sets (24mm and 28mm) – to suit multiple breast sizes
  • 2x Backflow Protectors – ensures a hygienic closed system.
  • 2x Wide Neck Bottles – for quick & easy refrigeration.
  • 2x Sets of Tubing and duckbill valves
  • 1x 12-Volt AC Power Adapter

Note: you will have to buy a separate bag for your pump as one is not included. Check out our list of breast pump bags here for some good options.

How Does the Spectra S2 Work

Here we will cover all of the performance fundamentals for your Spectra S2.

Pump Settings

There are 12 different levels of suction power with a maximum strength of 320mmHg.

Your Spectra pump will cycle through multiple pumping modes to simulate the natural progression of a feeding session. These cycle modes are:

  • Massage mode – to trigger your body’s let-down reflex and establish milk flow.
  • Expression mode – to simulate the long deep suction that mimics that of your baby feeding.

What we loved most about the Spectra S2 was the memory setting that allows you to save your ideal cycle speed settings.

Once you find what works for your body you can just press a button and your pumping session will take care of itself and deliver the same experience time and time again.

This feature is a huge time saver!

Other Key Features

  • Auto timer – This will help you keep track of your sessions without needing to remember to set one or looking at the clock to track your time. You can still switch off manually when you have enough milk of course.
  • LED Digital Screen – User-friendly panel that makes controlling your breast pump easy.
  • Night light – This subtle blue glow will give you just enough light to do your thing without needing to turn on that super bright overhead light.
S2 Night Light

Spectra S2 Review

Now that we have covered all of the facts you could know about what your S2 offers, we now move on to our review of the product.

This is of course our opinion (which is why we wanted to give you the facts first!) and your needs may differ from ours.

Pump Motor Noise

A lot of electric breast pumps claim to be super quiet but you cannot avoid that low humming sound.

Jokes aside, the Spectra S2 is genuinely a quiet pump with just 45 decibels of noise at its peak CPM rate. The low-pitched hum is almost soothing to listen to despite the heavy-duty motor contained within.

Portability

The Spectra S2 has no battery and is not designed to be portable. You will only ever be able to use it when plugged into an outlet.

If you need portability then we suggest upgrading to the S1 for about $50 extra. If not, then the cheaper S2 will do just fine.

For working Moms, it is still fine to use in the office as long as you have that power source readily available whenever you need it.

The main unit can be a bit bulky so if you want something smaller then alternatives like the Spectra S9 may be more suitable for you.

Functionality

This is a double electric breast pump, which means you can pump both breasts at the same time (double pumping). This is great for working moms who have to try and pump in small windows of time.

If you remember the custom settings, and the easy cleaning of a closed system pump you can quickly see that this is a good option for breastfeeding moms when they return to work.

You can also use it as a single breast pump if you need to correct lopsided breast milk production, or if your baby has fed on one side and you need to express milk from the other. This is an essential step to maintain milk supply in both breasts.

S2 Digital Pumping Program

Summary of Benefits

  • Single or double pump with quiet motor
  • Includes a timer to track pumping duration
  • Customizable settings with 2 phase cycling and adjustable suction strength
  • All parts are BPA free
  • Spectra backflow protector keeps motor and tubing clean and dry

Summary of Limitations

  • There is no option to use this pump with batteries
  • Only comes in two flange sizes (but you can buy others separately)

Spectra S2 vs Other Breast Pumps

We have conducted detailed performance comparisons of the Spectra S2 breast pump against other pumps on the market. The most popular models being:

Spectra S1

We have completed a thorough performance comparison of the Spectra S1 vs the Spectra S2.

The main differences are that the S1 is a portable pump with a built-in battery that enables you to pump anywhere. It is slightly more expensive, but performance levels are identical aside from that one feature.

Medela Pump in Style

The Medela is a fantastic pump and a completely different design to the S2. It is more of an all-in-one breast pumping kit.

It comes with a pumping unit built into a pumping bag that also contains a cooler pocket to store your pumped milk.

You get a full kit but it is also much more expensive than the Spectra. We prefer the Spectra so you can buy the extras that you want and customize your pumping kit a bit more.

We have also completed a similar performance comparison of the Medela Pump in Style vs the Spectra S2 here.

Spectra S2 and Medela Pump in Style Buying Decision Chart

Spectra Pump Parts

One of the best things about using a Spectra pump long-term is the availability of affordable spare parts. You can easily get the following items from the Spectra store page:

  • Additional breast shields available in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, and 32mm sizes
  • Pump tubing & duckbill valves
  • Backflow protector
  • Additional bottles
  • Accessory kits with all of the above

A breast pump can be expensive to buy upfront and access to parts will ensure you get great value for money and years of use if you want it.

The bottle component is the easiest to interchange with non-Spectra bottle products. Your Spectra bottles might deteriorate over time and having the flexibility to substitute with other brands is helpful.

Popular brands that are most compatible with Spectra pumps are:

  • Maymom wide-mouth collection bottles
  • Avent natural and classic bottles
  • Nene Supply breast milk bottles
  • Kiinde breast milk storage pouch (pump directly to the storage pouch)

Final Word

The Spectra S2 is a reliable pump that comes with everything you need. It is suitable for stay at home moms who need to supplement their feeding with a stored supply of baby’s milk, or the working mom who will exclusively pump (assuming you have access to an outlet).

The easily interchangeable parts ensure you will get years of use out of your S2, all for an affordable price.

Best of all, you can fully customize your cycle speeds, cycle length, suction level, and timing of the session with the auto shut-off feature. With all of this combined, it is a seamless pumping experience.

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James is our general tech. guy, product testing extraordinaire, and loving father of one. He has been with katherinerosman.com since 2016 and has a hand in most of the content on the site.

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