The Spectra S9 and S2 pumps are very different in terms of design and appearance. However, the performance is quite similar with only minor differences in strength and functionality.
A breast pump can be expensive and is also going to be a constant companion for you through early parenthood.
So it is critical to understand what those differences are so you get the best Spectra pump for your needs.
We will provide a detailed 8 point comparison so you can understand what’s different (and what is the same) before you buy.
Spectra S2 Vs S9: Quick Summary
You can sum up the key differences between the spectra s2 and s9 breast pumps with the following points:
Buy the Spectra S2 – If you plan on pumping at home or always near a power outlet, and want to save some money (and have stronger arms!).
Buy the Spectra S9 – if you need something that is super portable, to be able to pump anywhere, and don’t mind spending a few extra dollars.
Note: If you like the sound of the Spectra S2 but need a portable breast pump then also check out the Spectra S1. This has all the same functionality plus a built-in battery. We have also completed a detailed comparison of the S1 and S2 here.
Spectra S2 And S9 Performance Comparison
In this section, we will provide a detailed assessment of 8 different points of comparison.
The overall tally of points will determine our recommended breast pump. However, you may not care about all of the criteria and can instead focus on the points that matter most to you.
This will ensure that any subjectivity in the ratings is removed and the result is more likely to suit what you need in your pump.
While there is a clear separation between the performance of these two pumps, both provide excellent levels of control over your pumping experience.
Both Spectra pumps will cycle through multiple pumping modes to simulate the natural progression of a feeding session:
- Massage mode – to trigger your body’s let down reflex.
- Expression mode – to simulate the sucking motion of your baby feeding.
The natural pumping rhythm of all Spectra breast pumps is one of the main reasons why they have become such a widely used brand as is a performance feature shared by both pumps.
Where they differ is in range of settings available, and the ability to control the cycle speed.
The S2 outperforms with more tiers of vacuum suction strength available to customize your session:
- S2 – 12 levels
- S9 – 10 levels
With regards to cycle speed, the S9 automatically runs a cycle speed relevant to the suction strength.
Whereas the S2 allows you full control. So you can slow or speed up the rhythm of the pump as you please.
Hospital Grade Pump
A hospital-grade breast pump is defined by the following parameters:
- 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.
However, this is not something recognized by the FDA and are standards set directly by Spectra.
The S2 breast pump is hospital grade, and the S9 is not. Whether this has any relevance is questionable as the S9 will be able to satisfy the 1st and 3rd points above.
If you are the only one using the pump (and you should be!) then these are the only two points that matter. So technically the S2 wins on this measure, but it is up to you whether you care enough for it to influence which one you buy.
The S9 has a built in battery that will get you up to 90 minutes of use away from a power outlet.
The S2 has no battery and is designed for home or office use (anywhere with power really). However, as mentioned earlier the near-identical S1 model does have a rechargeable battery.
- Spectra S1: up to 3 hours
- Spectra S9: up to 1.5 hours
So the Spectra S9 is the winner here but if you need something with longer battery use you may opt for the S1 instead.
While the S9 is clearly the more portable pump due to the inclusion of a battery, we are also looking at this from the perspective of a working mom who will take their pump to the office.
The size and weight of the pumps are what matters most here, but the outcome is the same.
An S9 pump is tiny in comparison to the bulky S2 motor unit and weighs just 20% of the S2. So it is a no-contest really.
- S2 – Weight – 2.4 lbs; Dimensions – 7.9 x 7.9 x 6.7
- S9 – Weight – 0.5 lbs; Dimensions – 2.8 x 4.8
This does not include all the parts of your pump which are standard across the Spectra range.
That big motor has to count for something right? Of course the S2 can reach a higher maximum suction strength, but the gap is not huge:
- Spectra S2: 270 mm/Hg
- Spectra S9: 260 mm/Hg
Not all breast pumping moms will need that extra suction. But if you are pumping a lot, and need the most efficient and powerful pump possible then the S2 has an edge.
There are a couple of key features that are small but important to your pumping experience:
- Adjustable Night Light – S9 has fixed brightness whereas the S2 allows you to dim or switch off the light.
- LCD Display – The S2 display lights up so you can see it easily at night, the S9 does not. This makes it less practical for mom still doing the midnight pumping session.
The S2 has a clear edge here. Remember it is designed more for home pumping.
Included Pump Parts
Both pumps will come with a full milk collection kit to get you started.
There is only one minor difference in the inclusions though which may trigger the need for extra purchases (which changes our cost comparison below).
First of all, here are all the inclusions in both pumps:
- 2x 24mm Breast flanges
- 2x Tubing
- 2x Duckbill valves
- 2x Backflow protectors.
- 2x Milk storage Bottles
- 1x Power cord and adapter (S2 12v; S9 9v)
The S2 also includes a pair of 28mm Breast Flanges. This will be needed for fuller breasted women to ensure a comfortable fit.
You can easily buy extra flanges, extra bottles, and other additional accessories from the Spectra store page. The flanges come in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, and 32mm sizes. You just have to factor in the cost.
Despite having more inclusions and a more powerful motor the Spectra S2 is the cheaper model.
The S9 is 10%-20% more expensive depending on when you buy it.
However, remember that you also have the option of the portable S1. This is more expensive than both the S2 and S9.
Common Features of the S2 and S9
Closed System Pump
Closed system pumps are made with special backflow protection to prevent breast milk from entering the tubing and motor.
Extra moisture ending up where it’s not supposed to be may not only damage the motor, but it can also lead to bacteria growth which may end up in your pumped milk.
Having a breast pump with a closed system can keep your baby healthy and cut down on the hassle of cleaning those tiny and hard-to-reach places.
Both the S9 and S2 Spectra pumps are designed as a closed system.
Double Breast Pump
Both are designed to be used as a double pump, but can also be used as a single pump if needed.
This comes in handy if you need to quickly express from one breast if feeding your baby directly has left you unbalanced.
When you establish a flow that works for you there are memory settings that will record the speed and power of the suction so you can just press a button and have the same experience time and time again.
This feature is a huge time saver and is included in both pump models.
Officially, the pump motor for both models operate at 45 decibels.
However, over time the S9 can become louder in some cases. This is not a big enough difference to warrant choosing one over the other so we will call this one a tie.
Both pumps include built-in auto timers.
This allows you to easily track the length of your sessions without needing to remember to do this on your cell phone, or clock.
Your Buying Decision
Why Choose The S9?
The biggest selling point of the S9 breast pump is the compact size and portability. The motor is tiny and can easily fit into a handbag, or even a large pocket.
The battery is a game-changer for the moms who need to pump on the go. You get 90 minutes of battery life away from an outlet which will usually get you 3-4 double pumping sessions.
While the vacuum strength is not as strong as the S2, more suction doesn’t necessarily mean more milk. Many moms will never use the highest suction levels anwyay.
Why Choose The S2?
The Spectra S2 is the best choice for moms who will always have access to a power outlet, and also want to save some money on the purchase price.
While cheaper, you also get two sets of breast shields included as standard.
It is also the most suitable for a mom who is exclusively pumping as needs a more powerful pump. The hospital grade strength, and heavy duty motor, will stand up to years of use.
If the lack or portability is an issue remember that you can also buy the S1 version. It is identical except for the battery (and color). This will cost you an extra $50 or so.
We have two very different Spectra breast pumps in terms of design and appearance. However, very little separates the performance of the two.
The main question to ask yourself is whether you need the freedom to pump in the car, or in the park (and if it will be often enough to make a manual pump impractical).
Either choice will be a great pump to help you in your breastfeeding journey, and now you know all you need about both to buy the one that best suits your situation.
The only shortcoming of these wonderful pumps is that neither come with a breast pump bag. However, this just means you can buy one that you love instead of settling for what is included.