Spectra S2 Breast Pump Review In 2019: Pros, Cons & More

Last Updated On: 

April 28, 2019

In the world of pumping and breastfeeding, Spectra has pulled ahead as one of the top manufacturers of pumps and feeding supplies. They’ve earned awards for innovation and exceptional breastfeeding support, and their team includes real moms, nurses, and lactation consultants.

Among their top performing products is the Spectra S2 Plus, a double electric pump with full features.

As more moms turn to pumping to maintain a milk supply for their babies, Spectra has answered the call with a functional and portable line of breast pumps for every mom’s need.

Whether you’re looking to buy it and want to know more about it, are on the fence and need some motivation to splash the cash on it, or already own it and want to learn more about it – here’s everything you need to know about the Spectra S2 breast pump.


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Note: When clicking on several links in this article, you’ll go to this product’s listing page on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews about it.

Overview of the Spectra S2 Breast Pump

Spectra’s focus is on keeping moms comfortable and confident throughout their breastfeeding (or exclusively pumping) journey.

Moms appreciate the comfort and utility of their products, especially since so many pumps nowadays feel cold and impersonal.

In contrast, Spectra aims to make pumping more natural and accessible.


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About Spectra Baby

The S2 isn’t Spectra’s only successful pump offering. In addition to the S2 Plus, they also offer a rechargeable version with similar looks and features. The Spectra S1Plus comes in blue, and its top feature is the rechargeable battery.

The Spectra Dew 350 is at a lower price point but boasts hospital-grade technology. It aims to “initiate, increase, and maintain a milk supply for preemies and babies with latch difficulties,” Spectra explains.

Finally, Spectra also offers an ultra-portable and lightweight S9 Plus, a scaled-down pump possessing full features while being able to fit in your pocket.

Clearly, Spectra has a passion for helping moms make milk for their babies. The company’s willingness to provide lactation support and product replacement speaks volumes about the brand.

Spectra S2 Specs

Though looks aren’t the most vital part of a breast pump, the S2 Plus is cute and compact.

It comes in pink only, though you can find bedazzled versions online.

It has two fully adjustable settings for both cycle and vacuum, allowing moms to customize their entire pumping session as they like.

The pump’s features span the following:

  • Cycle and vacuum customization settings
  • Lightweight (2.5 pounds)
  • Wide neck storage bottles
  • Backflow protectors make it a closed system
  • Built-in nightlight with multiple brightness settings
  • Auto-timer for tracking pumping times
  • Quiet 45-decibel motor

Included with the Spectra S2 Plus are:

  • Wide neck bottles with sealing discs and nipples (2)
  • 24mm and 28mm flange-valve pieces (total 4)
  • Tubing (2 tubes)
  • Three-piece backflow protectors (2)
  • A power cord and AC adapter

Setup is straightforward; moms only need to plug in the tubing, secure the tubes to the backflow protectors, and connect the backflow protectors to the valve pieces.

Soft duckbill valves attach to the bottom of the flange pieces to ensure suction.


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What We Like About The Spectra S2 Breast Pump

Curious how the Spectra S2 Plus stacks up? Here are the primary benefits of this pump.

One-Piece Breast Shield Construction

With a flange and valve in one solid piece, you’re less likely to forget a part when packing your pump.

Plus, Spectra includes two sets of flanges with your purchase – one 24mm set and one 28mm. Those are the most common sizes, but you can also order replacement flanges in 20mm or 32mm sizes, too.

Built-In Night Light

One of the most attractive specs for moms who exclusively pump is the inclusion of a nightlight, which means you won’t have to buy a nightlight on its own.

While many moms pump while away from their babies during the day, others pump around the clock. The built-in nightlight has multiple settings so you don’t disturb the baby (or anyone else) while you pump.

Bottle Holder

There’s also a bottle holder on the back of the pump, so you can set one bottle down without worrying about spillage. Or, you can place your drink there while you double pump.

The only thing better than one bottle holder would be two, but the pump’s small size doesn’t leave room for extra cup-holders.

Lightweight and Stands Alone

Weighing in at 2.5 pounds, the S2 is lightweight and easy to carry.

Its built-in handle makes transportation more manageable, and you can fit it into nearly any bag.

Unlike other pumps which arrive encased in a backpack or bag, Spectra’s offerings don’t come with baggage.

Adaptable Tubing

If you’ve used another brand of pump in the past, Spectra’s tubing concept is somewhat innovative. The tubing is soft and pliable, and the end connecting to the pump slides over valves on the front of the machine.

If your tubing becomes stretched out or otherwise damaged, you can grab a pair of sharp scissors and trim it down.

In comparison, brands like Medela have “tips” on the ends of their tubing. This makes it difficult to trim tube it to preference or due to damage. It also makes the pump more difficult to use with modifications.

To maintain a closed and hygienic system, you need to use the backflow protectors each time you pump.

However, you can use the tubing and backflow protectors with other flanges by grafting the tubing on. In other pumps, this isn’t possible.

Closed System Capabilities

Although most moms are looking for a pump for personal use, the S2’s closed system means you can share your pump if necessary.

It also increases the potential resale value since you can guarantee the pump is sterile for a new user.

A closed system prevents bacteria from getting inside the pump and its motor. The backflow protectors also avoid milk winding up in the tubing of the pump. Not only does this prevent mess and headaches, but it also keeps everything sanitary.

Quiet and Adjustable Motor

Spectra boasts a 45-decibel sound level with the S2, as soft as “the hush of a library.” While it depends on your environment when you pump, the S2 is relatively quiet.

However, if you’re pumping in a bathroom or an otherwise acoustic environment, it will be hard to cover up the noise.

With a sound more like a “whooshing” than anything else, the S2 also has multiple motor settings. Neither is terribly loud, although the suction is robust and efficient.

Massage/Letdown Mode

While not crucial for moms who exclusively pump, the Spectra S2 offers two suction modes.

The first is a massage/letdown mode which intends to mimic a baby’s natural sucking pattern to get the milk flowing. The other setting is a deeper suction which imitates a baby drinking deeply.

For some moms, the settings won’t matter as much as the comfort level and speed/intensity. However, for moms who produce milk best when nursing their babies directly, these settings can help mom get comfortable enough to experience a letdown.

On-Screen Timer

The days of needing to carry your cell phone when you pump are long gone.

Spectra included a built-in timer on the S2’s display. You can see what level and strength you’re pumping at, as well as the elapsed time you’ve been pumping for.

Ability to Single-Pump

The S2 is a double electric model, but you also have the option to use it on one side at a time. Ideal for moms who need to nurse baby on the other side, or those who prefer to pump one side after baby eats.

There’s a small plug on the front of the pump to plug one of the valves while you leave the tubing connected to one flange.


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What You Might Not Like About The Spectra S2 Breast Pump

With so many features to love, Spectra’s S2 has earned plenty of fans. However, there are some potential negatives to using this double electric pump.

Here’s what to consider regarding potential drawbacks.

Mechanical Failure Potential

Though Spectra appears to have ironed out the “bugs” with past pump motors, failures were disappointingly common when the Spectra S2 first rolled out.

Moms had to pack up their broken pumps and send them back to Spectra, though replacements did arrive quickly.

Now, Spectra offers a 2-year unconditional motor warranty, plus the accessories come with a 90-day warranty as well.

Requires an Outlet or Adapter

Unlike the S1, which includes a rechargeable battery, the S2 lacks portability. For many moms, this may prove to be a deal breaker.

The main differences include a slightly higher price on the S1 and a weight at precisely double the S2’s.

One-Piece Breast Shield and Valve Construction

Although it’s convenient for packing your pump along, the one-piece flange and valve pieces can be a bit difficult to clean at times.

A baby bottle brush can reach most areas, but you may also need a smaller wire brush or another tool to make sure you wash the flanges thoroughly.

Milk tends to pool in the edge of the flange, on either side of where it flows into the valve. If you don’t soak and scrub these parts, you may wind up with crusted-on milk in small crevices.

If you wash the parts regularly, including steam-cleaning, it’s not a deal breaker for most pumping moms.

Inaccurate and Unreadable Measurements

With routine hand washing and sterilizing, the numbers on Spectra’s milk collection bottles tend to fade.

Even if you’re careful and avoid steam sterilizer bags or boiling, regular refrigeration seems to affect the paint, too.

The differences between collection bottles may be due to poor quality control since not all moms have the same experience with them.

Still, you shouldn’t expect 100% accurate ounce measurements with the accompanying bottles.


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Who Should Buy a Spectra S2 Breast Pump

Though the Spectra experience claims to be as close to nursing as possible, it’s not the perfect option for just about every mom out there.

So, who should consider a Spectra S2?

Exclusively Pumping Moms

Moms who need to pump multiple times per day (and through the night) benefit from a double electric pump with adjustable speeds and suction.

Exclusively pumping entails a different approach than direct nursing, especially since the natural supply and demand is out of balance.

Exclusively pumping moms (a.k.a EPing moms) will appreciate the variety of settings to encourage milk letdown and continuous flow.

Spectra’s lactation specialists highlight the S2 for its “soothing” experience, noting the quiet motor and ease of storage.

Plus, if mom must purchase her own pump, the pricing is reasonable compared to hospital-grade pumps with a closed system.

Reliability is also critical, and Spectra’s reputation for responsive customer service and easy warranty replacement are reassuring.

Working Moms

Working moms are another group that benefits from a convenient and travel-ready pump.

Though the S2 requires an outlet, it’s easy to carry, its small size discreetly tucking away into a small bag or backpack. You don’t have to dedicate an entire breast pump bag to it.

At the same time, it’s powerful enough to maintain a milk supply through double pumping while mom is away from her baby.

For a mom who must pump in an office or semi-private lactation area, a quiet pump is a priority.

Similarly, reliability and consistent performance are highlights for moms working hard to maintain a full milk supply.

Who Shouldn’t Buy a Spectra S2 Breast Pump

While Spectra does a great job of making pump models for all women out there, no matter what their needs are, the S2 may not be the right pump for everyone.

Here are a few cases where pumping moms should consider looking for an alternative breast pump instead of the Spectra S2.

Occasional Pumpers

If you occasionally pump to relieve engorgement or leave milk for the baby on date night, you may not need a double electric pump like the S2.

Unless you plan to double pump at least once a day or more, it’s probably not worth the investment in this pump.

Some moms learn to hand-express milk to relieve engorgement, a helpful equipment-free option. In other cases, a manual pump can help express enough milk for an evening out or a small freezer stash.

Moms Who Need More Portability

If you often pump in the car (and don’t want to buy an inverter), it might be worth splurging on the S1 or opting for the S9. Both of those pumps have rechargeable batteries with the same settings as the S2.

However, those pumps may lack the power of the S2 as the battery discharges throughout the day. Still, even the rechargeable pump can use an adapter for outlet use, so there’s a backup option available.


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Wrapping It Up

Spectra’s S2 Plus breast pump may prove a lifesaver for exclusively pumping and working moms.

Its range of features make expressing milk more comfortable without sacrificing production.

If you’re a pumping mom who needs a customizable experience in a reliable double electric pump, Spectra’s S2 might be the perfect choice for expressing your needs.


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