Spectra S9 Plus Review: One of The Best Portable Options Around
Many mothers can't be at a convenient place like their homes when they need to extract milk for their babies.
Either you plan to pump milk at work, while going on a trip, or even when you have a lot of errands, all you need is a portable product like the Spectra S9 Plus.
Pumping is not exactly the most pleasant experience for a mother, so finding the best product for this task is even more important.
So, can you trust this portable product? Let's find out in our Spectra S9 Plus breast pump review.
Breast Pump Buying Guide
Benefits of a breast pump
There are various reasons that a mother of a newborn like you may need a breast pump.
For example, if you want to have a constant supply of milk for your infant when you need to go back to work, a breast pump is an obvious choice.
Or when you need to provide milk by pumping only due to personal preferences, latch issues, or other health conditions. Another common situation is when you're out for a day while someone else takes care of your child.
Whatever the reasons, a breast pump is always a low-risk option to provide your infant with natural milk.
Types of breast pumps
All kinds of breast pumps on the market have the same goal: to express milk from your breasts. But how they work varies.
Some models are simply manual, where you need to use your hands to make them work. There are also newer products that are powered by batteries or electricity.
Manual breast pumps
You need to hold a manual model over the breasts with one hand and use the other hand to pump milk into it. This requires more work from you than you might think.
A manual breast pump Via: Amazon.com
But on the other hand, this kind of breast pump is inexpensive with some products starting at around $10.00. That is why they are a decent choice if you don't have to pump on a regular basis or when you need a cheap backup to your electric breast pump.
Electric breast pumps
With electric models, you don't need to do much than holding them in place. They are powered by batteries or wall outlets and available in both single and double versions.
An electric model Via: Amazon.com
Electric breast pumps cost more than manual models. Depending on the quality and features you get, the price may even go to as high as many hundred dollars.
How to choose a breast pump
Before having a look at specific models, you need to ask yourself a few questions about what you're going to do with a breast pump.
- ● How are you going to use a breast pump?
- ● Do you plan to use the pump exclusively or just in addition to normal breastfeeding?
- ● How much do you want to pump and store?
- ● Is your child going to use that milk within a day?
- ● Where are you going to pump the milk?
Manual or battery-powered breast pumps are usually smaller, and it's easier to take them with you when you travel. But we can't say the same thing about electric models that use wall outlets. They are heavier and larger, sometimes to the extent that many mothers find it impossible to carry them around every day.
But manual pumps, on the other hand, don't require extra thoughts about emergency situations like electric models, when there is no outlet around or if the batteries have run out of power.
When breastfeeding is impossible, a manual backup or extra supplies is often enough to help you maintain your pumping schedule in case of an emergency.
Do you need a product that pumps quickly?
The time it takes to pump the amount of milk you need depends on several factors. But some types indeed get the job done faster than others.
If you are at work and don't have much time for this task, consider an electric breast pump. The double version, which pumps from both breasts simultaneously, reduces this time even more. This is possible thanks to the fact that both your breasts can be emptied at the same time.
Do you need an easy-to-use breast pump?
Not every woman will know how to use a breast pump the first time, especially a new mother. Taking care of a child already involves a lot of things, so it's normal to not want to read several pages of user manuals or try to pump several times.
Always opt for a model that is easy to assemble, operate, and clean. Ask the salesperson at the store if it's possible for you to practice assembling the pump before buying.
And remember that, due to health reasons, most breast pumps are not eligible for return.
Do you need a portable pump?
Some mothers don't have the luxury of pumping milk comfortably at home. If you're going to do this mostly at work or your life requires you to travel frequently, get the most lightweight product possible.
You can put a compact breast pump in a backpack or carry case, which also can hold other supplies.
Does the breast shield fit?
Make sure you get the right size for the shield that covers your breasts adequately. You will know this when you can comfortably position the nipple right in the center of the shield.
Many manufacturers only provide a single size when it comes to breast shields.
Remember to check if you can buy extra breast shields and replace the built-in one. This is extremely important when the included breast shield has the wrong size, or you find the texture uncomfortable.
Overview of The Spectra S9 Plus
The Spectra 9 Plus advanced portable breast pump is a portable, lightweight product that is designed for mothers who want complete flexibility and portability. It will help them pump milk for their precious children wherever they like: during errands, at work, or while traveling.
This is an upgraded model from the Spectra S9 breast pump, which introduces more features compared to its previous version, as you can see from the Spectra S9 review.
Spectra S9 Plus Via: Amazon.com
It comes with up-to-3-hour battery life to help you conveniently pump even if there is no power source around.
You can use it as a single or double breast pump. Coming with multiple vacuum and expression settings, it enables you to select the most comfortable setup in order to have the largest amount of milk in the shortest time.
- ● Type: electric breast pump with built-in rechargeable batteries. It also works with power outlets.
- ● Mode: both single and double milk pumping modes
- ● Suction: 10 levels
- ● Breast shield size: 28mm in diameter (default), the 24-mm and 32-mm shields are also available for purchase
- ● Dimensions: 7.2 cm x 11.2 cm x 4.7 cm
- ● Weight: 239g
- ● Warrant: 1 year for charger and motor
Best for: mothers who travel frequently or don't like a bulky pump.
Pros and Cons
- ● Compact and lightweight
- ● Attractive design
- ● Easy to use
- ● Closed-type pump
- ● LED display
- ● Pumps slower than larger models
- ● Noisy
- ● Limited options for suction and pump speed
Spectra S9 Plus Review
When only familiar with an average-sized or big breast pump, you will be thrilled to see this Spectra pump, which measures only 7.2 cm x 11.2 cm x 4.2 cm with a weight of 239g, making it one of the best Spectra travel pumps.
If you have an iPhone, which roughly has the same width and length, you can compare and see with your own eyes how small it is.
This is one of the most portable breast pumps you can find right now, making it a perfect companion for your trip.
However, this compact size seems to result in a small problem. Spectra provides only three sizes of breast shield: 24 mm, 18 mm, and 32 mm.
Fortunately, you can use Maymon or Medela breast shields with the S9 Plus. But this requires some hacks or a Maymom adapter, which connects the Medela shield directly to the Spectra S9 Plus. You can find many tutorial videos on this topic on the internet.
Like any Spectra pumps, the S9 Plus provides a gentle suction, even when you operate it in the highest setting.
In the expression mode, the S9 Plus vibrates slowly, imitating how your baby suckles like when you're breastfeeding, which has a long suction following.
Many customers who have experience with other portable breast pumps like the Medela Freestyle have praised the comfortable feeling that this Spectra product provides.
But there is one thing you must remember: being a portable model, you cannot expect it to function like a heavy-duty product.
If you only need to pump around three times a day, everything is going to be fine. But when you want to stop breastfeeding directly and switch to pumping exclusively, the number may go to more than ten times a day.
Consider other hospital-grade breast pumps, such as the Spectra S1, as this exceeds what the S9 Plus is designed for.
On top of that, while the Spectra S9 Plus is still quite strong, it doesn't have top-of-the-line suction.
This isn't an issue for those who like a gentle suction. However, if you prefer a more powerful suction, have a look at other high-end breast pumps instead.
While being compact, the Spectra S9 Plus has a lot of options for you in order to have the most comfortable possible experience.
This portable breast pump offers five massage levels and ten suction levels in the expression modes. This is even more what the M1 - another portable but bigger breast pump from Spectra has.
But the S9 Plus has some limitations related to those settings.
While the Spectra S1 provides full control of suction and speed, this compact breast pump only allows you to choose the suction level, and the speed will be automatically adjusted according to that. This means as the suction goes up, the speed will slow down.
There are also many breast pumps that work exactly like this, including popular models like the Medela Freestyle, so this should not be that big of a deal for most people.
But when you need a combination of high speed and high suction, the S9 Plus is not actually the best breast pump for you.
This Spectra portable pump has a closed-system design, which means the motor won't come into contact with and contaminate the milk. This is possible thanks to two backflow protectors preventing the pumped milk from going back.
The backflow protector Via: Amazon.com
Other benefits include no more condensation in the tubing and a more hygienic machine. Your motor will also become more durable, and you can even share the S9 Plus with other mothers, as long you and they have separate kits for milk collection.
The LED display is one of the coolest features of the Spectra S9 Plus, which can give you an overview of what the machine is doing. This includes the battery indicator, the timer, the mode it's on (expression or massage mode), and the suction level.
When it comes to electric breast pumps, it's hard to avoid talking about the noise the machine produces while running. And this seems to be a weak point of the Spectra S9 Plus: while it's still quieter than the Medela Freestyle, it is noisier than the S1.
Once fully charged, the built-in rechargeable batteries have enough power for three 30-minute pumping sessions. If you're only concerned about pumping milk at work, this should be enough for a day.
Two built-in modes
In order to achieve letdown, you need to activate the massage mode first, and then you can turn on the expression mode to begin expressing milk. The massage mode is pretty effective, which helps most mothers get let down after only one minute.
Busy mothers will greatly appreciate this safety feature from the S9 Plus, which allows for multitasking while pumping. Don't panic when you suddenly remember that you haven't turned it off because, after 30 minutes, the machine will switch itself off.
Single and double pumping
With the included T-connector, you can switch between single and single pumping mode without changing the tubing. Just unplug the other tubing, and you're now ready to extract milk from both breasts.
This ultra-portable breast pump receives mostly positive feedback from customers in Amazon, where it currently gets 3.7/7 stars.
Medela Freestyle Via: Amazon.com
This is also one of the most popular portable breast pumps on the market, which is the best bet for busy mothers who need to pump on the go.
The Medela Freestyle is programmable and lightweight with a handy LED display that allows you to pump in the dark. It also comes with a timer, so you don't need to check the clock constantly anymore.
Spectra S9 Plus vs. Medela Freestyle
Compared to the Spectra S9 Plus, it's a heavy-duty model with more features and longer battery life, which can extend to three hours. You will also receive a mini cooler and tote bag when you purchase it.
But there is something you need to remember. It's more expensive than the S9 Plus and doesn't have a closed system.
Spectra S1 Plus
Spectra S1 Plus Via: Amazon.com
If you want a more powerful breast pump that allows you to adjust the suction and speed independently, consider the S1 Plus from the same brand.
Our Spectra 9 breast pump review has pointed out some differences of the Spectra S9 vs. S2, and most of them can be applied to these newer products.
Spectra S9 Plus vs. Spectra S1 Plus
This is a hospital-grade electric breast pump, which is also one of the bestselling models right now. This machine and its accessories simply outperform all its competitors at ease.
This is a well-designed machine that produces very little noise, bringing the best efficiency you need. And of course, the best part about it is that you can change the speed and suction at the same time.
But the downside is it's more expensive and bulkier than the S9 Plus.
The Spectra S9 Plus is a great choice if you want to maintain the milk supply for your child under even the most inconvenient circumstances.
While you can find models that are more powerful, quieter, or even more portable, the S9 Plus is still a reliable product that ticks most of the boxes when it comes to a portable breast pump.