Comparison Of 3 Best Wearable Breast Pumps: Willow vs Elvie vs Freemie [UPDATED: JAN. 2022]

Are you hesitating which wearable breast pump to choose? Are you unsure if the best fit for you is Willow, Elvie or Freemie? Check our comparison and find out what are the main differences between those pumps to avoid choosing the wrong one!

Willow vs Elvie vs Freemie - wearable breast pump comparison 2022

Hands-free breast pumps are the in-thing for most moms today. These pumps have an all-in-one, compact, and wireless design that allows them to slide inside your nursing bra.

The most significant advantage is that they don’t keep you tethered to a wall socket as a typical electrical pump does. Secondly, you don’t have to keep working a lever as it’s the case with manual pumps.

The fact that these pumps express milk without a lot of input from your side gives you some extra time for other tasks around the house.

Their excellent portability in comparison to other pumps also makes pumping at the workplace a breeze since you can express while working on your desk. Even better, you get some quality me-time to relax or even go for a weekend away while ensuring that the baby remains on breast milk.

Since you’re here, you must be struggling to choose between Willow, Elvie and Freemie. These 3 are amongst the best wearable pumps in 2022, but they are not made the same. That’s to say that they will suit each mom differently.

This article is not a substitute for medical care or medical consultation. It may contain affiliate links.

Preview
Best Wearable Breast Pump
Willow
Elvie
Cheapest Option
Freemie Hands-Free and Discreet Breast Milk Collection Cup Set | Pump with Your Clothes On Anywhere, Anytime | Sizes 25mm and 28mm Flanges Included | Each Cup Holds Up to 8oz | Pump Not Included
Best Features
❤️ New version has more gentle suction
❤️ 6 flanges sizes available (15mm - 27mm) = no sore nipples!
❤️ Less pieces = very easy to clean
❤️ Pretty quiet
❤️ You can get it (partially) via insurance
❤️ Pumps are a bit smaller than Willow (less visible)
❤️ Reusable milk containers included with the pump
❤️ 3 flanges sizes available (21mm - 28mm)
❤️ Charges via micro-USB
❤️ It has the biggest milk containers (8oz.)
❤️ Simple design, the parts are easy to clean
❤️ You can also connect the cups with popular electric breast pumps like Spectra or Medela
advantage
✨ 700+ positive reviews
✨ The pump comes with useful bra adjusters
✨ Great inexpensive alternative
Best Wearable Breast Pump
Preview
Willow
Name
Best Features
❤️ New version has more gentle suction
❤️ 6 flanges sizes available (15mm - 27mm) = no sore nipples!
❤️ Less pieces = very easy to clean
❤️ Pretty quiet
❤️ You can get it (partially) via insurance
advantage
✨ 700+ positive reviews
Availability & Price
Preview
Elvie
Name
Best Features
❤️ Pumps are a bit smaller than Willow (less visible)
❤️ Reusable milk containers included with the pump
❤️ 3 flanges sizes available (21mm - 28mm)
❤️ Charges via micro-USB
advantage
✨ The pump comes with useful bra adjusters
Availability & Price
Cheapest Option
Preview
Freemie Hands-Free and Discreet Breast Milk Collection Cup Set | Pump with Your Clothes On Anywhere, Anytime | Sizes 25mm and 28mm Flanges Included | Each Cup Holds Up to 8oz | Pump Not Included
Name
Best Features
❤️ It has the biggest milk containers (8oz.)
❤️ Simple design, the parts are easy to clean
❤️ You can also connect the cups with popular electric breast pumps like Spectra or Medela
advantage
✨ Great inexpensive alternative
Availability & Price

Last update on 2022-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Willow vs Elvie vs Freemie Pumps – Differences & Similarities

To help you out, this article will answer almost all your questions regarding these three pumps from which one is the best in terms of design to the most user-friendly one.

Design

At a glance, you’ll tell that Willow and Elvie share a lot in common compared to Freemie. These 2 are wireless and tubeless. They have a hub that houses the motor, battery, controls, and the charging port.

This hub is also designed to accommodate the milk collection container as well as the breast shield/flange. That’s to say that everything is held in one unit that fits in your nursing bra.

While we are still at it, Elvie is designed in a way that allows you to use one pump for both breasts (the shield has unique shape that fits left and right breast). So you can purchase one pump first and see how it goes for you before buying the other one (keep in mind that buying them separately will be more expensive than as a pair). On the other hand, Willow is sold as a pair, and there’s a pump designed for left and right breast.

Elvie Wearable Breast Pump
Elvie Wearable Breast Pump

It’s important to notice that Willow comes with one set of flanges, which are available in three sizes right now: 21mm, 24mm and 27mm. On the other hand, Elvie comes with two sets of flanges: 24mm and 28mm, while the size 21mm is available for separate purchase.

Freemie is a little different from Elvie and Willow. Although it’s classified as a wearable, you’ll notice that this one comes in 2 separate parts connected by a tube.

The hexagonal unit is the pump – called Freemie Liberty. It has a motor, a rechargeable battery, and an LCD screen with controls. The pump itself is quite small and could fit in your palms. It’s lightweight too, at around 0.5 pounds, and it has a clip that allows you to attach it to your cloths for hands-free use.

The breast shield and milk collection cup fit together to make the other unit that goes around your breast. This part is connected to the pump by a tube that carries the suction pressure.

Freemie Wearable Breast Pump is very portable and discreet
Freemie Wearable Breast Pump

As you can tell, Freemie’s tube minimizes its level of discreetness, although it doesn’t lower its usefulness. It’s easy to tuck the tubes under your shirt, therefore you’ll be able to go on with your daily task or pump at workplace too.

The key advantage that Freemie’s tube design offers you is the ability to use it with a range of other compatible pumps. The motor and cups are sold separately. You can buy only the cups and connect it with majority of popular electric pumps.

Freemie cups are compatible with Medela, Spectra, Baby Buddha, Ameda, NUK, Lucina, and Philips Avent pumps. Moreover, Freemie Pump gives you the possibility to customize the size of the flange with soft Fitmie inserts (these are available in size 15mm-26mm).

This way you’ll be able to pump hands-free with your electric breast pump, but you’ll still be chained to the wall socket (unless you pick Spectra S1 that has a rechargeable battery).

Battery

The other difference between Willow, Elvie and Freemie is how you charge them. Willow uses a wall socket charger (the set includes one charger, that changes only one pump at a time).

On the other hand, Elvie comes with mini-USB cables so you can charge it even from your laptop. If you decide to choose original Freemie Liberty motor it also charges via USB. If you pair the Freemie cups with other electric pump, you will need to use that pump’s own cables.

Assuming that your pumping sessions last around 20 minutes, Freemie will offer about 8 sessions before the need for a recharge, followed by Willow – 4-6, and Elvie that lasts 2-4 cycles.

Willow Pump Discount Code Black Friday

Performance

All of these pumps are generally easy to use if you follow the instructions carefully. Overall, Willow and Elvie are the easiest to set up because they don’t have tubes, and their breast shields are transparent.

A transparent flange makes it easy to align your nipples correctly, and this is essential to getting the most milk from each session and avoid soreness and pain. Between Willow and Elvie, the former is the best for usability thanks to its multiple automatic suction phases.

How does Willow differ from Elvie and Freemie
Willow Wearable Breast Pump

In terms of suction, Willow comes out as the strongest, followed by Elvie. That’s to say that Willow is speedier at emptying your breasts than Elvie and Freemie. But what’s most important is that Willow Generation 3 offers now more gentle suction, which is suitable for more moms, while still being very efficient at expressing the milk.

>> Read more about Willow Pump in our detailed review

PRO TIP: Whichever hands free pump you’ll choose, there will be a learning curve and it will take some time for you to find the right suction and strength. It’s good to have a moisturizing nipple balm that will make pumping more comfortable and soothe your sore nipples. In my opinion the best nipple soothing cream is this non-sticky Earth Mama Organics Nipple Butter. You don’t need to wash it off before breastfeeding!

Cleaning

After pumping, it’s critical to clean all the parts that came into contact with the milk. This prevents milk residual buildup, which could eventually lead to the growth of bacteria. While it’s vital, cleaning is one of the major drawbacks of pumping, and it can be quite an inconvenience since you have to do it after every session.

That being said, you want a pump that has as few parts that require cleaning as possible. Dishwasher-safe components are an incredible relief too.

With Freemie, the parts that require cleaning after every pumping session are the cup, breast shield, valve, and funnel. You won’t need to clean the tubes unless there’s milk in them.

However, some experts say that if milk gets into the tubing, you should replace it, because it’s too difficult to clean it properly. Other than that, these components are a breeze to clean, but they aren’t dishwasher-safe.

Elvie wearable pump has 5 washable components: the breast shield, seal, valve, spout, and collection cup. Most of these parts are quite small and will, therefore, require a brush for a deep clean. But the good news is that you can place them on your dishwasher’s top shelf and move on to other tasks.

PRO TIP: I recommend you to check Willow website from time to time. They often run great sales and offer awesome discounts for Willow hands-free pump and accessories (including the milk bags and milk containers)! >> Check if there are any sales right now <<

The ease of cleaning Willow will depend on whether you choose to pump into the milk bags or the collection containers. With the milk bags, you’ll only have the flange and flextube to clean from each pump. Otherwise, the milk collection container will be an additional component requiring cleaning, that is, if you wish to transfer the milk into another storage bottle.

Willow’s breast shields and flextubes are relatively easier to clean, and there’s a cleaning brush for the latter. On the other hand, the collection container is a little bit tricky to deal with since it does not come with a brush. But cleaning it tends to get easier once you get a good hang of it.

Storing The Milk

As I’ve just mentioned, Willow 3.0 offers you the option of pumping either into a milk bag or a collection container.

When you purchase Willow, the package will come with a batch of 24 one-time-use bags to kick you off. If you are going too pump often you will need A LOT of disposable milk bags which may be quite expensive.

You can also get a pair of plastic collection containers that will save you a lot of money in the long run. Consider how frequently you are going to express the milk and whether you should ditch the bags.

Willow Pump - Milk Bag vs Milk Container
Willow Pump – Milk Bag vs Milk Container

When you’re done pumping into the collection containers, you’ll need to “flip to finish”. Basically, this is flipping the pump to ensure that all the milk in the flextube gets into the container. Next, you’ll need to pour the milk into either a bottle or storage bag for storage. Transferring the milk is easy and mess-free.

With Elvie, the milk drops directly into the container. So, after the pumping cycle, you only need to press the bottle-release button, and the collection container will click off. Next, you can lift off the valve to decant the milk into a feeding or storage bottle or milk bag. The bottles also have lids so that you can put them in the fridge or refrigerator directly. Note that Elvie does not have disposable milk bags.

Elvie Pump - Breast Shield
Elvie Pump express milk into a milk container that you can also use for storing the milk (in refrigerator or freezer)

Similar to Elvie, Freemie doesn’t have disposable milk bags, so you pump directly into reusable cups. These cups have a flat bottom that allows you to place them on flat top without the risk of tilting over. In addition, they have an easy pour spout that makes transferring the milk into another bottle or milk bag breezy. You can’t use these cups to store the milk in the refrigerator, so you’ll need to have separate storage bottles or bags in handy.

Freemie Liberty - Breast Shield
Freemie Pump express the milk directly into a milk container, after pumping you need to pour the milk into a human milk storage container

>> Learn more about safe and proper human milk storage

Apps

In addition to the control buttons on the hubs, both Willow and Elvie have an app that allows you to control the pump from your phone. Freemie doesn’t have an app yet, but I don’t think it’s so necessary considering its design.

The Elvie app is compatible with Android phones that run on version 6 and later. For iPhone users, this app only works with iPhone 5s or newer and iOS10 and above operating systems. The Elvie app gives you access to all the pump settings so you won’t be needing to reach under your shirt. It also indicates the duration of your pumping session, the amount of milk pumped, and the remaining battery life. After each pumping session, this app also has sensors that keeps a history of how much milk you expressed from either breast.

Overall, this app is an impressive addition and further boosts the convenience of hands-free pumping. Unfortunately, the latest update for the Android version has a few bugs that need to be resolved. For instance, as of April 2020, the app seems to have problems recording pumping session amounts. Some parents also report having difficulties connecting the pump to the app.

Willow Pump App
In contrast to Freemie, Willow and Elvie offer special apps for their pumps. This is a great addition, but keep in mind that these apps are not bug-free

The Willow app is compatible with iPhone 6S and newer devices running on iOS 12.x and above operating systems. For android users, it works with phones running OS Pie 9x and above. This app is designed to give you real-time data on the current pumping phase, suction level, the amount of milk pumped, as well as the battery level. It also keeps your entire pumping history.

The Willow app is beneficial, too, but it’s wonky also and needs a few improvements in some key areas. Its biggest design flaw at the moment is that it doesn’t allow you to increase or reduce the suction level. Secondly, it’s not always accurate in recording the amount of milk expressed.

Accessories

All of these pumps come ready to use right off the bat, and they have replacement parts for pretty much any of their components.

Let’s start with Willow equipment. It comes with the disposable pumping/storage milk bags. Note that these bags will last you around a week. So, if you plan to pump exclusively, you’ll need to purchase more bags after this or switch to a reusable milk container (sold separately) which will be more pocket-friendly solution in the long run.

Willow Wearable Breast Pump - What's included
Here you can see what’s included with Willow Pump

You might also want to buy an extra charger since the package includes only one, and each pump takes 2 hours to charge fully. Lastly, the flextubes are the trickiest to clean since they require a special brush (included in the package). It’s good to replace them once in a while (Willow recommends every 3 months).

With Freemie, the valves are the most susceptible to breaking down, especially if you’re not careful when cleaning them. So, you might want to have a pair or two extra. Secondly, the manufacturer recommends replacing the tubes in case of hard-to-clean milk residue. Milk will rarely get in these tubes if you’re careful, but having an extra pair makes a lot of sense.

Freemier Liberty Pump - What's included
This is the equipment you get with Freemie Liberty Pump

With Elvie, the fact that its collection containers are freezer-, fridge-, and dishwasher-safe means that having several pairs of them will eliminate the need for extra storage bottles. There are a few reports of the valves clogging mid pumping too. So, having an extra pair seems really useful. Also, if small things get lost a lot in your house, then you need to have some extra spouts and seals.

Elvie Pump - What's included
What’s included with Elvie Pump

Willow accessories are generally the priciest, but the best part is that it has the least number of parts that you’ll need to replace.

Best Bra For Hands Free Breast Pump

You may also need a nursing bra that will make pumping more comfortable. Lots of moms who have been using Willow, recommend this Simply Sublime Nursing Bra from Kindred Bravely – perfect for everyday comfort and easier pumping. It fits Elvie well too!

Check out other most comfortable bras for hands free breast pumps: Willow Pump Bra & Elvie Pump Bra or get the best bra for Freemie Cups.

Simply Sublime by Kindred Bravely

Insurance

Make sure to consult your insurance provider to check if you can get your wearable breast pump via insurance. Some companies cover the whole or part of the cost.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (2022): For many moms Willow is a huge expense, but the good news is that Willow pump can be now obtain through insurance, at least partially. Depending on your health plan, you may save between $95 – $150! You just need to provide Willow with a few pieces of information for the coverage. I think the amount that you can save is well worth the extra time!

>> Find out more how to get Willow Breast Pump through insurance and save money

Price

Freemie is much cheaper than Willow and Elvie. But if you prefer the convenience of a pump that tucks inside your bra without tubes dangling everywhere, your choice will be between Elvie and Willow. These are truly hands-free pumps.

The double version of Elvie costs pretty much the same as Willow, however for the latter one you will (most likely) need to get the milk container. But look out for promo sets!

PRO TIP: I recommend you to buy Willow from their official website to be sure you’re getting original product with full warranty. Willow Pump Gen 2 is sold out, but you can now get Willow 3 (with more gentle suction).

Right now Willow runs awesome promotion that allows moms to save $75 of the pump! >> Click here to get your $75 discount <<

What’s also important is that Elvie is now more difficult to find. If you want to get it on their official website there may be a wait list in some locations! I have found it in The Tot store – which I recommend for the super fast shipping (get your Elvie here). You can also search for it on Amazon.

What Other Parents Say About Willow, Elvie & Freemie Pumps

Most parents agree that Willow has a learning curve and more so if you’ve never pumped before. But they also point out that the pumping sessions become simple and efficient once you master aligning your nipples to the flange and determining the ideal suction level.

Elvie also currently boasts tons of positive reviews with most moms noting that it has great suction and output too. As with Willow, Elvie users also note that it takes a few trials before getting a good hang of how the pump works. There are a few complaints of leaking after several weeks of use. But the 2-year warranty that Elvie offers will take care of that in case it’s needed.

Freemie is popular, especially for its affordability. Most parents say that it has incredible suction, especially at higher levels. Most moms also appreciate the versatility of connecting Freemie cups to other much-more powerful and hospital-strength electric pumps.

What To Keep In Mind

Wearable breast pumps are game-changers for mothers who want to pump exclusively. However, they are not always effective, especially if you’re yet to establish lactation and more so if you have low milk supply. If that’s the case, a hospital-grade breast pump is recommendable as it’s more powerful and effective. Don’t forget to consult with your doctor and/or lactation expert on the best way forward.

Why You Will Love Willow

  • It allows you to pump in almost any position.
  • You can pump directly into storage bags.
  • It’s quiet, although not silent.
  • It’s wireless and tubeless.
  • The customer support team is super helpful and will take you through every step whenever you need help.
  • It has very few parts that require cleaning and they’re all dishwasher-safe.
  • It has minimal replacement needs.

Why You Will Love Elvie

  • There’s an option to purchase only one pump and use it for both breasts.
  • It’s the smallest of the three.
  • All its parts are freezer- and dishwasher-safe.
  • It has no dangling tubes.

Why You Will Love Freemie

  • It’s the most affordable one.
  • You can connect its cups to other pumps, including hospital-strength ones.
  • Much easier to use.
  • It has a smoother learning curve.

Source of pictures:

Pictures of Willow Pump belong to Willow. Source: https://shop.willowpump.com/

Pictures of Elvie Pump belong to Elvie. Source: https://www.elvie.com/

Pictures of Freemie Liberty belong to Freemie. Source: https://freemie.com/


The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. Remember: safety first! Before you start breast pumping and/or have any doubts about your or your baby health condition, consult with a qualified lactation advisor and/or your GP!

Your trust is really important to me: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using these links, I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me run this blog. Thank you so much 🖤


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

13 thoughts on “Comparison Of 3 Best Wearable Breast Pumps: Willow vs Elvie vs Freemie [UPDATED: JAN. 2022]

  1. Hi! I am currently trying to figure out the best hands free pump to purchase. I usually pump 5.5-6 oz from one breast (I have an oversupply that won’t seem to correct itself just yet :/ ) per pump session or feeding. Would you say I would definitely need to get the freemie in this scenario to avoid having to change containers mid-pump with the Elvie or the Willow?

    1. Hi Lyndsey,

      Check out the new Willow Go pump – there will be 7oz containers released soon! 🙂 Plus this new pump is cheaper than Elvie and Willow 3.0

  2. I am a middle school teacher and plan on returning to the classroom soon. I have larger size breasts (Size D). Which hands free pump would be ideal to use while teaching that won’t make my breasts look significantly larger? Sorry if this question offends anyone. When working with young kids especially in school setting I have to be careful on appropriateness.

    1. Hi Asma, Elvie would be probably the best option, the pumps are smaller than Willow’s. But keep in mind it’s not completely silent!

  3. Hello,
    I am an under supplier. Will the Willow or Elvia decrease my supply? I have heard this in multiple reviews.
    Thank you,
    Leann

    1. Hi Leann,
      You should definitely consult with certified lactation advisor who will help you choose the best pump for you and teach you how to increase the supply with breast pump 🙂 I’ve heard that Willow has helped some moms with low milk supply, while other moms recommend Spectra, Medela Sonata or Symphony. But it always depends on your body, what are the reasons for low supply etc.

  4. I tried baby Buddha and the lowest suction was way too powerful for me. I currently use 3-4 suction on the spectra 3. I want to buy a portable pump but I’m afraid to get one of the more expensive ones in case the suction is also too powerful.

    1. Hi Maria,

      Willow is probably the strongest one, but now it has additional gentle suction mode. Elvie seems to be not as strong, and it’s slower so it may work even better for you.

  5. Are there any ‘hacks’ to make Willow or Elvie work with smaller flanges? Last time around I used as small as 15mm. I’m anticipating needing 18mm this time around.

    1. Hi Jess. Elvie has two milk containers – 5oz (150 ml) each, Willow comes with 4oz milk bags, you can also get reusable milk containers (each holds 4 oz). Freemie has two cups – each holds up to 8 oz of milk.

  6. 1. Which pump is the most silent?

    2. Which pump is the most effective at pumping the highest volume of milk?

    1. Hey Melissa,

      I would say Freemie is quiet at the lowest suction level, but get’s more loud as you increase the suction, for me the sound is very similar to loud vibrations. Willow is more loud on phase 1 (stimulation) and then gets a bit quieter in expression phase. Elvie has more “tolerable” sound for me and I would say its motor is most silent. However, with Elvie you hear the milk dripping noise, especially when the container is empty. None of these pumps is totally silent. 🙂 If you’re in an empty, quiet room each of these 3 pumps will be audible.

      Regarding the effectiveness and volume of milk – it really depends on your milk supply, how your body reacts to different suction levels (you don’t need highest suction it get more milk, it all depends on how your body works…), your nipple sensitivity and other things that differ for each mom. I’ve heard some moms could get only 2-4 oz per 1 pumping session (15-20 minutes) with Elvie and it was not effective for them at all, while getting 7-8 oz with Willow in the same amount of time or less. On the other hand other moms say it was hard for them to get milk with Willow, especially at the beginning, while they didn’t have problems with expression with Elvie or Freemie. It’s all about listening to your body, learning how to use and adjust the pump to your needs and preferences. Whichever you will choose, it will take a while for your body to adjust to that pump and for you to learn how to properly align it (it’s very important to achieve the let down), how to adjust its suction and cycles to get the best results, without any soreness.

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