Medela Symphony vs Pump in Style – Which Medela breastpump is right for you?
If you’re looking for the perfect breast pump, chances are you’ve heard of the name Medela.
They’re pretty much THE big name in breast pumps, they’ve been manufacturing them for 60 years.
According to Medela, their hospital grade pump, the Sympony, is the #1 breast pump brand used in hospitals. They also assert that they are the “brand most recommended by doctors and chosen by moms.”
There is no doubt that Medela makes high-quality breast pumps that are used by moms all over the world. However, when you compare Medela’s most popular pump (Pump in Style) to their hospital grade breast pump (Symphony) they have a drastically different price point.
So what gives? Which pump, the Medela Sympony or the Medela Pump in Style is right for your pumping needs? Do you need to spend the money for a Symphony and what REALLY makes it worth the price jump from the Pump in Style?
We’ve done the research to help you decide between the Medela Symphony and the Medela Pump in Style. Read on to see their features, benefits and drawbacks so you can choose a breast pump that will work best for your family.
Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.
If you’re new to pumping, make sure you check out the Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Class from Milkology to learn all the ins and outs of pumping for baby.
With a claim of being the #1 breast pump brand used in hospitals, the Medela Symphony is both powerful and trusted.
Considered “hospital grade” with a suction level of -30 to -270 mmHg, the Symphony can be used as a single or double electric pump. The minimum cycles per minute is 50, with a maximum of 120 cpm. Medela studied the nursing patterns of newborns and created programs that imitate their suckling in order to maximize milk expression. From this, they created two pumping patterns, Stimulation (or let-down) and Expression.
The Stimulation Phase, which you can use by pushing the “Let-down” button, has fixed cycles or “pulls” per minute that are based on research. Moms should use this phase until their milk starts flowing.
After milk is flowing, pushing the “Let-Down” button again will change the pumping pattern to the Expression phase which helps express the milk and supports milk production.
The level of vacuum or mmHg can be adjusted using a vacuum adjustment dial. The pump itself has a built in handle and weighs 7 pounds.
- Closed System: You don’t have to worry about milk getting into tubes and ruining them.
- Durable: The Symphony pump is used by multiple women staying in hospitals and is built to last
- Hospital Grade: It can accommodate multiple users so it could potentially be used in a workplace setting by multiple moms. It is clinically tested for hospital performance
- Hands-Free: The Symphony breast pump can be used hands free with an Easy Expression Bustier
- If you are in US, insurance might not cover all of the cost (they may cover for a rental, however).
- This listing is just the pump, you must buy the parts (tubing, flanges, bottles etc) separately
The Medela Pump-in-Style has been a popular breast pump choice for many years. It has a very unique design, with the pump being built right into a carrying case. They made the case large with storage pockets so that you can bring everything you need for pumping (and storage) in one helpful (although not particularly stylish) black tote bag.
The Pump-in-Style can be used as a single or double electric pump and the suction is between -50 to -250mmHg. The maximum cycle speed is 120 cycles (pulls) per minute, minimum is 50 cycles per minute. It has overflow protection to prevent milk from getting into tubes, but it is NOT a closed system like the Symphony. This pump should not be used by more than one person.
You can adjust the speed/strength of the pump’s vacuum using a knob. The other button is a “Let-Down” button that mimics baby’s sucking to get your milk to flow.
Unlike the Symphony, the Pump in Style comes with everything you’ll need to begin pumping including: built-in breastpump in tote, battery pack, cooler bag and ice pack, four 5-oz. 150 mL bottles with lid, 1 set of 24mm flanges, 2 connectors, 2 valves and membranes, 1 set of tubing, and a dual voltage (110/240V) Power Adaptor.
- Portable: Easy to pack-and-go as well as store milk in provided “cooler” bag.
- Affordable: Less Expensive than Symphony
- Convenient: Comes with everything you need for pumping
- Hands-Free: The Pump-in-Style breast pump can be used hands free with an Easy Expression Bustier
- Slightly less powerful suction than Symphony
- Pump cannot be removed from tote bag
Three Benefits Of Using a Medela breast pump
As new moms, we all hope that our breastfeeding/pumping experience will be simple and problem-free. However, if you have a premature or tongue-tied baby, your milk production is low, or if you need to return to work, a breast pump will be essential.
Medela breast pumps will help you:
- Establish a milk supply: If you have a premature or hospitalized baby: If your baby is unable to nurse in the beginning, having a powerful breast pump to stimulate proper milk production is essential.
- Increase your Milk Supply: Some women have problems establishing an adequate milk supply. Both the Medela Symphony and the Pump in Style are powerful enough to help maximize your supply.
- Reduce Pumping Time: When you’re trying to take care of a newborn AND recover from birth, time is precious. Both the Medela Symphony and Medela Pump in Style allow for double breast pumping with a powerful motor. They will help decrease the amount of time it takes to express the milk your baby needs.
How to Choose Between Medela Symphony vs Pump in Style
- If you need a pump or multiple users (think common workplace pump): Choose Medela Symphony
- If you want the pump to last for a long time (multiple kids!): Choose Medela Symphony
- I need a quiet pump for discreet/non disruptive pumping at work or at night: Choose Medela Pump in Style
- I need a breast pump for medical reasons (for example, a low milk supply or a hospitalized/premature baby): Choose Medela Symphony
- I want to use the same pump I used in the hospital: Chances are good that it was the Medela Symphony! Check with your hospital if you are unsure.
- I need a portable pump with pockets to store supplies: Choose Medela Pump in Style
- I want everything I need for pumping and storing breastmilk in one bag: Choose Medela Pump in Style
- I need to pump to feed twins/multiples: Choose the power and efficiency of the Medela Symphony
The Final Word on Medela Symphony vs Pump In Style
As a well-established and respected company, the customer service and quality products created by Medela will ensure that any Medela breast pump you choose will work well and last for years.
For most women, the Medela Pump-in-Style’s lower price point and portability make it the clear winner. However, if you’ve had milk supply issues in the past or if you need to pump to establish your supply because of a premature or medically fragile baby, the power and reliability of the Medela Symphony can give you unequalled peace of mind.