Electric vs. Manual Breast Pumps: Which is Right for Me?

Being a mom is all about making decisions, and one of the first big choices you’ll encounter in motherhood is choosing between an electric or manual breast pump. While both are great pump options, one might suit your lifestyle and needs better. 

At Pumps for Mom, we help moms make informed decisions throughout their breastfeeding journeys. With a comprehensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps and a team of knowledgeable Maternity Product Specialists, we’re a one-stop-shop for all motherhood essentials! Below, our experts compiled a guide to electric vs. manual breast pumps to help you choose which is best for you. 

In this blog, our experts break down the differences between electric and manual breast pumps by answering the following questions:

  • What’s the difference between electric and manual breast pumps?
  • What are the pros and cons of electric and manual breast pumps?
  • How do I choose the right pump for me?

What’s the Difference between Electric and Manual Breast Pumps?

The differences between electric and manual breast pumps are pretty straightforward. Resonating with their name, electric breast pumps operate using an electric-powered motor. These pumps use power outlets or batteries to express milk automatically. Meanwhile, manual breast pumps work without electricity. Instead, they are hand-operated. Ultimately, both breast pumps are good options for expressing milk. However, your lifestyle and budget might make you lean more towards one over the other. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Electric and Manual Breast Pumps?

Both manual and electric breast pumps have their fair share of pros and cons. Below, our experts break down the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide which is right for you. 

Electric Breast Pump Pros:

  • Customizable settings
  • Battery power allowing for hands-free pumping
  • Double and single pumping capabilities 

Electric Breast Pump Cons:

  • More expensive 
  • Confinement to a wall outlet with non-battery-powered pumps
  • More difficult to clean

Manual Breast Pump Pros:

  • No need for a power source 
  • Quiet usage
  • Pressure relief from engorgement

Manual Breast Pump Cons:

  • Less pumping efficiency
  • More tiring and strenuous to use

How Do I Choose the Right Pump for Me?

Choosing between an electric and manual breast pump involves evaluating various factors such as budget, lifestyle, and pumping needs. If you’re in the process of making a decision, you should consider the following:


A manual breast pump might be the right choice if you’re on a tight budget. Generally, manual models will be far less expensive than their electric counterparts. However, you might not have to factor in cost if you apply for a free breast pump through insurance. 


Some electric breast pumps can be noisy. For a guaranteed, low-volume pumping experience, opt for a manual breast pump. However, some electric models like the Willow Go™ and Zomee Fit have quiet motors and manageable volumes. 


Electric breast pumps offer customizable settings, allowing you to switch between different suction modes and levels. Ultimately, electric pumps will be your best choice if efficiency is your top concern.


Moms love battery-powered electric pumps for their portability. Without being confined to a power outlet, moms can conveniently pump anytime, anywhere, allowing them to integrate pumping into their busy schedules seamlessly. 

Get a Free Breast Pump through Insurance

Want to get an electric or manual breast pump free through insurance? Pumps for Mom has got you covered! With an extensive catalog of top-rated breast pumps and a knowledgeable team of maternity product specialists, we’re ready to kickstart your breastfeeding journey! Shop our catalog, and head to our form or contact us today to get a free breast pump through insurance.