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This is a detailed reviews of Spectra M1 breast pump. I got curious on this little pump ever since I tried Spectra S1 breast pump (click here for my Spectra S1 detailed reviews).
A lot of moms rave on its powerful suction (comparable to S1), yet it comes in a much smaller and lighter design, which make it very portable to tote in the go. So, how’s my experience trying out this little breast pump. Read further to know more.
Table of Contents
Spectra M1 is a single electric breast pump that has a simple design, yet powerful enough to drain your breast efficiently. With additional T-connector, you can easily convert this single pump for dual pumping.
- Breast pump type: electric, run on power source or built-in battery (which last up to 1.5 hours)
- Single/double: can be used for both single and double pumping
- Suction adjustment: yes, up to 5 different suction levels
- Speed adjustment: automatically adjusted based on suction level
- Breast flange size: 28 mm standard size (other sizes are available but sold separately: 24mm, 32mm).
- Size: 11x7x7 cm
- Weight: 500 gr
- Available at: Amazon (in Amazon you get this as a dual breast pump)
What You Get Out of The Box
Depends whether you buy it as a single breast pump set or dual breast pump set.
If buying as dual breast pump, you’ll get:
- Pump motor
- Tubing (x2)
- Back flow protector (x2)
- Breast flange (x2)
- White valve (x2)
- Wide-neck milk bottle (x2)
- Bottle caps (x2) and sealing discs
- Bottle teats (x2)
- Bottle stands (x2)
- Power adaptor
- T-connector (to enable double pumping)
Here’s a great video by Ellie showing you the features of Spectra M1 breast pump.
I got mine as a single pump, so the parts are less, and I’ve changed the bottle to my Avent bottle (preferable since it is more durable).
If you get yours as a single pump and want to upgrade to dual breast pump, here’s what you need to get:
- Back flow protector
- Breast flange + valve
- T-connector (choose the new version if possible, since it allows switching from dual to single pumping seamlessly).
Some merchant sells items 1-3 as a set (called Spectra collection kit) with lower price.
Highlights of Spectra M1
#1 Super strong suction
Love, love, and love this. Don’t let its physical size fool you. Despite its small size, the suction strength of this breast pump is super powerful. Remember I told you that I used level 10 (out of 12 available suction levels) in Spectra S1? With Spectra M1, suction level 3 (out of 5) is powerful enough to drain my breast.
Just like its big sister, M1 has a maximum suction at 300 mmHg, higher than other breast pump brands.
#2 Unique suction for more comfortable pumping experience
M1 expression phase starts with a little bit of nipple vibration followed by a long and deep suction. This vibration helps me to get faster let-down. I’ve never felt any discomfort despite using it at pretty high suction level. Yes, I’ve tried level 4 and 5, no pain. It is very comfortable.
RELATED: 10 Ways To Encourage Let-Down Faster
#3 Adjustable suction strength + cycle speed (5 levels)
Spectra M1 has 5 different settings for massage mode and expression mode. The speed is automatically adjusted as the suction strength increases/decreases. Initially, I thought, 5 levels may not be sufficient, but after I tried it by myself, I can attest that 5 is just nice. The suction strength varies quite evenly across different levels. So if you are not a fan of powerful suction, you can still use this pump, but simply use lower level, e.g. level 1 or 2.
One thing to be noted. As the suction increases, the cycle speed decreases. That means, with strongest suction = long suction. While I’m not particularly a fan of long suction (I always thought it slows down the pumping process), with M1 it feels different. The cycle speed setting is just RIGHT. Yes, with much longer suction, I can actually see that M1 is more effective in drawing out milk from the breast. So, eventually, it empties breast faster with less number of cycles. So, again, I think, it is so well-designed such that the settings between suction strength and cycle speed really match each other.
#4 Closed system
Spectra M1 has back flow protector installed between its tubing and breast shield. It prevents breast milk or moisture to enter the tubing (and subsequently the pump motor) which may create mold and damage the motor. This makes it a more hygienic pump, with longer durability of pump motor, and suitable of multiple user sharing. Each user simply needs to have her own milk collection kit (breast shield, valve, and back flow protector).
This is the WOW factor for Spectra M1. Imagine, despite its light and small design (500 gram is very light), this breast pump has powerful suction, enough selection of suction/speed levels, closed system, and can be used for both single and dual pumping? For me, it’s really amazing and such a steal deal in its current price (check the latest price here!) I believe this factor is a plus point especially if you plan to tote the breast pump around for work, traveling, and pumping on the go.
#1 Built-in rechargeable battery
With rechargeable battery, you can pump any where without needing to be close to electric plug. The full battery can last for 1.5 hour pumping time. With typical 3-5x pumping session daily, you will need to charge the battery every day.
There is a battery indicator on the pump panel, which is nice so that you know when you need to charge. And one more plus point, the suction strength does not vary based on battery power. I’ve been pumping with battery indicator showing that it’s almost empty, yet the suction is as strong as if the battery is full.
#2 Auto shut-off after 30 minutes
This is a safety feature that if the pump has run continuously for 30 minutes, it will automatically turned off. Great for mothers who pump in wee hours while battling off sleepiness.
#3 It memorizes our last pump setting
This is a pretty nice feature, considering not all breast pump has this. So, you don’t need to adjust the suction level every time you pump. Once you have a comfortable level, the pump memorizes this for you (this include suction level for both massage and expression mode, and they can be different setting). For example, I am using level 5 for massage mode and level 3 for expression mode, and the pump memorizes these 2 settings.
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#1 Pump motor is not for heavy usage.
This pump is designed for typical 3-5x daily use. If you overuse this, say, by pumping 8x a day or more, the motor will die very quickly. I’ve heard quite a number of stories of Spectra M1 stop operating even before 6 months because it was used for exclusive pumping. So, EP mamas, if you are interested in Spectra, don’t buy this. Choose Spectra S1 instead.
#2 Limited flange size and not compatible with Pumpin Pals
Currently Spectra offers only 4 sizes: 20 mm, 24 mm, 28 mm, and 32 mm, which is pretty limited compared to what offered by Medela / Maymom. But fret not. You can connect Medela breast shield to Spectra pump using this simple hack. Alternatively, you can buy Spectra-compatible breast shield by Maymom (it contains a little connector to connect Medela / Maymom shields to Spectra back flow protector => this little piece is so valuable).
#3 The pump motor can get noisier over the time.
While a new Spectra M1 would be nearly silent, with continuous usage the motor gets noisier, even though it is still in acceptable level. I think this is a typical problem for breast pumps with small motor. My Medela Swing also has this exact problem. With that said, once it gets noisy, I won’t be comfortable using it to pump in my office cubicle (working moms, take note of this!)
#4 No LED display & night light
Unlike S1, Spectra M1 does not have LED display. The pump panel consists of power button, toggle button to switch between massage and expression mode with light indicator (light is on during massage mode), + and – button to increase/decrease suction, and battery indicator. So no timer showing you how long have you been pumping. And no night light option. While I think this simple design is more than sufficient for my usage, it may not for mothers used to pump in wee hours. If you are looking for similar portable breast pump but with LED display and night light, do try Milk Genie Plus or Spectra 9+ breast pump
#5 Inconsistent mode when turned on
Spectra M1 would turn on in the last mode before it was turned off. So, if you turned it off in expression mode, the next time it turns on, it will be expression mode, and vice versa. Noting that the suction in expression mode is quite powerful, I would suggest you to ALWAYS switch to massage mode before turning off the pump.
#6 Need to press button firm enough
The buttons in the pump panel are kind of flat button, hence it can be misleading thinking that it will response with soft touch. Wrong, press firmer just like you press regular button.
Who is this breast pump for?
Spectra M1 is perfect for working moms and stay at home moms who pump a typical 3-5 times a day (or even less). I guess the portability is one of the best-selling factor which makes it appealing for any mothers.
If you are exclusively pumping, or trying to build your supply in the early days when your baby unable to nurse effectively, this pump will work, but may not be durable enough for you. Go for hospital-grade breast pumps that are more powerful and heavy-duty.
Spectra M1 is a great little pump which offers portability and simple yet nice design and great suction/speed variation. Powerful suction and portable are two of its best-selling factor. Combined with its very affordable price, it is really a best deal for moms. Unless you need a heavy-duty pump (which M1 is not), I would strongly recommend you to try Spectra M1. You won’t regret it!
Not only me recommends this breast pump. You can read more reviews here
Or, if you need a heavy-duty model, check my detailed review of Spectra S1 breast pump.
I hope this reviews help you to learn more about the features and capabilities of Spectra M1 breast pump.
Have you tried Spectra M1 breast pump before? How was your experience? Or do you have other model that you prefer more?
If you have any questions regarding this pump, feel free to ask me in the comment, and I’ll try to help as much as possible.