Hi Mama! Looking for an Elvie pump review? You’re in the right place!
As a breastfeeding and pumping mama to my second baby, I’m on a mission to review as many pumps as possible and spread the word about the pros and cons of them all.
After doing my review of the Willow, it only made sense to do an Elvie pump review too! It’s the other popular, wearable pump on the market, and I had to find out for myself how the two compared.
Here, you’ll find my complete Elvie pump review. In short, it’s convenient and SUPER quiet, but the output, app, and estimation fell a little short in my opinion.
Read on for all the pros and cons of the Elvie pump. Plus a straight up comparison of the Elvie vs Willow. Spoiler alert: I’m team Willow. But you’ll have to scroll down to find out why!
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**Note: All of these pumps I either had at home or have purchased with my own money. There’s no agenda, just my honest thoughts to help you decide on the right pump for you and your lifestyle!**
Elvie pump at a glance
The Elvie pump is a unique double electric pump because it is completely wearable. With the Elvie, you can pump completely hands-free and detached. There’s no wires, cords, tubing – nada!
It’s a self-contained unit that fits right into a stretchy nursing bra. No pumping bra needed, no bottles attached to your boobs. This way of pumping is pretty awesome. Compared to traditional-style pumps, wearable breast pumps seem to be the way of the future.
If you aren’t familiar with traditional pumping, you are typically pretty tied down. Usually, your breast pump is plugged into the wall, and you’re attached to a small device via two tubes. These tubes lead to flanges with collection bottles that attach to each boob. There’s very little room for movement with a traditional style pump.
Right now, there are really only two well-reviewed wearable pumps out there – the Elvie and Willow. And today is all about the Elvie!
What’s included with your Elvie pump?
When you get your Elvie, you get a lot of parts! You can opt to buy a single or double. Honestly, I can’t imagine any reason to get the single. Yes it is cheaper, but it’s definitely not an optimal way to pump.
It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to pump on one side at a time. From an output standpoint and time standpoint, pumping both sides at once (unless you’re feeding baby on the other side) is 100% the way to go.
In your double box, you get:
- The actual pumps (one for each boob!)
- Pump parts including: 4 valves, 4 spouts, 4 seals
- Two different sized flanges (you don’t have to order by size)
- 4 bottles and caps (these go inside each pump and are reusable – I like that you get a back up pair so you’re not constantly washing bottles)
- Bra extenders (nice little add on ?)
- Charging cables (one for each pump)
- Carry bags
Features of the Elvie Pump
- Completely hands free: this is a 100% wearable, no wires, no cords, no tubes breast pump. It fits right inside any regular nursing bra (this is my go to!)
- Connects with an app: your Elvie pump connects to an app that gives you control over the pump and offers tracking features (more on this in the pros and cons below)
- Super quiet: this is a seriously quiet pump, and I’ve used A LOT of different pumps
- Quick to assemble and wash: there wasn’t a big learning curve with the Elvie. It’s very easy to assemble and use
- Two different pumping modes: the Elvie pump has a letdown (stimulation) mode and an expression mode
- Variable suction: you can pump with 7 different “intensity” settings, all controlled from the app
Pros and Cons of the Elvie Pump
Okay, now let’s dive into the pros and cons of the Elvie pump. I want to be straight forward about the pros and cons sections. I am listing these pros and cons in comparison to the Willow.
Because I’m trying out so many pumps, and I’ve already gotten to know the Willow as a wearable breast pump, it made the most sense for me to talk about these pros and cons in terms of the Willow.
I’m hoping this will help you decide which wearable pump (Elvie vs Willow) is right for you!
What I love about the Elvie pump: Pros!
1. It’s SUPER quiet
I freaking love how quiet this pump is! It’s by far the quietest pump evvvver. And mama, I have used a LOT of different pumps.
You can seriously barely hear it when you have it on. This makes for a very discreet pumping experience.
2. The app has some cool features
If I’m being honest, I don’t love the app. But I’ll go over negatives in the con section. The fact is, there are definitely some positives! I love how you can control the pump inside the app.
Willow does not allow this, it only shows you your settings, and then you have to make actual adjustments ON the pump. Elvie allows you to adjust settings inside the app, or on the pump if you need to increase or decrease suction, or pause the pump.
I also like (like the Willow) that you have a log in there of all your previous pumps, and times and amounts and such! It’s cool to be able to track your progress and output.
A huge positive over Willow (in my opinion) is that you can adjust the amounts in the tracking section of the app if the app’s estimates are off. I love this because I can get a really accurate picture of my pumping history!
3. The Elvie works – no doubt about it!
I felt that it emptied just as WELL as the Willow, HOWEVER there was a “initiation period” lol. As in, the first few times I used it I was like WTF why am I only pumping xyz.
But after a few days my boobs got used to the pump and the output was fine! There’s no doubt about it, the Elvie definitely works.
4. It’s less expensive than the Willow
Okay, the price is going to be on the pros and cons. You’ll see more below. But I will say, the Elvie, even being $499, the same price as the Willow, IS overall cheaper because you do not have to buy the bags. It comes with all parts you’ll ever need for it.
So, I do like that you don’t have to keep buying things for it!
I also like that the Elvie is covered partially under more insurance plans than the Willow (from what I have read) so generally you can get it for a cheaper amount. And you can pay for it with your HSA/FSA!
5. It’s smaller and easier to put on than the Willow
The Elvie is a lot smaller and easier to put on than the Willow. This makes it a bit more discreet and has less of a learning curve.
Here’s what I liked in terms of size and use:
- It took me way less time to put on the Elvie and get it going than the Willow
- I could really see if my nipple was correctly lined up with the Elvie when putting it on
- I never got alerts or anything that it was malfunctioning. Sometimes with the Willow it would not even start pumping because it had a weird malfunction, and then you have to take it off and put it back on again. I never experienced that with the Elvie, so that is a huge pro!
Drawbacks to using the Elvie pump: Cons
1.The app’s estimates are way off
Even though there were a few good qualities, overall, I’m NOT a fan of the App. The Willow’s app was much better.
The biggest con is that I do not like how it estimates the amount pumped. For me, it’s always been at least 1-3 oz off, and that just makes me mad because it’s always estimating less. It really starts to play with your head!
And if you are suffering from low supply, it can really kill your confidence when you’ve in fact pumped way more than it thought!
Personally, I would rather it not estimate at all, and then all you do is manually enter the number at the end for tracking purposes.
2. The letdown mode isn’t actually helpful (for me)
Yes, it has letdown mode (and Willow does not) buuutttt this is under cons because I can’t see if I’ve slowed down output enough to need to go back to let down mode. This kind of makes the option to go back to letdown mode pointless in my opinion.
With the Willow, at least you can see your numbers start to slow, so it would make sense if they had a way to do let-down mode again. With Elvie, it’s just an estimation in the app. I can’t see inside the pump while I’m pumping to see if my boobs are still squirting milk, or if they’ve slowed.
I can see how some women would like this feature if you are REALLY in tune with your let downs. Some mamas may just know what it feels like when you need to initiate let down mode but for me it’s pointless.
3. I had to pump longer compared to the Willow
Even though I essentially pumped the same amount, personally I did prefer the Willow because I would pump for less amount of time. With the Elvie, like I said, you can’t really tell when you’re empty…so I would just always pump 16-20 minutes or so, hoping that was enough time.
I would be curious to stop at 11-12 minutes like I did with the Willow, and really see if my output was the same though. It just sucks because you don’t know. So yeah, that is definitely a con.
4. There’s a lot of parts to clean
I also am not a fan of how many parts there are to clean. It’s not TOO many, but vs the Willow (if you don’t use Willow’s reusable container) it’s way more parts to clean.
I should note – from a sustainability and budget standpoint all of these parts may be worth it. You see, the Willow generates a LOT more waste because of their disposable bag inserts. They are also pretty expensive and you have to make sure you keep them on hand.
5. The price is still pretty $$$
Price…yeah like I said in pros, it’s more affordable than the willow….BUT $499 is still a ton. And if you’re going to spend $500 on a pump, I think it should be pretty dang perfect. I’ll get into this a bit more in the complete comparison below, but at that price point, I have to recommend the Willow.
I LOVED that the Willow gave me numbers WHILE I was pumping in real time. It was fast, accurate, and I could see what was going on. This feature seriously justifies the price for me. For $499, I want THAT feature. But, that may not be YOUR need. It is for me.
If you have pumped before and are used to super-strong suction, you will probably not be a fan of the Elvie (or any wearable pump). They’re just not quite as strong.
If suction is important to you, I can’t say enough good things about the Motif Luna Breast Pump! It’s got hospital grade strength and is a great all-around pump.
Elvie vs Willow?
So if you’ve read the rest of the article, my choice is pretty obvious – I do recommend the Willow over the Elvie. All around I like the features of the Willow better. I find it has better suction, allows me to pump faster and the technology is superior. The app is better, and the estimations are far more accurate.
The Willow delivers for the price
For me, if I’m spending $500 on a pump (and that’s out of MY pocket), I need it to have all the bells and whistles – especially on the technology end. And in my opinion, THAT is where the Willow delivers. Being able to see how much you’ve pumped, in real time, as it’s happening, is so awesome.
If insurance will cover it, the Elvie is solid
HOWEVER. If you have your heart set on a wearable pump, and your insurance will cover the cost of an Elvie, then I’d tell you to go for it. It has solid pros (especially over a standard pump) including its ease of use, how quiet it is, and that it is effective at extracting milk.
As of publishing, the Elvie is at least partially covered by far more insurance plans than the Willow. This might make an insurance covered wearable pump a reality for you.
But. If you are paying out of your own pocket, go for the Willow.
And if you can’t justify the price for either…
And if you’re someone that just can’t justify $500 on a pump (I DON’T BLAME YOU!). Learn more about Freemies!
They are a wearable collection system that can be used on almost any pump. It’s a way to make your standard pump (that’s covered by insurance) into a more hands-free portable option. And you can snag them here.
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