Elvie wearable breast pump sits on top of an Elvie box against a flowery wallpaper background

Elvie pump review: Do you really need a wearable, cordless, (expensive), breast pump?

By Kristan Barczak, Mom of two girls, writer, usually in favor of a pizza night, wants to be Chili Heeler when she grows up

The Elvie breast pump retails at $500+ dollars (for a double), and it may or may not be covered by your insurance. So, is this wearable, cordless pump worth it? In this review, we look at pros, cons, purchasing options, and ways to save.

In this article: 

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How we conducted our Elvie pump review

I’m a toddler mom with one on the way, so breastfeeding—thinking about it, planning for it, loving it, dreading it—takes up a fair amount of space in my brain. 

I breastfed my first for about eight months, and I used a Medela pump (primarily because it was covered by insurance and came with a battery pack—so I wasn’t always connected to a wall) to support my supply. I battled supply issues throughout the entire eight months, so even if I wasn’t working, I’d need to pump to help maintain my milk production. Needless to say, wireless, wearable pumps intrigue me. 

I haven’t personally gotten to test the Elvie (yet), so I asked my friend Brooke to try it out with her second child. She used the Elvie pump for about two months before we really sat down to discuss the ins and outs of it, but her first impressions were positive: 

a screenshot of a text message that reads, "Side notes: these Elvie and Willow pumps are a game changer and I wish I had them the first go around"

*Yes, she tested the Willow, too. You can read our Willow 360 review here.

I used a combination of Brooke’s feedback and my own experience to write up this review, which I hope doubles as a buying guide for you. You’ll find Brooke’s pros and cons, but I’ll also walk you through how to get the right size Elvie for you at (hopefully) a better price. 

Your Elvie pump options

Elvie is a women-led company, founded by a leading expert in female health (their story is actually pretty cool). At the time of writing this review, they have several pumps to choose from, including a manual pump and two electric pumps—all of them are wearable (which means they fit inside your pumping bra and don’t hang down from your chest). Here’s a quick overview:

This is a review of the Elvie Pump. We wanted to see how the pump that’s advertised as the smallest and quietest, yet smartest pump in the world measured up to its claims.

Elvie wearable pump and box ft. my friend’s cool wallpaper (I’m not jealous)

Using the Elvie

Finding your size

I didn’t know this until a lactation consultant told me—flanges (the pieces that attach directly to your chest) come in different sizes. It makes sense. After all, people come in different sizes. 

We’ve seen other reviews that mention it’s difficult to know what size you’re getting when you purchase the Elvie—but we didn’t find this to be entirely true. The shopping experience varies by retailer, but, as of writing this review, if you purchase from the Elvie site, you cannot add the pump to your cart without selecting a size. You have two options: 

  • Elvie can help you select your size
  • If you know your size, you can input it yourself
A screenshot from Elvie's website that displays two options: "I don't know my size (we'll walk you through sizing with Elvie)" and "I know my size (we'll calculate the best product combination for your nipple measurement)"

The size of the flange (which Elvie calls a breast shield—not to be confused with a nipple shield, which is optional and serves a totally different function) they send you is based on your nipple size:

A screenshot from Elvie's website that shows sizing options: 15mm, 17mm, 19mm, 21mm, 24mm, and 28mm inserts

Brooke’s flange/breast shield fit perfectly, but their website notes they send additional sizing options at no extra cost.

Setting up the Elvie app

Once you receive your Elvie breast pump, you’ll set up the Elvie app. Brooke said this was easy to do, only taking a few minutes (important if you’re also juggling a brand-new baby). The app connects to your cordless pump via Bluetooth (also reportedly easy to do) and helps you control the suction level and track your milk output. 

Screenshot of the Elvie app, displaying the timer and controls

Charging the Elvie pump 

This is, admittedly, our first Elvie pump drawback. If you order a double pump, you’ll receive two USB charging cables in your box—this also means you’ll need two charging blocks, which are not provided. 

The pumps charge quickly, taking about 2 hours. And, according to the Elvie website, one charge lasts for five pumping sessions. However, Brooke found she needed to charge them after every two pumping sessions to maintain their full suction strength. This is no big deal if you’re only pumping a couple of times a day—but if you exclusively pump or if you pump throughout the day at work, it could become more of an issue. 

Actually using the pump (i.e., suction strength)

Brooke reported that, in general, she had to “adjust her expectations” regarding what a cordless pump can do. It has its strengths… but suction strength isn’t one of them.

She loved that she could use them while getting ready for work once her maternity leave ended and not being attached to a wall felt like a “game-changer,” especially at first. But she also recommends having a hospital-grade pump on hand (which you can usually get through insurance) to help maintain your supply if you pump a lot.

As far as claims that the Elvie is the “quietest, smallest, and smartest” pump on the market… Brooke didn’t notice anything spectacular outright. But, after I asked about it, she noted that the Elvie did, at the very least, seem quieter than the Willow.

Storing the milk

When you pump, your milk goes directly into Elvie’s reusable containers (unlike its top competitor, the Willow pump, which is compatible with storage bags). You might save some money this way, because you don’t have to purchase Elvie’s branded storage bags—for example, you could get this $23 pack of Lansinoh bags from Amazon. However, Brook also had this to say about the milk-transferring process:

“My one knock on the Elvie is the device that catches the milk is so annoyingly shaped. It feels like a game that I don’t want to play trying to get the milk out into the bag.”

So… that’s something worth considering. 

Pricing and where to buy

The Elvie pump retails at a few different places, but there are differences in the shopping experience and what’s included. In the time it took me to write and publish this review, I watched the price fluctuate multiple times on all the sites listed below. It seems like, generally speaking, the full price is $549.99, but it frequently goes on sale. So, keep an eye out!

Important note: No matter where you purchase an Elvie, you can’t return it, because it’s a medical device.

 We break down three options below:

The Elvie website 

At full price, you can purchase the Elvie pump on the Elvie site at the following prices: 

  • Single pump: $299.99
  • Double pump: $549.99

But, I’ve now seen it go on sale for more than 25% off twice, including at the time of publishing this article, which brings the cost of a double down to $412.49.

If you purchase through the Elvie site, you can easily select your size and get an extra breast shield size with your order. Elvie also offers a warranty with products that are sold and shipped by Elvie (i.e., not Amazon). With that, you get a two-year warranty on the hub and a 90-day warranty on all washable parts.

Amazon 

Amazon shows the full retail price for Elvie (the same one you see on their site), but, at the time of writing this, the price is listed at:

  • $229 for a single
  • $440 for a double

The biggest difference between purchasing through Amazon vs. the Elvie site is that you cannot select the breast shield size. All Amazon Elvie pumps come with 24mm breast shields. In the details, Elvie says one additional size option is included, but I could not personally figure out how to add that on via Amazon. User error? Maybe. But as a 21st-century mom, I’m fairly Amazon-savvy. 

I did find additional breast shields available for purchase for $29.99. At the current pricing, my cart subtotal for the double pump + extra breast shields came to $469.99, which is still cheaper than paying full price on the Elvie site. So, it may be worth the extra steps. The only remaining downside is that you aren’t eligible for Elvie’s warranty, although you could purchase Amazon’s protection plan for another $43.99 (for two years). 

Walmart or BuyBuyBaby 

At the time of writing this review, it also looks like you can buy the Elvie pump at both Walmart and BuyBuyBaby. Just like Amazon, you may be able to find the pump cheaper, but you won’t get the warranty or the different breast shield options for free. 

How to save on an Elvie pump: 

If $500+ for a pump seems stiff, we don’t blame you. There are a few ways to save some money:

  1. Insurance: Your insurance might cover all or some of the Elvie pump. In my personal experience, insurance wouldn’t cover a wearable, but it would reimburse a certain percentage. Elvie will help you get in touch with your insurance provider, but it’s worth noting most insurance companies will only cover/reimburse one pump every couple of years. So, if you’re hoping to have a hospital-grade pump, too, you’d be on your own. 
  2. HSA/FSA: If you have one, you can often use money from a health savings or flexible spending account (HSA/FSA, respectively) to pay for the Elvie. 
  3. Purchase the Elvie Stride instead: The Elvie Stride is $259.99 and includes a double wearable pump. The biggest difference seems to be that the Stride has a cord, which connects to a “hub” that controls suction strength (more like a traditional pump). You can clip the hub to your clothes, so that it’s still mostly hands-free. Note: we haven’t tested this pump. 

Our verdict: Is the Elvie pump worth it?

So, is it worth it? Our first impressions were positive, but because of the cost, we think it very much depends on your lifestyle. A wearable, cordless pump, like the Elvie, may be worth it if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • You work outside the house or are otherwise on-the-go a lot
  • You’re able to save some money or get this pump as a registry gift
  • You know you’re going to pump for awhile
  • You like the Elvie better than its competitors, like the Willow 

The Elvie pump is, at worst, a “nice-to-have” item that makes your pumping journey a bit easier—there’s nothing wrong with it outside of the cost, but you may not need it. At best, it’s a time and mental health saver, allowing you to regain some cordless freedom. Because breastfeeding and pumping are such subjective experiences, we hope you can use the information here to decide where you fall on that spectrum. 

To wrap this up, here’s a summary of what we loved and didn’t love:

The awesome

  • Comfort: After finding the proper suction strength, Brooke said the Elvie was very comfortable.
  • Easy-to-use app: The app is easy-to-set up, controls your suction strength without needing any cords, and clearly displays your milk production levels. 
  • Pump anywhere: Maybe the biggest perk of a wearable pump—you can pump anywhere. In the car, in the breakroom, on a hike, on a plane, at your friend’s bachelorette party, you name it. 
  • Correct sizing: Elvie has gotten dinged for this by some other reviewers in the past, so it’s possible they updated their shopping experience (at the time of writing, the headline on their website is literally, “99 problems but the fit ain’t one”). Regardless, it’s now extremely easy to find and select the right flange size as long as your order through Elvie’s site. 
  • Discreet: The Elvie is advertised as quietest, smallest, and smartest wearable on the market—and our reviewer did find it to be quieter than the Willow

The “wish-it-were-different”

  • Suction strength: The drawback of wearable and cordless seems to be that the suction strength isn’t as strong as a hospital-grade pump. Brooke recommends also using a corded pump, like a Medela, which you can typically get through insurance (if you have it). 
  • Battery life: You have to charge your Elvie pump daily. It lasts for five pumping sessions on average, but Brooke found she really needed to charge it after every 2ish sessions to keep pumping strength up. 
  • Milk transferring process: Brooke’s biggest knock on the Elvie—because of the shape of the cups, it’s tough to pour the milk into freezer bags without spilling a drop or two. 
  • Cost: We probably don’t have to tell you twice that the cost kind of sucks… and it’s one of the biggest reasons we think you should only get this pump if you’re going to be pumping a lot and maybe in some not-so-typical places. 

More things to consider:

  • You need to the right pumping bra: For the pump to be truly hands-free, you need a good, supportive pumping bra to hold it in place. 
  • Cleaning isn’t hard, but…: Brooke said most of the parts were super easy to clean, but you probably shouldn’t boil to sterilize, because it could warp some parts. Instead, use sterilizer bags (I find these easier anyway).

What’s next?

That’s all from us for now on the Elvie. We hope you make the best decision for you and/or that you get this as a sweet baby shower gift.

Looking for more reviews?

Check out our extensive baby gear buying guide right over here.

Or, check out our free resources for new and expecting parents right here.

What do you call a cow on a trampoline? … A milkshake!

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Hi, we’re Fathercraft. Our mission is to help guys gain the confidence, skills, and knowledge they need to be an awesome dad. Here you’ll find baby gear reviewsessential baby product recs, and a few things of our own, like our new dad class and our dad bag.

All the best on your journey into fatherhood.

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