Comprehensive Guide to Choosing an Insulin Pump: 2022 Edition

*Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This blog is meant to provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for medical care and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.*

title of blog post: comprehensive guide to choosing an insulin pump

Choosing an insulin pump is a very big decision to make with type 1 diabetes. If you choose to use an insulin pump that device will likely be attached to you around the clock for the next four to five years. That's a big commitment to make! There are a number of insulin pumps on the market and it is important to review what features would be best for you and your lifestyle. Some pumps are waterproof, some have larger insulin reservoirs, some have smaller dosing increments, some have tubing, and some are only approved for certain ages. It is important that you take time to consider all the features that insulin pumps may or not may have and how it may fit into your own unique lifestyle as opposed to others.


What are the advantages of a pump

Over the years, insulin pumps have been an alternative method to deliver insulin that eliminates the need for constant injections by a needle or pen. Some of the advantages of choosing an insulin pump over injections include:

  • Fewer needle sticks

  • More precise dosing increments

  • Adjustable insulin delivery

  • Some pumps can mimic the body’s release of insulin

  • Flexibility and privacy

What are the disadvantages of a pump

As popular as insulin pumps are for diabetes management, there are a number of negatives that should be considered if choosing to use a pump.

  • Technical failures carries a high-risk of blood sugars becoming elevated quickly and increases risk for diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Insulin pump technology is helpful, but not a substitute for the brain power needed to manage diabetes

  • Insulin pump users have to be attached to a device 24/7

  • Device malfunctions and increased risk for skin infections at cannula site are more common with insulin pumps than when using injections

  • Insurance companies coverage limitations can make using an insulin pump an expensive management option

How much does an insulin pump cost

Insulin pumps can be costly with and without insurance. Without insurance, a new insulin pump costs about $6,000 out of pocket, plus another $3,000-$6,000 annually for ongoing supplies. The cost varies depending on the features, software, and brand. This does not include the cost of insulin. With insurance, the cost of pumps vary considerably. If you are interested in pumping, consider calling your insurance to discuss what the cost and coverage is like for different brands.


Choosing an insulin pump

When it comes time to finally choose an insulin pump, you want to take time to make sure that it is a good choice for you. Here are some questions you may want to consider to make the most informed decision:

  • What appeals to you about the pump? (look, features, tube, or tubeless?)

  • How easy is the pump to program and use? Is the screen easy to see?

  • How easy are the buttons to push?

  • What reminders and alarms does the pump have? Are there too many or not enough?

  • How finely can basal rates be programmed? How often does auto-basal delivery occur?

  • Is it waterproof? Is it easy to disconnect for showering or swimming?

  • For tubeless pumps, will the adhesive keep from being knocked off? Can you bolus if you forget your PDM?

  • What is customer service like?

  • Is there a warranty?

  • Is there a trial period?

  • How soon do replacements arrive, if needed?

  • Can you upgrade to a newer pump?

  • If the pump is for a child, is it child-proof or child-usable? How easy is it for you to monitor your child’s status when you’re not next to them?

  • Ask insurance about what pumps they will cover.

  • Do you know anyone who uses that particular pump? What is their user experience like?

Comparison of Insulin Pump Features

photo of child wearing medtronic insulin pump

Medtronic Minimed 630G System

  • Tubing: Yes

  • CGM Integration: Yes with Guardian Sensor 3

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments: 0.025, 0.05, 0.1

  • Basal Rate Delivery: Manual settings

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0 to 35 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: SmartGuard Suspend to protect again low blood sugar

  • Waterproof: Yes, 12 feet for up to 24 hours

  • Integrated Meter: Contour Next Link 2.4

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 300 units

  • Approved Age: Age 14 years or older with Guardian Sensor 3 and 16 years or older with Enlite

  • Power Source: 1 AA Battery

  • Warranty: 4 years. Replacement warranty could be up to 5 years for some insurance.

*630G system does not automatically increase basal rates or correction boluses.


Medtronic MiniMed 770G System

  • Tubing: Yes

  • CGM Integration: Yes with Guardian Sensor 3

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments: 0.025, 0.05, 0.1

  • Basal Rate Delivery: AutoMode (option for manual)

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0 to 35 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: Yes. SmartGuard to increase or decrease insulin delivery every 5 minutes with target blood sugar of 120mg/dL

  • Waterproof: up to 12 feet for up to 24 hours

  • Integrated Meter: Accu-Chek Guide Link

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 300 units

  • Approved Age: 2 years and up

  • Power Source: 1 AA Battery

  • Warranty: 4 years. Replacement warranty could be up to 5 years for some insurance.


tandem slim

Tandem Diabetes: T:Slim X2

  • Tubing: Yes

  • CGM Integration: Yes with Dexcom G6

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments: 0.001

  • Basal Rate Delivery: Control IQ/Basal IQ

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0 to 15 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: Yes. Control IQ (adjusts insulin delivery to prevent highs and lows with target glucose of 110mg/dL), Basal IQ (predictive low-glucose suspend technology to reduce frequency and duration of lows)

  • Waterproof: Watertight to 3 feet for 30 minutes

  • Integrated Meter: None, utilizes CGM

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 300 units

  • Approved Age: 6 years and older

  • Power Source: Rechargable

  • Warranty: 4 years

photo of a women wearing omnipod insulin pod on the back of her arm

Omnipod System

  • Tubing: No

  • CGM Integration: No

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments: 0.05

  • Basal Rate Delivery: Manual settings

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0.05 to 33 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: None

  • Waterproof: Pods are waterproof

  • Integrated Meter: PDM has integrated Freestyle meter

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 200 units

  • Approved Age: All ages

  • Power Source: 2 AAA Batteries

  • Warranty: 5 years

Omnipod Dash

  • Tubing: No

  • CGM Integration: No

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments:0 .05

  • Basal Rate Delivery: Manual settings

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0.05 to 30 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: None

  • Waterproof: Pods are waterproof

  • Integrated Meter: Contour Next One meter (not integrated with PDM)

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 200 units

  • Approved Age: All ages

  • Power Source: Rechargeable

  • Warranty: 5 years

Omnipod 5

  • Tubing: No

  • CGM Integration: Yes with Dexcom G6

  • Bolus Calculator: Yes

  • Bolus Increments: 0.05

  • Basal Rate Delivery: Automated (option for manual mode)

  • Basal Rate Delivery Increments: 0.05 to 30 units per hour

  • Automated Insulin Delivery: Yes. SmartAdjust technology is used to automatically increase, decrease, and pause insulin deliverly every 5 minutes to bring glucose to customized target (110-150mg/dL).

  • Waterproof: Pods are waterproof

  • Integrated Meter: None, uses CGM

  • Cartridge/Reservoir: 200 units

  • Approved Age: 6 years and up

  • Power Source: Rechargeable PDM (Some Smart Phones)

  • Warranty: 5 years