While there are many different insulin pumps available on the market, there are typically two kinds of pumps you can get.
The first kind is a traditional insulin pump. This pump uses a tube to connect the pump to the cannula. The controls are located on the pump, which is kept in your pocket.
The second type of insulin pump is a patch pump. A patch pump has either a small tube or no tube at all. The pump itself is stuck onto the skin, and the controls are located on a separate device that's wireless.
When you've got so many options, it's hard to decide which one is going to fit your needs best. Let's take a look at our list of the top six best insulin pumps currently available.
Why Are These the 6 Best Insulin Pump Options?
Our review process includes looking in-depth at each product. We detail the specifications and talk about the technical side of these insulin machines. To conclude, we finish each review with a star rating out of five, based on how we’ve found the product.
Additionally, we tell you how much each product costs so you can compare and contrast. Let’s check out our definitive list of the top six insulin pump options out there.
Best Insulin Pumps: Tandem T:flex and T:slim x2
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The same company, Tandem manufacture both of these insulin pump options. They're almost identical in functionality and appearance, which is why we're going to review them together.
The t:slim x2 has kept up with technology, allowing for updates of existing features by downloading them from the company's website. The high-tech appearance is modern with a full-color touchscreen.
The dimensions of these two insulin pumps are compact and thin, which is great for when you want to carry it around with you. When you’re at home, you can leave this insulin pump on a bench or in a draw because it works with Bluetooth.
Because this device can be recharged, you don’t have to worry about needing to replace any batteries. They can calculate boluses up to 50 units, with the history of past measurements featured on the screen.
The carb calculator can function for up to 72 hours. You can also customize reminders for missed bolus counts for either daily or weekly. Speaking of reminders, these insulin pumps alert you for high temperatures.
Like all products, there are downsides to these insulin pumps as well.
While these insulin pumps do feature a touchscreen, the buttons can be hard to press. Additionally, the screen goes black after just a few tries.
Because neither of these pumps comes with an attached clip, the device must be in the clipped back if you want to take it with you and attach it to your clothing. Both pumps will vibrate for reminders. However, sometimes this vibration can be hard to feel.
Overall, these are great pumps that offer the latest in insulin pump technology.
Best Insulin Pump Industry Leader: Medtronic MiniMed 670G with Guardian
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The next pump on our list has a reputation that precedes it. Medtronic is already known for manufacturing great products in this industry, so their longstanding experience certainly helps with the quality of this product.
All data received and gathered by this pump is displayed in a user-friendly way on the screen. There is also an automatic shut-off system when low glucose is detected by a sensor in the machine, which could potentially help to avoid life-threatening situations.
The basal adjustment itself is automatic, based on the readings they collect and predicted algorithms.
This pump comes with a slim clip that's detachable which means you can decide whether you want to carry it around with you or not. The meter that is independent of the device itself doubles as a remote for blousing when you need to.
If you have boluses and temperatures that are used frequently, these can be set to automatic.
All your data that is stored on the Medtronic MiniMed can be downloaded onto Medtronic’s Carelink program which you’ll find online.
You can choose between a slow or fast bolus delivery.
One downside to this pump is that putting it on auto mode requires a higher level of interaction with the pump and technical know-how. If you’re not that good with technology, you may struggle with some of the more advanced features.
Medtronic MiniMed 630G with Enlite
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When an industry like this has a couple of pumps available from the same company, you know that you’re in good hands. This is especially true when the company has a good reputation like Medtronic.
While there’s not too much difference between the MiniMed 760G and the MiniMed 630G, there certainly are some notable options that will determine which one you ultimately choose.
This Medtronic MiniMed, like the 760G, has automatic basal shutoff and a full-color, high-contrast screen so that it’s easy to read your information.
Additionally, this insulin pump has the option of connecting it to your smartphone. The slim detachable clip also means that you can keep it close at hand, just in case.
This pump also comes with an integrated meter that can be used as a remote for blousing. You can preset your frequently used temp basals and boluses and can download all of your personal information onto the Carelink program online.
You also get to receive your carb and insulin statistics. This is great if you’re someone who likes to keep a close eye on things.
There are a couple of downsides to this device. One is that the low-suspend feature that’s automatic may just end up being disruptive and ultimately counter-productive.
If you need backup pumps, these aren't included in the initial cost. Because the attached clip is upside down, you may have trouble connecting it somewhere that's convenient.
While this pump has the latest in touchscreen technology, the screen itself is quite small and can be hard to navigate.
Pump on a Budget: Insulet Omnipod Insulin Pump
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The biggest advantage to our next insulin pump option, right out of the gate, is the cost. While you may have to end up spending a bit further down the line, the up-front costs are reduced. This is perfect if you’re on a tight budget and need something straight away.
One thing we love about this pump is that you can program it from a few feet away, through clothing.
The pump size is compact and discrete and doesn’t come with any tubing. This helps to minimize the amount of insulin waste and avoids any snagging.
The automatic insertion of the cannula also makes this an appealing device. This is because it minimizes room for human error and reduces the level of discomfort you’ll feel.
The pump itself is completely watertight, so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet too much. Both the boluses and temp basals can be preset and customized for your personal needs.
The color screen is large, and so is the text, which makes it nice and easy to read. Because there are only two components to this pump, it’s ideal if you do a lot of traveling.
When it comes to the negatives, we think that the programmer itself is quite bulky. The pods themselves can create an unsightly bulge on the skin. Additionally, you can't make any setting changes without the programmer, so it's best to keep the two parts together.
Medtronic 530G with Enlite
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As we’ve previously mentioned, there are only a handful of companies who manufacture and produce insulin pumps. This is why three of the pumps we’re reviewing on our list come from the same company.
The Medtronic 530G is a pump that comes with an integrated Enlite system. This system allows any data to be displayed on the screen of the pump.
It also has an automatic shut-off system when it detects low levels of glucose. You can connect this insulin pump with your smartphone, which is optional so that you can share your data.
The bolus programming is quick and straightforward, and the detachable clip is streamlined and slim. Additionally, this pump accepts radio communication from a number of different meters for blood glucose.
This modern Medtronic pump generates all necessary details, including carbohydrate and insulin statistics.
However, like the other pumps on our list, this product does have its downsides as well. One of the most significant disadvantages to it is that it's not watertight. You also to purchase the Enlite system along with the pump itself – these two components aren’t sold separately, which makes it more expensive.
The LCD screen is low-contrast, which makes it hard to read sometimes if you’re in a lot of light. The delivery of bolus is slow, so this isn’t for those of you who need it to be quick and efficient.
Lastly, you have to pay for any backup pumps. Overall, we think this is an excellent option for your insulin pump.
Animas Vibe Insulin Pump
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The last pump on our list comes from a different company entirely. However, just the same as all the other pumps on our list, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
This device can hold a maximum of 35 units of bolus. It's completely watertight and comes with a full-color screen that's conveniently bright, making it easy to read.
It has a high rate of accurate dosing, which is vital particularly when you’re administering smaller doses. While it doesn’t run on a charger, it does require batteries. However, these can last between six to eight weeks.
The timeout setting, occlusion sensitivity and delivery rate of the bolus are all user-defined. You can adjust the tune for alerts so that it’s set at something you prefer personally.
The cartridges themselves are incredibly easy to fill without the risk of any air bubbles. The sturdy metal clip means that this device will stay with you.
Now, let's take a look at a couple of the setbacks. Unfortunately, it does not have the capability of connecting with a blood glucose meter. The algorithm used for data is an older generation program so that it may be a little out of date and irrelevant.
When you charge the batteries, they also require re-priming which can be slightly inconvenient. You can’t see the cartridge inside the pump, which means that you have to test blind.
No statistics or data averages are displayed on the screen, either.
Overall, this is an excellent option if you don't need all the modern, extra features, and just want a pump that does the job.
Looking at the Top 6 Best Insulin Pump Options
While you may not think you have much of a choice when it comes to what insulin pump you use, you do. Your healthcare professional may have shown you a couple of options. However, it’s important to know that there are many more to choose from.
When you look at our list of the best 6 insulin pump options, you’ll have a much better idea of which one is going to work best for you.
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