Which insulin pump is right for you?

Patient Expert

When I first got my insulin pump 7 years ago, the only pump company I had ever heard of was Medtronic Minimed. Back then I didn't do as much research about products because I was new and didn't really have the experience I do now, and just trusted my diabetes care team to help me make the right decisions. Now, there are about 6 different insulin pumps on the market that you can choose from. Gotta love advances in technology

Before I explain all the manufacturers, I want to give you a fast description of insulin pumps.

What exactly is an insulin pump?

If you don't know what an insulin pump is, it is a mechanical device that is a little bigger than the size of a beeper. (remember those?) It is worn on the outside of your pants or hooked on to a belt. (below) You can also hide it inside of a bra, put it inside a tight fitted sock or create pump pockets inside of your clothes. The wire is pretty long. (You can really get creative, I even had a pump pocket made inside of my wedding gown when I was married)

This is me wearing my Minimed Paradigm Insulin pump. As you can see I hook it up on my belt.

Insulin pump

The insulin pump delivers fast acting insulin (humalog or novolog) into your body through an infusion set and inside your body there is a small flexible plastic needle inside where the insulin gets absorbed.(below)

This is what an infusion looks like when it comes out of your body. I wear the Minimed Quicksets.

infusion set

You have to change your infusion set 2-3 days depending on how much insulin you use during the day. Most people are about 3 days. You move it around your stomach, thigh, your upper butt and arms. My preference is my stomach (photo 1, above) and butt because it hurts less there, and less likely to get pulled out by accident.

The insulin pump is like a mini computer you program it to tell when you need more or less insulin during the day. Those are called basal rates and act as your "long acting insulin" such as NPH or Lantus. The best part is that you can have different basal rates all day. I have about 6 different rates. If you need more insulin in the morning also known as Dawn Phenonomenon (which being on the pump can help tremendously with) you can set that as a separate rate then lets say then before you go to the gym. It really helps in getting you in better control. Your rates can change all the time depending on hormones, lifestyle changes, stress, and exercise.

Another term you should know is bolus rates. They are your insulin to carb ratios and take the place of sliding scales. You use bolus rates only when you eat. Bolus rates can also be different depending on the time of the day as well. For me I need more insulin at breakfast for the same amount of carbs I have a lunch. Bolus rates can change all the time as well depending on your basal rates.

When you are considering an insulin pump you should really research each company and what they offer to see which is right for you and your lifestyle. I am going to run through each insulin pump on the market today and give you the different features and help take the leg work out, and maybe this can help you with your decision in finding an insulin pump that is right for you.

First up


OneTouch PingAnimas Corporation -** Precision Basal Dosing** - 0.025 U/hr

  • Personalized settings- You can name your different rates
  • Precision bolus dosing - 0.05 U
  • EzCarb - pump and meter can calcuate a bolus to cover food eaten
  • EzBG - pump and meter can automatically calculate   a correction dose based on your latest blood sugar reading.
  • Insulin on Board - Keeps track of bolus insulin that is still active in your body, preventing hypoglycemia.
  • Bolus delivery options -

Normal bolus: Calculate the amount and deliver it all at once within seconds.Combo bolus: Calculate the amount and split it, so some is delivered right away(normal bolus) and the rest is delivered over time (extended bolus) to cover high-fat meals or "grazing".

  • Remote Capabilities - Blood glucose results, bolus calculations and bolus instructions can be delivered from the meter-remote to the insulin pump, from up to approximately 10 feet away.
  • Extended Battery Life - lithium battery, which lasts 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Fast facts - View on-screen summaries of your blood glucose results over time in the meter-remote like an electronic logbook.
  • Mac and PC compatible -** Colors**- blue, silver, black, pink, green

cozmo pump

Deltec Cozmo --** UPDATE: This pump is no longer available. See here for more info!**
Smiths Medical MD, Inc.

  • Hypo Managerâ„¢ Feature - Recommends the amount of carbohydrates to eat to bring you back to your target when you have a low blood sugar.
  • Last Program Bolus - Indicates the insulin amount already delivered if an extended bolus is being delivered or if you interrupt or cancel a bolus.
  • QuickStartâ„¢ Feature - Gives you easy step-by-step access to set up the basic functions on the Deltec Cozmo ® pump.
  • Snooze Featurn Site Change Reminders - Lets you push a button to delay or "snooze" a site change reminder.
  • Summary Bolus History Reports - Displays the insulin units delivered for the 30 most recent boluses.
  • Therapy Effectiveness Scorecard - Provides 2 screens that show average percentages; including average number of carbohydrates per day, total daily dose (TDD), type of bolus delivered, average blood glucose value, average number of tests, and standard deviation as it relates to average blood glucose value.
  • Backlight - Lets you choose to have the backlight on whenever the Deltec Cozmo ® pump is "awake" or only when you press the down arrow from a home screen.
  • Basal Testing - Lets you do a fasting basal pattern test to be sure your basal rates are set accurately.
  • Enhanced Meal Maker ® Carbohydrate Calculating Feature with CozFoodsâ„¢ List - Provides a database of commonly eaten foods with their carbohydrate content. Customizable.
  • Disconnect Bolus - You can take a portion of your projected basal insulin before you disconnect and the rest when you reconnect.
  • Weekly Schedule - Set customized basal patterns, missed bolus alerts, and custom alerts to happen automatically by time and day of the week.
  • Colors - blue, black, atomic purple


Medtronic Minimed
MiniMed Paradigm ® REAL-Time Insulin Pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring System 522   or 722

  • Continuous glucose monitoring technology - Displays updated glucose values every five minutes.

  • The Bolus Wizard Calculator - Bolus dosing calculator suggests a bolus dose based on personal settings, food intake, and current blood glucose value.

  • Adjustable active insulin curves - Active insulin curves selectable between 2 and 8 hours in duration. Defaults to six hours.

  • Choice of two reservoir capacities - Model 522: 176 units. Or Model 722: 300 or 176 units.

  • CareLinkâ„¢ Personal Therapy Management Software for Diabetes - Web-based system transforms data from your MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump, blood glucose meters

  • The OneTouch ® UltraLinkâ„¢ Meter - Wireless blood meter communicates with MiniMed Paradigm insulin pumps remotely.

  • Programmable reminders and alerts

  • Personalized ratios / factors / targets / presets

  • LCD backlight

  • Child lock-out feature

  • Water resistant

  • PC download

  • Colors - clear, smoke, blue, purple


Omnipod Insulin Management System
Insulet Corporation

  • Integrated Infusion Set: Each OmniPod features an integrated angled infusion set with automated cannula insertion and no tubing -** Basal Programs and Segments:**   7 programs with up to 24 segments each.

  • Programmable in 30 minute increments

  • Basal Increments and Maximum: 0.05 U/hr increments, up to 30 U/hr

  • Integrated FreeStyle ® blood glucose meter

  • Integrated food database with over 1000 common food items

  • Setup wizard

  • Bolus calculator

  • Programmable reminders and alerts

  • Personalized ratios / factors / targets / presets

  • LCD backlight

  • Child lock-out feature

  • Colors - white


ACCU-CHEK Spirit insulin pump system

  • A free Palm PDA or a Treo smart phone for an additional charge to perform bolus calculations and enable easy carb counting -** Accu-Chek Pocket Compass software** with bolus calculation
  • Choice of carrying case
  • Three operating menus
  • Four bolus options
  • Five basal rate profiles
  • Side-mounted tactile buttons for no-look delivery, together with a bolus calculator on a separate PDA device.
  • Alternate basals
  • Extended boluses
  • Two easy methods for precise bolus delivery
  • Vibration and audio modes
  • Precise measurement of residual insulin
  • a continuous clear display, backlighting
  • Additional memory for basals and boluses
  • Waterproof
  • A single AA alkaline or rechargeable battery lasts around 4 weeks.
  • Basal insulin delivery occurs every 3 minutes, regardless of basal rate.
  • 315 unit cartridge.
  • Bi-directional infrared (IR) port.
  • PC download
  • Child-block
  • Colors - Blue, with 30 pump skins in colors and styles

The Amigo Pump
Nipro Diabetes Systems

  • Four basal profiles with up to 48 basal rates in a 24-hour period and a temporary profile that can be set in either units per hour or a percentage of the current basal profile.
  • Delivers insulin every three or 15 minutes in as little as five hundredths of a unit.
  • Bolus delivery options - Normal, Extended and Layered; and a Direct Bolus for delivering insulin through clothing without looking at the pump.
  • Bolus Estimator -calculates the bolus for food and high blood glucose
    correction so no manual calculation is needed.
  • Shatter, resistant, waterproof case.
  • Syringe cap with 90% infusion-set connector so it lies flatter and has no point sticking out to catch on skin or clothing.
  • Safety features - Notifies users when insulin is low, when to test blood glucose and and when you exceed hourly insulin delivery quotas.
  • Colors - solar, pacific, white, grape, midnight, flamingo.

As you can see there are different features for each pump that make each one different and unique, but whichever one you choose will help you will gain tighter control and more flexibility within your own schedule. Eating when and what you want, less hyper/hypogylcemia and you won't have to worry about being on a set schedule with shots and snacks.

I hope that my pump comparisons will help you choose the pump that is right for you. (Stay tuned for Part 2 which will be comparisons of different infusions sets for the pump.)