It can be tricky to figure out what size lancet or pen needle will work best for you, especially if you're newly diagnosed with diabetes and trying to learn all of the ins and outs that come with this condition. Here is an easy guide to understanding how lancet sizes and pen needle sizes work, so you can figure out which sizes are right for you.
Understanding Needle Depth vs. Needle Gauge
The first detail you'll likely notice when inspecting a box of lancets is the needle term you will see when looking at a lancet is needle gauge, which refers to the width of the needle.
It’s important to understand that needle gauge sizing is somewhat counterintuitive. The LARGER the number, the SMALLER the needle. Our lancets come in two different needle gauges: a 30 gauge needle and a 28 gauge needle. The 30 gauge needle is our smallest size whereas the 28 gauge needle is our largest. The same principle applies to our pen needles, which are available in 32 gauge (smallest) and a 31 gauge (slightly larger) size.
Next, you’ll need to understand the depth of the needle. Luckily, this is fairly straightforward: the deeper the needle goes, which is measured in millimeters (mm), the more blood will be drawn. Depending on if you are using a safety lancet vs. a traditional lancet this will vary.
For traditional lancets, you set the depth on your own lancing device - often ranging from 1-10mm. 1mm is the lowest setting, so it will be the least invasive prick. If you’re not getting enough blood, you should go up from there.
On the other hand, Pip Lancets – which are considered safety lancets – offer the convenience of an all-in-one device. This means you don’t have to set the needle depth on your device; the lancet itself is already set to the proper depth. Pip Lancets come in three different depths: 1.0mm, 1.6mm, and 1.8mm.
Our pen needles also follow the same criteria. When using pen needles, you’ll simply load them into your pen device, without needing to set the depth. Since pen needles typically involve injecting medicine into the body, they generally go deeper than a lancet. Pip Pen Needles are offered in 4.0mm depth and 5.0mm depth.