Types of Lancets

After being first diagnosed with diabetes, there can often be a range of emotions.  How could I have prevented this? What will my life be like? What will my friends think?  I HATE needles – how am I supposed to poke myself on a daily basis?

All of these questions are compounding on top of the already overwhelming concept of all these different supplies and costs and how to manage all of this. Your endocrinologist and your Diabetes Educator will explain much of these products as they all have their preferences – but what often gets overlooked is the lancet – the ONLY product in the kit that has the potential to cause physical pain!

What Is A Lancet?

Lancets are small plastic cylinders that contain a sterile steel needle held within a lancing device. The lancet needle is used to poke a small hole in the skin of a finger for a blood sample to check blood glucose levels. Lancets are most commonly used by people with diabetes. 

Different Type Of Lancing Devices

There are hundreds of different “brands” of diabetes lancets, but at the end of the day they all boil down to practically two varieties – Traditional Lancets vs Pip Lancets. In this article, we explore the differences and pros and cons of the two types.                                                               

Lancet Device


Traditional Lancets

First, let’s look at the most common type of lancet that is available on the market today and what is presented 99% of the time in meeting with Certified Diabetes Educators.

What is a traditional lancet?

Traditional lancets are what we commonly think of when we hear the term “Lancet”.  Other common names are “pokers”, “needles”, or “lancers”. Quite simply, they are a molded piece of plastic with a round cap. Underneath the round cap is a sharp needle.  To expose the needle, simply twist off the round plastic cap.

Lancets are small plastic cylinders that contain a sterile steel needle held within a lancing device. The lancet needle is used to poke a small hole in the skin of a finger for a blood sample to check blood glucose levels. Lancets are most commonly used by people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Lancet Comparison


How it works

A traditional diabetes lancet can be used entirely on its own by simply jabbing the needle into your finger just enough to get a blood drop, but doing so can be quite painful.  Therefore, the overwhelming majority of people prefer to use lancets in conjunction with a “lancing device” or a “lancer”.

A new lancet should be used for each finger prick for a clean lancet. Do not reuse the same lancet because it can become dull and may cause more pain and bleeding. The lancet needle is very tiny and thin making it prone to bending after one use. 


How to use a diabetes lancet


   How To Use a Lancet Device

  1.       Open the cap of the lancing device
  2.       Load in the unused lancet
  3.       Twist off the round cap to expose the needle
  4.       Recap the lancing device
  5.       Adjust the depth setting – this will specify the puncture depth into your skin
  6.       Cock the device
  7.       Place the lancing device on your finger
  8.       Click the button to fire the lancet
  9.       Gently squeeze fingertip to produce adequate blood sample.  Then follow glucose meter instructions to test your blood sugar.
  10.   After use, remove the lancing device cap again.
  11.   Recap the lancet with the round cap.
  12.   Carefully remove the used lancet from the lancing device and place in a sharps container or hard plastic container – like a laundry detergent bottle.

Learn more about how to use a lancet


Most traditional lancets are generic in design and therefore are compatible with a wide variety of lancing devices.  But some brands of lancets are only compatible with their own lancing device. A few examples of the latter are: Softclix lancets, Multiclix, etc.

Practically all regular lancets are compatible with any type of glucose meter.

Not Are All Lancets Are Universal To All Lancet DevicesSome lancets are universal, but not all of them. Rounded in shape are common, while others are square shapes. Your lancet fit must into your lancet device. Some lancets are single-use while others come in groups called Multiclix.

Features to Check When Selecting a Lancet Device

You should look for lancets and devices with small needle gauge sizes and those that allow for easy and safe disposal. Self-contained units are the safest. They come is different colors and sizes.

The first lancets made were 23 and 25 gauge. Today, the most commonly used lancets are sizes 28 or higher.

The higher the gauge number, the small, thinner the needle. A higher gauge (smaller diameter) will result in less pain but may not penetrate thick skin

Where to Purchase a Lancing Device

Traditional lancets are widely available over the counter at your local pharmacy or online.  The costs vary widely across the board. From very inexpensive to quite costly. 

The primary benefit to traditional lancets is cost. If you use a clean lancet on each test and you shop around a little bit, you’ll probably be able to find lancets for about $0.05 each – or $5 per 100 lancets – which comes out to about $3 per month if you test an average of twice per day.  However, if you like to reuse your needles, then you can use regular lancets practically for free – a $5 box of 100 could potentially last you the rest of your life. 

Pip Lancets - Safety Lancets

The other option which is commonly not mentioned in meetings with your diabetes educator, is a Pip Lancet, or safety lancet.  Pip is a hospital-grade product which has historically only been provided in hospitals but is now available to anyone.

What is a Pip Lancet?

Pip Lancets are a single-use, 2-in-1 device that eliminate 80% of the steps associated with traditional lancets, provide for safer disposal, and typically eliminate the pain and anxiety associated with regular lancets.

Pip Lancets feature a body, with a twist off cap, and a pre-loaded – but never exposed – retractable needle on the interior of the device.  

How Pip Lancets work
How Pip Lancets Work

While traditional diabetic lancets require the use of an additional “lancing device”, Pip Lancets are 2-in-1.  So there is no additional device needed to draw blood.

The steps to use Pip lancets are as follows:

  1.       Twist off the white cap
  2.       Apply pressure to the fingertip to activate the needle
  3.       Gently squeeze fingertip to produce sufficient blood sample. Then  follow glucose meter instructions to test your blood sugar.
  4.       Discard of used lancet – after use the needle is not exposed, but we still recommend a sharps container or plastic container for good measure.

    Taking A Blood Sample


    Like regular diabetes lancets, Pip Lancets are compatible with ALL glucose meters. 

    Because the device is all-in-one, the user need not worry about compatibility with other lancing devices.

                                                   Purchase Lancets                                                           


    Pip Lancets


    Pip Lancets are available for purchase on our website or from Amazon.com.  We also have lancet subscriptions available. When purchased from PipLancets.com – you will receive a significantly discounted Starter Pack which will include some of each size and a carry case – all for just $9.95.


    Pip Lancets are not currently available in retail pharmacies because it is a relatively new product. We hope to change this in the future! 


    Pip Lancets are priced at $0.15 per lancet sold at a price of $14.95 per 100 lancets – or $9 per month if you test an average of twice per day – about $6 more per month than regular lancets. 


    Being newly diagnosed with diabetes and having to learn all the ins and outs of all the different products that are required and/or available can be overwhelming.  But when it comes to lancet choices, the options are fairly simple. It’s up to you to determine which is the best lancet that fits your lifestyle and is easiest for you.