Guide to Pump Choosing

One of the questions I see asked most often on Facebook, Reddit, and other places that people discuss diabetes is: “My Endo said YES to a pump! Which one should I get?”. It’s a question with no clear-cut answer. While I’m thoroughly convinced that I made the right choice for me with the Tandem t:slim X2 that I use, I’m not about to say that it’s necessarily the best pump for everyone. Below is something that I’ve copy-pasted into various forums so many times that I’ve lost count. It’s the 4-step process that I developed and used when making my choice, and I think it’s a solid set of rules/general concepts to whittle down your options and actually come to a rational decision that will be the best for you.

  • Step 1: Find out what your insurance will cover. Some insurance companies restrict which pumps/brands of pumps they will pay for.
  • Step 2: Do some research. Among the pump options you have identified in Step 1, which one best fits your lifestyle? Does it need to be waterproof? Tubeless? Touchscreen? Integrate with a CGM? Have the ability to update the pump software? Rank those things on a scale from “Don’t care” to “Absolutely Necessary”, and select (ideally) your top 2 picks based on those criteria
  • Step 3: Actually get your hands on the pumps you are considering. Your Endocrinologist’s office may have demo units. If they don’t, they should be able to get you in touch with sales reps for the various pump companies. When you have your hands on the pump, practice doing the things that you will do with the pump every day. How hard/easy is it to enter a blood sugar #? How complicated is it to give yourself a bolus? How do you feel about the loading process? All of those things are going to factor in.
  • Step 4: Make your final decision and pull the trigger.

Pumps are very personal items. It’s a machine that you are going to depend on to help keep you healthy and alive for the next 4 years. It’s not something you should pick just because someone on the internet tells you that “Pump X is the best- hands down”. Consider everything- the activities you engage in regularly, your lifestyle, the environment you walk through everyday, etc, etc.