Whether we like it or not, pricking our fingers is part of diabetes management. Yes, there are amazing advancements in CGM technology, including versions where finger sticks aren’t necessary, but for the vast majority of people with diabetes, a trusty glucose meter and a gentle lancing device are part of the daily process.
Lancing devices, back when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, used to be arduous. And painful. I used to use a device called the Autolet (known in our home as “the guillotine”) and it was a horrible thing, with a thick lancet that was spring-loaded and loud. It was not comfortable and it made the experience of checking my blood sugar less than optimal.
Today’s lancing devices are WAY better than the harpoons of yesteryear. We’ve come a long way with thinner lancets, gentler punctures, and even different ways of procuring that blood drop. Let’s take a look at some of the options on the market to see which device would be most appreciated by your fingertips.
Roche’s Accu-Chek Softclix ($25) claims to be “designed for comfort.” It’s precision guided technology minimizes painful side to side motion, and the 11 customizable depth settings make it easier to get the right amount of blood the first time. With a 28 gauge bevel-cut lancet, this lancing device can be used with one hand (thankfully, since you’re probably pricking a finger on the other hand).
The Accu-Chek FastClix ($15), also made by Roche, is the only one-slick lancing device with a drum of six preloded lancets, so you don’t have to mess with lancet changes. (The Fastclix replaced the Muliclix version Roche had released previously.) The lancets are beveled 30 gauge and this device comes with the same option of 11 customizable depth settings, like the Softclix.
The One Touch Delica ($20)has lancets available in 30 gauge fine and 33 gauge extra-fine, and uses “advanced glide control system” which “offers reduced vibration for smoother lancing.” This device has 7 depth settings for you to choose from and has an ejection control to remove used lancets safely. (This is the lancing device that I use and it’s a far cry from the one I used upon diagnosis.)
The Genteel Lancing Device ($129) uses a new kind of technology to draw blood from a shallow poke. “Genteel creates a vacuum which pulls blood up from the shallow lancet puncture. Because of its Contact Tips, the lancet only goes in as far as is needed to let the vacuum extract blood.” The device comes with Contact Tips that determine the puncture depth of the lancet and the device can use any kind of square based lancet.
Abbott offers the Freestyle Lancing device ($14), and this one offers ultra-thin, 28 gauge lancets, a patented “Comfort Zone Technology proven to reduce pain,” and adjustable depths for individual testing needs. This device also has a lancet release feature that makes disposing of lancets easier. (Make sure you’re tossing all your used lancets into a sharps container – more on supply disposal here.)
Acensia makes the Microlet Next Lancing Device($19) which boasts a “smooth gliding mechanism” and a locking end-cap and lancet ejector to help prevent accidental finger sticks. This device has 5 available depth settings and pairs with silicone coated lancets designed to “glide smoothly into the skin.”
There are several off-brand lancing devices offered online –a quick search on Amazon brought out a bunch of options, including those listed above – so if you’re looking for more devices to check out, the Internet has you covered.
While every single one of these lancing devices talks about “pain free” or “minimal pain” in terms of their device, it’s important to remember that each device is designed to lance your skin, so keep your expectations managed. But it’s nice to have options other than the Guillotine (shudders), and we’re all for anything that makes monitoring and managing diabetes a little easier.
Cheers to happier fingertips!
(Note: All prices are pulled from the online stores that each manufacturer links to. You may be able to find these devices at cheaper prices through Amazon or other online retailers. Many manufacturers also offer coupons for lancing devices and meters, so do a search for those before purchasing.)