Different syringe size charts for insulin, injections, & more

When it comes to public awareness, there are certain topics that the general folk tend to know more about. For instance, discussion revolving around the latest fashion trends and political movements is far more frequent and familiar to the ears. In comparison, public safety and medical practices take a back seat. But given the current state of the world, you need to make an active effort to understand a few things.

needle extracting vaccine

You may have heard that there is more than one type of syringe. But how does each type differ from the other? And which one suits your situation better? Syringes are no longer a topic that only medical professionals discuss. You may need to administer a loved one’s treatment or take a drug yourself without the supervision of a healthcare worker. Therefore, it becomes a discussion that you need to be a part of.

Typically, fertility treatments, hormone therapy, insulin, and epinephrine dosage require an in-depth understanding of how a syringe works. More importantly, you need to understand the right size for your needle and how to measure it.

We’ve taken on the responsibility of making you fluent in all things syringe-related. All you need to do is sit back and allow the words to build an understanding.

Types

8mm needles

Disposable

The world of medicine underwent a dramatic transformation when hygiene became a non-negotiable element. From latex gloves to disposable equipment, the spread of diseases was largely contained.

Even today, disposable syringes play a significant role in controlling the spread of disease and aiding treatment. When medical professionals have to treat many people, they need to pay close attention to their equipment. If a regular glass syringe is used, the risk of spreading the disease multiplies. Similarly, the same risk is posed if a disposable one is reused. Essentially, the purpose of a disposable one is to maintain hygiene.

The hard plastic is easily available at a highly affordable price. But if you’re concerned about the environmental waste plastic would create, you can reuse your syringe. Often diabetic persons tend to use the same syringe since there is a lower risk of spreading illnesses. However, ensure all other equipment it comes in contact with is kept tidy and sterile.

Safety

When contracting contagious diseases, the people most at risk are treating them. Healthcare workers are the most-exposed persons in case of an outbreak. Unlike the common folk, they can’t isolate themselves from affected patients. So the introduction of surgical equipment that considers their safety was revolutionary.

At first glance, safety syringes may seem identical to disposable ones. However, subtle distinctions could bridge the gap between life and death. For instance, you could opt for a blunt-fill syringe instead of a conventional one. Typically, health workers use the former when transferring medicine from IV bags or vials.

Other than that, retractable needles are the most celebrated safety syringes. The tip retracts back into the syringe when the injection is not in use. Therefore, drastically reducing the risk of any accidents. Similarly, a guard protects you from mishaps while ensuring it remains disinfected.

Injection pens

Growing up, most of us dreaded going to the doctor because we feared getting an injection. Unsurprisingly, the look of a syringe births panic in most children and adults. But that’s not all! The conventional syringe also tends to be quite delicate. So you’ve to ensure it’s held at the right angle and isn’t put under a lot of weight. Keeping in mind the shortcomings we’ve discussed, the injector pen was introduced in the late 80s.

An injector pen aims to make injecting medicine more convenient and less risky. It’s far easier to carry without the constant worry of breaking the tip. You may not realize it, but you’ve probably already seen injector pens. The design is most commonly used in EpiPens. If you’ve got a loved one allergic to a particular food, you may have seen them carry it in their bags.

In moments of urgency, the injector pen works tremendously. You might struggle to find the right angle or inject it at the wrong place with a conventional syringe. But with an injector pen, the likelihood of missing the spot is reduced significantly.

Needleless injectors

With steady technological development, multiple ways have become available to approach a problem. Innovation is always a driving force in any field of science. But we doubt you would have thought of a syringe without a needle.

The needleless injector replaces the traditional one with a high-pressure stream jet. Where the tip punctures your skin to inject the medicine, a needleless injector uses pressure to release the drug. With no puncture mark, your skin holds no physical evidence of getting an injection. Needleless injectors combine the laws of pressure defined by nature and an undying spirit to outperform our creations. It adopts a relatively pain-free method that has proven more successful with patients.  

Oral

When you hear the word syringe, your first instinct is to revisit your childhood memories of running away from the doctor’s office. But soon, you realize syringe is a much broader term that isn’t always used to mean needles. For instance, an oral syringe has no sharp tip in sight. Instead, it has a wide opening that allows oral medicine to be measured more accurately.

You may have already seen it being used to feed birds and kittens. The wide opening allows for a much more precise way to intake liquids. So the next time you take oral medicine, try using an oral syringe instead of the traditional teaspoon.  

Dental

If there’s one thing we dread more than the sight of a sharp needle, it’s scheduling a meeting with your dentist. A dentist clinic’s cold and uninviting ambiance is enough to scare away a grown adult. But the fear becomes much worse once you’re on the dental chair and your gaze falls on the surgical equipment.

A dental syringe looks like a torture device from the Victorian era. However, it’s a device that greatly aids your dental experience. The quirky design is what catches your attention. The thumb rings on either side ensure the device doesn’t slip out of your hand and provides an overall better grip. It’s commonly used to inject anesthesia into the patient’s gums so that a painless procedure can be carried out.  

Unless you’re a dentist, you won’t have to bear the sight of a dental syringe other than on your annual checkup.

Multi-shot

When you’re administering multiple doses, refilling the syringe can become a hassle. And if you’re under a time-strict condition, you may find the entire ordeal unnecessary. For any occasion, the multi-shot is the ideal companion. Unlike the traditional one, the multi-shot design has a built-in reservoir that can hold multiple doses.

The traditional syringe might save time in delivering doses. Still, there’s a reason a multi-shot one is relatively unheard of. It’s deemed harmful by medical professionals because it increases the risk of cross-contamination when the same one is used for multiple people. Therefore, we suggest this type only if you plan to use it for a specific person.

Needle gauge sizes

Needle Gauge NumberWall Thickness (mm)Dead Volume (μL/25.4mm)Nominal O.D. (mm)Nominal I.D. (mm)Find Product
340.0510.052 µL/25.4 mm0.1590.051Fhis Dispensing 34G W/ISO Standard
330.0510.233 µL/25.4 mm0.210.108AgaMatrix Lancet 33G
320.0640.233 µL/25.4 mm0.2350.108BH Supplies Pen 32G
310.0640.353 µL/25.4 mm0.2610.133BH Supplies Pen 31G
300.0760.504 µL/25.4 mm0.3120.159EasyTouch Insulin U-100 30G 1cc
290.0760.675 µL/25.4mm0.3370.184Brandzig U-40 Pet Insulin 29G
280.0890.675 µL/25.4 mm0.3620.184TRUEplus Sterile Lancets 28G
270.1020.876 µL/25.4 mm0.4130.21Dispensing Blunt Tip Luer Lock 27G
26s0.1780.322 µL/25.4 mm0.4740.127Microliter CL-G10026S-AS CTC 26sG
260.1021.349 µL/25.4 mm0.4640.26100pk 26G x ½ inch Disposable
25s0.1780.464 µL/25.4 mm0.5150.153Hamilton 8648-01, 25sG
250.1271.349 µL/25.4 mm0.5150.26Dispensing 25G
240.1271.93 µL/25.4 mm0.5660.311Jenses Global Dispensing 24G
23s0.2670.268 µL/25.4 mm0.6420.116Hamilton 7786-01, 23sG
230.1522.266 µL/25.4 mm0.6420.337Dispensing Blunt Tip Luer Lock 23G
22s0.2790.563 µL/25.4 mm0.7180.168Hamilton 90051, 22sG
220.1523.403 µL/25.4 mm0.7180.413Dispensing Blunt Tip Luer Lock 22G
210.1525.271 µL/25.4 mm0.8190.514Dispensing 21G
200.1527.255 µL/25.4 mm0.9080.603Dispensing 20G
190.1919.389 µL/25.4 mm1.0670.686Creative Hobbies 19G 0.5 Inch
180.21614.011 µL/25.4 mm1.270.838Dispensing 18G
170.20322.715 µL/25.4 mm1.4731.067Blunt Tip Laboratory Pipetting 17G
160.22928.444 µL/25.4 mm1.6511.194Blunt Tip 16G
150.22937.529 µL/25.4 mm1.8291.372Duda Energy SyringeBox010 15G
140.25451.076 µL/25.4 mm2.1091.6Blunt Tip 14G
130.30564.895 µL/25.4 mm2.4131.804Hamilton 90513 13G
120.30593 µL/25.4 mm2.7692.159Hamilton 7730-03 12G
110.33113.728 µL/25.4 mm3.0482.388Hamilton 91011 11G
100.356144.641 µL/25.4 mm3.4042.693Dispensing Blunt Tip Luer Lock 10G

What size needle do you need for IM injections?

Intramuscular injections require not only a steady hand but the use of the right needle to deliver the medication effectively. Most medical practitioners prefer a tip anywhere from 22-gauge to 25-gauge. Since IM injections are inserted at a perpendicular angle to the skin, the more specific sizes yield better results.

Insulin syringe needle sizes chart

Needle LengthGaugeBarrel Size
3/16 inch (5mm)280.3 mL
5/16 inch (8 mm)29, 300.5 mL
1/2 inch (12.7 mm)311.0 mL

Hypodermic needle sizes

Needle GaugeOutside Diameter (mm)Wing Color
16G1.6White
18G1.2Pink
19G1.1Cream
20G0.9Yellow
21G0.8Green
22G0.7Black
23G0.65Blue
25G0.5Orange
26G0.45Brown
27G0.4Grey
29G0.33Red
30G0.3Pale yellow

Vaccine needle sizes

You must install an efficient vaccination system to help control the spread of disease. In addition to proper training and gaining the public’s trust, you must choose your weapon of choice. Vaccines can’t be released into the bloodstream or the muscles with any needle. You need to assess which sizes work best for this particular task closely. 

The size depends on the type of injection and the patient’s age. For subcutaneous injection, a 23 to 25-gauge tip is preferred. In this case, all ages are treated in the same way. 

man receiving vaccine

However, the case is slightly different for an intramuscular injection. For instance, neonates, toddlers, and infants are to be treated with 22 to 25-gauge with a length of 16 to 25 mm if the injection site is in the arm’s deltoid muscle. But if the injection site is in the Vastus Ateralis muscle, you may have to opt for a 22 to 25-gauge tip with a length of 16 to 32 mm. 

As for adults, the decision depends on the patient’s weight, gender, and age. But essentially, a 22 to 25-gauge with a length of 25 mm to 38 mm works best.     

Subcutaneous injection needle sizes

The needle size is of utmost importance when injecting medicine under the skin. To avoid any confusion on the matter, refer to the table below:

AgeGauge and LengthInjection Site
All ages23-25-gauge 5/8 inch (16mm)Thigh for infants younger than 12 months of age; upper outer triceps area for persons 12 months of age and older.

Intramuscular injection needle sizes & length

With additional factors like age, gender, and weight, picking the right needle size become more complicated. We’ve curated all the necessary items in a single table to make it easier. Refer to the table below before you make the decision:

AgeGauge and LengthInjection Site
Neonate, 28 days and younger22-25 gauge
5/8 inch (16mm2)
Vastus lateralis muscle of anterolateral thigh
Infants, 1-12 months22–25-gauge
1 inch (25 mm)
Vastus lateralis muscle of anterolateral thigh
Toddlers, 1-2 years22–25-gauge
1–1.25 inches (25–32 mm)
Vastus lateralis muscle of anterolateral thigh
Toddlers, 1-2 years22–25-gauge
5/82–1 inch (16–25 mm)
Deltoid muscle of arm
Children 3-10 years22–25-gauge
5/82–1 inch (16–25 mm)
Deltoid muscle of arm
Children 3-10 years22–25-gauge
1–1.25 inches (25–32 mm)
Vastus lateralis muscle of anterolateral thigh
Children, 11-18 years22–25-gauge
5/82–1 inch (16–25 mm)
Deltoid muscle of arm
Adults, 19 years and older
130 lbs (60 kg) or less
130–152 lbs (60–70 kg)
Men, 152–260 lbs (70–118 kg)
Women, 152–200 lbs (70–90 kg)
Men, 260 lbs (118 kg) or more
Women, 200 lbs (90 kg) or more
22–25-gauge
1 inch (25 mm4)
1 inch (25 mm)
1–1.5 inches (25–38 mm)
1–1.5 inches (25–38 mm)
1.5 inches (38 mm)
1.5 inches (38 mm)
Deltoid muscle of arm

What size needle is used for testosterone injection?

When selecting the right size, there are multiple factors you need to consider. However, the most important factor is the viscosity of the medicine. The thicker a medicine solution is, the smaller gauge reading you need to plunge the syringe into the skin properly.

When preparing a testosterone injection, you’ll need to go for slightly thicker tips. The medication is quite dense compared to specific drugs, so a syringe that can efficiently inject the hormone into the system is required. More specifically, a 20 or 21-gauge is used. However, you may even use a 23 or 25-gauge tip if your certain medication is less dense.

With a smaller-gauge, the tissue scarring is greatly reduced. However, they are required to be more carefully administered. But with greater precision and accuracy, it won’t feel like too much work after a while.

20-gauge needle

With multiple variations in needle sizes available in the market, it’s far easier to pick a syringe that works ideally with your medication. Depending on the viscosity and required dosage of the medicine, you will need a tip that can handle both effortlessly.

When it comes down to a 20 gauge tip, the best use is for patients with smaller veins. The narrow opening allows blood to be drawn easily or medicine released without difficulty. Additionally, the little hole ensures minimum bruising and damage to blood vessels.

22-gauge needle

As you climb the gauge reading chart, the needle opening decreases. With different opening sizes, their role differs slightly. For instance, a 22 gauge tip supports an inner diameter of 0.413 mm. Therefore, making it ideal for drawing blood. 

Suppose you’re concerned about delivering medication or drawing blood from a person with thin veins. In that case, there’s no option better than a 22-gauge tip. Typically, medical practitioners use this size for older patients at a greater risk of bruising.      

23-gauge needle

Unless a medication requires a specific diameter, you can use any syringe to deliver medication. However, that’s not entirely the case when dealing with a patient with thinner-than-average veins. Mostly with children and infants, you’re required to use a tip with a smaller diameter. A 23-gauge model is ideal when you’re looking for a tip that performs its job effortlessly.    

25-gauge needle

A needle’s size determines its function. For a 25 gauge tip, no role is more suited than that of an intramuscular injection. The 0.26 mm wide diameter is ideal for delivering vaccines and medication. Even though you can use it for intravenous exchange of fluids, it’s more commonly used for intramuscular injections. 

30-gauge needle

Needles with a smaller diameter inflict less pain on the patient than a wider tip. Since the medication is released more steadily, your body reacts less harshly. A 30 gauge tip is used where pain sensitivity is especially needed to be taken care of. The size is ideal for routine injections with an inner diameter of 0.159 mm. It drastically reduces the risk of bruising or tissue damage.  

FAQs:

Is a 21 or 25-gauge needle bigger?

You may already know that syringes are available in a wide range. Due to the obvious variation in size, it’s relatively easy to spot which one is bigger. But when it comes to needles, you might have to use a different approach altogether. The tip size is determined by looking at the hole in the hand. This is more commonly referred to as a gauge.

The higher the value on the gauge scale, the smaller the hole. Therefore, one with a bigger gauge value tends to be smaller. A 21 gauge tip is bigger than a 25 gauge one because it’s a larger hole.

Is an insulin needle a hypodermic needle?

A hypodermic needle is any hollow needle that you can use to either extract fluid from the body or inject medicine into the body. Typically, most used by medical professionals are hypodermic.

An insulin needle might not exactly look like a typical hypodermic needle. It’s far shorter and thinner. For a moment, you may even think they’re completely different types. However, an insulin syringe falls under the classification of a hypodermic one. Both tips are hollow and used to inject a substance into your body.  

What needle hurts the least?

Measuring the size is critical to injecting the right dosage. With the wrong size, you may inject too little or too much. Additionally, the pressure the substance releases may cause serious damage to blood vessels. However, this isn’t the only reason you need to consider its size.

The size is directly related to the pain a person may feel when injected. Ones with a lower gauge value tend to hurt far more because they have bigger holes. Similarly, a thicker tip pains more than a thin one. So the next time you hope to go for a painless experience, ask your doctor if you can use a narrower or smaller tip instead.  

How far does the needle go in for an IM injection?

An IM injection injects substance directly into the muscles. The medical professional must be trained to carry out the task effortlessly. Typically, the tip must be long enough to touch the muscles without penetrating any blood vessels or nerves underneath. 

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