What Are the Different Types of Syringe Needle Sizes?

Needle Sizes

Over 1 in every 10 Americans has diabetes, with millions of that number relying on insulin injections. With diabetes and other chronic diseases on the rise, Americans are getting used to frequent injections as part of their health care.

You might be newly diagnosed with diabetes and wondering what insulin syringe needle sizes mean. Or, you might be researching different sizes of syringe needles in case of an emergency. Either way, there’s no denying that needle sizing can be confusing.

Don’t worry: we have you covered. This article is your guide to syringe needle sizes and how each one can help you.

Syringe Needle Gauge Sizes

Gauge refers to the width of a needle. When it comes to syringe needle gauge sizes, the gauge number is inversely related to the size of the needle.

This can be very confusing when you are beginning to learn about different needle sizes. Just keep in mind:

  • The higher the gauge number, the narrower the needle
  • The lower the gauge number, the wider the needle

Needle sizes range from 14 to 27. The 14 gauge needle is the largest needle size, with an outer diameter of 0.72 inches. The 27 gauge needle is the smallest needle size, with an outer diameter that measures 0.16 inches.

Syringe Needle Sizes and Uses

Each gauge size is designed for a specific use. Not all needle gauge sizes are right for at-home injections, so make sure you choose one that meets your needs.

Remember, no matter what needle size you use, always dispose of your needles safely.

Large Size Needle Uses

14-18 gauge needles are considered large. These large-bore syringes are best for starting a large IV in an emergency since they allow a lot of medication to flow into the patient’s vein quickly. These needles are not common for self-injection use.

Medium Size Needle Uses

20-23 gauge needles work well for most common uses, including:

  • Drawing blood
  • Starting a non-emergent IV
  • Most injections

Medium needles are best for intramuscular injections. This refers to when medication is directly injected into a muscle. This includes most immunizations as well as many psychiatric medications.

Small Size Needle Uses

Small needles (25-27 gauge) are best for subcutaneous injections. This means putting the medication into the layer of fat that lies just beneath the surface of the skin. This is more delicate than an intramuscular injection, so it requires a thinner needle.

Insulin is a common subcutaneous injection. If you take insulin injections frequently, you’ll need this size of needles. You’ll also need a small size of syringe, such as a 1ml syringe, to draw up your insulin.

Find the Syringe Needle Sizes You Need

Don’t lose time worrying about ordering the wrong syringe needle sizes. No matter what your frequent injection needs are, you can find a syringe needle that works for you.

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