What is the best battery for your insulin pump?

BONUS: 8 tips to make your insulin pump battery last longer

best battery for insulin pumps
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One of the main concerns of you as an insulin pump user is to frequently keep an eye on your pump’s battery level and always have a spare one with you. The last thing you want is to run out of battery before getting your pizza bolus!

There are various insulin pumps in the market. My son is currently using Medtronic MiniMed™ 640G. Most of them, including 640G, are using an AA alkaline battery. But there are different AA batteries. Let’s see their variations in order to understand their difference between them.

MiniMed™ 640G insulin pump
The Medtronic MiniMed™ 640G insulin pump

Alkaline vs Industrial batteries – Is there a difference?

Not at all! Industrial batteries have exactly the same characteristics and quality with the typical alkaline ones. The term industrial is added because the focus of the battery manufacturer is mainly on the industry and business needs rather than retail sale. Industrial batteries may have bulky packaging and the quantity per box is larger to cover the increased needs. Moreover, price may also be significantly reduced compared to the typical 4-battery retail packs.

What is the difference between an alkaline and an industrial battery?
Alkaline vs Industrial battery

Alkaline vs Lithium batteries

You may hear a lot of discussions over lithium vs alkaline batteries and which is the best. Let’s see some of the facts for both of them:


Lithium batteries are up to 30% lighter than alkaline ones. Very convenient as it reduces the total weight of an insulin pump.


A lithium battery lasts much longer than an alkaline one.


Lithium batteries tend to perform better than alkaline ones.

Shelf life

Lithium batteries have an extended shelf life of around 20 years depending the brand.

Leak proof

Lithium batteries are leak proof, thus having such an extended shelf life.

Operating temperatures

Lithium batteries may perform better over extreme temperatures compared with typical alkaline batteries.


Lithium batteries are much more expensive that alkaline batteries.

Overall, lithium batteries have more strong points over alkaline ones. I personally use Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ for my son’s Medtronic MiniMed™ 640G and I can highly recommend them as they last around 3 weeks compared to an industrial one that lasted 1+ week. This of course can vary according the use of the pump and the settings applied on it.

Can I use rechargeable battery on my insulin pump?

It depends on the insulin pump model. Medtronic MiniMed™ 640G can be operated with a fully charged AA NiMH nickel-metal hydride rechargeable battery according to Medtronic’s Customer Support. I would personally though, keep up using Lithium batteries. Depending the country, buying a pack of 40 Energizer® Ultimate Lithium™ will be good for a year of operation and cost you around 50 Euros.


8 tips that can increase the battery life of your insulin pump

  1. Disable vibration if not needed.
  2. Reduce the time for backlight.
  3. Reduce the brightness of the screen.
  4. Avoid excessive button pressing.
  5. Disable remote bolus feature if not used.
  6. Reduce the alert volume if you are using external alert system like xDrip+, Nightscout, Nightwatch etc
  7. Don’t set multiple alerts and reminders except if they are really needed. (Eg. setting multiple alerts for pump calibration)
  8. If you use a CGM sensor along with the pump then try to keep it within short distance from the pump. Loss of signal will increase the attempts of the pump trying to communicate with the “lost” sensor which will definitely consume more battery power.
MiniMed™ 630G insulin pump menu
MiniMed™ 630G insulin pump menu diagram – Source: medtronicdiabetes.com

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