If you need a good, cheap blood glucose meter -- for example, if your insurance doesn't pay for your diabetes supplies -- reviews recommend the ReliOn Micro. This glucose meter sells exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club for half the price of the top-rated Bayer Contour (*Est. $20), and its matching test strips (usually the real cost demon) cost $20 for a box of 50. That's a $5 savings over a box of Bayer Contour test strips, which can add up when you're using an average of four strips a day.
The ReliOn Micro blood glucose meter is more basic than the Bayer Contour and other midpriced meters. Its smaller memory stores fewer test results (50 versus 480 for the Bayer meter), and it doesn't offer computer software to help you track your blood sugar over time. It allows only fingertip or palm testing. It can't broadcast test results aloud like the Prodigy Voice (*Est. $65). The ReliOn Micro also works a bit slower than most blood glucose meters on the market (seven seconds per test versus the usual five seconds). Still, it's compact -- the size of a pack of gum -- and testers judge it extremely easy to use, with no test-strip coding required. We didn't find any expert tests of this meter's accuracy, but individual users report that the ReliOn Micro matches their actual lab-test results or pricier meters' readings fairly closely. Users also appreciate that the ReliOn Micro works with only 0.3 microliters of blood -- a tiny droplet that would get them an error message on just about any other glucose meter.
ConsumerReports.org conducts comprehensive tests, ranking several glucose meters (including the ReliOn Micro) for ease of use. Individual users at Walmart.com -- and one very thorough user review at DiabetesDaily.com -- report on the ReliOn Micro's accuracy. DiabetesWellBeing.com posts a handy chart showing the differences between the ReliOn Micro and ReliOn Ultima glucose monitors.
ConsumerReports.org rates 15 blood glucose meters from best to worst based on their ease of use. Volunteers with diabetes test the meters, including the ReliOn Micro, and editors also note the price of the meter, annual test-strip cost and whether the meter returns results in five seconds or less. Ratings are only available to subscribers, but the site has some general information here for nonsubscribers as well.
Review: Blood-Glucose Meters, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Dec. 2009
This forum poster's personal review of the ReliOn Micro is thorough and well illustrated with photos. Drew Golden lists the unit's features and price (including the price for test strips compared with other brands) and compares its accuracy to his OneTouch UltraMini, Accu-Chek Aviva and FreeStyle Flash glucose meters. Even though the zipper on the ReliOn glucose meter's case breaks within a few days, overall Golden likes the meter.
Review: ReliOn Micro Tested, Drew Golden, March 19, 2009
This informative diabetes website posts reviews of several popular blood glucose monitors. It compares the ReliOn Micro with the ReliOn Ultima. A handy chart shows how the two blood glucose meters' specs stack up, but editor Erich Schultz doesn't pick a favorite.
Review: ReliOn Glucose Meter, Erich Schultz
The ReliOn Micro blood glucose meter is sold only at Walmart and Sam's Club. No user reviews are listed for the meter itself, but nearly 20 reviews have been posted for the matching test strips. Most users give the ReliOn Micro strips a perfect 5 stars, saying they're accurate, easy to use, inexpensive and require a tinier drop of blood than other brands.
Review: ReliOn Confirm Micro Blood Glucose Test Strips, 50ct, Contributors to Walmart.com