Blood Glucose Meters: Ratings of Sources
A series of volunteers, some of whom have diabetes, help ConsumerReports.org lab technicians test nearly 30 blood glucose meters. Ratings are provided for accuracy, repeatability and convenience. The experts also factor in the estimated annual cost of buying replacement test strips. Full details are available to subscribers.
Researchers test five recently introduced blood glucose meters under everyday conditions, comparing the results against a clinically administered test. Three meters performed well, with the FreeStyle Lite showing the lowest mean absolute relative differences. The other models tested were the OneTouch UltraEasy and the Contour. Abbott Diabetes Care, which manufactures the FreeStyle models, was involved in the design and analysis of the tests.
Researchers evaluated the Bayer Contour Next blood glucose monitor against the HemoCue monitoring system in an overnight closed-loop study of children with type 1 diabetes. The Contour Next outperforms the competition and is recommended as an excellent meter for future closed-loop studies.
The researchers evaluated 43 blood glucose monitoring systems for their conformity to ISO standards for CE-labeled glucometers. Of these, 27 passed; we've listed those that were accurate at least 99 percent of the time. Several notably poor performers were the SeniorLine GM210, the GluxoRX TD-4230 and the Glucohexal II.
Researchers evaluate seven blood glucose monitors for their compliance with the current and proposed ISO criteria for blood glucose monitors. Just one, the Accu-Chek Aviva Plus, meets the proposed criteria with all three lots of test strips tested. The others, which show greater variations, are the Advocate Redi-Code, Element, Embrace, Prodigy Voice, TRUEbalance and WaveSense Presto.
Researchers tested four lots of test strips for each of five blood glucometers with the goal of finding out how consistent results were between lots. Only two of the five meters tested met the criteria in DIN EN ISO 15197:2003 with each lot of test strips tested: The Accu-Chek Aviva and FreeStyle Lite. The monitors whose test strips did not pass were the GlucoCheck XL, Pura/mylife Pura and OneTouch Verio Pro.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, but most blood glucose meters require sight to operate. The National Federation of the Blind lists and explains several talking blood glucose monitors that can help blind people test their blood glucose independently. The Prodigy Voice offers the widest array of audible instructions and feedback, and it earns the highest praise from diabetes educator Connie Kleinbeck.
Most popular brands of blood glucose meters are listed at Amazon.com, making it easy to get an idea of overall consumer opinion. Unlike many competitors, Amazon doesn't import user reviews from manufacturer websites, so it's easier to get a clear read on user opinion. Some blood glucose monitors have hundreds of reviews; the most noteworthy models get an average score of at least 4 stars.
Walmart.com tends to have the best prices overall on blood glucose monitors, and they sell many brands. The top-rated meters get hundreds of reviews, although some discretion is necessary because original reviews are mixed in with reviews reposted from the manufacturer website. Noteworthy models receive an average rating of at least 4 stars after 10 or more reviews.
Like most online drugstores, Walgreens.com collects user reviews of the products it sells -- and like most of its competitors, they snare some user reviews from the manufacturer's site. Standout models received an average score of at least 4 stars after 10 or more user reviews. As with Walmart.com, some discretion is necessary because original user reviews are mixed in with reviews reported from the manufacturer website.
The American Foundation for the Blind thoroughly tests two talking blood glucose meters -- the Prodigy Voice and the SensoCard Plus -- for ease of use by blind or low-vision people. Testers like both blood glucose monitors, but they find the Prodigy Voice "slightly more accessible and usable" for people with impaired sight.
This study looks at five blood glucose meters designed for use by visually impaired people, including several models from Prodigy and Advocate. The Prodigy Voice is the only one "fully usable by blind and visually impaired persons." The study is excellent, but it's several years old and doesn't include some of the newest models on the market.
This roundup reprints a selection of hands-on reviews of blood glucose meters. Although no comparative scores are issued, the meters are subjected to hands-on testing by people with diabetes and receive carefully considered reviews that highlight both positive and negative aspects of their performance. Some meters have video reviews too.
Another HealthCentral.com writer with diabetes, Ann Bartlett, tests three talking blood glucose meters from Prodigy: the Prodigy Voice, Prodigy AutoCode and Prodigy Pocket. She prefers the loud speakers and large displays of the Voice and AutoCode models.
A. Paul Chous is an optometrist who has type 1 diabetes and who specializes in diabetes eye care. He tests Prodigy blood glucose meters for several weeks and especially likes the Prodigy Audio and the Prodigy Voice, which was designed with the help of visually impaired and blind patients. He says its tactile buttons "allow easy operation by even totally blind people with just a little practice."