Billed as "the world's smallest meter system," the True2Go blood glucose meter is a little larger than a quarter. Its test strips are affordable (Est. $17 per 50), but the low-cost GDH-PQQ strips can cause false-high readings for diabetics receiving therapies that contain non-glucose sugars, including maltose, galactose and xylose. A 2009 FDA warning offers full details, including a list of other meters that also use GDH-PQQ test strips.
Pay attention to the test strips. For those who can use GDH-PQQ test strips safely, the True2Go (which is often marketed under store brands, such as Walgreens and CVS) gets very good marks for accuracy and repeatability of readings from a leading consumer research organization. Users are generally happy with its 0.5-microliter sample size and say the results are within a few points of their other meters' readings. Testing speed doesn't always live up to the promised 4-second response time though. One reviewer, writing at Six Until Me, a diabetes blog, says it took her about 15 seconds to get a result from the meter she tested.
Basic, no-frills testing. The True2Go meter's very basic functionality is the tradeoff for its low cost. It only has one really useful feature, a 99-reading memory; but it doesn't store a time stamp or date. Other notably absent features include a data port and the ability to calculate daily, weekly or monthly average readings. The display is not illuminated. One feature users like very much is the way the meter clips to the lid of the test strip vial, which makes it easier to keep track of both small items.
A natural backup. With its no-frills design and tiny size, the True2Go meter is a natural choice for a travel or backup meter. Most reviewers say the large digits on the display are easy to read and they are very pleased with this meter's basic, affordable functionality. "The numbers are big and easy to read. No backlight, no frills. Just a fast, cheap, easy-to-use meter," writes one poster in the Diabetes Daily forum. The automatic test-strip coding is a hit too, eliminating a window for potential error and wasted test strips.
Cheap test strips. A leading consumer research organization estimates the cost of the True2Go's test strips at about $1,050 per year (assuming 4 tests per day). We estimate the price of test strips at about $17 per box of 50, although you can sometimes find them for less. Of course, that's all dependent on whether you can safely use the True2Go system's GDH-PQQ test strips, which can return dangerously inaccurate readings for diabetics receiving drugs or therapies that contain non-glucose sugars. Be sure to discuss this issue with your healthcare provider.
1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
This alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, originally published in 2009, warns that glucose meters or test strips that use GDH-PQQ can react with certain non-glucose sugars. This can result in falsely elevated glucose readings and has caused several deaths.
Review: Advice for Patients: Serious Errors with Certain Blood Glucose Monitoring Test Strips, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Aug. 13, 2009
The editors of ConsumerReports.org and a panel of volunteers, some of whom have diabetes, test 25 blood glucose meters -- including the True2Go -- for factors including convenience and accuracy. The full ratings report is available to subscribers, but ConsumerReports.org also offers some free general information about blood glucose meters.
Review: Blood Glucose Meter Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
More than 65 reviewers give the True2Go blood glucose monitor -- branded here with the Walgreens name -- an average score of 4.7 stars out of 5. Some of the reviews are marked as having been submitted via the website for Nipro Diagnostics, the company that manufactures the True2Go.
Review: Walgreens True2go Blood Glucose Monitoring System, Contributors to Walgreens.com, As of March 2014
About 66 reviewers give the True2Go -- branded here as a CVS True2Go meter -- an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Again, many of the reports are identified as coming from Nipro Diagnostics, so it's hard to be sure how many are repeats of reviews also listed on Walgreens.com.
Review: CVS TRUE2go Glucose Test Meter, Contributors to CVS.com, As of March 2014
"Best deal on the planet. Perfect meter/kit," writes one Amazon.com reviewer. About 41 reviewers give the True2Go starter kit an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. One customer notes that he has trouble reading the tops of the digits on the readout and struggles to tell the difference between a 1 and a 7.
Review: TRUE2go Blood Glucose Starter Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014
The True2Go blood glucose meter has accumulated a number of user reviews at a second Amazon.com listing, this time with a 4.8 out of 5-star average score after more than 31 user reviews. These users say they like its size and ease-of-use.
Review: True 2 Go Blood Glucose Meter with Twist and Test Process, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014
The editors of Diabetes Wellbeing conduct a brief review of the True2Go glucose meter, summarizing its pros and cons -- including the fact that its GDH-PQQ test strips create quite a few testing exclusions.
Review: TRUE2go Glucose Meter Review, Editors of DiabetesWellbeing.com, As of March 2014
A contributor to DiabetesDaily.com's forums conducts a brief test and review of the True2Go meter; others weigh in with their comments too.
Review: True2Go Tested, Contributors to Diabetes Daily.com, As of March 2014
This diabetic reviewer briefly evaluates the True2Go, saying that it's mostly in line with readings from her other meter (the OneTouch UltraLink). She also gives the True2Go "high marks on size and portability," although she estimates that it took about 15 seconds to get a result on the screen.
Review: True2Go Meter - It's THAT Small., Kerri Sparling, March 26, 2009