Types of Blood Glucose Meters
Basic Blood Glucose Meters
Basic blood glucose meters have just one job: Sampling a drop of your blood and telling you how high -- or low -- your blood glucose levels are. You use a lancing device to prick your finger, then touch the resulting drop of blood to a test strip that slides into the glucometer. Standard features include a memory function for storing past readings and the ability to average those readings over time. Some basic meters also come with software that lets you track and visualize your blood glucose trends, and a few let you program customizable alerts or flag readings for special circumstances.
Talking Blood Glucose Meters
If you have limited or no sight, talking blood glucose meters are the key to checking your blood sugar readings independently. They use audible messages to coach you through the process of setting your meter up, testing your blood glucose levels and recording the results. The best talking glucometers also have Braille instructions, large buttons that are easy to identify by touch, and large, easy-to-read digits for reference by those who are partially sighted.
Accuracy matters most in a glucometer
consistency (also called repeatability) should take priority over the fancy
bells and whistles you'll find on some modern glucose meters. For people with
diabetes, getting the readings right -- or at least within a reasonable range
-- can be a matter of life and death, or at least the ability to consistently
Just because a
home blood glucose meter meets the current federal standards doesn't mean it's
the best. The newest standards, released by the FDA in Oct. 2016,
require that 95 percent of the readings should be within plus or minus 15
percent of the laboratory control, while 99 percent of the readings should be
within plus or minus 20 percent of the laboratory control. That's an
improvement over the previous guidelines, but still leaves a lot of room for
cost of the meter doesn't always represent the long-term investment
your insurance company covers the cost of diabetic supplies, be aware that it
may only cover a limited selection of brands -- so check your coverage before
you buy. If you don't have insurance, you can often get a free meter and a
sample batch of test strips from your doctor or even directly from the meter
out for the cost of test strips, though -- they are the greatest overall
expense in your diabetic testing kit. The test strips that accompany the
monitors in this report range from $8 to $50 or more per box of 50. If you test
your blood sugar four times a day, that supply will last you a little less than
two weeks. With more expensive brands, the cost of test strips can easily clear
$1,500 per year.
and glucose meters can be a deadly combination
can cause errors with glucose meters that use a specific type of test-strip
technology (known as GDH-PQQ), resulting in dangerous -- potentially fatal --
false readings. The FDA has issued an alert, and you should always
consult with your care provider if you have any questions or concerns.
you're dealing with diabetes, your doctor may direct you to check your blood
pressure regularly as well. We've researched expert sources and consumer
reviews to bring you a full report on the best blood pressure monitors.
Finding The Best Blood Glucose Meters
"Blood Glucose Meters"
"Accuracy Evaluation of Five Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Obtained from the Pharmacy: A European Multicenter Study with 453 Subjects"
"Accuracy Evaluation of Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems in Children on Overnight Closed-Loop Control"
We consulted a
number of clinical trials and expert evaluations to determine accuracy, ease of
use and convenience for the glucometers in our report. Aside from medical
journals, our sources included hands-on reviews from sources like
ConsumerReports.org, Healthline.com and HealthCentral.com. We also relied
heavily on sources like the National Federation of the Blind, the American
Foundation for the Blind and DLife.com to find the best talking blood glucose
meters. We also scoured retail sites like Amazon.com, Walmart.com and
Walgreens.com for user input on how these blood glucose meters perform in