Three best glucometers

Kyle Schurman

The FDA tests and approves all glucometers that are sold in the United States.

Reliable blood glucose level readings help people with diabetes better manage the disease. This makes a glucometer a necessary tool for any diabetic.

Diabetics use a glucometer several times a day to measure blood sugar levels. If the blood sugar level is high or low, they can take steps to alleviate the problem.

All glucometers use the same process to take a reading. The unit pierces the finger, drawing a drop or two of blood onto a test strip. The glucometer then reads the test strip to measure the blood sugar level and almost instantly shows that level on a digital screen. The following shopping guide offers some tips for choosing the right glucometer for you.

Considerations when choosing glucometers

All glucometers work in a similar manner, but there are some differences between models.

Amount of blood: Some glucometers require less blood than others to perform the test. This means the puncture isn't as deep, which means a less painful experience for the user. Some newer types of glucometers can do the test without pricking the finger.

Size: Some units are smaller than others, making one easier to carry for testing no matter where you are. Tiny models measure about two square inches, while larger units are about twice that size.

Case: Many glucometers come with a carrying case, enabling you to take the glucometer and test strips anywhere they're needed.

Memory: Your doctor may want you to track your blood sugar level each time you test. A glucometer with a memory function can store your test results for several days. Others have less memory and may only store one day's worth of readings. Some devices can send the stored data to a smartphone over a Bluetooth connection.

Glucometer prices: Glucometers don't cost a lot to buy. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for a device. Models that cost more often test more than just blood sugar level. That said, the cost of replacement strips can be expensive, anywhere from roughly $0.30 to $1 per testing strip. If you test several times a day, the cost adds up quickly. Your health insurance company might help with the cost, but the company may also require that you use a particular glucometer. Even if you must use a glucometer recommended by your insurer, you always have the option of purchasing a backup unit. You won't be using as many test strips with a backup device, so the daily operating cost isn't as high, and you can choose any device you want.


Q. How do I know if the glucometer reading is accurate?

A. Even though the federal government tests the design of the devices for accuracy before a model can be sold, errors are still possible. To test your individual glucometer, use the control solution that ships with the unit.

Q. Can I use any test strips in my glucometer?

A. Unfortunately, each model requires a specific brand of test strip, so you can't just pick the cheapest replacement test strips. You could end up paying more for replacement test strips for one model versus another model.

Q. Will a glucometer work for a Type 2 diabetic?

A. Yes, glucometers will measure blood sugar levels for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, but those with Type 1 will probably need to test more often.

Glucometers we recommend

Best of the best: Accu Chek Performa Glucometer Kit 

Our take: Reasonable value for a kit that has everything you need for regular testing. Accurate results in easy-to-use format.

What we like: Large memory can store data from past readings, making it easy to compare results across days.

What we dislike: Additional strips are a bit pricey.

Best bang for your buck: OneTouch Ultra2 System Kit 

Our take: Delivers readings quickly, but we'd like to see a bit more consistency and accuracy from this inexpensive unit.

What we like: Small enough to carry with you. Low starting price. Easy-to-use device.

What we dislike: Accuracy won't be good enough for some people. Display screen could be clearer.

Choice 3: FreeStyle Freedom Lite 

Our take: Reasonable starting price for reliable device. Buying additional testing strips gets pricey over time.

What we like: Device works quickly, yielding accurate results nearly every time. Small enough to carry with you.

What we dislike: Replacement strips are expensive and sometimes difficult to find.

Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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