Updated: June 4, 2015
Blood Glucose Monitor Reviews:Choosing the Right Glucose Monitors - Millions of people depend on blood glucose monitors to help them manage their diabetes and keep glucose levels in check. This is crucial for short-term health, but also in preventing complications due to diabetes in the future. A single drop of blood holds a treasure trove of information for the diabetic, and routine testing is essential to maintaining optimal health. With a tool that is this important, you need to make the best possible choice. Whether, for you, that means the easiest to read, the easiest to use, the most convenient, the least invasive, a blood glucose monitoring system that meets your needs is literally a lifesaver. How do you choose the right one for you?
Choosing the Right Glucose Meter for Your NeedsBefore you buy based on one factor, such as price, it is important to take a look at the different features commonly available so you can decide which blood glucose monitor will be the best fit for your life. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
*Size. Meters are quite small, typically between 3 and 4 inches in length and width, and quite light. Many models are between 1 and 5 ounces. How to choose? Think about where you will be carrying your blood glucose meter: in your backpack, purse, glove compartment, pocket? Do you need it to have a large display screen? Would a backlit display or a speaking monitor be better for you? Meters are typically very discrete, so you'll want to think about your needs as far as reading your results comfortably.
*Size. This time, consider the size of the blood sample that the meter needs to test. As blood glucose monitors have advanced, you typically need very little blood. Most use between 0.3 microliters (which would fit on a pin head) to 1.0 microliter. If it needs significantly more for an accurate reading, you may want to consider a different model.
*Alternate site testing. Most models allow you to test on your finger, forearm, upper arm, and leg. If you prefer to test at alternate sites, make sure your meter is approved for that particular use.
*Memory and data recording features. Most new meters will be able to store at least some tests. Ten to 125 will be the minimum; 250 to 500 the norm; and a few thousand will be the upper limit. Many glucose meters also allow you to transfer your results to your computer and email the results to the doctor.
*Price. First, check with your insurance and see how much they'll cover for the meter and the strips. Some require you to use a specific meter in order to get coverage. Most meters are between $20 and $90 at drug stores, or you may be able to get a free model from your health care provider or the meter's manufacturer. You'll typically pay between $0.50 and $1.00 per testing strip.
Glucose Meter ReviewsThe most trusted source anywhere is Consumer Reports and they did a recent review on blood glucose meters to determine which ones did the best. They tested them for ease of use and looked at features like auto-code setting, auto off with strip removal, computer download, plenty of memory, and multi-test strip cartridges. The CR tests included top brands like Accu-Chek, One Touch, ReliOn, Walgreens, andAscensia. Keep in mind that the glucose meter is just the initial cost, the vast majority of your expenses are the test strips that you have to buy and use every day. Assuming you use 4 per day (that's the average) you could spend up to almost $2000 each year on test strips for your blood glucose monitoring system. If that sounds crazy, it is. Nevertheless, when you are dealing with your health, it's hard to cut corners. Amazon.com also lists hundreds of owner reviews (unbiased comments) which are good to read through as well. You can browse the best selling blood glucose monitors here.
Best Blood Glucose Monitors:DiabetesWellBeing lists the Accu Chek Aviva blood glucose monitoring system as one of the best in terms of result accuracy and painless testing. The Accu Chek uses Right Technology, which features a wider testing strip and more accurate results. The system also completes 198 different accuracy checks to ensure you get the right numbers. Over 97 percent of users fill their strip correctly on the first try, which helps eliminate painful and costly retests. Accu Chek uses the Multiclix lancing device to minimize pain. The 6 lancets are pre-loaded so you do not have to handle individual lancets. The Accu Chek glucose monitoring system also offers an ergonomic design, nonslip rubber grips, 6 test site options, 5 second results, 0.6 microliter sample size, 4 customizable test reminders, downloadable memory with 7, 14, and 30 day averaging, and 2000 test battery life. The meter measures 3.7 inches x 2.1 inches x 0.9 inches and weighs 2.1 ounces with the battery. One other benefit of the Accu Chek system is that it is the preferred meter on many health insurance plans, so you may be able to save some money. A drawback noted by DiabetesWellBeing is that the Accu Chek glucose meter is somewhat large, making discrete testing a bit difficult. If this is a concern for you, you may want to find a smaller meter. Another issue noted by Amazon reviewers is that you'll need to purchase the test strips, control solution, code key, lancing device, and lancet drum separately. This is true if you buy just the meter, available for $10.90 at Amazon. A more convenient and less expensive option is to go with the Accu Chek Aviva Monitoring Kit. This lists for about $76, but you can find it on Amazon for $18. All the accessories you'll need to begin testing are included. For more bells and whistles, try the OneTouch UltraSmart Glucose Meter. This is well reviewed by Associated Content, DiabetesWellBeing, GlucoseMeterReviews, and other sites, and is typically regarded as the "smartest" meter on the market. The UltraSmart offers a meter and logbook in one. You will get SmartButtons to make fast and easy entries, accurate 5 second results, FastFacts, charts and graphs of your results, trends, alternate site testing, FastDraw test strip needs on a tiny drop of blood, and reports to share with your doctor. This is extremely useful in tracking your glucose levels and identifying factors that affect your diabetes. You can track glucose, insulin, carbohydrates, exercise, HbA1c, out-of-range glucose results, fats/proteins/calories, doctor visits, eye/foot exams, weight/height, medication, blood pressure, and cholesterol and display them by 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90-day windows. With the OneTouch UltraSmart Glucose Meter, you will get the meter, control solution, UltraSoft automatic blood sampler, 10 lancets, carrying case, owner's guide and reference guide, and batteries. This blood glucose monitoring system costs $55.
ChildrenWithDiabetes recommends both the Accu Chek and UltraSmart as being suitable for children. They also recommend the FreeStyle Lite. This glucose monitoring system is virtually painless and features the smallest blood sample size (0.3 microliters), 5 second results, alternate test sites, no coding required, small, discrete design, backlit display, 4 reminder alarms, 400 result storage, 7, 14, and 30-day averages display, and fewer wasted strips. This system is "highly recommended" by ChildrenWithDiabetes. It is $30. One downside mentioned was the price, but as an Amazon reviewer noted, you'll run into that with most meters. Look for other blood glucose meters, but make your doctor your first stop, and your insurance company your second stop. Then on to Amazon to get the best deals so you can manage your diabetes within your budget. View top rated glucose monitors here.