We’ve all been told how important blood testing is. You test before each injection, before bed, maybe even in the middle of the night. But which meter should you use? Is one easier to use than another? And what about your child? Which meter is easiest for a child to use? The reviews here are designed to help you make that decision.
Regardless of the meter that you decide to use, you should have to pay almost nothing for it. Manufacturers are always discounting their meters because they make their real money on the test strips. So check out the list of mail order pharmacies and call them before you buy.
Some meters have a special data port that can be connected to a personal computer. If yours does, or you’re just curious, see Computerizing Your Meter for reviews and software to download.
Glucose Meters and Test Strips
- Amira Medical
- Bayer Diagnostics
♦Glucometer Elite XL
- Can-Am Care
♦Excel G Test Strip
For the Glucometer Elite and Elite XL
- Cascade Medical
- LXN Corporation
♦Duet Glucose Control System
♦One Touch Profile
♦One Touch Basic
- Roche Diagnostics
Need help choosing?
Need help choosing a meter for your child or yourself? Start with the meters with the smiley face, indicating meters that are recommended for use by children with diabetes. Consider what features are important to you, such as speed, memories, ability to interface with a computer, and size. Then ask your diabetes team to help you get a meter to try out.
Also remember that you can usually get a free meter with the purchase of 100 or more test strips. Check your local pharmacy for specials.
How well do you know your blood test meters? Check out Test Strips for Today’s Meters and see how many test strips you can match to their meters.
Blood Glucose Meter Evaluation Criteria
Since it’s difficult to examine every meter, and it’s even more difficult to get an opinion about meters from some doctors, we will review them here. The reviews evaluate each meter in the following areas:
- Ease of use: This is a very subjective rating and could easily vary from person to person. But meters that require you to wipe their strips are inherently more difficult to use than ones that don’t. This is a moving target, since meters are getting easier to use all the time. Scores range from one (Mommy, help!) to ten (I did it all myself!)
- Features: Some meters today have memories to tell you your previous blood sugar readings and data ports to connect to your computer. Some use common batteries (AAA), some use more expensive J type. One memory scores one point, multiples memories score two points. A data port scores two points. AAA or other common batteries scores two points. Averaging adds two points. Additional data features add up to two more points. Other new features can add one or two points.
- Speed of results: Meters produce results quickly. But some are quicker than others. When your child is on the verge of passing out, you don’t want to wait one second longer than necessary for your answer. Scores range from zero (60 seconds or more) to ten (15 seconds or less). See graphical representation speed of test results.
- Suitability for use by children under ten years old: Once again this is somewhat subjective, but young kids have a hard time opening foil-wrapped strips or wiping in the middle of a test. Scores range from one (Forget it) to ten (No problem).
- Suitability for use by children over ten years old: This is also somewhat subjective, but older kids can take on the foil-wrapped strips and wiping in the middle of a test. Scores range from one (Forget it) to ten (No problem).
- Cost: No matter how wonderful one meter is compared to another, if you can’t afford it, it doesn’t do you any good. Though insurance covers meters and strips, not everyone has insurance. This is primarily a rating of the cost of the strips, since over time, the cost of the meter will be insignificant compared to the cost of the strips. Scores range from zero (more than US$75 per 100 strips) to ten (less than US$50 per 100 strips). See the graphical representation of test strip prices. Price data is based on US mail order pharmacy prices listed in the May 2000 issue of Diabetes Forecast.
- Overall Rating: Add up the scores. 60 is perfect. If you’re considering a new meter, review all meters and find one that best meets your individual need. Discuss the meter with your diabetes team to see if they have software to read it. Such software helps your team give you the best possible care.
For More Information
- Glucose monitor spreadsheet comparison by Tom Bartol (updated 2 August 2000)
- How to Assure that your Blood Glucose Meter is Working Accurately and Which blood glucose meter to get? from the Diabetes Monitor.
- Blood Glucose Monitoring from the FAQ of the misc.health.diabetes newsgroup
- Glucose Monitor describes the process of self-monitoring of blood glucose and some of the problems that people have in testing that can affect the accuracy of testing. From Diabetic Gourmet.
- Non-invasive Blood Glucose Meters
The reviews of products are the opinion of children with DIABETES. Each product is reviewed with a single purpose: to determine if the product is suitable for use by children with Type 1 diabetes, their parents, and, to a lesser degree, adults with Type 1 diabetes. There are many products aimed at adults with Type 2 diabetes that are not appropriate or suitable for children or adults with Type 1 diabetes.
children with DIABETES makes no claims about the relative accuracy of the meters compared with a laboratory standard or compared to other meters. In general, all meters are sufficiently accurate to help you maintain good blood sugar levels when used properly.