Your Guide to Buying an Blood Glucose Meters Dennis McGlothin

High or low blood sugar is a fact of life for millions of people around the world, and they’re problems that can mean serious health implications. In many cases it’s not very difficult for people to keep their blood sugar at a safe level—so long as they know their levels. That’s where a blood glucose meter comes in. These devices have been around for years, and the basic idea behind them hasn’t changed very much. The user puts a small amount of blood on a test strip, then puts the test strip into the reader, which measures her or his blood glucose level. Today’s models are faster, more accurate, and require less blood than ever. If you or someone you know is looking for a glucose meter, here are some ways to find the right one.

Types Blood Glucose Meters

Digital: The most common type of blood glucose meter on the market is the most traditional—place a small drop of blood on a test strip and insert it into the meter, and let the machine do the rest.

  • Because these models are the most common, most users—even those who aren’t technically-inclined—can use them without much trouble
  • Digital meters are fast, accurate, and usually feature large, easy-to-read displays

USB: Today, it’s not uncommon to find glucose meters that can connect to the computer, which allow people with just a little technical know-how a few advantages.

  • Because the information is fed into the computer, users are able to quickly and easily document their blood sugar levels
  • At a glance, they can see trends—have the levels been consistently too high or too low lately? —and take corrective action

What Reviewers Have to Say

When people write about what they like (and don’t like) about their glucose meters, here are some of the qualities they discuss:

  • Accuracy: A meter needs to be able to give an accurate reading, or there’s no reason to use it, and the best meters give highly accurate readings for as long as they’re needed.
  • Display: It’s important that users be able to see their numbers, which is why the best models come with screens that have big, easy-to-read numbers.
  • Easy to use: Even though it’s a piece of medical equipment, a glucose meter shouldn’t be so complicated that it takes a doctor to operate. Good ones are intuitively easy to figure out and come with clear instructions.
  • Speed: You don’t want to spend all day waiting for your meter to give you your results. A good model will give you your numbers quickly and accurately, so you can make any needed adjustments and get on with your day.

Important Features

  • What you get: When you’re shopping for a glucose meter, check out the product details and see what you can expect to come in the box: will it just be the meter itself, or will it come with test strips and other items? That way you’ll know if you need to buy any other items so you can use the meter as soon as it arrives.
  • Blood requirement: Different meters require different amounts of blood for an accurate test (although none need a lot), so you might want to see how much blood the meter you’re looking at will require for each test.
  • Program compatibility: If you’re looking for a USB meter or one that connects to a program or app to help you keep track of your blood sugar, be sure to pick a model that will work with your computer or phone (or find out what program you need to download or buy).

Top-Rated Brands

Bayer: Bayer is most famous for its aspirin, but they make a number of other drugs and health products, including blood glucose meters.

One Touch: One Touch makes just about everything that people with diabetes or other blood sugar problems might need, from meters to test strips.

G-Mate: G-Mate produces a range of blood testing equipment, including several types of glucose meters.

True Track: True Track is, as the name suggests, a line of glucose tracking equipment; it’s produced by a company that makes all kinds of medical diagnostic machines.

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