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Overview

We've all been told how important blood glucose monitoring is. You check before taking insulin, before sports, 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. Recommended meters are noted by the smiley [RECOMMENDED!].

When we first published reviews of meters, there was a wide gap between meters that were recommended and meters which were not. Today (late 2007), each major meter company has a product that will work very well for everyone, including children. Blood volume is 1 microliter or under for all recommended meters. Test times are 5 to 7 seconds. Extensive memories with averaging are common. With the choice of a meter often driven by one's insurance company, the good news is that all major companies have a product that is a fine choice for children with diabetes.

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.

Most meters today 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. Note that almost all require a PC and few programs work on a Macintosh.

The meters listed below are those that are being actively sold by major companies in the United States. Some meters that were popular a year or two ago may no longer be sold, though test strips for meters are generally available for many years after the meter itself is discontinued. Also, different meters are often sold outside of the United States.

Alternate Site Testing

Since fingertip testing can be painful, manufacturers are now marketing meters that are approved for testing using alternate sites, such as the forearm or palm. Meters that are FDA approved for alternative site testing are indicated by a green check mark image OK for Alternative Site Testing. Be sure to read out section about alternate site testing for more information.

Glucose Meters and Test Strips

This list of meters includes products actively marketed. Test strips for older meters that are no longer actively sold are often still be available, even if they are not reviewed here. Not all meters available are reviewed here. We include only those that we believe are the best choices for children with diabetes.

 
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. Then consider what features are important to you, such as speed, memories, ability to interface with a computer, and size. Ask your diabetes team to help you get a meter to try out.

You can usually get a free meter with the purchase of 100 or more test strips.

Our Diabetes Team is often asked for advice on selecting a glucose meter. Dr. Tessa Lebinger offers her suggestions to one such inquiry.

These graphs can help you compare price, speed, and blood volumes of various meters:

  • Price of Test Strips
  • Meter Test Times
  • Blood Volume Requirements of Test Strips

    If you spend a lot of time outdoors, check out Test Strip Temperature Ranges to see which test strips meet your needs.

  • Top Ranked Meters

    These are our top-ranked meters by manufacturer, listed in alphabetical order by vendor name:

       [RECOMMENDED!] OK for Alternative Site Testing Abbott FreeStyle Lite
       [RECOMMENDED!] OK for Alternative Site Testing Accu-Chek Aviva
       [RECOMMENDED!] OK for Alternative Site Testing Ascensia Contour
       [RECOMMENDED!] OK for Alternative Site Testing OneTouch UltraSmart

    For Ketone Testing
       [RECOMMENDED!] OK for Alternative Site Testing Precision Xtra



    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:

    For More Information

    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.

    Last updated September 22, 2007



                     
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