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The ACCU-CHEK Compact has been replaced by the Compact Plus. This review is left online for historical purposes.

The ACCU-CHEK Compact from Roche Diagnostics integrates 17 tiny test strips into a drum that is inserted into the meter, eliminating the fuss of opening test strips individually and the need to carry meter and strips separately. The drum is about the size of a small spool of thread (one inch in diameter and one inch in length) and each is individually coded for automatic calibration. Inserting the drum is easy and you can't insert it incorrectly, which means that the ACCU-CHEK Compact is suitable for use by kids.

To perform a test, you open the cover and press the large white button in the center of the meter. This engages a motor which ejects a test strip out the bottom. With it's built-in motor and drum, the ACCU-CHEK Compact weighs more than most other meters, coming in at about 4 1/2 ounces. It's also thicker than most new meters, again, to accommodate the drum and motor. If the convenience of having up to 17 test strips inside the meter is important to you, the size and weight won't be an issue.

Because the ACCU-CHEK Compact uses a motor to push out a test strip from the drum and present it for testing, it makes a noise. The motor is also used to eject the used test strip from the meter. The sound is quiet, but it is noticeable. If you test in the middle-of-the-night or prefer to be very discreet while testing in public, be prepared for the noise. The motor also limits the life of the two AAA-batteries to about 500 tests.

The ACCU-CHEK Compact test strip requires only 1.5 microliters and test time is 8 seconds. While not the best in the industry, these are quite acceptable for kids with diabetes.

While the 17-strip drum is very convenient, it's also expensive. Test strip drums are sold in packages of three, providing 51 tests, for about $49 or in packages of 6, providing 102 tests, for about $88. It's worth noting that if you accidentally press the button to start a test but don't need to test, you'll have wasted a strip -- it can't be pulled back into the meter for use later.

The ACCU-CHEK Compact is an excellent choice for people with limited dexterity. Loading the drum is easy and fool proof (you can't put it in backwards), and all that's needed to run a test is pressing the large, white button in the center of the meter. There's no strip handling at all. It's also worth noting that you can't spill test strips on the floor, since all the strips are contained within the drum.

Like the ACCU-CHEK Active, the ACCU-CHEK Compact uses photometric technology instead of electrochemical technology. This means that the meter measures blood glucose through color change in the test strip. It also means that the meter needs periodic cleaning, which is simple but must be performed to prevent degradation in performance and accuracy. While cleaning is easy, you have to remove the cover of the testing area to clean the meter and it's easy to forget to do so.

Key Features

Key features of the ACCU-CHEK Compact include:

  • 1.5 microliter blood volume
  • Test results in 8 seconds
  • Approved for alternate site testing
  • Temperature sensor won't allow testing outside acceptable range (50 to 104 degrees F / 10 to 40 degrees C)
  • A 100-test memory for storing blood sugar readings
  • Highest, lowest, and average of readings
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Window on back shows how many test strips remain in the drum
  • Infrared data interface port
  • Displays blood sugar readings in mg/dL or mmol/L (country specific)
  • Three year warranty

Summary

The ACCU-CHEK Compact is very easy to use, even for young children. The stand-out feature of the ACCU-CHEK Compact is the 17-strip drum. However, that convenience comes with the high price of test strips, large size and noise. If the convenience of having 17 test strips contained within meter appeals to you, the ACCU-CHEK Compact will serve you well. If you are looking for a meter and want to stay with Roche, we really like the ACCU-CHEK Aviva.

ACCU-CHEK Compact Rating

  • Ease of use: 9 (required cleaning due to photometric technology)
  • Features: 10 (100 memories, averaging, infrared data port, AAA batteries, test strip drum, auto calibration)
  • Speed of results: 9 (8 seconds)
  • Suitability for use by children under ten years old: 9
  • Suitability for use by children over ten years old: 9
  • Cost: 1 (about $89 per 100; $1,923/year at 6 tests/day)
  • Overall Rating: 47
  Meter Photo
The ACCU-CHEK Compact, showing a test strip at the bottom. Click on the photo to see a cut-out view of the drum.

ACCU-CHEK Compact Drum
The ACCU-CHEK Compact test strip drum, showing a test strip extruding from the drum.

ACCU-CHEK Compact package contents
The ACCU-CHEK Compact comes with the highly-rated Softclix lancing device

Company Logo   Roche Diagnostics Corporation
9115 Hague Road Indianapolis, IN 46250
317-845-2000

Last updated September 22, 2007

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.


                 
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