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The FreeStyle has been replaced with the FreeStyle Freedom. This review is here for historical purposes. We much prefer the FreeStyle Flash and FreeStyle Lite for children with diabetes.


Frequent blood glucose monitoring is an essential component of tight control, which has been proven to reduce the risk of complications. But frequent monitoring means sore fingers for most people. The FreeStyle system was designed from the start for alternative site testing -- meaning no finger tip testing. It requires 0.3 microliters of blood, one-third of the next smallest meter (the ONE TOUCH Ultra). Incorporating all the features we've come to expect from a meter, the FreeStyle sets the standard for smallest blood volume required for testing. Highly Recommended.


Key features of the FreeStyle include:

  • Smallest blood volume required for testing (0.3 microliters)
  • Alternative site testing
  • Test results in 15 seconds
  • A 250-test memory for storing blood sugar readings
  • 14-day averaging
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Data interface port
  • Displays blood sugar readings in mg/dL or mmol/L
  • Five year warranty


Using the FreeStyle's lancing device and a B-D UltraFine II lancet, we obtained blood samples from the forearm and finger tip (our tester prefers finger tips). The FreeStyle lancing device is best used on the arm, because the end is larger than other lancing devices. (An alternative lancing device cover is provided for those who prefer finger tip testing.) When doing forearm sampling, the clear end of the FreeStyle lancing device lets you see when you have enough blood to test. No pumping or milking is needed -- just some pressure for a couple seconds. The lancing device depth is adjustable. Most people find testing on their forearm to be much less sensitive than using their fingertips. Our tester reported that it was painless.

Given the small blood requirement, getting a large enough sample was easy. In fact, you're likely to get more blood from a paper cut. The FreeStyle test strip differs from traditional test strips in that you touch the strip side to the blood, not the strip end. You can touch either side of the strip to the blood, but you can only use one side for a given test. Results are very quick, averaging 15 seconds.

The FreeStyle stores the last 250 tests and provides a 14-day running average. The FreeStyle comes with a dataport for downloading data to a computer program, such as the company's FreeStyle Connect program for PCs.

The FreeStyle uses two AAAA batteries, which are even smaller than the more common AAA batteries. You may have to hunt around a bit to find AAAA batteries. Many people report that they are carried at Radio Shack stores.


The FreeStyle is an excellent choice for anyone who dislikes or is tired finger sticks. It's also especially good for young children because of its very small blood requirement. Though it still requires a lancet to draw blood, the tiny blood volume and alternative site testing of the TheraSense FreeStyle has set a new standard for minimally invasive blood glucose monitoring. Given it's extremely low blood requirement, the FreeStyle is the best choice for people who want to make alternate site testing their primary means of checking blood glucose levels. While the FreeStyle is recommended, we much prefer the Flash.

FreeStyle Rating

  • Ease of use: 10
  • Features: 10 (250 memory with averaging, data port, thermometer to sense out-of-range, alternate site testing, very small blood volume)
  • Speed of results: 10 (average 7 seconds)
  • Suitability for use by children under ten years old: 10 (though Flash is better because of the port light)
  • Suitability for use by children over ten years old: 10 (though Flash is better because of the port light)
  • Cost: 2 (about $83 per 100; $1,144/year @ 4 tests/day)
  • Overall Rating: 52
Logo   Abbott Diabetes Care
1360 South Loop Road
Alameda, CA 94502
(510) 749-5400
  Product photo
Inserting the test strip into the FreeStyle meter

Product photo
Drawing blood from the arm instead of the finger tip

Product photo
Touching the strip to the tiny drop of blood

Product photo
Results average 7 seconds

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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