How to Choose a Glucose Meter

Blood glucose meters or glucometers is a tool in your diabetes kit that you could not live without. Using a blood glucose meter can help you better manage your diabetes by tracking any fluctuations caused by these factors. The majority of diabetics rely on this portable medical equipment to provide them with precise measurements of their blood sugar levels on a daily, even constant basis. But with so many choices out there, it’s easier to choose the wrong glucometers than getting it right. Here are several things you should look for in a glucometers:

Insurance. Check with your insurance provider for coverage details before you buy. Some insurance providers limit coverage to specific models or limit the total number of test strips allowed.

Cost. Meters vary in price, so shop around. Be sure to factor in the cost of test strips, especially if insurance doesn’t pay for them. Test strips are the most expensive part of monitoring because they’re used so often. A meter may be the cheapest one on the market, but may not be a good deal if the strips cost twice as much. Also, individually packaged strips tend to cost more, but you might not use all the strips in a container before the expiration date or within the required number of days after opening the container. Figure out which type of strip is most cost-effective for you.

Ease of use and maintenance. Some meters are easier to use than others. Are both the meter and test strips comfortable to hold? Can you easily see the numbers on the screen? How easy is it to get blood onto the strips? Does it require a small or large drop of blood? Also, some brands of meters need to be coded and others have no coding. Code numbers are used to calibrate your meter with the test strips for accurate results.

Special features. Ask about the features to see what meets your specific needs. For example, some meters are large with strips that are easier to handle. Some are compact and easier to carry. People with impaired vision can buy a meter with a large screen or a “talking” meter that announces the results. Colorful meters that give a quick reading are available for children. Some models have a backlight, which is handy for nighttime readings. Others are manufactured to withstand extreme temperatures, which may be useful for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as hikers or construction workers.

Information storage and retrieval. Consider how the meter stores and retrieves information. Some can track all the information you’d normally write in a log, such as the time and date of a test, the result, and trends over time. Some meters offer the ability to download your blood glucose readings to a computer or your cell phone, then email the test results to your doctor.

Support. Many meter manufacturers include a toll-free number on the back of the meter or packaging that you can call for help. Look for a meter that includes clear instructions that demonstrate the correct way to use the meter. Some manufacturers offer user manuals on their websites.