Even if you're not diabetic, being able to monitor your with a good glucose meter is a useful to keep tabs on your health.
The best glucose meter is the one that provides an accurate reading and works with your existing routine (so you actually use it). It's a crowded market, which is both good at bad. It's good because you'll find a blood sugar monitoring solution that will fit your needs. It's bad because the choices can be overwhelming. There are simple monitors that report your blood glucose level and give you an accurate result without all the bells and whistles, but there are also options that come with some high-tech features like Bluetooth capability so you can send the results from your blood sample straight to your phone. Diabetes technology has really evolved! Further, some systems just deliver glucose measurements, others report ketone levels as well.
There are other factors to keep in mind as well when purchasing a glucose testing kit. The cost of a test strip, the quality of the lancing device, how much blood the meter requires for an accurate reading and whether it delivers a fast result.
I interviewed two doctors to get their insights on what to look for when you shop for a glucose meter. The five blood sugar meters below are curated based on the doctors' picks and are pulled from best-seller lists and reviews online. We update this list periodically.
As always, consult with your doctor before purchasing a blood glucose monitor. They can help you determine which is the best glucose meter your medical needs.
The Freestyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that doesn't require a finger prick. It has a thin sensor that you insert under the skin (it's not painful) and wear all day. You then scan the sensor with the device to get your glucose reading.
"For people who are interested in deeper insights into their glucose levels, I'll often recommend the Freestyle Libre for continuous glucose monitoring," says Dr. Nate Favini, medical lead of Forward. "By placing a sensor on your arm, you can track your glucose constantly through the day and develop your understanding of what makes your sugar levels go up and down. People will often be surprised that foods that they assumed were good for their glucose levels may be causing spikes in their sugar. Though continuous glucose monitors are more expensive, they can help you understand what types of food and exercise are best for you."
Keep in mind that even if you use a CGM, you may still need to do blood glucose readings with a finger prick monitor.
Dr. Josh Emdur, medical director of SteadyMD, recommends the Dexcom G6, a CGM for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes patients. "I find continuous glucose monitoring to be a valuable tool in the management of both type 1 and 2 diabetes," Dr. Emdur says. "CGM data provides actionable insight to help patients track their glycemic response to dietary choices and activity levels."
The Dexcom G6 is similar to the Freestyle Libre in that it continuously monitors glucose levels in your body from a small sensor inserted in the skin, but you don't have to scan to get a glucose level reading. Your reading is sent wirelessly to the Dexcom handheld device, or you can pair with your smartphone or Apple Watch via an app.
The price can vary based on insurance.
The Contour Next One Blood Glucose Monitor is a best seller on Walmart.com. It's also budget-friendly at under $20 for the test kit. The blood sugar monitor is simple to use and provides a 5-second reading, plus it connects to the Contour Diabetes app via Bluetooth to keep a log of your readings to share with your doctor.
The ReliOn Prime is one of the most affordable options for a blood glucose meter at $9. Keep in mind that you will still need to buy the strips separately -- at Walmart they are $9 for a box of 50 strips. The ReliOn stores up to 250 blood sugar readings so you can go back to see previous readings, but there's no smartphone or app pairing capability. If you want a simple meter that can help you test multiple times per day, then this is a solid option.
The Care Touch Blood Glucose system is the No. 1 best selling blood glucose meter on Amazon. The kit is a great value -- for $30 you get everything you need to test your blood sugar. The kit includes the Care Touch meter, a lancing device, lancets, test strips and a carrying case. Once you test your blood sugar, you get your results in five seconds and the meter stores up to 300 readings for monitoring over time. If you've never used a meter before, this kit is great to get you started at an affordable price.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.