What to look for when choosing a blood glucose meter
Blood glucose meters (also called monitors) are small, hand-held electronic devices that make it possible for you to check your blood sugar levels on your own. These meters come with a number of features designed to make getting accurate results easy so that you can get back to your life.
When you test, your meter shows a number, followed by mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), which tells you how much blood glucose is in your bloodstream. This number changes throughout the day based on a number of factors, including food, sleep and exercise.
American Diabetes Association target blood glucose ranges for nonpregnant adults with diabetes:*
Before meals: 70 – 130 mg/dL
After meals: <180 mg/dL
*Note: Your doctor will set your target ranges and tell you the best times to test. Remember, keeping a regular testing schedule is one of the most important things you can do to control your diabetes and prevent long-term complications.
These are some of the features you might consider when selecting your blood glucose meter:
- Large display screen: This makes reading your results easy.
- Size: Meters come in a range of sizes, including some that are small enough to fit easily into your purse or pocket.
- No-Coding: You may need to enter the code of the testing strip (which can be found on the bottle) when you use your meter. Some meters include “no-coding” technology, making this step unnecessary.
- Memory capabilities: To track your blood glucose levels over time, your meter will store your results.
- Computer capabilities: Upload your blood glucose levels directly into your computer from your device. This can serve as an electronic logbook of your blood glucose levels.
- Testing speed: Check to see how quickly your selected meter processes your results.
- Audible results: Some meters speak your results as they are shown on the screen. This helps the visually impaired double-check that they are getting accurate results.
- Ease of use: Understanding how to use your meter correctly will take time, but you should look for a meter that works well for your needs. For example, if you have limited dexterity, certain meters include larger buttons and/or display screens to make using it more comfortable.
- Color: For added style, some meters are available in several different colors
Special considerations when selecting a blood glucose meter:
- Test Strips and Control Solution - Most meters only work with testing strips and control solution created for that specific meter.
- Doctor Recommendations - Your doctor may want you to use a certain type of meter brand and/or model.
- Health Insurance - Your health insurance provider may have certain regulations that affect which meters are covered under your policy.