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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. 


Related articles:
Diabetes 101
What products are used to manage diabetes?
What are diabetes complications?