Monitoring blood glucose levels is crucial for individuals living with diabetes, and a reliable glucometer is a key tool for accurate and consistent readings. Glucometers help people with diabetes monitor and manage their blood glucose levels throughout the day. Exercise, food, medications, stress and many other factors affect your blood sugar, and glucometers can measure your levels with a small drop of blood. By taking action to regulate blood sugar levels, diabetes patients can avoid uncomfortable symptoms or dangerous fluctuations. The best glucometers are easy to use and read while still being covered by insurance.
According to the CDC, almost 40 million Americans have diabetes, and over 95 million have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, are entirely unaware of their predispostion. The good news is that once you’re aware of persistently high blood sugar, you can make crucial changes to your lifestyle and monitor the effects to see how your body responds. Glucometers not only help those who have already been diagnosed, but can help assist prediabetic patients in keeping track of their habits and glucose levels.
Typically, glucometers work by using a small finger prick to get a sample of blood and putting it on a test strip that gets read by the meter. This can be impractical and become a pretty arduous task for people who have to do it daily, several times a day. As a result continuous glucose monitors (CGM’s) are becoming increasingly popular, improving quality of life for people with diabetes or looking to keep tabs on their blood sugar. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Michigan found that CGM’s, rather than a typical finger prick, significantly lowered hemoglobin A1C levels, which measure average blood sugars over a span of 3 months.
It can be overwhelming to figure out which glucometer to get, with so many options with many aiming to tailor to specific needs and desires. StudyFinds set out to visit 8 of the leading expert websites to find the best glucometers for you. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended products across these sites. If you have a preferred device not listed, don’t be afraid to comment!
The List: Best Glucometers, According to Experts
This simple and affordable monitor does it all! “If you’re looking for a glucose meter that’s easy to use, extremely accurate, and affordable, consider the traditional blood glucose monitoring system from Contour,” Healthline writes. The Contour system is great for beginners due to its ease of use.
“This glucose monitor has just about everything you could want: a light where you insert the test strip (great for middle-of-the-night finger pricks!), a compact design, Bluetooth capability for easy data storage, a light-up screen for easier viewing, and arrows that indicate if you are within your target range. It even has something called second-chance sampling, which allows you to apply more blood to the test strip within 60 seconds, which may help prevent wasting test strips and ultimately save money,” writes Yahoo Life.
Abbott recently released two top products: the FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Lite. The Libre, which came on the market in 2017, is a CGM. It can measure glucose instantly with no hassle. “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,” says Dr. Nate Favini to CNET about the benefits of the Libre.
A common trend with FreeStyle seems to be making products that make your life easier, and although the Lite isn’t a CGM, it still accomplishes this mission. “This small meter is great for on-the-go blood sugar checks. Not only is it tiny in size, but it also uses a small blood sample, making finger pricks a bit less, well, bloody. And with a five-second test time, you won’t have to wait long for the results—cutting down on that anxiety waiting for the number to pop up on the screen!” writes Prevention about the Lite.
“The FreeStyle Freedom Lite ships with everything you need to get started, including the glucose meter itself, a lancing device, ten test strips for data analysis, and a carrying case,” says Insider. “If you’ll be using it on a daily basis, you’ll immediately need to order more test strips, so keep that in mind when purchasing. Thanks to its already-affordable price, however, that shouldn’t be a major deterrent.”
If you’re someone who is all about the data, this is the monitor for you. “For those who are hyperfocused on analyzing trends in their blood sugar reading data, our experts recommend this iPhone-compatible device from Dario. The smart, pocket-sized meter connects directly to the phone via its charging port so you don’t have to deal with any cables or batteries,” Very Well Health writes.
Dario even offers plans to help keep you on track. “Dario offers the Diabetes Success Plan that includes individual and personalized support from a Dario Coach. The plan also includes diabetes supplies, such as unlimited strips and lancets,” adds Medical News Today.
4. Dexcom G6
This wearable CGM probably pairs the best with iPhone’s and Apple Watches out of any other on this list and has incredibly accurate readings, though pricing depends on insurance. “The Dexcom G6 is a sensor you wear on your abdomen that transmits information to a corresponding app you can download on your phone, tablet, or smartwatch. Users like the fact that the sensor transmits this data automatically every 5 minutes,” describes Healthline.
You don’t have to worry about not being in the loop about when your levels are variable. “The compatible app can send notifications if glucose levels drop too low or spike too high,” Medical News Today adds.
For those with type 1 diabetes or are insulin-dependent, this is a unique feature. “For patients on an insulin pump, the Dexcom G6 may connect with your pump and offer a closed-loop system to turn off your insulin if you are going low. The Dexcom monitor is also approved in pregnancy and offers continuous monitoring that you can see on your phone at all times,” says Dr. Rebecca Fenichel, an endocrinologist for CNET.
One Touch is one of the most popular brands, mostly because of their reliability. Their Ultra 2 model has a large, easily readable screen that makes it incredibly user friendly. “The device has larger display numbers for easier readouts, and it’s very simple to operate. It only takes five seconds to deliver your results, and it provides before-and-after meal averages so you can better understand how the foods you eat impact your blood glucose,” Very Well Health writes.
“With large font and before and after meal indicators, keeping track of your blood sugar trends just got easier. Plus, it features a simple one-touch operation, making the entire process a breeze,” Prevention adds.
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