Today’s blood glucose meters are more accurate than devices sold in the past, which is good news for the approximately 26 million Americans with diabetes. We tested 17 blood glucose meters in our labs and 12 earned our recommendation, including three Best Buys.
But don't just look at the retail price of the meters themselves, which range from $9 to $84. What makes blood glucose monitoring expensive is the test strips, which you might use many times a day. At $39 to $120 per 100 test strips, the cost can add up to as much as $1,750 a year for people who test four times a day. The three ReliOn models from Walmart were all Best Buys because the strips they use cost $39 per 100-about $570 a year for those who use them four times a day.
Bottom Line: Current international standards recognized by the Food and Drug Administration allow blood glucose meters to be up to 20 percent off laboratory measurements in either direction. We think the standard should be tightened, an improvement the FDA is considering. Our Ratings allow you to compare the accuracy of various models above and beyond current guidelines. All the models we tested were well within current FDA accuracy regulations, but only those with Very Good or Excellent scores earned our recommendation.
Use our buying guide for advice on what to look for in a blood glucose meter. Don’t forget to check with your insurer, too, to see which brands (and how much) they’ll cover. Finally, check out our advice for managing diabetes.