Glucometer Guide

By: John Ngijseh

With the wide range of blood glucose meters on the market it can be confusing to know which meter you should choose and why. The key points to remember when choosing a glucose meter is to make sure the meter meets your needs. Here are 10 important tips to help your choice.

1. Size and shape - if you want to carry the meter around with you then it is important the meter you choose is both small and smooth so that it slips into your pocket easily.

2. Units - Some blood glucose meters measure in mmol/l and others measure in mg/dl. It's easy to switch between the two. If you want to convert a mmol/l reading to mg/dl all you need to do is multiply by 18. It doesn't really matter which units you use, what is important is that you know which units your meter measures in and so does your doctor.

3. Price - remember when you purchase a meter it is not just the up front cost of the meter you should look at but also the cost of the test strips. In the long run meters which use low cost test strips will be cheaper.

4. Brand - The blood glucose meter market is dominated by 2 major players, Accu-chek (Roche) and One Touch (Lifescan). Both these companies are global brands and have a strong customer service record. If you are going to purchase a meter it is better to choose one of the big brands as if you need any assistance their service is usually of a very high standard.

5. Screen display - if you need reading glasses or find small writing hard to read then make sure the meter you choose has a big screen with clear readings. This can be especially important for those people whose sight is affected by their diabetes.

6. Computer link - with some meters (in particular One Touch Ultra 2) you can link up the readings you've taken to your computer and it can be used to plot graphs or keep a long term record of your glucose readings. This is great for those technically minded. With the One Touch brands you can purchase the required cable and for some meters the software is free.

7. Lancets - recent advances in lancet technology has meant that pricking your finger is not as painful as it used to be. The Accu-chek Aviva has a new innovative lancet system which never actually exposes the lancet until it is used. The end result is there is less chance of accidents and it is safer. To learn more visit

8. Alternative site testing - tired of having to use your fingers for testing? Some meters allow you to test elsewhere on the body and provide an extra testing cap to allow this. This can be great if your fingers have become very sore but if your blood glucose levels are changing fast then the fingers are still the best place to test, other areas won't pick up the changes as fast.

9. Accessories - this is very important when comparing meters. Some meters come with lancets, test strips, control solutions, a case and batteries. Other meters come with just the meter alone. Check what you're getting for your money!

10. Drum - if you like the idea of an automated test strip system then consider the Accu-chek Compact plus. The meter has a unique feature where instead of having to insert the test strip into the meter each time, the meter contains the test strip inside and feeds it out to you when you test. It's a novel way of testing and reduces handling the fiddly test strips.

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