Top Five “Glucose Machine” Recommendations
Your meter for diabetes testing is an important piece of medical equipment – and a constant companion. You want a blood glucose meter that is trustworthy and easy to use… and that helps you manage all aspects of your diabetes care.
To that end, we’ve compiled our favorite meters in one place. Here you’ll find our votes for the best basic monitor, the best advanced monitor, the best compact monitor, the best specialty monitor, and the best overall monitor. [insert internal links to Topic Article 22, “Comparison of Top Basic Blood Glucose Meters”; Topic Article 23, “Comparison of Top High-End Blood Glucose Meters”; Topic Article 24, “Comparison of Top Specialty Glucose Meters”; and Topic Article 26, “Comparison of Top Compact Blood Glucose Meters”]
OneTouch Select: The Best Basic Monitor [insert internal link to Topic Article 7, “The OneTouch Select Meter”]
A basic monitor is easy to use, simple, and direct. It won’t have a lot of extra functionality – charts, graphs, other tests, and the like – but it should be trustworthy, accurate, downloadable, and able to store several hundred test results in its memory.
Our vote for the best? The OneTouch Select meter, which has:
- An easy-to-read, large-print display;
- A quick five-second test time – no waiting;
- A 350-test memory – good for this meter’s size and price, though not the best;
- An English/Spanish enabled interface;
- A OneTouch logbook to help you record and manage your test results; and
- A “downloadable” feature that lets you import your stored results from the Select’s memory to your computer using proprietary OneTouch software.
The OneTouch Select meter will figure 7-day, 14-day, and 30-day averages using your stored results, so that you can improve your understanding of your body’s use of insulin and your blood sugar levels over time.
One thing to note – it can be difficult to find some OneTouch lancets and test strips in local stores when you need to re-stock your diabetes test supplies. Still, the quality of OneTouch makes it worth the time to find a reliable source online, and there’s something convenient and comforting about having your supplies delivered right to your door.
The OneTouch UltraSmart: The Best Advanced Monitor
An advanced monitor should be a high-end monitor that goes above and beyond to bring extra functionality to your diabetes care. Our favorite? The OneTouch UltraSmart.
Though the UltraSmart requires coding, it’s a versatile and truly advanced meter. The UltraSmart offers:
- A 1,000-test battery life,
- OneTouch’s alternate site testing,
- A 480-test memory,
- A wide results range that reads results from 10 to 600 mg/dL,
- A small, 0.6 microliter sample size for minimum pain and hassle,
- A fast five-second test time,
- A five-year warranty, and
- Dedicated software to help manage your results.
OneTouch UltraSmart’s tracking features are truly advanced, covering everything from diet and exercise to insulin injections and medications. It’s the only meter proven by independent testing to lower A1C test results, which measure glucose levels over the long term.
The iBG Star: The Best Compact Monitor [insert Topic Article 19: “iBG Star Glucose Monitoring System Connects to Your iPad or iPhone!”]
A compact monitor should be small and lightweight, designed to be used on the go. Most compact monitors sacrifice rich-featured functionality for small size and light weight.
One monitor, however, actually adds functionality with its small size. The iBG Star Glucose Monitoring System is designed to integrate with an iPhone and app to help you manage your disease anytime and anywhere. Here are our favorite features:
- An Integrated 30-pin dock connector for easy syncing with your smartphone;
- The free iBG Star Diabetes Manager App, linking your diabetes glucose monitor directly to sleek and sophisticated software for managing your blood glucose, diet, and medication in one place;
- A display area on the meter so that you can see results and messages whether or not the meter is connected to your phone;
- No-coding-required iBG Star blood glucose test strips;
- Portability: This tiny meter can stay attached to your phone or ride in a mini-carrying case alongside a lancet device and test strip carrier – and it’s still only half the size of most compact diabetes glucose monitor kits.
Though we wish this kind of technology were available to all smartphone users and not just iPhone users, it’s a step in the right direction. We hope to see more of these full-featured compact meters with mobile technology in the future.
Best Specialty Monitor
Specialty monitors offer something special in addition to glucose testing – other tests, integration with an insulin pump, or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) function. Many appeal only to a small subset of diabetics with particular needs.
Our favorite, Abbott’s Precision Xtra wins the prize not just for its special feature – home ketone testing – but for its overall forgiving design and usefulness to a wide range of diabetes patients. The meter has:
- Abbott’s impressive alternative site testing capabilities;
- A simple and intuitive interface, great for those new to testing;
- A fast testing time – five seconds for blood glucose, ten seconds for ketones testing; and
- Kid-friendly features: a lifetime warranty in case of accidents, small sample sizes for minimum pain and fear-factor, and test strips that aren’t contaminated when touched so kids can safely practice testing on their own.
This versatile, forgiving little meter is an excellent choice if your doctor recommends testing for ketones at home, or if you need a meter that will help your child learn to test alone (and stand up to heavy-handed treatment).
We’re not always a big fan of Abbott Diabetes Care [Insert internal link to Topic Article 30, “Abbott Laboratories], but they’ve hit a home run with this little meter.
Bayer’s Contour USB: The Best Overall Monitor
The Contour USB is without a doubt an excellent glucose machine before you add in USB functionality. This cool little meter offers:
- A quick five-second test time – no long waits;
- No-Coding Technology for easy and accurate testing;
- Automatically correction for common interfering substances in the blood;
- “TargetRanges” for before and after meals, plus “Average” screens, directly on the meter;
- A color display and illuminated strip port, so you can test in any light;
- A rechargeable battery that charges when you plug it into a USB port;
- A customizable “Reminder” feature to help you remember to test; and
- Syncing capacity via USB to Bayer’s GLUCOFACTS DELUXE Diabetes Management Software.
Though the Contour USB is not enabled with mobile smartphone software, it’s more adaptable than the iBG Star since it doesn’t require proprietary Apple technology – it works on any computer. Still, Bayer isn’t exactly known for its responsible corporate behavior [Insert internal link to Topic 29, “Bayer’s Background”], so factor the company into your decision-making process.
Choosing Your Glucose Machine
You’ll use whatever meter you choose every day of your life. Take your time, read glucose meter reviews, and find out what works best for you. Our recommendations can help, but only you can find the perfect meter for your needs.
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