Blood Glucose Meter Guide
Keeping an accurate idea of your blood glucose levels is an integral part of successful diabetes management. Blood glucose meters allow you to do this.
Choosing the right meter will depend on the products available to you, the cost of test strips (if you need to buy you our own), NHS prescription availability and the most suitable device for your individual requirements.
Some blood glucose meters can also check for the presence of ketones which is useful for people with type 1 diabetes or those who are otherwise susceptible to ketoacidosis.
Compare blood glucose meters
The following independent blood glucose meter reviews detail the types of blood glucose meters available in the UK, who they are made by, the range of features each meter brings and how to get one. In addition, you can read user reviews or leave your own review.
Your healthcare team should be able to advise you on how many times per day you need to check your blood sugar levels.
Learn more about the recommended blood glucose level ranges as advised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
The Abbott FreeStyle Freedom Lite is a small, convenient blood glucose meter. Watch our video tutorial on the Freestyle Freedom Lite.
Abbott's FreeStyle Libre is a flash glucose monitoring system and lies somewhere between a blood glucose meter and a CGM.
The FreeStyle Lite is a stylish, discreet blood glucose meter, similar to the Freedom Lite. Watch our instructional video on how to use the FreeStyle Lite.
The Abbott Freestlye InsuLinx is a touchscreen, user friendly blood glucose meter which can even provide insulin dose suggestions.
The Optium Neo is a completely touchscreen blood glucose meter that logs your glucose readings and can also log your insulin doses too.
The FreeStyle Optium from Abbott provides simple blood glucose testing in addition to being able to measure blood ketone levels to help avoid ketoacidosis.
The WaveSense JAZZ provides a large memory, easy to switch on backlit display and also allows data to be viewed and analysed on an Apple smartphone app.
The BREEZE 2 is complete with Bayer's No Coding technology, automatically coding each new set of disks.
Every Bayer Diabetes Care CONTOUR meter comes complete with a MICROLET®2. This lancing device is designed to be gentle.
The Contour NEXT blood glucose meter is the latest in a line of blood glucose monitoring devices from Bayer Diabetes Care.
The Contour TS is a lightweight, simple to use blood glucose meter for people that are not on insulin treated diabetes.
The Contour XT analyses a blood sample 7 times before producing a result, offering excellent accuracy within 5 seconds.
Bayer's Contour NEXT USB is easy to use out of the box. You also receive free meter wallets, control solution and a lifetime warranty.
Bayer's first USB-based, rechargeable blood glucose meter. Watch our exclusive video review and read what other users have to say about the Bayer Contour USB.
The Contour Link works alongside Medtronic insulin pumps and transmits blood sugar readings wirelessly. The idea is to make insulin dosing easier.
The CONTOUR NEXT LINK’s most unique feature is that it is able to communicate directly with compatible Medtronic insulin pumps and CGMs.
The Bayer Didget plugs into a Nintendo DS system and allows children to make testing fun.
The Clever Chek blood glucose meter from BBI Healthcare features voice commands all the way through your blood testing.
2011 saw German company Bbraun releasing the Omnitest 3 blood glucose meter.
The meter takes a relatively long time, by modern standards, to produce a result (10 seconds), and only provides an average of 14 days.
The Dario Smart Meter's unique design is extremely compact and integrates directly with you smart phone.
The GlucoRx blood glucose monitoring system is simple to use but delivers precise blood glucose measurement in under 7 seconds.
The GlucoRx Nexus features a large LCD screen with a backlight, making it easy to read at night or in low lighting.
The Nexus Mini handles the basics well, such as requiring a small sample of blood and providing results within seconds.
The GlucoRx Nexus Voice is a talking blood glucose meter that can help people with visual impairments.
The iCare Advanced from iCare Medical is an attractive and simple to use blood glucose meter.
The IME-DC blood glucose test meter aims to be extremely easy to use, and in fact features just one button.
The Element, is made by Infopia and available from distributor Neon Diagnostics in the UK.
The GlucoLab, manufactured by Infopia and available from Neon Diagnostics in the UK, provides basic all the basic features needed for blood glucose testing.
The GluNEO allows data to be transferred to a PC and then results can be analysed using GlucoDiary which can be downloaded from the Neon Diagnostics website.
The OneTouch Select Plus provides a good range of useful features for those looking to get their diabetes under better control.
The OneTouch Ultra 2 is based on the widely-used OneTouch Ultra. After more testing feedback from doctors, nurses and patients, and latest technology.
Providing a fast and accurate reading in just five seconds, the OneTouch UltraEasy Meter is simple to use and helps manage diabetes.
The OneTouch UltraSmart Meter is the first combination blood glucose meter and logbook, providing an easier way to understand blood glucose results.
The OneTouch Verio features a simple design - one screen, simple menu and three buttons to make using the device as easy and intuitive.
The OneTouch Verio IQ blood glucose meter spots patterns of high and low results, helping people who self-adjust their own insulin.
Lifescan's established OneTouch range included the One Touch VITA early in 2009 and was revised later in the year to accommodate user feedback.
The GlucoMen Areo is the first meter from Menarini to allow blood glucose data to be sent wirelessly from the meter to a mobile device or tablet.
The meter offers poor time to receive a result, a large blood sample size and lacks the accuracy of newer generation meters.
The GlucoMen LX Plus is a blood glucose meter that incorporates a 2-in-1 blood glucose and ketone testing facility. Blood results in 4 seconds.
At just 13mm thick, the GlucoMen GM from Menarini stands out as being one of the thinnest blood glucose meters available in the UK.
The Menarini GlucoMen LX blood glucose meter is designed to make testing as fast, painless, simple and easy for people with diabetes.
Compared to modern standards, the meter takes a long time to produce a test result (30 seconds) and a large droplet of blood.
The GlucoMen Visio is one of the smallest blood test meters available, weighing just 39g.
The Mendor Discreet is an all-in-one blood glucose meter from Finnish company Mendor. It comprises of blood test meter, test strips and lancing device.
The TRUEresult meter utilises TRUEresult strips to obtain clinically accurate results that pass the 2013 ISO standards for blood glucose meter accuracy.
The TRUEresult Twist is simple and fast use, as it only requires a 0.5 microliter sample size with results taking just 4 seconds.
Nipro Diagnostics' TRUEone blood glucose meter is the world’s smallest blood glucose meter.
The TRUEyou is slightly larger than the TRUEyou mini but has additional features such as allowing data transfer and providing testing reminders.
The TRUEyou mini blood glucose meter is an attractive, easy to use meter.
The Accu-Chek Active includes flexible dosing both inside and outside the meter, allowing testers to choose the easiest method of testing.
The Aviva Advantage features Comfort Curve diabetes test strips and least-painful lancing technology developed by Accu-Chek.
Lightweight and slender, the Accu-Chek Aviva is a discreet and comfortable choice for people with diabetes who wish to check blood glucose levels.
The Combo monitor comes in at 94 x 55 x 25 mm (3.7 x 2.1 x 1 in) and weighs 103 grams (3.6 oz) with replaceable batteries and download capabilities.
The Aviva Expert from Accu-Chek is only available through your diabetes specialist nurse as it calculates your suggested insulin does in terms of carb to insulin ratio.
The Nano revolutionised blood glucose meters in terms of size. The Aviva Nano has a discreet glow in the dark meter display, and includes a proven less-painful Multiclix finger pricker.
The Accu-Chek Compact Plus is a blood glucose meter that offers greater ease of testing for people who need to perform blood glucose tests when out and about.
The first monitor to feature the detachable Fastclix lancing device and also uses Accu-Chek’s Smart Pix technology. A revolution in Accu-Chek meters.
Checking your blood glucose with the BGStar meter isn't just accurate - it's pretty simple too.
The iBGStar is the first blood glucose meter which plugs directly into your iPhone or iPod Touch.
The SD Codefree blood glucose meter is manufactured in South Korea and has become popular since early 2012 due to it having affordable test strips.
The CareSens N is a small and discreet meter produced by Spirit Healthcare in the UK.
The CareSens N POP offers a smaller meter than the CareSens N, whilst boasting a greater range of features.
The CareSens N Voice has been developed to help people with visual impairments, such as retinopathy, to test their blood glucose more easily.
The TEE2 blood glucose meter from Spirit Healthcare is a meter that has been designed with people with type 2 diabetes, that test only infrequently, in mind.
The mylife Pura blood glucose meter from Swiss based Ypsomed is a white blood glucose meter released in 2009.
Discuss your options with your healthcare team and GP. If you are buying your own meter and need to buy your own test strips, make sure to compare prices of test strips and lancets as it is these supplies that are the biggest cost associated with blood glucose testing. Some people prefer to have more than one blood glucose monitor - one for home and one for the office, or one for home and one for travelling.
How easy are blood glucose meters to use?
This will depend on the design interface favoured by the manufacturer, but some blood glucose monitors are definitely easier to use than others. For instance, some meters require a smaller drop of blood to give a reading and others have easier to navigate results and menus.
When choosing a meter, you may need to decide whether you need more features or whether you need a meter that has advanced features but is simpler to use. Investigate the process before purchasing and speak to as many peers and experts as possible.
How accurate are blood glucose meters?
In 2013, new and tighter accuracy standards (ISO standards) were issued for blood glucose meters to achieve. The previous accuracy guidelines were issued in 2003.
Where a blood glucose has met the 2013 ISO standards, we have included this fact within our meter reviews.
Because of the possible implications if they are inaccurate, most manufacturers make certain that their products give accurate readings. However, testing the meter regularly to ensure that it is still accurate is a good idea, as meters can become less accurate over time.
How do I test the accuracy of my blood glucose meter?
Many professionals recommend checking the accuracy of your blood glucose meter at least once every month.
You can check on the accuracy of your blood glucose meter by performing a control solution test. This involves performing a test using control solution instead of blood.
If you do not have any control solution or it is no longer in date, many meter manufacturers will be happy to send you a vial of control solution free of charge.
Why might a blood glucose meter become inaccurate?
Blood glucose meters may malfunction and become inaccurate should they be dirty, ageing or if they become too hot or damp. Furthermore, if the strips are outdated they can lead to inaccurate results. Meters should be cleaned regularly, and taken care of like any other electronic device.
- Read more about factors which can affect blood glucose accuracy
Are blood glucose meters portable?
All blood glucose meters today are light to carry and are mostly run on batteries, meaning that portability is not usually an issue.
Some blood glucose meters are specifically designed for use on the move and may enable you to test without needing a surface to place your kit down on, which can be a useful feature for people that need to test regular each day.
How long do tests take using blood glucose meters?
Most meters don't take more than a minute to provide accurate blood sugar level results. For most people, and in the case of most meters, speed of testing will not really be an issue.
Most blood glucose meters will provide results in 5 seconds.
Are meters available for people who have problems with retinopathy or other eye disorders?
Some manufacturers have made audible blood glucose monitors that give verbal instructions and verbal test results to their user. This range includes meters that can speak in other languages besides English.