Best Blood Glucose Meters of 2018

    Consumer Reports shows you which devices will give you the most consistently accurate results

    When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

    Glucose meter reading GettyImages-182175388

    More than 30 million Americans have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that includes you, then controlling your blood sugar, or glucose, level is key. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can help.

    And for some, regularly monitoring their blood sugar at home can also help them control it. Using a home blood glucose meter can help you understand what makes your blood sugar rise or drop, and see how your numbers respond to medication you may be taking for your diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    Go to Consumer Reports' 2018 Holiday Central for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

    more on diabetes

    Who should monitor at home? If you use insulin for type 1 diabetes, the ADA recommends regularly checking your levels with a home blood glucose meter.

    If you use insulin or other medication for type 2 diabetes, the association says you might benefit from monitoring at home. So talk with your doctor about whether you should consider getting a device.

    But for people with type 2 diabetes who don’t take insulin or any medication that could cause blood sugar to fall too low, such as metformin (Glumetza and others, and generic), regular at-home blood sugar checks probably aren't useful, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

    If you're a good candidate for monitoring, your doctor can discuss with you how often you should do so (for some people, it may be several times per day, such as around meals), what your target blood sugar level should be, and what your numbers signify.

    Your doctor will also explain when you need in-office testing. An AC1 test, for example, provides information about your average blood glucose levels over the past three months.

    But which at-home device should you choose? Consumer Reports tests blood glucose meters for accuracy, repeatability (whether the monitor continues to return identical results after numerous sequential tests with the same sample of blood), and how easy they are to use. Here’s what you need to know.

    How We Test
    To evaluate each device, we enlist a panel of CR employees with and without diabetes. To evaluate the devices’ accuracy, we test their blood sugar on home blood glucose meters and compare the results with those of a standard laboratory glucose analyzing device. We also test each home monitor repeatedly using the same sample of blood to see whether the results are replicated.

    In addition, our technicians check to see how simple each device is to use, looking for features like an easy-to-read display, large buttons, whether the monitor records the date and time of the reading, and whether data can be downloaded to a computer.

    Below, you’ll find five of our top-rated home blood glucose meters. Members can see our full ratings and reviews here.

    Catherine Roberts

    As a science journalist, my goal is to empower consumers to make informed decisions about health products, practices, and treatments. I aim to investigate what works, what doesn't, and what may be causing actual harm when it comes to people's health. As a civilian, my passions include science fiction, running, Queens, and my cat. Follow me on Twitter: @catharob