A glucose meter is a necessary purchase for most diabetics, as it helps to monitor glucose levels and take care of large fluctuations more quickly. When it comes to managing diabetes, there are many different types of meters, some of which are more user-friendly than others.
Choosing the best glucose meter will depend on your personal preferences. Do you prefer to monitor your sugar levels without pricking your finger? Or do you prefer not to have a sensor attached to your body at all times? How important is the cost of the product?
Knowing these preferences ahead of time, as well as your budget and which meters your health insurance covers, will help you choose the meter that is best for you. Learn more about discount glucose meters, expenses and some of the best-rated ones below.
Are There Free Glucose Meters?
If you are wondering how to get a free diabetic meter, it is important to research different brands and take advantage of sales. Sometimes, different companies will offer you a free meter in the hopes that you will switch brands. Below are a few examples of companies that offer free meters:
- OneTouch. You may qualify for a free OneTouch Verio or OneTouch Verio IQ meter offered by LifeScan. Simply visit the company’s website and take a quiz to see if you are eligible. The OneTouch Verio is a relatively simple glucose meter when compared to other versions. Both products use test strips that require small blood samples for every reading.
- Accu-Chek. Accu-Chek offers a free meter to applicants who are not currently using any Accu-Chek products. The Accu-Chek Aviva uses Accu Chek Aviva Plus test strips, while the Accu-Chek Guide uses its own set of test strips. Thus, the test strips you purchase must match your meter. If you have difficulty paying for test strips, you may qualify for the Accu-Chek Guide SimplePlay program, which provides discounts on test strip prescriptions.
- FreeStyle. You may be eligible for a free FreeStyle meter and test strips if you sign up for the FreeStyle Promise Program. Your health insurance may offer full coverage on any FreeStyle meter if you meet certain requirements. As with other programs, make sure that your test strips match your meter.
Note that some of these companies offer a glucose meter without blood testing, meaning you will not need test strips.
If you choose to participate in any of these free programs, it is important to contact your health insurance provider and see which supplies are covered under your plan. If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, you may qualify for other free meters and additional discounts.
Note: Be sure to read reviews of these products and compare their accuracy ratings before making a final decision.
How Different Meters Test Your Blood Sugar Levels
If you are choosing between regular meters and a non invasive glucose meter, it is important to first understand how these different meters work. The two main types of meters are test strip meters and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).
Learn About Test Strip Meters
A blood sugar test kit that requires pricking your finger will include a meter, test strips and a lancing device. There are different types of lancing devices, though all are designed to quickly prick your clean finger with a sterile needle. Some devices allow you to adjust the depth of the needle.
Once you have inserted a fresh test strip into the device, lance your finger and allow the test strip to absorb the blood. In a few moments, your blood sugar reading should appear on the screen of the meter.
Learn About Continuous Glucose Monitors
The most accurate blood glucose meter is not necessarily a CGM, though a CGM will give you quicker and more frequent readings. A CGM tracks your blood sugar levels day and night. These meters allow you to see your glucose level at any time.
Many CGMs also allow you to track your glucose changes over a certain period of time, so that you can directly see the effect of performing activities or eating certain foods. However, you may not want to rely entirely on a CGM, especially if it occasionally gives you inaccurate readings.
While the continuous glucose monitoring cost is usually higher than the cost for test strip meters, you may find that a CGM is more convenient. It works through a small sensor that measures your interstitial glucose level, or the glucose dissolved in the fluid between your cells. The sensor is inserted under your skin, often on your arm or abdomen.
How Much Does a Glucose Meter Cost?
The cost of a diabetic meter will vary depending on the brand, features and required additional equipment. In general, a glucose meter that uses test strips costs between $40 and $60. Test strips may cost around $100 per month, unless you qualify for a discount program or your health insurance covers a certain percentage of the cost.
CGMs are often the most expensive type of blood sugar test machine and may cost approximately $30 to $60 for each 10-day sensor. You may need to purchase a separate reader, which may cost $80 to $100. Other brands sell boxes of sensors for approximately $350 each, though this will vary depending on the brand and the number of sensors in the box.
Depending on the brand, you may also need to purchase transmitters and a touchscreen receiver.
What Are the Best Glucose Meters?
While discount diabetic supplies are an excellent way to save money on your monthly health care expenses, it may also be worth investing in higher-quality glucose meters.
When comparing meters, it is important to take accuracy, data management, storage and the quality of test strips into account. Below are some of the top-rated glucose monitors based on these factors.
- FORA 6 Connect. This device may check your blood sugar as well as your ketone levels. It is important to check your ketone levels to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis (KTA), a serious complication in which your body produces excess blood acids, or ketones. Reviewers report that the accuracy tests of the FORA 6 Connect are consistent and the device is easy to use. However, the ketone strips and the meter are both expensive.
- Contour Next One. This device comes with Bluetooth and a smartphone app. The readings on the Contour Next One are known to be very consistent, and the test strips are widely available. However, the strips are expensive, and the device does not test for ketones.
- True Metrix AIR. This device uses inexpensive test strips which are easy to find, and the consistency of readings are considered above average. On the other hand, the test strips need more blood and fail more frequently, and the readings may be somewhat high.
- FORA TN’G Voice. If you have poor eyesight, the voice guidance and large displays of this device may be extremely helpful. However, the test strips for this device are not widely available.