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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Find the Best Diabetes Meters

April 20th, 2013 · 8 Comments

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Finding the best blood glucose meter has just become a little easier for some people who have diabetes.

If you live in the United States, you now have an extensive website that will make the quest easier. The site is part of FindTheBest where you can “Compare Blood Glucose Meters.”

FindTheBest provides “unbiased, data-driven comparisons” of everything from smart phones to dog breeds with blood glucose meters somewhere in between. The site does this with any advertising or fee.

How it could survive on this basis seemed remarkable to me. So I asked Conrad Yu, who works in the site’s business development unit.

“We stay in business through syndications with partners,” he replied. “Syndication means we sell other companies the rights to use our platform,” he continued. “For example, take Golf Digest.”

FindTheBest hasn’t syndicated its comparison of blood glucose meters yet. Conrad didn’t ask me to partner with him, and I am sure that I couldn’t afford the rate. But I am glad to be able to share this comparison with you directly.

The meter comparison site lets us search and filter by test time, meter memory, price, key features, additional measurements, languages, and other factors. Right now it includes 101 meters from 23 different companies.

This makes it the most extensive directory of blood glucose meters anywhere. In fact it includes several meters from Oak Tree International Holdings, a company that I had never heard of before.

But it’s not complete. It lacks two WaveSense meters (the Presto and the KeyNote), two Home Diagnostics meters (the Sidekick and the True Track), the Solus V2 from Biosense Medical Devices, the CareSens N line from i-Sens, and perhaps others. Except for the i-Sens meters, which the company sells mostly through mail-order and wholesale companies and by called the manufacturer at 678-417-5990, Amazon.com offers all of these meters.

This data-mining lacuna is especially strange because almost all of the quite useful pricing information that FindTheBest provides comes from Amazon.com. This is an especially strong point of this site because it includes not only meter prices but those of test strips as well.

The biggest lack is an evaluation of the accuracy and precision (or consistency) of each meter. That would, however, be asking for too much, because no one has yet done this in anywhere near a comprehensive or reliable fashion. I would still have liked to see the size of the blood sample that each meter requires. FindTheBest also lacks this data, except where it is sometimes buried in the details.

An interesting feature is the site’s ratings of each meter. The basis isn’t clear to me, however, except that it includes the ratings from Men’s Health for 10 meters.

This extensive comparison of blood glucose meters that all of us need may not answer all our questions. But this FindTheBest site is the best starting point for us to use when we search for a new meter.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that was originally published on Health Central.

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Posted in: Diabetes Testing

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Judy // Apr 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Here’s my take on the LifeScan One Touch UltraMini after the insurance company decided not to cover my Accu-Chek Comfort Curve test strips any more and ‘gave’ me the new meter.

    I’m not impressed. There is no off/on button that I can find. If you accidentally hit the up/down buttons this will turn on the meter and you get a display of your previous glucose levels. The only way I have found to turn off my meter is taking out one of the strips and inserting it in the slot of the meter and then removing the strip. Two: the size of the strips and the meter. If you have any arthritis or tendon and nerve damage in your hands, they are both hard to handle. Didn’t like the lancet device so I using my Accu-Chek lancet device.

    The only plus for me is a smaller sample size. The speed is faster, however this is not really that important to me, accuracy is.

    I’m going to be cynical here; I wonder what kind of kickback the insurance company is getting from this glucose meter company to promote this meter and strips.

  • 2 Maria // May 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CGT09M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2ZU0FA7EO7VI

    Thanks for this info. I found these strips available on Amazon for half the price I had found them else where. They work with the TRUE result meter I got free from my local pharmacy. The meter is for sale on Amazon also for $1.75. I am not sure you can get better than this price!

  • 3 Wendy // Aug 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

    The only thing I care about is accuracy, and no one can tell me if ANY of these is close to accurate. Very discouraging. I change meters often and they are all completely different. I will be above 100 on one and 75 on another…so for now I am sticking with the Relion because the strips are cheap so I can test with abandon and not worry about the cost.

  • 4 David Mendosa // Aug 11, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Dear Wendy,

    Yes, accuracy is the most important thing about blood sugar testing and none of the commerically-available meters seem to be outstanding. So your strategy of using an inexpensive meter and strips, which I think is the second most important thing if you have to pay out of pocket for them, makes good sense to me.

    Namaste,

    David

  • 5 Alex Miller // Aug 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I am so frustrated. I need a meter that is accurate between 80-120 range. I am borderline. I want to know if my fasting levels are 80 or 90 or 100 or 110. I want to know if my post prandial is 120 or 140 or 160 or 180. That is all. Seems that isn’t asking a lot. I am not on insulin so don’t worry about hypo and am not worried about 300s yet. I don’t care about features. I can put the data in a spreadsheet or smart phone app. Uploading to the computer is tedious and I would rather do it on the fly. I don’t care about sample size. I have plenty of blood. I don’t care about 4 seconds versus 10. More would be fine. it is not urgent, I just want a good result. I would like it to be easy to get the sample on the strip. I like the bigger strips that are easy to get out of the vial.
    I thought I was getting pretty good consistent results with the Accu-Chek Aviva after several disappointing experiences with others. But in looking for cheaper strips due to the craptastic dive in insurance coverage this year and my desire to test often to observe the effects of different foods and exercise (Aviva $145/100 at pharmacy) I decided again to tackle the frustrating ordeal of finding an accurate meter. (I did just discover the amazing strip prices at amazon, so that may be my new plan, but now I am doubting my current meter.)

    My experience if anyone is interested or has any advice:
    For years I used the TrueTrack for spot checks due to my paranoia due to family history – store brand, Walgreens, the same as all the others. Seemed consistent. Was cheap. I don’t know how accurate. After a while of not using because borderline readings no matter what i do is boring and i lose motivation, and have a bunch of expired strips, and thinking an older cheaper meter may not be great, I decided to upgrade.
    Insurance paid for an Accu-Check Compact Plus (? the one with the strips in the drum). I hated it. Couldnt’ get the drop on the tiny strip end, it was huge, but worst, the consistency was horrific. I called Roche. They were responsive, and after discussing accuracy, they said the Accu-Chek Aviva was most accurate and replaced with that one at no extra charge. I was pretty pleased with the consistency, but still skeptical. I very much like that it and the strips are made in the USA. (I want this one to work, and i am about at the point I don’t care how much the strips cost. It is my health and i want a CORRECT answer, not something 20 points high or low randomly.)

    So I tried Wave-Sense Jazz from Target, and the strips were cheaper. I talked to the customer service, was impressed with the company and with the explanations of the superior technology. Not impressed it is made in China (if I remember correctly).
    Well, my expectations were disappointed with the variablity. Sorry I can’t remember whether it had a high or low bias or was just too random. I did check the 3 meters with my next lab test, and the Accucheck was closest. So I stuck with it.

    Now, having gotten back on board with frequent testing and trying to prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes (despite lack of concern from doctor), i am at it again.

    Yesterday I bought a TrueResult at Rite-Aid, liking the price of strips and seeing good review for accuracy (but did not see the graphs of the study data). Compated to my Aviva which was giving me mid 90s readings. TrueResult…. 20 points lower! I am pretty sure that is not right. mid 70s? that can’t be right. But all my doubt flares up that maybe the Aviva reads high. Finding the study results that show the plots, it appears the TrueResult is biased low, but it doesn’t look like by 20 points. sigh.
    Of course to multiply my doubt, my fasting was 106 this morning. So I retested. 96. so I retested. 95. So I recorded 96. sigh. Somehow between the office and home yesterday, I lost the TrueResult, so that comparison may be done, and I flushed $80 for meter and strips down the toilet since I can’t return something I lost.

    considering trying the FreeStyle Freedom Lite. It gets the best results on the “System Accuracy Evaluation of 43…” study. But other studies don’t look so good.

    I really need to test. I am an endurance athlete and I HAVE to do high carbs at times. I need to know if I am normal or not and how much to carb up and when during a run to start carbs and what doesn’t spike me.

    My mom, after ups and downs for years, has recently gotten her full blown diagnosis.

    Please help. I want to avoid that, and I have to know what make me normal now for various combinations of food and exercise.
    I don’t care if it is big, takes a big drop, and take several seconds. I just want good useful data.

  • 6 David Mendosa // Aug 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Dear Alex,

    I continue to use the Accu-Chek Aviva, but Dr. Bernstein has grown disenchanted with it. After his testing, he is recommending the Freedom (or Freedom Light, I forget). You might call his office for confirmation.

    Namaste,

    David

  • 7 Wendy // Aug 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Alex, I have four meters. TrueResult, and two different Wal-mart Relion Meters. Oh and a Freedom Lite. I’m out of strips for that one though.l

    I am feeling the same as you do. Is my blood 80 or 95? 109 or 135? I get different readings within seconds of each other on each meter.

    Recently I did a test with the two different Relions and the True Results, and they were 108, 109 and 110 (after eating.) For that test, I got them all set up and squished blood from the same prick point immediately on all three.

    The next day I did a test with a different prick point, within a few seconds, and got a 15 point difference.

    I’m discouraged, too.

  • 8 Alex Miller // Aug 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    thanks to both of you! I did go get the Freestyle Freedom Lite. I am pretty impressed with the repeatability. it is always within a couple of points if I do a quick recheck. the Aviva is often close to it, but does vary more. it sometimes changes over 10 points in a recheck. that is not reassuring. So I am going to put some faith in the numbers I get from the Freestyle. I do think the True Result was biased low for me. I am recognizing that there can be bad batches of strips and such, so if you get some confusing readings, might need to check a fresh container. feeling somewhat calmer. Waiting on my book for athletes with diabetes to arrive so I can study more.

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