Best glucometer

Medical Supplies & Equipment

The first blood glucose meter, made in 1970, weighed 3 pounds, cost $650 and was intended for use in physicians’ offices only.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which glucometers are best?

Millions of Americans live with diabetes and rely on a quality glucometer to measure their blood glucose levels. Glucometers take the blood sample to an enzyme electrode and mix it with a glucose oxidase enzyme where an electrical current measures the level of resistance and provides a quantitative reading. This helps diabetes patients know if their levels are too high or too low, which would require insulin or ingesting sugar, respectively.

Since a glucometer is something used every day and for such an important purpose, finding the right one is essential for managing your diabetes. For a complete start with a glucometer, test strips and lancets, the Active Forward Contour Next EZ Diabetes Testing Kit is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a glucometer

Glucometer size

There are a variety of sizes of glucometers. Some are large, resembling the size of a smartphone, around 2 by 3 inches. Other glucometers are smaller, slightly bigger than a computer flash drive, around 1 by 2 inches. Decide where you plan to carry your glucometer and determine which size is best for you. The most important factor is to make sure the carrying case includes test strips and a lancet for your next measurement.


Since manufacturers use their own test strips with their glucometers, test strips come with a code that needs to be entered into the meter in order for it to work properly with the new batch of test strips. There are newer glucometers that no longer require coding or read the code automatically from the test strips. This saves time in the testing process. Check your manufacturer’s requirements for coding. 

Amount of blood

The less blood you have to provide, the better. Many glucometers require 0.3 to 0.6 microliters of blood. Look for meters and test strips that require the least amount of blood.

What to look for in a quality glucometer


Glucometers are reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, so their accuracy is held to the highest standard for medical devices. This is important since users are making decisions about whether to increase their sugar intake for hypoglycemia or to take insulin for hyperglycemia. Even though all are FDA-approved, test results can vary slightly.

Data storage

You and your healthcare professional should review your blood glucose trends in order to determine how best to manage your diabetes. Knowing how your body is responding to exercise, diet, medication and even what time of day your levels increase are essential for building the best treatment plan. Look for glucometers that can store your readings over a long period of time (such as a week). This data can often be downloaded at your healthcare professional’s office.


Newer glucometers have the ability to upload your readings to a smartphone app which can hold the data for your next doctor’s appointment and also provide you with real-time updates about your latest trends.

How much you can expect to spend on a glucometer

The price range for glucometers runs from $10-$100, depending on features. Ease of use and accuracy are critical, so look for those features first within your budget.

Glucometer FAQ

Do test strips come with the glucometer?

A. Many glucometers come with an initial supply of test strips, but you’ll eventually need to purchase more. Test strips can be expensive, but many insurance companies cover a portion of this cost. Check your plan document to determine how much coverage you have.

What else can I do to better manage my diabetes?

A. Regularly see your healthcare professional and follow their advice for your particular circumstances. Also be sure to see your dentist and eye care professional for regular exams, since diabetes can affect these areas too. Exercise according to your doctor’s recommendations and limit your consumption of artificial sweeteners and carbohydrates. Consider an insulin pump if you’ll be having repeated injections.

What’s the best glucometer to buy?

Top glucometer

Active Forward Contour Next EZ Diabetes Testing Kit

Active Forward Contour Next EZ Diabetes Testing Kit

What you need to know: This complete starter kit comes with everything you need, all while providing fast, accurate results.

What you’ll love: In addition to a compactly designed meter, this kit comes with 100 test strips and lancets, manual and carrying case. Affordable and accurate, there is no coding, and the glucometer has alarm reminders. An 18-month warranty on all parts is included.

What you should consider: Some inaccurate readings have been reported. The console is a bit more confusing than others in this series.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top glucometer for the money

On Call Express Diabetes Testing Kit

On Call Express Diabetes Testing Kit

What you need to know: This kit is very affordable and provides results in just a few seconds.

What you’ll love: In addition to the low cost, this kit has a large, easy-to-read screen. Results come within 4 seconds. It’s backed by a 5-year warranty and 24/7 customer service.

What you should consider: Calibration of the glucometer can be challenging but is necessary.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Freestyle Freedom Lite Blood Glucose Monitoring System

Freestyle Freedom Lite Blood Glucose Monitoring System

What you need to know: This kit is small, fast and accurate from a trusted brand.

What you’ll love: It comes with the sleek-styled glucometer, lancet, lancing materials and a manual. It’s very fast and reasonably accurate.

What you should consider: The initial kit doesn’t come with test strips, and the test strips for this model can be pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.