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- Best overall for new users: Care Touch Blood Glucose Monitoring System
- Best for blood-free readings: FreeStyle Libre
- Most accurate continuous glucose monitor (CGM): Dexcom G6
- Longest lasting CGM sensor: Eversense
- Best for detailed glucose data: Guardian Connect System
- Best for budget: Rite Aid TrueMetrix Meter
- Best for extra features on a budget: Walgreens TrueMetrix Bluetooth Blood Glucose Meter
Home glucose monitors can help you keep tabs on your diabetes and lower your risk of complications. Along with treatment, using a home monitor can help you identify the things in your life that make your blood sugar increase or decrease, from exercise to illness, stress to dehydration, and more.
- the type of diabetes you have
- what medications you’re currently taking
- how many meals you eat each day
Some doctors may recommend you test only a few times a day, while others may think continuous monitoring is more appropriate — each situation is unique and may change over time.
With all the options available on the market, selecting a great glucose monitor can be a challenge. To make the process easier, we rounded up the seven best glucose monitors available. Feel free to discuss these options with your doctor before you get started.
Above all, we included glucose monitors that are reportedly the most accurate. Since home meters are designed to help you monitor your glucose in between laboratory work from your doctor’s visits, it’s important that your device provides the most accurate results possible.
While no home test will be as accurate as a lab version, getting as close as possible to the quality of such tests can help provide peace of mind as well as better diabetes management.
Other items we looked at include:
- Consistent performance. While accuracy is of utmost importance, consistency is key. The meters on this list provide consistent results from test to test.
- Price and overall affordability. Meters (and accessories) range in price considerably. The ones on this list are either low cost out of pocket or available through insurance.
- Insurance coverage. Yes — insurance. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance carrier to see which home glucose monitors are covered in part or in full by your policy.
- Accessibility. Monitors on this list let you hear or feel alarms when needed or offer other helpful accessibility features, so they aren’t all read-only.
- Durability. Whatever glucose monitor you choose, it needs to stand the test of time and perform reliably even after repeated use.
- Portability. Most if not all the glucose meters on this list include carrying cases or are otherwise portable, so they can go wherever your life takes you.
- Special features. Whether it’s Bluetooth connectivity you’re looking for or discreet vibration alarms, you’ll find a variety of special features included in these picks.
- Overall ease of use. Reading your blood sugar should be simple, even if you’re just starting out. We chose devices that are straightforward and easy to use.
- User experiences and reviews. We also took into account reviews, both good and bad, from real people like you who are using these readers in their everyday lives.
We included glucose meters across a variety of features and price points. The cost of CGMs and blood glucose meters can vary widely based on their features, your insurance coverage, and location. Cost is also subject to change over time based on the type of insurance you have, so be sure to check with your carrier for the most accurate price.
Best overall for new users
If you have a recent diabetes diagnosis and are looking for a glucose meter that’s both easy to use and affordable, you may consider the traditional blood glucose monitoring system from Care Touch.
The meter can read your glucose in as little as 5 seconds, while also making finger strips easy to remove with an ejection system. This system, available without a prescription, provides a 14-day readings average. You can also store up to 300 readings at a time.
What makes this system great for beginners is that it’s an all-in-one kit that contains everything you need to get started with monitoring your glucose numbers. It includes the meter, 100 lancets and test strips, and a lancing device. You can then buy these Care Touch accessories in the future.
What’s included: Care Touch monitor, 100 Care Touch testing strips, 3-volt lithium-ion battery (Cr2032), lancing device, 100 30-gauge lancets, carrying bag, instructions, and a lookbook for self-testing.
Best for blood-free readings
You use the Libre by wearing a sensor on your upper arm. It’s a flash system, which means you wave an accompanying monitor above the sensor in order to get your glucose readings. You can repeat the process as often as you’d like.
To keep the Libre system working, you have to reapply a new sensor to your arm every 14 days.
One downside to this CGM is that it can be a little confusing to keep track of their latest models that have the same names.
- The FreeStyle Libre 2, currently available in the United States, has optional alarms when your glucose numbers are out of range.
- The FreeStyle Libre 3, not yet approved for use in the United States, offers automatic alarms and regular monitoring without the need for self-scans.
Some users also report inaccurate readings as well as skin irritation from applying the sensors. However, the fact that the Libre doesn’t require fingersticking can be great if you measure your glucose multiple times per day.
What’s included: FreeStyle Libre 2 reader and 2 FreeStyle Libre 2 sensors (28-day supply).
Most accurate CGM
If you’re looking for a CGM with more reliable accuracy than the FreeStyle Libre, you may consider the Dexcom G6.
The Dexcom G6 is a sensor you wear on your abdomen that transmits information to a corresponding app you can download on your phone, tablet, or smartwatch. Users like the fact that the sensor transmits this data automatically every 5 minutes.
What sets the Dexcom G6 apart from other types of CGMs is its ability to complement other devices you might have for your diabetes management. These include insulin pumps.
One of the most common complaints is that you have to change out your sensor every 10 days, versus longer wear on other CGM devices.
What’s included: Auto-applicator, under-skin sensor, and transmitter. Data is viewable on your Apple or Android device.
Longest lasting CGM sensor
If you’re looking for a CGM that’s applied at the doctor’s office instead of at home, you may consider the Eversense CGM.
Like the FreeStyle Libre, Eversense measures interstitial fluids via a sensor applied to your upper arm. The key difference is that the sensor is implanted subcutaneously, or under the skin, and is worn for 90 days at a time.
Once the sensor is applied, the Eversense system sends data to your smart device automatically every 5 minutes. It also alerts you via a vibration alarm if your blood glucose falls out of your ideal range.
Overall, users appreciate how this sensor is changed every 90 days versus 7 to 14 days like other brands. However, some have experienced sensitivity alerts when wearing the sensor in direct sunlight.
What’s included: Implantable sensor, smart transmitter, and mobile app to view readings on your smart device.
Best for detailed glucose data
If you’re looking for more detailed glucose tracking data, you may consider this CGM by Medtronic.
Like the FreeStyle Libre and Eversense, the Guardian Connect sensor is worn on your arm to measure glucose via interstitial fluids. But unlike any other CGM currently on the market, the Guardian Connect compiles time in range data. This data tells you how long your glucose is in your personal ideal range on any given day.
One of the greatest downsides to the Guardian Connect is its age restriction — it’s not available for children under 14 years old. Another is the larger price tag you’ll pay for a system with all of these features and separately priced parts. You also need to change out your sensor every 7 days.
What’s included: Insertion device, sensor, transmitter and charger, tape, and SkinTac patch. The Guardian Connect app works with Apple and Android devices.
Best for budget
If you’re looking for an affordable traditional blood sample meter, consider the Rite Aid TrueMetrix. This straightforward product allows you to program 4 reminder alarms, and the results can be processed in as quickly as 4 seconds. You can also store up to 500 test results on the device.
The TrueMetrix meter is available at Rite Aid stores and online without a prescription. Keep in mind that you will also need to purchase lancets and test strips separately, both of which Rite Aid also sells.
What’s included: TrueMetrix reader, 3-volt battery, 3 lancets, lancing device, instructions, and carrying case.
Best for extra features on a budget
Similar to the Rite Aid TrueMetrix glucose meter, this version from Walgreens uses blood samples via a traditional fingersticking process.
What sets it apart from the original TrueMetrix is its Bluetooth capabilities to deliver results to your smartphone. It works on both Android 4.4 and iPhone 4S models and later.
Additionally, this Bluetooth version allows you to store twice as many test results: 1,000 at a time. It claims to process your results in about 4 seconds.
In addition to the cost of the meter, you will still need to buy lancets and test strips from the same brand. Walgreens sells the meter and accessories without a prescription.
What’s included: TrueMetrix reader, 3-volt battery, 10 lancets, lancing device, log book, instructions, and carrying case.
If you’ve used a traditional glucose monitor in the past and are looking for a less painful, more portable option, then a CGM may be a better choice. You may consider the Libre, G6, Guardian Connect, or Eversense based on their features, as well the accuracy and duration of sensor wear.
While insurance and Medicare do cover CGMs, these monitors are more expensive overall. Depending on your insurance, they may offer coverage for one type of CGM but not another. It’s important to check these details with your provider ahead of time.
If you don’t have insurance, you can check with your doctor or pharmacist for discounts on your CGM and accessories. It’s also possible to get coupons directly from the manufacturer to help offset the costs.
When browsing for glucose monitors online, you’ll notice that some versions, such as the Rite Aid TrueMetrix, are available for purchase over the counter, while CGMs, such as the FreeStyle Libre or Dexcom G6, are not.
This is because you’ll need a doctor’s prescription to get a CGM system. However, you don’t need a prescription for the basic fingerstick meters we’ve included on our list. With a prescription, you may be able to buy a CGM from a medical supply store online.
If you do decide to purchase a glucose monitor or meter online, be sure you know the total costs up front, including any test strips, extra sensors, lancets, and accessories that may be sold separately. You might also consider setting up these accessories on an auto-ship basis so you don’t run out.
What is considered the best glucose monitor for you ultimately depends on:
- what features you’re looking for
- whether you want a traditional meter or CGM
- your budget
These seven glucose monitors offer benefits — and some drawbacks — to consider when making your ultimate selection. You can also talk about these monitors with your doctor.