Advanced Glucose Meters: Feature Comparison

If you like or need to track your glucose testing data in detail – and you are not intimidated by technology – a glucose meter with advanced features may suit you best.

Starter kits for advanced meters run from $10 to $50. Comparison price shopping is recommended.

Keep in mind that most meter companies offer free data management software, but you are usually required to purchase a computer cable or docking station to use it. The cost is typically between $19 and $35.

WaveSense Jazz by AgaMatrix

The WaveSense Jazz requires no coding and uses two CR2032 batteries. The blood sample size is 0.5 microliter, test time is four to 12 seconds, and alternative site testing is allowed (palm, finger). The meter uses WaveSense Jazz test strips. Data management software has auto-download and analysis of data, and an iPhone app is also available.

Advantages

  • It stores 1,865 tests, has averaging, and meal time tagging options, and on-meter trend graphing.
  • There are seven alarms to set for those who like reminders, and some meter settings can be done on the computer.
  • It uses digital technology to increase meter accuracy, and anecdotal reports suggest it is very accurate.
  • The display has large numbers and is back lit.

Disadvantages: Retail availability of AgaMatrix products is less than some other companies – not a problem if you plan ahead and maintain a stock of supplies.

AgaMatrix products are also distributed under other brand names.

OneTouch UltraSmart by LifeScan

The OneTouch UltraSmart requires coding and uses two AAA batteries. The blood sample size is 1.0 microliter, test time is five seconds, and alternative site testing is allowed. The meter uses OneTouch Ultra test strips that work with six other OneTouch meters. Excellent data management software is available (about $30 for software and cable).

Advantages

  • A research study showed this meter contributes to the lowering of overall A1c levels, likely because of its superb tracking capability.
  • This meter has cream-of-the-crop tracking features such as data capture based on time of day, insulin use, meals, and more. Data analysis is presented in various understandable graphs and charts. The tracking is enhanced if you elect to use the management software available.
  • Stores up to 3,000 test results and has a back lit display.
  • Despite having many advanced features, the meter works fast.

Disadvantages: It takes most people time to become acquainted with programming and using the OneTouch. This is not a good meter for the technologically timid. Coding is required.

OneTouch Ultra 2 by LifeScan

The OneTouch Ultra 2 requires coding, uses two CR2032 batteries, and has a 500 test memory. The blood sample size is 1.0 microliter, test time is five seconds, and alternative site testing is allowed. The meter uses OneTouch Ultra test strips that can be used with six other OneTouch products. Data management software is available (about $30 for software and cable).

Advantages

  • The programming is flexible. You can, for instance, track pre-post meal tests and add your own comments – a great way to learn how your food choices affect your health. Tracking is enhanced by using the data management software.
  • The display is backlit for easy reading in low light.
  • The lancet was designed for gentler, less painful testing – there is mixed user feedback about this.
  • Tutorial videos and still pictures created for this meter make learning to operate it easy.

Disadvantages: User reviews tend to be positive, but if you are not into detailed glucose tracking, you are better off getting a simpler meter. Coding is required.

TRUE Result by Nipro

The inexpensive but feature-rich TRUE Result requires no coding, uses one CR2032 battery, and has a 500 test memory. The blood sample size is 0.5 microliter, test time is four seconds, and alternative site testing is allowed (finger, forearm). The meter uses TRUE test strips. Adequate data management software is available.

Advantages

  • Uses a small sample size and gives very quick test results.
  • There are four reminder alarms to set, and it has a ketone alarm that sounds when glucose elevates above a specific level.
  • It keeps seven, 14, and 30-day test result averages.
  • This meter's popularity is owed to its clinically proven accuracy.

Disadvantages: It may be a bit harder to find than other meters, but it is out there (check Walgreen’s). The display is not back lit.

AccuChek Compact Plus by Roche

The Compact Plus requires no coding, uses two AAA batteries, and has a 500 test memory. The blood sample size is 1.5 microliter, and test time is five seconds. The meter uses Accu-Chek Compact test cartridges (three 17-test cartridges cost $25 to $35). Excellent, holistically oriented data management software is available.

Advantages

  • This meter uses a 17-test-strip drum cartridge, so there is no loading of individual test strips – an advantage for people with arthritis or other dexterity issues.
  • The display has a bright back light, and the lancet attaches to the meter unit for easy carrying.
  • Several alternative site testing options: finger, palm, forearm, upper arm, calf and thigh.
  • Provides seven, 14, and 30-day test averages.
  • The lancet has 11 depth options; you choose the one that matches your skin type.

Disadvantages: This meter is a little bigger than most, but the strips are carried within the meter. Though it has plenty of advantages, other meters have more advanced programming (e.g., the OneTouch Ultra Smart).

Source: Diabetes Well Being
Photo credit: Alisha Vargas

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