Compact Blood Glucose Meters: Feature Comparison

When size and portability are glucose-meter priorities, you will want to shop the compact offerings.

They all have pros and cons, but each gets the job of blood glucose monitoring done.

Contour USB by Bayer

The Contour USB is the sleekest meter available. It retails for around $17, operates in 41 to 113 degree F weather, stores 2,000 test results, and does not require test-strip coding. Its blood sample size is 0.6 microliter and test time is five seconds. The Contour USB uses Bayer Contour Test Strips.


  • Backlit color display has intuitive icons for programming, and is easy to read in low light.
  • Plugs into the USB port on your computer for easy download of data to software.
  • Battery recharges when the meter is plugged into a computer’s USB port; optional wall charger is available.
  • Since 2012, this meter is compatible with MAC and windows computers.
  • The entry port for test strips is illuminated.
  • Allows for alternative site testing.

No major disadvantages are noted as the meter became compatible with most computers in 2012.

Prodigy Pocket by Diagnostic Devices

The Prodigy Pocket retails for around $18. It operates in 50 to 104 degree F temps, stores 120 test results, uses one CR2032 battery, and does not require coding. Its blood sample size is 0.7 microliter and test time is six seconds, and it uses Prodigy No Coding Blood Glucose Test Strips.


  • Very small pocket sized meter; comes in multiple colors.
  • Though it has fewer features than other small compacts, it adequately tests blood glucose.
  • Alternative site testing is allowed.
  • Data management software is available for Microsoft.

Disadvantages: The set up is a bit awkward; users are required to push a button on the meter’s front plus one in the meter’s rear battery compartment. This is not difficult, but some may find it annoying. Also, the display is not backlit.

G71a by Fora Care

The pocket-size G71a operates in 50 to 104 degree F temps, uses one CR2032 battery, and does not require coding. Its blood sample size is 0.5 microliter and test time is five seconds.


  • Small sample size and quick test time.
  • Allows for alternative site testing.
  • Fora Care is an innovative company focusing on diabetes devices and electronic thermometers; their website gives thorough product information.

Disadvantages: It stores only 20 test results, there is no software for this Fora Care model, and the display is not backlit. Availability seems limited.

OneTouch UltraMini by LifeScan

The One Touch UltraMini retails for around $12. It operates in 43 to 111 degree F temps, stores 500 test results, uses a CR2032 battery, and requires coding. Its blood sample size is 1.0 microliter and test time is five seconds, and it uses OneTouch Ultra Test Strips (compatible with six other LifeScan models). Data management software is available.


  • The unique shape and vibrant colors make this meter popular with kids.
  • Alternative testing sites allowed: finger, palm, and forearm.
  • Fantastic user setup assistance: an amazing video/still frame/text tutorial that children love and adults appreciate.
  • LifeScan offers a free membership service - OneTouch Gold - providing personalized exercise and meal plans, articles, and recipes.

Disadvantages: No advanced features such as alarms, result averages, or pre/post meal markers. The display is not backlit.

Sidekick by Nipro

The disposable Sidekick retails for around $33. It operates in 68 to 77 degree F temps, stores 50 test results, and does not require coding. Its blood sample size is 1.0 microliter and test time is 10 seconds. It comes loaded with 50 test strips.


  • Highly portable.
  • After all the test strips are used (or expired) the meter is discarded.
  • No battery replacement.
  • Alternative site testing allowed.

Disadvantages: Although highly portable, the Sidekick is light on features and does not have a data management software option. You need to carry a separate lancing device, and the operating temperature range is small: 68 to 77 degrees F. Display not backlit.

True2go by Nipro

The True2go meter retails for around $15. It operates in 50 to 104 degree F temps, stores 99 test results, uses a CR2032 battery, and does not require coding. Its blood sample size is 0.5 microliter and test time is five seconds. It requires TRUEtest Strips.


  • A very small, discreet meter.
  • Testing is simple and fast.
  • Alternative site testing allowed (finger, forearm).
  • Membership in the TRUE Care program an option: coupons, discounts, articles, newsletter.

Disadvantages: It stores only 99 test results, and there is no data management software option. Read about the testing exclusions before purchasing.

Accu-Chek Nano by Roche

The Accu-Chek Nano retails for around $26. It stores 500 test results, uses two CR2032 batteries, and does not require coding. Its blood sample size is 0.6 microliter and test time is five seconds. It uses Accu-Chek Smartview Test Strips.


  • It is a little larger than other compacts but sports a big backlit screen.
  • The company advertises the Nano as being 23 percent more accurate than FDA testing standards require.
  • Excellent data management tool option: you can track glucose levels, ketones, blood pressure, weight, carbohydrates, cholesterol, exercise, and more.
  • Helpful resources on the website such as how to problem solve diabetes issues with glucose meters.

Disadvantage: Data management is not Mac-compatible.

Source: Diabetes Well Being
Photo credit: Freddie Alequin / flickr

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