Standard Glucose Meters: Feature Comparison, Part 1 of 2

Conventional glucose meters are generally considered reliable, and they offer similar basic features at prices ranging from $9 to $35.

Beyond the basics, each model tends to focus on either ease of use or on offering more advanced features. Let your technology sophistication level, visual, and manual dexterity guide you.

Freestyle Lite by Abbott

The Freestyle Lite is an excellent meter for people on the go. It requires no coding, uses one CR2032 battery, and has a 400 test memory. Test time is five seconds. The meter uses Freestyle Lite test strips only. Free data management software is available.

Advantages

  • Very small size makes it easy to carry, and testing discreet.
  • Requires a very small blood sample: 0.3 microliter.
  • The display is backlit, and the test strip port is illuminated—great for glucose checking at night or in low light situations (e.g., movie theater, restaurant).
  • Several alternative site testing options: finger, palm, upper arm, forearm, thigh, or calf.

Disadvantages: Although the sample size required is small, some users have complained the lancet is painful, and that the test strips are too small. Those who have trouble gripping small objects may have difficulty handling the strips. The carrying case is the most complained about feature—said to be of poor quality.

Freedom Lite by Abbott

The Freedom Lite requires no coding, uses one CR2032 battery, and stores 400 test results. Sample size is 0.3 microliter, and test time is 5 seconds. The meter uses Freestyle Lite test strips only. Free data management software is available.

Advantages

  • It is only a little bigger than the Freestyle Lite model making it easy to carry and handle.
  • It has a large display that is easy to read.
  • It uses a very small sample size (0.3 microliter).
  • Alternative testing sites include the finger, palm upper arm, forearm, calf, and thigh.

Disadvantages: The display is not backlit. Some users have complained the lancet is too painful while others praise it for being pain free. Some users find the test strips too small and difficult to manage. The carrying case is the most complained about feature—said to be of poor quality.

WaveSense Presto by AgaMatrix

The WaveSense Presto requires no coding, uses two CR2032 batteries, and stores 300 test results. Sample size is 0.5 microliter, test time is 3-12 seconds, and it allows alternative site testing. The meter uses Presto test strips only. Excellent, easy to use data management software is available.

Advantages

  • Its small size and rubber grips make it easy to transport and manage.
  • Some user settings can be done from your computer.
  • The display screen is backlit.
  • It has six reminder alarms—helpful for those who are forgetful.
  • It uses digital instead of electro chemical technology to provide more accurate results; user reports suggest the Presto is more accurate than most meters.

Disadvantages: Some users report the lancet does not always draw enough blood. The test strips do not have wide distribution so you need to keep plenty on hand.

WaveSense KeyNote by AgaMatrix

The WaveSense KeyNote is easy to use although it requires coding. It uses two CR2032 batteries, and stores 300 test results. Sample size is 0.5 microliter, test time is 3-12 seconds, and it allows alternative site testing. The meter uses Keynote test strips only. Excellent, easy to use data management software is available.

Advantages

  • Rubber grips make it easy to hold, and the interface is simplified for easy testing.
  • Some user settings can be done from your computer.
  • The owner’s manual is easy to follow and a mere two pages long.
  • It has six reminder alarms—helpful for those who are forgetful.
  • The display screen is backlit.
  • It uses digital instead of electro chemical technology to provide more accurate results; user reports suggest the KeyNote is more accurate than most meters.

Disadvantages: This is a plain looking meter and comes in one color. The coding is simple but adds an extra step. The test strips do not have wide distribution so you need to keep plenty on hand.

Breeze 2 by Bayer

The Breeze 2 does not require coding. It uses one CR2032 battery, and stores 420 test results. Sample size is 1.0 microliter, test time is five seconds, and alternative site testing is allowed. The meter uses test cartridges instead of strips (details below). Free data management software is available (data cable is extra).

Advantages

  • The biggest advantage is the ten-test cartridge. Instead of inserting strips, you slide a cartridge into the meter and are ready for your next ten glucose checks—great for those with arthritis or other hand mobility issues.
  • It has an easy to grip shape.
  • It has a larger than average display for easy reading.

Disadvantages: This meter has had few complaints, although some users wish the display had a back light.

Contour TS by Bayer

The very easy to use Contour TS (Total Simplicity) does not require coding. It uses one CR2032 battery, and stores 250 test results. Sample size is 0.6 microliter, and test time is 8 seconds. The meter uses Contour TS test strips. Free data management software is available (data cable is extra).

Advantages

  • It has alarms that indicate when you have made a mistake.
  • It has a large easy to read display, and large buttons.
  • The test strip port is a different color so it is easy to see.
  • Alternative site testing allowed.

Disadvantages: It lacks advanced features, although simplicity is the selling point of the Contour TS. The display is large but not backlit.

Contour Next EZ by Bayer

The inexpensive Contour Next EZ does not require coding. It uses a CR2032 battery, and stores 480 test results. Sample size is 0.6 microliter, and test time is five seconds. The meter uses Contour Next test strips. Data management software is available and is Mac compatible.

Advantages

  • Option to set upper and lower limits and the meter will let you know if you exceed them.
  • The test strips are designed, according to the manufacturer, to perform up to seven repeat checks per test for increased accuracy.
  • Works well at high altitudes (up to 20,674 feet) but the temperature still needs to be at least 41 degrees F for accurate meter functioning.

Disadvantages: No alternative site testing allowed. Although this is a newer meter, the display is basic black and white and not back lit.

Click here for Part 2 of this article.

Source: Diabetes Well Being
Photo credit: Sasquatch I / flickr

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