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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 that make your blood sugar increase or decrease, from exercise to illness, stress to dehydration, and more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends checking your blood sugar as advised by your doctor. How often you should check depends on a number of things, including:
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:
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.
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 average of readings. 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
The FreeStyle Libre first debuted on the market in 2017. Like other CGMs, it uses interstitial fluids instead of blood to measure blood glucose.
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.
Some users also report inaccurate readings as well as skin irritation from applying the sensors. However, the fact that the Libre doesn’t require finger-sticking 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)
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
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.
The manufacturer, Senseonics, a publicly traded company, started experiencing challenges in 2020. Senseonics has scaled back its workforce but continues to support the Eversense system.
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
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; app works with Apple and Android devices
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
Similar to the Rite Aid TrueMetrix glucose meter, this version from Walgreens uses blood samples via a traditional finger-sticking 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, logbook, 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.
A blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or below is considered normal for a fasting blood sugar test. For a glucose tolerance test, a level of 140 mg/dL is considered normal.
You don’t need a prescription for a blood glucose meter. However, you do need one for a continuous glucose monitor.
Some smartwatches can connect to CGM systems, allowing you to check your readings on your watch. But none are capable of taking blood glucose readings directly.
What is considered the best glucose monitor for you ultimately depends on:
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.
Last medically reviewed on July 5, 2022
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Jul 5, 2022
Ashley Marcin, Steph Coelho
Edited By
Samantha Kostaras
Medically Reviewed By
Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., MSN
Copy Edited By
Siobhan DeRemer
Dec 21, 2021
Edited By
Christina Snyder
Medically Reviewed By
Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI
Copy Edited By
Emily Schalk
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