As any person with diabetes knows, glucose testing becomes a part of everyday life, and that means having a continual supply of test strips to hand. However, there can be considerable variations in how the strips work, from the size of the sample, through to the time it takes to get a result and its level of accuracy. So that can make it difficult to know whether, for example, One Touch test strips or Accu-Chek are the best options for you.
In this guide, we’ll reveal our favorite three makes and help you understand some of the key considerations you need to make when selecting test strips for diabetes.
The Top Three Test Strips For Diabetes
One Touch Ultra
The first make to get into our top three is One Touch Ultra and here’s why:
- Results in just five seconds: When it’s critical to receive a fast and accurate reading, you want to get results immediately.
- Ease of Use: With some strips, it can be difficult to know if you’ve provided enough blood to get an accurate reading. The One Touch Ultra makes it easy to see when the provided sample is large enough for the test to be conducted.
Next up is Accu-Chek, and here’s why it gets into our top three:
- Small Blood Sample: You need to provide just 0.6 microliters of blood for these strips, which is much less than other makes. This means that testing is much easier, and less discomfort is involved.
- Touchable Wide-Mouth Test Strips: Some test strips are so narrow that getting the sample ready for testing can be challenging. With the larger Aviva stips, you’ll get it right the first time.
FreeStyle Precision Neo
Our third and final member of the top three list is the FreeStyle Precision Neo, and that’s because of these three reasons –
- No coding required: This makes the strips quick and easy to use
- Individually wrapped: Each test strip is individually wrapped, meaning they are easy to take with you wherever you go without worrying if the strip has become contaminated.
- Top-fill or end-fill blood application: this is a company that has really considered how to make the testing process as easy as possible. With the ability to apply blood through a top or end fill, there’s no worry about getting things around the right way.
How Do Diabetes Test Strips Work?
A diabetes test strip is a small plastic strip with an absorbent pad that is used to collect a small drop of blood. The blood is then applied to the strip, which contains chemicals that change color in the presence of glucose. The change in color can be read by a digital meter, which displays the results in terms of mmol/L (millimoles per liter).
Finding The Right Test Strips For Monitoring Your Diabetes
While everyone will have their own preferences, we’ve identified four key criteria that you should consider when deciding which is the best test strip for you.
The most important thing is to find a strip that is accurate. This means that it will give you a reading that is close to your actual blood sugar level. Some strips are more accurate than others, so it is important to read reviews before purchasing. Whichever make you’re using, it’s essential that they provide blood glucose readings that are within 15% or 15 mg/dL of the laboratory values and that they achieve this 95% of the time.
There have been concerns in the past about the accuracy of some strips, and the report from the Diabetes Technology Society stated that of the 18 strips they tested, only six passed the 95% test. The worst-performing strips were accurate less than 75% of the time.
Another thing to consider is how convenient the strips are to use. Some strips require you to prick your finger and then apply blood to the strip. Other strips can be used with a lancet, which makes the process much easier.
There are also new strips on the market that do not require any blood at all. These strips work by measuring the glucose in your saliva. This can be a very convenient option for those who do not like to deal with blood.
Of course, price is always a consideration when purchasing anything. Test strips can range in price from $0.50 to over $1.00 per strip. It is important to find a balance between accuracy and price.
Some health insurance companies will cover the cost of test strips, but others will not. It is important to check with your insurer to see what is covered.
Ease Of Use
Ease of use is another consideration. Some strips require you to prick your finger and then place the strip on the drop of blood that forms. Others allow you to simply place the strip on your tongue and wait for the results. The latter is generally easier to use and less painful.
Finally, it is important to find a strip that is easy to read. Some strips can be difficult to interpret, which can lead to inaccurate results.
The Blood Glucose Monitor
Test strips are just one part of the equation when it comes to checking your glucose levels. You will also need a blood glucose monitor, which is a device that reads the strips and displays the results.
Monitors can range in price from $10 to over $100. The more expensive monitors tend to be more accurate and have more features, such as the ability to store multiple readings.
Some monitors require you to calibrate them with a control solution, while others do not. Calibrating your monitor ensures that it gives you accurate readings.
You should also consider how easy the monitor is to use. Some monitors are very simple and straightforward, while others are more complex and have a lot of features. Choose the one that is right for you based on your needs and preferences.