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How to choose a blood glucose meter


With so many meters on the market, how do you choose?  Your diabetes educator or phrarmacist can help you choose a blood glucose meter that will meet your needs. 


How do I know if it is accurate?


All meters available in Canada, must meet standards for accuracy.  It is still recommended that you do a lab to meter comparison once a year.  This means taking your meter with you to the lab and checking your blood sugar immediately after having your blood drawn.  Record your result, and compare it to your lab result when you get your result from your health care provider.  Your meter result should be within 20% of your lab result. 


How much should I expect to pay?


Most meters are available free of charge when you purchase the test strips.  The test strips range between $0.80 to $1.00 per strip.  If you have private insurance or you are covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, your strips will be covered with a prescription.  If you are on insulin or have gestational diabetes and do not have extra insurance coverage, you can apply for a 75% reimbursement of the cost of your strips and lancets up to a maximum of $820 per year, through the Monitoring for Health Program with the Diabetes Canada.   


To obtain a claim form, please contact the Diabetes Canada at:

Toll-free: 1-800-361-0796 or
Email: [email protected]


Your local Diabetes Canada office, pharmacy or diabetes education centre may also have claim forms available.



Some tips to consider when selecting a meter:                                                                                                                         

  • Choose a meter that appeals to you and that you will use
  • If you don't like pricking your finger, consider a flash glucose meter
  • If you have vision difficulties, choose a meter with a large screen or one that has an audio function
  • If you will be testing in a low-light area, or in the dark, a back-light may be useful
  • Decide if you would like batteries or a charger--if you choose batteries, are they readily available?
  • Are the strips (and container) easy for you to handle?
  • Look at the size of the case--does it fit with your life-style?
  • If you like to review your readings, but don't like to write them down, you may like a meter with a memory or that is downloadable to your computer 




Tips for keeping your meter accurate:

  • Always keep your strips in their proper container
  • Avoid temperature extremes--for example, do not leave your meter or strips in a hot car in the summer
  • Check the expiry date on your strip container




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