Free Diabetic Meters, How to Find a Good One

All free diabetic meters are not equal in quality. Do you know where to get yours and how to pick a good one from all the glucose monitors available?

Your glucose monitor is an amazing piece of technology. It allows you to manage your diabetes at home every single day.

It is a simple-looking machine that might be the size of a cell phone or as small as a thumb drive.

Each one of these free diabetes meters has its own test strips. You cannot use the strips from one brand of meter in another one.

Free Meters

Here are some of the companies that give away free diabetic meters:

  • Bayer
  • Liberty Medical
  • OneTouch
  • Pharmacies like Walgreen and CVS via rebates.

If you want to add to this list, please use our "contact us" page, and we will check them out.

Click here to go to the home page for A Diabetic Life.

Be cautious about free meters. Some are cheaply made and have high priced test strips that are hard to find.

Also, the promise of free supplies is a way to get your e-mail account and other information. It is a fact of marketing.

Stick with the well-known companies who have a product that has been tested by many users.

Those Pesky Test Strips

Do test strips frustrate you? They are tiny. You have to insert one at a time into most free diabetic meters, and they can come packed in little vials of 25, making it hard to get one out.

If you have numbness from peripheral neuropathy, or arthritis, or you cannot see as well as you used to, test strips are hard to use. They are light, small, and very easy to drop on the floor.

The best solution I have found is the drop-in discs for the free diabetic meters called Bayer Breeze. The discs are easier to handle than test strips.

There are ten test strips embedded in each disc so it is days before you need to handle another one. But there is good news coming.

The newest glucose monitors do not use test strips at all. They use light and laser technology to read your blood glucose through your skin. No more punctures or blood drops! But they are not free yet and may never be.

Faster and Smarter

Among the free diabetic meters that are available there are some great choices. Compared to a few years ago, they have come a very long way.

The new ones are faster than ever and smart too. Some older models needed a large hanging drop of blood on the test strips, and if the strip touched your skin at all, the test had to be done again.

Today the test strip touches your skin without ruining the test. Instead of a large hanging drop, all you need is a tiny drop of blood.

With older glucose monitors you had to wait up to 2 minutes to see your results. Now you can get your blood sugar number in 5 seconds. The first home meter was too big to carry around with you, but the new ones fit in your purse or pocket.

On some of today's free diabetic meters you have the ability to record mealtimes, calories, exercise and medications.

The monitor records the time, date and reading and stores the numbers for months at a time. Some will beep to warn you if your number was too high or low.

With others you can download the information onto your computer and make graphs and logs of your blood testing history.

How Do You Know It is Accurate?

Another great thing - many new meters don't have to be coded. It is easy to forget, but every time you open a new vial of test strips you must look at the number on the vial and change the code in the meter to match it.

If you do not do this the readings will not be accurate. So when you are looking at free diabetic meters, look for the words "no coding required."

You will still need to calibrate your meter every so often with test solution to see if it is giving fairly accurate readings. If the broad "acceptable range" surprises you, know that glucose meter companies are allowed up to 20% inaccuracy.

Bring your glucose monitor with you to appointments. That is a good time to compare your readings to those at the doctor's office. If the numbers are not close you can contact the phone number on the back of your meter and get a new monitor free.

Some doctors download the information from your meter into your chart. There is special software for that. Your doctor may also want to see a handwritten log. Log books are available free from your meter company.

With the popular new hemoglobin A1C test, doctors know how well your blood sugar has been controlled over the past few months, so handwritten logs do not seem to be as important as they once were.

But if the test does not verify your daily readings, you know something is not right. Bring the meter to the doctor's office or use a testing solution to double check. New free diabetic meters are always available.

You Need More Than a Monitor and Test Strips

Lancet devices come with free diabetic meters, but you will have to buy lancets for them. Those lancets are meant to be used once and thrown away.

Like needles, they have changed in size. They are smaller, shorter and thinner, which means they are not as painful to use. But each device uses lancets that are different from others, so you will have to buy the ones that fit.

I am sticking with my original lancet device because the lancets are now generic, making them much cheaper. The device that comes with each new meter gets tossed in a box. Why buy expensive lancets for new devices when the old one works?

If you are on insulin, you will be testing several times a day, so you may like to test other places to save your fingertips. With the new free diabetic meters you are no longer limited.

You can test on your hand, forearm, upper arm, thigh or calf. The readings will not be quite as accurate as on the fingertip but if you are testing a lot, or if finger sticking is painful, you have other options.

You can get a prescription for lancets if you have insurance, and Medicare pays for them too. Alcohol pads come in tear-open packets that are available at any pharmacy.

You can find test strips for most meters at pharmacies too, but only get them there if you have a prescription and insurance. Otherwise they are cheaper online with Amazon winning on price every time.

If the Cost Is Too High

Search the internet for glucose monitors, and you will see ads offering free ones. Why? Because the real money for companies is in the test strips and other supplies you are expected to buy every month for the rest of your life.

Every type of meter has its own test strips, and the price range is broad. Since that is where you will spend your money, do some research. Make sure your insurance will cover them.

For finding cheaper supplies Amazon always comes in lowest. Their shipping will be low as well. But other companies sell through Amazon, so check their shipping costs before you decide which ones are really the best buy.

Here are more ways to get the diabetic medical supplies you need, including test strips for your diabetic meter. You can also get diabetic jewelry without breaking the bank. These pages have ideas you can use.

There is a statistic that says only 25% of diabetics get all the care required for diabetes because of costs. If you are one of the 75%, please use these resources and get the things you need.

Take a look at insulin pens and see if they are right for you.

Insulin pumps are getting better, and type 2 diabetics use them too.

[Go back to the top]

Return to diabetic medical supplies from free diabetic meters.