My first official blood sugar meter review will be the Freestyle Lite. I am excited about performing this review due the excellent reputation of the blood sugar meter.
- blood sugar testing accuracy is of primary importance.
- features can be helpful including memory, back light, etc.
I want to thank TotalDiabetesSupply.com for supplying me with the FreeStyle Lite meter and strips, to use in this review. I chose to review the FreeStyle Lite first because it comes highly regarded by Dr. Bernstein as is the much more expensive and accurate HemoCue.
FreeStyle Lite Review
First Impression: Right out of the box I had the unit working and testing my blood sugar in minutes.
Freestyle Lite Features:
- Back ground light Display – For people who need to test their blood sugars at all hours of the day or night (and for those requiring reading glasses) … this is a very nice feature.Also for those like me … a person who shares pictures of their readings in blog posts and in social media, this really is a NICE feature. For me this is a minor benefit, but it does save time when trying to take a readable picture for sharing.
- Port Light – this is really COOL as well. When you insert a test strip a tiny light comes on that lights up the strip so you can see to ‘load’ the strip. This would be very valuable especially for those who need to take their blood sugar readings during the night.
- Provides a 7, 14 and 30 day average. This can be useful if you test your blood sugars regularly.
- (4) Reminder Alarms – Excellent feature for those who are insulin dependent or are in the early stages of controlling your blood sugars in normal ranges. FYI – if your meter does not have this feature, use your smart phone, find an app for alarms.
- Date and Time Stamp on Blood Sugar tests. This is sooo basic, it was not even listed as a ‘feature’, yet for me… it was a great benefit. My usual meter does not have the date and time stamp! :)
- Data Management System – there is a ‘data port’ available to transfer data from the meter to a PC. The manual states that you should contact ‘Customer Care’ to inquire about this. I suspect it involves purchasing a cable (and maybe software) as the ‘port’ is not a USB shaped port.
Here are online resources I found on the FreeStyle Lite website.
Owner’s Manual and Interactive Product Manual
FreeStyle Lite Opinion So Far…
I’m a fan of the Freestyle Lite. That is not a big surprise given that it was recommended by Dr. Bernstein. :)
It is user friendly with the background light and blood port light. It only ‘misfired’ a couple of times. By that I mean, I only received a couple of error readings. I’m sure it was my fault and most likely due to a small blood sample. I am sure that I am to blame… why?
Because every time I used it, I used the Walmart ReliOn too. So I was scrambling to obtain two readings from a single drop of blood, from two separate meters for more accurate sampling.
All of the features above are ‘nice’ to have but I do not need them. If I were still insulin dependent and I needed to test at all hours of the day and night, the features above would be more than ‘nice’… they would be very helpful.
Accuracy is not even ‘very’ important for my health. I know that I am in normal ranges for non-diabetics the vast majority of the time. Accuracy is NOT a matter of life and death… for me.
However, accuracy can certainly be a life or death situation especially for drug and insulin dependent diabetics. A misreading for them can have grave consequences.
Note: No meter is 100% accurate. The best way to test the accuracy of a meter is to have your blood sugar tested at the doctor’s office or laboratory. At the same time, from the same source of blood, take several tests with your meter.
Here is what I did….
Every time I tested my blood sugar I used the ReliOn Micro and the FreeStyle Lite. In most cases I used the ‘same drop of blood’ but in all cases I used the same ‘lancet’ cut location. In other words after pricking myself, a few times I actually had to squeeze more blood out of the same ‘cut’ location.
Here are the results sorted by difference in readings based on the FreeStyle Lite.
Freestyle Lite Review Observations
- The FreeStyle Lite was never more than 12 points lower than the Micro.
- The FreeStyle Lite was never more than 7 points higher than the ReliOn Micro.
- In 22 tests, there was 5 points difference… in totals. 1,881 vs 1,886. I found this to be very surprising!
- On average, the FreeStyle Lite was .25 mg/dl points below the ReliOn Micro.
Based on the data, I don’t think I’m crawling out on a limb by calling accuracy a ‘tie’. :)
I think this is a positive for the FreeStyle Lite and for the ReliOn Micro. I have compared my ReliOn Micro with several other meters including a Nova Max, ReliOn Prime and other ReliOn Micros, and felt very comfortable with it’s accuracy.
Blood Sugar Accuracy: Two major components
It’s not ‘just’ the meter that is being tested but the test strips as well. Test strip quality is equally important.
Blood Sugar Levels Make A Difference
Notice that most of my readings were sub 100 mg/dl. The higher your blood sugars the higher the potential variances can be.
** Anne Luther (a trusted friend) told me that she had her blood sugar tested in the doctor’s office and compared her FreeStyle Lite’s results three times. All three times the FreeStyle Lite was within two points! … that’s impressive. :)
FreeStyle Lite vs ReliOn Micro
If cost is not an issue or if you are insulin dependent the FreeStyle Lite would be a better choice in my opinion.
The Micro has only one feature… it tests blood sugar and based on this experiment and previous experiments, it does this very well.
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