The Ultimate Guide to Buying Diabetes Test Strips

Angela Breslin, RN
May 1, 2024
min read


When managing diabetes, test strips play a crucial role in the daily monitoring routine. These small but mighty tools help measure blood sugar levels, ensuring that individuals can maintain control over their diabetes effectively and avoid complications associated with both high and low blood sugar.

In the realm of diabetes care, the accuracy of these test strips is paramount. Accurate readings are fundamental for making informed decisions about diet, exercise, and medication. Regular blood glucose testing, facilitated by reliable test strips, is a staple in diabetes management, providing insights that help tailor individual care plans.

For those newly diagnosed or looking to understand the importance of test strips in diabetic care, recognize how these tools contribute to overall health management. Regular monitoring with the help of these strips can significantly influence the quality of life, offering a means to manage diabetes proactively rather than reactively.

Detailed infographic on how glucose test strips work, including the role of glucose oxidase enzyme and the electrochemical process that occurs when blood is applied to the strip, resulting in a readable electric current that reflects blood sugar levels - test strips infographic step-infographic-4-steps

Understanding Diabetes Test Strips


Test strips are tiny, yet powerful tools in diabetes management. They work by using a chemical reaction to determine blood sugar levels. When a drop of blood is placed on the strip, it reacts with a chemical called glucose oxidase. This reaction produces gluconic acid from the glucose in the blood. The test strip has electrodes that detect the electrical current generated by this reaction. The strength of the current changes based on the glucose concentration in the blood, allowing the glucose meter to calculate and display the blood sugar level.


Not all test strips are the same. It's crucial that the strips you use are compatible with your glucose meter. Using the wrong type can lead to incorrect blood sugar readings, which might affect your diabetes management. Always check the model and brand compatibility before purchasing test strips to ensure they will function correctly with your device.

Glucose Oxidase Enzyme

At the heart of the test strip's function is the glucose oxidase enzyme. This enzyme, derived from the mold Aspergillus niger, is key to the electrochemical process that measures glucose levels. It’s reliable and sensitive, which helps in providing accurate blood sugar readings. This accuracy is vital for making informed decisions about food, medication, and activity.

Electrode Measurement

The role of electrodes in test strips is to measure the electrical current that passes through the blood sample after it has reacted with the glucose oxidase. The amount of current is directly related to the amount of glucose in the blood. These measurements are then used by the meter to calculate the glucose concentration, displaying it in units that you can understand and track.

Understanding these components of test strips helps in appreciating how delicate and vital they are in diabetes care. By ensuring the compatibility of the test strips with your glucose meter and understanding the underlying technology, you can use these tools effectively to manage your condition. This knowledge empowers you to take proactive steps in your health management, rather than being reactive to symptoms.

Let's explore how to choose the right test strips to match your needs and preferences, ensuring your diabetes management is as effective as possible.

How to Choose the Right Test Strips

Choosing the right diabetes test strips is crucial for effective diabetes management. Here are some key factors to consider:

Meter Compatibility

First and foremost, ensure that the test strips you choose are compatible with your glucose meter. Using incompatible strips can lead to inaccurate readings, which can affect your diabetes management. Always check the model and brand compatibility before making a purchase.


The amount of blood required by a test strip can vary. Most strips need between 0.5 μl to 1 μl of blood. It's important to consider your comfort and ease of drawing blood when selecting test strips. Some strips allow for reapplication of blood if the first attempt did not provide enough, which can be particularly useful.

No-coding Strips

No-coding strips are a user-friendly option as they eliminate the need to manually enter a code each time you use a new batch of strips. This reduces the chance of errors and simplifies the testing process. Look for test strips labeled as "no-coding" for greater convenience.

Pack Size Options

Test strips are available in various pack sizes. Choosing the right pack size can be influenced by how frequently you test your blood sugar. Larger packs can be more cost-effective and reduce the frequency of purchases. However, be mindful of the expiration dates—buying in bulk is only beneficial if you use the strips before they expire.

By considering these factors, you can choose test strips that not only meet your medical needs but also fit seamlessly into your lifestyle, enhancing your ability to manage diabetes effectively. The right test strips are a cornerstone of reliable diabetes care.

Moving on, let's delve into the various purchasing options and where you can buy these essential diabetes management tools.

Where to Buy Diabetes Test Strips

Finding the right place to purchase test strips can significantly impact your diabetes management routine. Here are some reliable options to consider:


You can easily find test strips at your local drugstore or pharmacy. This option is convenient for quick purchases when you are running low and need a few strips immediately. However, prices at physical stores can sometimes be higher compared to other purchasing avenues.

Online Shopping

Purchasing test strips online is a great way to compare different brands and prices at your convenience. Websites like Amazon offer a broad range of options. You can read customer reviews to gauge the performance and reliability of the test strips, ensuring you choose a product that meets your needs.

Subscription Services

For those who regularly monitor their blood sugar levels, subscribing to a test strip service can be cost-effective and convenient. Subscription services ensure you never run out of strips as they are delivered directly to your door at regular intervals. This method often offers savings over one-time purchases and can be customized to match your usage.

ProMed DME

ProMed DME specializes in providing durable medical equipment, including diabetes test strips. By choosing ProMed DME, you benefit from competitive pricing and exceptional customer service. They offer a variety of test strips compatible with different glucose meters, ensuring accuracy and reliability in your diabetes management. Additionally, ProMed DME provides free shipping and expert guidance to help you select the best products for your needs.

When choosing where to buy your test strips, consider factors such as cost, convenience, and reliability. Online retailers and subscription services often provide the best deals and convenience, while local purchases might be necessary when you need test strips immediately. ProMed DME stands out by offering specialized support and comprehensive care in diabetes management products.

In the next section, we will explore how to make diabetes management more affordable through various options like insurance coverage, subscription discounts, and bulk purchasing.

Making Diabetes Management Affordable

Managing diabetes effectively doesn't have to break the bank. By understanding and utilizing various cost-saving strategies such as insurance coverage, subscription discounts, bulk purchasing, and free shipping offers, you can significantly reduce the financial burden of buying test strips and other diabetes supplies.

Insurance Coverage

Many insurance plans cover diabetes supplies, including test strips. However, coverage can vary based on the plan and the provider. It's crucial to contact your insurance provider to find out what they cover and the preferred brands under your policy. For instance, Medicare will generally cover test strip costs if they are prescribed by your doctor. Always ensure that your prescriptions are up-to-date to take advantage of this benefit.

Subscription Discounts

Opting for a subscription service can also help save money. Some companies offer discounted rates on test strips when you subscribe to regular deliveries. This not only ensures you never run out of essential supplies but also locks in lower prices compared to one-time purchases.

Bulk Purchasing

Buying test strips in bulk is another effective way to cut costs. Many suppliers offer significant discounts for large orders. This is particularly useful for those who monitor their blood sugar levels multiple times a day and go through test strips quickly. Always compare the prices and check for bulk purchase options which can significantly reduce the cost per strip.

Free Shipping Offers

Lastly, look out for retailers that offer free shipping. This can be a substantial saving, especially if you are ordering frequently or in large quantities. ProMed DME, for example, offers free shipping on orders, which not only saves you money but also adds a layer of convenience to your diabetes management routine.

By exploring these options, you can find effective ways to manage your diabetes without straining your finances. Always reach out directly to manufacturers or your healthcare provider for the most current information and offers.

In the following section, we'll address some frequently asked questions about test strips, helping you to better understand their function, purchase options, and how to ensure their accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Diabetes Test Strips

How do blood sugar meter test strips work?

Test strips are a crucial part of monitoring blood sugar levels. They work by using a small electro-chemical reaction chamber that contains two electrodes and chemicals like glucose oxidase. When you add a drop of blood, the glucose in the blood reacts with the glucose oxidase, forming gluconic acid. This reaction generates an electrical current, which the meter reads to calculate your blood sugar level. The more glucose in your blood, the stronger the current. This simple yet sophisticated technology helps you manage your diabetes by providing quick results.

Can I buy diabetes test strips over-the-counter?

Yes, you can buy test strips over-the-counter (OTC) at drugstores, online, or through subscription services. They are readily available without a prescription, allowing you easy access whenever you need to replenish your supply. For example, stores like Walmart offer their own brand, ReliOn, which is known for being budget-friendly. Additionally, online platforms like Amazon also provide a wide range of test strips that you can order from the comfort of your home.

How can I ensure the test strips I buy are accurate?

Ensuring the accuracy of your test strips is vital for reliable diabetes management. Here are a few tips:- Check Compatibility: Always make sure the test strips you purchase are compatible with your glucose meter. Mismatched strips and meters can lead to incorrect readings.- Buy from Reputable Sources: Purchase your test strips from well-known suppliers or directly from manufacturers to avoid counterfeit products.- Check Expiration Dates: Using expired test strips can result in inaccurate readings. Always check the expiration date on the package before use.- Proper Storage: Store your test strips in a cool, dry place as directed by the manufacturer. Exposure to extreme temperatures or moisture can damage them.

By following these guidelines, you can trust that the test strips you use will provide accurate and reliable readings, helping you maintain effective control over your blood sugar levels. In our next section, we will explore the various insulin delivery systems that are also integral to managing diabetes effectively.


At ProMed DME, we understand that managing diabetes effectively hinges on reliable tools and accurate information. Test strips play a crucial role in monitoring and managing blood sugar levels, which is why we are committed to providing you with high-quality options that meet your needs.

Reliable Diabetes Management
We know that every person's diabetes management journey is unique, and having reliable test strips is essential for accurate blood sugar monitoring. Our test strips are designed to work seamlessly with the glucose meters we offer, ensuring you get precise results every time. This reliability is key to preventing diabetes-related complications and achieving your health goals.

ProMed DME's Commitment
Our commitment doesn't stop at providing top-notch products. We are here to support you every step of the way in your diabetes management journey. From helping you select the right test strips to navigating insurance coverage, our team is dedicated to making your experience as effortless as possible. We offer personalized consultations to understand your specific needs and help you find the best products to manage your diabetes effectively.

With ProMed DME, you're not just purchasing diabetes supplies; you're gaining a partner who cares deeply about your health and well-being. We ensure that your supplies are delivered directly to your door with care and discretion. Our legendary customer service and commitment to quality mean that you can always count on us to help you manage your diabetes with confidence.

In conclusion, managing diabetes is a complex journey, but with ProMed DME, you have a dedicated partner. Our high-quality test strips and unwavering support are here to ensure that managing your diabetes is as straightforward and stress-free as possible. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you take control of your health and live a better life with diabetes. Together, we can achieve better health outcomes and make living with diabetes easier for you.

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