A guide for finding affordable test strips

There are many frustrating things about diabetes. One of the biggest annoyances is also one of the most necessary -- test strips, and the steep prices you might pay for the top brands. Finding affordable test strips can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack, but they really are out there.

Locating affordable test strips

Contrary to popular belief, there are test strips out there at a very reasonable price. In most cases, the cheapest ones are generic strips designed to work with your store-brand meter, and some work with name-brand meters. Since technology is always changing, check the box carefully each time you purchase new ones, to ensure that the strips are still compatible.

Generic test strips are usually just as reliable as the more expensive ones. However, they might not have all the bells and whistles that you have come to expect from the name-brand products. For instance, a generic ReliOn test strip, manufactured by Wal-Mart, might cost right at $20 for a box of 50, and they have proven reliability. The cheaper price means fewer perks; these generic strips may not have the same wicking technology and minuscule sample size as the Freestyle Lite test strips, which can cost anywhere between $30 and $75 for a box of 50.

Better prices can can often be found online at places like, or via mail order pharmacies. Brick-and-mortar pharmacies, mass merchandisers and discount retailers tend to have somewhat higher prices. For instance, the popular One Touch Ultra Blue Test Strips can cost around $30 at, yet the price can be more than double from some retailers, with CVS at $64 and Walgreens at $73.

Among the cheapest test strips currently on the market are the Fora V12 ($5 for 25), Prodigy strips ($10 for 25), and Maxima strips ($11 for 25), if purchased through Keep in mind that though these prices can change, lower prices online are typical of all test strip brands. ReliOn, at $20 for 50, is one of the cheapest options through mass merchandisers.

Going cheap? Buyer beware

When it comes to affordable test strips, remember that while cheap strips can be good, they can also be a gamble. Test strips that are near or past their expiration date; strips that have been boxed up in a sweltering storage area; and strips that have experienced other handling issues, might make the strips less reliable. When you purchase strips at a discount, always do so through a reliable dealer.

Article sources  expand

About Shannon Lee

Shannon Lee has lived with diabetes for seventeen years. When she's not playing ninja with lancets or counting carbs, she can be found traveling across the country with laptop in hand, writing about anything that strikes her fancy.

Sign up for our newsletter
  • Get diabetes supplies
    delivered to your door.
  • Find companies that offer free
    delivery of the brands you want.

  • Diabetes supplies
     CPAP mask and tubing
  • How would you describe yourself?

  • Do you have Medicare as your primary insurance?
  • Yes No

Related Glucose Meters Content


David Powner says:

2 September 2012 at 8:10 am

Here in the UK, there is a similar setup. Off prescription, strips are usually around $37 per 50. However, on eBay,(and direct from the one distributor) they are $7.50 for 50off of one low-cost make. They are called SD Codefree here, but I believe they are also available in the US -possibly under a different name. The matching meter is about $15.

Add a comment
Google Plus
(required) *
(required,will not be displayed) *
Can't read this?
Get two new words
Listen to the words