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- Best overall: LetsGetChecked Diabetes Test
- Best for in-person testing: Labcorp Diabetes Risk (HbA1c) Test
- Best for fast results: DTI Laboratories A1c Test Kit
- Best customer reviews: Everlywell HbA1c Test Kit
- Best for follow-up care: myLAB Box At Home Diabetes Hemoglobin A1c Screening Test
Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a common and chronic health condition that affects how the body uses glucose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects over
A further 88 million people have prediabetes, which typically occurs before diabetes. In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are elevated, but not to the levels of diabetes.
Many people are unaware they have prediabetes or diabetes until they experience health problems. Understanding the warning signs and regularly testing are ways of safeguarding your health from the severe health complications of diabetes.
It’s worth knowing that you can now buy at-home diabetes testing kits to monitor your blood glucose with A1C testing. Depending on your results, you can then consult a doctor.
If you’re looking for an easy way to test for diabetes at home, here are our top choices.
If you’re concerned that you’re at risk for diabetes, here are some of the most common causes and symptoms.
Type 1 diabetes
Doctors don’t currently know the primary cause of type 1 diabetes. In some cases, genetics may play a role. Symptoms can include:
- extreme hunger
- increased thirst
- unintentional weight loss
- frequent urination
- blurry vision
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes typically stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or having obesity can heighten your risk. Additionally, family members may share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.
Symptoms may include:
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- blurry vision
- sores that are slow to heal
There are also gender-specific symptoms for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For men, symptoms may include:
- a decreased sex drive
- erectile dysfunction
- poor muscle strength
Women may experience:
- urinary tract infections
- yeast infections
- dry, itchy skin
Home diabetes tests usually provide everything you need to test A1C, also called HbA1c. According to the American Diabetes Association, this metric shows your average blood glucose levels over the previous 2 to 3 months, rather than standard glucose testing that only provides a snapshot of that moment.
Because A1C tests provide an overall picture of your blood sugar levels, they’re a good indicator of how your body manages glucose.
At-home diabetes tests allow you to take a blood sample at home and mail it to a laboratory for analysis. Then, after a few days, you’ll receive your results through a phone app, email, or on a secure web platform.
If there are any atypical results, follow up with your primary care physician to discuss the next steps.
Anyone who wants to understand their risk of diabetes should take an at-home diabetes test. Because these kits only require blood from a finger prick, they’re safe for most people to use. You can then use the results to see if you need medical guidance.
That said, people living with diabetes should seek their doctor’s advice if they are considering using these tests to replace their routine monitoring or specially ordered tests.
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We assessed reviews and compared features of at-home diabetes testing options. We used the following criteria to make our list:
- Laboratory standards. Where possible, we selected companies that use
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)certified labs.
- Cost. We selected at-home tests that span a range of budgets.
- Privacy. We looked at data protection and privacy measures such as discreet packaging.
- Speed of results. We selected companies offering speedy test results that inform customers how to access their data.
- Medical support. We’ll indicate if a company offers support when results are out of range, such as phone or telehealth consultation.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$70
- $$$ = over $70
LetsGetChecked Diabetes Test
LetsGetChecked is our best overall choice because they provide nurse consultation services, and a physician will review your results.
You can opt for the Diabetes Test to find out your HbA1c or the combined Diabetes and Heart Test ($89) that also includes cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and HDL percentage of total cholesterol. You might consider this test as diabetes increases the risk of heart problems.
Once you receive your kit, you’ll need to activate it, connecting you with the kit code to ensure you receive the correct results. Then, you’ll take a finger-prick blood sample following the instructions and return it with the prepaid shipping label.
There’s round-the-clock support from a team of nurses throughout the testing process, who’ll call you if your results are out of range. Additionally, your results appear on the LetsGetChecked platform within 2 to 5 days.
- phone app available
- labs are CLIA-approved and College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited
- discount available for subscribers
- doesn’t accept insurance
- support through email only
Best for in-person testing
Labcorp Diabetes Risk (HbA1c) Test
Labcorp has a network of CAP accredited and CLIA certified laboratories that process over 2.5 million samples weekly.
Although you can shop for and order tests online from home, you’ll need to visit a Labcorp location for blood sampling. The first step is to create an account and pay for your physician-ordered test. Labcorp then emails you a requisition number that you’ll take to the testing location along with a form of photo ID.
Labcorp publishes results through their online portal. If anything requires attention, a healthcare professional will contact you by phone or mail.
- labs are CLIA-approved and CAP accredited
- medical professionals are on hand for results that may require a follow-up
- approved for health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
- results are somewhat slower than other companies
- doesn’t accept insurance
- must visit a clinic for testing
Best for fast results
DTI Laboratories A1c Test Kit
DTI Laboratories specializes in diabetes testing, and their kits have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1998.
The A1c Test Kit is the most accurate and comprehensive test of its kind. It uses a testing method called HPLC-IE (high performance lipid chromatography) that can detect atypical hemoglobin, which can interfere with test results. Other tests that use dried blood spots can be affected by temperature and humidity. But the DTI Laboratories A1c Test Kit is stable for 21 days without refrigeration.
You’ll typically receive your kit within 2 days of ordering. The kit comes with a secure ID, sample vial, and device for pricking your finger and gathering one drop of capillary blood.
Your results are available within 1 week of mailing them off, or you can opt for a 24-hour turnaround for an extra fee.
- optional 24-hour turnaround for results
- round-the-clock support line
- test is FDA-approved and the labs are CLIA certified
- no medical support available for out-of-range test results
- insurance isn’t accepted
Best customer reviews
Everlywell HbA1c Test Kit
Everlywell provides a wide range of home testing kits, including ones for HbA1c. Their website is clear and provides plenty of information about the testing process and results.
You’ll benefit from a discounted rate of $24.99 for testing if you decide to join the Everlywell membership program, which is an option for people interested in ongoing health monitoring.
The testing process is simple. You’ll receive your kit in around 5 to 10 business days and must register it using your unique ID. Then, you’ll take a finger-prick blood sample. Once it’s dry, return it to the laboratory using the prepaid shipping envelope. A board certified physician will read your results and deliver them to a secure online portal in around 5 business days.
If your results are out of range, a physician will contact you to discuss the next steps.
- highly recommended by most customers
- discounts available if you’re a member
- CLIA certified labs
- slower turnaround on results than other companies
- not available in all U.S. states (New York is the one exception)
- no insurance coverage
Shop now at Everlywell
Best for follow-up care
myLAB Box At Home Diabetes Hemoglobin A1c Screening Test
Although myLAB Box specializes in discreet, at-home sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, they also provide A1C testing.
It’s straightforward to order and pay for a test online. When you receive the test, you’ll activate it on the MyLAB Box website, which complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Then, simply collect a finger-prick blood sample and return it on the same day using the prepaid shipping label provided. Your results are ready within 5 days.
Should your results be out of range, the price of the testing kit includes a telehealth consultation with a doctor.
- includes a telemedicine consultation from a licensed professional
- results are available in 1 to 5 days
- a bit more expensive than competitors
- support is only available during business hours
- not currently available in New York
Although the process differs by company, the typical steps are:
- Order and pay for your test online.
- Receive your test kit in the mail in a few days.
- Review the instructions.
- Register your unique ID number on the company website.
- Collect a finger-prick blood sample on the test strip or other collection device.
- Return your sample in the prepaid envelope that’s marked with your ID number.
- Wait up to 1 week for your results.
- Results appear on an online portal or via email.
- Follow up with your primary care physician if results are out of range.
Your results indicate your levels of glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c. When blood glucose binds with the hemoglobin in red blood cells, it forms A1C and is detectable in the blood for 2 to 3 months.
A1C levels increase in line with blood glucose, meaning high blood glucose equals high A1C.
According to the American Diabetes Association:
- HbA1c levels under 5.7 percent are “normal.”
- 5.7 percent to 6.5 percent means prediabetes.
- 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.
What is the HbA1c level?
The HbA1c level indicates your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.
The HbA1c or A1C test measures the amount of blood sugar or glucose that’s bound to your red blood cells. If your body can’t use glucose as it should, more of it sticks to the blood cells and builds up.
Doctors use the test results to diagnose and monitor prediabetes and diabetes. The results are reported as a percentage, and typical levels are less than 5.7 percent.
What kind of samples are required for an at-home diabetes test?
Most at-home diabetes tests require a finger-prick blood sample. It involves using a tiny scalpel called a lancet to prick the side of your finger. You’ll then collect the drop of blood on the test strip or sample collection board.
If you opt for a diabetes panel, you may also need to provide a urine sample.
What does an at-home diabetes test kit include?
Most of the tests we’ve reviewed come with instructions, a lancet to prick your finger, and a sample collection device. In addition, there’s typically a prepaid shipping label or envelope and an ID number used for registration on the company website and for marking your specimen.
Does Medicare cover at-home diabetes tests?
No, Medicare and insurance companies usually don’t cover at-home diabetes tests. However, there may be exceptions. Always contact your insurance company to double-check.
At-home diabetes tests are an affordable and efficient way of screening for diabetes. Using these tests can help you monitor how your body uses glucose and assess your risk of diabetes, especially if it’s common in your family.
Regular testing can help you catch problems before they become an issue. You can then follow up with your primary care doctor to discuss the best course of action.
Zia Sherrell is a health copywriter and digital health journalist with over a decade of experience covering diverse topics from public health to medical cannabis, nutrition, and biomedical science. Her mission is to empower and educate people by bringing health matters to life with engaging, evidence-based writing.
Are home diabetes tests accurate? ›
“We would not recommend people to use a self-diagnosing kit if they are worried they have diabetes," said Libby Dowling, Diabetes UK Clinical Advisor. “Self-diagnosis results might not be accurate, as blood glucose levels vary in all individuals during any given day and people might be falsely reassured.What should my blood sugar be when testing at home? ›
If HbA1c is more than 48 mmol/mol or fasting blood glucose is more than 11 mmol/L, your blood sugar is high. For most people without diabetes, normal blood sugar levels are: between 4 and to 6 mmol/L before meals. less than 8 mmol/L two hours after eating.Does squeezing finger affect blood sugar reading? ›
On average, blood sugar readings were lower when people put pressure on the finger. The finding, according to the researchers, is in line with advice to avoid firm squeezing of the tested finger.What can cause a false high glucose reading? ›
High uric acid and low hematocrit values have been suggested to cause falsely high BG readings, thereby resulting in inappropriate therapeutic decisions.Can home blood glucose test be wrong? ›
If you choose an alternate site from the fingertip it may not be as accurate when blood glucose levels are rising or falling rapidly. Ensure enough blood is added to the test strip. If you are dehydrated or have anaemia (low red blood cell count) your results may be less accurate.How do I know if my glucose meter is accurate? ›
If the blood glucose meter result is 15% higher or 15% lower than the blood sample, it is considered accurate. Obviously, the higher the number the bigger the difference could be. For example, if your glucose reading was 10 mmol/L, then the meter would be accurate if it was 8.5 to 11.5 mmol/L.What should my blood sugar be when I wake up? ›
What should your blood sugar be when you wake up? Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times.What time is best to check blood sugar? ›
Testing is usually recommended before meals and at bedtime if you're taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only before breakfast and sometimes before dinner or at bedtime if you use just an intermediate- or a long-acting insulin.How often should you test your blood sugar with type 2 diabetes? ›
Most people with type 2 diabetes only need to check their blood sugar once or twice a day. If your blood sugar level is under control, you may only need to check it a few times a week. You may test yourself when you wake up, before meals, and at bedtime.Why is it important to wipe away the first drop of blood? ›
Some facilities test the first drop of blood. Others require nursing personnel to wipe away the first drop of blood with gauze, and test the second drop. The rationale for wiping away the first drop of blood is that the alcohol in the prep pad, and consequently on the fingertip, may alter values.
Why do we need to wipe the first drop of blood? ›
Wipe away the first drop of blood because it may be contaminated with tissue fluid or debris (sloughing skin). Avoid squeezing the finger or heel too tightly because this dilutes the specimen with tissue fluid (plasma) and increases the probability of haemolysis (60).Which finger is best for blood sugar test? ›
Recommended finger: the World Health Organisation recommends the middle or ring fingers are used for blood glucose tests (second and third fingers). You may want to avoid using your little finger due to the skin being thin.What can throw off a glucose test? ›
Avoid sugars and refined carbs
Don't eat high-sugar foods or simple carbs (including refined grains) the morning of your glucose screening. The body breaks these foods down quickly, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels. That means avoiding breakfast favorites like: Orange juice and other fruit juices.
So people reduce their carb intake, go on a low carbohydrate diet, and focus on eating healthy fats and (in many cases) too much protein. But what this solution crucially fails to address is insulin resistance, which is the true cause of those high blood glucose numbers.Can drinking a lot of water lower your blood sugar? ›
Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best. Avoid sugar-sweetened options, as these can raise blood glucose, drive weight gain, and increase diabetes risk ( 22 , 23 ).Why do I get different blood sugar readings on different fingers? ›
Contamination of the fingers is a common culprit in blood sugar reading variability, so wash both hands before testing. Make sure you're using the correct test strip and that strips haven't been exposed to extreme heat or cold.Does glucometer give higher reading? ›
It is known that there are certain gaps between the readings of glucometer and actual blood glucose levels. However, the prompt result of glucometer is more convenient than laboratory testing, which requires a long time.Why does my blood sugar change in minutes? ›
Your blood sugars are affected by a large number of things including what you ate (especially refined white carbohydrates), how long ago you ate, your starting blood glucose level, physical activity, mental stress, illness, sleep patient and more.Does it matter where you check your blood sugar? ›
Managing Diabetes With Alternate Site Testing: The Choices
Your thumb is another option if you're tired of using fingers. Other possible locations include the thigh, calf, upper arm, and forearm. However, sites other than your palm are recommended only if your blood sugar is stable at the time of testing.
You can check your blood sugar level without the need for finger sticks or needles by using a CGM or flash monitor. There are several on the market. These devices involve a sensor that measures the level of sugar in the interstitial fluid, which is a proxy for the amount of sugar in your blood.
What exactly does metformin do to your body? ›
Metformin lowers your blood sugar levels by improving the way your body handles insulin. It's usually prescribed for diabetes when diet and exercise alone have not been enough to control your blood sugar levels.Why is my blood sugar high in the morning when I haven't eaten anything? ›
The dawn phenomenon
In the early hours of the morning, hormones, including cortisol and growth hormone, signal the liver to boost the production of glucose, which provides energy that helps you wake up. This triggers beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin in order to keep blood glucose levels in check.
If you decide to fast, it is important to test your blood glucose levels more often as your blood sugar levels after fasting eight hours may drop too low (known as hypoglycaemia or hypo). This is more likely to happen if you are unwell, treat your diabetes with insulin or some diabetes medications, or both.Can diabetes be reversed? ›
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes. But it may be possible to reverse the condition to a point where you do not need medication to manage it and your body does not suffer ill effects from having blood sugar levels that are too high.What are the symptoms of sugar high? ›
- increased thirst and a dry mouth.
- needing to pee frequently.
- blurred vision.
- unintentional weight loss.
- recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis) and skin infections.
From 90 to 130 mg/dL (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L) for adults. From 90 to 130 mg/dL (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L) for children, 13 to 19 years old. From 90 to 180 mg/dL (5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L) for children, 6 to 12 years old. From 100 to 180 mg/dL (5.5 to 10.0 mmol/L) for children under 6 years old.How long should a diabetic wait to check their blood sugar? ›
Healthcare practitioners often recommend that people with diabetes wait two hours after the beginning of a meal to check blood sugar. After eating, blood sugar levels rise as the body begins to break down food into sugars and tend to peak one to two hours after eating.How often should a diabetic follow up? ›
If you're meeting your treatment goals, visit your doctor every 6 months. Your blood pressure and weight will be checked, and your self-care plan and medicines will be reviewed.How does diabetes make you feel? ›
However, the most common diabetes symptoms experienced by many people with diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination, feeling tired and losing weight.Can I use the same lancet more than once? ›
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends against reusing any lancet, particularly if it happens to involve more than one person.
Which finger is used for pricking? ›
The middle or ring finger is preferred as having the greatest depth of tissue beneath the skin and hence offering the least chances of injury.Should you use an alcohol wipe before checking blood sugar? ›
Clean the needle prick area with soap and water. Completely dry the skin before pricking. Do not use an alcohol pad or swab to clean the skin. Alcohol is not effective in removing sugar residue from the skin.How many times can you use a lancet? ›
A. Finger-stick blood samplers (lancet devices) are used to obtain blood for testing blood sugar (glucose). These devices consist of two parts: a “lancet holder” that looks like a small pen; and a lancet, which is the sharp point or needle that is placed in the holder. The lancets are only ever used once.What should a 12 hour fasting blood sugar be? ›
Fasting blood sugar test.
A blood sample will be taken after you haven't eaten anything the night before (fast). A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes.
Increase Your Protein & Fat Intake
An increase in healthy fat intake also helps in sugar detox. Healthy fats include avocado, unsweetened coconut products, grass-fed butter or ghee (unless you are lactose-intolerant), nuts, and seeds. Aim for 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fat with each meal.
Do not eat, drink, smoke, or exercise strenuously for at least 8 hours before your first blood sample is taken. Tell your doctor about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking. You may be instructed to stop taking certain medicines before the test. The OGTT may take up to 4 hours.What should I not do before my glucose test? ›
Do not eat or drink anything (other than sips of water) for 8 to 14 hours before your test. (You also cannot eat during the test.) You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose (75 g). You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 2 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it.How many carbs are diabetics allowed per day? ›
People with diabetes can also benefit from diets that allow up to 26% of their daily calories to come from carbs. For people who eat 2,000–2,200 calories a day, this is equivalent to 130–143 grams of carbs ( 12 ). Since carbs raise blood sugar, reducing them to any extent can help you manage your blood sugar levels.What can cause false high blood sugar readings? ›
However, various factors such as application errors, extreme environmental conditions, extreme hematocrit values, or medication interferences may potentially falsify blood glucose readings. Incorrect blood glucose readings may lead to treatment errors, for example, incorrect insulin dosing.What carbs Should diabetics stay away from? ›
White bread, rice, and pasta
White bread, rice, and pasta are high carb, processed foods. Eating bread, bagels, and other refined-flour foods has been shown to significantly increase blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes (19, 20).
What is the best bedtime drink for diabetics? ›
A: Drinking apple cider vinegar at bedtime can help diabetic people control their blood glucose levels. A diabetic patient should take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before sleep. It can also aid in the regulation of fasting blood sugar levels in the morning.What is the fastest way to bring down your blood sugar? ›
When your blood sugar level gets too high — known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose — the quickest way to reduce it is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another fast, effective way to lower blood sugar. In some cases, you should go to the hospital instead of handling it at home.Is coffee good for diabetics? ›
Some studies suggest that drinking coffee — whether caffeinated and decaffeinated — may actually reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, however, the impact of caffeine on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels.How accurate is the A1C now home test? ›
Results are 99% laboratory accurate*. *Study results with healthcare professionals showed that the accuracy of A1CNow+ with fingerstick samples was, on average, 99%. This means that, on average, a true 7.0% A1C could read approximately 6.9% A1C.What is the most accurate test for diabetes? ›
The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures your blood glucose level at a single point in time. For the most reliable results, your doctor will give you the test in the morning after you have fasted for at least 8 hours.What is the best test to confirm diabetes? ›
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
This measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast (not eating). A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is normal, 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
At-home diabetes testing kits can help people determine if their blood glucose levels are too high, which may indicate prediabetes. Anyone with a diabetes test result that indicates high glucose levels should consult a doctor for further testing.How often should I check my A1C at home? ›
Repeat the A1C test as often as your doctor recommends, usually every 1 to 2 years. If you don't have symptoms but your result shows you have prediabetes or diabetes, get a second test on a different day to confirm the result.What is the fastest way to drop A1C? ›
- Exercise. Physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently, so it can better process the glucose in your blood. ...
- Eat Right. ...
- Take Medications as Prescribed. ...
- Manage Your Stress. ...
- Stick to a Schedule. ...
- Drink in Moderation. ...
- Monitor Your Numbers.
It's important to understand that lowering your A1C levels is a gradual (slow) process. As discussed, your A1C, unlike a blood glucose test, measures your average blood sugar over a period of 2 to 3 months. This means, it can take up to 3 months to notice significant changes in your A1C.
What should you not do before a blood test? ›
Avoiding specific foods and drinks such as cooked meats, herbal tea, or alcohol. Making sure not to overeat the day before a test. Not smoking. Avoiding specific behaviors such as strenuous exercise or sexual activity.Can a test for diabetes be wrong? ›
When used correctly, blood glucose monitors — small devices that measure and display your blood sugar level — are usually accurate. But occasionally they may be incorrect.How can I test for diabetes without going to the doctor? ›
Free blood sugar testing is offered at some health fairs, community centers, and pharmacies. People covered by Medicare can get up to two free screenings a year if they have certain risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure or obesity.What is borderline diabetes symptoms? ›
- Increased thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Increased hunger.
- Blurred vision.
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands.
- Frequent infections.
- Slow-healing sores.
Testing is usually recommended before meals and at bedtime if you're taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only before breakfast and sometimes before dinner or at bedtime if you use just an intermediate- or a long-acting insulin.How often should I check my blood sugar if I am prediabetic? ›
In prediabetes blood sugar is slightly high, but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. For healthy people, blood sugar testing is typically recommended every three years or so; if prediabetes is diagnosed, repeat testing is recommended more often, at least yearly.Can you be diabetic without knowing? ›
Some people don't notice any symptoms at all. Type 2 diabetes usually starts when you're an adult, though more and more children and teens are developing it. Because symptoms are hard to spot, it's important to know the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Make sure to visit your doctor if you have any of them.