The ketogenic diet is one of the few diets out there where you know where you stand. You’re either in ketosis or you’re not. The most convenient way to check this is to have a keto blood meter, more commonly called ketone meters, in the home.
Below we’ve gathered the best ketone meters that operate off of drawing and analyzing blood, writing out a small entry for each so you can see their upsides and downsides at a glance.
We’ve also included a small buyers’ guide that goes into the different types of ketone meters and their properties, so you can learn about the testing kits available to you.
In a hurry?
If you need to monitor your ketones sometime soon, allow us to make your search easier by presenting you with our top option here.
This way you can be done with it and go about the rest of your day.
We chose the Keto-Doc Advanced Ketone Blood Meter Kit, see why in some more detail below:
- Easy to use and works via a non-invasive process thanks to using thinner lancets and requiring only small blood samples.
- Fast and accurate ketone results in ten seconds or less, ideal for instant readings when testing portably.
- No control solution is required to ensure the product functions properly, meaning you get more use out of strips.
The first blood meter we have for you is the Keto-Doc Advanced Ketone Blood Meter Kit – a bundle that includes a blood meter but also comes with a lancing instrument, ten lancets, and ten test strips to be used with the meter.
The lancets that come with this kit are designed to be extra thin for your own convenience. This way they won’t be so intrusive during testing, the reduced needle circumference limiting discomfort and pain caused.
It also gets its data from smaller blood samples, meaning less bloodletting is required for you to get accurate readings.
Control solution isn’t needed either, meaning that your testing strips won’t go wasted in testing for accurate results to make sure the meter is ready for action.
Once all of the steps are done you get your ketone results back in about ten seconds, so you can be on top of your blood’s ketone content fast.
It may be the most expensive on this list, but this is an accurate and easy to use kit that also retails with a carry case for portable testing on the go, and that’s why it made the top of our list.
Next up is the KetoSens Blood Ketone Monitor Kit, which has all of the same components as our number one (ten lancets and testing strips), but boasts slightly different specs that make it stand above the rest of the competition.
Firstly, it only requires a 0.5µL (microliter) droplet to be able to get a reading and, when it does start processing that blood droplet, it can deliver your ketone readings in just eight seconds.
That’s two seconds, or 20%, faster than the average ten seconds that a lot of other kits take.
Your readings should be easy to, well, read, thanks to a large 2.5-inch negative LCD display on the blood meter.
The fact it’s a negative LCD makes it easy to read, which should help to avoid the image getting faint when used under direct sunlight, perfect for mobile use.
It also comes with a carry case to facilitate portable testing.
This product has been rigorously tested by the FDA, who then approved this kit after reviewing the data proving this blood meter’s competency.
The third meter we have is another small bundle, the Kiss My Keto Ketone Blood Meter Kit. A kit much like numbers one and two, though it lacks thinned lancets. However, this isn’t really a problem for those used to dealing with lancets anyway.
The KMK Blood Meter boasts the ability to deliver readings with just 0.5µL worth of blood, which is the equivalent to about one droplet. That drop can then be tested in as few as ten seconds for fast updates on your ketone content.
You can use this kit straight out of the box too, thanks to the fact that it arrives pre-calibrated and ready for use.
Whilst we’re speaking of the packaging, it also comes with a durable carry case that you can store the entire kit in with some room to spare, allowing you to use this when out and about.
If purchased you’ll also enjoy the lifetime warranty that Kiss My Keto offers with this product, as well as a 60-day product guarantee where you can try it free of risk and return it in the event of bad workmanship.
Includes warranty and 60-day product guarantee.
Next, we have something a bit different, the Freestyle Optium Neo Blood Glucose and Ketones Monitoring System from Abbott Diabetes Care.
As one of the few readily available blood glucose testers that works with ketones too, this is a more expensive option for those who want a product from a more established brand.
Since its primary function is as a blood glucose monitoring system, you’ll need to get the ketone strips separately here, and they can get expensive.
The strips are individually wrapped, meaning that they’re as fresh as possible when you use them for less chance of error.
The meter itself has a large, high contrast screen that’s readable in bright sunlight, but if you have domestic applications in mind for it then you can download FreeStyle Auto-Assist Neo Software that allows you to connect to a computer and read through comprehensive reports of your data.
This is possible since the meter logs and remembers your readings for future reference.
The meter delivers readings in mmol/l, so it may be an inconvenience to those that must translate it into mg/dl.
Lastly, we have the KetoCoach Blood Ketone Meter Starter Kit, a small handy product to get if you’re new to the diet and ketone testing. Though we’d say it’s pricey at first for what you get from this purchase, if you stick with it the strips are very affordable, much more so than the cost of the strips of our number four option.
The lancing device that comes with this kit is a quality Owen Mumford lancing device that uses Comfort Zone Technology to minimize the pain in your fingers when you take the blood sample.
Since it’s a starter kit, it comes with a guide that teaches you how to use the lancing device and accompanying meter and strips.
They also require no coding to make them as easy to use as possible, you just insert the strip and then you’re good to go to insert the sample.
This not only reduces time but reduces the chance of reading errors and strip wastage.
How to find the best ketone blood meters
Keto blood meters and their accompanying kits are pretty standard, so you should be focusing on the individual components of those kits since there is some variety there that can make the kit as a whole more interesting to you.
Kits usually consist of the meter, the strips, the lancing device, and their lancets.
The meter is the star of the show in blood meter kits, as their name suggests. There are three main factors we’d say you have to look at, these being the quantity of blood required to get a good test, the amount of time in which they complete that test, and the calibration of the sensor.
The quantity of blood is measured in microliters, and the least you’ll find on the market (for now) is a 0.5µL minimum requirement, with others ranging from 0.8 to 1.0µL. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t bleed well or gets faint at the sight of blood, then activating your sensor with the smallest droplet of blood possible will be something to look for.
The time at which they complete that test is pretty self-explanatory, and it comes down to personal preference and patience. The fastest we’ve found, which features in the above list, is eight seconds. The average is ten seconds. That makes this feature more of a mark of high quality for the product as a whole rather than an important buying factor in and of itself, after all, what’s two less seconds in a ten second wait?
Calibration is probably the most important here, since many sensors will need you to fiddle around with them in order to set them up. This can get frustrating, and so that’s why we recommend ones that require no calibration. You’ll see this on their product pages when they boast that no coding is required to use them, they’re usable right out of the box.
When looking at strips you should consider how many come in the initial kit purchase, but you should also look at that brand’s compatible testing strips.
You’ll need to refill these, and so looking at the price of repeating purchases like these will give you a better idea of the true cost of the kit. We think this is important as price can vary wildly.
In our research we found refill strip boxes that, when broken down individually, retailed at approximately 0.60 cents a strip to a whole $3 a strip.
Also, if you are using a blood glucose kit that permits ketone testing, you’ll want to make sure you have strips that are compatible with that function.
The lancing device is the second piece of tech that comes in any kit, they’re designed to puncture your finger in as painless a way as possible.
There are a few ways they try this, from adding stimulating nodules to the tip to try and lessen pain sensations by replacing them with stronger massaging sensations, to having adjustable lancing depths to cater to a wide variety of people with different finger widths or pain and blood tolerances.
Lancet compatibility should also be considered since some lancets will only work with certain brands whereas others can take a wide variety of standardized lancet inserts.
You’ll want a lancing device that can preferably take lancets from different sources as this allows you to shop around for the cheapest lancets, since brand-exclusive lancets can get expensive.
You should consider the price of restocking lancets too, since many kits will only come with ten single-use lancets that’ll need to be replaced eventually. In the long run you should grab lancets that are inexpensive to replace so that your kit can be as cost-efficient to maintain going forward.
Some of these lancets are designed to reduce pain and discomfort, too, often by having smaller and thinner needles or triple beveled edges in order to make the point of penetration as smooth as possible.
Some also use vibration-dampening plastics that absorb needle movements as it gets pushed into the skin, stopping it from disturbing the wound any more than it needs to upon entry.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should blood ketone levels be for weight loss?
Your ketone levels are measured in mmol/l, and there are different ranges that have different implications on your physical fitness. Anything below 0.5mmol/l is below the threshold for ketosis, so fat isn’t being burned, whilst above that you’ll start moving into ketosis. Above 1.5mmol/l is your window for optimal ketosis, and so maximum weight loss. Over 3.0mmol/l isn’t necessary and isn’t wise to be crossed, especially if you are diabetic.
What are the best times to test blood ketones?
The best time to get the most accurate ketones readings is the morning before you’ve eaten or drank, though noon and evening before eating are close runners-up. Setting and keeping a routine based around this also helps you get into the swing of things but, if you must pay close attention to your blood levels, you can test whenever it’s convenient for you.
Can you test ketones with a glucose meter?
Only certain blood glucose meters are capable of reading and reporting on the ketone content in your blood, such as our number four option. You shouldn’t assume that all blood glucose meters are capable of reporting on your ketones, because that’s a recipe for disappointment.
Even when blood glucose meters are capable of reading blood ketone content, unless explicitly stated that they come with ketone strips on their product page, you’ll probably have to buy the brand-compatible ketone strips as a separate purchase.
This can end up costing a lot, so we’d only really recommend this if you do have health conditions that require blood glucose meters, like diabetes, since then it can be a convenient all-in-one piece of equipment.
Which form of ketone testing is the most accurate?
When it comes to the accuracy of ketone testing, it’s hard to compare directly due to the differences in how they work, but blood meter testing is definitely the higher tech means of doing so. The three kinds of testing methods, blood meters, breath meters, and urine meters.
They measure different ketones in the body, with blood meters measuring the β-hydroxybutyrate circulating through your body. It requires a small amount of blood for testing and is quick and easy.
Breath testers measure acetone, and testing comes in the form of Ketonix or LEVL, which can require a lot of setup between charging, calibration, and downloading accompanying apps to your smartphone. However, once set up it takes a deep exhale to get a measurement.
The urine test strips measure acetoacetate in a relatively low-tech method of measuring ketones in your bodily fluids. You just need to read the strip after dipping it into urine after a given period of time, which is subject to change, so you should always read the instructions to tell how long you must wait before reading your ketone levels.
Of them all we’d say that blood and urine are the most ‘accurate’ simply because of their relative simplicity. The breath testing isn’t complicated, but the software involved can have its own hang-ups and there’s room for human error in exhaling (which is not the same as deep breaths, which many try to do).