Contact Us
Simple, accurate health tests for the home and the workplace.

Diabetic Test Strips: Everything You Need to Know


Welcome to the Home Health guide to diabetic test strips. Here we have gathered everything you need to know about diabetic strips, including how to use them. Whether you’re looking for information to aid a friend or family member or have recently been diagnosed, this guide can help. 

Find the answers to the most common questions regarding diabetic test strips and more advice and tips below. You can also explore our collection of diabetic test strips available at Home Health UK. 

What is a Diabetic Test Strip?

Simply put, a diabetes test trip is a traditional way to get efficient on-the-spot readings of your blood glucose levels. The test strip is used in conjunction with your blood glucose monitor by applying a small drop of blood to the test strip and then inserting the strip into the monitor. Your blood glucose reading will then be displayed for your to record and monitor. 

So, while small and simple in design, your diabetic test strips play a significant role in recording accurate blood glucose readings. 

Are Diabetic Test Strips Universal?

No, diabetic test strips are not universal. If you’re new to blood glucose monitoring, you may assume that all test strips are the same. In some instances, the design of different brand test strips may appear similar, which can be confusing. But not all diabetes test strips are compatible with every blood glucose monitor. 

It is best practice to buy diabetes test strips manufactured by the same brand as your monitor device. Although used for the same purpose of recording glucose levels in the blood, test strips work in different ways and arrive in different sizes to suit individual monitor devices. This means you may purchase an incompatible test strip that does not even fit in your blood glucose monitor. 

Can I Use Any Test Strips for Diabetes?

Suppose you must shop for diabetes test strips not produced by your monitor brand. In that case, you must carefully study the information on the packaging. You may be able to find an alternative test strip offering that is compatible with your blood glucose monitor. However, this will be communicated in the included information before purchase. Do not make the mistake of buying diabetic test strips just because they look similar to your usual product. 

You can find a wide range of diabetes test strips available online in our collection at Home Health UK. 

Do Diabetes Testing Strips Expire?

Yes, diabetes testing strips do have an expiration date. Although often subject to debate, diabetes testing strips have expiration dates for a reason. To understand why these are necessary, we must break down the science and construction behind a diabetes test strip. 

All diabetes test strips are manufactured with enzymes coating the end of the plastic strip. Enzymes are proteins made by cells in living organisms, and they are on the test strip to either glucose oxidase or glucose dehydrogenase. These processes cause the enzymes to react with blood glucose and convert it into an electrical current used by your monitor to present a glucose concentration reading. 

The problem is that over time enzymes break down, especially when exposed to humidity and extreme temperatures. So, in such circumstances, your diabetic test strips can also expire before their advised use-by date. 

Can Out-of-Date Diabetic Test Strips Give False Readings?

When the enzymes break down on your test strip, they can give false and inaccurate blood glucose readings. They can present as either higher or lower than expected and, if not caught, can lead to a management decision detrimental to a diabetic person’s health and well-being. In some cases, it can even be fatal. 

This is why you must follow the expiration date guidance on your diabetic test strips. If you suspect readings may be wrong before the expiration date advised, try a different pack or consult your doctor for further advice. 

How to Use Diabetic Test Strips in 3 Steps 

Using diabetic test strips is simple, and you can do it in just three easy steps. Remember, it is one of two essential components for monitoring your blood glucose levels on the spot. You also need a blood glucose monitor. Here is a quick breakdown of how to use a diabetic test strip: 

  1. Unless preinstalled, insert your diabetes test strip into the monitor. Your blood glucose monitor device will come equipped with instructions on how to do this. 
  2. Prick your finger and hold the test strip inside the monitor against the blood. You can prick your finger using a diabetic lancet and lacing device available at our online pharmacy. 
  3. Finally, read the results on your blood glucose monitor and record these. 

Diabetes Test Strip Tips 

If you’re concerned about the accuracy of your diabetes test strip, follow these tips to keep your strips in optimal condition: 

  • Avoid expired test strips
  • Do not use damaged test strips
  • Store test strips in appropriate locations away from humidity, heat and moisture
  • Only use test strips compatible with your monitor
  • Ensure new test strip boxes are coded or calibrated if necessary (dependent on your monitor brand)

Other Reasons You Might Get Inaccurate Readings

By following the tips above, you can get the most out of your diabetic test strip purchase. However, it is also important to note that expiration dates are only one of the reasons you may get inaccurate test readings. Other causes you should be aware of include: 

  • Temperature changes
  • A dirty meter 
  • Wet fingers 
  • Not enough blood on the test strip 
  • Unwashed hands

Shop Diabetes Test Strips & More Blood Glucose Supplies 

Browse high-quality diabetes monitoring supplies online at Home Health UK and find everything you need in one place. From a high-quality blood glucose monitor to replacement test strips and lancets, we have everything you need to efficiently and accurately record your blood glucose. 

For more help and advice, you can find more information in our online health hub. Alternatively, contact our expert team today. 


Living With Diabetes: What You Need to Know