Cholesterol levels are an important indicator of health. High cholesterol levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke.
For an even clearer assessment of your health, you also need to test your LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides. You want low LDL and triglycerides and higher levels of HDL.
The best place to get a full cholesterol test (what’s known as a lipid panel) is at the hospital. But in between hospital tests, you can use a home cholesterol test kit to monitor cholesterol levels.
Regular testing will tell you whether your workouts and diet are lowering cholesterol in your blood.
In this buying guide, we review the best home cholesterol test kits and give you some tips on how to choose the best kit depending on your budget and what you want to test.
Key Considerations When Buying a Home Cholesterol Test Kit
A. What it measures
The first thing to check is what the kit measures.
Four parameters are included in a complete cholesterol test: total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
Most of the home test kits you’ll come across only test total cholesterol. Testing for total cholesterol is good because it gives you a peek into your health and is a great way to monitor your progress.
However, we recommend combining the tests from a total cholesterol meter with regular lipid panel test at a lab or hospital.
Some home test kits also test for triglycerides.
Other home test kits include additional tests for blood glucose, blood uric acid and other parameters. Keep in mind that a kit with multiple tests will cost more. If you are just interested in monitoring your cholesterol, look for a cholesterol-only kit.
Tip: If you want to test for LDL and HDL at home, look for one of those kits where you collect a blood sample at home and send it to a lab.
B. What’s included in the kit
A home cholesterol kit consists of the same things found in a blood glucose test kit. There’s the meter itself, a lancing device or pen, disposable lancets and test strips.
We recommend buying a full test kit with all these components included. That way, you can begin testing your blood as soon as the kit arrives.
Check the number of strips and lancets included in the kit so that you know how soon you’ll need to buy new ones.
Another thing to look for in the kit is a storage bag to hold all the accessories. A case also makes it easy to travel with the kit.
Note: If you already have a cholesterol meter at home, all you need are test strips and lancets. To ensure compatibility, buy them from the same brand as your meter.
Most home cholesterol test kits have a rudimentary display, so check your expectations. Most are not even backlit.
What you should not compromise on is the display size. Get a meter with a large screen that’s easy to read. It’ll make your life easier especially if you use the test kit often.
If you get a meter with a backlit display, that’s even better.
Some cholesterol meters have internal memory and can store a number of reading. This is useful if you’d like to track your cholesterol levels.
But don’t worry if the kit you want to buy doesn’t store data. You can easily track your cholesterol levels in a diary, on software like Excel or using an app (search for cholesterol tracker apps on Android or App Store).
When budgeting for a home cholesterol test kit, don’t just consider the price of the kit. Remember you’ll need to buy new strips and lancets down the road.
Check how much the manufacturer sells trips and lancets for. If you are on a budget, look for a low priced kit with similarly affordable accessories.
Best Home Cholesterol Test Kits: Top 5 Reviews
1. PRIMA 2in1 Cholesterol and Triglycerides Meter Review
Complete home test kits that test for all four parameters are hard to come by. The closest one we found is the Prima 2-in-1 cholesterol and triglycerides meter.
It includes 5 strips for each test (10 in total), a lancing pen, 25 lancets, the meter itself and a carrying bag.
The display is big with large numbers that make it easy to read test results even from a distance. Once you add a drop of blood to the strip, it takes about 30 seconds for results to appear on the display.
Customers who’ve compared results from the Prima meter with those from a lab test say the Prima is highly accurate.
Unlike most cholesterol meters, Prima has internal memory. It stores up to 500 tests results.
What we like about it:
- Measures total cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Easy to use with quick results.
- Stores results – great for those who want an easy way to track their progress.
2. Prima Multicare Cholesterol Strips Review
This is a strips-only pack that you can use with the Prima 2-in-1 cholesterol meter. It consists of 25 cholesterol strips just for the cholesterol test (not the triglycerides test).
Because the Prima 2-in-1 meter only comes with 5 strips for cholesterol, we highly recommend ordering this pack when you buy the meter. That way, you won’t have to buy new strips for a while.
The only couple downsides with the strips is the price tag (they cost almost the same as the compete kit) and the short expiration period, which is 3 months after you open the box.
What we like about them:
- Large pack of 25 strips – great if you test frequently.
- Fast and accurate cholesterol testing.
3. Easy Life Blood Cholesterol Monitor kit 3 in 1 Meter System
The Easy Life 3-in-1 meter has three tests but only one is for cholesterol. The other two are for blood glucose and blood uric acid.
The blood glucose test is great for those with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes. Along with the cholesterol test, you can keep track of your risk of developing lifestyle health issues.
The uric acid test is used to asses one’s risk of developing gout. High levels of uric acid in blood could lead to gout.
You’ll get one meter and three bottles of test strips, one for each type of test. There are 10 blood glucose strips, 10 blood uric acid strips and only 2 cholesterol strips.
These are just starter strips; we recommend buying a full pack of cholesterol test strips when you order this meter (see our next pick below).
In addition to the strips, the kit also includes 25 lancets, one lancing device and a carry case.
The display is big and the numbers large. As long as you are in a bright area (the screen is not backlit), you’ll have no trouble reading the display.
The display shows readings in mmol/L. Flip the switch behind the batteries to change readings to mg/dl.
The Easy Life 3-in-1 meter can store a number of test results for future reference. It stores up to 200 of glucose tests, up to 50 of cholesterol tests and up to 50 of uric acid tests.
What we like about it:
- Versatile – tests three things.
- Large display that’s easy to read.
- Complete kit.
- Stores test results.
4. 10 Easy Life Cholesterol Test Strips Review
This pack of test strips is for the Easy Life 3-in-1 meter above. It consists of 10 strips for the cholesterol test.
You also get a chip that you’ll insert into the meter to ensure it accepts the test strips.
The Easy Life strips have the same two big downsides as the Prima strips: they are expensive and once you open them, they don’t last long. You are forced to take cholesterol tests frequently to keep them from going to waste.
What we like about them:
- Quick and accurate results.
- Smaller pack is ideal for those who prefer buying only a few strips at a time.
5. myCare Cholesterol Finger Prick Blood Test Kit Review
If you need to take a cholesterol test only once every few months, a complete test kit is expensive. The test strips are even more expensive, considering they don’t last long once you open the box.
A cheaper alternative is a one-time test kit like this one from myCare.
The myCare cholesterol finger prick blood test kit comes with a lancing device and a test card. Add a drop of blood to the test area and wait three minutes for it to change colour.
To read your results, slide the colour chart until you find the corresponding colour and measurement. The goal is to remain under 200 mg/dl.
The test is simple and highly accurate. Of course, it doesn’t tell you everything; you still need a full lipid panel test to check your specific LDL and HDL levels. But for monitoring your progress, the myCare one time test is perfect.
Note that you do not need to fast before taking the test.
What we like about it:
- Perfect for those who only need to take occasional cholesterol tests.
- Accurate and easy to use.