The performance of six self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) machines (Accutrend, Reflolux S, Companion 2, Glucometer GX, Glucometer IV and One Touch II) were examined using venous blood samples from 88 patients. Whole blood glucose (BG) values were measured by four machines from each brand. Machine-generated whole blood glucose (BG) values were corrected before comparison with laboratory plasma glucose values, measured by a glucose oxidase method. Based on error grid analysis, most of the corrected machine-generated BG values were clinically acceptable. Accutrend, Glucometer IV and Companion 2 showed the greatest consistency between machines of the same brand. Over 80% of corrected BG values generated by Glucometer IV fell within +/-10% of the reference values. One Touch II yielded the most reproducible results with a mean CV of 2.7% and was considered the most user friendly machine. More studies are required to examine the performance of these machines in the hands of patients.