How to read keto strips

How to Read Ketone Strips to Measure Ketosis (Photos)


But first, what is a ketone strip exactly?

A ketone strip, also known as keto strips or ketone tests strips, are comprised of thin plastic strips with a small reactive pad at the end that detects ketone presence in urine.

Being in ketosis or following a low-carb diet for an extended period of time causes a measurable increase of ketones in blood and urine. Keto strips are a low commitment way to start testing the waters with the keto or atkins diet. Read on to learn how to read ketone strips easily and effectively!

How to read ketone strips

  1. Learn about the keto diet if you want measurable results
    Most healthy people will not have significant levels of ketones in their body if they’re not following the diet. Read our ketogenic diet guide to learn more about keto so you can achieve ketosis, faster.
  2. Pee in to a cup (or have great aim)
    Most instructions tell you to let the product sit in a cup of urine for a minimum of 40 seconds or more. But we’ve found most strips work even when just strategically placed in a stream of urine. If you’d rather pee in to a cup, disposable dixie cups are a great option.
  3. Wait up to a minute for the reagent and color to fully develop
    Now is a good time to go and check that ‘gram.analyzing results of ketone sticks
  4. Compare your results to the keto strip color chart
    Hold your now incubated ketone strip close to the color chart on the bottle to measure your current ketone levels. Match it to the closest color to get your best result.
  5. Dispose of your strips after using
    Don’t be a monster! Your spouse/roommates/friends will thank you.

Pro Tip: Find the best time to use your strips
Certain parts of the day, like in the early morning or after dinner were shown in a NIH study to have the highest and most reliably detectable levels of ketones

Tired of peeing in to cups? Us too.

That’s why we made the Keyto – measure how deep you are in to ketosis with a single breath. No more gross pee cups, no more disposables. Order your Keyto today here and join tens of thousands of users who are using Keyto to stay in ketosis.

Not sure about your keto strips’ accuracy?
Are your strips not working?

To keep your results as accurate as possible, be sure to do the following:

  • Test different methods of testing – some users report different results when urinating directly on the strip vs. peeing in to a cup. I personally haven’t found a difference, but experiment to see what works best for you and your brand of strips
  • Replace the cap after taking out strips
  • Don’t expose the strips to strong light or moisture
  • Don’t remove the desiccants (they’re there for a reason!)
  • Don’t get the testing area dirty and try to avoid touching it with your fingers
  • Check your expiration dates!

The best keto strips, according to Amazon

Perfect Keto ketone test strips

Perfect Keto’s stylish and minimalistic packaging almost looks more akin to beauty supplies than pee strips. But users like the clear color changes and think they’re easy to use as long as you follow a low carb diet.

SmackFat keto test strips

Smackfat’s keto test strips boast an impressive 5,000+ reviews on Amazon. Like the Perfect Keto test strips mentioned above, Smackfat’s strips come 100 to each bottle. Many users mention enjoying using them in the earlier stages of ketosis, but found the legend to be initially confusing. For best results, aim for the darker colors in the legend which indicate you’re actually in ketosis.

The Problem With Pee Strips

The problem with using pee strips for keto is that once you become fat-adapted, it can be difficult to measure ketosis using blood or urine. This is because as your body gets better at using ketones for fuel, so fewer ketones will be found in your bodily fluids. This is why we like using breath analysis over urinalysis for ketosis, and why we made the Keyto. You can order yours here.


What level of ketosis is ideal for weight loss?

Try to aim for 1.5 – 3 mmol/L for optimal ketosis. Anything less than this amount is considered a trace amount.

How are keto strips’ accuracy?

Due to the variation of ketone presence depending on time of day, we think ketone strips are a good way to measure whether or not you’re in ketosis, but blood and breath tests have shown to be more granular and reliable in our testing and other online reports. Some online reviewers complain of receiving “bad batches” – even with highly rated items.

Not sure where to buy keto strips?

The easiest place to buy sticks online is through a retailer like Amazon. However many companies sell keto sticks in store to aid diabetics who are monitoring their ketone levels. Remember, availability will likely vary by store so call your store before heading over. The following brick and mortar stores sometimes sell keto urine sticks:

  • CVS
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens
  • Target
  • Rite Aid