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Dexcom vs Abbott FreeStyle Libre: Which is the Best CGM for you

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

Updated on May 5th, 2023

Save up to 88% on your medications

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, PharmD

Are you tired of pricking your finger multiple times a day to check your blood glucose levels? A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) might be the solution for you. In this post, we'll compare the two most widely used CGMs in the US: Dexcom and Abbott FreeStyle Libre.

CGMs are devices that automatically monitor your blood sugar levels 24/7, providing real-time readings of your glucose levels. Unlike traditional glucometers, CGMs give you a more comprehensive picture of your glucose fluctuations and help you make informed decisions about your diet, physical activity, and medications.

There are several CGMs available in the market, such as the Dexcom G6, Dexcom G7, FreeStyle Libre 2, FreeStyle Libre 3, and FreeStyle Libre 14 Day. While they all perform a similar function, they have different features and warm-up periods.

Let's take a closer look at the two most popular CGMs: Dexcom and FreeStyle Libre.


Dexcom offers two CGM models, the G6 and the G7. Both models are inserted under the skin and provide readings every five minutes. The Dexcom G6 has a warm-up period of two hours, while the G7 has a warm-up period of only 30 minutes. The G7 is also smaller and more discreet than the G6.

Dexcom also offers a smartphone app that allows you to view your glucose readings and share them with others. The app also alerts you if your glucose levels are too high or too low.

One potential downside of the Dexcom CGMs is that they require a receiver, which is a separate device that displays your glucose readings. However, the receiver can be replaced by a compatible smartphone.

FreeStyle Libre

Abbott's FreeStyle Libre also offers three different CGM models, the FreeStyle Libre 2, FreeStyle Libre 3, and FreeStyle Libre 14 Day. The FreeStyle Libre 2 has a warm-up period of one hour, while the FreeStyle Libre 3 provides real-time readings every minute.

The FreeStyle Libre 3 is also the smallest CGM on the market and can be worn for up to 14 days. The device is inserted under the skin and does not require a separate receiver. Instead, it uses a reader or a smartphone app to display your glucose readings.

One potential downside of the FreeStyle Libre is that it does not offer alerts for high or low glucose levels. However, the device does store up to 90 days of glucose data, which can be useful for tracking your glucose levels over time.

What is the cost of Dexcom or FreeStyle Libre?

The cost of these devices varies depending on the model and whether you buy the reader or the sensor. Fortunately, many insurances, including Medicare, now cover CGMs for people with diabetes. However, if you need to use these devices but don't have diabetes, it's unlikely that your insurance provider will cover them.

If you're looking for ways to save on Dexcom and FreeStyle Libre, you can use an RxLess discount coupon when filling your prescription.

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