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Freestyle Libre vs. Dexcom

Freestyle Libre and Dexcom are two different continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems used by individuals with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels. While both devices serve the same purpose, there are some differences between them.

Here's an overview:

Sensor Placement: Freestyle Libre uses a small sensor that is applied to the back of the upper arm, while Dexcom typically uses a sensor inserted into the abdomen, back of the upper arm (patients 2 years older), or the upper buttocks (age 2-17)

Sensor Duration: Freestyle Libre sensors are designed to be worn for up to 14 days, after which they need to be replaced. Dexcom sensors, on the other hand, are usually worn for up t0 10 days before replacement.

Glucose Readings: Freestyle Libre requires the user to scan the sensor using a handheld reader or a smartphone app to obtain glucose readings. The sensor has a small filament that measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid just below the skin. Freestyle Libre 3 offers glucose readings on a smart phone without scanning. The Freestyle Libre updates readings every minute. Dexcom provides continuous glucose readings wirelessly transmitted to a receiver or a compatible smart device without the need for scanning. The Dexcom updates readings every five minutes.

Alerts and Alarms: Dexcom CGM systems are known for a variety of customizable alerts and alarms that can notify users when their blood glucose levels are too high or too low. This includes a vibrate option. Freestyle Libre, in its basic form, does not have built-in alerts or alarms. However, the Freestyle Libre 2 and 3 system, which is an updated version, does offer optional alarms for low and high glucose levels with two different alarm sounds to choose from.


The Freestyle Libre is not designed to be fully waterproof. The manufacturer, Abbott, states that the sensor is water-resistant and can withstand immersion in up to 1 meter (3 feet) of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. However, it's important to note if you use a Freestyle with a separate transmitter for scanning, it is not waterproof and should not be submerged in water.

The Dexcom G6 is designed to be more water-resistant. It is classified as waterproof and can be submerged in up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) of water for a maximum of 24 hours without compromising its functionality. This means that Dexcom G6 users can wear the sensor while swimming, bathing, or showering without needing to remove it.

It's important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations regarding water exposure for both systems. If you have specific concerns or questions about water resistance or any other aspect of these devices, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider or reach out to the manufacturers directly for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Data Sharing: Dexcom CGMs and the Freestyle Libre 2 and 3 provide the option for data sharing, allowing users to share their glucose data with caregivers or healthcare professionals in real-time. Freestyle Libre, in its standalone form, does not have built-in data sharing capabilities. However, some third-party apps or devices can be used to bridge the data from Freestyle Libre for sharing purposes.


The latest Freestyle Libre 3 and the latest Dexcom G7 are the smallest of CGM's as of now. The Freestyle Libre 3 is the size of two stacked pennies. The Dexcom G7 CGM System, 60% smaller than Dexcom G6.

Insulin Pumps:

The Dexcom works with a variety of insulin pumps as of now. The Freestyle Libre is set to work with insulin pumps in the near future.

It's important to note that both Freestyle Libre and Dexcom have their own unique features, and the choice between them often comes down to personal preferences, lifestyle, and individual needs. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which CGM system would be most suitable for you.

*Please note, I am not a doctor and always check for updated and clarified information on Dexcom's and Freestyle Libre's websites. This is latest information as of the day this article was posted.


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