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Our Top Picks for the Best Continuous Glucose Monitor
Updated on January 31, 2024
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Diet / Weight Loss
Our Top Picks for the Best Continuous Glucose Monitor

Dexcom G6 is the best continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for managing diabetes because it works with insulin pumps and a variety of smart devices.

But if you have gestational diabetes or have children with diabetes, FreeStyle Libre 3 gives you a safe and affordable way to manage the condition.

Guardian Connect is a budget-friendly alternative to Dexcom. However, it’s best suited for people who don’t have diabetes but want to reduce their risk.

For those who want peace of mind, Eversense E3 is the best choice. Unlike other CGM brands, you only have to replace it every three months.

“Glucose monitoring forms an integral part of Diabetes Mellitus management. The frequency of monitoring will depend on the type of diabetes, the age of the patient, and the current medications given,” says our in-house medical expert, Dr. Rizza Mira.

Dr. Rizza Mira.

Everything We Recommend

Why Trust Us

KnowYourDNA is committed to making diabetes management more accessible to the public, which is why we feature products that meet industry standards.

We only choose continuous glucose monitors approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and provide consistent readings on your blood sugar.

Our in-house medical experts help ensure the accuracy of the information we give to our readers by reviewing them before publication.

The 5 Best Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices

Here are our top recommendations and why we picked them:

Nutrisense CGM – Best CGM for Managing Diabetes

FeatureNutrisense CGM Program
Insulin pump integrationNone
Smartphone integrationAndroid and iOS
Smartwatch integrationNo

Nutrisense allows you to manage your diabetes with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Its well-rounded approach is the reason why it’s our top pick.

Besides monitoring your blood sugar, it tracks important health insights such as your meals, sleep, exercise, and stress levels. 

“Diet and exercise are also adjuncts to Diabetes Mellitus management,” says Dr. Mira.

It’s the only CGM system that lets you find out how dietary choices and other factors affect your glucose levels. 

Nutrisense also gives its members access to a personal dietitian who can help you control your blood sugar through healthy eating and lifestyle changes. 

Here’s our Nutrisense review if you want to learn more.

Dexcom G6 – Best for Controlling Blood Sugar with Insulin

FeatureDexcom G6 CGM System
Insulin pump integrationTandem Control IQ and Omnipod 5
Smartphone integrationAndroid and iOS
Smartwatch integrationApple Watch

Dexcom helps you control your blood sugar throughout the day. And if you’re hooked to an insulin pump, this is the best choice.

By default, it alerts you if you have low blood sugar. But it can also predict and tell you if your blood sugar will drop in the next 20 minutes.

If your Dexcom is linked to an AID system and your blood sugar level is low, the system can turn it off to stop giving you insulin.

You can also customize the CGM system to notify you of sudden changes in your blood sugar or if you hit a certain level—high or low. 

“Hypogylcemia, or low blood glucose is one of the complications of insulin therapy. It is difficult to adequately predict when one’s blood sugar levels are dropping. That’s why a continuous monitor such as this is very helpful,” says Dr. Mira.

FreeStyle Libre 3 – Best Affordable CGM System

FeatureFreestyle Libre 3 System
Insulin pump integrationmylife Loop (Germany)
Smartphone integrationAndroid and iOS
Smartwatch integrationNo

If you want an affordable way to monitor your blood glucose patterns, you can’t go wrong with FreeStyle Libre 3.

The latest model from Abbott Diabetes Care sends real-time blood glucose readings to your smartphone and alerts you if you have low or high levels.

The accompanying app also tracks your glucose trends over time. You can use it to understand how food and physical activity affect your levels.

But if you want more detailed insights, we recommend pairing your FreeStyle Libre with the Nutrisense app. Even with Nutrisense, it’s still the cheapest CGM.

It doesn’t connect directly to an Apple Watch. But you can sync it with third-party apps like LinkBluCon and NightRider to display readings on your watch.

Eversense E3 – Best Long-Term Blood Glucose Monitoring

FeatureEversense E3 CGM System
Insulin pump integrationNo
Smartphone integrationAndroid and iOS
Smartwatch integrationApple Watch

Senseonics Eversense E3 is the only implantable sensor for continuous glucose monitoring. Together with its compact design, it’s ideal for long-term use.

Unlike other CGM devices, it can stay on for up to 180 days. You don’t have to worry about replacing the sensor every few weeks.

Aside from the in-app notifications that let you know of changes in your blood sugar, the transmitter provides on-body alerts.

You’ll feel the transmitter attached to your skin vibrate whenever your blood sugar reaches the levels you set up.

Guardian Connect – Best for Reducing Diabetes Risk

FeatureGuardian Connect CGM System
Insulin pump integrationNo
Smartphone integrationAndroid and iOS
Smartwatch integrationNo

We recommend Guardian Connect if you don’t have diabetes but want to watch your blood glucose. This includes prediabetics and people at risk for diabetes.

“Prediabetes is defined as blood sugar levels that are high, but not high enough to reach a cut-off of 126mg/dL. Like diabetics, these patients still have an increased risk for heart disease, stroke or even overt diabetes,”

Dr. Mira

It’s also a great option for people who want to:

  • Improve their health through diet and exercise
  • Make sure their blood sugar level remains stable
  • Find out how their lifestyle affects their sugar levels

That’s because Guardian Connect is equipped with a predictive alarm that notifies you when your blood sugar is about to rise or drop.

You can use it to learn how your eating habits, exercise, and regular daily activities—like cleaning the house or doing laundry—affect your levels.

What Is a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, is a device that lets you easily check your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Aside from showing your current glucose levels, it lets you know if your blood glucose levels are on the rise or if they’re dropping too low.

It’s useful for diabetics as it allows you to make healthy choices based on your latest readings, such as figuring out the best times to take insulin.

“Having a continuous monitor prevents the occurrence of both very high and very low levels of blood sugar. This allows early intervention to prevent these complications,”

Dr. Mira

CGM devices also help doctors assess your blood sugar patterns. They can use this to determine the treatments and lifestyle changes you need to make.

How Does a Continuous Glucose Monitor Work?

Unlike a regular blood glucose monitor that requires you to prick your finger to  manually test your blood sugar, a CGM makes things easier for you.

You just have to place the continuous glucose monitor on your arm or belly for it to check your blood sugar levels constantly.

“This is particularly useful for newly-diagnosed diabetics whose doctors need to adjust their medications,” says Dr. Mira.

Instead of a needle, a CGM inserts a small filament into your skin. The filament is attached to a sensor that measures the glucose in your interstitial fluid.

The device on your skin will send the data to a receiver so you can see your results. The receiver can be a watch, smartphone, or smart device.

It isn’t the same as a blood glucose reading. But it can accurately determine your blood glucose levels since interstitial fluid leaks from blood capillaries.

How Do I Interpret My Glucose Readings?

You can read and interpret your glucose data as it is displayed on your monitor. Based on your results, you can have normal, elevated, or low blood sugar levels:1

  • Normal blood glucose – 70 to 180 mg/dL
  • Elevated blood glucose (hyperglycemia) – 181 mg/dL and above
  • Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) – 69 mg/dL and below

According to the American Diabetes Association, the targets for glucose levels are 80-130mg/dL taken before a meal.

How Do I Determine My Blood Glucose Patterns?

A doctor can assess your blood glucose patterns by interpreting the long-term data collected by your CGM device.

They will check your time in range (TIR) or the amount of time you spent in a certain glycemic state, including your:1

  • Time in hyperglycemia (TIHyper)
  • Time in hypoglycemia (TIHypo)

Ideally, your blood glucose levels should be 70 to 180 mg/dL most of the time.

But you and your doctor can agree on a more realistic target range—such as maintaining a blood sugar of 70 to 140 mg/dL for 14 days at 12 hours daily.

Keep in mind that you need to wear a continuous glucose monitor for a minimum of fourteen days to get reliable data on your patterns.1

Are Continuous Glucose Monitors Safe?

Yes. Continuous glucose monitors that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are safe to use on most adults.

However, the safety of these devices may not be tested on other populations like children and women who are pregnant or nursing.

Below is a breakdown on the recommended use of CGMs from different brands:

Nutrisense CGMDexcom G6FreeStyle Libre 3Eversense E3Guardian Connect
Children 2 years old and above
Pregnant women with type 1 diabetes
Pregnant women with type 2 diabetes
Nursing women

How Much Does a Continuous Glucose Monitor Cost?

The total cost of continuous glucose monitoring devices is extremely variable. It depends on factors like:

  • The brand and model of your CGM device
  • If the transmitter has rechargeable batteries
  • How often you need to replace the sensor
  • If the receiver is optional
  • Your health insurance coverage
  • If you need to see a doctor for insertion

Cost of Continuous Glucose Monitor Without Insurance

Continuous glucose monitoring costs $150 to $1,550 on your first month if you buy the whole system—which may include the sensor, transmitter, and receiver.

You also need to spend $77 to $760 per month to track your blood sugar. 

Unlike other CGM systems, Eversense E3 requires you to see a doctor for removal and insertion. Each visit will cost you $200 to $400 for the procedure.

Nutrisense provides free dietitian support on the first month. But they will charge $100 per month after.

Below is a breakdown of the cost of CGMs if you don’t have insurance. We included the initial costs and the cost of monitoring for every month after:

CGM SystemSensorTransmitterReceiverTotal Cost
NutrisenseEvery month: $199 to $250N/AN/AEvery month: $199 to $250*

*depends on your plan
Dexcom G6Per month: $455Per month: $305Optional: $465First month: $1,225 if you get the optional receiver

Per month: $760
Senseonics Eversense E3Every three months: $320Every three months: $750N/AEvery three months: $1,270 to $1,470*

*includes removal and insertion fees
Abbot FreeStyle Libre 3 SystemEvery month: $150N/AN/AEvery month: $150
Medtronics Guardian ConnectPer month: $345One-time payment: $620N/AFirst month: $965
Per month: $345

Does Insurance Cover Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

Many insurers will cover the partial or full cost of continuous glucose monitoring. Your coverage will depend if you have:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Private health insurance
  • Health savings account (HSA)
  • Flexible spending account (FSA)

If You Have Medicare

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who meet the criteria can qualify for Medicare Part B (original Medicare) and most Medicare Advantage Plans.

Your coverage largely depends on your insulin requirements. People who take insulin can generally get more coverage than those who don’t.

You also have to buy your CGMs from pharmacies and suppliers that accept Medicare, so you only have to pay for coinsurance up front.

Otherwise, you would have to pay for out-of-pocket costs in full and wait for Medicare to refund you its share.

If You Have Medicaid

States with expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) usually provide better coverage for people with diabetes.

However, each state has different criteria for who qualifies to receive coverage. Below is a list of U.S. states and who they cover for CGMs:

Type 1 and Type 2 DiabetesType 1 Diabetes OnlyChildren with Diabetes Only
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
West Virginia
New York
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

Each U.S. state also has other eligibility requirements. Make sure you meet them so you can be covered for continuous glucose monitors.

If You Have Private Health Insurance

Most commercial health insurance companies cover CGM devices. But it still depends on your insurance provider and health plan.

Private insurance may not cover you if you:

  • Don’t have diabetes
  • Have high blood sugar but are not diabetic (prediabetic)
  • Developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy

Talk to your provider about your coverage and out-of-pocket costs. Knowing your deductibles, co-insurance, and copays will help you estimate your spending.

If You Have HSA or FSA 

In most cases, you can use a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) to help pay for your continuous glucose monitor.

Just make sure that you purchase an FSA-eligible or HSA-eligible CGM so you can use your funds to cover some or all of its costs.

Do You Need a Prescription for a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

Yes. In the United States, you need a prescription from your doctor before buying medical devices like a continuous glucose monitor.

Doctors usually prescribe it to people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. You can purchase them at pharmacies and medical suppliers that offer CGM devices.

Can I Get a Continuous Glucose Monitor Without Diabetes?

Yes. As long as you have a prescription, you can get a continuous glucose monitor even if you don’t have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Many doctors prescribe them to prediabetics and people who simply want to improve their health, reduce their health risks, and monitor their blood sugars.

When Should I Consider a Glucose Monitor?

You should consider getting a continuous glucose monitor if you and/or your child have diabetes or if you have an increased risk of developing diabetes.

Your doctor may recommend it if you and/or your child:

  • Are under intensive diabetes therapy
  • Need glucose levels monitoring to adjust insulin therapy
  • Take insulin treatments several times a day
  • Don’t know if you’re in hypoglycemia
  • Need to better manage your glucose levels

Continuous glucose monitoring helps you make faster decisions regarding your health since it gives you regular readings and doesn’t require finger stick test.

It can help you manage or prevent diabetes by keeping you aware of your blood sugar and making you more accountable for decisions that affect your levels.

Updated on January 31, 2024
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1 sources cited
Updated on January 31, 2024
  1. Understanding Continuous Glucose Monitoring Data.” Role of Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Diabetes Treatment, National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Dr. Rizza Mira
Dr. Rizza Mira
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Rizza Mira is a medical doctor and a general practitioner who specializes in pediatrics, nutrition, dietetics, and public health.

As a pediatrician, she is dedicated to the general health and well-being of children and expecting parents. She believes that good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of illness are key to ensuring the health of children and their families.

When she’s not in the hospital, Rizza advocates and mobilizes causes like breastfeeding, vaccination drives, and initiatives to prevent illness in the community.
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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