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Dexcom G6 vs Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Which is The Best CGM Option for You?

Dexcom G6 vs Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Which is The Best CGM Option for You? Banner Image

 *Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. This article was medically reviewed by Amanda Ciprich, MS, RD. Last updated on 3/15/2024.

When considering using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for diabetes management, Dexcom and Medtronic are often some of the first brands that you may come across. In this article, we will compare the Dexcom G6 and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 shedding light on their features, compatibility and more.

Dexcom G6 Features

Dexcom G6 is a CGM system with several notable features that make it a valuable tool for people with diabetes. Here are the key features of Dexcom G6:

  • Effortless Self-Application: Dexcom G6 has a one-touch auto-applicator to effortlessly insert a small sensor just beneath the skin.
  • Sensor and Wireless Transmitter: The sensor thin and discreet sensor will continually monitor glucose levels beneath the skin and wirelessly transmits data to a compatible display device via a transmitter.
  • Real-Time Data on Smart Devices: Real-time glucose readings are conveniently displayed on a compatible Apple or Android smart device or touch screen receiver.
  • Extended Wear: Dexcom users enjoy up to 10 days of continuous sensor wear.
  • Precision and Reliability: Dexcom G6 system ensures accurate glucose measurements with a combined MARD of 9%.
  • Personalized Alerts and Alarms: Notifications can be tailored when glucose readings are high or low.
  • Seamless Data Sharing: Dexcom users can easily share your data with friends, family, and healthcare providers.
  • Suitable for Most Ages: Dexcom G6 system is suitable for individuals aged 2 years and older, making it the only approved option for children in this age group.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 Features

The Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 is a CGM system that offers various features to help individuals with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels effectively. Here is a list of features associated with Medtronic Guardian 3 Sensor:

  • Effortless Self-Application: Its one-press inserter and comfortable, flexible design ensure easy daily wear.
  • Calibration Requirement: Guardian Sensor 3 requires calibrations every 12 hours, 2-4 times per day is considered optimal by the manufacturer.
  • Extended Wear: Users can enjoy the convenience of up to 7 days of continuous sensor wear.
  • Rechargeable Transmitter: The transmitter has a rechargeable battery, eliminating the need for replacements.
  • Early Alert System: Provides timely notifications of impending low and high blood sugar levels, offering round-the-clock support.
  • Wide Age Range: Suitable for a range of ages, starting from 7 years and older for abdomen and buttocks sites and 14 years and older for abdomen and arm sites.
image of medtronic guardian 3 sensor and dexcom g6 sensor


What are the similarities of Dexcom G6 and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3?

Dexcom G6 and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 have several similarities, as both are CGMs designed to help individuals with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. Here are some of the common similar features and functionalities they share:

  • Glucose Readings: Both systems provide glucose readings at frequent intervals, with updates every 5 minutes.
  • Warm-Up Period: When a new sensor is inserted, both devices require a 2-hour warm-up period to ensure accurate glucose data.
  • Alert Systems: Each system features an alert system designed to notify users of high and low blood glucose readings, enhancing user safety.
  • Trend Arrows: Both devices display trend arrows, indicating the direction in which glucose levels are trending, aiding in timely decision-making.
  • Insulin Pump Integrations: Users have the flexibility to use these systems with compatible insulin pumps for automated insulin delivery adjustments.
  • Smart Pen Compatibility: Both sensors are compatible with Medtronic InPen.
  • Site Approval Locations: Both the Dexcom G6 and the Medtronic Guardian Link 3 are approved for sensor insertion in the abdomen and the back of the arm, offering flexibility in sensor placement.

What are the differences between Dexcom G6 and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3?

Dexcom G6 and Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 are both CGM systems, but they have several key differences in terms of their features, compatibility and more. Here are some of the most notable differences between the two:

Sensor Duration

Dexcom G6: Sensors will last up to 10 days.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Sensors last up to 7 days.

Transmitter Battery

Dexcom G6: Transmitter battery is good for 3 months, afterwards it will need to be replaced.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Transmitter contains a non-replacement, rechargeable battery that can be recharged as needed with a corresponding charger. The charger needs one AAA battery.

Treatment Decisions

Dexcom G6: Users can utilize the readings from their Dexcom to make treatment decisions without calibrations as long as the receiver displays an arrow and number. 

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Users are encouraged to not make therapy decisions based on sensor glucose values because sensor glucose and blood glucose values may differ. Users should confirm blood glucose with a meter using a fingerstick blood sample prior to making treatment decisions.


Dexcom G6: Calibrations and fingersticks are not required for Dexcom G6. They are only required for diabetes treatment decisions when symptoms do not match readings.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Calibrations are required for Medtronic Guardian Link 3 within 2 hours of the warm up period, again within 6 hours, then every 12 hours throughout the sensor lifespan. Calibrating three to four times per day is optimal and additional calibrations may be required.

Integrated Insulin Pumps

Dexcom G6: Dexcom G6 users have the option to integrate their glucose readings with Tandem t:slim x2 with Control IQ, Tadnem Mobi, Omnipod 5, Beta Bionics iLet Bionic Pancreas.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 users are indicated for use with Medtronic insulin pumps. MiniMed 770G system with SmartGuard Technology and MiniMed 630G System with SmartGuard Technology.

Minimum Age

Dexcom G6: 2 years and older.

Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3: When utilizing the Sensor 3 with MiniMed 770G system, it is approved for ages 2 and older and approved for ages 14 years and older when used with the 630G system.

Which is more accurate: Dexcom G6 or Medtronic Guardian 3?

Medtronic Guardian 3 sensors have a mean absolute relative difference (MARD) ranging from 8.7% to 10.6%. The accuracy of the readings are influenced by factors such as age, sensor placement and frequency of calibrations. On average, Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 has an overall MARD of 9.5%.

In comparison, Dexcom G6 achieves an overall MARD of 9%, with accuracy varying based on factors like age, sensor duration, and rate of glucose change.

 Overall, Dexcom G6 offers superior accuracy since the system does not require calibrations to maintain accurate glucose readings.

Which is better: Dexcom G6 or Medtronic Guardian 3?

The choice between Dexcom G6 Medtronic Guardian 3 CGMs should be based on your specific circumstances and what aligns best with your diabetes management plan.

Dexcom G6 is often preferred for its compatibility with a range of insulin pumps, which offers greater flexibility in diabetes management and eliminates the need for fingerstick calibrations..

While Medtronic Guardian 3 users will need to perform a fingerstick calibration every 3-4 hours daily, there is still an option for integrated insulin pump systems that work in conjunction with the Medtronic Guardian 3 sensor.

Both options have demonstrated substantial benefits in enhancing diabetes management for individuals with diabetes. Insurance coverage may vary and could impact the cost and availability of certain insulin pumps. It is always advised to consult with your healthcare team to determine which system aligns best with your lifestyle and medical needs.


About Amanda Ciprich, MS, RD

Amanda Ciprich, a registered dietitian with a specialization in type 1 diabetes, was diagnosed with T1D herself at the age of 18. With her expertise and personal experience, she has authored two books, including "The Caregiver's Guide to Diabetes: Practical Advice for Caring for Your Loved One." As the founder of T1D Nutritionist, a virtual insurance-based private practice, Amanda provides counseling and guidance to individuals with T1D and their families, supporting them in effectively managing diabetes.

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