Medtronic vs Dexcom: Uses, Comparison, Advantages, and User Experience

Posted April 21, 2021 by Clint Kelly - See Editorial Guidelines

When it comes to Medtronic vs Dexcom, both are devices designed to monitor blood glucose levels.

To help you decide which is best, either Medtronic or Dexcom, we’ll explain some of their main differences and how they both work to see which is the best one for your needs.

Here is the brief answer to get us started, then we will follow on with more details.

Medtronic vs Dexcom: Medtronic is a producer of medical supplies that provides an insulin pump and a glucose meter to those with diabetes. Dexcom is another medical supply producer that only offers a glucose meter. Medtronic provides an integrated solution of both pump and CGM, whereas Dexcom patients must use another insulin therapy method.

Overview of Medtronic 

Medtronic vs Dexcom

Medtronic has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and is among the world’s largest medical solutions providers. 

Medtronic manufactures both an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)

Insulin pump 

The Medtronic insulin pump system is designed to very closely mimic how basal insulin is delivered into your body by a healthy Pancreas.

According to the Medtronic website, as part of the Medtronic MiniMed system, it can provide advanced protection from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This system can be used for most age groups, including young children.

Continuous glucose monitor

The Medtronic glucose monitor works in conjunction with the Medtronic pump and wirelessly sends glucose readings directly to your Medtronic insulin pump. 

It also allows you to send a bolus directly to your pump discreetly and conveniently download blood glucose and insulin information to their own cloud-based therapy management software.

In this case, a bolus is a single dose of insulin administered to prevent or correct high blood sugar. A bolus is given as a shot or through an insulin pump.

Overview of Dexcom 

Dexcom is the producer of the Dexcom G6, which is a CGM approved for children aged 2 and older.

The sensor continuously measures glucose levels just beneath the skin and sends data wirelessly to a display device through a transmitter.

The Dexcom G6 is also intended to autonomously communicate with digitally connected devices, including automated insulin dosing, more commonly known as AID systems.

Dexcom has partnered with Tandem Diabetes Care and Insulet, both insulin pump makers, to create an artificial pancreas.

Similarities between Medtronic and Dexcom 

The main similarity between Medtronic vs Dexcom is that they both manufacture CGMs (continuous glucose monitors). 

Both Medtronic and Dexcom offer devices that make it possible to have blood glucose readings in almost real-time and track historical data.

Each device can connect to an app on your phone and send readings directly to the app.

Both CGMs require a sensor as well as a transmitter.

Each CGM also has customizable alerts for high and low blood sugar levels. Alerts are important as they can help patients prevent dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

It is important to note that CGMs are not always 100% accurate. This is because the sensor measures your blood sugar based on the interstitial fluid and not the bloodstream.

This is a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the body’s cells. This interstitial fluid has become useful in the monitoring of glucose levels in people with diabetes.

Now that we’ve seen some of the ways that Medtronic and Dexcom are similar, you are hopefully better informed enough to make a decision that is right for you, But it helps if we also investigate any differences. 

Differences between Medtronic vs Dexcom

Medtronic produces both insulin pumps and CGMs. At the time of writing, Dexcom only manufactures CGMs. 

When it comes to using a CGM, the sensor will need to be changed, and injection sites will need to be rotated. The Medtronic CGM (Guardian Sensor 3) will last 7 days, whereas the Dexcom G6 sensor will last 10 days.

The transmitters for Medtronic vs Dexcom also differ. The Medtronic transmitter can be continuously reused but must be charged when the battery runs low.

The Dexcom transmitter will last 3 months before it should be disposed and a new one used.

The last major difference between the CGMs is the calibration requirement. Medtronic’s Guardian 3 requires multiple calibrations a day in order for it to continue reading your glucose.

On the other hand, the Dexcom G6 does not require any calibrations, except when there is an error. Patients are still encouraged to calibrate the sensor every so often to keep it functioning accurately.

Advantages of Medtronic 

According to the Medtronic press release, Medtronic has many advantages.

One major advantage is the fact the Medtronic has both components for an advanced insulin delivery system.

A patient only needs to go to them for their CGM and their insulin pump, rather than going through multiple companies. This creates less hoops to jump through for both the patient and the manufacturer.

Another advantage is that the transmitter for Medtronic’s CGM is rechargeable. Therefore, as long as it is kept in good condition, there is no need to continuously worry about purchasing a new transmitter.

Advantages of Dexcom 

Medtronic vs Dexcom

Though Dexcom does not produce their own insulin pump, their CGM can work with the Tandem insulin pump, and they are working towards being integrated with Omnipod.

Therefore, patients will eventually have more than one option for the insulin pump they desire.

The Dexcom G6 is available to be worn on three different parts of the body. Sensor sites include the abdomen, the back of the upper arm (indicated for patients age 2 years and older), or the upper buttocks (ages 2-17 years).

Medtronic’s CGM can only be worn on either the abdomen or upper arm.

Although we can see there are many advantages of both Medtronic and Dexcom, you might be wondering if Medtronic or Dexcom is more effective. Let’s find out below. 

Which is more effective, Medtronic or Dexcom? 

Both systems offer a CGM, but Medtronic provides a fully integrated solution. Medtronic’s pump and CGM work in conjunction to provide a single set of user experiences, as opposed to Dexcom.

Therefore, for this reason alone it can appear that Medtronic is more effective. However, let me share my personal experience of using Medtronic and Dexcom with you before you make up your mind.

My experience using the Medtronic and Dexcom CGMs

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for some time now, and as I was looking to get a CGM, I did a trial run with Medtronic’s sensor.

Overall my experience was good, but I wasn’t sold. So, I decided to try out Dexcom to see the difference.

I found the Dexcom had a better user interface, in my opinion. The application of the sensor and transmitter were both more secure and simpler.

The Medtronic sensor and transmitter, though they worked well, did not feel as secure or as easy to apply to me.

I did enjoy the fact that I only really needed one transmitter with Medtronic’s system. However, waiting for it to charge meant that I had to go a time without immediate readings and would have to use finger sticks.

Lastly, when using the Medtronic Guardian 3, I had to calibrate the sensor up to 4 or 5 times a day. Doing this made me feel like paying for the CGM was pointless, as I still had to perform multiple finger sticks a day.

I only calibrate my Dexcom sensor when I feel like something is off, or I’m unsure of the reading.

Now, it is important to remember that this is just my experience, and every person is different. However, I hope this helps you determine whether Medtronic or Dexcom is right for you.

Final thoughts

We hope this has answered the questions you might have about Medtronic vs Dexcom. For more information and questions, always consult your healthcare provider.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.

See If You Qualify