CGM cost effective options - What is your experience



As we all know-continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is an expensive but important strategy for many diabetics. It can also be expensive especially for those of us who are self funded. The situation is made worse by the fact that devices are now being manufactured with auto shut off times - such as the Dexcom G5 transmitter which stops working around 90 days.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions re less expensive but reliable CGM options/products?


My HMO started paying for the Libre system in March. My cost for three sensors per month went from $75 to $32. More and more HMO’s covering. I love the Libre, but you’ll find many posts here where the person does not. I know my HMO wouldnt make Dex affordable for me.


Great to hear your HMO pays. Here in Australia there is no subsidy available.
Thanks for replying.


Do you have an Android phone? You can use xDrip instead of the Dexcom app, and it will keep working with a transmitter beyond 90 days.


I used the Dexcom G4 with the Animas vibe. I liked it. The sensor can be restarted after 7 days for another 7 days, and maybe another 7 days if lucky. Easy to restart. No need to detach the transmitter to restart, unlike the Enlite, the Medtronic CGM. The G4 transmitter battery lasts 6-8 months and very expensive, $500 or more in Canada.
And then, I am now using the Freestyle Libre, here in Canada. The sensor/transmitter (one unit) lasts 14 days. No need to buy battery every 6-8 months. (In the USA it lasts only 10 days). Sensor costs $89. It needs a receiver to read the data in the sensor, it costs $49. As you can see, the Libre is the most least expensive (not quite) CGM system. It is “not quite” CGM because you need to FLASH the receiver to the sensor to download the data. Because of this, there is no alarm system, for low and high blood sugar. This perhaps is the reason why it is cheaper than the Dexcom and Enlite CGM.
The Enlite CGM for my 630G. It sucks. Expensive, and only good for 6 days, and a pain to restart. You need to remove the tape and detach the transmitter from the sensor, very carefully, or it will not re-start. Screw this system. I will not use this with my 630G. I will use the Libre with my 630G.
I have to say though, that I like the Minimed 630G better than the Animas Vibe.


Thank you for this helpful information. The G4 sounds like a good option.
Agree with you re the Enlite - they are so unreliable.


Thank you for this info. Appreciated.


A I use the Libra, but added the Ambrosia NightRider to it. The night rider reads the glucose level every 5 minutes without scanning, basically turning the Libra into a cGM.

Then, I paired the NightRider with the Spike app (most use X-drip, but I have Spike). These apps let you program in alarms as well as add notes about food, carbs, insulin, activity, and such to your glucose graph. They also let you calibrate the readings so they are more accurate.

I don’t recall the cost of the Night Rider, but the app is free by request through test flight. I believe it is only for I phones.

The only problems I have with NightRider is it is not waterproof, so I have to take it off to shower. You also have to figure out how best to attach it. I’ve used large bandaids in the past, but now use a roll of tegaderm type tape from Amazon, so I can shower without losing the connection.

PS In the US the Libra takes 12 hours once activated before it will read. If you place and activate the new sensor without removing the old, the Night rider will continue to read the old sensor. I don’t know for how long, but it definitely lets you get readings without a 12 hour break.


Thank you Kailee,
I really appreciate this information. This sounds like an excellent solution .
All the very best.


I’m also in Australia, and have tried Libre + BluCon with their app, Libre + BluCon using Spike app, Libre alone (the Libre app is now available in Aus, but I won’t try it until I’ve started a new sensor tonight), and most recently Libre + Miao Miao transmitter with Spike app.
I’ve also used Medtronic original and Enlite sensor and found them next to useless.
Libre + Miao Miao + Spike is really really good. I’ve not lost connection once, Spike is so customisable (I like CGM but hate alarms), and it’s more comfortable and easier to wear than BluCon.
Unlike some, I find Libre to be very accurate, right from insertion, and I’ve never lost one or had it pulled off. Not everyone has the same experience.
Spike is free, and Miao Miao is about A$200, and it’s rechargable, so the only ongoing cost are the Libre sensors. I think my Libre reader will last longer now also, given I’m not scanning all the time.
I cannot comment on Dexcom G4, 5 or 6, but there are rumours on the Spike Facebook page that using Spike gives longer transmitter life…


I am using the G4, and pay out of pocket in Canada (although my private insurance does cover the Libre, I could not give up the Dexcom’s low alerts). I average about 30 days per sensor, which is four times longer than they are “supposed” to last, so that’s pretty darn cost effective. When my transmitter battery died, almost exactly a year after I started it, I purchased a new one from one of those outfits that replaces the batteries. It cost me CDN$95 with shipping, instead of the $820 a brand-new one would have cost.

There are rumours the G4 will be retired at some point, but given these savings, I will continue to use it for as long as I possibly can.


Thank you for this info. This is really helpful.
I will trying the G4 and stop the G5.

In Australia private Health insurance doesn’t cover CGM in any form.

I’ll do some research on the replacement batteries.


How about this?

Here’s the website.


Another armband site.


Hourly blood sugar readings?


Yeah, I have one of the arm band holders. I could never get it to fit right. If it stayed in place I felt like it was too tight. If it didn’t feel too tight, it felt like it would slide and fall off. I also have the “joy” of having a lot of burn scars on the undersides of both arms. That probably impacted the comfort level. So I stick with the tape.


NightRider and MiaoMiao give readings every 5 minutes, not just hourly.


If you’re self funding, what are you paying for transmitters?


And sensors for DexCom 5?


When my Endo realized I was self funded, she gave me the Libra reader and my first sensor free. Additional sensors are $25 each or $75/month. I believe the MiaoMiao was $200. It is rechargeable so no more batteries to buy for it, and it is waterproof, so I don’t have to take it off to shower. The Spike app is free.