FreeStyle Libre 2 vs 3: What’s the Difference?

Quick overview of what we’ll cover in this blog post:

  • Introducing the new FreeStyle Libre 3
  • What’s new with this model
  • How are FreeStyle Libre 2 and 3 different?
  • What this change means for you

It’s official – the FreeStyle Libre 3 is here!

What does that mean if you’re looking to start using a CGM, or if you’re already using one? We’re here to explain the differences between the FreeStyle Libre v2 and v3, so you have everything you need to track, adapt, and enjoy more healthy years.

Big Things, Small Packages

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the new FreeStyle Libre 3 seems smaller than the previous model, both in actual size and in packaging. There are 2 things at play here.

While the FreeStyle Libre 2 was about the size of a few quarters stacked on top of each other, the FreeStyle Libre 3 is significantly more compact, at about the size of 2 stacked pennies, which fits more comfortably during installation and rests more discreetly for the 14-day period. This means the FreeStyle Libre 3 is also among the smallest self-applied CGMs available, for a more seamless experience.

On top of this, the FreeStyle Libre 3 no longer requires a separate receiver, but instead uses your smartphone to deliver tracking and results via the FreeStyle 3 app directly in the palm of your hand.

This may not surprise those who were already using the FreeStyle 2, as later models also allowed smartphone alerts. The important distinction here is that receiver devices have been all but phased out with the release of the new FreeStyle Libre 3.

Most Accurate CGM Yet

Abbott, the creators of the FreeStyle Libre 3, report that this is not only their most accurate CGM model to date, but also the most accurate 14-day CGM on the market!

This claim is backed by stellar performance on an industry-known, gold standard metric for evaluating the accuracy of CGMs – namely, a low “mean absolute relative difference” (MARD). We know that’s a mouthful, so allow us to explain.

The most common metric for measuring a CGM’s success is how well its readings compare to reference blood glucose values obtained from lab results (what can be considered “true glucose levels”). This comparative statistic is referred to as the MARD, with results presented in a percentage value. The lower the number, the more accurate the CGM (remember, we’re measuring the difference here).

The soft benchmark for CGMs having a good analytical performance is a MARD under 10%. For reference, the Dexcom G6 has an overall MARD of 9%.

According to the creator’s own reports, the FreeStyle Libre 3 has a MARD of 7.9%, making it the first CGM to have a MARD below 8%. Another remarkable first for the FreeStyle 3!

More Room to Move

Some CGMs practically require you to stay within reach of your phone or sensor at all times to get a reading. The FreeStyle Libre 2 allowed a bit more freedom to roam, but capped its efficacy at 20 feet between your phone/sensor and your CGM, assuming the distance was unobstructed.

Another huge change for the FreeStyle Libre 3 is its increased range, with a stronger Bluetooth integration that allows for accurate readings at a range of up to 33 feet!

This might not sound like much to those who have never worn a CGM, but it means a world of difference for the frequent user, especially those of us who leave our phones unattended while we roam our homes. Plus, this range not only beats previous FreeStyle models, but also the reported range for both the Dexcom G6 and the Medtronic Guardian Connect System, giving you more freedom to live your life.

An Alarming Change

Another update that’s unique to the FreeStyle Libre 3 is the alarm system. The big difference here is that users have much less control over which alarms they can silence.

Previously, users could fine-tune which alarms came through as an alert to their smartphone. With the FreeStyle Libre 3, this feature has largely been removed, making alarms like the “low blood glucose alert” a mandatory part of your CGM experience. This is likely implemented as a safety concern, so that diabetics are always alerted of potentially dangerous readings.

However, we at AgelessRx do NOT provide CGMs to those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This can become a problem for AgelessRx subscribers, as non-diabetics frequently go into a state of low blood glucose at night without these levels being dangerous, so you may receive unnecessary alarms overnight.

Should you find that your glucose alerts are interrupting your sleep, the simple workaround is to disable Bluetooth on your smartphone before you go to sleep. Just make sure to turn it back on in the morning!

What does this mean for AgelessRx subscribers?

The FreeStyle Libre 3 was designed to improve access and utility of CGMS for the 133 million Americans living with diabetes as of 2022, allowing anyone to improve their lifestyle and track their glucose if desired.

Those who acquired their FreeStyle Libre CGM from other services can expect a price difference of about $50, which is also comparable to what new AgelessRx subscribers can expect.

If you’re already subscribed to receive CGMs through AgelessRx, you won’t see any price difference from what you are currently paying to upgrade to the FreeStyle Libre 3. This means that, so long as you keep your current subscription active and valid, you will continue to receive the FreeStyle Libre 3, with all its new and improved features, at no additional cost!

If you’re interested in purchasing a CGM to monitor your blood glucose and track changes, or if you just want to learn more about what’s new with the FreeStyle Libre 3, check out our main CGM page!

Note: The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Unless otherwise noted, all information as presented here is sourced from Abbott’s v3 press release.