Blood pressure monitor buying guide

Blood pressure monitor buying guide

For people with borderline or high blood pressure, home testing with the best blood pressure monitor is more important than ever. Recent research shows that an average of several readings over time provides the most reliable measurement. This task is essential for taking multiple readings and can actually be more accurate than the results you get at a doctor’s office.

Our experts say that good candidates for at-home monitoring include:

  • Seniors, whose blood pressure can vary.
  • People who experience “white-coat hypertension,” a spike in blood pressure when they are tested in a doctor’s office or hospital; and
  • People with diabetes, for whom tight blood pressure control is important.

How we tested

Our most recent tests (see Review) of blood pressure monitors found some that are worth recommending.

Staff members assessed each model for comfort. Our testers compared the readings from those devices with readings taken with a mercury sphygmomanometer, often used in medical settings, to rate accuracy. A sensory panel evaluated how easy it was to use each monitor.

How to choose

Pick a top-scoring model that has features that will make testing easier for you, such as the ability of more than one user to store readings. Blood pressure monitors may be available at a discount, and some insurance plans may provide coverage for them. Check with your provider.

Check the fit

For arm models, make sure the blood pressure monitor you choose has a cuff that fits the circumference of your upper arm. Using a cuff that’s the wrong size can result in an inaccurate reading. Most models we tested have two cuffs or a cuff that adjusts to fit most people. Wrist models also adjust to fit most people.

Accuracy

All of our recommended models  were rated Excellent for accuracy.

Cost

The recommended models in the Ratings (both are available to subscribers) were priced from $40 to $75, but shop around. And check to see whether a monitor is covered by insurance.

Ease of use

Make sure that the display on the monitor is easy to read and understand and that the buttons are big enough and intuitive. The directions for applying the cuff and operating the monitor should be clear.

Available features

An irregular-heartbeat detector checks for arrhythmias and other abnormalities. (We did not test those features.) A risk-category indicator tells you whether your blood pressure is in the high range. Multiple-user memory allows two or more users to save readings.

Types

Automatic arm monitors

This type automatically inflates the cuff and displays the readings.

Wrist monitors

These convenient monitors are fully automatic, but may be less accurate than arm monitors.

Home Blood pressure monitor buying guide

3 Comments
  1. […] Ready to buy after read Home Blood pressure monitor buying guide? […]

  2. Reply
    Jane Bui November 13, 2017 at 9:49 am

    What’s better between wrist and upper arm monitor? Or they’re equally good and I should pick the one which I like?

    • Reply
      bpm November 17, 2017 at 1:00 am

      Dear Jane,
      Wrist blood pressure monitors can be accurate if used exactly as directed. However, according to the American Heart Association, it’s best to use a home blood pressure monitor that measures blood pressure in your upper arm

    Leave a reply