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It's smart to keep an eye on your blood pressure. Nearly one third of Americans suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), and many doctors are now asking their patients to track blood pressure data at home via an automatic monitor.
Each blood pressure monitor on our shortlist is designed to fit the upper arm. Wrist cuff monitors are also available, but the physicians we spoke to advised that wrist monitor readings tend to be less accurate.
Of course, it's important that these products should be used in consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. Your doctor is the one who can make the most sense of how your readings relate to your personal health.
At BestReviews, we never accept free products from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products off of store shelves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and examine feedback from product owners. Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.
At the top of this page, you'll find our five favorite blood pressure monitors on the market. These highly rated products all qualify for our top-contender list.
When testing out blood pressure monitors in our labs, here are some of the main factors we considered.
Dr. Tamer emphasizes prevention as the most effective way to minimize health issues (cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, etc.) and maximize long-term health. Warm and knowledgeable, he is committed to forming comfortable bonds with his patients by which they can work together to set priorities and manage ongoing health concerns. Tamer earned his MD from the University of Connecticut and completed his internal medicine residency at Yale University.
The data you glean from your blood pressure monitor is vital, and precision is key. To ensure the accuracy of this review, we partnered with Dr. Tamer Fakhouri, a primary care physician for the One Medical Group in San Francisco. Dr. Fakhouri actively explores the use of digital technology in the treatment of hypertension, studying the effects of lifestyle coaching and home monitoring on patient outcomes. He evaluated the blood pressure monitors on our list the old-fashioned way: with a stethoscope and a manual sphygmomanometer (that thing with a dial that the doctor wraps around your arm and pumps with a rubber bulb).
We checked each device on two test subjects, a man and a woman. We took plenty of rests in between each test, as having your arm squeezed by an arm cuff several times in a row can get uncomfortable.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Omron 10 Wireless Upper Arm BP Monitor
The Omron 10 Series Wireless Monitor is Bluetooth-equipped. A free smartphone app allows you to store unlimited data, which you can check anytime and share with your physician. In addition to indicator lights for normal or hypertension, and a bar to compare your blood pressure to normal levels, the Omron also offers helpful date and time functions. When it comes to memory and information management, this device ascends to a much higher level than its competitors. The monitor can record up to 200 readings for an individual in its memory. It can also accommodate two users with 100 readings each.
We evaluated the clarity of each product's instructions, how quickly each device could be set up, and how easy it was for our subjects to read and understand the displays.
Starting with a closed box, we asked our test subjects to assemble each device. In general, that meant inserting batteries, plugging a tube into a console, donning the cuff, and taking a reading. Dr. Fakhouri made sure each cuff was positioned correctly before each reading was taken.
To achieve a balanced viewpoint, this review combines our findings with valuable feedback from owners – people who have used these devices on a daily basis for months, or even years.
While it's true that health is more important than money, most of us still need to keep the latter in mind when making a purchase.
Rather than looking purely at dollars and cents, we consider the overall value of each package and why you might pick a particular blood pressure monitor over its rivals.
While wrist and finger monitors are available, automatic, cuff-style blood pressure monitors that fit around the biceps (upper arm) are the most accurate and are recommended by the American Heart Association.
Blood pressure monitors operate in one of two ways: automatic blood pressure monitors start taking a reading at the press of a button or two, whereas manual blood pressure monitors are pumped up by hand with a rubber bulb.
While manual varieties are accurate if you know what you're doing, unless you're a medical professional, always opt for an automatic model.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
LotFancy Automatic Digital Arm BP Monitor
The LotFancy Automatic Digital Arm BP Monitor features an alert for irregular heart rate (in this case, plus or minus 25 percent of normal) and a memory function. Owners can get readings in four "groups." In other words, four different people can record their pressures individually. Each person can view an average of their last three readings, but we did notice that the interface for the memory function can be a bit confusing. For some consumers, the LotFancy's most tantalizing feature is simply the fact that it's FDA approved.
In order to get an accurate reading, you need the cuff of your blood pressure monitor to fit your upper arm correctly.
Some blood pressure monitors have "one-size-fits-all" cuffs, but we've found people with larger than average or smaller than average arms don't get the most accurate reading.
Instead, we recommend a monitor with cuffs that come in different sizes. Simply measure around your biceps with a cloth tape measure to find the correct cuff size for your arm.
This refers to the speed at which a blood pressure monitor returns its result. Some take 20 seconds or less, whereas others can take more than a minute.
If you find the squeezing sensation during the measuring process uncomfortable or stressful, the faster your chosen monitor returns its results, the better.
Being stressed or nervous about having your blood pressure taken can cause it to rise temporarily, meaning your readings come out higher than they really should. In this case, a blood pressure monitor that takes its reading as quickly as possible can help get a more accurate result.
The most high-tech blood pressure monitors connect to a smart device (such as a phone or tablet) via Bluetooth and record results in an app.
The features of these apps vary depending on the manufacturer of the monitor, but they generally give you much more in-depth analytics and tracking than an average blood pressure monitor.
Some apps even allow you to send your results directly to a medical professional, or upload them to your digitized medical records.
Some blood pressure monitors allow you to track and store results and data for multiple users, rather than just one.
This is handy if you have more than one person monitoring their blood pressure in the same household, as you can share one device instead of buying multiple separate models.
If two or more people in the same household need to monitor their blood pressure, it's worth getting a single, pricier model that has better features and can track data for multiple users, rather than several cheaper devices.
Look for blood pressure monitors that will alert you if you have high blood pressure, or if you have an irregular heartbeat.
While you might be able to tell just from the reading whether or not your blood pressure is high, an alert is helpful if you're unsure.
Plus, an irregular heartbeat detector will tell you if you have an arrhythmia – a condition which often goes undiagnosed.
If your vision is less than 20/20, we recommend a blood pressure monitor with large buttons, and a large, easy-to-read display.
Just how much should you spend on a blood pressure monitor? Let's find out.
A basic blood pressure monitor should cost between $20 and $40. For this price, you just get a basic monitor that takes your blood pressure reading and not much else. However, at the mid- to high-end of this price range, you may find models that can store data for two users.
A mid-range blood pressure monitor costs roughly $50 to $80. In this price range, expect a variety of cuff sizes, which may give a more accurate reading, plus the ability to store more data for multiple users.
A high-end blood pressure monitor costs about $90 to $150. These monitors usually connect to an app, and some can send your data directly to a physician via WiFi.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Withings Wireless BP Monitor for Apple and Android
The Withings Wireless BP Monitor is built to integrate with your consumer electronics. All instructions and readings are transmitted via Bluetooth to an app on your Apple or Android device. The Withings' entire feature set revolves around its wireless capability and the Withings Health Mate App. The app, available in several languages, displays all kinds of information in what the manufacturer calls "easy-to-understand charts." Because the information is stored in the cloud, it should be retained indefinitely. Conveniently, readings can be sent directly to any suitably equipped medical practitioner.
If you're not aware of what your normal blood pressure reading is, it's wise to familiarize yourself with this data. That way, you'll know when your blood pressure is high, even if you have a basic monitor that doesn't alert you about an elevated reading.
By purchasing a blood pressure monitor that can sync with an app, you can carry your readings with you everywhere – to a doctor's office, on vacation, and more.
For home use by a layman, an automatic blood pressure monitor is the most accurate option.
For the most accurate results, you shouldn't measure your blood pressure first thing in the morning. Brush your teeth, pick out your clothes, then take the measurement.
Blood pressure monitors that link to an app can often store an unlimited amount of past readings in the cloud.
Certain medications can cause your blood pressure to drop unexpectedly, which could lead to dizziness and even fainting. Always read your medication’s package insert carefully. It pays to educate yourself and be prepared.
Q. Are home blood pressure monitors always accurate?
A. For the most part, automatic cuff-style home blood pressure monitors should give you accurate readings. However, they need to be re-calibrated every couple of years to ensure they're still producing accurate results.
Q. Are there any tips for getting an accurate blood pressure reading at home?
A. How and when you take your blood pressure can make a big difference to the results. Let's look at some top tips for getting an accurate reading.
Sit still with your back supported, your feet on the ground, and your arms by your sides as you take your reading.
Don't smoke, exercise, or consume any caffeine within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure.
Always follow the instructions for the placement and fit of your monitor’s cuff.
Measure your blood pressure at the same time (or times) each day for accurate comparisons.
Take your blood pressure two or three times, with a minute or two in between, and take an average.
Q. Do I need a blood pressure monitor that will store previous readings?
A. If you're trying to keep an eye on – and/or improve – your blood pressure, it's wise to pick a model that stores previous readings. Some store just 50 or 60 previous readings (though this is enough for many people), whereas others store 200+.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.