Best Blood Pressure Monitors

Updated November 2020
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Pros
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Buying guide for best blood pressure monitors

For many, waiting 6 months to a year to get a blood pressure reading at your doctor's office is too long. The best way to stay healthy is through diligence. A properly functioning home blood pressure monitor could save your life – we recommend taking it on a doctor's visit to verify the unit's accuracy. Regularly taking your blood pressure at home can actually desensitize you to the process and eventually produce lower readings in some individuals.

For the most accurate blood pressure readings, you need a monitor with the proper cuff size for your bicep – yes, bicep models are the best. You can purchase a manual or automatic model, but having a memory so you can compare previous readings is essential. Even better, purchase a wireless monitor that comes with an app.

We've listed some of our favorite blood pressure monitors. If you'd like to learn more about what these devices have to offer and how they can positively impact your life, keep reading.

A home blood pressure monitor that can upload readings to an electronic medical record is a good way to keep your doctor in the loop.

How we tested our blood pressure monitors

When testing out blood pressure monitors in our labs, here are some of the main factors we considered.

Accuracy

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.

Ease of use

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.

Value

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.

Considerations for selecting a blood pressure monitor

Automatic vs. manual

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.

Cuff size

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.

Speed

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.

App compatibility

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.

Multiple users

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.

Alerts

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.

Blood pressure monitor price

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.

Tips

  • 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.

Did you know?
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.
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FAQ

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+.

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