These blood pressure monitors most closely resemble what you'll see used at your doctor's office, with a flexible or semi-rigid cuff that sits around your upper arm. Users sometimes struggle to get the cuff positioned correctly on their own arm, but this type of home blood pressure monitor lets you sit with your arm in a natural position at your side, and is generally less finicky about positioning than a wrist cuff monitor.
If you have limited vision or just prefer to listen than read, a talking blood pressure monitor will be very helpful. They generally "speak" in loud, clear voices, and often speak multiple languages in addition to English. They are also just as fully-featured as traditional blood pressure cuffs.
Those who feel that arm blood pressure monitors pinch uncomfortably, or who have trouble finding an arm blood pressure cuff that fits well might prefer a writs blood pressure monitor. However, this type of monitor is notoriously finicky about positioning; you must hold your wrist across your chest at heart level. If you're just a few inches off or don't hold perfectly still during the reading, you'll get inaccurate results. The good news is that the best wrist monitors have lights and signals to help you with the correct alignment.
If your doctor wants you to track your blood pressure -- or if you want to be proactive and track it yourself -- you're going to need a blood pressure monitor you can use at home. Visiting your doctor to have your blood pressure taken every single day isn't really practical, and the public-use blood pressure cuffs located in some pharmacies can get out of calibration, resulting in inaccurate readings.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home doesn't take the place of medical consults, but, when combined with your physician's measurements, home measurements can be a powerful tool for taking control of your health. All of the home blood pressure monitors discussed in this report are automatic, digital models -- they inflate themselves and take the reading for you, usually at the push of a single button. The entire process takes about 30 to 50 seconds.
No matter what sort of blood pressure cuff you get, experts recommend taking it to your doctor's office for comparison against medical-grade equipment. That gives you a baseline for determining how accurate and consistent your home monitor's measurements really are.
You must also read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them closely in order to get accurate readings. We have yet to see a home blood pressure monitor that doesn't receive a noteworthy number of complaints about accuracy, and it's a sure bet that those complaints often stem from incorrect use.
We evaluated dozens of expert ratings and thousands of user reviews to determine which blood pressure monitors display the best accuracy, ease of use and comfort, with enough features for any type of user. The most useful expert sources included ConsumerReports.org, MedicalNewsToday.com and TheSweethome.com. Owner reviews were especially plentiful at Amazon.com, but the retail sites Walmart.com, Walgreens.com and BestBuy.com offered plenty of useful feedback too.
Of all the upper-arm blood pressure monitors we evaluated, the wireless Omron BP786N (Est. $65) receives the most consistently positive ratings. Owners say this model is easy to use and very accurate; it also receives top ranking for accuracy and convenience from a leading consumer research laboratory, and is the top pick at TheSweethome.com, which tested it against nine other blood pressure monitors.
The Omron BP786N's many useful features include a built-in calibration check system; a TruRead mode that takes three consecutive readings one minute apart, then displays the average; an irregular heartbeat detector; and two user accounts, with storage for 100 date- and time-stamped blood pressure readings in each.
Its most impressive feature, however, is the BP786N's Bluetooth compatibility with iOS and Android mobile devices. Once you download the free Omron Wellness app, you can access, share or chart your readings from anywhere, or import them into the Apple Health app. One unexpected benefit of this wireless capability is that the sight-impaired can have their phone read the results to them out loud.
Despite all that functionality, you don't have to have a smartphone or tablet to use the Omron BP786, and many users appreciate its simple operation: All you really have to do is press the brightly colored Start/Stop button. The large, backlit screen is easy to read even for those with limited vision. User reviews of the Omron BP786N are almost universally positive, while reviews of its Bluetooth capability are mixed (but still quite good): It typically pairs with iOS devices quickly and easily, but may take a few tries to connect with your Android device, and not every Android device is supported.
The BP786N's ComFit cuff spans the range of a medium to large cuff, fitting arms from 9 inches to 17 inches (23 cm to 43 cm) in diameter. Once you get the adjustable cuff set up just right, you can slip your arm in and out of the uninflated cuff easily -- no need for a second pair of hands. The BP786N is covered by a five-year warranty, can be run off 4 AA batteries in addition to AC power, and doesn't have any notable durability issues.
If you have large upper arms, your best choice is the LifeSource UA-789AC (Est. $100) home blood pressure monitor. The cuff on this monitor fits arms between 16.5 and 23.6 inches (42 to 60 cm) in circumference, and users love the way it's slightly tapered to provide a better fit.
Users also say this blood pressure monitor is durable -- some have had theirs for several years with no problem -- and most say it's quite accurate when compared against a manual blood pressure cuff in their doctor's office.
The LifeSource UA-789AC has a fairly simple range of features: It detects an irregular heartbeat, stores up to 60 blood pressure and pulse readings in memory, and has a large, easy-to-read display. It runs off an included AC adapter or four AA batteries (not included).
If you want a simpler blood pressure monitor, there are a few viable alternatives that still offer accurate readings, but cost less than their high-end competition.
One top budget pick, the ReliOn BP200 (Est. $40) upper-arm monitor, which is sold exclusively through Walmart, can store up to 30 readings in each of two user accounts. The readings for this unit are marked with a date and time stamp, which can help reveal trends in your blood pressure readings over time.
"It's affordable and simple enough for most people to use," writes Stacey Higginbotham for TheSweethome.com, where the ReliOn BP200 is selected as the top budget blood pressure monitor. Owners agree, saying the ReliOn BP200 is easy to use straight out of the box, and it receives an accuracy rating of Excellent at ConsumerReports.org. Its cuff fits arms 9 to 17 (23 cm to 43 cm) inches in circumference, and a larger cuff is available for purchase. A few years ago we noticed a rash of durability concerns with the BP200, but more recent user reviews indicate that the newer versions of this home blood pressure monitor hold up well.
Another highly rated, inexpensive blood pressure cuff, the Panasonic EW3109W (Est. $45), also receives an Excellent accuracy rating from ConsumerReports.org, and users say it's very precise. Those owners are even more pleased, however, with the monitor's most notable feature: It measures your blood pressure as the cuff inflates, instead of pumping the cuff up to a set pressure and then measuring your blood pressure as it lets the air out. This helps eliminate the discomfort and -- in extreme cases -- bruising that some associate with upper-arm blood pressure cuffs.
The EW3109W's sparse selection of features includes one-touch inflation, a large, easy-to-read display, and a 90-reading memory capacity for one user. However, the readings aren't marked with a date or time stamp.
Excluding the issue with the memory function, owners say the Panasonic EW3109W is fast and easy to use. It's backed by a two-year warranty and can accommodate arm circumferences of 7.75 to 15.75 inches (20 to 40 cm) with the default cuff; you can also buy a large cuff (Est. $30) that fits arms of 13.75 to 17.33 inches (35 to 44 cm). The EW3109W runs off four AA batteries (included) or an optional AC adapter, which can be purchased separately.
So: If you're particularly sensitive to the discomfort of using an upper-arm blood pressure cuff, your best choice is the Panasonic EW3109W. If you have large upper arms, go for the LifeSource UA-789AC. For a bargain that still offers the very handy feature of date- and time-stamped readings, consider the ReliOn BP200. And if you want the general all-around best-performing, feature-rich monitor that also happens to be smartphone compatible, go for the Omron 10 Series BP786N -- but be prepared to spend a little quality time with its owner's manual before you're able to use all its features.
The A&D 767F (Est. $50) memory capacity is the highest of any we saw while compiling this report, and earns it kudos from testers at TheSweethome.com.
It can store up to 60 time- and date-stamped readings in each of four user accounts, so the entire family can use the same machine if need be. The cuff is also flexible enough to fit most people -- from 8.6 to 16.5 inches (22 to 42 cm) in arm circumference.
This blood pressure monitor also earns an Excellent score for accuracy at ConsumerReports.org. Everyday users laud the A&D's accuracy too, saying that it lines up well with the readings taken in their doctor's office. The A&D 767F tracks your average pressure readings over time and adjusts the inflation accordingly. It's nicely compact, too and easy to carry around in its soft-sided, zip-close case.
Not everybody is a fan of the A&D 767F's comfort and usability though, despite its Very Good comfort scores from ConsumerReports.org. "Its comfort and ease of use was polarizing among the testers," writes Stacey Higginbotham for TheSweethome.com, who also notes that during tests when she deliberately moved around during testing, the 767F tended to flash an "irregular heartbeat" warning at her instead of warning that she was moving too much, as it is supposed to.
The A&D 767F comes with a five-year warranty and runs off 4 AA batteries, with an optional AC adapter for purchase.
For those who have limited vision or can simply make better sense of what they hear instead of what they see, the LifeSource UA-1030T (Est. $75) talking blood pressure monitor will read your results to you in English, French or Spanish. It also coaches you through avoiding common errors when taking your blood pressure, explains what the reading means, reads off your pulse, and will tell you out loud if it detects an irregular heartbeat.
User reviewers say this home blood pressure monitor is easy to use, and its "speaking" voice is loud and clear, so elderly patients have no problem hearing it. Initial feedback about the LifeSource UA-1030T's accuracy is positive, although reviews of its preformed cuff are mixed; some people love it, while others struggle to find a way to put it on themselves. The cuff fits arm sizes from 9 inches to 14.6 inches (23 to 37 cm).
The LifeSource UA-1030T stores up to 90 time- and date-stamped readings in memory for one user, has an optional feature to calculate the average of three blood pressure readings, and can be set so it doesn't squeeze your arm unnecessarily hard during readings -- a great perk for physically frail or uncomfortable patients. It comes with a carrying case, can run off either AC power or 4 AA batteries, and is backed by a 5-year warranty.
Some people have a hard time finding an upper-arm blood pressure cuff that fits well, or find the whole process of having their arm squeezed to be very uncomfortable. If either of these sound like you, you might have a more pleasant experience with a wrist blood pressure monitor, which most users say are a lot more comfortable than upper arm monitors.
The biggest downside of wrist monitors is that you must have them positioned just so, every single time, to get accurate and consistent readings. Our best-reviewed model, the Omron BP652N (Est. $55), makes that easy with lights that signal proper positioning: orange when the monitor is out of position, blue when it's lined up correctly. You can also set it to give audible guidance signals.
The BP652N draws very good accuracy ratings from a leading consumer research organization, and quite a few owners say they've compared it with their doctor's equipment and found it to be very accurate. However, all of that is dependent on mastering the learning curve that goes with its positioning guidance system.
The BP652N stores up to 100 date- and time-stamped readings, alerts you if you have an irregular heartbeat, automatically shows how your blood pressure compares to international guidelines, and can average up to three readings taken in a 10-minute span. The Omron BP652N comes with a storage case and is covered by a five-year limited warranty, although we found a few comments that customer service is so-so -- generally responsive, but not always very helpful.
The Omron BP652N receives Excellent comfort scores ConsumerReports.org, a sentiment echoed by the thousands of users that have reviewed it. However, a few of them are disappointed to see that a recent update to this model replaced its semi-rigid wrist cuff -- which was easy to get on and off your own wrist -- with a soft, flexible cuff that is a bit more challenging to get just right. Still, most say it's still much easier to handle than an upper-arm blood pressure cuff.
Omron also offers a basic wrist model, the Omron BP629N (Est. $45). It doesn't have the advanced guidance system, but it can calculate the average of your last three recent readings taken within 10 minutes, and most users say it's quick, easy to use, and accurate as long as you master the proper positioning. The BP629 stores up to 60 date- and time-stamped readings and is covered by a two-year warranty. Both the Omron BP652N and the Omron BP629N run on 2 AAA batteries.
It's not reviewed or tested for accuracy by in any professional tests, nor does it get quite the high ratings from users of the Omron, but, if you'd like to spend less money and get more features, take a look at the Ozeri BP2M (Est. $35). This wrist monitor comes with some very user-friendly features, including large, easy to read digits and a screen that lights up green, orange or red to tell you if your blood pressure is normal, borderline high, or high. It also detects irregular heartbeats, averages your last three ratings for accuracy, and stores an impressive 399 readings for each of three user accounts, all time- and date-stamped.
Some users voice the same concerns about positioning for this unit that we see for any wrist blood pressure monitor. However, most note that if they follow the directions carefully and pay attention to the lights that help guide proper placement, their readings match up well with those of a doctor or nurse. The Ozeri BP2M wrist blood pressure monitor is covered by a five-year warranty, and users say Ozeri's customer service is very good about replacing defective units and offering support in general.
All three wrist blood pressure monitors come with one-size-fits-most cuffs; the two Omron models accommodate a wrist circumference of 5.25 to 8.5 inches (13 to 21 cm), and the Ozeri model accommodates wrists 5.3 to 7.6 inches (13.5 to 19.5 cm) in circumference. All three blood pressure monitors also feature one-touch operation, run off two AAA batteries (included), and come with a storage case for easy blood pressure readings on the road.
Do you plan to travel with your blood pressure monitor? If so, choose one that comes with a carrying case or pouch, and that can be operated with either battery power or an AC adapter.
Is more than one person going to use the cuff? If so, you must either purchase a monitor with multiple user accounts -- so you can each store your readings separately -- or buy one that doesn't automatically store readings, so you don't end up with your blood pressure logs mingled together.
Are you and your doctor wired in? A growing number of blood pressure monitors allow you to upload your log of readings directly to your doctor. If neither you nor your doctor make use of such capability, you can save some money by buying a simpler unit.
Experts recommend taking your home blood pressure monitor to your healthcare provider when you first buy it, so your healthcare provider can test the monitor against medical-standard equipment to determine its accuracy. Take your blood pressure cuff back in every six months to re-check its accuracy, and have it checked immediately if you drop it or if your readings suddenly change dramatically.
Blood pressure cuffs that transmit data directly to an app on your smart phone are becoming increasingly common. Just a few short years ago this was novel, new technology, but it's now on the verge of becoming a standard feature on high-end blood pressure cuffs, and, as with most wireless technology, will probably soon be the norm at all price points.
Researchers in the Consumer Reports laboratory test two dozen home blood pressure monitors, including both arm and wrist models. Each model receives ratings for accuracy, convenience and comfort, along with a few very brief comments on its performance, plus an overall comparative rating out of 100. Ultimately, four upper-arm blood pressure monitors are recommended.
The dabl Educational Trust compiles a lengthy list of blood pressure monitors, assigning each a Recommended, Not Recommended or Questionable status. The table also lists whether each device is certified by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the British Hypertension Society and the European Society of Hypertension, and briefly notes the circumstances under which the devices may or may not be used.
The author and a team of testers spent 20 hours researching more than 50 home blood pressure monitors, eventually narrowing the field to 10 models that were then tested with the help of professors and students at the University of Texas Nursing School. The author provides thorough documentation of the testing process and selects a top pick that should suit most people, along with runners-up for specific concerns.
The author subjects four blood pressure monitors to hands-on testing. Although he doesn't assign comparative scores, he does discuss the relative merits and quirks of each monitor, discusses how easy (or difficult) it was to use them for the first time, and occasionally quotes company stands on specific features.
Amazon.com offers hundreds of listings for home blood pressure monitors and a plethora of user reviews, some of which can be quite detailed. Some users even return to update their reviews over time, giving a good picture of the product's long-term durability. Some of these blood pressure monitors have hundreds or even thousands of reviews.
Walmart.com lists a wide variety of blood pressure monitors for sale. Many models have received hundreds, if not thousands, of user reviews, although these sometimes include user reviews reposted from the manufacturer's website. As at Amazon.com, some models recieve hundreds of reviews.
User reviews at Walgreens.com tend to be brief and to the point, which makes them useful for gauging overall customer reaction to any given product. Most blood pressure monitors for sale here get at least a few user reviews; we chose standout models that receive an average score of 4 stars or better after at least half a dozen user comments.
This gadget-friendly retail site offers several dozen blood pressure monitors for sale, and is a particularly good source of reviews for "smart" blood pressure monitors. The most noteworthy monitors listed here receive an average score of at least 4 stars after 10 or more useful owner reviews.