Some consumers have a hard time finding an upper-arm blood pressure cuff that fits well, or find the whole process of having an 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.
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 7 Series BP652 (Est. $60) , 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 signals.
The BP652 draws an Excellent rating for accuracy 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 accurate. However, all of that is dependent on mastering the learning curve that goes with its positioning guidance system, which has multiple settings that can lead to some confusion.
The BP652 offers two separate user accounts (with storage for up to 100 blood pressure readings apiece), an irregular heartbeat alert, which automatically shows how the user's blood pressure compares to international guidelines, and it can average up to three readings taken in a 10-minute span. It's 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.
If you feel you can get by without the Omron BP652's positioning system, the ReliOn BP300W ( Est. $45) sold through Walmart receives Very Good accuracy scores from the same consumer research organization -- the second-best score possible -- and draws mostly positive comments from users who've taken it to their doctor's office for comparison. Said users report that the BP300W is simple, accurate and easy to use, with large, easy-to-read numbers on the display.
You must follow the directions very carefully to get accurate readings, though -- and you won't have the feedback from Omron's advanced positioning system. The ReliOn BP300W stores 90 readings for a single user account and has a one-year warranty.
Omron also offers a basic wrist model, the Omron BP629 (Est. $45) . It doesn't have the advanced guidance system either, but it can calculate the average of your last three recent readings (taken within 10 minutes), and most users say it's quick, accurate and easy to use. The BP629 stores up to 60 date- and time-stamped readings for a single user and is covered by a two-year warranty.
All three wrist blood pressure monitors come with one-size-fits-most cuffs that accommodate a wrist circumference of 5.25 to 8.5 inches (13 to 21 cm), feature one-touch operation, run off two AAA batteries (included), and come with a storage case for easy blood pressure readings on the road.
Given these similarities and a price difference of just $15, the Omron BP652 is hard to beat. Its latex-free cuff and monitor also make it the best choice for those with latex allergies. But if you feel that simple is best -- or if you can only find the BP652 at its full retail price of $80 -- the ReliOn BP300W and Omron BP629 are both viable runners up.