Types of Blood Pressure Monitors
Arm Blood Pressure Monitors
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.
Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors
Those who feel like arm blood pressure monitors pinch uncomfortably, or who have trouble finding an arm blood pressure cuff that fits well, might prefer a wrist 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.
Home blood pressure monitors are a handy health tool
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. See our reports on blood glucose monitors and digital thermometers for other items that can round out your home health kit.
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.
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.
Finding The Best Blood Pressure Monitors
"Blood Pressure Monitor Ratings"
"Sphygmomanometers for Self-measurement of Blood Pressure (SBPM)"
"The Best Blood Pressure Monitors for Home Use"
evaluated dozens of expert ratings and thousands of user reviews to determine
which blood pressure monitors display the features you need in any home medical
product: Accurate, repeatable results; ease of use and comfort; and enough
features to make your life easy.
useful expert sources included Consumer Reports, Medical News Today and
Wirecutter. Owner reviews were especially plentiful at Amazon, but the retail
sites Walmart, Walgreens and Best Buy offered plenty of useful feedback too.
blood pressure monitors
Of all the upper-arm blood pressure monitors we
evaluated, the wireless (Est. $100) receives the most consistently positive ratings. Owners say this model is easy
to use and very accurate. It also receives Excellent scores for accuracy and
convenience from Consumer Reports, and is the top pick at Wirecutter, 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.
The BP786N's most impressive feature, however,
is its 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. You can also
have your smartphone read the results to you out loud -- a very useful feature
for anyone with limited vision, or who simply makes better sense of what they
hear rather than what they read.
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, and the single-button operation is another
friendly option for limited-vision users.
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.
We also see a few recent user complaints about
the blood pressure cuff returning too-high readings. Although these complaints
are very rare when compared to other home blood pressure monitors, they're a
good reminder to follow the American Heart Association's recommendations for monitoring your blood pressure at home,
which include taking your home blood pressure cuff to
your doctor's office so they can verify its accuracy and make sure you're using
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 circumference. 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
If you have large upper arms, your best choice
is the (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 one thing some users wish they'd known before buying
is that the arm cuff is quite wide, stretching all the way from armpit to elbow
on some users.
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).
The best cheap arm blood
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 Wirecutter, 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 Consumer Reports. Its cuff fits
arms 9 to 17 inches (23 cm to 43 cm) 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.
The ReliOn BP200 can be run off four AA
batteries or the included AC adapter. We do see some concerns from users that
their BP200 doesn't even have an AC power jack, which we suspect means they got
the wrong model. If you want the AC capability, make sure that you're
purchasing model number HEM741CRL.
Another highly rated, inexpensive blood
pressure cuff, the (Est. $45), also receives an Excellent accuracy rating from Consumer
Reports, 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 can accommodate
arm circumferences of 7.75 to 15.75 inches (20 to 40 cm) with the default cuff;
you can also buy (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
We do see a few more reports of durability
concerns when compared to our best-reviewed Omron BP786N, but most users are
very happy with this Panasonic blood pressure monitor, and it's backed by a
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 and is useful for those with limited vision, go for the Omron 10
A blood pressure monitor
for the whole family
The (Est. $50) draws kudos from testers at Wirecutter for its memory
capacity, which is the highest of any we saw while compiling this report. 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, accommodating arms between 8.6 to 16.5
inches (22 to 42 cm) in circumference.
pressure monitor also earns an Excellent score for accuracy at Consumer
Reports. 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 also
tracks your average pressure readings over time and adjusts the inflation
accordingly, which helps eliminate the excessive squeezing that can be a
problem with some blood pressure monitors. Users say 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 Consumer Reports. "Its comfort and ease of use was
polarizing among the testers," writes Stacey Higginbotham for Wirecutter,
also noting that 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 available for purchase.