That was our top criteria for selecting the best blood pressure monitor.
The Omron 10 Plus Blood Pressure Monitor scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick.
Blood Pressure Monitor Comparison
Omron 10 Plus Series
Ozeri CardioTech BP3T
Omron 7 Series
Omron 10 Series
Omron 5 Series
Omron 3 Series
MeasuPro Wrist Digital
|9 – 17||7.75 -15.75||8.70 – 16.50||5.25 – 8.50||9 – 17||9 – 17||8.75 – 16.50||9 – 17||8.6 – 14.2|
/ 11.8 – 16.5
|5.30 – 8.50|
|Battery||4 AA||4 AA||4 AAA||4 AA||4 AA||4 AA||4 AA||4 AA||4 AA||2 AAA|
|30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 160||30 – 180||30 – 160|
|2.35 x 6.84 x 1.61||2 x 8-1/4 x 2||7.1 x 4 x 1.5||4 x 4.5 x 7.8||71 x 70 x 41||124 x 161 x 90||4.3 x 4.3 x 1.6||107 x 141 x 79||4.3 x 6.1 x 2.8||2.8 x 2.5 x 2.5|
Blood Pressure Monitor Buying Guide
What is a Blood Pressure Monitor?
High blood pressure is a common problem that affects millions every year. One of the things that are very important in managing blood pressure is having a way to monitor it on a regular basis. Blood pressure monitors make it very easy to do this in the comfort of your own home. One of the many benefits to blood pressure monitors is that is reduces the number of doctor visits you will need to ensure that your blood pressure is within a normal safe range.
A blood pressure monitor is a device that is used on the upper arm or wrist that gives the user their blood pressure readings, usually in a digital format. With the widespread high blood pressure problem that people are experiencing, the popularity of a home blood pressure monitor is greater than ever.
Who Needs it?
Not everyone needs a blood pressure monitor. The best candidates are going to be seniors, anyone who takes medication for blood pressure, diabetics and possibly pregnant women if PIH is a problem. (Pregnancy induced hypertension) Since blood pressure can change so often, having the ability to monitor these things from the comfort of your own home can possibly give you more accurate readings than you’d get in a doctor’s office. Especially since traffic, and doctor visits in general can cause anxiety in some people which would in turn make the blood pressure reading in the office higher.
Why is it Important to Measure Your Blood Pressure at Home?
There are many reasons that medical professionals recommend home blood pressure monitoring. These include seeing how you’re responding to medication that has been given, providing your medical professional information about your blood pressure readings on a regular basis and not just at office visits, and to be able to ensure that your overall health is good.
There are a couple of different forms of hypertension that ONLY home blood pressure monitors can help detect. One is called white coat hypertension. That is when your blood pressure readings are higher in the doctor’s office but lower at home. The other is known as masked hypertension which is where your readings are low in the doctor’s office but higher at home. Both if these types of hypertension require regular at home monitoring and a good blood pressure monitor can provide that.
Keeping track of your blood pressure at home, using a blood pressure monitor enables you to give your doctor important information that they can track to see a pattern if there is one. This is why it is important to record dates and times when taking your readings. Many blood pressure monitors provide the means in which to track your blood pressure and it is stored on the monitor itself.
There are many styles, types and sizes of blood pressure monitors for consumers to choose from. The right one for you will be the one that you feel the most comfortable with and the one that fits your budget. While all of the different styles are good, doctors recommend the arm styles for the most accurate readings.
Manual Arm BP Monitor – This type of blood pressure monitor has a cuff that goes around the upper arm and you squeeze a bulb repeatedly to inflate the cuff. The inflating cuff tightens around the upper so that you can get the reading. Manual blood pressure cuffs are not difficult to use and they tend to cost less as well. Most standard blood pressure cuffs fit up to 13” arms but there are larger ones that are available as well that fit up to 17” arms.
Automatic Arm BP Monitor – This type of blood pressure monitor is very similar to the manual style except you don’t need to manually inflate the cuff. Since it is automatic, it does it by itself through a power cord or batteries.
Wrist BP Monitor – The wrist blood pressure monitor is a cuff that goes around your wrist rather than your upper arm. You must have your wrist at heart level for it to read your blood pressure and most wrist styles have indicator lights that show you where the correct placement of your wrist is so you will get an accurate reading.
Fit is Important for Accurate Readings
Ensuring that you have the right size cuff is very important for accurate readings. If you are using a cuff that is too large it won’t restrict the blow flow accurately and if it is too small it restricts too much blood flow. Both cause inaccurate readings. Take a tape measure and measure you upper arm, right in the center of the upper arm to make sure that you know what size cuff you need. There are small cuffs that fit 7-9 inches, standard is 9-13 inches and large is 13-17 inches.
Blood pressure monitors have many features that make certain ones more preferable with consumers than others. These extra features can range from memory storage, the ability to track more than one person’s readings, digital displays and more. We’re outlined some of the more common features below.
Ease of Use – While ease of use isn’t exactly a feature, it is an important factor in the usefulness of a blood pressure monitor. If it is too difficult to use or read, most users won’t continue to use it. You don’t want to purchase a blood pressure monitor that is difficult to use, so look for “easy to use” on the descriptions and in the comments from other users to make sure that the model you’re considering is not complicated to operate. One of the best, easy to use features is the one button operation models. Simply wrap the cuff around the arm and press one button and the cuff inflates and the reading is displayed. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Complete BP Readings – Make sure that the blood pressure monitor gives both systolic and diastolic readings, as both are important in determining a normal or high blood pressure reading. The monitor should also measure your pulse rate.
Memory Capacity – Depending on the unit you purchase, they may keep track of readings and store them with the date and time, and others can track more than one user which is very handy if more than one person in the home has high blood pressure. Some of the more advanced blood pressure monitors have the ability to use your computer and connect via a USB cable and comes with dedicated software that allows you to chart your blood pressure readings and send them on to your doctor via email if he or she requests it.
How is Your BP Monitor Powered?- Most of the blood pressure monitors are powered with AA or AAA batteries making them convenient and very portable since no power is needed to make them work. Others have an AC adapter which allows the unit to run off a house current rather than a battery current. Additional features for your blood pressure monitor include an auto power off which will save your batteries and a low battery indicator to let you know when the batteries need to be changed. Depending on the individual blood pressure monitor, some come with batteries and others you will need to purchase them separately. If you do need to buy batteries you may want to consider lithium ion batteries which last longer and work better than regular ones.
Automatic-inflate – Blood pressure monitors that inflate on their own tend to be much more accurate than the ones that you inflate on your own by squeezing a bulb. The self inflating ones are not bad by any means, but if you’re looking for consistent readings every time, you will want to opt for an automatic inflating model.
Large LCD/LED Displays – Many blood pressure monitors have large, easy to read LCD displays. Some are backlit with LED lights for easy reading and some aren’t. How your blood pressure monitor displays is a plus because if it’s easy to see, you won’t have to struggle with figuring out what your BP is.
Irregular Heartbeat Indicator- Some blood pressure monitors have irregular heartbeat detectors. While you are taking your blood pressure it will monitor your heartbeat and if it detects an irregular one, you will get an indicator of some kind. It might be an icon or a flashing light. This can be very helpful in giving some addition peace of mind that things are in good shape.
Reading a Blood Pressure Monitor Properly
To take your blood pressure properly with an arm cuff monitor, the most commonly purchased style, you will need to put the cuff around your upper arm and secure it. Once the cuff starts to tighten around your arm, the blood flow will be restricted and the meter will read your blood pressure. There are three numbers that will show on the display: the systolic pressure, the diastolic pressure and the pulse.
The systolic and diastolic will show up together and the pulse will either be up in the corner or it will flash between the pulse rate and the systolic/diastolic pressures. The top number is your systolic pressure and the bottom number is your diastolic pressure. Each one is measuring something different.
- Systolic – The heart contracts as it beats and pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of the body. The force of the blood being pushed through creates pressure on the arteries. This is also known as systolic blood pressure or the amount of force that is being placed on the arteries.
- Diastolic – The pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats is known as the diastolic pressure.
What are the Blood Pressure Stages?
There are 4 stages of blood pressure that doctors use to monitor a person. The four stages are:
- Normal – systolic – 120 and under diastolic – 80 and under
- Pre- hypertension – systolic – 120-139 diastolic – 80-90
- Hypertension Stage 1 – systolic – 140-159 diastolic – 90-99
- Hypertension Stage 2 – systolic – 160 and above diastolic – 100 and above
If your blood pressure is normal, then there is little reason for you to check it more than once every year or two unless there are medical indications that your normal pressure may have changed for some reason. Reasons that a normal blood pressure could change include:
- Gaining weight
- Extreme stress
- Major illness
Pre-hypertension is not an actual diagnosis or illness but what it is, is an important warning that changes need to be made or hypertension could become an issue. Having pre-hypertension increases your risk of getting hypertension later so it should not be ignored. If you have pre-hypertension, taking a look at things such as your weight, environmental stresses, lack of sleep, emotional stress and more to see if you can find the culprit and lower that blood pressure. When you have pre-hypertension, it is a good idea to check your blood pressure at least once a year, but twice a year is not overkill by any means, especially if you are wanting to monitor whether changes in your diet/weight/exercise, etc are reducing your pressure.
Hypertension Stage 1
This is more serious and will need some medical intervention that may include a diuretic and definite lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a low-sodium diet, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol and adding exercise to your regimen. Your blood pressure will need to be monitored on a regular basis to make sure that it is responding to the life changes and any medication the doctor prescribed.
Hypertension Stage 2
The most serious of all the stages, this level of hypertension requires regular monitoring, lifestyle changes and more than likely two or more medications to manage it. You can reduce your blood pressure and even eliminate blood pressure problems with the right combination of diet/exercise and taking care of yourself, but while you are dealing with high blood pressure, you need to do everything you can to ensure that you stay as safe as possible.
Regular monitoring is a must and it’s not overkill to check daily on a regular basis just to be sure it’s under control.
Using Your Blood Pressure Monitor Correctly
There is a right way to take your blood pressure with your BP monitor and a wrong way. If you don’t take your pressure correctly, it doesn’t matter how fancy or expensive your blood pressure monitor is, it won’t be accurate. Follow the tips below to ensure the most accurate and consistent measurements.
- Sit in a chair that supports your back and both feet on the ground in a comfortable position for at least 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Don’t take your blood pressure for 30 minutes at least after smoking, exercising and drinking coffee or the results will be inaccurately high.
- Use the bathroom before you take your blood pressure reading. You should never take your blood pressure when your bladder is full.
- Take 2 or 3 blood pressure readings each time you check with a one minute rest between each reading.
- Keep track of ALL your readings so you can see a pattern if it develops during treatment.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day for the most consistent results. There’s no need to become obsessed with checking constantly, but when doing daily monitoring, setting a designated time slot will help you remember as well.
- Home blood pressure monitors are much more reliable and accurate than the ones in the pharmacies. And you can make sure that the cuff is the right size too.
- Make sure that your legs aren’t crossed and that you arm is supported on a flat surface (a table will do fine) at the heart level. The middle of the cuff should be placed directly above the elbow with the tube running down the arm and not doubling back up. If the tube isn’t properly situated it could get compressed during the inflation of the cuff and give an improper reading. There should be an illustration that comes with your blood pressure monitor to ensure that you are doing it properly.
Cleaning and Storing Your Blood Pressure Monitor
Keeping your blood pressure monitor clean is an easy task. Wipe the casing down with a soft dry cloth. Abrasive cleaners are unnecessary and you never want to submerge the monitor in water or any of the components either. The cuff is able to be cleaned with a mild soap and a damp, not soaking wet, cloth.
How you store your blood pressure monitor is important as well. When you’re done using it, be certain not to fold the cuff or tubing tightly. Just loosely wrap it and put it back in the original box or case. It needs to be stored in a safe, dry location and should not be in either extreme cold or extreme heat. It also should not be kept in direct sunlight. If you drop the monitor on the floor it could stop working correctly, so be careful when handling it and keep it away from children. If it’s not going to be used for an extended period of time, remove the batteries to avoid any corrosion.
- Omron – http://www.omron-healthcare.com/eu/en/our-products/blood-pressure-monitoring
- Panasonic – http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/personal-and-healthcare-blood-pressure-monitors