Blood pressure monitor buying guide
Updated: December 2018
Thanks to affordable digital technology, you now have access to the same high-precision blood pressure monitors that doctors use.
In fact, your results can help a medical professional to make the diagnosis, simply because, unlike them, you can take repeated measurements at home over a long period.
Research even shows that people who monitor their own blood pressure are more likely to get their hypertension under control. And your doctor can adjust your medication depending on the data you provide, so it’s always appropriate to your current needs.
Blood pressure monitors are also a powerful motivating factor: because hypertension is often symptomless, you’re not aware of your blood pressure unless you’re viewing the numbers on a screen at regular intervals. Like blood sugar meters for people with diabetes, they’re a fine example of digital technology improving the quality of our lives.
Who can benefit from a blood pressure monitor?
A blood pressure monitor may be a good idea if any of the following applies to you:
- You need closer monitoring than occasional visits to the doctor can provide
- You’re pregnant (See pregnancy-validated devices)
- You’re diabetic (See diabetes-validated devices)
- You’ve had some high readings at the doctor’s, but need to confirm whether you actually have high blood pressure. This may be a particular issue if you get white-coat hypertension – in other words, your blood pressure goes up whenever you’re in a medical environment.
- You’ve been started on blood pressure medication and need to check whether it’s working
Even if you have normal blood pressure, there’s no harm in keeping an eye on it from time to time.
Types of blood pressure monitors
There are two main types of home blood-pressure monitors: arm-cuff, and wrist-cuff. Others measure blood pressure through a finger, and are less reliable.
Both varieties are automatic, so the cuff inflates itself and the meter displays a reading. Make sure the cuff fits you: most models come with a medium-sized cuff, and you may have to order a larger or smaller size if necessary.
Different monitors have different features: many will tell you what risk category you fall into, calculate averages, let you download data to another device, or store information for multiple users.
Do some research online before you buy. Also, most monitors are very accurate, but make sure yours has been clinically validated. Choose one with user-friendly controls and an easy-to-read display.
Arm-cuff blood pressure monitors:
- All-in-one design
- Intelli Wrap Cuff (22-42cm)
Wrist-cuff blood pressure monitors:
Who sells home blood pressure monitors?
You can buy a blood pressure monitor from the manufacturer, pharmacies or drug stores near you, or major online retailers. Prices can be surprisingly affordable to such sophisticated medical devices.
OMRON, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of healthcare technology, offers an extensive range of blood pressure monitors which are clinically validated for home use, come with user-friendly controls and have an easy-to-read display.
American Heart Association (2017). Monitoring your blood pressure at home. Retrieved from www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings/monitoring-your-blood-pressure-at-home