What to look for in a blood pressure monitor
So you’re going to buy a sphygmomanometer? Well, you fortunately have many options. Hypertension cuffs are possibly the most powerful data gathering device in your autonomous medicine toolkit. How to choose the right one? We’re providing brief blood pressure monitor reviews.
Blood Pressure Monitor Accuracy
Getting an accurate model is obviously of paramount importance. If you can’t trust the data you collect, what is the value in measuring it? Unfortunately this means that trying to use any of the numerous smartphone apps available for checking blood pressure is not really a viable option. Cell phone apps been debunked by researchers based on their dubious claims of making accurate readings based on simply pressing a fingertip on the screen or camera.
So that leaves us with traditional monitors…
There are basically 2 types of monitors available for home use.
These are similar to what you’ve probably used at the super market or in the doctors office. They have a cuff that is put over your upper arm
and inflates. They give you an indication of what your risk factors are based on your readings. Some fancier models allow for downloading of data so it can be easily shared with the doctor.
- Data Download
Allow you to download results to a computer, making it easy to share them with your doctor.
- Multiple User Settings
Models have multiple user memories, this lets everyone in the household to both monitor and maintain their blood pressure data.
Correct fit of the cuff is absolutely essential. Unless the fit is perfect, measurements can be inaccurate.
These are ultra convenient, and are mostly one size fits all. They are fully automatic, making them very easy to use and also increase the likelihood that you’ll actually use them. They’re more compact, lightweight and very portable.
However convenient wrist monitors are, they do have their downside, which is that they’re quite sensitive to body position, so the user really needs to understand that the cuff needs to be placed at heart level to obtain accurate results.
Check the Fit
You want to make sure that the one you buy will fit your arm well. It’s best if you get a measurement of the circumference of your upper arm, so you can have an idea about which size will work for you. Some come with multiple cuff sizes, which are great if you want your entire household to be able to use it.
Measure around your upper arm in the center between your shoulder and elbow.
Most models lie within the $25 – $75 range, depending on various features. Your insurance may cover it as well, so that is something to find out.
- Easy to Read
If you’re visually impaired, it might be important to get a blood pressure monitor that is easy to read. Large numbers and back-lit display are helpful. Large buttons are also something to consider, especially for older users.
Detection is a nice feature that more advanced models offer and if diagnosed can usually be corrected.
Most home hypertension monitors will come with a medium-sized cuff. So be sure to check to see what sizes it supports.
Choose a digital monitor to suit your budget
Blood pressure monitors can vary in price. This usually depends on the number of extra features that the digital monitor has, like a built-in memory for example.
All you need to measure your blood pressure correctly is a clinically validated monitor, and a pen and paper to record your readings. Extra features can be helpful but they are not necessary. The most important thing is that you get one and can start taking measurements. If you’re on the fence about buying because you want an expensive one, just choose a home blood pressure monitor that you can afford.
Keep your home blood pressure monitor calibrated
Because your blood pressure monitor works automatically, it will need to be re-calibrated at least once every two years to be sure it is giving you accurate results. To have your automatic home monitor re-calibrated, you will need to send it back to the manufacturer. There will probably be a fee for this service.
Which blood pressure monitor is the best?
In an effort to save you time and trying to minimize paralysis by analysis, we’ve provided you a list of recommended blood pressure monitors.
If you’re the type who wants to review all the available products on the market, here is the latest list of Amazon’s offerings.
- Panasonic EW3109W Portable Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor: $41.99
- Omron 10 Plus Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor: $62.88 **Recommended
- Omron 7 Series UltraSilent Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor: $53.99
- LotFancy Digital Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor & Heart Rate Monitor: $23.90 **Recommended
- Slight Touch Fully Automatic Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor ST-401: $28.99
- GoWISE USA Advance Control Digital Blood Pressure Monitor for Upper Arm: $23.95
- MeasuPro Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor: $34.99