If you’re health-conscious, blood pressure is an important data point in painting a picture of your overall health. People who have hypertension or high blood pressure already know this, as they’re at a higher risk of experiencing heart attack or heart disease, and being aware of any unusual spikes can be life-saving. That said, everyone could benefit from keeping track of their blood pressure. After all, if you monitor your blood pressure and heart rate, you can establish a baseline you can refer to in the event of a health issue. For the unaware, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.
Manual blood-pressure monitoring devices don’t offer irregular heartbeat detection or provide your heart rate. Unless you’re a trained professional, they also may not provide the accurate reading you need when you’re looking for both your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Even the name is complicated — who can say sphygmomanometer, anyway? (By the way, I spelled that right on the first try, and I am proud of myself.)
Anyway, according to the American Heart Association, blood pressure measurement depends on two things to get an accurate result: a properly fitting blood pressure cuff (such as an upper-arm or wrist blood pressure monitor) and independent validation.
Below are the seven best blood pressure monitors, wireless upper-arm blood pressure monitors and one wrist cuff device, which the AHA recommends only for people who can’t fit into a traditional arm cuff when looking to take a blood pressure measurement.
Despite offering a variety of features at a range of prices, each of these BP monitor devices has been independently validated against one or more sets of AHA-recognized standards to track accurate blood pressure readings. In other words, no matter which form of monitoring you choose, your heart will thank you for the accurate measurement. And beyond taking pressure readings, some of these devices can also help you keep track of your heart rate and notify you if you have an irregular heartbeat.
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To learn more about the AHA’s standards for at-home blood pressure monitoring, read this guide to the two most important things to look for in an at-home blood pressure cuff. This list was originally published last year and is updated occasionally as we review new products.
Editors’ note: This list was compiled by CNET contributor Danielle Kosecki. Product testing and reviews were done by CNET contributor Amanda Capritto.
I never thought I’d be genuinely impressed by something like a blood pressure monitor, but here we are. The QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor left me wondering with its clinical accuracy at home and how it’s possible to have a blood pressure monitor feel cool. It’s one of those “Apple of X” things — this is the Apple of at-home blood pressure cuffs.
Not that “cool-looking” should be your priority when shopping for a blood pressure machine, but it certainly makes home monitoring feel like less of a chore than it otherwise might when you’re working on preventing hypertension or managing heart disease. But on to the things that actually matter.
Prepare yourself for a spew of great things: This cuff is comfortable. The cuff size was a fit for my (kind of lanky) arms, with no gaps between my skin and the fabric. The readings were consistent and accurate, and the setup was almost unbelievably easy. I had this thing out of the box, on my arm and connected to my phone in about 2 minutes, and my first blood pressure reading was done about 30 seconds after that.
Your whole family can use it, too: This digital blood pressure monitor pairs wirelessly with up to eight phones or tablets at any given time (let’s see a manual blood pressure monitor do that!). Each time you use the digital monitor, the QardioArm averages three readings, monitors and detects an irregular heartbeat and stores all your measurements and notes in Qardio’s HIPAA-compliant cloud.
View and share your data in the Qardio App, where you can also set goals and reminders, and sync your data with Apple Health or S Health on Android devices.
The Withings BPM Connect felt and looked just as trendy as the QardioArm, and it provided a consistent and accurate result. It was a tough call for me between the QardioArm and the Withings BPM Connect because they’re both great and they’re similar products.
In the end, the Withings BPM Connect was the runner-up only because its sign-up process was more cumbersome. To compare, it took about 2 minutes to get completely set up with the QardioArm, whereas it took about 15 minutes with the Withings BPM Connect.
That’s not bad in the overall realm of things, but having just experienced the ease and speed of the QardioArm, I definitely noticed it.
As for the upper arm cuff fit, comfort and ease of use, the Withings BPM Connect holds its own. The app is also a breeze once you’re in, and it has unlimited storage for your BP measurement needs (though, the device will remember up to eight readings in between syncs). You can also set up multiple user profiles in the Withings Health Mate app.
When it comes to products that could save your life, budget may not be the biggest consideration when evaluating a hypertension indicator device. But sometimes, you can strike gold. The iHealth Track Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is the gold nugget of the at-home BP monitoring world.
At just $34, I was skeptical about how this device would perform in terms of accuracy and consistency as a hypertension indicator. I thought my skepticism was justified at first: The initial reading I got on this device told me I was very hypertensive when my usual blood pressure is in the healthy range.
Then I realized I hadn’t followed the directions properly, which should be a lesson to everyone.
Once I took the time to thoroughly read the instruction manual and do what I was supposed to, I got consistent and accurate BP monitor readings thereafter. Funny how that works.
In fact, not only did the iHealth Track prove to encompass the most important aspects of a blood pressure monitor, but it’s also simple to use. I had no problem getting into the cuff and you just press one button to start the reading.
The device stores up to 99 readings and you can store unlimited data in the iHealth MyVitals app. If you don’t have time to sync, no worries: The device shows your BP readings right on the screen each time.
The Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with EKG was the first FDA-approved combination EKG-blood pressure device in the US. Omron produced the product in partnership with AliveCor, which powers many FDA-approved consumer electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) devices.
Worth mentioning is that this blood pressure monitor gave me the most consistent readings throughout the entire testing process. And it measures so much more than just blood pressure. In addition to the essentials — systolic and diastolic blood pressure — this Omron model measures your pulse, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia and sinus rhythm simultaneously.
If you need a seamless way to measure two or more of those metrics, this upper arm monitor is a top choice. The Omron app interface is simple, too, and it can store unlimited data. The cuff is comfortable and flexible, making it easy to get a good fit, which helps with accuracy.
The monitor itself is a little bulkier than other models on this list, but probably worth it for people who need all of those other measurements in one place. It comes in a nice carrying case that you can use for traveling.
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Remember that the AHA recommends an upper-arm cuff, so you should only opt for a wrist cuff if you have a real reason to do so. Some reasons you might want to opt for a wrist cuff include:
- You have large or petite arms and have trouble finding a cuff that fits.
- You have an injury or limited range of motion that makes using an arm cuff difficult.
- You travel often and need to take frequent readings — wrist-based cuffs are typically more portable.
If you’re shopping for a wrist blood pressure cuff, the Omron Gold Wireless is a good place to start looking. This automatic blood pressure monitor cuff has all the essential features you’d find in an upper-arm blood pressure cuff, but this Omron blood pressure monitor is also portable: The wrist monitor averages a series of up to three readings taken over a 10-minute period and will immediately alert you if you have high blood pressure.
The wearable blood pressure device can store up to 200 readings from multiple users or wirelessly transmit results via Bluetooth to the Omron Connect free app, which you can use to track your blood pressure trends over time.
You can see this wrist cuff monitor is packed with features, but it’s also tiny, quiet and comfortable. And out of all the blood pressure cuffs I tested, the Omron Gold was one of the easiest to use — there’s no fumbling with a lengthy cuff or tube when using a wrist-based blood pressure monitor.
If you have larger upper arms, you know blood pressure management and monitoring can be a huge pain. Enter: LifeSource Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Extra Large Cuff. The name says it all, honestly. This blood pressure cuff accommodates an arm circumference of over 23 inches.
At first, I was a little skeptical about this one because I couldn’t seem to find a lot of information about it online and I saw some questionable reviews from buyers. But LifeSource is a brand of A&D Medical, a medical equipment brand that’s been manufacturing at-home consumer devices for close to 50 years, and has all of its products clinically validated by third parties. So, I decided to give it a try.
Let me just say this: I have tiny arms — I frequently call them noodles — and I can confirm that this blood pressure cuff is massive. It would never work for me, because my arm was basically swimming in it. To that end, I can’t speak to the accuracy of this device.
I can, however, say that it produced consistent readings despite being way too big for my arm. So, even though the blood pressure level readings were wrong for me, they were consistently wrong. That gives me a lot of hope that this extra-large cuff is indeed accurate for people whom it actually fits.
A&D Medical has almost too many blood pressure monitors to count, but my initial research kept leading me back to this one, the A&D Medical Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor (UA-767F), which can store blood pressure data for up to four people. A few of the other monitors on this list have multiple-user capabilities, but this one, to me, felt the easiest to manage (other than the QardioArm, but that one is the best overall).
The monitor has a nice basic design and gives cuff-fit error messages so you can fix things before you start. It also has a body movement sensor that may help prevent inaccurate readings. (You’re supposed to stay still the entire time you’re taking a reading.)
The A&D Connect app has a simple interface and it’s easy to keep track of your blood pressure reading measurements, as well as the pressure readings of anyone who shares the device with you. This one shows your blood pressure immediately after the measurement is done, so if you’d rather keep track with a pen-and-paper log, that’s an option, too.
Aside from being easy to use and supporting multiple users (it can store up to 60 readings per person), this blood pressure monitor comes with a five-year warranty.
I tested several more at-home blood pressure monitors that also had some great features, but didn’t quite match up to the ones above. They’re definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market for an at-home blood pressure monitor — although the above products proved the best for me, you might find a unique combo of characteristics that’s best for you.
Note: The Withings BPM Core isn’t available in the US yet. It’s currently going through the process of FDA approval. You can sign up on Withings’ site to get notified when it becomes available. The iHealth Feel Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is currently out of stock.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.