If you have elevated blood pressure or a health condition which puts you at risk for hypertension, a blood pressure monitor is a must-have medical supply at home. A monitor can aid in diagnosis, warn you and your doctor if you are developing high blood pressure, and aid in treatment if you have a kidney problem, diabetes, or another health condition associated with hypertension. The monitor can also help you figure out if your blood pressure is normal; if you have hospital or clinic-related anxiety, your blood pressure may spike at the clinic and give you a false reading. For some people, the opposite occurs a normal reading at the hospital and a true (and higher) reading at home.
There are several different types of blood pressure monitors on the market, and each has a different set of features. Because blood pressure monitors are not cheap, you are going to want to do some research to make sure that you are buying the monitor that is best for your needs. You can start by having a look at the product
What Types of Blood Pressure Monitors Are There?
There are three main types of blood pressure monitors: digital, manual, and ambulatory. Under the umbrella of digital blood pressure monitors, there are a couple of different sub-types: blood pressure monitors for your wrist, and those designed for your upper arm.
Manual Blood Pressure Monitors
This is a manual monitoring device you wrap around your arm. It is also known as a sphygmomanometer, and consists of an arm cuff, a squeeze bulb you can use to inflate it, and a stethoscope and gauge. The stethoscope can be used to listen to your blood, and the gauge provides you with a readout. Manual blood pressure monitors have the advantage of being very accurate when they are used correctly. According to the National Institute of Health, though, they are not the best home monitors for most patients.
Digital Blood Pressure Monitors
These monitors represent the best choice for most patients, according to the NIH. The device works similarly, with a cuff and a rubber squeeze ball you use to inflate it. The main difference is that the readout will appear on a digital screen instead of on a circular gauge. It is important to sit very still while using a digital monitor, or the readout will be effected. As mentioned previously, you can purchase an upper arm blood pressure monitor or a wrist blood pressure monitor. Be sure to visit the NIH link above for more detailed information on using a digital or manual blood pressure monitor correctly.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitors
Whereas the devices above provide you with a one-off reading of your blood pressure, ambulatory monitors are designed to be worn all the time. “Ambulatory” here refers to the fact that you can wear it while you are walking around out and about. You hook the device, about the size of a portable radio, to your belt. It can easily be concealed under most clothes. The monitor takes a reading every 15-30 minutes. These devices are often used to check to make sure that treatments are working. Because they are portable, patients can go on about their day-to-day business.
Why You Need a Blood Pressure Monitor
Do you really need a blood pressure monitor for home use? Why can’t you just use one of those public machines located at your local pharmacy? Good question. Those machines would be ideal if they worked. But according to Mayo Clinic, they are not always accurate, nor are they all that convenient. In order to be able to take regular, reliable, accurate readings on your blood pressure, you need your own monitor.
This is important because:
1. Sometimes a home monitor is the only way to get an accurate reading and confirm that your blood pressure truly is normal. Other times it is the only way to discover that it is abnormal.
2. If you are in danger of developing hypertension (from a health condition or a medication you are taking), a home monitor can aid in early detection, or even in prevention, if lifestyle changes may assist.
3. If you are being treated for hypertension, the only way to gauge whether a treatment is working is by taking regular readings at home. Sometimes multiple readings must be taken every day to get an accurate assessment.
Accuracy and convenience are everything here, so it is worth spending extra to ensure you are getting a quality device. Moreover, a higher cost device may include helpful extra features. Even though a blood pressure monitor is a fairly simple, straightforward device, the extras can go a long ways. You may be able to store histories for long-term measuring and comparisons, and some blood pressure monitors will give you feedback to help you find an accurate position for measuring. They may also help you to compare your results against normal numbers. Being able to understand your results is very important, not just for reporting to your doctor, but also for your own peace of mind.
What Do Home Blood Pressure Monitors Cost?
The cost of home blood pressure monitors is pretty comparable and predictable across the board. The majority of models you will see for sale start out at around $40 and range up toward $90. You will find a few models though that are substantially less expensive, starting around $15. Depending on your needs, one of those inexpensive models may be perfect for you, or it may be worth it to pay more. $40 is a very reasonable price for something that will protect your health and provide you with significant value.
What Do Our Comprehensive Blood Pressure Monitor Reviews Say?
We know that when you are shopping for a medical supply that you need to monitor and protect your health, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of frustrating time researching and worrying about whether you are truly getting the best product for your money. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. You can read mini-reviews of our favorite blood pressure monitors below.
Omron 5 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Wide-Range Cuff
This highly-rated monitor will take 3 readings within 10 minutes and then display the average on the digital screen. A handy blood pressure level indicator will compare your results to normal levels so you can see how you measure up. The device also checks for irregular heartbeat, and will alert you if anything is detected. The Omron 5 Series can store a history of up to 100 readings. More than one person can use it and store separate information profiles. Buyers love this feature as well as the nice big display.
Panasonic EW3109W Portable Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
Features on the Panasonic EW3109W include easy one-touch operation (the device automatically inflates when you push the button), and a memory feature which allows you to store 90 readings. The monitor will flash if you get a reading about 139 on Systolic or 89 on Diastolic. The EW3109W is powered by Digital Filter Technology, which is designed to provide you with an accurate measurement. A travel pouch is included with the unit for easy portability. Customers praise this device for its accuracy, and particularly like the fact that it listens to the blood vessel sound while the cuff is being inflated, not after. This makes it possible for the cuff to release pressure more quickly, making it a more comfortable device for many users.
Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Here is a blood pressure monitor which is even more popular, and just as highly rated. This blood pressure monitor is designed for the wrist instead of the upper arm. It activates automatically when your wrist is at heart level. A flashing blue light lets you know when you have the position right. That way you know you are getting an accurate reading. If your reading is abnormally high, an indicator icon will let you know. For additional accuracy, the Omron 7 Series averages 3 readings taken over 10 minutes. The unit is designed to offer superior portability. Customers say that the device is easy to use and wonderfully accurate.
Santamedical Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor with Case
If you are looking for something less expensive, take a look at the Santamedical Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor. This blood pressure monitor is designed to fit your wrist. Designed for ease of use, it will automatically inflate to the right level, and also includes an auto off feature. You can store up to 60 readings. Customers like the fact that it is very compact and easy to use, and reliably provides an accurate result.
Santamedical Adult Deluxe Aneroid Sphygmomanometer with Black Cuff and Carrying Case
Another low-cost option is this manual blood pressure monitor from Santamedical. Because this is a lower-end model, you are not going to get as many special features with this device. It does however include a high-quality Nylon cuff and a storage case. Many buyers like that the cuff on this product is latex free. Buyers report that the readings are accurate and the device is easy to use.
3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
This stethoscope includes a tunable diaphragm which captures sounds with high and low frequencies. It is light weight and comfortable to wear and use, and has a tear-drop shape which makes it easy to fit under blood pressure cuffs.
Finding the best blood pressure monitor isn’t just a question of picking the lowest price or the highest rated product. It is a question of finding the right monitor for your needs. Which of these blood pressure monitors is the best for you? Check out our comparison chart again, have a look at our in-depth product reviews, and you will find the right product to monitor and protect your health!