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With more and more health visits going virtual, the ability to do basic health procedures at home has become a necessity. One of these is taking blood pressure.

Monitoring blood pressure is important because long-standing high blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and the heart. By checking blood pressure, it’s possible to determine if medications are needed or working.

If you do need to monitor your blood pressure for any reason, trying to figure out which monitor to choose might seem overwhelming.

Always speak with your doctor if you have any questions about blood pressure monitoring. We’ve compiled a list of some blood pressure monitors that might help you in your search.

When deciding which blood pressure monitors to include, we considered factors like:

  • Location. Blood pressure monitors that assess blood pressure on the upper arm tend to be considered the most accurate, so we focused our suggestions mostly on upper arm monitors.
  • Size and fit. Choose a monitor that properly fits your upper arm, which helps to ensure accuracy. If you are smaller or larger than the average size, make sure the monitor is suitable for your measurements. Size is also a consideration if you plan to use the device on the go. If so, choose a lightweight, compact design that comes with a quality carrying case.
  • Special features. Decide if you want a monitor that works on its own and stores readings internally. Some devices transfer data to your personal device and connect to an app that offers in-depth readings. Consider the display screen, options for multiple users, and extra capabilities such as irregular heartbeat detection.
  • Accuracy. We know that accuracy matters when it comes to your health information, so we tried to include only monitors with a reputation for great accuracy. (And we included information below about how you can increase the accuracy of your blood pressure monitor by taking it to the doctor with you!)
  • Price. Blood pressure monitors are available in a range of prices, so we did our best to showcase options for various budgets.
  • Customer reviews. There are some things only someone who has bought and used a blood pressure monitor can know about it. That’s why we’ve given a lot of weight to what real users have to say about their experiences.

Best overall blood pressure monitor

Withings BPM Connect

  • Price: $$
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • App connectivity: Health Mate
  • Reading storage: unlimited data

This Bluetooth-enabled monitor is designed to give 6 months of readings on 1 charge. Unlimited data storage and an optional app can help you share information with your doctor.

The Withings BPM Connect also displays the blood pressure reading on the monitor itself. It offers color-coded feedback with your results to help you to know when to reach out to your doctor.

This is not the cheapest blood pressure monitor, but it’s also not the most expensive. If you have very specific needs like a cuff sized for larger arms or a setup for multiple users, other options might be a better fit. But for basic use, this model gets rave reviews from users. The compact, sleek design easily fits in your bag for work or travel.

Best budget blood pressure monitor

iHealth Track Connected Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Price: $
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • App connectivity: iHealth
  • Reading storage: 99 readings on monitor, unlimited readings on iHealth app

Want to track your blood pressure, but also stay within a budget? This monitor is not only one of the least expensive approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s also simple and straightforward.

The backlit display monitor color codes your results (red, yellow, or green) to make it easy for you to know if you need further attention.

This device also monitors heart rhythm, something not typical at this price range. It can hold up to 99 readings by itself, and unlimited readings if connected to the iHealth app.

Best blood pressure monitor for multiple users

Omron Evolv Bluetooth Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Price: $$
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • App connectivity: Omron Connect
  • Reading storage: no internal storage, can store 100 readings on a separate device

If you have several people in your household who need their blood pressure monitored, the Evolv is one of the few blood pressure monitors on the market to offer unlimited readings for an unlimited number of people.

Other benefits to this monitor? The portable, wireless device has a cuff that extends from 9 to 17 inches to suit people with larger arms.

Each person using the monitor will need to create their own Omron account on the app to keep track of their readings. Omron has more information based on frequently asked questions on their website.

Best wrist blood pressure monitor

Omron Gold Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Price: $$
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • App connectivity: Omron Connect
  • Reading storage: unlimited memory

Experts recommend using an upper arm blood pressure monitor for the most accurate blood pressure reading results. However, if you have an upper arm injury, for example, a wrist blood pressure monitor can be a good alternative. The Heart Zone Guidance feature of this device helps you to correctly position your wrist at heart level.

This monitor is very portable if you need to travel and has an easy-to-read dual display. It also has a high warning average indicator to notify you if you are out of the normal range in the morning, which is when strokes and heart attacks are more common.

Best blood pressure monitor for large arms

LifeSource Blood Pressure Monitor with Extra Large Cuff

  • Price: $$
  • Bluetooth: no
  • App connectivity: none
  • Reading storage: 60 readings

Featuring a cuff that extends from 16.5 to 23.6 inches, this monitor is a great option for people who have large arms. Squeezing your arm into a too-small cuff can be uncomfortable and lead to less accurate readings. This monitor also detects irregular heart rate and has a pressure rating indicator.

Downsides? This monitor doesn’t have the same amount of memory storage as some options, though it still holds 60 readings. The price tag may be worth it for a monitor that fits well.

Best blood pressure monitor with EKG

Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with EKG

  • Price: $$$
  • Bluetooth: yes
  • App connectivity: Omron Connect
  • Reading storage: unlimited data on the Omron Connect app

This blood pressure machine really stands out from the pack by measuring pulse and detecting heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, and sinus rhythm. The machine can transfer unlimited data via the Omron Connect app. The cuff is flexible, which can lead to more accurate readings.

The monitor is a little bulkier, though it does come in a carrying case you can use if you need to travel. It has a much higher price tag than many models.

Trying to get an accurate reading? Start with these steps.

  1. Get settled in. Make sure that your bladder is empty and you’ve had a minute to breathe. Remove any bulky clothing on the upper body. Place your feet uncrossed on the floor and rest your forearm on a table or chair arm that is heart level.
  2. Apply the cuff. If using an upper arm cuff, the lower edge should be about 1 inch above the pit of your elbow. It should feel snug, but not tight.
  3. Power up the monitor. Make sure to check out your monitor’s specific directions.
  4. Inflate the cuff and wait patiently. Remember to breathe as you usually would.
  5. Note the numbers. Read the monitor to get your numbers and make note of them somewhere if needed.
  6. Take a second reading. Release the pressure of the cuff all the way before you take a second reading. Always wait at least 1 minute between readings.

Once you have an accurate reading, you may wonder what it means. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association say that healthy blood pressure in adults is a reading of less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). But what if your numbers don’t match?

Systolic more than 120 and diastolic more than 80?

Elevated blood pressure occurs when the systolic (top) number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic (bottom) number is below 80 mm Hg. Most of the time, doctors will encourage lifestyle changes, but not medication, at this point.

Systolic more than 130?

With a systolic reading of more than 130 mm Hg or a diastolic reading of more than 80 mm Hg, you’re experiencing hypertension, and your doctor will determine a treatment plan.

Always contact your doctor if you’re worried about blood pressure results. For more information about high blood pressure, check out this article.

Systolic more than 180 or diastolic more than 120?

If the systolic number of your blood pressure reading is more than 180 mm Hg or the diastolic number is more than 120 mm Hg, seek immediate medical attention, particularly if you have symptoms like headache, arm pain, or blurred vision.

At home vs. the doctor’s office

Many people find that they have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office, sometimes because they’re less at ease there and because professional tools may be more accurate.

Home blood pressure readings can be less accurate than those taken at the doctor’s office, where manual checks are a possibility. One way to ensure that you get consistent blood pressure readings is to bring your monitor with you to an appointment and compare the results.

Talk with your doctor to make sure you use the device correctly and check for accuracy. Be consistent in your approach and take your blood pressure at the same time each day. Sit in the same position, avoid caffeine, and rest ahead of time for the best results.

How do blood pressure monitors typically work?

Typically, blood pressure monitors work by inflating a cuff until it temporarily cuts off blood flow through the brachial artery. The pressure in the cuff is then slowly released.

Within the cuff, a sensor detects blood flow. The point when the blood begins to flow intermittently through the artery is the systolic blood pressure. This is the top number on a blood pressure reading. The point when the blood flow goes from intermittent to steady is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the bottom number.

While the monitor is sensing the blood flow, it can also calculate your heart rate. Luckily, you just have to check out the final numbers and not worry about the work involved.

What factors can affect blood pressure readings?

Blood pressure readings vary throughout the day due to factors such as the time of day, when you had your last meal, and your typical diet.

Additional factors that can affect your blood pressure include:

  • stress levels
  • exercise
  • temperature
  • cuff fit and position
  • smoking and drinking habits
  • caffeine consumption
  • talking during a reading
  • how you’re sitting
  • a full bladder

Which health conditions require regular blood pressure monitoring?

It is important for people who have or are at risk of certain health conditions to keep a close eye on their blood pressure.

These health conditions include:

  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • heart failure
  • kidney conditions
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • thyroid conditions
  • sleep apnea
  • obesity
  • pregnancy

Not comfortable using a blood pressure monitor on your arm? A wide range of monitor choices is available to suit your needs. Some of them attach to other places, though this could affect their accuracy.

Blood pressure monitors designed for home use do come with some limitations. Having a doctor or other medical professional check your machine can help ensure more accurate readings.

A good blood pressure monitor fits your arm well and is accurate. With so many options out there, you can be on the right track to finding one that works for you.

Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, MEd, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care. Catherine writes for various websites and teaches full-spectrum childbirth and postpartum education in several locations in California’s North Bay Area and Peninsula.