Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is reported to affect 1 in every 3 U.S. adults, with seniors being particularly vulnerable. And without getting it under control, hypertension can lead to serious health effects, such as suffering a heart attack or stroke.
If you or a loved one suffers from hypertension, it may be advised by a doctor to monitor blood pressure daily at home, which is easier than ever thanks to the number of monitors available on the market today. The most common types are wrist monitors and upper arm cuffs. While there are advantages to the wrist models, upper arm blood pressure monitors may be more reliable as the cuff attaches to your arm at the same level as your heart, one key factor in getting an accurate reading.
Beyond taking your blood pressure, many monitors today contain extra features such as irregular heartbeat alerts, reading storage, and easy data transfer, among others. To help find the right blood pressure cuff for you or a loved one, the Seasons team rounded up our favorite models, both digital and wireless, detailing the potential pros and cons for each. Also, be sure to check out our tips to get the most accurate blood pressure readings at home in our accompanying buying guide.
The best blood pressure cuffs
For simplicity and ease of use, this digital, automatic blood pressure monitor from Lovia is a sure bet. With a simple push of a button, you’ll have your blood pressure reading along with pulse in about 30 seconds. The large 3.2″ LCD screen is easy to read, even in low light settings thanks to the backlit feature. And ensuring an accurate reading is easier thanks to an included tonometer in the cuff that alerts you to improper placement on the arm.
Capable of working in a two-user mode, this device can store up to 120 timestamped readings per user, for a total of 240 memory storage capabilities. For added peace of mind, an irregular heart rate indicator ensures you can gain a clearer understanding of your or a loved one’s health.
- Self-checks cuff positioning for accurate readings
- Easy to use, get results with the push a button
- Two user modes perfect for yourself and a partner
- No app available for advanced features
- Stores up to 240 readings, 120 per user
- Tracks pulse and irregular heart beat
- Ergonomic hook-and-loop cuff
- Large LCD backlight display
- Brand: Lovia
- Package Dimensions: 6.1″ x 4.5″ x 2.9″
- Cuff Size: 9″ to 16″ circumference
- Power Source: USB charger or four AAA batteries (batteries not included)
Buying guide and helpful tips
When it comes to purchasing a product for tracking your health, doing the proper research is essential in ensuring you are not only buying the best product for your needs but also operating that product properly for higher accuracy. This is especially true with blood pressure cuffs, as improper usage can lead to inaccurate results. As always, it is best to consult with your physician with any health-related purchase. It is also recommended bringing your chosen device to your physician’s office to compare the reading it produces versus what your doctor measures to ensure its accuracy.
Tips for getting the most accurate readings
There are a variety of factors that provide in-accurate readings with at-home monitors. In order to get the most accurate results, be sure to do the following:
- You want the cuff the same level as your heart, which is fortunately a benefit of upper arm style monitors. You also want a fit that is snug but not too tight.
- 30 minutes prior to taking your blood pressure, it is advised to avoid activity, especially exercise, as well as avoiding smoking or caffeine as these things can cause a false high reading.
- If possible, take your blood pressure from a seated, comfortable position.
- Try to take your blood pressure at the same time of the day.
- Don’t attach the cuff over clothes.
- Since readings can vary, it is advised to take three readings one minute apart and average them together.
Cuff versus wrist blood pressure monitors
The most popular options for at-home blood pressure readings are upper arm or cuff monitors and wrist monitors. Upper arm monitors are most similar to what your doctor uses in-office. They consist of an adjustable cuff that wraps around the upper arm, either right or left is fine, and is commonly secured in place with a Velcro-like fastener. The cuff then inflates to get a blood pressure reading, which is transmitted to a device for easy reading. Wrist monitors are attached at the wrist with the display attached to the cuff, which inflates to obtain a reading.
Choosing a cuff option is often ideal over wrist models as the positioning of the cuff on the arm is at the same level as your heart, one key factor in getting an accurate reading. There are more upper arm models that are also Bluetooth compatible, allowing for the use with an app for even greater data storage and easy data transfer, as well as other useful features. On the other hand, wrist models are often more portable, which is great for travel. It is also ideal for those with limited arm or hand mobility, as well as those with large upper arms where a standard upper arm cuff will not fit effectively or comfortably.
It’s important to consider the needs of you or a loved one when choosing which model is best for you.
Digital versus wireless monitors
The most common form of at-home blood pressure monitors is a digital version. This simply indicates that the readings are transmitted to an LCD screen for easy reading. Many models also include extra features to the monitor, such as taking your pulse, storing readings with the timestamp for easy reference, and the ability to have more than one user. Digital options are often easy to use, thanks to large, backlit display screens, large numbers, and large, clearly labeled buttons.
Wireless monitors use Bluetooth technology to send results to a smart device such as smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch to use with an app and may or may not include a digital screen for displaying readings. The benefits of an app far outstretch the capabilities of a digital monitor, as it often allows for more data storage, ease of transferring data to a doctor or loved one, and greater interpretation and visualization of data are just benefits. Yet this also requires users to have a compatible device for downloading the app and receiving data from the monitor, as well as the ability to connect the device via Bluetooth and to operate the app. If that is the case, it might be more beneficial (and cost-effective) to go with a digital model. Or there are options that utilize both a digital monitor as well as the ability to connect with an app, making it a great choice for caregivers who want the ease of use for their client or loved one to view their own readings, as well as the ability to use the app for their own benefit.
If choosing a wireless option, always be sure to check with the manufacture for device compatibility as well as app abilities.