Do you get the heebie-jeebies whenever the doctor goes to test your blood pressure? If so, that anxiety could be affecting the result. A study by the University of Oxford found that patients who took their own blood pressure before getting checked by their GP almost always have a more accurate reading.
What’s more, measuring your own blood pressure can help you track changes over time. It could even save your life: high blood pressure is by far the biggest cause of cardiovascular disease, but it doesn’t always have obvious symptoms.
But with so many different types of home blood pressure monitors available, how do you know which one to buy? Read on for our top recommendations, as well as what to look out for when buying one.In the roundup below, we name the CAZON blood pressure monitor as the best blood pressure monitor under £30, and now it's even more affordable. Previously £30, then £22, you can now get this solid blood pressure monitor for just £19.AmazonWas £30, then £22Now £19Buy Now
Automatic digital devices are best for home use as they’re capable of self-inflating, which makes them much easier to use than their manual counterparts. Some automatic machines can also upload information to your smartphone or computer for easy tracking over time.
Some blood-pressure monitors cost over £100, but you don’t need to pay top dollar for accurate, consistent results. In fact, some good ones will cost you less than £20. If you pay more than that, you’re usually getting additional features.
One common feature is a risk indicator, which warns you if your blood pressure reading exceeds recommended levels. Some will also alert you to heart conditions such as arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation (AFIB). These are both ailments with no obvious external symptoms, so this feature could be a lifesaver.See related Best fitness tracker 2022: Which fitness tracker should you buy?Best exercise bike 2022: The top upright and indoor cycles to buyAre pulse oximeters on fitness trackers reliable? The best wearables for measuring blood oxygen saturation
The ability to collect and store readings can be helpful if you want to share your day-to-day results with your doctor. Some machines can store readings for multiple people – handy if there’s more than one person in your house who needs to monitor their blood pressure. The smartest devices use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, where your blood-pressure readings can be combined with other health data – such as calorie intake, weight, activity levels and so forth.
If you want to buy a blood pressure monitor that’s clinically validated by a professional body, we suggest choosing one approved by the British and Irish Hypertension Society. This means the monitor has had to pass a series of tests to make sure the results are completely trustworthy, even by doctors’ standards.
Make sure the cuff is comfortable and fits correctly or you won’t get an accurate reading – most blood pressure monitors come with an average fitting, but if you’re large or on the very slim side, you may need a non-standard size.
It’s also worth noting that some machines are much faster than others: depending on which model you’re using, getting a reading can take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes. Aside from the convenience factor, this is worth bearing in mind if you hate having your blood pressure taken.
Finally, check if your blood pressure monitor uses batteries or requires mains electricity: most models use batteries, but a mains-powered model means you don’t have to worry about running out of juice.
For more information, see the British Heart Foundation’s guide - Blood Pressure Monitors: All you need to know.
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The best blood pressure monitors to buy
Price: £129 | Buy now from Argos
The Evolv is pricey, but then Omron is one of the most established brands in the world of blood pressure monitors – and is highly respected by most doctors. The unit is lightweight and compact, and there are no annoying tubes or wires because the screen is directly attached to the wide, comfy cuff: you simply wrap this around your upper arm, press Start and wait for your reading. The only other button is for Bluetooth connection, which enables you to use the Omron app to track your measurements and sync them with other health data. Even if you don’t use the app, we think this fast, silent, accurate and intuitive machine is still worth the investment – and if ever a blood pressure monitor could look stylish, this is it.
Key specs – Weight: 140g (without batteries); For use on: Upper arm; Power source: Battery; Bluetooth: Yes; Compatible with: Apple and Android; Warranty: 3 years
Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon
This well-made machine is compact, yet its display is big, well-illuminated and superbly easy to read. And as it stores up to 60 readings for two people, it’s good for couples who want to see how they’re doing over time. It’s easy to set up and measures both your blood pressure and pulse rate; you can connect it to your PC or smartphone using the Beurer HealthManager app or via the USB cable provided. It takes a bit of time to get your head around that side of things, but once you’re all set up, you can get graphs and charts galore. The cuff inflates quickly and easily and gives accurate results, and it has the added bonus of an irregular heartbeat warning alert.
Key specs – Weight: 570g (without batteries); For use on: Upper arm; Power source: Battery; Bluetooth: Yes; Compatible with: N/A; Warranty: 3 years
Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon
Sometimes you just need an affordable blood pressure monitor that can nail the basics. Cazon’s blood pressure monitor does just this, offering reliable readings while supporting two users and storing up to 99 readings for each.
It’s simple to use: just slip the velcro cuff onto your arm, press a button and wait for your results. The display is large and easy to read, and the monitor can also detect an irregular heartbeat. It can be powered by four AA batteries (not included) or via the USB cable included, and also comes with a convenient carry case.
Key specs – For use on: Upper arm; Power source: Battery or USB; Bluetooth: No; Compatible with: N/A; Warranty: N/A
Price: £70 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
Sure, it might not look as sleek and swish as the Omron EVOLV, but this chunky blood pressure monitor has the crucial feature of being able to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib).
AFib is when your heart develops an abnormal rhythm due to the rapid or irregular beating of the heart’s atrial chambers. The condition, which can affect older people with hypertension in particular, can lead to strokes or other cardiovascular complications. What’s more, it’s very difficult to detect.
This Lloyds Pharmacy monitor, however, can offer early detection of atrial fibrillation and premature contraction during your regular blood pressure checks. On top of that, it can check for hypertension risk, can store readings for two users and has a guest mode for additional non-stored readings.
Key specs – Weight: Unspecified; For use on: Upper arm; Power source: 4 x AA batteries; Bluetooth: No; Compatible with: N/A; Warranty: 5 years
Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
Health device specialist Renpho designed this dinky blood pressure monitor to be as easy to read as possible. But you don't even have to look at it to get a reading, because it'll tell you out loud, too (English only), and even talk you through the whole process of taking an accurate measurement.
The extra-large cuff is easy to fit on any arm size up to 42cm circumference, and the device will even prompt you to reposition the cuff if it's not quite on right, to ensure accurate readings. All you then do is touch the button once to take measurements, including systolic and diastolic BP, pulse and any sign of irregular heartbeat. All these readings appear on the touchscreen's big backlit LED display, as well as being spoken out loud unless you switch off speaker mode. The unit automatically saves up to 120 readings each for two users.
Key specs – Weight: 187g (without batteries); For use on: Upper arm; Power source: AAA battery or USB; Bluetooth: No; Compatible with: N/A; Warranty: N/A
Price: £90 | Buy now from Withings
The Withings Connect is probably the closest you’ll get to a smart blood pressure monitor. It can automatically sync with your smartphone via Bluetooth or WiFi for use alongside Withings’ free Health Mate app. One of the main benefits of having this so readily accessible is that it means results can easily be shared with your doctor. Plus, you can view your readings on the mobile app alongside data such as heart rate, steps and sleep tracking, if you’ve got the Withings Hybrid Smartwatch.
It can support up to eight different users, and its performance has been clinically validated to be within margins specified by the European Society of Hypertension and the British Hypertension Society. It’s compact enough to take up very little space in your bag but, should you need one, you can get it with a travel case for an additional £25.
If money is no object, you can get a more advanced version of the Withings monitor, the BPM Core, which adds electrocardiogram readings, as well as a digital stethoscope that Withings claims can “detect valvular heart diseases”.
Key specs – Weight: 250g; For use on: Upper arm; Power source: Rechargeable battery; Bluetooth: Yes; Compatible with: Android and iOS; Warranty: 2 years
Buy now from Withings