These budget-friendly devices can help you control your hypertensionBy Consumer Reports
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A good plan for those with high blood pressure includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, and (for some) medications. Research suggests that self-monitoring may be beneficial, too.
In some cases, a home blood pressure monitor, which can range from $20 to $100, may help diagnose hypertension—because levels recorded at the doctor may differ from those in everyday life.
But will a cheaper drugstore model work well? Our home monitor tests, which evaluate accuracy, comfort, and ease of use, found budget models that get the job done, says CR testing lead Susan Booth.
The blood pressure monitors below—listed in alphabetical order—even outperform some $90 and $100 models we tested.
For more information, see our blood pressure monitor ratings and buying guide.
A&D Medical UA767F
This device from A&D Medical has a one-size-fits-most (8.6 to 16.5 inches) flexible nylon upper arm cuff that may be difficult for some users to wrap around their own arm and align the artery marker. Although the cuff is not hard and molded to fit the arm, the nylon is stiff and the Velcro bond is strong and difficult to separate at times. There is a symbol that appears on the screen if you move during the measurement. A larger cuff (12.2 to 17.7 inches) may be purchased separately.
Equate (Walmart) 4000 series
This Equate upper arm monitor is a basic model without many extra features. It has a one-size-fits-most (8.6 to 16.5 inches) flexible D-ring cuff that was easy for testers to wrap around their own arms and align the artery marker. The Velcro bond has a firm hold but is not difficult to unfasten. The display digits are large and easy to read, and the unit averages readings. A color-coded risk classification bar indicator near the screen visually indicates where within the AHA guidelines measurements fall. One inconvenience: If your expected systolic pressure exceeds 230 mmHg, you must press and hold the start button until a number 30 to 40 mmHg higher than the expected pressure appears. This unit is not compatible with an app.
Omron Silver BP5250 (Amazon)
An Amazon-exclusive upper arm monitor, the Omron BP5250 comes with a one-size-fits-most molded cuff (9 to 17 inches) that was easy for testers to wrap around their arms and align. One helpful feature is that the hose clicks into place in the port, so it doesn’t easily pop out. You can sync to the Omron Connect app via Bluetooth to iOS or Android devices. In the app you can chart your results by the day, week, month, and year. The app also analyzes trends and habits, provides daily reminders and progress reports, tracks your weight, and allows you to send results to your doctor.
Rite Aid Deluxe Automatic BP3AR1-4DRITE
This Rite Aid model has a flexible, nylon cuff that fits most arms (8.7 to 16.5 inches). It may be difficult for some users to wrap the cuff around their own arm and align the artery marker. Although the cuff is not molded, the nylon is stiff. The Velcro bond is strong and sometimes difficult to pull apart. The size of the numbers on the display are large and easy to read. First-time setup is not difficult, although the incremental buttons for the time and date advance only in the positive direction. This monitor has averaging mode technology, where three separate measurements can be automatically taken in succession, after which the result is calculated and displayed as a single, average measurement.
Editor’s Note:This article also appeared in the October 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.