Blood pressure monitors

Blood pressure monitors

Health tech and fitness

Blood pressure monitors

Having high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. As many as 5 million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so won't be receiving effective treatment. The only way to know if you have it, is to measure it. Checking your blood pressure at home with your own monitor is quick and easy and saves you having to make an appointment with your GP, as we know that's really difficult at the moment.

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What is the best blood pressure monitor for me?

The best blood pressure monitor for you may be the most feature packed or a value device, the most important features of a monitor is accuracy and ease of use. We stock a range of Omron, A&D Medical and Microlife blood pressure monitors which have all been vetted by our expert team and are BIHS approved. This means that you can trust when buying from us that your device is designed to meet these key requirements.

Which device you buy is personal to you but can seem daunting when faced with a broad range of devices. We have included a buyers guide below but there are a few key points to get you started.

Cuff size is very important, if you're not sure on the size you require or you're close to the higher end then we would always recommend a device with a slightly wider range, this will cut your selection down by around 1/3. A poorly fitting cuff can be uncomfortable and innacurate. 

Whether jotting in a notebook or updating a spreadsheet, everyone has their own preference when it comes to recording results, there are also details on how to find your average pressure below. There are a number of connected devices which use an app on your phone or tablet, an app is a great way to store your data, work out your averages and share information with your GP. A negative to connected devices is that they often come with a premium price tag so and are non-essential. We only stock connected devices with top rated apps.

The comprehensive guide below will provide additional information on other additional features but you can also find details of these by using the (?) tooltips on the comparison tool and filters.

If you're still not sure then we're here to help.

British Heart Foundation blood pressure monitor buying guide

It's often recommended by GPs to monitor your blood pressure from the comfort of your home rather than from the surgery, in order for it to be an accurate reading it’s important that you’re resting and that you’re not feeling anxious or stressed.
There are a few things to consider when finding the best blood pressure monitor for you:
1) Ask your doctor
Your GP may have a specific requirement for your blood pressure monitor, some are validated for people with diabetes, some for use during pregnancy and some which have other features such as detecting ahrythmias. 
2) Buy a monitor with an upper cuff 
If you are buying a home blood pressure monitor, choose one that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, not your wrist. The British Heart Foundation does stock a wrist monitor however, we would only advise this option if you are unable to find an upper arm monitor which fits or if you have a medical reason which makes an upper arm test painful. When buying a wrist monitor it is important to take extra care to follow the user guidance as you may receive inaccurate results. 
3) Check your cuff size
Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath. Most home blood pressure monitors will come with a medium-sized (22-32cm) cuff.
We've clearly included all of the cuff sizes on the products and added a filter to help you find the relevant sizes. If you have a measuring tape, we would suggest that you measure your upper arm circumference before making your purchase. If you're unsure about the size requirement and do not have access to a tape measure then it is worth considering a device with a 22-42cm cuff. The BHF also stocks larger cuff upgrades which cover up to 52cm cuff sizes for specific devices.
4) Make sure it's UK approved:
If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK. To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives results that you and your doctor can trust. All blood pressure monitors stocked by the BHF are fully validated.
5) Recording your results:
If you've been asked to keep a record of your results then there are two main ways of doing this. The first is to record your result, time and date with pen and paper, the other is to choose a blood pressure monitor with a storage memory. Some blood pressure monitors also connect to a mobile, tablet for added convenience. 
To make finding a device to suit your needs easier, we have included filters for iOS compatible and Android compatible devices as well as Windows and Mac compatible to connect to your computer. 
If your GP has asked you to keep a certain number of results then you will be able filter to just the devices that have a large enough capacity to store the required results. It's worth noting that in most cases, the app functionality will enable far greater recordings to be stored than the device itself.   
6) Understand the features:
There are a number of features which can help to ensure an accurate measurement, reading or detect additional conditions. We've summarised some of the main features below:
  • AFIB Screening: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It causes your heart to beat abnormally, which might feel like your heart is fluttering. The AFIB screening feature can offer an early alert to detect that your heart rhythm is not beating normally. Click for more information on atrial fibrillation.
  • Go to doctor/traffic light alerts: Some blood pressure monitors include an automated alert to warn if your blood pressure is abnormal.
  • Movement Error Indicator: This feature detects if the results have been compromised due to excessive limb or body movement during the test.
  • Extended warranty: A number of blood pressure monitors include an extended warranty, this can be particularly useful with frequent use.
  • Detection Modes: Detection modes may offer a 7-day self-measurement program as well as a 'Usual Mode' for 3 consecutive measurements for an average reading.

Blood pressure monitor brands

The BHF only stock blood pressure monitors which have been clinically validated and BHIS approved for home use. This is to ensure that all devices are simple to use and provide accurate readings. Currently the BHF stock devices from 3 leading brands: Omron blood pressure monitors, Microlife blood pressure monitors and A&D blood pressure monitors.

How to measure your blood pressure at home

  1. In order for it to be an accurate reading it’s important that you’re resting and that you’re not feeling anxious or stressed. 
  2. Sit upright in a chair, your back against the back of the chair, and place your feet flat on the floor. 
  3. Rest your arm on a table if you have one and just make sure your hand and arm are relaxed on the table. It’s important that you don’t clench your fist when you’re taking your blood pressure. 
  4. Place the cuff over your upper arm and tighten the cuff over your arm, making sure you can fit two fingers underneath the cuff. You want the cuff to be over the upper part of your arm with the tubing leading down the centre or slightly to the right of your arm. 
  5. When you check your blood pressure, don’t talk and just relax. Press the on button, and then press the start button. 
  6. You’ll feel the cuff inflate quite rapidly. It may temporarily be a bit tender or uncomfortable for,  as the cuff inflates and deflates automatically, but this will only be for a short period of time. If it is too tender/uncomfortable you can just press the ‘Stop’ button and the cuff will instantly deflate. 
  7. Once you get your reading, make a note of the reading. Some blood pressure machines now come with a printer. This allows you to stick your print outs in your diary. 
  8. A few minutes after you’ve taken your blood pressure, it’s a good idea to check it again, to make sure the readings are similar and accurate. 
  9. If you’ve been asked by your GP or nurse to check your blood pressure, take it twice a day – morning and evening – and then make an appointment to see him or her to discuss the results. 

Learn more about your blood pressure