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 suitable for people with diabetes, some for use during pregnancy and some which have other features such as measuring your heart rate.
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.