I am reviewing what I think are the 4 best blood pressure monitors for home use over the next week including:
- Kinetik Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor BPM1C
- IBP Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor HL868ZA
- Omron M7 Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
- HoMedics Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor BPA-2000-EU
I will be giving you all the pros and cons of each one, including:
- the price
- their accuracy
- their reading time
- value for money
- ease of use and clarity of display
I have purposely ignored all the wrist monitors purely because so many people have a problem getting an accurate reading from them. This is probably not because of the units themselves but more to do with the ease of placing the monitor correctly on the wrist. The cuff monitors are renowned for being generally more accurate because the cuff is placed on a larger area ie. the upper arm and this placement is not quite so critical as the wrist monitor placement.
Here’s the second monitor and this one is also a favourite on the market.
Again, it would make a great Christmas present for that special person. Useful as well as supporting their good health.
IBP Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor HL868ZA
Pros: Good value for money, stores 3 peoples readings, extra functions, light and easy to use.
Cons: Is a little uncomfortable as the cuff squeezes your arm quite tightly. It is slow to take a reading, if you’re in a hurry!
This is a very good value monitor as it has some extra features that you would expect from a more expensive monitor. It gives accurate results and 3 people can share it with 40 readings saved, so hopefully, you need only buy the one monitor for the family. It is also very light and easy to use.
Ease of use, display and readings
This unit has a large LCD display, very compact design and is easy to read. If you forget your glasses, you’ll still probably be able to read it! It is very straight forward to use with clear and easy to see/feel buttons. It has an especially large on/off button. This monitor is really good value for money because it can store the results of 3 users, each with 40 stored reading memory and averaging function. Also, there is the added advantage of a traffic light BP indicator. Green for ‘Good’ and Red for ‘Consult your Doctor’!
Comfort and cuff sizing
It is not the most comfortable of monitors to use with a firm grip on your arm as it inflates. Many users are not worried by this sensation but it needs to be taken into consideration if this is an uncomfortable feeling for you. I did not see it mentioned in any of the reviews and I think that patients who have to have regular blood pressures tests now often take this squeezing sensation for granted and part of the test. Tip – always look at a blank wall whilst taking your reading, it does help.
The cuff is fitted between two marks which are 17cm apart. This is the adjustment you have for different users. A reviewer stated that she was slim built and her upper arm was 26cm in circumference and that put the cuff roughly in the middle of the two marks. The product description gives a cuff size supplied of 13 inches which equates to 33 cms. This may not be big enough for some and perhaps you need to consult the manufacturer if you need a larger cuff.
Accuracy and reading time
Accuracy is the most important feature of a blood pressure monitor and this unit has proven to be very accurate. So much so that a reviewer’s GP recommended it for him to buy. The doctor then checks the memory to make sure the patient is within the normal range. If you’re in a hurry then the reading time may irritate you, taking over a minute to show the result. Another feature is an irregular heartbeat detector.
Going on holiday?
It comes with a nice little storage case and where some more expensive monitors can be quite hefty, this little monitor comes in at just 212grams. It is ideal for home and travel and will fit nicely inside an overnight case.
Reviews from verified buyers
Many point out that the ‘Which’ magazine have given this unit a best buy status with top marks for it’s accuracy. The majority of reviewers praise it’s ease of use and clear display, with batteries included. One reviewer said the batteries lasted around 3 months with daily use. Also he mentioned that despite the batteries being removed, he was surprised to discover the stored data and averages were still there! Excellent value for money was mentioned repeatedly as was the small and light design with a handy case.
Amazon reviewers gave the monitor 4.6 out of 5 stars. Marks were dropped because a couple of reviewers purchased faulty machines which had to be returned. I actually agree with this rating but not because of faulty machines, a normal hazard when buying off line, but more to do with reading times and comfort. I’m not sure whether I should have marked this nice little monitor a point higher but I can’t give it 5 out of 5 for comfort nor can I give 5 and of 5 for reading time so, there we have it. If you’re not in any hurry and you’re used to the ‘squeeze’ this is for you and you would probably give it 5 and out 5!
I would give this monitor the following scores:
- Accuracy – 5/5
- Reading time – 4/5
- Value for money – 5/5
- Ease of use and visibility – 5/5
- Portability – 5/5
- Comfort – 4/5
Star Rating – 4.67 out of 5
Further information about the IBP HL868ZA
- Fully automatic with time and date, pulse and a large LCD display
- Clinically test and approved
- 3 users each with 40 stored reading memory and average fuction
- Traffic light BP indicator, showing green for good and red for ‘consult your doctor’
- WHO (World Health Organisation) Compliant.
- 2 year warranty.
- Adult upper arm cuff up to 13 inches (33cms)
Taking your blood pressure correctly
- Do not drink, eat, smoke or exercise for half an hour before taking your blood pressure to ensure an accurate result.
- Sit in an upright position with your arm supported by a table or desk so you apply the correct sized cuff comfortably. Ensure you have the correct cuff for the size of your arm.
- Wrap the cuff around your arm, about 2cm from the elbow joint with the rubber tube coming out centre front. Adjust the tightness of the cuff with your free hand and test that you can get 2 fingers under the cuff. Always apply the cuff next to your skin. Sit upright with your arm at the same level as your heart.
- After fitting the cuff, rest for 5 minutes before pressing the on/off button followed by the start button. The monitor will start your test by expanding the cuff and then slowly releasing the pressure to get the reading.
- Take sets of 2-3 readings twice a day, in the morning before bp medication and then 12 hours later. Repeat the process over the course of several days. Try and keep to the same time each day and use the same room and place of testing each time.
- Keep a record of your bp measurements taking note of dates and times. This is useful especially when taking bp medication. Don’t change your medication without consulting your doctor first.
- Be relaxed, sit for 5 minutes before testing
- Wear loose clothing and apply the cuff next to the skin
- Keep still and don’t talk
- Use the same arm and be consistent with test times
- Keep a written record
- Don’t change your medication without a discussion with a doctor or nurse
The third blood pressure monitor to be tested will be:
Omron M7 Digital Blood Pressure Monitor