I am reviewing 4 of the popular and I think 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 is the Omron M7 monitor which is the most expensive of the monitors being reviewed here but it does have many features which I’ll go through below. Christmas is coming and this would be an ideal present for the discerning. It gets top marks for accuracy and reads really quickly.
Omron M7 Digital Blood Pressure Monitor
Pros: Large display and buttons, has extra features, easy to operate, very solid, cuff fits bigger arms, stores 90 readings.
Cons: Quite heavy, only stores one person’s readings, a bit pricey.
This monitor is a bit pricey but it does have many features which would not be on lesser models. It does score very well for accuracy and it is a solid monitor with a clear screen and large buttons. It takes a quick reading and has a range of functions.
Ease of use, display and readings
The display is easy to read with a very clear screen and large display buttons. It has a one button start. It’s especially convenient for the visually impaired and perhaps those with arthritic hands and it can store 90 readings in its memory. At 27 seconds, it takes a very quick reading and is one of the quickest on the market. It will average the last three readings for you which is quite a nice feature.
It is rather surprising that the Omron M7 does not have an irregular heartbeat monitor and only stores data for one person. For the money, you might expect the facility to connect to a computer to download data.
The instruction leaflet is very clear and easy to follow.
Comfort and cuff sizing
The cuff has an ample size range and will accommodate the bigger arm. The supplied cuff is ‘medium’ at size 22 cm – 42 cm. Many supplied cuffs can be on the small side so this is a good feature. The Omron M7 monitor is very comfortable to use and is actually one of the quietest models on the market. This is a bonus and does help for a relaxing reading, which in turn will be more accurate. Tip – always look at a blank wall whilst taking your reading, it does help.
Accuracy and reading time
Accuracy is the most important feature of a blood pressure monitor and this monitor got top marks. Some other cheaper models though, were just as accurate. As mentioned earlier, the reading time is really fast at just 27 seconds and each reading is stamped with the date and time so you can check how your blood pressure is changing.
Going on holiday?
This monitor is very sturdy and chunky and although it looks like it will stand the test of time, it’s not as convenient as the smaller monitors, to take away with you on holiday. Also, it doesn’t have a case. It does weigh in at 422 grams which is twice the weight of the lighter models.
Reviews from verified buyers
Reviews from verified buyers were mostly 5 and of 5 stars, with one or two reviewers giving lesser marks for various reasons, one being the cuff is of a flock material which makes it harder to wipe clean and another thought the M7 had an irregular heartbeat function which it doesn’t. Apart from those, most were saying it was very accurate and easy to use. One reviewer bought his monitor 3 years ago and said it was still going strong and that his own GP had the same model! The larger sized cuff was a big plus for some purchasers who pointed out that most supplied cuffs were a tad small. Another reviewer said the 4 lithium AA batteries lasted for ages. Generally, people thought the price was not too much and the unit was of good quality and worth the extra compared to other monitors. Nobody seemed worried about the weight and size of the Omron M7 BP monitor and to some extent I think they thought it showed good quality.
Amazon reviewers give the Omron M7 monitor 4.6 out of 5 stars. I have given it a slightly lower rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. This is because for the price I think it should have an irregular heartbeat detector and possibly the availability to connect to a computer to download readings, but then, perhaps I’m being a little harsh and marking subjectively.
I would give this monitor the following scores:
- Accuracy – 5/5
- Reading time – 5/5
- Value for money – 3/5
- Ease of use and visibility – 5/5
- Portability – 3/5
- Comfort – 5/5
Star Rating – 4.5 out of 5
Further information about the Omron M7 BP monitor
- Fully automatic upper arm blood pressure monitor with Intellisense technology
- All-in-one dual-sized comfort cuff to accommodate both medium and large arm circumferences ranging between 22 – 42 cm
- Memory shows time and date
- Averaging mode
- Clinically validated
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 last blood pressure monitor to be tested will be:
HoMedics Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor BPA-2000-EU