The Best Bang for Your Buck

Best Upper Arm Blood pressure Monitor

How we tested home blood pressure monitors

Thirty-two Consumer Reports staffers—men and women of different ages and blood pressure ranges—had their readings taken every day on their left or right side for about four weeks. Each person used a different monitor each day. We compared their readings with those taken with a mercury sphygmomanometer, which is used in doctors’ offices, to measure accuracy.

Other factors we considered in finding the best home blood pressure monitor were ease of use and comfort. A few highlights:

Arm models work better

Wrist monitors were usually less accurate than arm models, perhaps because it’s more difficult to ensure that they are properly aligned at the level of your heart. Consumer Reports does not recommend any of the wrist models tested. By contrast, we found four arm models to recommend, including two Consumer Reports' Best Buys.

Check the fit

Before buying an arm model, make sure it has a cuff that fits your upper arm. Most devices fit arms at least 9 to 13 inches in circumference, but about 45 percent of men and 30 percent of women need a different size. "So consider models that fit several sizes, " says Sue Booth, senior test project leader at Consumer Reports. "That will allow multiple people to use the same machine without having to buy an additional cuff." Some machines include two cuff sizes instead.

Get accurate readings

Optimal blood pressure is an upper (or systolic) number below 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a lower (or diastolic) number below 80 mmHg. (The higher number shows the pressure when your heart beats; the lower number, the pressure between beats.)

Source: www.consumerreports.org
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