Those arm-squeezing machines at the pharmacy can be a lot of fun to use, but if you’re concerned about your health and fitness, having a blood pressure monitor of your own is a good idea. There are plenty of health and fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and other specific devices, and having one at your disposal could actually save your life. If you’re prone to high blood pressure or hypertension, you’re at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack or heart disease. Fortunately, the best blood pressure monitors have simplified the entire process, so keeping track of your numbers is easier than ever.
That said, anyone and everyone can benefit from keeping track of their blood pressure. By monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate, you can establish a baseline to refer to in the event of a health issue. The best blood pressure monitor for you is going to depend on which features and budget fit your individual needs.
According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure measurement depends on two things to get an accurate result: a properly fitting blood pressure cuff (such as an upper-arm or wrist blood pressure monitor) and independent validation.
Despite offering a variety of features at a range of prices, each of the blood pressure devices below has been independently validated against one or more sets of AHA-recognized standards to track accurate blood pressure readings. In other words, no matter which form of blood pressure monitoring you choose, your heart will thank you for the accurate measurement. And beyond taking readings, some of these devices can also help you keep track of your heart rate and notify you if you have an irregular heartbeat.
1. QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor
I never thought I’d be genuinely impressed by something like a blood pressure monitor, but here we are. The QardioArm Blood Pressure Monitor left me wondering with its clinical accuracy at home and how it’s possible to have a blood pressure monitor feel cool. It’s one of those “Apple of X” things — this is the Apple of at-home blood pressure cuffs.
Not that “cool-looking” should be your priority when shopping for a blood pressure machine, but it certainly makes home monitoring feel like less of a chore than it otherwise might when you’re working on preventing hypertension or managing heart disease. But on to the things that actually matter.
Prepare yourself for a spew of great things: This cuff is comfortable. The cuff size was a fit for my (kind of lanky) arms, with no gaps between my skin and the fabric. The readings were consistent and accurate, and the setup was almost unbelievably easy. I had this thing out of the box, on my arm and connected to my phone in about 2 minutes, and my first blood pressure reading was done about 30 seconds after that.
Your whole family can use it, too: This digital blood pressure monitor pairs wirelessly with up to eight phones or tablets at any given time (let’s see a manual blood pressure monitor do that!). Each time you use the digital monitor, the QardioArm averages three readings, monitors and detects an irregular heartbeat and stores all your measurements and notes in Qardio’s HIPAA-compliant cloud.
View and share your data in the Qardio App, where you can also set goals and reminders, and sync your data with Apple Health or S Health on Android devices.
2. Withings BPM Connect Wi-Fi Smart Blood Pressure Monitor
The Withings BPM Connect felt and looked just as trendy as the QardioArm, and it provided a consistent and accurate result. It was a tough call for me between the QardioArm and the Withings BPM Connect because they’re both great and they’re similar products.
In the end, the Withings BPM Connect was the runner-up only because its sign-up process was more cumbersome. To compare, it took about 2 minutes to get completely set up with the QardioArm, whereas it took about 15 minutes with the Withings BPM Connect.
That’s not bad in the overall realm of things, but having just experienced the ease and speed of the QardioArm, I definitely noticed it.
As for the upper arm cuff fit, comfort and ease of use, the Withings BPM Connect holds its own. The app is also a breeze once you’re in, and it has unlimited storage for your BP measurement needs (though, the device will remember up to eight readings in between syncs). You can also set up multiple user profiles in the Withings Health Mate app.
3. Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor + EKG
The Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with EKG was the first FDA-approved combination EKG-blood pressure device in the US. Omron produced the product in partnership with AliveCor, which powers many FDA-approved consumer electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) devices.
Worth mentioning is that this blood pressure monitor gave me the most consistent readings throughout the entire testing process. And it measures so much more than just blood pressure. In addition to the essentials — systolic and diastolic blood pressure — this Omron model measures your pulse, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia and sinus rhythm simultaneously.
If you need a seamless way to measure two or more of those metrics, this upper arm monitor is a top choice. The Omron app interface is simple, too, and it can store unlimited data. The cuff is comfortable and flexible, making it easy to get a good fit, which helps with accuracy.
The monitor itself is a little bulkier than other models on this list, but probably worth it for people who need all of those other measurements in one place. It comes in a nice carrying case that you can use for traveling.
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