Best Blood Pressure Monitor of 2021
|Price||$75 List||$50 List|
$39.95 at Amazon
$39.00 at Amazon
$30.95 at Amazon
$33.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Best in class accuracy, easy to export and share data with a doctor, large screen, supports multiple users||Small size, keeps things simple, comfortable, reliable accuracy||Simple, accurate||Audible instructions, above-average accuracy, reasonably priced||Live voice walks you through measurements, reasonable price, good accuracy|
|Cons||Pricey, large unit, (short) learning period||Stores less data, inconveniences with app, display scratches easily||Minimal memory, only one user||Complicated to switch between users, annoying music||Switching users is tricky, annoying soundtrack|
|Bottom Line||An accurate and easy to use option for one or two users with an app to store, chart, and share your long-term data||A basic model that gives you everything you need and little else for a nice price||This barebones option gives you accurate readings and few extras||This monitor works great and talks to you, an excellent feature for anyone who is visually impaired||A great option that talks to you and gives accurate readings, it's a great option for folks who struggle to see screens|
|Rating Categories||Omron Platinum Uppe...||Balance Greater Goo...||Omron Bronze Upper...||Alcedo Upper Arm Mo...||ParaMed Automatic A...|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Omron Platinum Uppe...||Balance Greater Goo...||Omron Bronze Upper...||Alcedo Upper Arm Mo...||ParaMed Automatic A...|
|Cuff Size||9" to 17" (22 to 42cm)||8.75" to 16.5" (22 to 42 cm)||9" to 17" (22 to 42cm)||8.7" to 15.7" (22 to 40 cm)||8.7" to 15.7" (22 to 40 cm)|
|Memory Capacity||Internally - 1 users, 100 readings each, App - Unlimited||2 users, 60 readings each||1 user, 14 readings||2 users, 120 readings each||2 users, 120 readings each|
|App||Bluetooth/Alexa Compatible||Balance Health App||No||No||No|
|Irregular Hearbeat Detector||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Number of users||2 on-monitor users plus "guest mode", unlimited within app||2||1||2||2|
|Power source||AA batteries or AC power||AAA batteries or AC power||AA batteries||AAA batteries||AAA batteries or external adaptor, not included|
|Dimensions||7.5" x 3.3" x 4.7"||4" x 4.25" x 1.9"||4" x 3.1" x 5.1"||4.65" x 4.33" x 2.05"||4.3" x 4.5" x 2.25"|
To bring you this review, we have run over 260 individual tests to evaluate the 11 blood pressure monitors we tested over the last two years. While most blood pressure monitors work well most of the time, some models displayed concerning accuracy lapses, and we do not recommend them. To avoid biasing our results, we buy each monitor from the retail websites and retail stores you use. We then use them daily, repeating a five-test series over eight times on each monitor. We test monitors at the same time in the morning or evening to follow suggested protocols and to give our arms time to rest.
Our core blood pressure test team is composed of Clark Tate and Dr. Glen Tate, her physician father. While Dr. Tate recently retired, he maintains his license and took innumerable blood pressures during his 38-year career as a family practitioner. Clark has taken quite a few in her decade of holding a wilderness first responder credential. They ask whatever family and friends are nearby to join the tests to get as many perspectives and heart rates into the test as possible.
Remember that blood pressure trends are much more important than an individual measurement. To get the most out of your monitor, make sure to use it at the same time every day; morning is usually best. Do not do anything to change your blood pressure 30 minutes prior, like eating, bathing, or exercising. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and relax for a few minutes (5 to 10) beforehand. If you have any questions, there are videos available online from sources like the Mayo Clinic that can walk you through the steps. Share your readings with your doctor, as they can interpret your results for you.
If you need more detailed information about your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels check out our pulse oximeter review.Editor's Note: We updated this review on July 21, 2021, to give you even more information about our methods, how we tested these monitors, and to include new rating charts.
The Omron Platinum is the most accurate monitor we tested. No readings were off by 10 mmHg or more, a degree of inaccuracy that could move you from one blood pressure classification group to another. The cuff is comfortable and easy to position correctly, thanks to a simple and highly visible diagram. The large screen makes it easy to read, displaying your current reading on the right and letting you scroll through past readings on the left. You can switch between users with a slide button and find out your morning reading average with the touch of another. Though the Omron Connect app (iOS and Android friendly) is more complicated than other options, it charts your readings and makes it easy to email them to your doctor.
The Platinum is the largest unit we tested. While it is intuitive, there is a learning curve for some tasks, like taking multiple measurements in a row. You also have to take the extra step of transferring your data to the Omron app while more tech-savvy models send the readings over automatically. And, if you have a systolic pressure above 210 mmHg, you'll need to hold the start button down until it inflates 30 or 40 mmHg higher than your expected reading. Still, the model is accurate, reasonably straightforward, and helps you email readings to your doctor. This is the best blood pressure monitor if two people will be using it and you can afford it.
The compact and user-friendly Balance Greater Goods Cuff Kit is one of our favorites. Our experts identified it as one of the most accurate monitors in the test. The cuff is comfortable and features a clear artery graphic guideline to help you place it properly. Many of the monitors we tested require complex button combinations to access functions. In contrast, the Balance is minimalistic, using its three buttons to great effect. You can easily read your blood pressure and heart rate, see an interpretation of your hypertensive risk, and switch between two users. There is very little guesswork or need to consult the user manual.
This cuff measures your diastolic pressure on the way up instead of on the way down. Because of this, the cuff is slow to inflate, which annoys some users. That also means it's quick to deflate, though. The monitor only holds 60 readings for each user and the screen scratches easily. You can manually enter readings into the Balance Health app (iOS and Android friendly) and download them to track them long-term or share them with your doctor. Overall, this is a fantastically functional option. It's not the least expensive option, but you're paying for an accurate and pleasantly streamlined monitor.
The Alcédo Blood Pressure Monitor performed well in our accuracy tests and is one of two monitors we tested that talks to you. The voice helps guide you through the process, which is nice. In the end, it's affirming to have your results read to you. It also lets you know if your reading is normal or elevated based on World Health Organization standards. A self-checking cuff makes sure you've velcroed it in the right place, and movement detection reminds you to keep still. The cuff clearly marks the point to align with your artery and is curved to accommodate your arm. This monitor is user-friendly and has a good amount of memory.
Unfortunately, unless you mute the handy voice, the unit also plays awful elevator music while inflating. It's also limited to 120 readings, and there is no app to download them to for safekeeping. Another downside is that switching between users is not intuitive. We prefer the models that have a dedicated button for that purpose. This unit is very affordable and works well, making it an excellent option for the visually impaired who need the voice function — as long as they don't mind the cringeworthy soundtrack.
The QardioArm Wireless Monitor turns on automatically when you open the cuff. It's easy to pull on your arm, but you need to check the manual to learn how to align it. There are no buttons, read-outs, or directions on the monitor itself. To take a measurement, you also must download the Qardio app (both iOS and Android friendly) and turn it on. The app is intuitive and lets you adjust how many measurements you want to take at each sitting (1 to 3) and how many seconds (up to 60) you want between each. It then averages the multiple measurements for you. It's easy to share your readings with your doctor or friends and family via the app. We like that you can set reminders and create a relaxing slideshow to watch during a reading, and we are pleased with its accuracy during testing.
The cuff is small, and the unit is loud while it inflates. Imagine a motorcycle that needs to shift gears. This is far from calming. The app georeferences each reading, not a comforting reminder that the information we connect to the internet is hard to protect. Qardio claims that its data cloud is HIPAA compliant, though. What we struggle with is the app requirement. What if you need to take your blood pressure daily but lose your phone? We like that you can at least get a measurement directly on the similar Withings BPM Connect, but this model was more accurate in our tests, so it is the one we recommend for travel or techy folk.
Why You Should Trust Us
Three medical doctors and a wilderness first responder converged on an idyllic country retreat to kick back, relax, and test blood pressure monitors. Relaxing this hard to reduce heart stress is tough work, and we all have the bruised arms to prove it. Clark Tate trained as a wilderness first responder and has been around medicine all her life. Her father is the lead tester, Dr. Glen Tate, a family practice physician with 38 years of experience.
To test the blood pressure monitors, Dr. Tate, Clark, and two other physicians took turns taking controlled blood pressure measurements with a calibrated mercury sphygmomanometer. They then took measurements with the test monitors and compared the results. While the doctors would be comfortable with their patients using most of these monitors to keep track of their blood pressure, they recommend choosing the most accurate option possible. Our lead tester also downloaded and used all the accompanying apps to assess their storage capacities and user-friendliness.
Analysis and Test Results
While wearing our arms out testing accuracy, we tried out all the features these monitors have to offer to see which work well and took notes on how easy these devices are to use. Overall, we're very impressed with these monitors' price points and quality. We highlight the top models in each key performance area below.
Which Blood Pressure Monitor Offers the Better Value?
You'll get the best value out of a blood pressure monitor by finding the one that works for you. In certain instances, that may mean spending a little more to meet your needs. If you tend to have higher blood pressures, need a highly accurate option, and would like to easily email your results to your physician, we think the top-notch Omron Platinum offers a pretty solid value. That's doubly true if you have two people in your household that need to use it.
If you just need a basic model for occasional use, we think the Balance Greater Goods Cuff Kit offers the best value in the test. One of the most accurate options, it is also one of the easiest to use with a comfortable cuff. It doesn't have the most extensive memory or well-developed app though, so it's best for users who don't need to record and track every measurement.
The Alcedo and ParaMed units are both very similar and reasonably priced. These are the only two models in the test that talk to you, so either is a great option for the visually impaired. Of the two, the Alcedo is a bit more accurate, so we recommend it if it's available.
The more compact and tech-friendly options in the test are also the most expensive. They're cool, but a bit glitchy at this stage, so we don't feel like they offer an excellent value. Of the two we tested though, we feel the QardioArm Wireless Monitor is a better buy. It's the more accurate option and makes it extremely easy to share your readings with your doctor, family, or friends.
Your blood pressure changes with every move you make. A single blood pressure measurement is just a snapshot of information, and blood pressure monitors only take indirect measurements by compressing your artery. If you want a direct (i.e., completely accurate) reading, you'd need to stick a needle into your artery and hook it up to a manometer, which can be dangerous — not to mention painful. Since your blood pressure varies, and you're only getting secondhand information about it, it's essential to take measurements at the same time of the day and under the same conditions to get an idea of what's going on with your heart.
- Don't eat, bathe, exercise, smoke, or drink alcohol or caffeine 30 minutes before taking your measurement
- Don't sit near your computer or cell phone while taking the measurement
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor and relax for 5 to 10 minutes before the measurement
- Rest your test arm (usually your left) on a table and place the cuff level with your heart
- Always measure the same arm at the same time of day
- Communicate your findings with a healthcare professional. Only they have the training to interpret the readings.
- Watch online videos from reputable medical and health care facilities to learn more.
Since blood pressures are continually fluctuating, shifts of 10 to 20 mmHg naturally occur from moment to moment. To account for that, we looked for relative differences between the monitors. Some never varied more than 10 mmHg, others did over 35% of the time. It's enough of a change to shift you from a healthy blood pressure classification group to a concerning one), so we use that as our primary accuracy marker. The most accurate monitors we tested are the Balance Greater Goods Cuff Kit and the Omron Platinum. They did vary from our control readings, as we would expect, but only one reading from the Balance changed by as much as 10 mmHg. The Platinum never varied by that amount.
The Alcédo, ParaMed, Omron Bronze, and QardioArm are a close second tier, with only a few readings that varied 10 mmHg or more. The Withings and LifeSource are slightly behind them, with only one more measurement beyond the marker than the QardioArm, but their numbers range more widely. We still think they work well enough to take regular blood pressure measurements and pick out trends over time.
The other monitors are less accurate. Though they would probably do a reasonable job of tracking your blood pressure over time, it's hard to recommend them over more accurate options that are within similar price ranges and are similarly easy to use.
According to the American Medical Association, all you need is a flexible tape measure, though a second person is helpful.
Step 1 — Measure your arm, typically the left, from the top of your shoulder to the point of your elbow. (Technically speaking, from the acromion process to the olecranon process.)
Step 2 — Find the midpoint and, thus, the middle of your upper arm.
Step 3 — Wrap the tape measure around the midpoint to find your arm's circumference in inches or centimeters.General size range recommendations are as follows:
Small Adults: 22-26 cm or 8.7-10.2 in
Average Adults: 27-34 cm or 10.6-13.4 in
Large Adults: 35-44 cm or 13.8-17.3 in
Larger Adults: 45-52 cm or 17.7-20.5 in
(The LifeSource Extra Large Cuff tested fits arms from 42-60 cm or 16.5-23.6 in.)
Ease of Use
We are looking for a change over time to identify our blood pressure trends. To collect meaningful data, you need frequent and consistent results. You are generally getting a reading once per day, around the same time each day. That means it better be reasonable and easy to do.
The Balance Greater Goods BPM Cuff is that monitor for us. It has three buttons that are straightforward and perform a simply labeled function. The cuffs are a cinch to line up with your artery, and simple graphics printed on them shows you how. The only hitch in the Greater Goods' easy-peasy armor is that you need to enter your data into the Balance Health app or a notebook if you want to save more than 60 readings. Still, the simplistic designs provide a pleasant user experience.
With a generous screen showing current and past readings, the Omron Platinum isn't far behind. It also has a button to toggle between users, one that averages your morning readings, and a memory button. You do have to poke around the user manual to figure out some of the more advanced functions, like setting up a three-reading average measurement, but it's not intimidating. The comfy cuff also has a "how-to" diagram you can see when wearing it. The Omron Bronze is a more straightforward option. You've got a START/STOP button and a button to scroll through all 14 of your recorded readings. It's hard to get confused.
Okay, so this one's tricky. The Alcédo and practically identical ParaMed are only slightly more complicated to use than the top options. They make it harder to switch between users. You need to press the SET button while the unit is asleep and alternate between users with the MEM button to achieve the switch. But, they also play bad music at you. Music that makes you think about funerals. As one tester put it, "If I had to listen to that music twice a day, I would throw that thing out the window." You can place both units in silent mode by pressing the "Set" button twice when the power is off, but then you lose the helpful live voice recording. Tread carefully here.
The two techy options, the QardioArm Wireless Connect and Withings BPM Connect, aren't that hard to figure out. However, they do require some time and effort to do so. The Life Source model is straightforward but oddly finicky. It's hard to take two blood pressure readings in rapid succession for example, and it makes it harder to check past readings than most options do.
Memory matters if you're doing the hard work of checking your blood pressure daily. You will want to make sure you can communicate that information to your doctor so your health will benefit.
The options with apps have virtually unlimited memory. The QardioArm and Withings monitors automatically upload your readings, chart them, and save them. Both make it easy to email the recordings to yourself or your doctor. The Omron app provides these services as well, but you have to press some buttons to transfer your records via Bluetooth with the Platinum or manually enter them with the Bronze. Otherwise, the Omron Bronze only has space for 14 readings for a single user.
Not sure how to email your blood pressures to your doctor or prefer a blood pressure monitor that doesn't offer this option? Just take your blood pressure monitor with you the next time you have an appointment.
The ParaMed and Alcédo have twice the memory of the Balance Greater Goods Cuff, 120 readings for each of two users instead of only 60. But the Balance does have an app for you to upload your readings manually. The Lazle does not have an app but will hold 100 readings for two users. The LifeSource only records 60 entries for one user.
If you measure your blood pressure every day for years, the reduced memory of simpler models will require you to use an external tracking system like a notebook or spreadsheet.
Most of these monitors will do a fine or even great job of measuring your blood pressure. But what else will they do for you? All of the options we tested give you your heart rate along with your blood pressure. All but one, the Withings, will alert you if they detect an irregular heartbeat. They also interpret your blood pressure using color codes based on the American Heart Association or the World Health Organization hypertension guidelines. And you'll get a case or sack with all but the Omron Bronze and Vive. The QardioArm and Withings wrap themselves up in tidy little packages.
You can set up the Omron Platinum, the QardioArm Connect, and the Withings BPM Connect to take three measurements in a row and average them to enrich the data. The ParaMed, Alcédo, and Beurer will average your last three readings. This will give you an idea of what is going on over time. The Platinum has a dedicated button to average your morning time readings (morning is a great time to schedule consistent daily measurements) to summarize data at a glance.
The talking ParaMed and Alcédo are very useful if you have trouble seeing the monitor with or without your glasses. But it's a lot to commit to listening to someone else's soundtrack every day. We wish there were a few music selections here. Even better, we wish we could keep the voice assistance on and just turn off the music altogether.
We hope we've helped you find the perfect blood pressure monitor for your home health care needs. To get you ready for a proper reading, we'd like you to relax. Take a deep breath in. Let it out. Imagine you're swinging in a shade-cooled hammock beside a sun-struck beach. The white sand looks cool in the oblique light, but the sun is warm where a ray warms your feet. Birds are singing…
— Clark Tate