If you have problems with your blood pressure and you want to monitor the development of your blood pressure due to medication, exercise or a change in diet, you should get a blood pressure monitor. The market offers a wide range of products with which you can regularly monitor your blood pressure. In our large blood pressure monitor test 2021 we report on digital and digital long-term blood pressure monitors and the classic upper arm monitor.
When buying a blood pressure monitor, you should pay particular attention to the type of operation, accuracy of measurement, power supply and load capacity of the device. There is now a home blood pressure monitor to suit every budget. Find out more below and find the right device for you.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Blood Pressure Monitor: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a blood pressure monitor
- 4.1 What is a blood pressure monitor and what does it show?
- 4.2 What should be considered before buying a blood pressure monitor?
- 4.3 How much does a blood pressure monitor cost?
- 4.4 Can I use a blood pressure monitor if I have a pacemaker or atrial fibrillation?
- 4.5 Can I buy a monitor in different languages?
- 4.6 Can a blood pressure monitor be connected to an app?
- 4.7 What are the advantages of a blood pressure monitor over a pulse monitor?
- 4.8 What are the alternatives to a blood pressure monitor?
- 5 Decision: What types of blood pressure monitors are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5.1 What are the characteristics of a mechanical blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.2 What distinguishes an electronic blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.3 What are the features of a long-term blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate blood pressure monitors based on these factors
- 7 Facts worth knowing about blood pressure monitors
- 7.1 When was the blood pressure monitor invented?
- 7.2 How is the blood pressure monitor applied correctly?
- 7.3 How is blood pressure measured?
- 7.4 When and how often should blood pressure be taken?
- 7.5 Why does my blood pressure monitor show an error?
- 7.6 Why is the blood pressure device pumping again?
- 7.7 Does health insurance cover the cost of a blood pressure monitor?
- 7.8 How reliable is a blood pressure monitor?
- 7.9 What blood pressure values are normal?
- 7.10 Why are finger blood pressure meters and meters with mercury no longer used?
- 7.11 When should a blood pressure monitor be checked?
The most important facts
- Blood pressure devices measure your blood pressure and can be used at home and on the go or by doctors.
- A distinction must be made between mechanical, simple digital and digital long-term blood pressure monitors. The classic digital devices are most popular with lay people.
- Blood pressure monitors can be placed either on the upper arm or on the wrist. In certain cases, the upper arm monitors provide a more accurate measurement because they are placed closer to the heart.
The Best Blood Pressure Monitor: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a blood pressure monitor
In the following sections we will answer all the important questions you should ask yourself before buying a blood pressure monitor. Both the type of device and its measuring accuracy as well as various additional functions can influence your purchase decision.
What is a blood pressure monitor and what does it show?
The so-called systolic blood pressure, i.e. the higher blood pressure value, and the lower diastolic blood pressure value are measured. These two values determine the patency and flexibility of the vessels.
The systolic value shows the pressure in the vascular system at the moment when the blood is pumped out of the heart and the diastolic value refers to the pressure during heart relaxation.
On the conventional blood pressure devices, the systolic and diastolic blood pressure is always displayed, while other values such as heart problems, pulse rate and heart rate can be displayed additionally. If you want a meter that displays absolute arrhythmia or heart rhythm disorders, you should consider this when making your purchase.
The same applies to pulse rate and heart rate. Pulse rate means pumps per minute and it determines how efficient your heart is. Heart rate means the number of beats per minute. Pulse rate and heart rate should, but do not always have to, give the same values.
What should be considered before buying a blood pressure monitor?
For a successful measurement, the cuff should fit tightly around the wrist or upper arm, but not too tightly.
For upper arm blood pressure monitors, the cuff size should match the width of your upper arm. It should not be too loose or too tight, otherwise there could be discrepancies as the blood pressure readings will be affected if the cuff is put on incorrectly.
For people with thick upper arms, often only an XXL cuff is suitable, for slimmer people an extra thin cuff. Universal cuffs are commercially available up to about 42 cm, while the XXL cuff size goes up to about 52 cm. For wrist measurements, size hardly matters.
Another criterion is the age of the person. Whether for seniors, infants, toddlers or children - a suitable blood pressure monitor is available for everyone. In the case of blood pressure devices for seniors, it is particularly important to pay attention to readability, comprehensibility, user-friendliness and simple and automatic data transmission.
The measured values can be forwarded via Bluetooth and thus relatives or doctors can be informed about the blood pressure of the person concerned. During pregnancy, it should be noted that blood pressure should not be measured electronically.
The values are often very inaccurate and can underestimate the blood pressure by up to 50 mmHg. Thus, in some cases, high blood pressure cannot even be detected.
How much does a blood pressure monitor cost?
|mechanical monitor||20€ - 50€|
|electronic monitor||20€ - 100€|
|continuous monitor||50€ - 150€|
An analogue blood pressure monitor is about the same price as a digital wrist monitor. You should calculate 10 to 50 euros for these versions. Otherwise, you can expect to pay up to 100 euros for digital measuring devices. There are big price differences, especially between digital blood pressure monitors for upper arms and wrists, and the quality and brand of the product plays a significant role.
However, most electronic measuring devices are priced between 40 and 60 euros. A long-term blood pressure monitor or a wireless blood pressure monitor for the upper arm is also available for about 100-150 euros. High-quality devices for doctors and hospitals can also cost more and usually have additional functions.
If the blood pressure monitor is prescribed by a doctor, the costs are usually covered by the health insurance. You can get one at a pharmacy or medical supply store. You can read more about this topic below.
Can I use a blood pressure monitor if I have a pacemaker or atrial fibrillation?
If you are wearing a pacemaker because of arrhythmia, it is better not to use digital devices and to use analogue ones instead. Often, incorrect values, error messages such as "Error" or an irregular pulse rate are displayed.
If you have atrial fibrillation, it is not recommended to buy a digital device on your own initiative without consulting your doctor. However, a 24 h blood pressure monitor can be prescribed by doctors, for example, to track an absolute arrhythmia. However, if the pacemaker is only worn because of a regular pulse and heart rate, automatic devices are not a problem.
Can I buy a monitor in different languages?
With a talking meter, the preferred language can be set beforehand. Whether in English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian - the choice of voice output is diverse. In addition, the values are also displayed on the monitor.
Can a blood pressure monitor be connected to an app?
This gives you the opportunity to keep track of your readings. In addition, the data can be exported as a text file or PDF, for example, to pass on to doctors. This type of recording is particularly convenient and suitable for all smartphone owners.
What are the advantages of a blood pressure monitor over a pulse monitor?
A pulse monitor only measures the pulse and in some cases also the heart rate, but not the blood pressure. Devices that are placed on the wrist, ear or finger are also not suitable for determining the heart rate. A weak heart or disturbances in the veins can be reasons for this.
The advantages of a blood pressure monitor over an app are that the values are more reliable and do not have to be typed in manually. In addition to the more time-consuming use of the app, the pulse rate in particular can often be displayed incorrectly.
Constant app crashes or updates also contribute to inaccurate blood pressure measurement and are annoying. Also, basically only the pulse can be measured using fingers, and this does not allow a reliable statement about the remaining values.
What are the alternatives to a blood pressure monitor?
It can be integrated into a watch so that it does not interfere with your running. More broadly, there are also mobile phone apps that measure data such as blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, lung capacity, and so on. Likewise, the pulse value can be checked manually using the index, middle and ring fingers or on the wrist.
Decision: What types of blood pressure monitors are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, there are three different groups of blood pressure monitors:
- Mechanical blood pressure monitor
- Conventional digital blood pressure monitor
- Long-term digital blood pressure monitor
These measuring devices have different advantages and disadvantages. Mainly, they can be placed either on the upper arm or wrist and can be used by a doctor or independently.
The blood pressure monitors can be used independently for home use. There are blood pressure devices that are more suitable for use at home, while some can be used on the move. Some models, on the other hand, are mainly used by doctors in the office.
While some people prefer blood pressure devices for upper arm measurements, others find wrist measurements more user-friendly. Depending on which device you are looking for, the following information will help you find out which blood pressure monitor is best for you.
We will describe the three groups of blood pressure monitors and list their advantages and disadvantages.
What are the characteristics of a mechanical blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
This type of monitor is often used by trained personnel. It is not recommended for use at home, as basic medical knowledge and good hearing are required. With an analogue blood pressure monitor, you usually need a cuff that fits your body and is connected to a rubber pump, a manometer (where you read the blood pressure) and possibly a stethoscope.
The cuff is usually placed on the upper arm just above the elbow. Less commonly, it can be attached to the thigh just above the knee. The pressure is then pumped until the presumed maximum value is reached. The pressure is then noisily released through a valve and the values are read or listened to through the manometer and stethoscope. Analogue blood pressure monitors are basically easier to use than digital ones.
If you have the technical knowledge, these devices can give readings more quickly. They are more trustworthy, as errors sometimes creep in with digital blood pressure devices.
Because it does not require energy, an analogue blood pressure device has a longer useful life and can be used at any time. The disadvantage of the mechanical blood pressure monitor is that it does not offer the possibility of storing values and comparing them with old blood values.
What distinguishes an electronic blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The digital blood pressure monitor is mainly used by lay people at home or on the road. It can be used for both upper arm and wrist measurements. The automatic blood pressure monitor is placed around the inner wrist or upper arm. With the semi-automatic measurement, you pump up the cuff yourself, while with the fully automatic measurement, the measuring device pumps up the cuff by pressing a button.
The advantages of digital blood pressure devices compared to analogue measuring devices are that the values can be easily checked by a layperson. In addition, the pulse and heart rate and sometimes even cardiac arrhythmia are determined in addition to the blood pressure.
Furthermore, they are more handy and the values can be stored digitally. With the help of the Bluetooth function, apps, USB or WLAN, the values can be quickly transferred to mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or computers.
However, the disadvantage of blood pressure devices with a digital display is that batteries, rechargeable batteries or mains power are usually needed to operate such devices.
A regular check of the functionality is also advisable. It should be noted that wrist measurements are often less accurate than upper arm measurements. If the device is not held at heart level, blood pressure readings may be falsely overestimated.
What are the features of a long-term blood pressure monitor and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
With a long-term blood pressure monitor, blood pressure can be monitored on the upper arm at 15 to 30 minute intervals over a long period of time. The blood pressure monitor is very small and light.
A digital 24h sphygmomanometer is used for home use and is basically used for upper arm measurements. The blood pressure can be checked for 24 hours. The values are stored digitally and can then be read by the doctor.
During the measurement period, the patient must record his or her daily routine so that the doctor can determine correlations between daily activities and blood pressure. The advantages of 24h blood pressure devices, apart from the traditional advantages of digital devices, are their weight and size, as they are very light and small.
This means they can always be carried around, usually in a hip, chest or fanny pack that comes with the device. The values are tracked digitally over the long term, even overnight. The measurement is fully automatic and reliable. The medication dosage can also be checked.
The disadvantage with blood pressure monitors of this type is that some people are disturbed by the long-term blood pressure monitor during sleep and, again, most devices can only be placed on the upper arm. The general disadvantages of digital devices such as battery operation also apply here.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate blood pressure monitors based on these factors
In the following we would like to show you how to compare and evaluate different blood pressure monitors. This will make it easier for you to choose the right product for you. In summary, the following criteria should be distinguished:
- Measuring range
- Display of average value and heart arrhythmia
- Measuring accuracy
- Weight and cuff size
- Power supply
- Number of memory locations
- Storage bag and blood pressure passport
- Ease of use
In the following paragraphs, you can read about the importance of these individual characteristics in order to better compare the different devices.
Type of measuring device
The first criterion for choosing a blood pressure monitor is the type of monitor. A distinction is made between wrist blood pressure monitors and blood pressure monitors for the upper arm. The only difference between the two types is that they are placed in different places.
The measured values are the same and the additional functions are also available for both devices. As the upper arm is closer to the heart, this measurement method is more suitable for smokers and older people, as the blood vessels narrow with age and this has a particular effect on the wrist arteries. For healthy, young people, both options are equally suitable.
The measuring range shows the margin of blood pressure and cuff pressure in mmHg and the pulse beats per minute. mmhG means the value in millimetres and the sign Hg is the chemical sign for mercury.
The resting pulse should always be measured to get clear results. Athletes and women often have a low pulse.
With infections, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, the pulse can be temporarily higher. Medication also influences the heart rate. The cuff, in turn, can either be inflated automatically by the blood pressure device or has to be inflated itself until the artery is closed. Then the pressure is released. The range between the highest and lowest cuff pressure is determined here.
Display of average value and cardiac arrhythmias
Determining the average value also helps you decide which blood pressure monitor to use. Not all blood pressure devices have a function for determining this value. In most cases, automatic devices with the option of storing the last measured values have the function of calculating an average value from the individual measurements.
This is helpful in order to make an even more accurate statement about the value of the blood pressure. If you have an irregular heart rhythm or other heart defects, you should consult your doctor and buy a device that displays rhythm disturbances. This will allow you to monitor your blood pressure accurately.
A flashing heart at the end of the measurement indicates whether you should be worried.
Accuracy is one of the most important criteria, as an inaccurate blood pressure reading can cause you problems in an emergency. Also for people who are trying to lower their blood pressure, an accurate measurement and meticulous recording of the collected data is essential.
Measurement accuracy means the indication of plus and minus values in mmHg and percent. The lower these values of blood pressure or pulse are in relation to the displayed value, the more accurate the device measures. For example, indicating a five percent possible pulse difference in the measured value is worse than indicating a three percent difference.
Weight and cuff size
The length, width, height and weight of a blood pressure device are important factors when buying one. The smaller and handier the device, the better it is for travelling. The cuff size should also be considered to ensure correct blood pressure measurement.
Digital blood pressure devices (especially 24h blood pressure devices) are lighter and smaller today compared to the past. The advantage is that small devices can be taken everywhere.
This way, you can not only constantly monitor your blood pressure, but also prevent it from getting too high. Wireless devices considerably reduce the number of necessary accessories. The universal cuff, which is usually always supplied with a blood pressure monitor, should not be too large or too small.
A suitable cuff size also determines the accuracy of the readings. If the universal cuff does not fit the circumference of your upper arm or wrist, always order a matching cuff.
Digital blood pressure devices can be charged with batteries, rechargeable batteries or a mains cable, which have different advantages and disadvantages.
- Battery: Blood pressure devices that are equipped with a battery have the advantage that you can take them with you everywhere. Usually four AA or two AAA batteries are needed and there is usually an extra power cord for emergencies.
- Rechargeable battery: Charging your blood pressure monitor with a rechargeable battery is also very convenient. Here, it is important to ensure the longest possible battery life so that you can use the device without a power supply for as long as possible.
- Power cable: Power supply via cable is often used in hospitals, as these devices are usually in continuous use. For private individuals, the disadvantage here is that a power source is needed for measurement and blood pressure measurement cannot take place everywhere.
In general, all methods are suitable and serve their purpose well. So before you buy, you should think about where you will usually take your blood pressure and decide accordingly.
Number of memory locations
Each blood pressure device has a different number of memory locations and users. While some have 90 slots, others only have 30. If you want to use it for more than one person, you should look for a multi-user model.
The storage of the values is limited at some point - either when the number of storage spaces has been used up or after a defined time. You have to decide for yourself which is preferred. There are now also blood pressure monitors with an unlimited number of users and storage capacity.
Storage bag and blood pressure passport
If you want to save money, make sure that a storage bag is already included in the delivery. An included blood pressure passport is also an advantage.
A storage bag is practical for blood pressure devices on the go and protects against scratches. A blood pressure passport, on the other hand, facilitates the documentation of blood pressure values and thus creates an overview of the course of the values. The passport can be in electronic or paper form.
A user-friendly measuring device saves a lot of time and nerves. The more difficult and confusing the instructions for use or the display are to read, the longer you have to deal with the measuring device. Senior citizens or visually impaired people in particular cannot do much with complicated operating instructions or a display that is difficult to read. The operating instructions should be available in different languages and be available in paper and electronic form.
The display of the blood pressure device should not be too small or difficult to understand. On some models it is colourful and also shows the date and time. Wrist devices in particular sometimes also display sporting activities. Talking blood pressure devices are now also available.
It is important that the devices are generally easy to use. With fully automatic devices, this is quick and easy. With digital devices, you have to distinguish between semi-automatic and fully automatic blood pressure monitors.
Semi-automatic devices are self-inflating, while fully automatic devices are inflated at the touch of a button. All the products presented on our comparison page are fully automatic.
Facts worth knowing about blood pressure monitors
When was the blood pressure monitor invented?
The founders of the blood pressure monitor are Stephen Hales and Riva-Rocci. In 1713 the first animal test was started and in the 19th century the first device for humans came on the market. The first measurement was made by the English physiologist Stephen Hales in 1713.
He inserted a thin glass tube into the carotid artery of a horse and observed. He found out that peripheral resistance and cardiac output play an enormous role in blood pressure. At the end of the 19th century, the first mercury-filled blood pressure monitor for the upper arm was introduced to the market by the Italian Riva-Rocci.
It was supplemented by the stethoscope by a Russian doctor named Korotkov.
How is the blood pressure monitor applied correctly?
To get reliable readings, it is important to put on the blood pressure cuff correctly. You can wear it over your clothes, but the sleeve should not obstruct the blood flow. It is better to put the cuff directly on the skin. When you put it on your left arm, the air tube should be centred in the crook of your arm.
On the right arm, turn it so that the tube runs along the inside of the arm. There are often corresponding markings on the cuff. Please read the instruction manual for model-specific instructions. The lower edge of upper arm cuffs should be about 2 to 3 cm above the crook of the arm.
Do not apply the cuff too loosely or too tightly - this would falsify the values or lead to an error message. It is recommended to bend the arm slightly when applying the cuff so that the biceps are tensed. This increases the circumference of the upper arm and the cuff fits better. Then the Velcro fastener can be closed and the measurement can begin.
How is blood pressure measured?
The most important thing is to keep the same time as well as the resting state when taking measurements. The size and correct fitting of the cuff also play a role. Blood pressure fluctuates with the time of day. Therefore, you should always measure your blood pressure at the same time of day.
A few minutes of relaxation are important beforehand. The measurement should be taken in a sitting position and you should not talk or move during the activity. For wrist measurements, make sure that you hold the manometer close to your heart. For upper arm devices, support your arm to bring the device to heart level.
When and how often should blood pressure be taken?
As mentioned earlier, it is advisable to always take your blood pressure at the same time of day to have a comparison. Ideally, this should be done in the morning after getting up. There are two reasons for this:
- The body is in a state of rest and still has the stress of everyday life ahead of it.
- A high blood pressure in the morning is therefore an alarm signal, while in the evening it can also come from the stress of the day.
If you have to take blood pressure-lowering medication in the morning, please measure your blood pressure beforehand. Coffee or other drinks with caffeine should also only be drunk afterwards. Alcohol also influences the measurement results.
For healthy people, a daily blood pressure measurement is not necessary. However, if you suffer from high or low blood pressure, you should measure it regularly and discuss the rhythm with your doctor.
Why does my blood pressure monitor show an error?
If the measurement was not taken correctly, your device will display ERR or ER or Error, for example because it cannot find your pulse. It may also be because the cuff was put on incorrectly or because the cuff was not the right size. This means that you have to measure again.
Why is the blood pressure device pumping again?
Sometimes it can happen that the blood pressure device suddenly starts pumping again when you are measuring. This can have two causes:
- a technical fault (rather unlikely)
- the cuff is too loose
In most cases, the device is pumping because the cuff was not put on properly and therefore does not "feel" the artery. If the blood pressure monitor keeps pumping, you should stop the measurement, rest for a few minutes and try again.
Does health insurance cover the cost of a blood pressure monitor?
In our ranking, you will find some blood pressure devices that cost less than 20 euros. However, many patients ask themselves whether their health insurance will cover the cost. The answer is: no. If you suffer from high blood pressure and are being treated by a doctor, you will probably be asked to measure your blood pressure at home several times a day and document the results.
Then most health insurance companies will cover the cost of the blood pressure monitor on prescription. However, if you only want to take a control measurement now and then, but otherwise feel fit and healthy, you will have to pay the costs yourself.
However, 20 euros is a manageable sum and a blood pressure monitor is not just reserved for rich people.
How reliable is a blood pressure monitor?
Of course, using a blood pressure monitor only makes sense if you can rely on the results. In general, you should assume that this is the case. Nevertheless, it is advisable to have the values checked by a doctor at least from time to time.
Blood pressure monitors used by doctors must be calibrated. Manual models are usually used here. Together with the doctor's experience, this results in extremely reliable values. However, this is not a solution for home use.
Whether a blood pressure monitor works reliably depends largely on the user. You should take care to avoid all factors that can interfere with a measurement.
Often it is put on incorrectly or you have drunk coffee beforehand. These and other factors influence the measurement results. Read our article above on how to use a blood pressure monitor correctly. If you choose a model that has a seal of approval from the German Hypertension League for measuring accuracy, you are doing a lot right.
What blood pressure values are normal?
A blood pressure monitor only makes sense if you can interpret the values or if the monitor has a scale that classifies the measurement results into normal and abnormal. Almost everyone knows the standard values 120 to 80, which means nothing other than a normal blood pressure with a systolic (upper) value of about 120 mmHG and a diastolic (lower) value of 80 mmHG.
|Hypertension grade 1||140-170||90-109|
|Hypertension grade 2||180+||110+|
|Isolated high blood pressure of upper value||140+||below 90|
If both systolic (highest) and diastolic (lowest) blood pressure rise above 160 and 100 mmHg respectively, caution is advised and a doctor should be contacted in any case. Then there is a risk of organ damage, at 180 to 120 even a heart attack. By the way: according to the German Hypertension League, the normal values for an eight-year-old child are around 100 to 60, for senior citizens 140 to 85.
The pulse rate, on the other hand, decreases with age and also depends on your fitness level. At the age of four, the pulse rate is normally 100 beats per minute, at the age of ten it is 90, for an adult it is 60 to 80 and for an elderly person 80 to 85 beats per minute.
High blood pressure can be controlled with medication, but also with a change in diet and increased physical activity. Nevertheless, regular measurements are particularly important in cases of high blood pressure.
Why are finger blood pressure meters and meters with mercury no longer used?
The price, inaccurate readings, different blood flow and health reasons are the reasons why blood pressure devices of this type are no longer used. Finger blood pressure devices are basically very expensive and give inaccurate readings.
Even wearing nail polish can lead to measurement errors in a woman and finger thickness is often not suitable for a man. The blood flow in the fingers also varies. Mercury-filled blood pressure devices, on the other hand, were banned on 1 October 2009 because they pose a health hazard to people's respiratory systems.
When should a blood pressure monitor be checked?
In the professional sector, a measuring device must be checked every two years. Private individuals are free to do so. However, it should be done, otherwise inaccurate readings are to be feared.
Basically, blood pressure devices are no longer calibrated today. Instead, the medical check is used, which should take place every two years. Doctors or pharmacists have to have their measuring device checked.
You can have your blood pressure device checked at testing centres, by specialist dealers or in pharmacies. Checking the device is voluntary for private individuals, but doctors must have their blood pressure measuring devices checked regularly.
As a private person, you are not obliged to have your device checked, but it is recommended. Not doing so, or doing it too irregularly, can lead to inaccurate results. An on-site check costs about 12 euros.
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