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9 best blood pressure monitors for simple, at-home care

For many, these pulse-measuring machines can be vitally useful — and you can’t beat the convenience of not having to go all the way to the GP

Many of these appliances connect to smartphone apps, for easy reading ( iStock/The Independent )

We all need to know what our blood pressure is. But sitting in a doctor’s surgery can induce enough anxiety to skew the result, so a home blood pressure monitor is very useful to keep track of things and measure trends.

There are cuffs that fit your wrist or your upper arm.

Some medical professionals assert that the upper arm cuff gives more accurate results, so all those here are upper arm cuffs.

When choosing, you need to think about what features you want.

All monitors here measure blood pressure and pulse, but some additionally look out for atrial fibrillation (AFib) and irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia). Some models can also take an electrocardiogram (ECG) and one even works as a digital stethoscope.

A basic monitor can be very affordable, a super-duper one will cost a lot more but may be able to record and save hundreds of readings, or even make it easy to share the information with your doctor.

These monitors have been tested for ease of use, comfort, speed and responsiveness.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Withings BPM core: £229.95, Withings

Battery: built-in, rechargeable

Withings has built outstanding health and fitness gadgets for several years, including smartwatches, sleep monitoring pads and smart bathroom scales. This blood pressure monitor is one of two just released by the company (their other is the BPM connect, below). Both are light, portable and powerful. You need to download the free Withings Health smartphone app to make the most of it, which will not suit users who don’t have a smartphone. The app then stores measurements, which is useful. As well as measuring blood pressure, it can take a medical-grade ECG (electrocardiogram) to detect atrial fibrillation. It does this using three electrodes: two in the cuff, one in the steel tube attached. You complete the circuit by touching the tube. It’s also a digital stethoscope, that is, when it’s worn next to the chest while a measurement takes place, a sound sensor can spot certain heart frequencies. It then uses artificial intelligence software to detect potential issues in the heart valves. Of all the monitors tested, this feels the most modern and pleasing to use. It’s fast, comfortable and very appealing to look at.

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Omron M3 comfort: £49.49, Argos

Battery: 4 x AA, supplied

Omron is one of the biggest names in healthcare products and its blood-pressure monitors have a strong reputation for accuracy. This monitor does more than measure blood pressure. It also detects irregular heartbeats and can help to spot stroke risk. An LED indicates if blood pressure is higher than normal, making it easy to read. Like the other Omron below, it’s designed to deliver accurate results whatever position you put it on your arm. It’s comfortable and straightforward.

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Withings BPM connect: £89.95, Withings

Battery: built-in, rechargeable

This is a simpler version of the core, with a similar chic design. Like the core, it requires an app to make the most of it. The sleek white design is attractive and like the core, the results shine through the case, and have a colour-coded light that shows green, red or somewhere in between to indicate if the reading is normal, high, or one of three grades of hypertension. There are smartphone apps for Android and Apple phones, though the iPhone version can make it easy to share your information with your doctor. The material for the sleeve is pleasing to the touch and the storage of data on the app is unlimited and free. Up to eight people can use the connect.

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Braun activscan 9: £129.99, Boots

Battery: 4 x AA, supplied

This is a highly sophisticated and good-looking gadget with a big, colourful display. Like the Withings, it connects to a smartphone app, called Braun healthy heart, though much can be done without it. The cuff opens when you pinch the solid plastic edges together and it fits comfortably. Two users can record and store their readings. It looks out for irregular heartbeats, too. A colour-coded system means it’s especially easy to read and understand. It feels quicker than some monitors.

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Omron evolv: £129.99, Omron

Battery: 4x AAA, supplied

Like the Withings monitors, this one uses a smartphone app to display and store readings so you can track results and progress. Omron says that with many cuffs it’s easy to take incorrect measurements. This one is designed to give an accurate result when it’s attached in any position on the upper arm. If it’s attached too loosely, a symbol appears on the display, to be replaced by another one when it’s correctly attached. Be warned, the two symbols are quite similar. It also has a symbol that appears if you move too much while taking a measurement.

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Boots advanced blood pressure monitor: £99.99, Boots

Battery: 4 x AA, supplied

The advanced monitor from Boots has a big, clear screen that’s easy to see. Initial set-up is a big fiddly as repeated button presses are needed (and quite quickly after first turning it on) to set date, time and other details. As well as measuring blood pressure, it can alert wearers to the possibility of atrial fibrillation in those aged 50 and over. This can be a useful extra feature as AFib is not constant and can escape diagnosis by a doctor. The unit is solid but not especially heavy and the cuff and connecting cable are helpfully removable. There are two settings, normal and diagnosis which takes longer. This monitor is made by the Swiss company Microlife for Boots.

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Braun exact fit 5: £62.93, Amazon

Battery: 4 x AA, supplied

Like the more expensive Braun, this one works with the Braun app. The display is more basic, though very easy to read and shows trends, that is, average results across the last seven days, as well as the latest results. It also looks out for irregular heartbeats. The exact fit 5 inflates slowly for a more comfortable experience. Unlike most monitors, it includes two differently-sized cuffs – handy because it can be configured for two users and stores up to 120 measurements altogether.

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Homedics premium automatic upper arm blood pressure monitor: £42.59, Amazon

Battery: 4 x AAA batteries, supplied

Although the design won’t suit everybody with its bright blue-on-blue display and clinical white plastic, it’s certainly easy to read even if your sight isn’t as good as you’d like. It can spot irregular heartbeats and works for two users. It’s not as advanced as some here, but it works well and is good value. There’s no smartphone app, which many may feel is no loss.

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Boots automatic blood pressure monitor upper arm unit: £34.99, Boots

Battery: 4 x AA, supplied

This more basic monitor is made by Omron for Boots. It can hold up to 60 measurements instead of the 250 records which the pricier Boots model above can handle and the measurements stay on the unit. It’s simple to use and effective, though note that it comes with a cuff for arms with a circumference of 32cm or less – some monitors have longer cuffs. A longer cuff is available separately for those with larger upper arms.

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The verdict: Blood pressure monitors

The most stylish monitors are the capable Withings BPM connect and the especially advanced Withings BPM core. And the Boots automatic is a great example of how paying a lower price doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice usability or effectiveness.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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