Choosing the best home blood pressure monitor for you
If you are asked to measure your blood pressure at home, you will be asked to get a home blood pressure monitor. There is a wide range of home blood pressure monitors available, but it is important that the blood pressure monitor you choose is accurate.
The easiest to use is a monitor that is fully automatic (digital), this should measure your blood pressure at your upper arm, NOT your wrist or finger. Upper-arm blood pressure monitors give the most accurate and consistent results.
Make sure that the home blood pressure monitor you choose has been listed as 'clinically validated' for accuracy by the British Hypertension Society. This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it gives results that you and your doctor can trust. Blood pressure monitors can vary in price. This usually depends on the number of extra features that the digital monitor has, like a built-in memory for example. All you need to measure your blood pressure correctly is a clinically validated monitor, and a pen and paper to record your readings (or form from the surgery). Choose a home blood pressure monitor that you can afford.
Here are links to clinically validated blood pressure monitors for home use (prices and sites correct on 20/05/2021):
An upper-arm blood pressure monitor will come with a cuff that you need to wrap around your arm. If you use a cuff that is the wrong size for you, your blood pressure reading will not be correct. Measure around your upper arm at the midpoint between your shoulder and elbow, and choose your cuff size from the chart below.
Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor cuff sizes
Most home blood pressure monitors will come with a medium-sized cuff. You may have to order a different-sized cuff separately.
Ensure your home blood pressure monitor is calibrated at least once every two years to be sure it is giving you accurate results. To have your automatic home monitor re-calibrated, you will need to send it back to the manufacturer. There may be a fee for this service.
How to check your blood pressure using a blood pressure machine
For a ‘how to’ video please use this link:
https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/tests/blood-pressure-measuring-at-home (correct 30/3/2020)
• In order for it to be an accurate reading it’s important that you’re resting and that you’re not feeling anxious or stressed.
• Sit upright in a chair, your back against the back of the chair, and place your feet flat on the floor.
• Rest your arm on a table if you have one and just make sure your hand and arm are relaxed on the table. It’s important that you don’t clench your fist when you’re taking your blood pressure.
• Place the cuff over your upper arm and tighten the cuff over your arm, making sure you can fit two fingers underneath the cuff. You want the cuff to be over the upper part of your arm with the tubing leading down the centre or slightly to the right of your arm.
• When you check your blood pressure, don’t talk and just relax. Press the on button, and then press the start button.
• You’ll feel the cuff inflate quite rapidly. It may temporarily be a bit tender or uncomfortable as the cuff inflates and deflates automatically, but this will only be for a short period of time. If it is too tender or uncomfortable you can just press the ‘Stop’ button and the cuff will instantly deflate.
• Once you get your reading, make a note of the reading. A few minutes after you’ve taken your blood pressure, please take a second reading and record it.
• How often you need to do this will depend on the Doctor or nurse.
Home Blood Pressure targets
• Under 80 years old <135/85
• Over 80 years old < 145/85
• Type 1 diabetes < 130/80; Type 2 diabetes < 135/75