Blood pressure monitor buying guide: Compare automatic and manual blood pressure cuffs

How to find the best blood pressure cuff to use at home.

One in three Australian adults has hypertension*, also known as persistently high blood pressure. Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in Australia**. If you have high blood pressure or haven't had your blood pressure monitored recently, you might want to consider using a blood pressure monitor at home. By keeping track of your blood pressure levels, you can start taking steps to make sure your blood pressure stays within a healthy range.

A home blood pressure monitor can help you regularly monitor your blood pressure without the hassle of going into the doctor's office. Blood pressure monitors generally cost from $40 for basic models to $200 for models with automatic pumps and additional features.

Our guide will walk you through the options and help you choose the right blood pressure cuff for you. Read on to find out how you could benefit from monitoring your blood pressure at home.

Top blood pressure monitors compared

Data obtained November 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Updated December 14th, 2018
Name Product Pressure range (mmHg) Pulse range (beats/minute) Memory Operating temperature Purchase today
Homedics BPW-060
Homedics BPW-060
$25.99
40-280
40-199
120 readings
10°C to 40°C
The Homedics BPW-060 monitor has easy one touch use and comes with a five year warranty.
Homedics BPA-060
Homedics BPA-060
$69.47
40-280
40-199
100 readings
5°C to 40°C
Homedics BPA-060 automatically inflates and deflates at the appropriate level, allowing for readings to be taken easily.
Airssential Home Elite AI-H971
Airssential Home Elite AI-H971
$79.95
0-300
40-199
40 readings
5°C to 40°C
The Airssential Home Elite AI-H971 comes with an easy to read LCD display and a three-year warranty.
Omron BP742N
Omron BP742N
$99.99
0-299
40-180
50 readings
10°C to 40°C
The Omron BP742N monitor has dual settings for two users and memory space to store up to one hundred readings.
Omron BP710N
Omron BP710N
$110
0-299
40-180
14 readings
10°C to 40°C
Omron BP710N is an affordable monitor with a wide range adjustable cuff for larger arms.
A&D Medical UA‌-1030T
A&D Medical UA‌-1030T
$129.95
0-299
40-180
90 readings
10°C to 40°C
The A&D Medical UA-1030T provides instructions and readings in three languages and comes with a carry case.
iHealth Feel
iHealth Feel
$139.95
0-295
40-180
200 readings
5°C to 35°C
The iHealth Feel features wireless Bluetooth technology to store your recordings on a smartphone or other smart device.
Beurer BM 47
Beurer BM 47
$157.79
0-300
40-180
30 readings
10°C to 40°C
Beurer BM 47 monitors provide accurate blood pressure readings.
QardioArm
QardioArm
$209.95
40-250
40-200
10°C to 40°C
QardioArm comes in three colours, has a 60 day money back guarantee and bluetooth pairing ability.
Omron BP786N
Omron BP786N
$266.25
0-299
40-180
100 readings
10°C to 40°C
Omron BP786N is a wireless, bluetooth monitor that takes multiple readings calculates the average.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is a blood pressure monitor?

A blood pressure monitor is a device used to measure the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels, aka your blood pressure. Your blood pressure will vary depending on the time of day, your activity level, your salt and liquid intake and any medications you may be taking.

Blood pressure is measured as systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure of your heartbeat and diastolic pressure is the pressure in between your heartbeats. According to the Heart Foundation, optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. A regular blood pressure reading of 139/89 mmHg or more is considered to be high blood pressure or hypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and can lead to a stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular disease.

With regular monitoring, you can get a better understanding of what affects your blood pressure and be alert to changes before they lead to greater problems. Your doctor or another medical professional can tell you how regularly you should be monitoring your blood pressure.

Who should use a home blood pressure monitor?

While anyone can benefit from tracking their blood pressure, doctors typically recommend regular monitoring for the following groups:

  • People who have been diagnosed with hypertension
  • People who have high blood pressure
  • People who have risk factors for high blood pressure
  • Pregnant women with hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Anyone who is taking blood pressure medication
  • Those whose nerves cause their blood pressure to rise while at the doctor's office, making it difficult to get an accurate reading

If you are unsure if you should be monitoring your blood pressure regularly at home, ask your GP or another medical practitioner.

What types are available?

Blood pressure monitors are available in both automatic and manual models and are designed to be placed on the upper arm, wrist or finger.

Automatic blood pressure monitors are generally easier to use than manual models as they inflate with just the touch of a button. Manual models require the user to inflate them by hand pumping a rubber bulb. Most people without medical training find the automatic models easier to use, but neither type is considered more accurate than the other, so choose whichever type you prefer.

ProsCons
Upper arm cuff
  • Can be difficult to put on one-handed
Wrist cuff
  • Easy to put on without help
  • Smaller and more portable than arm cuffs
  • Not recommended by the Heart Foundation
  • Generally considered to be less accurate than upper arm cuffs
  • Difficult to keep the cuff at heart level
Finger cuff
  • Very easy to put on
  • Small enough to fit in your pocket
  • Not recommended by the Heart Foundation
  • Difficult to get accurate readings
  • Not widely available in Australia

There are also a few companies who have developed apps to read blood pressure. They work by picking up your heartbeat when you place your smartphone near your heart, but they are widely considered to be inaccurate.

What to look for in a blood pressure monitor

Look for a device that is easy for you to use and fits comfortably on your arm. While cuffs are adjustable within a certain range, you should still check that it fits properly to make sure you can get accurate readings.

When looking for a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:

The reading time of blood pressure monitors ranges from around 20 seconds to over a minute. Generally, the shorter the reading time, the better — especially if you have to check your blood pressure multiple times per day.

Blood pressure monitors need to be calibrated in order to give you accurate results. Monitors are typically calibrated before they are sold, but it might be a good idea to bring your new monitor to your doctor to compare it against their device and ensure it is accurate. Your monitor will need to be calibrated every year or two depending on the manufacturer's instructions.

Some models allow you to store your results on the device, while others don't. A few models allow storage for multiple users.

Many modern blood pressure monitors have apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablet. These apps typically store your blood pressure readings and allow you to track them and share them with your doctor more easily. The main downside to smart capable blood pressure monitors is that they typically do not have a display, which means you will always need to use a smart device to get your results.

Look for a display that is large enough for you to read. If you have visual difficulties, look for a model that reads your results out loud.

Warranties for blood pressure monitors typically range from one to three years.

Are blood pressure monitors covered by health insurance?

It depends on the health insurance provider. Generally, blood pressure monitors are only covered under comprehensive extras policies. For more information, check out our comparison of health insurers who cover blood pressure monitors.

8 tips to help you get accurate blood pressure readings

  1. Make sure you know exactly how to use your device. If you are unsure if you are using it correctly, bring it to your doctor and ask them to watch your technique.
  2. Consistency is key. Try to measure your blood pressure at the same time and in the same conditions each day.
  3. Try to be relaxed and undistracted when taking a reading.
  4. If you are taking a seated reading, make sure to sit still with your legs uncrossed, your feet flat on the floor and your back supported.
  5. If you are taking a standing blood pressure reading, wait at least two minutes after you stand up before taking the reading.
  6. Don't use your blood pressure cuff on top of your clothing.
  7. No matter what type of cuff you are using, the cuff should remain at heart level for the duration of the reading.
  8. Remember to write down the readings if they are not automatically stored in your device. If anything of note happened prior to a reading, write it down so you can mention it to your doctor.

Heart disease risk factors explained


*Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey 2014/15
**Source: Finder, Coronary Heart Disease Report 2017

Sarah Brandon

Sarah Brandon is a writer for finder.com.au and loves the challenge of tackling a new comparison. When she’s not at the office, she can be found writing novels or searching for the perfect artichoke dip.

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