A Guide to Blood Pressure Monitors
There's a lot of blood pressure monitors on the market right now. Digital monitors, mercury monitors, manual inflation, automatic inflation, BP monitors for the arm, for the wrist and even the finger. Where do you start?
Firstly you'll probably fall into one of two categories...
1. Monitors for Home Use
If you want to measure your own blood pressure from the comfort of your own home your choice is fairly straight-forward. This article explains the different options available to you hopefully making your decision a little less overwhelming.
2. Monitors for Clinical Use
If you're a health professional the chances are you know what you want. Whether it's an aneroid sphygmomanometer or a professional digital monitor you'll have certain criteria that must be met. I've included some resources below for some professional and clinical grade sphygmomanometers.
Monitors for Home Use
Firstly, let's examine the different types of blood pressure monitors you should consider for home use...
Digital Manual MonitorsDigital simply means the machine automatically measures diastolic and systolic blood pressure and displays the results on an LCD screen. Manual means you have to pump the cuff up yourself. You'll be instructed how much to inflate the cuff so it's more of an inconvenience than anything else.
Digital Automatic MonitorsExactly the same as above except the machine will inflate the cuff for you. Once you place the cuff on your arm you simply press a button and wait for the results. Not surprisingly, this is the most popular type of blood pressure monitor for the home. Automatic Wrist MonitorsExactly the same as the digital automatic monitor except you place the cuff on your wrist rather than your upper arm. It's easier when testing yourself but you'll pay more for the privilege.
Automatic Finger MonitorsHow did you guess? You measures your blood pressure by placing your finger in a small plastic tube attached to the machine. The ultimate in convenience but it could be at a cost to accuracy. There is a much weaker blood flow in yo0ur finger compared to your arm and wrist. Hence there is some concern that readings won't be entirely accurate or repeatable.
If it's convenience and ease of use you're after opt for a digital automatic monitor. If you think you'll have trouble placing the cuff on your upper arm one handed the wrist monitors is probably your best choice. If money is an issue you will save about $30 if you buy a manual inflation monitor. Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of the type of monitor is most suitable for you (if you didn't already). With that in mind let's examine some and where you can find them...
If you wanted you could spend over $200 on a blood pressure monitor. but there's absolutely no need to. A manual inflation digital monitor will set you back about $40. Automatic inflation monitors range anywhere from $70 upwards. The wrist monitors start at around $120.
Buying a blood pressure monitor online should save you money. Unfortunately most Internet retailers nowadays are no less expensive than their "bricks and mortar" competition. However there are still savings to be made if you e-shop around. Vitalitymedical.com is good example. They typically sell BP monitors 10-15% below the retail price and more importantly their customer service is exemplary.