An estimated one in three American adults have high blood pressure, which over time will put them at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Too often, it's left too late.
If having your blood pressure taken at the doctors fills you with dread, investing in a home monitor can take away a lot of the stress. It can also be a lot more convenient. Buying the best blood pressure monitor is a great way of keeping tabs on your body with health tech, and helps to avoid a nasty surprise at the doctors.
Fighting a silent killer: Blood pressure is wearable tech's next challenge
Your blood pressure is recorded in a handy app, so you can easily see any trends or patterns, which can help you to make lifestyle changes more quickly. What's more, you can show your doctor your results, giving a much more rounded view of your health.
The Omron Evolv is a small, pocket-sized blood pressure monitor that offers connectivity via NFC (near-field communication). Unlike the QardioArm and iHealth devices, the Evolv doesn't entertain the user with a pretty bells-and-whistles smartphone interface. Instead, it uses a simple black-and-white display unit, which, in turn, is attached to an inflatable strap that slips onto the upper arm.
You can wirelessly connect to your online dashboard for a digital record of your blood pressure readings, since the device connects to both iOS and Android devices. It's even compatible with Alexa.
Blipcare Blip Wi-Fi Blood Pressure Monitor
The Blip Wi-Fi blood pressure monitor doesn't rely on Bluetooth, meaning you don't need a mobile device nearby or even an app to start up the readings.
They're simply uploaded automatically using your home Wi-Fi network. It's easy to use, plus it supports two users and allows for the monitor to be shared. Reminders can also be set up through your online account, with the device beeping at you during the times you've set up.
However, you'll only be reminded if you've missed a reading. Like most of the other blood pressure monitors, you can get reports on the readings to share with family or physician.
Blood pressure monitors don't come more stylish than this compact unit from Nokia, which is similar to the Withings offering. As before, Bluetooth connectivity is seamless. In fact, as soon as you tap the button on the unit, it launches the dedicated Nokia Health Mate app (which has been given a spit and polish since the new health hardware landed) and starts the test, uploading the colour-coded results directly to any smartphone for easy recall and forwarding of data.
The app is beautifully designed with crisp, clear graphics and simple menus. It does a whole lot more than just monitor blood pressure: it'll track your weight and keep you abreast of your daily activity and sleep patterns.
Although this monitor won't win any awards for its aesthetics, it does pack some great features into a simple and effective package. The Pyle Health smartphone app has a clean, colourful design, allowing up to four different users to track their blood pressure.
It can keep tabs on your past results and produce graphs for easy data absorption. These results can then be emailed to your doctor so they can get the detailed information they need to make a relevant reading of your heart health. The Pyle Health app can also work with the Pyle Scales and thermometer, for a more comprehensive health coverage.
This rather elegant battery-powered model works just like an NHS monitor, only it doesn't look half as ugly. In fact, it's rather Apple-like in design, and that extends to the classy packaging. Using Bluetooth, simply connect the QardioArm monitor to your iOS/Android smartphone, tablet or smartwatch, register your personal details (height, weight, age), wrap the unit around your upper arm and hit the big green start button on your mobile device.
Results – including pulse rate – are automatically synced with the app, which keeps a record of all readings in calendar form. To send the results to your GP, simply hit the standard Apple-designed share icon. Like all the best devices in life, the QardioArm is easy to use so there's no need for any instruction manual malarkey. It's also eminently portable and available in a range of attractive colours.
Omron 10 Series
Omron has established quite a name for itself in home blood pressure monitoring, and earns a second shout-out on this list for its 10 Series upper arm smart blood pressure monitor. This one has a larger screen than the Evolv, and accuracy is the name of the game here: it takes three consecutive readings and works out the average. And of course it will let you sync your data with your phone, which includes connectivity to Apple Health.
Another feature we like is the support for two different users, with the capacity to hold 100 readings for each person. This might lack some of the flash of others on the list, but in return you get guaranteed precision.
Like the Nokia and QardioArm options, this iHealth model is comprised of a large but easily portable measuring unit that inflates a strap around the arm. All results are sent directly to the accompanying free app on your smartphone (both Android and iOS).
The app itself is very well structured with easy-to-follow instructions and we especially like the way it keeps the user informed with an animated graph during the test process. The main unit itself is very similar in design to the QardioArm. The iHealth system works well, too, and the company also produces several other versions if you're looking for a cheaper alternative.
Omron's next device could be a biggy if it can get the FDA clearance - and it's confident it will have it on the market by late Fall. The HeartGuide cleverly disguises a blood pressure cuff into a smartwatch. The watch will track your fitness and deliver notifications, but more important the watch will inflate the cuff - automatically and manually - at intervals through the day and night to take your blood pressure.
Not only does it make the process more convenient, but it's discreet too. Battery life should last around 2 weeks, or 50 inflations, and Omron is targeting a price around $350 - but that's yet to be confirmed.