We tested blood pressure monitors and found six Best Buys, but almost as many Don’t Buys. Surprisingly – it’s not always about the price. Our tests showed that expensive monitors aren’t necessarily the best.
If you have high blood pressure and the very thought of going to the GP’s surgery sends it through the roof, you are probably relying on your home monitor to keep you firmly in control of those all-important numbers.
Using a blood pressure monitor at home can be very useful, and for April’s issue of Which? magazine we tested well-known brands including Omron, Boots and IBP to find out how accurate and helpful they are.
So why have we found, not for the first time, that so many monitors don’t make the grade when we put them through their paces against three international standards, in clinic conditions?
In our blood pressure monitor tests, the wrist monitors have fallen down again – although we did find reliable examples – and this is likely to be for a practical reason. You have to lift the wrist to heart level if you’re using a wrist-worn monitor, and this introduces inconsistencies into readings.
Expensive doesn’t mean excellent
Often when I’m buying goods on the high street, I’ll use price as an indicator of quality, but this rule isn’t as easy to apply for blood pressure monitors. Although pricier models tend to have fancier features, some of our most accurate monitors were the cheapest. Sometimes, basic can be just as good as high spec.
As many as 16 million people in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, some of whom don’t know they have it if they have no symptoms. It’s vital that those who turn to home monitoring get a correct result.
The British Hypertension Society has lists of validated monitors, but we also rate usability and tell you models that are Don’t Buys as well as the Best Buys.
Do you monitor your own blood pressure? How did you choose your monitor and are you confident that it gives you accurate readings?