How we test blood pressure monitors

Blood pressure monitors

How we test blood pressure monitors

By Joanna Pearl

Which? tests blood pressure monitors using real people in lab conditions. Read on to find out how we separate the Best Buys from the Don't Buys.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Our video above shows how a Best Buy blood pressure monitor will make a real, practical difference to you. Read on for more on our tests and how we uncover the most comfortable and accurate blood pressure monitors.

During the course of our tests to find the best blood pressure monitors, we’ve taken more than 1,500 blood pressure readings to bring you our definitive verdict on 22 widely available models. 

Our reviews answer your most crucial questions about monitors.

  • Is this blood pressure monitor accurate?
  • Is it simple to set up and use?
  • How comfortable is it to use?
  • How fast is it at taking blood pressure readings?
  • Should I buy it?

Find out which ones give you top-class results every time in our blood pressure monitor reviews.

Is this blood pressure monitor accurate?

In order to test whether a blood pressure monitor will guarantee you consistently accurate results, we use criteria based on three international standards, from the British Hypertension Society, US Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, and European Hypertension Society. 

We take readings using each of the blood pressure monitors on test and compare them with a manual mercury sphygmomanometer. The mercury sphygmomanometer is considered to be a gold standard measurement and acts as a control in our testing.

Only the most accurate models in these tests earn our Best Buy blood pressure monitor recommendation. We test brands including market leader Omron blood pressure monitors.

Is it simple and comfortable to use?

We test to find out how easy you’ll find it to negotiate your way around using your blood pressure monitor. We take into consideration factors such as how clear the instructions are, how tricky it is to get the cuff on and off, and whether you can expect any problems setting up and using the monitor.

Our reviews cover how easy functions and features are to use, including reading the display and seeing, finding and using buttons. Our test programme also includes the ease of positioning the arm correctly, plus any noises you might find annoying, such as the pumping noise while the cuff inflates and the monitor’s beep as it takes a reading.

The monitors - including Boots blood pressure monitors and Braun - are also evaluated by trained testers for their overall comfort during use, to ensure we weed out those blood pressure monitors that pinch your arm.

How fast does the blood pressure monitor to take readings?

We rate each blood pressure monitor on the time it takes to take a reading. This is based on the length of time in seconds each model takes to complete readings on subjects with normal and large arms. We take readings on both arms.

Should I buy it?

All the assessments listed above go into making the final overall score for each blood pressure monitor we review. And because some factors are more important than others, they carry different weights in our calculations.

The overall test score we award to each blood pressure monitor scores ignores the price of the monitor and is instead based on the following factors:

  • 70% Accuracy
  • 10% Time taken  
  • 10% Ease of use  
  • 10% Comfort 

A model has to achieve 80% or more to earn our Best Buy recommendation and anything scoring 45% or less is highlighted as a Don't Buy which we think you should avoid. 

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