Blood pressure monitors measure the amount of force being placed on blood vessels and arteries as the heart pumps blood throughout the body. High blood pressure can increase the danger of heart attack and stroke.
As we age, keeping track of our blood pressure becomes very important. Monitoring our blood pressure with a blood pressure monitor can provide us with the motivation many of us need to make changes that positively affect our overall health. When you make checking your own blood pressure a habit, you set yourself up to avoid serious health problems. For example, if you know that your blood pressure is elevated you may decide to make dietary changes or increase exercise and physical activity to bring it back in line with normal levels.
Typically, we only think about our blood pressure when we visit the doctor and it gets checked. But, you don’t have to wait for your next doctor’s appointment to find out what your blood pressure is. Modern blood pressure monitors are both easy to use and very inexpensive.
Purchasing a Blood Pressure Monitor
There are many blood pressure monitors on the market, but which is best for Baby Boomers and for you specifically?
We’ll run you through the things to look for when comparing different models and give you an indication of how much you’re likely to spend. We’ll also include lots of other useful information and consumer advice.
We’ve also a few blood pressure monitors that we believe offer trustworthy accuracy, ease of use, and affordability. Any of these can be purchased on Amazon directly from trusted, established sellers in a matter of clicks.
Let’s take a look at 3 blood pressure monitors that we like, and then we’ll take a deeper dive into blood pressure monitors and what you should consider when you shop for one.
Paramed Upper Arm Bp Machine and Pulse Rate Monitor
First up, we have this accurate yet extremely affordable upper arm blood pressure monitor from Paramed. It has a large, easy to read display and can track dozens of test results for two separate users, making it great for boomers who are looking to share a device with their partner or another family member.
Price: Around $30
- Has a large LCD with oversized numbers, so you can easily see your results
- Has a voice broadcast feature (in English only) so you can have your readings read out to you
- Has a 22cm-40cm easy to adjust cuff, making it suitable for most boomers and seniors
- It can be used to schedule an alarm clock, so you’re conveniently reminded it’s time to check your blood pressure.
- Can store 120 blood pressure and pulse readings for two separate users
- Comes with a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee
- Has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon from over 4,000 satisfied customers
Greater Goods Blood Pressure Monitor
Next, we have this fantastic blood pressure monitor from Greater Goods. At $49.95, it is considerably more expensive than the other two models on our list, but it has some extra features which may make it well worth the additional 20 or so bucks for some boomers.
Price: Around $50
- Has Bluetooth connectivity and can be linked with their Greater Goods’ app which allows you to sync your readings onto your smartphone
- Comes with a storage kit and 4 AAA batteries so you can get started straight away
- Has a 22cm-40cm upper arm cuff, which makes it suitable for most users
- Comes with free support from Greater Goods’ customer support team
- Can store 120 blood pressure readings from two separate users (60 each)
- Has a 4.5 star Amazon rating from over 700 customer reviews
PURUIZT Digital Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
Last but not least, we have the easy to use PURUIZT Digital Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor. It comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and can store over 240 readings, complete with corresponding dates and timestamps.
Price: Around $30
- Reliable blood pressure monitor with an upper arm cuff
- Has a large display
- Can be powered by AAA batteries or a USB cable (both of which are provided)
- Comes with a storage bag to house the monitor and USB cable
- Has a standard 22cm-40cm cuff
- Can store 240 blood pressure readings from two separate users (120 each)
- Has a 4.5 star Amazon rating from over 200 reviews
What is a Blood Pressure Monitor?
Sometimes called a Sphygmomanometer by doctors, a blood pressure monitor is simply a portable device that can check your blood pressure. In other words, it measures how much force your blood is applying to the walls of your blood vessels as it flows through them.
Many models are also able to give you an accurate pulse reading.
A blood pressure monitor consists of a cuff, an armband, and a digital display which shows your blood pressure reading. Some monitors can store your readings so you can refer back to them and see how your blood pressure has changed over time.
So, why might you need a blood pressure monitor?
In addition to other users who simply want to stay on top of their blood pressure, BP monitors are useful for boomers and other people who have conditions that require them to keep a watchful eye on their blood pressure.
For example, diabetes patients need to pay special attention to their blood pressure, as they should aim to keep it below a reading of 130/80, which compares to the normal blood pressure reading of 140/90.
The first/top number is the systolic number, which indicates the pressure as your heart contracts to pump blood to the rest of your body. The second/bottom number is the diastolic number, which is the reading of your blood pressure as your heart relaxes between beats.
Things to Consider When Shopping For a Blood Pressure Monitor
Now that you know why you might benefit from using a blood pressure monitor and how it works, we will take a look at some of the things you should consider before committing to a purchase.
It’s essential to make sure that the device’s cuff size fits your arm well. You want it to be quite a snug fit but not very tight and uncomfortable to wear. A general rule is you should be able to fit a couple of fingers between the cuff and your arm.
Most models have a medium-sized cuff (around 20cm to 40cm), which is suitable for most seniors. Still, if your arms are particularly large or small, then you should consider buying a model with a more appropriately sized cuff.
Another important thing to look out for when comparing different blood pressure monitors is where the cuff should be placed. Most devices work by placing the cuff around your arm, while others are placed on a finger or wrist.
Generally speaking, blood pressure monitors with arm cuffs are preferred, as they are easier to use and cause far less discomfort.
Data Logging Capabilities
As mentioned, some blood pressure monitors can store your readings, while others can only be used to give a live reading. If you prefer to have your readings stored digitally instead of pen and paper, then it makes sense only to consider buying devices with data logging capabilities.
Also, you should consider whether you would benefit from keeping track of your blood pressure readings. For example, a person with diabetes may want to monitor how their blood pressure changes depending on what they’ve eaten, their sleeping pattern, and how much they’ve exercised.
Keep in mind that different blood pressure monitors can store data for varying lengths of time or store more or fewer readings than others. So, this is another thing to look out for and compare when deciding which model is best for your individual needs.
Be sure and purchase your monitor from a reputable manufacturer who will allow you to return if the product is not to your satisfaction.
How Much Do They Cost?
For a quality and accurate blood pressure monitor, you’re likely to end up spending anywhere from $25 to $50. The amount you spend ultimately depends on what you’re after and what sort of additional capabilities you want.
Models that can log multiple readings and store them cost more than simpler models, and there are also a few models with Bluetooth capabilities that are also on the pricier end of the spectrum.
How Do I Use a Blood Pressure Monitor?
Using a bp monitor to check your blood pressure at home is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things to be mindful of.
You can follow our 7 step process to easily and accurately measure your blood pressure:
1) Sit in a chair with good posture and ensure that both of your feet are firmly on the ground.
2) Having your blood pressure checked tends to make some people – boomers and other adults alike – feel a bit anxious. This can affect the reading, so try to stay as calm as possible and take a few deep breaths to relax.
3) Place one of your arms on a table in a comfortable position, ensuring your arm and hand are relaxed so blood can flow through them naturally.
4) Place and tighten the cuff on your upper arm (near the mid-point of your forearm and shoulder). You want it to be on fairly snug, but ensure you can still fit a couple of fingers underneath it.
5) Press the “on” button followed by the “start” button (this sequence may vary slightly depending on the device.)
6) Wait for the cuff to inflate so it can take a reading. You may feel some discomfort once it inflates as it may feel quite tight, but this will only last a few seconds as it will automatically slightly deflate to adjust.
If it continues to feel painful or uncomfortable, press the “stop” button and adjust the cuff before trying again.
7) Make a note of the reading if the blood pressure monitor you’re using doesn’t have data logging capabilities.
It’s advisable to repeat this process again after a few minutes, especially if taking you’re new to taking your blood pressure by yourself, so you can double-check the reading was accurate.
What About Servicing?
You should have your blood pressure monitor checked and serviced at least every 24 months. This ensures your device is calibrated correctly and is, therefore, giving you accurate readings.
Most manufacturers will offer to service your blood pressure monitor (as an aftermarket service), so you should reach out to them before considering other servicing options.
A reliable blood pressure monitor is undoubtedly a great, affordable tool for many boomers – even if you’re not suffering from one of the ailments mentioned earlier.
As with any purchase-related to your health, it’s important to pay special care when shopping around – and you should steer well clear of unbranded models or devices sold by unestablished sellers.
Instead, you should buy a blood pressure model from a trusted, FDA approved manufacturer, such as those listed in our Top Picks section earlier on in this guide.
It’s equally important you follow our step by step guide to using a blood pressure monitor very carefully, as it’s easy to slip up and end up with an inaccurate reading (which completely defeats the point of buying an accurate monitor).