Which BP Monitor Is The Best For Me? - Wrist Vs Upper Arm Monitor

June 12, 2021

Which BP Monitor Is The Best For Me? - Wrist Vs Upper Arm Monitor

Hypertension is more common than you think. Roughly one in two adults in the United States has hypertension, while only 1 in 4 adults has their hypertension under control. [1] Hypertension can lead to heart diseases, stroke, and heart attacks, which is why it is crucial for you to keep your blood pressure in check. [2

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor might have given you some advice on how you can modify your diet or lifestyle habits to promote a healthier heart. Additionally, your doctor may have also prescribed you some blood pressure-lowering medications. 

To track your treatment progress effectively, you may consider getting a personal blood pressure monitoring device. Measuring your blood pressure regularly at home is a valuable self-monitoring tool that major guidelines have recommended. [3

Hence, you do not have to rely solely on healthcare professionals to track your readings. You may wish to learn how to do it yourself and keep records of your measurements to help your doctor determine if your treatment is working. However, choosing a device for yourself may seem daunting, especially with hundreds of products on the market. 

Don’t fret! This article will help you explore the pros and cons of the two popular devices, namely, the wrist and upper arm monitors. 

Things To Consider When Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor 

  • Type:There are finger, wrist, and upper arm monitors being sold in the market. Each device will have its advantages and disadvantages. 
  • Display: There are aneroid upper arm monitors and digital upper arm monitors. Digital machines are generally easier to read. 
  • Features:Some devices come with extra features such as Bluetooth connectivity so that you can send your readings to your phone for storage and easy viewing. Others come with memory that allows your measurements to be stored in the device for future reference. 
  • Budget: Additional features will usually mark up the price of the device. Other than that, different types of blood pressure monitors will be sold at differing costs. 

Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor 

The upper arm blood pressure monitor is the most frequently used in clinical settings. Chances are, you’ve probably used this device at your local pharmacy or doctor’s office! 

There are variations of the upper arm blood pressure monitor being sold, such as the aneroid monitors. To use this device, you inflate the cuff manually by squeezing a bulb. They are less expensive but more prone to damage and less convenient to use. [4

Nowadays, the more popular upper arm monitors are automated digital ones. Thanks to these devices, measuring your blood pressure becomes extremely simple. With a few quick and easy steps, you will have your readings ready. 

Like the aneroid monitor, the automatic upper arm blood pressure monitor also comes with a cuff that goes over your upper arm. 

After wrapping the cuff over your arm and positioning yourself correctly, all you have to do is start the machine. With the push of a button, the device automatically measures your blood pressure, and your reading will appear in 1 or 2 minutes. It’s simple, convenient, and quick. 

However, these devices may be less portable than small and lightweight wrist monitors. 

Are you interested in getting an upper arm monitor? You can check out our producthere!

Guide to using an automatic upper arm monitor

  1. Position yourself correctly. Use the same arm that your doctor normally uses to measure your blood pressure. 
  2. Place your arm slightly bent and in a relaxed manner onto a table. Ensure that your upper arm is at the same level as your heart. 
  3. Wrap the cuff snugly over your upper arm. The cuff should fit comfortably with enough room to slip two fingers underneath. The bottom of the cuff should rest directly above the bend of your elbow. 
  4. Start the device. 
  5. Once the measurement is complete, you may wish to record your readings down. 
  6. Repeat after one minute. You may repeat this once or twice. [5,6

Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor 

This device goes around your wrist to measure your blood pressure. 

The upper arm blood pressure monitor is generally the most accurate blood pressure device. [5] However, the wrist blood pressure monitor may still provide accurate and reliable readings if you use the device with the proper technique. 

You may opt for the wrist monitor due to several reasons. It is usually more lightweight and portable in comparison to the upper arm monitor. Because of this feature, it is suitable for those who are always on the go and would like to have their blood pressure measured at any time of the day. 

Additionally, some people may not be able to use upper arm monitors to take their blood pressure because they have a very large arm. Others might dislike using the upper arm monitor because of the pressure exerted by the device during measurement, which some may find painful and uncomfortable. In these cases, using a wrist blood pressure monitor may be a more suitable option. [6

Are you looking to get a wrist monitor? You can check out our producthere!

Guide to using a wrist monitor

  1. Place the device around your wrist. 
  2. Keep your elbow on a table or a desk. Ensure your forearm is bent. 
  3. Place your wrist at the same level as your heart. 
  4. Rest your hand against your body and keep your arm relaxed.
  5. Start the measurement and remain still in that seated position until the reading is complete. 
  6. You may wish to repeat this once or twice with at least a minute between each reading. Record your readings down for future reference. 

How To Improve The Accuracy Of Your Readings

No matter which device you choose, you can do a few things to maximize your readings' accuracy. They are as follows:-

  • Empty your bladder before measurement. 
  • Say you smoked, drank caffeinated beverages, or exercised in the past 30 minutes. In that case, wait until at least 30 minutes have elapsed after completing those activities before proceeding with your blood pressure measurement. 
  • Sit still and rest or relax for five minutes before starting the measurement. 
  • Do not talk or move about while having your blood pressure reading taken. 
  • If you cough or sneeze while having your reading taken, you need to restart the measurement. 
  • Ensure the cuff is the correct size. If you have any doubts, consult your healthcare provider to find the right size for yourself. [5,8]


Every device will have its pros and cons. 

Each product is unique, so it is best to make sure you get one that has been clinically approved or validated. In addition to that, you may want to compare the readings taken by your device to those taken by your healthcare provider. Any significant discrepancies mean you should either get your machine or technique checked. 

If you have any doubts or questions, reach out to your healthcare provider to get them clarified. 

This article is a general guide and should not replace the advice given by your healthcare professional. 

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