Purchasing a sphygmomanometer that meets your needs is an important consideration.
Whether you are a medical professional, home care worker, or taking readings on yourself, you will want an accurate, easy to use method of monitoring blood pressure and heart rates.
These days you can pick up low-cost manual sphygmomanometers or pay a little more for a digital monitor. The type you opt for will be down to personal preference as well as the level of functionality you require.
When looking to buy a sphygmomanometer there are some important factors to think about. The size of the cuff is an obvious point as this will need to fit the patients you work with.
Also, if you are planning on tracking readings over a period of time, you should consider a digital monitor that will automatically do this for you.
A person that needs to monitor their own blood pressure, should ensure that the sphygmomanometer is easy to use with one hand.
Beyond this, there are the issues of build quality, materials used for the cuff (hypoallergenic, etc), and in the case of digital devices, screen size, data points, and battery life.
In this review roundup, we will take a close look at 5 market-leading sphygmomanometer / digital monitors that successfully cover the above points. With a range of features and price points among them, you should certainly find a unit that meets your needs.
1. BEST DIGITAL DEVICE: URBEST Blood Pressure Monitor
The best digital Sphygmomanometer, blood pressure monitor in my top 5 this year is this offering from URBEST.
This highly accurate monitor is really easy to use and is perfect for nurses or home care workers. Fully approved by CE, ROHS, BSCI, and ISO13485, the device can also be used as a heart rate pulse monitor.
It is designed with an ultra-thin body so it is both lightweight and portable. The monitor also has a large 3.7” backlit display, so that taking readings is never a bother.
It comes with an extra-large cuff that can be strapped between 9” and 17” around the upper arm, (the unit is designed to be used on adults only).
The two-user mode is a really handy feature that allows 2 patients to have their blood pressure automatically tracked across 180 readings (90 per user). The readings provide both date and pressure data.
Everything works with just a touch of a button. The device will automatically begin analyzing pressure levels and provide a reading after approximately 30 seconds.
To top it all off (and to provide a little peace of mind), the unit is sold with a full, 1-year guarantee.
Overall the URBEST Blood Pressure Monitor is an excellent, easy to use blood pressure reading device that will not disappoint.
Well designed, with some nice features such as the tracker memory, this is currently one of the best digital Sphygmomanometers on the market today.
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2. Medline Compli-Mates Aneroid Sphygmomanometer Kit with Carrying Case
What’s not to like with the Medline Compli-Mates Aneroid Sphygmomanometer Kit? While it doesn’t feature the bells and whistles of the digital device from URBEST (reviewed above), for those of us look for a simple, manual Sphygmomanometer, you can’t go wrong with this.
Affordable yet well constructed, this is another addition to the quality Medline range of medical tools.
The pressure cuff comes in various colors (allowing you to inject a level of style into your choice of Sphygmomanometer. Because let’s face it, these devices can often look very dull)
The unit is also shipped with an oversized, nylon matching carrying case. This is large enough to carry a small number of additional items, which is a worthwhile design decision on the part of Medline in my opinion.
If you are a care worker traveling from patient to patient, the ability to store a few essentials in your Sphygmomanometer kit bag is definitely a bonus.
Overall the Medline Aneroid Sphygmomanometer is a great choice for medical professionals, nurses and students.
The manual device is affordable yet high-quality in its construction, (despite a few users experiencing punctured bladders). If you are looking for a simple way of taking blood pressure readings this is the Sphygmomanometer to buy.
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3. Sinocare Blood Pressure Monitor, with 2 User (90 readings each) Memory
Here we have another digital device, this time from the girls and guys over at Sinocare. It is actually quite similar to my top pick from URBEST, and it was a close call between the two on who would get that accolade.
(The Sinocare monitor lost out marginally because, in my opinion, it is not as easy to use).
Trustworthy readings are the name of the game here of course, and this device will provide these.
The blood pressure monitor can track 2 users together, with a total storage space of 90 readings each.
As with the URBEST monitor, the reading is imprinted with date & time stamps for each. The average of the last 3 readings is the data that is recorded.
Other handy little features include irregular heartbeat detection (which provides an error symbol that can be understood by looking at the manual), and the large LCD display for easier readings.
There is also a voice instruction and readout function that is particularly useful if an elderly person is using the device. This can be deactivated with a simple turn of a SET key, (provided).
The adjustable cuff has a range between 8.66” and 16.54”. Why they couldn’t just round that up I do not know.
Finally, Sinocare offers 24/7 professional and friendly customer care as a backup to the device.
If you are looking for a digital Sphygmomanometer with extras above and beyond the call of duty, this could be the device for you.
It has the functionality of my top pick, along with features such as voice instruction. While not as easy to use as the Medline offering, this is still a top-quality device that won’t disappoint.
4. BEST MANUAL DEVICE: Dixie Ems Deluxe Aneroid Sphygmomanometer Blood Pressure Cuff
My top budget pick for 2020 is the Dixie Ems Deluxe Aneroid Sphygmomanometer.
This device does what it says on the tin. With no fanfare, what you have here is a simple to use, manual Sphygmomanometer that will provide accurate readings each time you use it.
The unit offers a calibrated blue nylon cuff. This is designed to measure pressure levels from 20mmHg up to 300mm Hg.
The manufacturers describe it as a deluxe inflation system (it is well built, it cannot be denied), that features a two-tube, latex bladder.
The device also has a large, knurled air release valve, allowing the user to deflate the bladder with precision.
A well-designed end valve also reduces contaminants and dust from building up inside.
The velcro enclosure holds the cuff in place, yet is easy to remove once a reading has been taken.
Despite its budget price, the guys over at Dixie have also included a black zippered carry case so that the device can be kept clean and protected when not in use.
My top pick manual Sphygmomanometer is a low budget wonder. Well constructed and easy to use, this is a reliable manual Sphygmomanometer that will help get your readings time and time again. Highly recommended.
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5. Medvice Manual Blood Pressure Cuff – Universal Size Aneroid Sphygmomanometer
The final blood pressure monitor / Sphygmomanometer in my top 5 is another simple to use device, this time from Medvice.
This high-quality unit is designed to fit a range of arm sizes, from 22cm right up to 42 cms, making it great for both hospital or home use.
The cuff can easily be applied with one hand, should you be taking your own readings. A feature that is often overlooked, yet very important due to the sheer number of patients that do use devices such as these, at home, while on their own.
The Sphygmomanometer has a metal-air needle valve for smooth pressure relief regulation.
The high-quality construction has seen the manufacturers opt for a sturdy, zinc alloy body. The device also has a non stop manometer mechanism and a supercharger check valve, (again built to prevent dust build-up).
Medvice did all of this while still creating a lightweight and portable unit that comes complete with its own carry case.
Comfort is a priority with the durable hypoallergenic non-latex nylon cuff. A calibration key is provided so that the accuracy of the results can be checked.
Professionals, caregivers, or patients themselves will have no issue reading the large, easily readable number dial.
While more expensive than some of the other Manual Aneroid Sphygmomanometers on the market, this device from Medvice has some great features that set it apart from the rest.
Well designed and built, while being easy to use, this will is a unit that won’t disappoint.
What is a Sphygmomanometer and what does it do?
A Sphygmomanometer is used to measure a patient’s blood pressure within the arteries. It provides two main readings that the carer can use to ascertain the condition of the subject.
The first is a systolic reading that is used to measure the heart’s blood flow out of the aorta. The second reading is known as diastolic, and this is the measurement of blood flow into the heart.
The sphygmomanometer is able to perform these readings using the cuff around the patient’s arm. Before the cuff is filled, the heartbeat heard through the stethoscope is the systolic reading, (blood flowing from the heart).
As air flows into the cuff, the heartbeat starts to fade until what is being measured is the diastolic reading, (blood flowing into the heart).
The average reading in a healthy adult is approximately 120/80. Although factors such as age, overall health, and any underlying conditions will make this vary.
The Different Types of Sphygmomanometer
When looking to buy a sphygmomanometer, you will come across 3 main types; digital, aneroid, and mercury. Let’s take a closer look at each of them now.
The digital sphygmomanometer is popular for home use as they are easy to use. They are the newest type of sphygmomanometer available and have many benefits for the novice user.
- Pros include – Accurate and easy to use and as they do not require medical training to obtain readings.
- Cons include – They are more expensive than traditional mercury or aneroid devices. They are also larger and require a power source.
The aneroid sphygmomanometer remains popular with medical professionals. There is no harmful fluid inside (see description of the mercury sphygmomanometer below). and they come in convenient sizes; pocket, palm, and clock-style aneroid devices are available.
They are also accurate, affordable, and lightweight making them a good choice for the busy medical practitioner.
- Pros include – Safe, accurate, lightweight, and affordable
- Cons include – Aneroid sphygmomanometer do need to be calibrated periodically making them more difficult to use than digital devices. In fact, only trained medical staff should really use them.
The mercury sphygmomanometer is actually difficult to come across these days. They are from medical wards of old. The reason for this is due to the potentially harmful mercury inside.
In their time, they were very accurate. However, they needed to be kept upright to work properly and mercury seepage could be hazardous. In short, they were cumbersome and potentially dangerous. You will not see many mercury sphygmomanometers in 2021, put it that way.
- Pros include – Very accurate and last many years if looked after properly. They also never need to be recalibrated.
- Cons include – They are difficult to handle and the mercury inside is potentially harmful
Parts of the Sphygmomanometer
“ABC of hypertension: Blood pressure measurement: Part 1—Sphygmomanometry: factors common to all techniques” BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 02 June 2001). Citation: BMJ 2001;322:1349.
“Can an automatic oscillometric device replace a mercury sphygmomanometer on blood pressure measurement? a systematic review and meta-analysis” Blood Pressure Monitoring: December 2019 – Volume 24 – Issue 6 – p 265-276. [Link]