Harvard Heart Letter

Measuring blood pressure at home

There are wrong ways and right ways to measure your blood pressure. Watch Harvard Heart Letter Editor Patrick Skerrett demonstrate both.

/video/PJS_blood_pressure_wnfi_web.mov

QuickTime movie [3.6 MB]
Get QuickTime


Buy a monitor that meets the test

There are dozens of home blood pressure monitors on the market. You can buy a good one at your local pharmacy or a big-box store for anywhere between $40 and $100.

The American Heart Association recommends using the type with a cuff that fits around your upper arm. Those that go around the wrist or attach to a finger aren't quite as accurate. Not all home blood pressure monitors pass tests for accuracy and reliability. Independent evaluations have been done by the dabl Educational Trust, the British Hypertension Society, and the Consumers Union (which publishes Consumer Reports). Each has posted or published its list of trustworthy machines. You can find these in the Resources section below.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »