While you can choose to go to a health facility to take your blood pressure test, it is no doubt more convenient to monitor your readings from home, especially if recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, also known as, hypertension.

Usually, with a home monitoring blood pressure machine, you can do your tests as frequently as possible. You can then take the recorded readings with you to your doctor when going for your regular checkups. That way, it becomes easier to for you to track progress and for the doctor to recommend best management practices.

When deciding to purchase the blood pressure machine, you will need to consider a few factors so that you get the best out of it. The features to look out for include:

1. Type of machine
2. Size of cuff
3. Memory capacity
4. Powering
5. Advanced functioning


Type of machine

There are two main types of blood pressure machines, the manual type and the digital/automated type. The manual blood pressure machine is also sometimes referred to as a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cuff. The device uses a rubber or silicone pump to inflate and deflate the cuff. For the digital blood pressure machine, the cuff inflates automatically once the machine comes on. Automatic blood pressure machines are more common for home monitoring.

Within the digital blood pressure machines, you can also choose between the wrist monitor and the upper arm cuff monitor. While the former is more convenient for travels, the latter is recommended when it comes to accuracy.

Size of cuff

Blood pressure machines come with cuffs that vary in size. A well-fitting cuff is paramount for accurate readings. In Kenya, the standard cuff measures between 22cm to 32cm. For persons with bigger arms, a large cuff going up to 42cm would work best. You will find blood pressure machines that have a wide cuff of 22cm to 40cm or of 22cm to 42cm to serve a variety of users.

Memory capacity

It helps to have your readings stored in the machine, particularly if you plan to take your readings to the doctor every now and then. Some blood pressure machines will store only the last reading, and that will therefore mean having to note down every recording on a book or your phone. However, several machines in Kenya come with storage capacity that can range anywhere from 30 readings all the way to 120. Some will also allow for separate storage of readings for different users.


Blood pressure machines can operate on batteries or electricity. In Kenya, several come with AA or AAA batteries. Alternative powering also exists for many; you will find that you can operate some machines the batteries when connected to a power source with an AC adapter or a USB cable.

Advanced Functioning

More advanced blood pressure machines will provide more than just blood pressure readings. You can look out for additional functionalities such as irregular heartbeat detection, atrial fibrillation, cuff wrap guide, color indicator among others. 


Ultimately, your budget matters. After considering the features you need, you can easily settle for what you can afford. A simple blood pressure machine like the Omron M1 basic automatic BP machine will come with a standard cuff, and has last reading memory capacity.



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