How to choose a tonometer?

For all hypertensive patients, the home tonometer is a vital subject, since they have to constantly monitor their blood pressure. It is the testimony of the tonometer that serves for them as a signal that it is urgent to take the medicine. Before going to the pharmacy for a tonometer, it makes sense to first thoroughly familiarize yourself with the entire range of blood pressure measurement devices that are currently available and study their main characteristics.

How to choose a home blood pressure monitor

All tonometers on the principle of action are divided into mechanical and electronic. Electronic tonometers are of two types - semi-automatic and automatic.

Mechanical tonometers

Mechanical tonometers have been used in medicine since the beginning of the twentieth century. Mechanical tonometers - the cheapest, but very accurate. The kit of any mechanical tonometer includes:

  • mercury manometer;
  • shoulder cuff;
  • air blower - rubber bulb;
  • phonendoscope.

The principle of operation of the mechanical tonometer

  1. The cuff is attached to the shoulder of the left hand.
  2. Rubber pear in the cuff inject air.
  3. Apply the phonendoscope to the elbow bend of the left hand and slowly begin to bleed the air out of the cuff.
  4. At that moment, when characteristic tapping starts to be heard in the stethoscope, systolic pressure is noted on the manometer.
  5. Then they continue to release air and listen to the phonendoscope - when the tapping abruptly breaks off, diastolic pressure is recorded on the manometer.

Advantages of a mechanical tonometer:

  • cheapness;
  • high measurement accuracy.

Cons of a mechanical tonometer:

  • hearing impaired people do not distinguish between knocking in the stethoscope;
  • people with diseased hands (for example, those suffering from arthrosis) find it difficult to inflate the air with a rubber bulb;
  • It is difficult for people with poor eyesight to distinguish the position of a mercury column in a manometer.

Electronic tonometers

Automatic electronic tonometers

In an automatic tonometer, air is pumped into the cuff by an electric compressor, pressure is measured by an oscillometric electronic circuit embedded in the device, and its indicators are displayed in digital form on the scoreboard.Depending on the place of attachment on the human body, shoulder automatic blood pressure monitors and blood pressure cuffs-bracelets attached to the wrist are distinguished.

Shoulder tonometers

Shoulder tonometers are very accurate and very easy to use, as they work without human help. In addition to measuring systolic and diastolic pressure, these tonometers can carry out a number of other auxiliary functions, for example, to measure the pulse and signal the presence of cardiac arrhythmias.

The main advantages of shoulder automatic blood pressure monitors:

  • high measurement accuracy;
  • very simple and easy to use, which is especially important for the elderly;
  • availability of additional functions.


  • high price;
  • the compressor consumes a lot of energy, so when using such a tonometer, it is better to use a network adapter, and not batteries built into it.

Tonometers bracelets

These automatic blood pressure monitors are battery powered, are attached to the wrist and measure pressure and pulse rate.


  • compactness and ease of use;
  • the ability to use the device outside the home - on the road, in public places, etc.


  • insufficient measurement accuracy;
  • to improve measurement accuracy, it should be carried out in the supine position.

Semi-automatic tonometers

These devices are a kind of hybrid of mechanical and automatic tonometers - the air in the cuff is pumped manually, with a rubber bulb, and the pressure is measured and displayed on the scoreboard. Semi-automatic tonometers are perhaps the best choice for people who are forced to measure pressure daily and who do not have a lot of money to buy a tonometer. A semi-automatic tonometer is not much more expensive than a mechanical one, but at the same time it is easy to use, works on batteries, rather accurately measures pressure and flashes readings on the screen, numbers on which a person with poor eyesight can see.