How to choose a tonometer?

For all hypertensives, a home tonometer -a vital subject, since they have to constantly monitor their blood pressure. It is the readings of the tonometer that serve as a signal to them that they need to take medicine urgently. Before going to the pharmacy for a blood pressure monitor, it makes sense first to get acquainted with the entire range of existing instruments for measuring blood pressure and to study their main characteristics.

How to choose the right home tonometer

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

Mechanical Tonometers

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

  • mercury manometer;
  • shoulder cuff;
  • air supercharger - rubber pear;
  • phonendoscope.

Principle of operation of a mechanical tonometer

  1. On the shoulder of the left arm is fixed the cuff.
  2. The rubber pear in the cuff is pumping air.
  3. To the elbow fold of the left hand, attach a phonendoscope and slowly begin to bleed air from the cuff.
  4. At the moment when the phonendoscope begins to hear characteristic knocking, the systolic pressure is noted on the manometer.
  5. Then continue to release air and listen to the phonendoscope - when the tapping breaks abruptly, the diaphragm pressure is fixed on the manometer.

Pros of a mechanical tonometer:

  • cheapness;
  • high measurement accuracy.

Mechanical tonometer:

  • hard of hearing people do not distinguish between tapping in a phonendoscope;
  • people with sick hands (for example, suffering from arthrosis) find it difficult to pump air with a rubber pear;
  • people with poor eyesight are difficult to distinguish between the position of the mercury column in the manometer.

Electronic Tonometers

Automatic electronic blood pressure monitors

In an automatic tonometer, air in the cuffis pumped by an electric compressor, the pressure is measured by an oscillometric electronic circuit integrated in the device, and its indicators are digitally displayed on the scoreboard. Depending on the attachment point on the human body, we distinguish shoulder automatic tonometers and tonometers-bracelets that are attached to the wrist.

Shoulder tonometers

Brachial tonometers are very accurate and very convenient inapplication, because they work without the help of a person. In addition to measuring systolic and diastolic pressure, these tonometers can also perform a number of other auxiliary functions, for example, to measure the pulse and signal the presence of cardiac arrhythmia.

The main advantages of shoulder automatic tonometers:

  • high measurement accuracy;
  • very simple and convenient 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, rather than built-in batteries.


These automatic blood pressure monitors work on batteries, attach to the wrist and measure pressure and pulse rate.


  • compact and easy to use;
  • the possibility to use the device outside the house - on the road, in public places, etc.


  • insufficient measurement accuracy;
  • To increase the accuracy of the measurement, it should be carried out in a lying position.

Semiautomatic tonometers

These devices are a kind of hybridmechanical and automatic tonometers - air in the cuff is pumped by hand, rubber pear, 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 do not have the big money to buy a tonometer. A semi-automatic tonometer is not much more expensive than a mechanical one, but it is easy to use, works on batteries, quite accurately measures the pressure and displays the readings on the screen, the figures on which a person with poor eyesight can also view. If you still doubt which tonometer to buy, we advise you to read our articles. What is the best tonometer and How to measure blood pressure.

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