Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Best Air Purifiers 2017: Comparison and Reviews

What is an Air Purifier

If you’re looking at air purifiers online, you probably already have a good idea of what one is; essentially, it’s a device that purifies the air in your home by removing pollutants such as dust, allergens, and pollen. Some can even handle contaminants like smoke and other odors. Considering the sheer amount of time we spend indoors, an air purifier can make a large impact on your health in your health if you suffer from allergies, asthma or other breathing problems, and provide some welcome relief.
But with that said, there are about as many different air purifiers out there as there are needs for them, and to help you get a better understanding and handle of the many options available to you, we’ve put together a buying guide of some of the best options available today.

Things to Consider in Choosing An Air Purifier

What is an HEPA Filter?

When choosing an air purifier, you’re going to see the phrase “True HEPA Filter” being thrown around often. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, and refers to a filter that can capture large amounts of very small particles – 99.7% of contaminants, down to .3 microns. For the history buffs out there, the standard was originally created in the 1940’s to capture radioactive particles that might be floating around research facilities. These days, it’s more of a generic term, but is used to denote that the filter works to the standards set by the US Department of Energy.
The word “True” is important as well; Filters marketed as “HEPA Type”, rather than “True HEPA” are still very effective, but usually only filter about 85-90% of contaminants found in the air – or about 1 micron in size.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

This will most likely be the first thing you think of when looking at choices. Air purifiers are available in prices that range from the very affordable ($50-$100) to the very expensive ($500-$500), with just about everything in between (good mid-range models can cost $150-$300).

Annual Operating Costs

Running an air purifier continuously in your home is going to cost some money, but exactly how much will depend on which one you choose. It should really only add a few dollars to your electric bill, but you will also have to keep the cost of filters in mind. While some lesser filters can be found for around $150-20 a pop, some more expensive models can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 each; when you have to replace them 3-4 months, this can add up quickly. (Tip: While a lot of manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every few months for best results, we find you can usually get away with cleaning them regularly and only replacing one or twice a year).

How Large of A Purifier Do You Need?

Other than price, this is likely the most important consideration in choosing an air purifier. The strength of a purifier is usually measured in Air Changes per Hour, or ACH. This is a measure of how many times the purifier can completely change the air in a room of a certain size in a single hour. You’ll want to look for an air purifier with an ACH of 2-5, but some larger, industrial models may go up to 10-12 ACH. Of course, if you stick a purifier with a lower ACH in a smaller room, it’s effective ACH will go up to match the size of the room.
You may also see things marked in terms of CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate, which also measures the volume and speed an air purifier turns out. Look for one with a CADR of at least 100+ for fast, powerful cleaning.



Many air purifiers come with multi-stage air purifiers, which provide multiple layers of filtering and choices for different purposes, such as filters for smoke or for allergens. Many will have a pre-filter, which blocks larger contaminants and particles before reaching the main HEPA filter, and helps extend its life. Others have filters coated in activated charcoal or carbon to further absorb odors – the Rabbitair MinusA2, for example, has 5 different filter stages, and lets you pick from 4 different custom filters such as Pet Allergy or Toxin Absorber. Remember to keep the cost of additional filters and maintenance in mind when choosing a model.

UV-C Light

Air purifiers with built-in UV-C lights are becoming more and more popular. UV-C lights help sanitize the air in your room by zapping it with UV rays, killing any germs or viruses that may be floating. While most models won’t have one of these, they are nice extra defense against illness.


Some air purifiers come with ionizers, which release negatively charged molecules into the air. These ions bind with pollutants in the air, making it easier for the filters to capture them, or are absorbed into the surfaces in your house. It’s not proven how well these work, and there is also a downside; ionizers create ozone, a toxic gas, that can further aggravate respiratory conditions.
Other Things to Keep in Mind


Most air purifiers will be relatively quiet – they are made for running continuously in your home, after all – but will make some noise, which you will want to be aware of, especially if you plan on using it in a bedroom. Most models have quiet modes for night time, and some even have automatic sensors.


– It’s wise to take some preliminary steps to remove indoor pollutants from the air, like cigarette smoke, vacuuming regularly, and changing the air filters in your central air system. These will not only improve the quality of your air, but also help lessen the stress and demand place on the air filter, and increase its longevity.
– While some air filters need to be regularly changed, others can be cleaned and re-used simply using water and light scrubbing with dish soap. Doing so save you a good chunk of change on filters, and you can probably get away with replacing much less often than recommended, unless your air is particularly bad.
– Remember to keep doors and windows closed while running an air purifier. Much like if you were trying to heat the house, leaving windows open will only result in the purified air escaping as soon as it is treated, and never making any progress.
– If you live in a humid environment, pair the air purifier with a dehumidifier for best results. This will prevent the growth of mold or mildew in your home in the first place, and relieve some of the stress off the filter.


Alen Breathesmart – BEST OF THE BEST

Our Top Choice for an air purifier is the Alen Breathesmart, one of the most featured and most powerful premium air purifiers on the market. With a CADR Rating of 300, an effective area of 1100 square feet – several rooms at once – and a pure HEPA filter, it is the most powerful and the most effective at cleaning the air on our list. The Breathesmart is also packed full of modern features, such as a Smart sensor that adjusts its power to the amount of pollutants found in the air, automatic Night Settings that turns down the noise and dims the lights, and a filter monitor that tells you when it’s time to change it. There’s also an optional ionizer mode.
The Breathesmart is also one of the most attractive air purifiers you will find, with a sleek, small body that comes in 15 different colors and blends seamlessly into the décor of your home. Every new customer also gets a free phone consultation to help with setup.
Are there downsides to the Breathesmart? The most notable one we can think of, is that it is kind of pricey, though we believe the quality and features make it worth it. Likewise, the replacement filters are some of the most expensive, though you can probably get away with changing them less frequently than recommended. And as always, the ionizer will release some ozone into the air, should you choose to use it.
Still, the Breathesmart is easily out top pick for an air purifier, thanks to its power, smart features, sleek façade and excellent build quality, all of which make it worth the price tag.


  • Smart Features – Automatic Night Sensors, filter monitor
  • 300+ CADR
  • 1100 Sq. Ft Effective Area
  • Modern Design


  • Expensive, including filters
  • Optional Ionizer releases ozone


Our follow-up to the Alen Breathesmart is the Rabbitair MinusA2, another powerful and modern air purifier with an effective area of 700 sq. feet and ACH of 2. It has one of the best filter systems we’ve seen yet, with six different filters including a pre-filter, medium filter, BioGs filter (which prevents the buildup of mold and bacteria), Custom filter, a Charcoal-based, carbon-activated filter, and a negative ion filter. The custom filter lets you choose between Germ Defense, Toxin Absorber, Odor Remover and Pet Allergy filters, suiting it’s cleaning power to whatever you need most in your home. And as a true HEPA filter, it filters down to .03 microns, removing 99.7% of contaminants in the air.
The MinusA2 is, like the Breathesmart, sleek, modern and attractive. While not as small as the Breathesmart, it is very thin, blends well into its surroundings, and even comes with a free wall mount kit for putting it neatly up on your wall. You can place it in your kitchen, living room, or bedroom, and the smart sensors automatically tone down the speed and lights at night. There are also childproof options, and it automatically shuts off should the front panel be removed while in use. Rabbitair also tosses in a 5-year warranty, which isn’t bad at all.
Overall, the MinusA2 is another high-quality, powerful and attractive option for an air purifier. Our only drawback is that it does not cover as much area as the Breathesmart (1100 vs 700 sq. ft), making the Breathesmart a better choice for the price.


  • 700 Sq Ft Effective Area, 2 ACH
  • True HEPA Filter
  • 6 Filter Design with Custom Filter
  • Modern aesthetic blends in well
  • Smart sensors, childproof locks


  • Expensive
  • Coverage is good, but not as much as Alen Breathesmart


The Levoit Pur131 is a much more affordable option than the two we’ve already highlighted. It’s a true HEPA filter, with 3 stages – Fine Preliminary, True HEPA and activated carbon. These work together to cover a decently large area of 322 square feet – not nearly as large as the two above it, but that’s to be expected for its lower price. It has a CADR of 135+, and is 100% ozone free.
The Levoit has a few of the smart features lacking in cheaper models, such as Sleep Mode, which turns down the fan and noise for up to 12 hours at night, and an automatic sensor that determines the quality of the air in your room and suggests a fan speed accordingly on the LED panel. Its external design isn’t quite as sleek as the Rabbitair or the Breathesmart, but is still attractive enough to fit in with your home or office without sticking out conspicuously.
It may not have the sheer power or coverage that more expensive air purifiers have, but the Levoit is an otherwise much more affordable, quality option for your home. It has all the necessary features at a good price, and very effectively cleans the air. Many reviewers have also emphasized how conservative the recommended filter replacement time is, and you can easily push it much longer.


  • Mid-range price
  • 3 Stage Filter
  • 135+ CADR
  • Smart sensors


  • Small area (322 sq ft)
  • Not as attractive

Purezone 3-in-1

The Purezone 3-in-1 is an affordable air purifier is designed for smaller areas of up to 200 square feet – not quite the power and range of others (or even the Levoit Pur131), but more than enough for a large room or kitchen. In addition to the pure HEPA filter, which captures 99.7% of pollutants, it also has a pre-filter and an activated carbon filter, hence the name “3-in-1”. A 3-speed fan lets you choose how powerful you need it. In addition, it has a UV-C light to sanitize the air, destroying germs, fungi, and mold, but no ionizer, eliminating any worry about ozone in the air.
Like the GermGaurdian, it doesn’t have much in the way of fancy smart features, but it does have an automatic timer, which can be set to 2, 4 or 8 hours, as well as a filter reset light. What it lacks in features, though, it makes up for in price and convenience; it is small and easy to transport, and can be moved around from room to room as you need. It does its job, is very effective at removing dust and allergens, and Purezone also includes a 5-year warranty, so you never have to worry about potential problems or breakdowns.


  • Affordable
  • 3 Stage Filter Design
  • UV-C Light for sanitizing air


  • Low cleaning area (200 square feet)
  • No smart sensors


Our last air purifier and our choice for Budget Buy is the GermGuardian AC4825. The GermGaurdian is a very basic and affordable air purifier, perfect for smaller rooms and houses. While it lacks the fancy features and power of some of the more expensive options on our list, it makes up for those with its affordable price tag. It has a CADR of 100, and can cover up to 155 square feet. There is a pre-filter, for capturing large particles, and a charcoal filter for absorbing odors. It also does not have an ionizer, which means it does not release any ozone. In its place, you’ll find a UV-C light, which sanitizes the air around it with UV light, killing bacteria and germs that may come into contact with it. This adds a nice layer of defense against illness, and makes a good alternative to ozone being released in the air.
The GermGaurdian is very quiet, and compact, but as a result, does not cover much area – especially when compared to top tier models like the Breathesmart or Rabbitair. Some users also complain about the smell it emits when first opened, though that does dissipate over time. Still, if you’re looking for an affordable, easy to use option that doesn’t have a lot of fancy features and is just needed to do one or two rooms, it’s a solid bet. And thanks to its small size and ease of use, it’s very quick to move around the house to whichever room calls for it.


  • Very affordable
  • UV-C Light
  • No ionizer
  • Pre-filter plus charcoal filter
  • Easy to move around


  • Small effective range
  • No smart sensors or features
  • Not very attractive


All-in-all, any of the air purifiers we’ve mentioned will be excellent choices for thoroughly cleaning the air in your home. As mentioned above, we recommend the Alen Breathesmart as our top pick, thanks to its attractive appearance, cleaning power, smart features and overall dependability. If you can’t quite afford the Breathesmart, however, and are looking for something cheaper, the GermGaurdian AC4825 is our Budget Buy, thanks to its portability and ease of use, UV-C light, and of course, price.
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Best Ankle Braces 2017: Comparison and Reviews

One of the most common – and most painful and nagging – kinds of injuries anybody has to deal with are those affecting the ankle. Whether it’s sprained, twisted, or simply banged up, chances are you’ve hurt your ankle. Athletes – and active people in general – are particularly susceptible to ankle problems, whether from running, jumping, or placing a kick incorrectly.

And when that happens, you’ll probably find yourself looking for a good ankle brace to relieve some of the pain. Ankle braces can help avoid injuries such as sprained or twisted ankles, where the ankle suddenly goes perpendicular to your leg or becomes pronated; they keep the ankle and foot straight and supported. They come in a variety of configurations, from ankles sleeve made of.
Should you find yourself already suffering from an ankle injury, ankle braces provide some stability and support as you recover. You may find yourself wearing one for several weeks to prevent you from re-injuring yourself, especially as you try to remain active and mobile and wait for swelling to go down.

How to Choose an Ankle Brace

Types of Brace

It’s important to choose an ankle brace that is appropriate for you and your ankle. There are a few different kinds to choose from; some features straps and hard inserts – whether plastic or steel – to provide support, while others are simply breathable, compression sleeves that provide some firmness and support. While compression sleeves are great for keeping swelling down, you will probably want to look at a complete wrap or brace if you really need support; a good brace will enclose the ankle, will have some way to adjust tightness – usually Velcro but sometimes laces, and will have supporting straps that wrap around the heel.


The first, and most important, thing you can do when choosing an ankle brace is select the right fit. An ankle brace that does not fit properly will simply not be very effective at preventing injuries or helping you come back from one. Thankfully, there’s a host of options to choose from, and enough ankle braces to fit just about anybody.


Think about the kind of sport you’re playing, and if you’ve already suffered an injury, the amount of support you’re going to need. Again, while basic compression sleeves might work for jogging or everyday activity, look for something with firmer support if you play more demanding sports or have a history of twisting your ankle; compression sleeves will not do a particularly effective job of preventing a twist or sprain. Likewise, if you have a moderate to severe sprain (Grade 2 to Grade 3), you’re definitely going to need a stiff brace that keeps your ankle firmly in place, as opposed to a compression brace that still allows for a full-range of motion (these will work fine for Grade 1 sprains).
Sturdy velcro straps or laces are important, as they allow you to properly tighten and adjust the brace during activity, for a proper fit. If they are not properly sized, however, braces that use straps or Velcro to tighten may come loose over time.

Ankle Brace Reviews


The McDavid 195 is another popular ankle brace, designed to work in a figure-6 shape, like ankle tape but made with nylon straps. A built-in arch provides a natural support and comfort for your heel and ankle. McDavid rates it with Level 3 Ankle support, intended for preventing and overcoming ankle sprains; they claim it offers three times the support of playing without one. It’s quite comfortable, with padded lining and a ventilated tongue to prevent overheating during sports and exercise.
Overall, users of the McDavid 195 are quite happy with it. Some have noted that sizing tends to be off, running a little bit large. But the compression and support it provides work well for both recovering sprained ankles and for playing sports; it’s stiff, but not too bulky, and fits well with athletic shoes. If you suffer from heel issues such as tendinitis, however, it may not be a good choice (check out the Sleeve Stars Foot Sleeve for that). Lastly, McDavid is a trusted maker of ankle and knee supports, and they back up every product with their reputation – and their McDavid Guarantee, which ensures replacement in case of any malfunction. It’s our choice for an all-around ankle brace.


  • Figure-6 design functions like ankle tape.
  • Nylon build for durability.
  • Good for ankle sprains.
  • Padded lining, ventilated tongue.


  • Doesn’t fit well under some shoes.

ASO Ankle Stabilizer

One of the most popular ankle braces on the market, the ASO Ankle Stabilizer is a durable piece that uses a figure-eight design with elastic cuff closures, laces and stabilizing straps to keep your ankles tightly wrapped and supported. It’s made from ballistic-grade nylon for durability, and a lightweight “Cool Flex” lining in the back of the boot, for added comfort while letting your feet breathe. The design fits both ankles and is low-profile enough to fit in your shoes. This design and its low cost makes it one of the most popular ankles braces on the market, and a top seller on stores like Amazon.
The ASO Ankle Stabilizer is almost universally well-reviewed, with high remarks for the support it offers, especially for recovery from sprains and other ankle issues; the shape of the brace keeps your foot in a neutral, 90-degree position that doesn’t allow for any inversion or extra rotation. The difference it makes to an injured ankle is almost night and day over walking without one. Firm and adjustable, it fits well within shoes. It does tend to run a little bit large, and some users have expressed a desire for more padding, citing it as uncomfortable. Overall, however, it’s an easy-to-use solution for recovering from sprains.


  • Ballistic-grade nylon straps.
  • Works with both ankles.
  • Fits in any shoes.
  • Good for recovery from sprains.


  • Runs large.


The Liomor is another very popular ankle brace, offering simple, straightforward support without any kind of bulk. The crisscrossing straps, made of durable elastic SBR and nylon, are moisture-wicking and feature vented perforation to keep your feet cool in action, eliminating odors and preventing bacteria from breeding on hot days. The design completely firmly supports your ankle joint, but features an open heel that allows for an even wider range of motion during activity. When tightly cinched, the straps also provide an ample amount of compression, which assists in taming swelling and inflammation.
Overall, those who have used the Liomor really like it; it fits comfortably in just about any shoe, provides good support, and is easy to put on properly. Very affordable, it is actually the cheapest in our guide and a solid option for both prevention and keeping swelling down. Liomor also provides a Money-Back Guarantee should any problems arise.


  • Streamlined design.
  • Moisture-wicking fabric with vents.
  • Open heel for increased range of motion.
  • Fits well in shoes.
  • Money-Back Guarantee.


  • Not very stiff; does not provide the most support.



The Sleeve Stars Foot Sleeve with Ankle Support is a two-piece brace that provides both general ankle support and specialized heel support. The first part of the system is a simple compression sleeve, worn on your ankle and heel, that helps to improve blood circulation and provide some relief from swelling. The second part is an extra strap, which is crossed similar to a strap like the McDavid 195 and adds an extra layer of support; when properly coupled, the two make an excellent layer of relief from conditions such as heel spurs, Achilles heel, and Plantar Fascitis. The fabric itself is moisture-wicking and machine-washable.
Reviewers of the Sleeve Stars generally love it, finding that it provides excellent relief from Plantar Fascitis and tendinitis in both everyday use and active pursuits – especially when using the bonus strap. Some believe that it is too bulky to fit under shoes, as well as that it may not those with smaller ankles very well. It’s also well-built, and Sleeve Stars backs it up with a 12-month warranty and their 100% Money Back Guarantee.


  • Two-piece design.
  • Bonus strap provides extra support and relief from plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, etc.
  • Excellent Price.
  • Machine Washable.
  • 12-Month Warranty, Money Back Guarantee.


  • May be too large for smaller ankles and feet.
  • Two-piece design too bulky for some shoes.


The McDavid 199 is the go-to brace for when you need serious support. It features spring steel medical grade stays to keep your ankle as stiff and stable as you need it; McDavid rates it with their Level 3 Maximum Protection, for Moderate to major instabilities and pain from sprains and serious twists.
The boot itself is made from two layers of nylon and vinyl mesh fabric, and uses McDavid’s Padded HydraVent hDc Moisture Management Technology in the lining for moisture-wicking and to keep your feet cool. The full lace-up system keeps everything tight and firm.
The 199 is built with the same quality standards and guarantees as their other products (like the McDavid 195); they’ve been doing it since 1969. Likewise, the 199 is as well-liked as the 19; it’s comfortable and amply padded, but provides ample support as well. Many find it perfect for recovering from sprains, but also for post-surgery recovery; it makes a lightweight alternative to a boot. If you’re still active and trying to avoid aggravating your already weak joints, it’s still slim enough to work with your running shoes. Some find the lace-up design easier to use than a figure-8 style wrap. There have been a few sizing issues mentioned, so be sure to properly size and adjust it before wearing. It’s our choice for an ankle brace with extreme support.
  • Extreme support with spring steel stays; stiffest brace on our list.
  • Works well for recovery from sprains.
  • HydraVent hDc Moisture Management to keep feet cool.


Our Top Pick for an all-around Ankle Brace is the McDavid 195, thanks to its firm support and stabilization. The figure-6 design is easy to use – similar to wrapping ankle tape – and the compression it provides is ample as well. And if you need even more support, you can’t go wrong with its big brother, the McDavid 199.
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How to Take Your Blood Pressure

Has your doctor recently informed you that you may have high blood pressure or pre-hypertension? If so, you know how important it is that you get your blood pressure under control. Your goal is to get it back within a healthy range and keep it there. Doing so may entail making some sweeping changes to your diet and exercise plan, but it is worth it to prevent heart disease and stroke.
In order to figure out if the changes you are making to your lifestyle are having the desired effect on your blood pressure, you need be taking measurements at home on a regular basis. Depending on your doctor’s orders, this could be once or twice a day, a week, or a month.

What Are Healthy Blood Pressure Measurements?

First off, you need to know what kinds of readings to look for to know if you are in a healthy range:
  • Normal blood pressure: Systolic less than 120, diastolic less than 80.
  • Pre-hypertension: Systolic ranging from 120-139, diastolic ranging from 80-89.
  • High blood pressure/hypertension: Systolic over 139, diastolic over 89.
  • Low blood pressure: Generally defined as systolic under 90 mm and diastolic under 60 mm.

How Do You Take Your Blood Pressure At Home?

1. First, make sure that you have not recently done anything that would cause your blood pressure to spike temporarily. Wait at least half an hour after eating, drinking caffeinated beverages, smoking, exercising, or taking certain medications. Also be aware that cold temperatures may spike your blood pressure, as can stress.
2. Empty your bladder. A full bladder can elevate your reading. Sit somewhere quiet and relaxing. Rest your feet flat on the ground. Sit up straight, and rest your arm at heart level.
3. Wait about five minutes. Do something to distract yourself if necessary. The whole point is to reach a calm, resting state.
4. Now it is time to actually take your blood pressure. The exact steps will depend on whether you are using a manual or automatic blood pressure monitor, and on the exact model you purchased. Most people use automatic models these days, which do most of the work for you. You simply secure the cuff on your upper arm or wrist as directed. After making sure it is properly positioned, you push the button, and the machine will take your reading.
5. It is often recommended to take another reading a few minutes later. If there is a variation of more than five points between them, take a third in another few minutes. Average the readings together or let the machine do it for you. You need to take the cuff off and reapply it each time. Sometimes inaccurate positioning is responsible for odd readings.

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Odds are that the first few times you take your blood pressure reading, you will get some odd results because you 1-are not used to the process and may be nervous, 2-may not be entirely sure what you are doing. Over time you will probably get more predictable results.
  • If you have a wrist model, know it may be less accurate than an upper arm model, and may give you slightly elevated readings.
  • It is wise to bring your monitor with you to your doctor’s office after you buy it. Your doctor can calibrate it and let you know how accurate it is, and give you tips for using it properly.
  • Even if the monitor automatically stores your readings, it is a good idea to take some additional notes yourself. While ideally you should be calm and collected every time you take your reading, there are going to be days when you are anxious, frustrated, hot or cold, or experiencing some other situation that could throw off your reading. Keep track of these variables so that you have perspective on your readings.
Now you know what you need to do to get accurate blood pressure readings. If you have a hard time properly positioning and adjusting blood pressure monitor cuffs, consider buying a device that provides you with positioning guidance. Need help picking out a monitor? Check out our detailed buying guides!
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How to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure

When is the last time you had your blood pressure checked? What was the reading? More importantly, did you know what the reading meant? Unless there is something glaringly wrong with your blood pressure reading (and sometimes even then), practitioners won’t say anything about your reading when they take it. They’ll just recite the numbers and press on. But it’s very important to know what a healthy reading is.
Just how important? Consider that one in three Americans has high blood pressure. That is quite a sobering statistic. Many of these people are not even aware that they are hypertensive. High blood pressure puts you at risk for serious complications, including heart disease and stroke. If you want to prevent these deadly diseases, you need to keep your blood pressure under control.

What is a Healthy Blood Pressure Reading?

The first step is knowing what a healthy range is. Systolic pressure is the top number. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number.
  • Normal blood pressure: Systolic less than 120, diastolic less than 80.
  • Pre-hypertension: Systolic ranging from 120-139, diastolic ranging from 80-89.
  • High blood pressure/hypertension: Systolic over 139, diastolic over 89.
How is low blood pressure defined? Definitions vary, but typically if your systolic blood pressure is under 90 mm and your diastolic reading is under 60 mm, then you are considered to have low blood pressure.
It is also important to know that one person’s normal blood pressure can be another person’s low blood pressure and vice versa. “Normal” readings vary for each individual, and there are also variations by age. Blood pressure readings tend to be on the lower side for younger people, for example. On top of all that, there is the fact that blood pressure varies throughout the day, and may also go up because of activity or factors in the environment or even mood.

Monitoring Your Blood Pressure

Once you understand how healthy blood pressure is defined, the next step is to buy a home blood pressure monitor so that you can keep track of your own levels. If your doctor is concerned about your blood pressure levels, he or she will recommend a schedule to take readings.
How often will you be asked to check? Usually it is recommended that for the first week or so, you take your blood pressure twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. After you have done that, you usually can switch to taking it just a couple of times a week, or even a couple of times a month. Again, your doctor will work with you on this.
It is important to know how to take your blood pressure properly to ensure that you are getting accurate readings. To learn more, be sure to check out our detailed blog post on the topic.

Keeping Blood Pressure Levels Healthy

Tracking your blood pressure levels using a monitor gives you a feel for where you are at, and allows you to see if you are making improvements, maintaining your present levels, or getting worse. But how can you actually take steps toward improvements? Here are a few recommendations for reducing your high blood pressure:

Work out regularly

Exercising releases nitric acid in your body, which opens up your blood vessels, dropping blood pressure. It also helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system and lose weight. Burning just 10 pounds can make a substantial difference in your blood pressure readings.

Improve your diet

A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, fish and nuts is perfect for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Stay away from sugar, fats, red meats, and processed foods. If you eat an excessive amount of salt, back off from the shaker.

If you smoke or drink, knock it off

Alcohol causes weight gain and also raises your blood pressure all on its own—so that is two ways in which it makes your situation worse. Smoking constricts blood vessels, and is just really bad for you all around. It raises your risk for heart disease, the very thing you are trying to avoid.

Do what you can to reduce stress levels

Few things will raise your blood pressure as quickly as stress, frustration, and anger. If your life is filled with chronic stress, do what you can to remove stressors and relax. Take care of your psychological health to take care of your physical health.
Maintaining your blood pressure may require some serious lifestyle changes, and is a task that will call on you to make a lasting commitment. High blood pressure can rob you of your health, and ultimately, your life. Making the commitment to change and get healthy is absolutely worth it!
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Best Blood Pressure Monitors 2017: Comparison and Reviews

If you have a blood pressure related health problem, you need to stay on top of your blood pressure numbers. In fact, your life may even depend on how well you pay attention.
If you’re on medication, you need to record accurate blood pressure readings. Without good data, there’s no way for your doctor to know how much medicine to give you.
Failing to keep up with the data could be a fatal mistake. Around the world, high blood pressure is responsible for 12.8 percent of all deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 out of every 3 Americans have high blood pressure.
Fortunately, those in need of a blood pressure monitoring system have lots of different options. Today’s best blood pressure monitors are inexpensive, accurate, portable and discreet.

4 Types of Blood Pressure Monitors

Upper arm style. Most doctors use an upper arm style monitor to take your blood pressure. That’s because arm cuff blood pressure monitors are very accurate. However, some are bulky and uncomfortable compared to other blood pressure monitoring devices.
Wrist style. Wrist blood pressure monitors are significantly smaller and more discreet than upper arm style devices. The technology is continuing to improve, but overall wrist blood pressure monitors are still not quite as accurate as upper arm blood pressure monitoring devices.
Manual. Old-fashioned manual blood pressure monitors (aka sphygmomanometers) can be very accurate– if they are calibrated correctly. Manual blood pressure monitors tend to be cheaper than their digital counterparts. Another benefit is that electricity is not required.
Digital. Automatic digital blood pressure monitors are capable of self-inflating. Some can even upload info to the internet or to a smartphone. Of course, in order to run a digital blood pressure monitor you’ll need a source of electricity. Most digital blood pressure monitors run on batteries, but some come with A/C adapters.

Questions to Ask When Buying a Blood Pressure Monitor

How complicated is it? If you’re tech savvy, you may feel comfortable using a smartphone compatible blood pressure monitor. But if not, then you may be better off with a simpler product. Most feature-rich digital blood pressure monitors are complicated compared to simpler types of blood pressure monitoring machines.
Will the cuff fit? Upper arm style blood pressure monitors are usually– but not always– adjustable. If your arm is too big or too small for the cuff, you won’t be able to use it. Most manufacturers list the size of the cuff on the side of the box. If you’re buying via the internet, check the product’s Amazon page or the manufacturer’s website for size info.
What’s the procedure? Some types of blood pressure monitors require you to move your arm in certain ways as you take a measurement. For example, some wrist style blood pressure monitors necessitate moving your hand toward your heart. If you’re not consistent in the way that you measure, you won’t get accurate results. Other types of blood pressure monitors don’t require any special movements.

Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

In recent years, researchers have discovered a few interesting ways to lower your blood pressure using natural methods. All of the techniques listed below are totally safe. So if any of these ideas sound appealing, feel free to try them out– and don’t forget to use your blood pressure monitor to record your results.
Get some sun. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that people exposed to the UV rays experienced a significant blood pressure drop.
Meditate. According to the American Medical Association, meditating for just a few minutes can help you let go of stress and reduce blood pressure issues.
Hug somebody. Some scientists believe that there could be a link between physical affection and blood pressure. A recent study in the journal Biological Psychology revealed that women who often hug their husbands have lower blood pressure compared to women who dislike physical contact.
Dance. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, aerobic dance therapy reduces the number of antihypertensive drugs needed to achieve blood pressure control.

The Top 7 Blood Pressure Monitors of 2017

Are you looking for a cutting edge blood pressure monitor that can send your health stats to a smartphone app? Or, are you looking to buy a monitor for a relative who can’t see so well anymore?
Our “best of” list has a little something for everyone. Read on to discover the top 7 blood pressure monitors of 2017.

1. The Best Deluxe Blood Pressure Monitor: the BP785 10 by Omron

This blood pressure monitor from Omron does it all. The BP785 is the most feature rich blood pressure monitoring device on our list. One of the best things about this gadget is that it double checks each result, which lowers the chance that it’ll display a false alarm.

The Good

  • Detects irregular heartbeat patterns. This monitor’s advanced computer algorithms can read your heart pattern and find out if there’s anything abnormal happening.
  • No false alarms. The internal computer double checks each result, ensuring that you won’t be alerted to a problem unless there’s really something wrong.
  • Advanced calculation features. Like several other blood pressure monitors on our list, this one automatically averages your latest heartbeat measurements together.
  • Displays hypertension alerts. If your blood pressure spikes, the display will let you know you that it’s time to relax.

The Bad

Fans of previous versions of this blood pressure monitor may be thrown off by this unit’s complicated user interface. Omron added on many new features this time around, but figuring out how to use them takes a bit of practice.

The Verdict

The sheer number of built-in features is the best thing about the BP785 10. However, the learning curve is a little steep. If you’re looking for a basic, easy-to-use blood pressure monitor, Panasonic’s EW3109W or Santamedical’s Adult Deluxe Aneroid Sphygmomanometer are better choices.

2. The Best Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor: the BP652 7 by Omron

Omron’s BP652 7 is one of the most comfortable and portable blood pressure monitors out there right now in the wristband style blood pressure monitor category. The BP652 is ultra portable, discreet and accurate.

The Good

  • Inflates automatically for highly accurate readings. All that’s required to get a reading is a single button press. The wristband quickly fills with air and checks your blood pressure.
  • It’s totally silent. Some wristband style blood pressure monitors make a lot of noise when they inflate, but this one’s very quiet.
  • It looks like an ordinary wristwatch. Some blood pressure monitors are bulky, but this one is compact and portable.
  • Review your blood pressure history with ease. This blood pressure monitor stores your health info to memory.

The Bad

The instructions are confusing and hard to understand.

The Verdict

There are several wristband style blood pressure monitors on our list, but the BP652 7 is the smallest, most discreet option. The only downside is that the included instructions are poorly written. However, those who figured out how to use this device properly were pleased with the results.

3. The Best Armband Blood Pressure Monitor: the BP786N 10 by Omron

Armband blood pressure monitors are bulkier than wrist style devices, but they’re also more accurate. The BP786N 10 comes with an array of attractive features including a free smartphone app, which may be why it is currently listed as the most popular digital blood pressure monitor on Amazon.

The Good

  • It’s one of the most popular blood pressure monitors on Amazon. This blood pressure monitor device recently made it to the top spot on Amazon’s digital blood pressure monitor bestsellers list.
  • It’s compatible with Apple and Android smartphones. The BP786N is the only item on our list that’s compatible with smartphones. You can transfer information to and from your smartphone by using the free app.
  • The large, backlit LCD display is easy to read. Some blood pressure monitors have small, crowded screens. But the BP786N’s screen is big and the readings are easy to see.
  • It’s comfortable. This device’s patented Easy Wrap ComfFit cuff won’t scratch or pinch your skin.

The Bad

The good news is that this device allows you to export your health data to a spreadsheet. The bad news is that you’ll probably have to do some editing to fix a few irritating formatting errors if you plan on organizing the data.

The Verdict

Most doctors use armband style blood pressure monitors to get blood pressure information. That’s because they’re more accurate compared to other types of blood pressure monitors. The only problem is that most armband style blood pressure monitors are uncomfortable and hard to use. The BP786N is an exception. Its ComFit cuff is actually quite comfortable.

4. The Most User Friendly Digital Blood Pressure Monitor: EW3109W by Panasonic

It’s nice to have options. But sometimes, simpler is better. If you’re looking for a bare bones digital blood pressure monitor that’s super easy to use, look no further. Panasonic’s EW3109W is the most user friendly blood pressure monitor on our list. It’s the perfect choice for anyone look for a hassle-free way to check their blood pressure.

The Good

  • One touch operation. You won’t need to dig through the instruction manual to figure out how to use this device. Just press the button whenever you want to get a reading.
  • Built-in memory saves your last 90 readings. When it comes to monitoring blood pressure, it’s important to be able to look at trends. This device’s built-in memory allows you to do just that.
  • It comes with a carrying pouch. If you want to carry this monitor with you, just wrap the cuff around the monitor and slide it in the carrying bag.
  • The large display is easy to read. The large display makes this blood pressure monitor a good choice for people with vision problems.

The Bad

It doesn’t come with an A/C adaptor. This blood pressure monitor does feature an A/C adapter plug, but you have to buy your own A/C adaptor if you want to plug it into an outlet.

The Verdict

Though the EW3109W doesn’t include “gee whiz” features found on other blood pressure monitors, it does its basic job quite well. If you’re looking for a modern, digital blood pressure monitor with tons of cutting edge features, Omron’s BP786N or BP785N are better choices.
5. The Blood Pressure Monitor With the Most Storage Space: BP2M by Ozeri
The BP2M can hold more stats than any other blood pressure monitoring devices on our list. Even though this monitor’s body is quite small, it can hold 1197 different blood pressure readings. We also liked this device’s display. The BP2M is the only blood pressure monitor on our list that’s capable of displaying multiple colors. The color coded results allow for quick and easy blood pressure tests.

The Good

  • It has a ton of built-in memory. This monitor can hold 1197 data points.
  • The multicolored LCD display. When your blood pressure goes up, the display changes from green to yellow to red.
  • One size fits all. This armband style monitor can be adjusted to fit any size arm.
  • Quick results. The BP2M automatically inflates to just the right level– no manual adjustments required. You’ll only have to wait a few seconds to get a reading.

The Bad

It isn’t very power efficient compared to other blood pressure monitors.

The Verdict

Ozeri’s BP2M has a lot going for it. We love the LCD display because the colored alerts allow you to instantly get up to speed on your blood pressure status. It’s also great for tracking your blood pressure over time, because it has a ton of on-board storage space. This device’s main weakness is its short battery life.

6. The Best Manual Blood Pressure Monitor: Adult Deluxe Aneroid Sphygmomanometer by Santamedical

Digital blood pressure monitors have lots of interesting features. But if all you want to do is take a simple blood pressure reading, an old-fashioned aneroid sphygmomanometer may be more your speed. As long as you keep it calibrated, this aneroid sphygmomanometer will provide you with highly accurate blood pressure readings.

The Good

  • It’s one of the most popular sphygmomanometers on Amazon. This product has great reviews, plus it’s inexpensive compared to other sphygmomanometers.
  • No batteries necessary. You don’t need electricity to use this monitor.
  • Comes with a discreet carrying case. The carrying case allows you to easily bring this blood pressure monitor with you wherever you go.
  • Affordable price. This is the cheapest blood pressure monitor on our list.

The Bad

This manual blood pressure monitor lacks the features found on most modern digital blood pressure monitors. Also, you have to manually calibrate this device yourself if you want accurate readings.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a good manual blood pressure monitor, this offering from Santamedical won’t disappoint. As long as you know how to use one properly, this type of device is capable of delivering very accurate readings.

7. The Best Budget Blood Pressure Monitor: the BP629 3 by Omron

The BP629 3 is a budget monitor– but it isn’t cheaply made. This device is built for accuracy. The manufacturer’s experience and attention to detail has enabled the BP629 3 to outperform several more expensive blood pressure monitoring devices. Omron has been making portable blood pressure monitors for three decades. Their experience in the field of health electronics really shows here.

The Good

  • It’s accurate. If you use it correctly, the BP629 3 will deliver reasonably accurate results.
  • It’s easy to use. The included instructions are well-written and the user interface takes just a few minutes to figure out.
  • Portable and lightweight. This monitor is small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Low price. The BP629 3 is one of the most inexpensive items on our list.

The Bad

If you change the batteries, you have to go through the setup process all over again.

The Verdict

The BP629 is a simple, inexpensive device– so don’t expect it to match the performance of more expensive machines. On the other hand, if all you want is a simple machine more comfortable, more portable and more accurate compared to similar types of devices in this price range.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive blood pressure monitor that’ll give you a realistic idea of what your blood pressure status is, the BP629 is worth a look.

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