We have been asked a number of times what the differences are between brand blood pressure monitors (e.g. Omron, Microlife and Beurer) and the Chinese blood pressure monitors that are for sale on Aliexpress, for example. After all, there is a reasonable price difference between the two types of blood pressure monitors. In this article, we compare blood pressure monitors and take a closer look at Chinese-made blood pressure monitors.
One of the very first things we compare is the amount of features. The thing that stands out is the large number of features in Chinese blood pressure monitors. These blood pressure monitors seem to be able to do everything that the expensive brand blood pressure monitors can do. And often even more. Many user profiles can be created and they have a large number of memory entries.
The cuffs seem to feel the same. But if you take a closer look at the cuff, you’ll notice a few distinct differences in the finish. Chinese cuffs have a few loose threads on them. The brand cuffs obviously do not. We expect a Chinese cuff to last several weeks to months before it needs to be replaced.
Most Chinese-made cuffs are quite simple. They are made of soft plastic or fabric cuffs. This is not comparable to, for example, Omron’s Intelliwrap cuff. This is a sturdy cuff whose quality can really be felt.
The cuffs must, of course, be properly inflated. This is, in fact, one of the most important prerequisites for measuring blood pressure properly. At this point, the Chinese-made blood pressure monitor fails miserably. It inflates the cuff so hard that it hurts the arm. At one point we were even forced to take the cuff off because of the pain. This obviously caused the measurement to fail. On remeasurement, things improved, but there was still heavy pressure on the upper arm.
There is also a big difference in the measurement of blood pressure. The brand blood pressure monitors show almost the same values. The Chinese blood pressure monitors were sometimes well off. More than half of the measurements were incorrect. This is unfortunate, because all calculations (e.g., averages) were therefore incorrect.
Herein lies the major difference between the blood pressure monitors. The blood pressure monitors of the well-known brands are almost all clinically validated. They have been extensively tested and approved for use. This is not the case with Chinese blood pressure monitors. Here we were unable to find any clinically validated blood pressure monitors.
Our final verdict
Chinese-made blood pressure monitors are cheap. For the price of one brand blood pressure monitor, you can basically buy two Chinese blood pressure monitors through Aliexpress. The features that Chinese blood pressure monitors have are sometimes impressive. A lot is possible with these little units. A brand blood pressure monitor can learn a lot from this.
Unfortunately, the quality of the Chinese blood pressure monitors was disappointing. In our opinion, the measurements were not accurate. In addition, the inflation function was an outright torture. It really hurt the arm. Surely the readings and the pump function are the deciding factors in measuring blood pressure.
Despite these drawbacks, we see that Chinese blood pressure monitors are on the rise. It probably won’t be long before Chinese blood pressure monitors are of such high quality that they can easily challenge brand blood pressure monitors. As soon as the Chinese blood pressure meters meet the right quality requirements, we will be happy to include them in our product range.