Pros: easy to use, reliable measurement, quiet
Cons: inability to store results
In a prior review of the Mark of Fitness WS-820 blood pressure monitor I shared that there were issues with that product's measurement that left me concerned about reliability. To replace it I purchased the ReliOn HEM-741. After doing some research I learned that the ReliOn products are a Wal-Mart house brand made by Omron, a company that is well-known for their blood pressure measurement products. It is a more traditional blood pressure cuff that has been a solid addition to my set of health measurement tools. Purchased at my local Wal-Mart for around $40, it is a purchase that I am very pleased with.
This machine is very quiet and comfortable. It has an irregular heartbeat indicator, good to have as a precaution so that you can contact your doctor if there are issues. There is a single on/off button on the unit, giving it a very efficient appearance. The unit has nice visual display that is easy to read, even in low lighting. You can either use 4 AA batteries as your power source or use the included AC adaptor. For home use I find that that adaptor makes good sense, and eliminates the need to replace batteries.
The cuff is designed for the standard upper arm placement, and is not stiff like you find on some units. According to the documentation with the HEM-741 the cuff is designed for arms between 9 and 13 inches in circumference. The instructions are very clear about how the readings should be taken. The cuff should always be used on the same arm (left in my case), and placed approximately ½ inch above the elbow. There is a nifty arrow on the cuff that should be pointing to the inside of your elbow if placed correctly. After a few uses you should find that putting the cuff on becomes second nature.
If there were an area that the unit falls short, it would be in the ability to keep and store records. Blood pressure readers will often allow you to store up to thirty records for more than one person. With a little more money invested you can get a machine that interfaces with your computer to allow for the download of your history; this unit does not do that. When making the purchase one must look at the cost/benefit comparison of these functions to determine if those features are worth the extra cost.
From a measurement standpoint, I could not be more pleased. The previous unit that I tried provided measurements of a wide variety that appeared to be incorrect. After purchasing the HM-741 I checked my blood pressure each morning and evening for two weeks. The results were very consistent both with that period of history and with measurements taken at my Doctor's office and on machines in my local drug store. That gives me a good peace of mind regarding the numbers that this machine measures.
For the price and functionality of this unit I think that almost any user would be pleased with their purchase. You are able to get a quality unit that is easy to use and reliable. While the inability to store data is a bummer, in my case it is not a deal-breaker. This unit will be part of my routine for many years to come.