The Welch Allyn 1700 Series home monitor is a high-quality product and easy to use. Most importantly, it’s accurate and durable. It may not be for you if you want to record measurements of multiple users.
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In business for over 100 years and located in the State of New York, United States, Welch Allyn is a leading manufacturer of medical equipment. When you walk into almost every hospital and physician office you’ll see Welch Allyn equipment. Their mission is to enhance outcomes for patients and their caregivers, every day, around the world.
The beauty of the 1700 Series home monitor is you get the same hospital quality standards at home. It will cost you a little more than other home monitors, but it’s still surprisingly very affordable. Included in the box are the following:
- BP Cuff
- 4 Batteries
- Instruction booklet
At the time of this review, I’ve been using the 1700 Series for three years. It’s not a product I bought or borrowed for this review, I use it regularly. I have a lot to cover, so let’s get into the review.
Quality & Design
The 1700 Series is a well-built home monitor. It’s not made of cheap parts. The higher quality is evident while assembling it for the first time. Most home monitors have a plastic fitting and connector for the air supply tube. This tube has a metal one with a sleeve and a metal connector protruding out from the side of the device. The air hose is very easy to connect, just push it on until it snaps into place. To remove the hose, you pull back on the metal sleeve and pull the hose off. If you have large fingers, it’s possible the sleeve may be hard to grab onto. I have average fingers, and it’s fine for me.
The very simple design only has one button. When it’s time to measure your blood pressure, all you have to do is press the button once. The face of the monitor has an easy to read large display. When the monitor is on, the very dark background has large contrasting numbers and symbols. Many other monitors have a grey background with darker grey numbers. The 1700 series display is great for anyone, but especially for those who don’t have perfect eyesight.
The monitor comes with its own batteries. The battery compartment is located on the bottom and comes off without the need of a screwdriver. There is an electrical power adaptor port in the rear. The monitor doesn’t come with a power adaptor, but one can be purchased separately. It will operate without the adaptor and with battery power alone, and it works just fine that way. I’ve only used battery power since I’ve owned the monitor and they last a long time. The display has a battery life symbol, so you’ll have advance notice of the batteries dying.
Con: Although not needed, the monitor doesn’t include an electrical power adaptor.
The 1700 Series comes with Welch Allyn’s SureBP technology. It’s the same used in hospital-grade medical devices. The monitor is able to measure your blood pressure and give the results in only 20 seconds. This is the fastest of all home blood pressure monitors by far and twice as fast as the Omron 10 Series. In addition to obtaining a fast reading, it’s much less time your arm has to feel uncomfortable in an inflated cuff. When I use it, at the exact time my arm starts feeling uncomfortable, it releases its pressure and my reading is done.
The technology can help compensate for less than perfect conditions, like excess arm movement. The 1700 was tested in a Welch Allyn study compared to other home monitors. Blood pressure was measured while the people flexed their forearms every five seconds. The Welch Allyn Home had an average error of about 4 mmHg under motion, while the next best monitor had an error of 7 mmHg. The Omron had an average over 12 mmHg 1.
It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0 technology which allows you to connect to your smartphone and the Welch Allyn Home App.
When I first received my monitor, I took it to the physician’s office and had it tested for accuracy. I encourage you to do the same and have it checked again every year. Luckily, I worked in a medical facility and didn’t have to wait for my next doctor’s appointment. I’ve taken it back every year since and haven’t had a difference more than 1 mmHg between their device and mine.
Accuracy may be the most important positive of this whole review. What good is checking your blood pressure at home if your measurements aren’t going to be true? If you’re putting a lot of time into your blood pressure management, you should have true readings and not false. If you’re making improvements with your treatment, you’ll want the positive results to be reflected in your measurements. On the flip side, you don’t want to think your blood pressure is normal when it’s really high.
Some other manufacturers recommend their monitors to be calibrated every two years. Welch Allyn states right in their manual, calibration is not necessary. I recommend a recalibration when the monitor is no longer accurate. This hasn’t happened with my 1700 series. Since they don’t require scheduled calibrations, it says something about their accuracy and quality.
The cuff that comes with the monitor is a standard wide size cuff. It’s made to fit arms with a circumference between 8.75″ and 16.5″. It’s very important you use the right size cuff when measuring your BP. Please make sure to check your arm size before purchasing. An extra small cuff (5.75″ – 9.5″) and larger cuff (15.75 – 21.25″) are available to purchase separately, if the standard size cuff is not correct for you.
The cuff itself feels very sturdy, and the velcro attachment closes securely. It doesn’t give you the feeling it will separate while being inflated. It also feels very comfortable around a bare arm. Like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t stay inflated long making it more comfortable to wear.
The phone app connects your monitor to your smart phone. It’s the only way to store your past readings. You can use the monitor without the phone app connected, and it will operate just fine displaying your readings. If you choose not to use the app or don’t have a smart phone, you can make a log of your readings manually.
If you use the app to store your readings, you don’t need it connected at the time of your measurement. Sometimes you’ll be using your phone for other reasons, or it may be in the other room, and you don’t feel like retrieving it at that moment. You can still measure your pressure without the phone. The next time you connect to the monitor with the app, every measurement taken prior without the phone connected, will automatically download. I was wondering how many are stored in the monitor internally, so I called Welch Allyn. The rep informed me; the monitor will store up to 99 readings prior to transferring them to the app.
The app is found in your phone App Store, just search for Welch Allyn Home. It’s a free app with no charges, ads or upgrades. The first thing you’ll do is create an account. After that, you’ll choose, I have a blood pressure monitor to connect to. Then press the button on the monitor for about two seconds, and it will pair itself to the phone. You can then name your device if you please and press the done adding device. The app is now ready to use and has the following features:
- It will store all your readings in a list.
- Your readings can also be viewed on graphs. You can pick weekly, monthly, yearly or all time readings. It will also tell you your average BP readings for any time frame.
- Every time your pressure is stored, it will also record and graph your pulse.
- You can set BP and body weight goals as an incentive.
- You can set up reminders, so the phone will let you know it’s time to measure your pressure.
- At the click of one button, you can send a BP measurement report to your email or forward to your physician.
Phone app Con: It doesn’t track multiple users.
My Personal Usage Timeline After 3 Years
- Condition: Excellent
- Accuracy: Still Accurate
- Durability: Nothing has broken, and I haven’t replaced any parts.
I’ve had other home monitors in the past and this one is the best I’ve owned. I couldn’t ask for anything better. When reviewing a product or asking people I know about their Welch Allyn, I always ask a particular question. If you could travel back in time, would you buy this monitor again, knowing what you know now? My answer is yes!