As days go by, every analog part of our lives is seeing a change, and it’s for the better. The method of blood flow restriction in training muscles known as Kaatsu also saw a technological integration in its design.
Since Dr. Yoshiaki Sato popularised the idea, it has proved to be quite effective. And now, the smart cuffs are here. Technological integration in BFR bands is something to appreciate.
Occlusion training was hard in terms of maintaining the same pressure in both limbs as you couldn’t recreate the exact pressure without measuring it. So people started coming with ideas, and the pressure sensor was the reasonable answer.
There are a couple of options in the market already but many of them are just good on paper. You don’t want to buy something that doesn’t perform when you know it would be expensive.
So which smart cuffs to buy? We talk about recommendations below.
1. SAGA BFR Cuffs – Best Overall Smart Cuffs
The first BFR cuff on this list is the Saga BF cuffs. Saga is among the pioneers who applied IoT technology into BFR training bands, and it was for the good of your health. As far as pricing goes, it is on the more expensive side. But is it worth it?
If you’re looking for safety and comfort while enhancing hypertrophy, smart cuffs are the way to go. The Saga smart cuff is an automated cuff that inflates and deflates according to your need. And that’s how you can set a safe pressure range for all your workouts.
It utilizes the new IoT technology and connects to an app on your phone over Bluetooth. You can control how constricted the cuffs should be on your arms and legs through the app.
They are soft and feel comfortable even with high constriction. And the pressure sensor is attached to the cuff’s body. But the main perk of this smart cuff is that you can apply the same pressure in both limbs for getting the same output.
You have the option to choose either M or L-sized cuffs, and their price will differ from one another.
- IoT technology in training bands
- Automated inflation and deflation
- Control via app
- Optimal pressure setting
- Slightly on the expensive side
2. Smart Tools SmartCuffs – Best Performing Smart Cuffs
The BFR cuffs from Smart tools turned out to be quite the crowd-pleaser. With a 3rd gen smart pressure sensor and pump system, you should be set for your hypertrophy goals.
This is a standalone package that doesn’t utilize any IoT technology or mobile app for controlling the pressure. It’s a pure mechanical engineering product that has an automated system in place.
What you can expect from this smart cuff are comfort and worry-free workouts. It will detect the optimal pressure for you, and you just do your workouts. Thanks to the fast charging batteries, you can promptly go into workouts even if you forgot the charge it the night before.
The main control unit is attached with the cuff through a tube, and it means you have to tie the unit separately to your arms or legs. But the fact that you don’t need to measure your blood pressure or look at an app constantly makes it a lot easier.
It comes in two options; 2 cuffs and full-body cuffs (4 pieces). In terms of price, these options fall in the $$ category.
- Automated self-controlled unit
- Works by itself without smartphones
- Automated pressure calculation and setup
- Doesn’t need manual BP measurement
- Some may not like the lack of ‘over the app’ control
3. Smart Tools SmartCuffs Pro
If you loved the one above, you’ll also love this one. This is the Smart Tools Smart cuff but the pro package. In terms of price, it costs almost double, but it also includes cuffs for a full-body workout.
This model is designed for professionals. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, coach, or medical personnel, you’ll reap a lot of benefits by using it. Thanks to the automated system, it delivers ease into your workouts.
How does it work? It works through an automated pump that has an on-board computer that regulates cuff pressure. There is no need for any app or smartphone for it to work properly. Some may take it as a positive sign because giving attention to your phone while working out is not easy.
Leave it to the pump to set a good pressure for your body. Furthermore, the unit runs on Li-ion batteries that have a fast-charging feature enabled.
When you purchase, you’ll see it has an Elite set other than the standard set. The elite set includes two pumps instead of two. This can be considered the best smart cuffs but it does come with a premium price tag.
- 3rd gen smart cuffs pump
- 6 smart cuffs
- Comes with a Case and a mesh bag
- Automated pressure control
- No need for a smartphone to control
- Fast charging batteries
- No app for remote control
4. Performance Health Smart Cuffs
This smart blood flow restriction band from Performance health provides customization and affordability. With 3 different sets, it accommodates all types of people, from professionals to amateurs that need a smart cuff. It’s worth checking out.
Before delving into the details, you should know that this is not a full-fledged smart cuff. There are elements of pressure control in it, but there is no automation system in place. Now with that out of the way, there are three options to choose from. And they are drastically different from one another.
The best option and also the priciest among them is the Clinical set. It includes 10 cuffs (pair of each size), a manual pressure gauge, a Doppler, and a case to hold them all. Considering the price and number, this is a good option for the professionals. If you don’t know, the Doppler is for measuring blood pressure.
Rests of the options are Personal set and Basic set. And neither includes a Doppler for measure blood pressure. The former comes with 4 cuffs, and the latter comes with only 2. These options also do not include any cases.
As you can see, there is no automated system for setting the optimal pressure. So you decide if it deserves your money.
- Customizable options
- Clinical set includes a Doppler
- Hand gauge is easy to use
- No automated pressure control
- Only one set includes a doppler
5. AirBands – Best Budget Smart Cuffs
When it comes to smart BFR bands, this is the most affordable one on this list. The AirBands training cuffs are simple, easy to use, and, most importantly, safe. These wireless bands can make your workouts more efficient without creating extra hassle.
Moreover, this smart cuff module includes a cuff with an integrated pressure sensor, pressure pump, and an automation system. This is all you need for a worry-free workout regime.
The cuff utilizes a Velcro loop system to fix the band on your either limbs. And yes, there are two different sets for your upper limbs and lower limbs.
The fabric on the cuff is comfortable and doesn’t leave marks on your body after use. Don’t worry about your sweat messing with the components because the fabric cloth is sweat-resistant.
How do you control it? You control it through your smartphone and an app. The cuff connects through Bluetooth and updates your vitals. And you can increase or decrease pressure without having to plug in an external pump. The internal pneumatic pressure pump is such a blessing to have.
- Control over smartphone
- Comfortable and sweat-resistant fabric
- Automated pressure measurement
- Hassle-free design
- Can’t set optimal pressure
6. RecoverFun Air Cuff
This is one of the cheaper ones among the available blood-flow restriction training bands. RecoverFun is a well-known brand in the body-building instrument industry. So it was easy to pick this set of cuffs for our recommendation list.
The package comes with a pair of cuffs, a hand pump and gauge, one release valve, and one tube. It’s very simple to use. You just need to wrap the bands around your arms or legs at the top of the muscle. And then use the gauge and pump to achieve the desired pressure.
Regarding the design and build quality, it feels comfortable after wrapping it around and increasing the pressure. The pressure feels evenly spread out as it should. If you experience any uneven pressure, return it immediately.
To ensure safety, always keep your blood pressure in check. Furthermore, use the quick-release valve whenever you feel uncomfortable. It’s your friend.
You may mistake the 38 inches long as its working length. The usable length here starts from 10 inches and ends at 23 inches. And that means it will accommodate any amateur and upcoming professional bodybuilders regardless of their limb size.
- Accommodates both arms and legs
- Easy to use gauge
- Quick-release valve
- Comfortable and durable
- Only manual
- Only 2 cuffs
7. BFR Therapy BFR Cuffs
Here’s a complete package from BFR Therapy. It gives you an affordable option while getting a set of full-body cuffs. To budget buyers, we suggest that you check it out.
This BFR therapy package includes 3 sizes of BFR bands. And they are 18 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches. Each of them is 4 inches in width. So as you can guess, this is a full-body solution for all of your physical activities.
These cuffs have a low profile design to allow free movement of the limbs. To restrict and control blood flow, you’ll use the given manual 300mmHg pressure gauge and pump. Although there is no automation in place, it’s quite easy to apply. But make sure to consult your physician before using these cuffs.
There are other areas where you can use it as well. If you notice, it has all the features to work as a blood pressure measurement machine. That’s why physicians all over the world use this type of BFR band.
- 3 sizes of cuffs
- Easy to use
- Comfortable fitting
- Unrestricted limb movement
- Can be used for BP measurement in medicine
- No automated pressure control
8. Exerscribe BFR Bands Pro
If you have been around the body-building and gym scene for some time, you know about Exerscribe. It’s pretty well-known among professional bodybuilders who want to go above and beyond the usual training style.
When you receive the package, you’ll get 1 pair of blood-flow restriction training bands. But there is no pressure gauge or sensor. As you can imagine, the design is as basic as a BFR band can be. Is that positive or negative? You should decide that.
Some people will not think twice before purchasing this set as it screams simplicity and swift operation. But for some, the lack of a pressure sensor or gauge and a pump is a deal-breaker. And there’s a reason behind it, as it’s literally impossible to set the exact pressure in both cuffs.
Other than that, it’s a pretty durable training band that will deliver enough restriction to drive you to your hypertrophy goal. Make sure to consult your coach or physician for overall health.
- Cheap but durable
- Works with both arms and legs
- Visually aesthetic
- No pressure pump or gauge
- Only 1 pair
9. Exerscribe BFR Bands Pro X
If you want a bit better version of the basic Exerscribe bands, then you can go back to Exerxcribe. Those who need to try out the BFR training methods without breaking their bank should try these bands without a pressure pump.
You can’t compare the features and quality of the premium blood flow restriction smart cuffs with this manual cuff set. They are from two different worlds. So with that out of the way, what are you getting here? It includes only a pair of the Pro X BFR band.
There is no automation or digital technology in place to measure and set the desired pressure. But there is a marking system on the bands that keeps track of the pressure range. It starts from 1 to 10, with 1 being the highest pressure. This will ensure a level of symmetrical pressure in both of your limbs.
These bands will activate the environment for hypertrophy at a weight level of 10-30% of the weight you can normally lift. And they are very easy to put on and take off whenever you need to.
- Incremental marking for maintaining pressure balance
- Works for arms and legs
- Easy to use
- No pumps or automation
- You have to use them on your arms and legs alternatively
10. TAVIEW Occlusion Bands
At number 10, we have the Occlusion training bands from TAVIEW. There’s nothing extravagant about these bands, and they also do not cost much. By spending only a few bucks, you can start your BFR training journey.
You’re getting 2 pairs of occlusion training bands; one pair for your biceps and another pair for your legs. At this price, you can’t ask more. They have very little width of 2 inches (for legs) and 1.25 inches (for arms). So there is no chance of obstruction for your movements.
Using bands with narrow widths has another advantage over wider bands. You can position it right where you want in a specific position so it can put proper pressure. Ask around, you’ll hear people appreciating how it looks. Aesthetics is always appreciated.
Again, we have to mention, these are very low quality compared to smart BFR bands. They are durable for a period and will start to wear out sooner. So there are future costs to keep in mind.
If you don’t feel certain about the safety of these bands, refrain from purchasing them. Look at the top 4 bands on this list.
- Durable for a good period
- Includes bands for arms and legs
- It’s not bulky
- Feels good on the skin
- Puts pressure where you want
- Not as durable as the thicker bands
- No way to measure accurate pressure
11. Superpump BFR Bands
The last selection for our recommendation is from Superpump. This is the cheapest BFR band on this list, and rightly so. There are no extra perks or features other than it being a Velcro mounted band. But it’s good enough for any average gym-goer.
You’ll receive only a pair of bands, and that’s it. For a couple of bucks, this is all you get. Furthermore, this is an armband stretching up to 20 inches. Theoretically, you could use it on your legs also, but the narrowness of the bands won’t be as effective.
It’s 1.5 inches in width. So it’s the right fit for your biceps. It’ll put pressure on a specific place along a narrow line which is optimum for blood flow restriction. You can’t use it on your legs even if you have narrow measurements. The durability isn’t enough to take pressure from leg muscles.
You can’t stop sweating but you can keep your hands dry. Only if you keep it dry, the Velcro system will last. So it’s important to remember that sweat is its enemy.
- Puts pressure accurately
- Works with arms up to 20 inches
- Only for arms
- It’ll start to wear faster