Traditionally, hypertension has been defined in terms of an elevated resistance to flow confined predominantly to the precapillary vasculature. More recently, changes in arterial compliance have been used to estimate vascular adaptations in the larger conduit arteries. This review outlines and updates the many varied techniques employed to estimate arterial compliance changes during hypertension. Most measures of compliance assess changes in small segments of the arterial vasculature. Because hypertension is a disease that influences structure and reactivity in all parts of the systemic circulation, it is desirable that clinical techniques for monitoring vascular adaptations with disease should address the generalized changes in the systemic vasculature.