Health Medical It’s your job to save lives and improve the quality of life for others, but you can’t do that if you don’t have the right equipment. Searching for what you need can be time-consuming and confusing, to say the least, especially if you’re a beginner! The stethoscope has just celebrated its 200th birthday. It was invented in 1816 by French scientist Rene Laennec, who was uncomfortable putting his ear to women’s chest to hear their heartbeat. Original stethoscopes didn’t look much like today’s models, having a wooden tube. Luckily, today they’re well-designed, efficient and easy to use. Follow this guide to finding the best stethoscope and you’ll be able to determine what your professional needs are and how to properly address them. All your questions and concerns will be answered in these comprehensive stethoscope reviews. Stethoscope Comparison Guide Image Model Length Color Option Price Rating Buy Now 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, 28 in 7 $ Click Here To See Latest Price 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, 27 in 13 $$$$$ Click Here To See Latest Price 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope 27 in 10 $$$$ Click Here To See Latest Price Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope 27 in 2 $ Click Here To See Latest Price 3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope 27 in 8 $$$ Click Here To See Latest Price ADC Adscope 609ST Stethoscope 22 in 19 $ Click Here To See Latest Price MDF MD One Stethoscope 27 in 3 $$ Click Here To See Latest Price ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Stethoscope 30.5 in 9 $ Click Here To See Latest Price MDF Acoustica Stethoscope 27 in 4 $ Click Here To See Latest Price 3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope 27 in 10 $$$$ Click Here To See Latest Price How Does A Stethoscope Work A stethoscope is an acoustic medical device used mainly for listening to internal sounds of either a human or animal. It contains a small, circular shaped resonator that will be placed on the body. The two tubes then get inserted into your ears and you can listen to the inner workings of the subject. While it’s normally used for lung and heart sounds, it can also provide great insight into the workings of the intestines or blood flow in the arteries and veins. Some even use a stethoscope for listening to a fetus, but there are more specific tools designed for this nowadays. Depending on what you need, a stethoscope can cost anywhere from $15 up to several hundred. Just because a model costs more, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best choice for your needs. If you’re a student, you may not want to sacrifice on quality just to save a few bucks. You’re going to be spending a lot of time learning to listen to specific bodily sounds and if your equipment isn’t adequate, learning could become quite difficult. Your choice is going to vary greatly based on whether you need the best stethoscope for doctors, nurses, students, or even if you’re a specialist and need the best stethoscope for ENT. Just know that whatever you’re planning to use it for, there’s something that will work perfectly. Which are the best stethoscope brands? Ask any doctor or medical practitioner which is the best stethoscope brand. There’s a very good chance they will name Littmann without a second’s hesitation. It’s one of those brands that truly stand out in their field. These are the stethoscopes of choice for most people in the medical field. There are a number of other really good stethoscope brands, Thinklabs, MDF, Prestige, and a few others, but Littmann is by far the market leader. What Makes Littmann the Leading Stethoscope Brand? Firstly, a stethoscope is probably the single most important and often used piece of medical equipment used by any medical practitioner. It’s essential that it functions perfectly at all times, under all conditions. Littmann makes a wide range of stethoscopes for different applications and budgets. However, what makes them stand out, across their full range, is their superior acoustics and all round quality. Littmann has long been a big name in stethoscopes and 3M, knowing a good thing when they see it, acquired them some time back. They continue to produce quality scopes. They’re at the cutting edge of new technological developments in the field. The company history, as well as the name, goes back to the 1960s. Dr. Littmann took what was then a rather basic and somewhat crude design. He improved and enhanced the stethoscope to a much more sophisticated diagnostic piece of equipment. The Harvard Medical School cardiologist established a brand that has gone from strength to strength. Made In The USA Littmann scopes are all manufactured in the United States and are made with care, using only the best materials. They’re built to last and it’s not uncommon for them to last, with regular use, for up to 20 years. Littmann offers some of the best warranties in the market which is a testament to their confidence in their quality. Innovations Over the years they have been responsible for many of the major innovations and developments in stethoscope technology, including dual frequency diaphragm technology, ambient noise reduction, tunable diaphragms, and non-latex double lumen tubing. More recently they’ve made huge advances in electronic scopes and Bluetooth technology, including complimentary software and recording equipment. The sophistication and quality of Littmann stethoscopes come at a price and there are less expensive stethoscope brands on the market. Given how critical it is for any medical application, how often it is used and the fact that it will last for many years, it’s worth investing in the best you can get. Wide Range As previously mentioned, they manufacture a wide range of scopes with different features and modification for specific functionality. The price range also varies widely according to features and technology. In our quest to recommend the ideal all round Littmann stethoscope, we did extensive research on the various models. We looked at their features and benefits, technology, price and numerous other relevant factors. Many of their range are showcased below. We read numerous reviews and a vast amount of feedback that provided by doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, medical students and other medical practitioners. Many of their range are showcased below. Features Of Littman Stethoscopes Five-year warranty Adult and pediatric chest piece sides both have tunable diaphragms Exceptional acoustic sensitivity Single-piece diaphragm that is simple to attach The smooth service makes cleaning easy The pediatric side can be used as a traditional open bell by substituting the single-piece diaphragm with a non-chill rim Advanced tubing materials are longer lasting as they are resistant to alcohol and skin oils. They’re also stain resistant The headset fits snugly with comfort. The ear tips conform to your ears for comfort and a perfect audio seal The stethoscope comes with a free 3M Littmann Learning Institute app which enables you to work on your auscultations skills to help you improve for better results 10 Best Stethoscopes For Nurses, Doctors, EMTs & Students 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope 3M Littmann is a trusted name when searching for the best stethoscope for nurses. This model is one of the best they make. It has a reliable acoustic performance ideal for taking blood pressure reading. The tunable diaphragm responds to simple pressure changes and it features a tear-drop shape perfect for sliding under the blood pressure cuff. This version is the lightest Littmann stethoscope on the market at just 118 grams. It’s ideal for professionals who will be wearing their equipment all day. The resilient tubing will retain its shape and flexibility even after you’ve folded it tightly in your pocket. You can also adjust the headset tension to conform to any size head. Simply squeeze the ear tubes together or pull them further apart until you reach the desired sizing. The tubing is made with no natural rubber latex which is ideal for any professional or patient with a latex sensitivity. It also doesn’t contain phthalate plasticizers, making it ideal for those who are concerned with the environment. Check The Best Price Here 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope This is the only dual-sided chestpiece in the Littmann Cardiology line. It provides versatile auscultation perfect for adults or pediatric patients. Simply open the bell for low frequencies when working in pediatrics by using the non-chill bell sleeve that’s included. Easily capture both the low and high frequencies. Enjoy the two-in-one tube design that eliminates noise interference from having two external tubes which will rub together. The headset is completely adjustable to fit any size head and the resilient next-generation tubing will retain its shape even after you’ve had it folded tightly in your pocket. It was created with a resistance to skin oils and alcohol so you’ll be less likely to stain your equipment. In addition, they’re made without natural rubber latex perfect for those with sensitivities and they also don’t contain phthalate plasticizers for those who are concerned with the environment. This would be a fantastic option as the best stethoscope for nursing students because of its versatility. Check The Best Price Here 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope It’s no wonder that this model is a bestseller! The two-sided chest piece feature tunable diaphragms for both the adult of pediatric functions. You’ll find that the tunable diaphragm is also easy to attach. It’s even easier to clean due to the smooth surface that has no crevices. You’ll receive a high acoustic sensitivity for outstanding performance during the physical assessment. As with the other models from this stethoscope brand, it features no natural rubber latex or phthalate plasticizers and it comes in several tubing colors or chest piece finishes. Finally, this comes with a complete five-year warranty which shows the confidence of the manufacturer that your product is going to be top-notch. Check The Best Price Here Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope This Omron stethoscope features latex free tubing and a chrome plated chest piece. Don’t let the lower price fool you, it’s a great option for the best stethoscope for a nursing student. Your set includes three sizes of open bells, two sizes of diaphragms and two pairs of eartips all enclosed in a vinyl storage case perfect for taking with you. This basic model might not be the best stethoscope for doctors, but purchasing an inexpensive model might just work for you as a student or nurse. Considering how often expensive stethoscopes get stolen, especially in an emergency room setting. This will keep you from losing a lot of money if yours gets taken as well. Check The Best Price Here 3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope The top five best stethoscopes wouldn’t be complete without another 3M Littmann version. This award-winning ergonomic design provides excellent acoustic sensitivity. The tunable diaphragm responds to the most simple pressure change making it ideal for capturing low and high-frequency sounds. To provide optimal patient comfort, you’ll enjoy the non-chill rim and diaphragm. Complete with latex-free products for sensitive patients, this model is made in the USA. The headset is easily adjustable and you’ll receive access to the free learning app with this purchase. With your new app, you’ll be able to develop diagnostic skills, listen to real heart and lung sounds to easily identify different conditions, track your progress and test your knowledge. Check The Best Price Here Littmann Cardiology Classic Complete with latex-free products for sensitive patients, this model is made in the USA. The headset is easily adjustable and you’ll receive access to the free learning app with this purchase. With your new app, you’ll be able to develop diagnostic skills, listen to real heart and lung sounds to easily identify different conditions, track your progress and test your knowledge. Littmann Select If you’re after something basic but can’t quite afford the Cardiology Classic, the best Littmann stethoscope for you is going to be the Littmann Select. The quality of this product is still fantastic. It’s just not as good as some of their other products. Of course, it depends on what you’ll be using your scope for. This model is perfect for medical professionals who are mainly involved in physical examinationsand assessments. For me, this is a great little scope as it’s latex-free, and so is the best stethoscope option for any sensitive individuals looking for a reliable piece of kit. Littmann Stethoscope Raspberry Looking for the best Littmann Stethoscope as a paediatrician? This model is specifically designed for those who work with babies and young children. Featuring Littmann’s classic ‘non-chill’ rim, this is designed to make all examinations and assessments with little ones less uncomfortable and distressing for everyone involved! This is another latex-free piece of kit, so is great for any sensitive users as well as any children who may have skin conditions. The soft, gel-like earbuds seal nicely into the ears so will block out any external noises while you work, allowing you to fully concentrate on the task in hand. The best bit? You don’t even need patients to be undressed while you perform assessments thanks to the superior acoustic quality it provides. ADC Adscope 609ST Stethoscope This highly sensitive, non-chill diaphragm is ideal for greater amplification and clearer high-frequency transmission. The clinician headset features reinforcing yoke molded into a flexible 22-inch PVC tubing. This model is lightweight and comes complete with a five-year warranty. Check The Best Price Here MDF MD One Stethoscope With a lifetime warranty and free parts for life, this 100% stainless steel construction provides an acoustically superior piece of equipment. It includes 3 pairs of MDF ComfortSear eartips in small, regular and large sizes. The patented SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors are non-invasive and are ideal for ear safety. Check The Best Price Here ADC Adscope 615 Stethoscope This adjustable frequency design is available to provide an acoustic response of a traditional bell and diaphragm, all in a one-sided chest piece. Featuring a reinforcing yoke molded into a flexible 22-inch PVC tubing, this model also offers a stainless binaural and Adsoft Plus silicone eartips. You’ll also receive a lifetime warranty and free consumables when you register the equipment with the manufacturer. Check The Best Price Here MDF Acoustica Stethoscope If you’re going to be carrying your stethoscope all day long, a lightweight model is the best option for you. This features a latex-free design and an all-purpose, durable, and convenient design. Complete with a lifetime warranty and free parts for life, this model also boasts patented SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors to prevent punctured ear drums. Check The Best Price Here 3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope These acoustics provide you with better audibility of high-frequency sounds. The tunable diaphragm allows the sounds of high or low frequency just by adjusting the pressure on the chest piece. The dual-lumen tubing eliminates the rubbing noise of traditional double tubes. Finally, the headset is completely adjustable providing individual fit and comfort for all users. Check The Best Price Here Littmann Veterinary Stethoscope This is a great little veterinary stethoscope from Littmann and comes in at just over $100. This is very well-priced considering the quality you’re getting compared to other products on the market that are similarly priced. This scope is latex-free, so is suitable for any sensitive users as well as patients. It comes in a lovely navy blue, so won’t show any stains. It’s made from a durable material to help keep it looking professional for a long time. As with all classic Littmanns, this is a two-sided piece of kit in the traditional design. I hinted at it earlier, but this scope has also been blessed with the non-chill technology, making it ideal for use on animals of any age or in any state without causing any further discomfort. It’s pros and cons time! For me, this is a fantastic stethoscope for anyone in the veterinarian profession. Not only is the price very reasonable, the quality is very high. Littmann are known for producing great products, and this is no different. They’ve paid plenty of attention to detail to produce this piece of kit. The ear buds are gel-like and really seal well to the ears. Not only is this comfortable, but it also prevents any external noise interfering with what you’re trying to listen to. You can listen to both high and low frequency sounds at a superior acoustic level, allowing you to work as professionally as possible. I also love the fact that it’s so practical. The tubing is sealed in so no dirt can get inside, which is great for any visits you have to make to local farms. This is a 32” scope, meaning you don’t have to get too up close and personal with your patients during any examinations or assessments. The downsides? I’m still working on them… The Criteria For Veterinary Stethoscope So, you’re looking for the best veterinary stethoscope, but what should you really be looking for? I’ve put together some basic criteria to keep in mind while you’re searching for your next piece of kit. Obviously, you’re going to want something with great sound quality. There’s no point splashing out on a stethoscope with all the bells and whistles unless you know it’s going to really work! Out in the field, there can be a lot of background noise, so look for something with ear buds that are going to seal nicely to your ears in order to block out all the external noises. On the note of ear buds, try and find something with a silicone or gel-like coating. Don’t underestimate how uncomfortable it can be to wear a scope, even for short bursts of time! For me, non-chill bells can really make a difference. It’s always best to avoid as much discomfort as possible, so this is a great addition to help you work without causing any additional discomfort to the animal. Features Of a Quality Electronic Stethoscope Everyone in the medical field requires a quality stethoscope, from medical students to nurses, doctors, specialist and surgeons. They let you listen to the lungs and heart as well as check blood pressure, amongst other things. You want it to be comfortable, practical and most importantly, it must work exceptionally well. While there are a number of options available, they’re essentially all quite similar in function and design. One great new development is the introduction of the electronic stethoscopes, Bluetooth stethoscopes in particular. The first stethoscope was just a rolled up tube of paper, but things have come on in the last 200 years! Bluetooths offer a number of significant advantages for the medical practitioner. Before we get into more detail about Bluetooth stethoscopes and our electronic stethoscope reviews, let’s take a closer look at what makes them superior. Audio Amplification & Output The main benefit of the majority of electronic stethoscopes is that they amplify the audio and provide a means to transmit the audio, usually wirelessly. A Bluetooth stethoscope is the ideal solution as it will transfer the audio file to your PC or any other device with no hassle at all. This is done in real time in conjunction with software that comes with the stethoscope. Advanced software can even interpret the audio and offer a diagnosis. It’s also invaluable to have the audio saved for later reference, comparison or to share with other medical practitioners. The amplification mentioned earlier is also valuable as it’s often difficult to hear clearly with an acoustic stethoscope. The electronic stethoscope eliminates this issue. Apart from amplification, they also reduce ambient noise which leads to better audio which could often result in a faster, more accurate diagnosis. Power Supply As the device is electronic, it’ll need some form of power. Depending on the type you select they either run on batteries or rechargeable batteries. Most of them have a power level indicator. Selecting An Electronic Stethoscope When deciding on a stethoscope, take a close look at the quality of the headset and ear tips, the chest piece, and the diaphragm. There are a number of methods used as the audio pick up. A microphone in the chest piece is the least efficient method as it will pick up external noise. A piezoelectric crystal pick up placed inside the head is the most accurate and effective means of capturing quality audio. Electromagnetic diaphragm sensors are also very effective. There are a number of manufacturers of electronic and Bluetooth stethoscopes on the market ranging from the OK to the brilliant. In order to give you a quality electronic stethoscope review, we did our homework. We looked at the top makes and models available on the market and studied their features and benefits. We then looked at the most reliable feedback possible, the opinion of nurses, doctors and medical practitioners that have purchased and used the various scopes on the market. They gave practical, honest, and unbiased feedback on the Bluetooth stethoscopes they’d used. During the course of our research, two names clearly rose to the top, Littmann and Thinklabs. After extensive research, we decided that the Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope came out on top. Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope Feature wise, it’s hard to beat the Thinklabs One. It’s clearly one of the top electronic Bluetooth stethoscopes ever made. Feedback from those using it was resoundingly positive all round. Firstly, it’ll amplify sound by as much as 100X. It’s a compact unit designed to pair with headphones through a standard 3.5mm jack. It does come with a set, but you can use the headphones of your choice for loud, clear sounds. Ensure you get quality headphones to match the quality of the stethoscope. It provides a high quality, crisp sound and enhances bass for better heart audio. It has a unique feature known as voltage doubling charge. This improves S1 and S2 heartbeat peaks. You can preset filters according to your preferences and needs. The filters will improve different audio frequencies for improved audio. This stethoscope connects via Bluetooth by means of a transmitter that attaches to the headphone jack. It can also communicate directly other devices such as the Thinklink unit, included in the package. This will enable it to send the audio instantly to computers, mobile devices and recording devices. With a weight of 14.4 ounces, it’s marginally heavier than some stethoscopes but the convenience is that you can carry it anywhere and not have to wear it around your neck. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty. It’s powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and has a USB type charger. The average battery life is 100 to 125 uses (patients). Pros Superb quality Great connectivity Range of filters Rechargeable battery Cons Rather costly Use additional headphones What To Look for in a Stethoscope For The Hearing Impaired? Amplified stethoscopes are electronic stethoscopes which amplify sounds and noises of the body. Body sounds all come in different frequencies, and this type of stethoscope allows you to listen in two separate modes. This dual channel design is one to look out for. These two modes help you hear both low frequency and high frequency sounds at the best quality level possible. Many stethoscopes come with a tubing or coating around the frame to make it more comfortable to wear but it’s not always necessary, depending on heavy the frame is. Consider that you’ll most likely be wearing your scope around for long periods of time. Choose a lightweight material if possible, as your neck does get tired! The ear buds should have a coating, normally silicone, to make sure you’re comfortable while you work, and should ‘seal’ well to your ear. ADC Cardiology Stethoscope This stethoscope offers a supreme quality of both low and high frequencies noises, allowing those with hearing impairments to hear as clearly as possible. The dual-channel design means that sounds are better isolated and easier to process. This is known as stereo separation. There’s no outside interference, either, which is always a bonus. I would normally recommend something plain that won’t wear away or rub off on anything if you happen to get chemicals on it, as many paint-finished scopes can do. Paying a little bit more money can really go a long way in terms of quality, especially when it comes to medical kit. For me, this is a great little product. It’s a fantastic stethoscope in its own right and can be used by any medical profession looking for a high-quality product. The fact that it’s such a brilliant option for those who’re hearing-impaired only adds to its plus points. They’ve thought about all the little details to provide you with a stethoscope that ticks every box. Of course, as with every person who tries every product, there are a few things I would change if I could. The stainless steel frame is strong, durable and isn’t overly heavy to wear, but isn’t the comfiest one out there. That aside, this stethoscope really is a great product to consider. The price may seem a little steep, but is actually very reasonable when you consider the quality of the product you’re receiving. And, of course, while we’re here, it is worth mentioning that having the most suitable hearing device for you is a great plus factor in making life easier for you. Having said that, make sure that you choose hearing aids that are designed for your specific needs. How To Pick The Best Stethoscope There’s more to it than picking your favorite color, although that can be fun and help you express your personality. When trying to find the best stethoscope, there are several things you’ll want to be aware of. Carefully go through this guide to help you determine which of my top picks is the right choice for you. Chestpiece Using a chestpiece made with high-density materials like stainless steel or even titanium is going to give you the best performance. Keep in mind that a polished and smooth chestpiece will also offer a much crisper and clearer sound quality. Diaphragm Make sure you only choose a diaphragm of the highest quality. It’s also wise to have several spare parts in case of a puncture or any type of failure. Headset Your headset should be manufactured with the same material as your chestpiece and angled at 15 degrees. Sometimes a product description will only offer information on the chestpiece, so be aware of that when searching. Eartips Your eartips may not seem like an important matter to consider when reading through stethoscope reviews, but they’re just as important when looking for accurate readings. They should fit comfortably and securely inside the ear and they should create a seal inside to prevent any external sound from interfering. Tubing Make sure you pick a model with thick and durable tubing for a long-lasting option. This will isolate acoustics from external noise and insulate the necessary sound. Thinner tubing not only leads to breakage but can also create a loss of sound. If you’re looking to maintain a larger distance between you and the patient, you’ll also want to look for longer tubing. Just keep in mind that having a longer tube might affect the quality of the sound. Stem While not often thought to make a difference, the stem is also important to prevent sound leakage. You’ll want to pick a stem that’s made from the same high-quality metal as your chestpiece. Be sure it also snaps into place properly. You’ll also want to give consideration to the environment you’ll be working in. A cardiologist is going to want a different stethoscope from an ENT. Keep in mind that while a nursing student will be in relatively quiet situations, an emergency technician is going to be battling more environment noise and will need something that isolates noise more. Caring For Your Stethoscope Once you’ve chosen the right stethoscope, you’ll need to take proper care of it to ensure a long life. When using cleaning supplies on your stethoscope, be sure they’re non-invasive so they won’t cause harm to the sensitive parts. Your best bet would be to disinfect with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Never immerse it in any liquid and avoid extreme heat or cold. If you find a part of your stethoscope is broken, you might want to consider purchasing a replacement part which can be far more cost effective than purchasing a completely new unit. Some models also include free consumables for the life of your stethoscope, so be sure to enjoy that perk. Verdict Now that I’ve looked through the best stethoscope for nurses as well as the best stethoscope for doctors, you should be able to make a much better decision about what you need. Be sure you understand how a stethoscope works and what each part does, then you’re ready to pick from the top 10 best stethoscopes I’ve reviewed. Once you’ve made your choice, be sure you care for it to ensure that it’ll provide you many years of reliable service to your patients. If you want to find more information about choosing the right stethoscope, check out this YouTube video.