Stethoscope Buying Guide

The stethoscope was invented by René Laennec at the Necker-Enfants Malades in a hospital in France in 1816. Since then it has been through many technological advances. There are several types of stethoscopes to choose from today. Among them are acoustic stethoscopes, electronic stethoscopes and even fetal stethoscopes and doppler stethoscopes. The type of stethoscope you want will depend on the job or task you wish to use it for. Below are some recommended options to get you started.

#1 Best Overall

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope

The 3M™ Littmann® Cardiology III™ Stethoscope is from a very famous brand of stethoscopes and for nothing but great reasons. For starters, this stethoscope possesses an advantage that few stethoscopes outside of Littman® do. It features a different diaphragm on each side to improve everything from efficiency to bonding with the patient. There is no lengthy procedure for switching - more time and focus can be spent handling the patient, instead of the equipment. With a nonchill bell sleeve, one of the diaphragms is rather easy to remove, even for someone unfamiliar with medical equipment, and can convert to the standard open bell for picking up on lower frequencies.  The tubing is quite dependable. You can even compress it to smaller proportions and store it in the safety of your pocket, rather than let it hang unsecured around your neck; yet it manages to snap right back into shape like it can never been compromised in the first place.

The Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips seal in the acoustics for an isolated sound, free of interruptions like sirens and the monotonous beeping of medical equipment. The headset features a better to design making wearing it more comfortable and also making sounds easier to detect with more accurate angling to the user’s ears. Those with a latex allergy will be happy to hear that this product has none, but does include the non-chill rims for both diaphragms, eartips for each piece, and instructionsfor those who are less familiar with using a stethoscope. The features include a two-sided chestpiece that works for listening to the bodily sounds of both adults and children, two tunable diaphragms that are switched using only a simple pressure change to ensure that sounds of any frequency can be heard, a side that can be converted into an open bell and the appropriate sleeve for it, a design of the tubes that prevents them from rubbing together periodically and making too much noise that can interfere with listening, and a headset that is designed to correctly fit the head of the one using it and precisely align with the ear canal.

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope Full Review

#2 Best Overall

3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope

The 3M™ Littmann® Master Classic II™ Stethoscope is also a great pick. In fact, it is one of the best stethoscopes on the market as it is extremely easy to use and great at doing its job as well. Anyone in the medical field knows how important it is to have a stethoscope that does the job and does it easily, but how hard it is to find one without sacrificing the other. This stethoscope requires no compromise from any angle, as it offers everything that you could possibly need.The diaphragm is tunable without the process of removing, indexing, and replacing. You get the correct assessment every time by being able to customize the diaphragm to fit the equipment to the situation and with less time and effort on such a minute task. Furthermore, the chestpiece has only one side, so you don’t have to waste time tediously switching back and forth.

This stethoscope is used by a variety of different people, from students to certified doctors and nurses to the average, everyday mother, to complete all manners of audio-related medical procedures, including studying heartbeats or just listening to the bodily sounds that the receiver is making to make an accurate assessment and diagnosis. To make things even better, the headset is one of the few that actually lines up correctly and comfortably with the ears, so you can actually hear sounds properly. Also, the rim and diaphragm are resistant to chilling to prevent causing patient discomfort.

3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope Full Review

#3 Best Overall

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope

Due to its dual-sided chestpiece, the 3M™ Littmann® Classic II S.E. Stethoscope is extremely acoustic-sensitive. One side possesses the traditional bell function and the other has a tunable diaphragm to suit the needs of each individual patient. Lots of people use the Classic II S.E., including college students, pediatricians, and even mothers with no medical training because it is so easy to use. The 3M Littmann technology makes it easy to tune the diaphragm and assess bodily sounds at whatever frequency you need.

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope Full Review

The stethoscopes above are rated best overall. If you are looking for a stethoscope at a more affordable price point we have also reviewed a more inexpensive alternative.

#1 Best Inexpensive Alternative

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

The 3M Littman Lightweight 11 S.E. Stethoscope is a great buy no matter how you look at it. Need a stethoscope that simply works? Done. Need one that is easy to work with? That’s covered as well. Need one that you can afford? No problem. There really isn’t any reason not to buy it. In fact, it is such a steal that it is recommended for those looking for a great entry level option. The chestpiece is shaped to make moving it around easier with any bandages, cuffs, and wires that might be in the way. This stethoscope is really light and manageable for any level of medical staff and of course the concerned, cautionary parent. Also, the diaphragm on one side of the chest piece can be tuned to fit every medical situation, making this stethoscope preferable to others on the market.  It can be used for gauging the blood pressure of a patient as well as listening to a large number of bodily sounds for the purpose of assessment and diagnosis.

The Littmann® tunable diaphragm secures a lot of necessities and bonuses like reliable and undisrupted acoustics, the ability to change the settings to fit the situation, and even saving valuable time to spend on the patient instead. The resin tubing along it can fold to fit comfortably in a pocket to be transported without lying across the neck unsecured. The stethoscope is equipped with Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips that successfully create an acoustic seal inside the ears. This means that bodily sounds can be heard without any interruptions from the rest of the world.

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope Full Review

In Conclusion

With so many choices of stethoscopes on the market today you are sure to find what exactly what you’re looking for. As a Nurse, Doctor, Mom or anyone in need of a stethoscope one must decide what features are the most important. Any one of the stethoscopes listed would be a great choice as they are all multipurpose and have multiple uses.

Click here for a discussion on what a nurse should look for in a stethoscope.