Best Stethoscope: Nurses, Doctors, EMTs & Students

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.



Image

Model

Length

Color

Option 

Price

Rating

Buy Now

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope,

28 in

7

$

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, Black Plated Chestpiece and Eartubes, Black Tube, 27 inch

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope,

27 in

13

$$$$$

3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope, Matte Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 inch

3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope

27 in

10

$$$$

Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

27 in

2

$

3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope 27-inch Chestpiece and Eartubes

3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope

27 in

8

$$$

ADC Adscope 609ST Stethoscope

ADC Adscope 609ST Stethoscope

22 in

19

$

MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF MD One Stethoscope

27 in

3

$$

ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope with Tunable AFD Technology, 30.5 Length

ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Stethoscope

30.5 in

9

$

MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF Acoustica Stethoscope

27 in

4

$

3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope, Standard-Finish Chestpiece, 27

3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope

27 in

10

$$$$


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.


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 Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 inch

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.


3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope


3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, Black Plated Chestpiece and Eartubes, Black Tube, 27 inch

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.


3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope


3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope, Matte Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 inch

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.


Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope


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.


3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope


3M Littmann 2141 Master Classic II Stethoscope 27-inch Chestpiece and Eartubes

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.


ADC Adscope 609ST Stethoscope


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.


MDF MD One Stethoscope


MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head 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.


ADC Adscope 615 Stethoscope


ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope with Tunable AFD Technology, 30.5 Length

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.


MDF Acoustica Stethoscope


MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head 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.


3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope


3M Littmann 6152 Cardiology IV Stethoscope, Standard-Finish Chestpiece, 27

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.


How To Pick The Best Stethoscope


best stethoscope for nurses

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.


About the author

Peter M

Hello, my name is Peter. I am very knowledgeable on a variety of sleep & health topics. I take pride in living a healthy lifestyle. Please enjoy my content and share with your friends and family.

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