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If you’re in the medical field, you know all too well of the importance of having the best stethoscope. Of course, not all of them have great acoustic properties. In fact, these convenient tools vary so wildly that we must consider many factors in order to find the right one.
That’s why we put together this handy guide. We reviewed several models and have narrowed down what we feel are the 10 best. We hope you find our reviews helpful as you search for the right stethoscope to fit your needs.
After you’ve read our reviews, be sure to check out our buyer’s guide that immediately follows. It’s full of useful information that will aid you in finding the perfect stethoscope.
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We looked at a lot of worthy stethoscopes, but in the end, 3M’s Littmann Classic III was the best overall. It’s lightweight, durable, and comes at a great price. Best of all, its sound response is exceptional.
If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with MDF’s Acoustica Deluxe Stethoscope. This model’s acoustics are fantastic, and you get a lifetime warranty to boot. This stylish stethoscope is sure to get attention.
Now let’s move on to the main part of our reviews. We’ll discuss each stethoscope in greater detail to give you a better understanding of what each model can do.
Of all the stethoscopes we looked at, 3M’s Littmann Classic III impressed us the most. Medical staff prefer it over all others for its great sound quality and excellent price. It’s so versatile that it fits a wide variety of applications.
Whether you’re working in an emergency department or pediatrics, the Littmann Classic III is sure to benefit your practice. Thanks to its tunable diaphragm, you can adjust how much pressure is applied to the chest piece. This lets you listen to your patient much more effectively.
The diaphragm is easy to clean and attach, as well. As everyone is well-aware, stethoscopes are often cold to the touch. This usually results in jarring the patient upon contact. 3M made one side of the Littmann Classic III just for kids, preventing discomfort from the cold metal.
They have even improved the tubing used to carry sounds. It’s more durable and won’t degrade over time from the constant contact with oils on the skin. You can use the Littmann Classic III on all your patients without fear of allergic reaction. This is thanks to a lack of rubber latex being used in this stethoscope’s construction.
The acoustic sensitivity of 3M’s stethoscope is quite impressive. You’ll be able to pick up a broader range of sounds and work with more confidence.
You can get the Littmann Classic III in many different colors. In fact, there are 35 available. So you’re sure to find the right one that best suits your practice.
Built for precision and versatility, you’ll find the Littmann Classic III to be a breeze to use. 3M has made it easy to maintain each part of the stethoscope. This allows you to focus more on your patients and less on your medical devices.
For such a low price, you’d be forgiven for thinking you might not get much quality. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. MDF delivers a stethoscope that is on par with some of the most deluxe models out there.
Using high-grade components, the Acoustica Deluxe is both durable and versatile. At just 5 ounces, it is super-lightweight and easy to use. It’s made of aluminum and is hand-polished, giving it an attractive and professional appeal.
You get two sides to work with; one for adults and one for children. For the little ones, one side is non-chill. So neither you nor the kids have to worry about getting startled by the cold when being checked.
You get three different sizes of ear pieces to ensure you get just the right fit. Each set is made of soft and comfortable silicone. You get a lifetime warranty on the Acoustica Deluxe, too.
One of the great benefits of this is that if your ear pieces ever wear out, MDF will send you replacements as part of the warranty. For added safety and comfort, the stethoscope has ear tip adapters that prevent your ear drums from becoming punctured or damaged.
Furthermore, there is no latex used in any of the parts. You can use this stethoscope on your patients in confidence knowing there won’t be any allergic reactions. Seventeen unique color options are available for you to choose from, as well.
Quality parts make for easy maintenance. You’ll barely notice it hanging around your neck thanks to its lightweight design. Many nurses prefer the Acoustica Deluxe because it’s so effortless to use and carry.
If you work in a hospital or practice that is often noisy and busy, you need a stethoscope that delivers amidst the bustle. Ambient sounds can be your worst enemy in environments like these. When you’re trying to focus on your patient’s breathing, loud noises can greatly affect what you hear.
As a Littmann, you’ll be able to pick up a wide range of sounds based on the amount of pressure applied to the chest piece. And with 3M’s quality engineering, you don’t have to worry about those sounds becoming distorted or interrupted.
Made for cardiology in mind, you’ll have no trouble detecting irregularities in your patient’s heartbeat. And since the tubing is dual-lumen, you won’t pick up distracting noises while the stethoscope is in use.
You’ll also appreciate the adjustable headset. You can get just the right amount of preferred tension, providing you with a comfortable fit. Just push together or pull apart the headset until it’s just the way you like it.
The ear pieces are soft and pliable, ensuring your eardrums are protected and comfy at the same time. Each ear piece snaps in tightly, so you don’t have to worry about distracting malfunctions or distortions.
There are 9 unique colors to choose from among 7 different styles. With options like these, you’ll be able to get the perfect fit for your practice. Be prepared to spend a little bit more on the Cardiology IV compared to other models. But with the quality of acoustic sensitivity, it’s hard to argue with the price.
With sleek, ergonomic construction and a larger chest piece, the Cardiology IV is easy to handle. You’ll find it to be easier to clean, too. Built for the noisiest and busiest of places, you’ll appreciate how well it works.
Children just aren’t as familiar with medical devices compared to most adults. So it’s no surprise that even something as simple as a stethoscope may frighten them. This is where ADC knocks it out of the park.
Their Adscope Animals line is one of the kid-friendliest stethoscopes you can buy for your practice. As the name suggests, each stethoscope is adorned with a cute cartoon-like animal head. This design helps to take the anxiety and stress out of medical examinations.
Built around the Littmann model, you can hear deeper or lighter sounds depending on how much pressure you apply to the chest piece. The big difference here is that there is only one side instead of the traditional dual-headed design.
ADC was smart in how they constructed this stethoscope. Being made primarily for pediatric use, they used PVC and a double-leafed tension spring. The Adscope Animal can take a beating and withstand normal wear and tear.
If you’re wondering how the acoustic response is, fear not. The tunable diaphragm works wonders and helps you to pick up all kinds of frequencies. You can use the Adscope Animal on children and newborns alike.
Each stethoscope is backed by a five-year warranty. This is a big deal considering how quickly ear pieces and diaphragms can wear out in the pediatric field. If at any time within the five-year period you need replacement parts, ADC will send you the necessary components.
The bell and diaphragm are warm to the touch and respond well to pressure. Kids love the design, serving to make your work much easier.
If you’ve been looking for a great low-cost stethoscope for your schooling, MDF Instruments may be just what you need. It includes three diaphragms to accommodate newborns, adults, and children.
It’s a great way to handle a wide range of patients without the need to switch out stethoscopes. And since the headset is adjustable, you can get a fit that is comfortable. The Sprague Rappaport sports a nice acoustic response thanks to its dual-lumen tubing.
Built for durability and longevity, you’ll be able to work with the confidence you need. MDF used zinc-alloy in the construction of this stethoscope’s chest piece, while the tubing is made of PVC. These tough materials ensure you get great use without fear of failure.
You don’t have to worry about allergic reactions, either. MDF made sure to avoid latex in production, so you can work with your patients knowing they’ll be safe.
Weighing in at 8.6 ounces, the Sprague Rappaport is a little heavier than some models but it’s easy enough to manage. It makes a great companion while you’re learning. You can choose between five unique colors to best match your style. You get three ear pieces to ensure that you get just the right fit.
Each stethoscope comes with a lifetime warranty. The great part about this is that if you ever need a replacement part, MDF will send it out.
The flexibility of the Sprague Rappaport lends to its user-friendly design. Switching out diaphragms is quick and painless. Having this kind of versatility on your stethoscope makes its use much more efficient.
As one of the more expensive models in our guide, 3M’s Littmann Master Cardiology offers some of the best acoustics. You’ll be able to hear a much greater range of sounds thanks to the expert craftsmanship that went into the production of this stethoscope.
The tunable diaphragm allows you to control the response of the stethoscope, ensuring you don’t miss any crucial sounds. Many models can pick up ambient noises and interfere with your diagnosis. Thanks to the dual-lumen tubing, sounds like this are eliminated to bring you the best clarity possible.
If you’re in the cardiology field, 3M’s Littmann Master was built to make your life easier. Thanks to its high-quality components, you’ll be able to give your patients the best in their medical care. To broaden this care, a special adapter is included that lets you check on newborns.
The ear pieces are designed to fit comfortably and safely into your ear canals. At 14.4 ounces, this stethoscope is quite a bit heavier than other entries. If you’re looking for an everyday device, you need to be sure this isn’t too much to have around your neck all day.
The Littmann Master Cardiology is one of the more attractive models. It sports a stylish and classy design that is sure to turn heads. Depending on your field, that may not be a bad thing.
As a Littmann, you’ll find the Master Cardiology to be a breeze to handle. Its sensitive diaphragm gives you complete control over sound response. It is a bit on the heavy side comparatively, but it’s a master class in performance.
Have you longed to find an attractive stethoscope that matches your love of healthcare? It’s time you were introduced to MDF’s MD One. This stunning work of art not only delivers quality acoustics, but it looks beautiful doing it.
Constructed using durable components and materials, the MD One is built for your high-demand field. This stainless steel stethoscope helps to deliver a wide range of acoustics so you can give the most accurate diagnosis possible.
The MD One weighs just 7 ounces, making it a breeze to keep with you as you perform your duties. You get three differently-sized ear pieces to ensure you get the best and most comfortable fit.
Each ear piece features MDF’s signature SafetyLock adapter. This is to ensure that your ear drums stay safe and protected. If an ear piece is ever damaged or malfunctions, MDF will replace them for life.
As with all MDF stethoscopes, you get their comprehensive lifetime warranty. This protects you from any manufacturer defects that might occur over the course of your using their product.
You can also rest easy knowing that there is no latex used in the production of the MD One. Your patients won’t have to worry about allergic reactions, either. MDF uses PVC in the tubing, while the chest piece is durable stainless steel.
The only issue we have with the MD One lies in its pricing. This varies wildly depending on the color you choose. We could find no difference in the manufacturing of any one color. Each mode comes with the exact same components and specifications.
At only 7 ounces, this thing is a breeze to wear all day. It’s comfort level is high, making it the perfect companion during a busy shift.
If you are in need of a lightweight stethoscope that isn’t cumbersome, FriCARE has you covered. This affordable entry uses aluminum in its chest piece, serving to cut down on any extra weight.
If you work in a demanding field with high traffic that keeps you on the run, you owe it to yourself to lighten your load as much as possible.
The dual-headed design lets you easily take care of patients of all types. This versatile setup allows you to detect a broad range of frequencies to ensure you give a proper diagnosis. You’ll be able to hear both low and high sounds much more effectively.
FriCARE built this stethoscope with versatility in mind. You’ll be able to listen to the patient’s hearts and lungs with accuracy and precision.
In combination with the lightweight construction, you also get superior comfort. The ear pieces are soft and pliable, allowing you to hear without interference or irritation.
The cost of FriCARE’s stethoscope makes it a great gift for students and nurses alike. It is the perfect companion thanks to its super light design and great price.
FriCARE includes a lifetime warranty with their stethoscope. This gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be covered if there are any defects along the way.
With such a lightweight stethoscope, you’ll barely notice you have it on as you perform your duties. Having an aluminum diaphragm, this model is quite a bit more delicate than stainless steel. Be sure you use proper care to extend its longevity.
3M makes the list again, this time with the Littmann Master Classic II. You get all the features you’ve come to expect from 3M, delivering a solid addition to your medical devices. We just want to set the expectation that these features don’t perform quite as well as other 3M models.
At 10.6 ounces, it is a bit on the heavy side. If you’re in the market for a lightweight stethoscope, you may want to look elsewhere. This one can cause some strain to your neck after a while.
In terms of acoustic response, you’ll find the Master Classic II to be quite high. It’s certainly not on the same level as its successor, but it’s still a great choice as long as you aren’t using it for cardiology.
The biggest issue we had with this model was its construction, or lack thereof. The diaphragm tends to fall off quite a bit. We weren’t fond of the tubing, either. Thankfully, the sound quality makes up for its cumbersome performance.
It is comfortable enough while in use, but its heavy design can be bothersome after a while. Aside from occasionally fighting with the diaphragm, sound quality remains up to par.
If you’re on a tight budget, Omron’s Sprague Rappaport will fit your needs nicely. You get plenty to work with here, as there are several components included.
Each stethoscope gives you three different bell sizes and two unique diaphragms. You also get a couple of pairs of ear pieces. This ensures that you get a comfortable fit. We have to note that these ear pieces are nowhere near as comfortable as other entries.
At 10 ounces, this model can get a bit tiresome after a long shift. It may be best to alternate between wearing it around your neck and carrying it. This will help to reduce any strain.
The chest piece is chrome-plated, giving this simplistic model a little added character and class. Be warned, though. This isn’t the most attractive of models. In fact, it looks like a toy. But the acoustics are reasonable. And for under $20, it’s hard to argue with its design flaws.
It’s easy enough to use, but it’s definitely not built for comfort. If your finances are tight and you’re in need of a stethoscope stat, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Now that you’ve looked over some of the best models available to you, let’s discuss what goes into making a great stethoscope.
It’s important that you consider some crucial aspects before deciding on any one model. This handy guide will help you to narrow down exactly what you need out of your new stethoscope. This will help you avoid buying one with features you don’t want, while pointing you toward the ones you do.
Just like any other medical device or tool, stethoscopes come in a variety of models. Let’s take a moment to discuss these various types so you’ll have a better understanding of how each one functions.
Often seen as the most basic of models, these stethoscopes can only pick up a couple of frequencies. One side of the bell picks up low, while the other side picks up high.
As you can imagine, they are quite limited in their applications. If you’re needing a model that detects a greater number of frequencies, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
You likely noticed several of our reviews featured Littmann stethoscopes. Named after the Harvard doctor who invented this type, Littmann models give the user a much broader range of frequencies.
The application of this is quite ingenious. Depending on the amount of pressure applied to the diaphragm, the user can detect more sounds. If pressed only lightly, you’ll hear lower frequencies. Firm pressure will pick up higher ones. You can adjust your pressure to pick up everything in between, as well.
Thanks to modern technology, electronic stethoscopes offer some of the best detection available. This lets the user pick up sounds that the other aforementioned types can’t. These models are often quite expensive, but they provide some pretty handy functions.
Some will sync up wirelessly to other medical devices. This gives the practitioner a greater chance of properly diagnosing the patient.
As we covered in our reviews, some stethoscopes are made for specific purposes. If you’re in pediatrics, you’ll want to ensure that the stethoscope features a non-chill diaphragm. Something kid-friendly doesn’t hurt either. This will help to distract the child from the nature of the medical examination.
If you work a very hectic shift, it’s a good idea to look for a lightweight model. A heavy stethoscope will only serve to slow you down and strain your body. Ten ounces may not seem like much on the outset, but after a few hours it can begin to be tiresome.
If you’re in cardiology, it’s vital that you get a stethoscope that is meant for this field. One that is designed for lung use will likely not detect the kinds of sounds you need to pick up. Many models typically state their function clearly. If you peruse through our reviews, you’ll see this in many of the model names.
With your busy schedule, it’s important that you consider your comfort, too. You need to be at your very best, so make sure your potential new stethoscope accommodates you well.
Anything under 7 ounces should be fine. Although a few ounces in difference doesn’t sound like a lot, it can weigh you down in no time flat.
This is just as important as the stethoscope’s weight. If you see a model with plastic ear pieces, stay far away. Types like these will hurt your ears, so look for the softest you can find. Many brands offer different sizes of ear pieces. This will help to ensure you get the best and most comfortable fit.