The medical profession requires the use of many tools, with one of the most important being a stethoscope. Making auscultation a better experience for both you and your patients is essential, so finding a properly functional, high-quality stethoscope is imperative.
Whether for cardiology, pediatrics, nursing, EMT, or veterinary needs, the perfect tool makes a big difference in the success of your career. The question now is, what is the best stethoscope for you? Read our guide and let us recommend the best options on the market right now.
Choosing the Right Stethoscope
A poorly designed stethoscope can result in numerous replacements, unnecessary expenses, and a depletion of your trustworthiness as a medical professional. To get the best model, think carefully about the following components:
• Chest Piece/Head – It should be comprised of high-density materials (titanium, stainless steel, etc.), with an obvious durability that will keep it working properly even after several uses. A hand-polished finish on the inside and out is vital as well, mostly because an unpolished piece typically has perforations that can absorb sound.
• Diaphragm – A durable diaphragm will keep your stethoscope in good working order for quite a while. It should be air-sealed to ensure that the amplified sound is clear. If possible, having a non-chill rim within the diaphragm will be helpful especially for pediatric patients.
• Tube – Thick and robust materials are your best bet here, as they insulate the tubing and keep it from breaking, becoming worn out, or succumbing to a loss of sound. Moreover, choosing a tube that is extra-long will help you keep a safe distance from patients.
Best Stethoscope – Our Top Picks
Below, we break down eight great options available on the market to help you get your hands on a quality piece of equipment that you can count, and that you can utilize day in and day out without any worry or concern. Each one is affordable and comes from a trusted manufacturer.
1. 3M Littmann Classic III
The standout feature has to be the integration of dual tunable diaphragms and a revolutionary new design that allows it to be effortlessly cleaned and maintained, allowing you to enjoy high-performance from this stethoscope for years and years to come.
It can be converted easily into an open bell with no difficulty at all, has next-gen tubing to provide improved resistance against bacteria, skin oil, and alcohol, and the fact that it doesn’t use any natural rubber, latex, or plasticizers means it can be used in any setting without fear of causing irritation or a reaction from the patient.
2. MDF Rose Gold MD One
Another quality sub $100 contender, this model from MDF has crystal-clear acoustics, features 100% stainless steel construction materials throughout, and has an anatomically angled headset combined with a highly sensitive diaphragm to guarantee that you are able to hear more with this stethoscope then you would have with most other options.
A dual head chest piece allows you to listen to higher and lower frequencies with the same kind of clarity that you just don’t get with single head models. This stethoscope features the latest and greatest in medical research technology to guarantee that you’re always using the highest quality diagnostic tool.
Easy to clean, easy to maintain, and easy to deploy whenever you need it most, this is one of the best stethoscopes on the market today.
3. 3M Littmann Lightweight II
The perfect entry-level stethoscope that offers a tunable diaphragm, a double-sided chest piece, and acoustic performance that you usually don’t get from entry-level stethoscopes, this Littmann has to be one of the most reliable and one of the most dependable “on the floor” of medical clinics and hospitals all over the world.
It doesn’t hurt that this stethoscope also happens to be one of the lightest weight options on the market, and certainly one of the lightest of all the models this company makes. If you have to wear your stethoscope all day long, every day of the week, you’re going to want something that isn’t going to weigh you down – and it only adds 118 g to your everyday work load out.
It allows you to hear different frequencies by adjusting the pressure that you apply with the chest piece itself. This saves a lot of time, but also gives a lot of extra diagnostic flexibility and adaptability that you don’t get out options that do not offer tunable frequency solutions.
4. ADC Adscope 615
Featuring a proprietary Adjustable Frequency Design, this ADC stethoscope features acoustic response like the traditional bell and diaphragm solutions on the market but melded into the convenient one-sided chest piece format so that you don’t have to flip back and forth when you are in the middle of a diagnosis.
The oversized and sculpted opioid chestpiece is made out of 100% CNC precision machined materials, allowing it to improve the acoustic performance while at the same time making it a lot easier to handle, a lot easier to deploy, and a lot more comfortable to store when you aren’t using it.
22 inch PVC tubing, stainless steel binaurals, and a whole host of other “creature comfort features” are on full display with this stethoscope, making it a joy to wear for clinicians and medical experts that are going to have it around their neck for hours and hours each day.
5. 3M Littmann Cardiology IV
When it comes to the best stethoscope on the market today, this particular model from Littmann – purpose built for cardiologists and those working in the cardiology field – is about as good as it gets.
Like a lot of the other options from this manufacturer, you’ll be able to enjoy both high and low frequency pick up in crystal-clear audio clarity just by adjusting the pressure that you apply via the chest piece. The diaphragm gives you some of the best acoustics and high-end audibility – especially at the higher frequency.
Dual lumen tubing is going to allow for the sound to carry throughout two different paths in a single tube, preventing any “outside interference” from making your diagnosis a more challenging proposition. The tubing (100% free of natural rubber latex or plasticizers) provides longer stethoscope life due to improved resistance to skin oils and alcohol, and is less likely to pick up stains.
6. Bojing Multifunctional
Affordable, this model from Bojing has to be a good option on our list – especially if you aren’t actually in the medical field and are a hobbyist that needs a stethoscope or in another career that doesn’t require the elevated and extreme acoustic designs of some of the more expensive options.
You’ll still be able to use this stethoscope reliably in most situations, however, especially if you are going to be taking blood pressure readings or making limited physical examinations and diagnosis of adult medical patients. For things more involved, however, you’re going to want to get your hands on something a bit more purpose built and focused.
7. 3M Littmann Pediatric
Specifically engineered for use in pediatrics, this particular Littmann stethoscope is ideal for those that are going to be working with children or smaller patients. It features a high level of acoustic sensitivity, picking up high and low frequency sounds, but it also has an improved diaphragm design that allows it to do some really special things when it comes to picking up sound that may have otherwise been muffled or unclear.
The tubing used in this model is also amongst the highest quality materials of all the stethoscopes on the market, with a resilient and next generation design that allows it to maintain its shape and flexibility even when it has been compressed over longer amounts of time.
8. Vorfreude Cardiology
Featuring legendary German engineering and premium quality materials throughout, this model from Vorfreude is lighter than most stethoscopes and also features a variety of design and engineering choices that make it effortless to clean and maintain.
The modular design allows you to replace your tips for improved comfort, allows you to replace diaphragm components, but also allows you to adjust the sensitivity and acoustic features in a way that you wouldn’t have been able to with more traditional options.
Best Stethoscope – Our Ratings
|Littmann Classic||5.0 / 5|
|MDF One||4.5 / 5|
|Littmann Lightweight||4.5 / 5|
|ADC Adscope||4.5 / 5|
|Littmann Cardiology||4.5 / 5|
|Bojing Multifunctional||4.0 / 5|
|Littmann Pediatric||4.0 / 5|
|Vorfreude Cardiology||4.0 / 5|