The stethoscope is an important piece of equipment for many healthcare professionals and is one of the devices most people tend to carry on them all day long. So, when you’re looking for the best stethoscope, you will not just want a technologically advanced device, you’ll also need a product that is comfortable and easy to wear.
The durability is also important as this diagnostic instrument must be in the best condition at all times. After all, you won’t be able to hear all the sounds you’re looking for with cracked tubing or faulty ear pieces.
On a first look, you’ll notice that the market is flooded with all sorts of products and it’s extremely easy for anyone to get a stethoscope. Prices vary but are more expensive products better in quality? To help out healthcare professionals, we put together a list with the five best stethoscopes on the market following the features that matter the most: quality, performance, and durability.
So, if you are looking to buy a stethoscope, take a look at the reviews below and choose the one that fits your needs the best.
Please note, all external links for the products below (geni.us links, etc.) link to the corresponding Amazon.com page for each product.
Stethoscopes Comparison Table
3M Littmann Master Cardiology
3M Littmann Classic III
MDF MD One Premium Dual Head
3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E.
ADC Adscope-Lite 609 Ultra Lightweight
|Weight||0.41 pounds||0.33 pounds||0.44 pounds||0.26 pounds||0.22 pounds|
|Size||27 in||27 in||29 in||28 in||31 in|
Best Overall Stethoscope
3M Littmann is one of the most popular stethoscopes producers in the USA and their products are used by millions of medical professionals. They are actually producing some of the best stethoscopes in the industry, featuring high-quality materials, amazing acoustic performance, and value for the money.
The 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope is 27-inches in length and features next-generation tubing that won’t lose shape or flexibility even after being fold tightly for a long period of time. This means you can easily stuff it in your pocket when you don’t want to put it around your neck and there won’t be any problems.
The tube also features a two-in-one design or dual lumen to eliminate noise interferences that usually appear when you have two tubes rubbing together.
The stethoscope comes with an ergonomic design and the chestpiece is equipped with the precision and finesse that characterizes the Littman technology. The chestpiece is stainless steel so you don’t have to worry about rust or other corrosive agents.
To help doctors and healthcare personnel hear different frequency sounds, the 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope features a tunable diaphragm (proprietary to 3M) that can be adjusted by applying pressure on the chestpiece. Even more, this is a one-sided chestpiece so you don’t have to turn it over and reposition it to hear more. You simply need light pressure for low-frequency sounds and a little more pressure for higher frequency sounds.
Thinking about the patient’s comfort, the stethoscope is equipped with a non-chill rim - this way, the chestpiece won’t feel cold on the patient’s skin. Now, thinking about the healthcare personnel’s comfort, the headset tension can be adjusted to fit any head size and the eartubes are anatomically designed to meet the ear canal the proper way. Even more, the eartips are soft-sealing and will fit any type of ears without creating any discomfort.
The outer coat is specially designed to resist skin oils and alcohol (two substances that are common in a healthcare facility). However, you should know that the length is not the same as in standard stethoscopes so, if you never worked with a 3M Littmann, this may be a small inconvenient.
- Very high acoustic performance – you can actually hear everything
- The two-in-one tube design eliminates noise interference
- Great 7 years warranty
- Quite expensive
- Shorter than the standard
#2 Best Overall Stethoscope
The Classic III line of stethoscopes is specially created to fit professionals’ and students’ needs. The level of sensitivity and ease of use propelled them among the best stethoscopes on the market. These devices are generally used for physical assessment of a patient’s health state and correct diagnosis of heart and lungs problems.
We think that the stethoscope from 3M Littmann is a technological masterpiece! With a two-sided chestpiece (one side for adults and a smaller side for children), this device is easy to carry around. This is possible due to the next-generation tubing that promotes flexibility and durability regardless of the storage and usage conditions. The outer coating is specially created to repel oils and resist alcohol’s corrosive effect and it’s a lot less likely to pick up stains.
The chestpiece can accommodate a tunable diaphragm on both sides: a single-piece one and a small one. The single-piece diaphragm is for consultations with adult patients and is easy to attach due to its smooth surface. It’s also extra-easy to clean.
The small diaphragm is great for consultations with children or for very thin patients. Also, it works great around bandages or for carotid assessment. The pediatric side of the chestpiece can also be transformed into an open bell if you replace the diaphragm with a non-chill rim.
Finally, the stethoscope is lightweight at 0.33 lbs. and comes in a wide range of colors and chestpiece finishes. This way, everyone will find their best match.
- Lots of color options to choose from
- High-quality Littman build
- 5 Year warranty
- Lightweight and great acoustics
- It doesn’t employ the same level of acoustics as the first Littmann choice
- Single-lumen tube design
Best Value Stethoscope
MDF is a well-known company in the healthcare industry and all their diagnostic instruments are handcrafted to make sure everything is up to the highest standards. Even more, once you purchase one of their products, you are included in the Free-Parts-for-Life Program, where you actually get free spare parts for life.
MD One Stethoscope implements a simple, no frills design which makes it very easy to use. Even more, the tubing is soft and feels nice to touch so you won’t have any problems wearing this device around your neck. It is also a lot more durable and resistant to cracking, and wear and tear.
The tubing is designed with thicker and denser PVC (latex-free) and the Y configuration offers a fantastic sound insulation. This way the ambient noise is removed from the diagnostic. The MD One stethoscope is equipped with an acoustic pyramid chamber located in the acoustic tubing in order to keep the channel open for maximum sound transmission.
The dual-head chestpiece is 100% stainless steel, machined and hand polished for the best level of durability and performance. Also the dual-leaf spring construction of the headset makes it twice as durable, in comparison to other products.
To improve your level of comfort during consultations, the MD One comes with 3 pairs of MDF ComfortSeal eartips: one for each ear size. Eartips implement the patented SafetyLock adapters that prevent accidentally punctured ear drums. Even more, the eartips are designed out of soft silicone, they are easy to clean, and seal out the external noises perfectly.
The length of the tube is longer than average (29-inches) thus creating a comfortable space between medic and the patient. And finally, the entire stethoscope is lightweight (0.44 lbs.) and comes in a wide range of beautiful colors.
- • Lifetime warranty
- • Hand crafted with extreme attention to details
- • 20 different colors and designs
- • Soft tube that feels nice against the skin
- • The build quality is not as advanced as with Littmann products
#4 Best Overall Stethoscope
The final 3M Littmann stethoscope on our list is an entry-level device with teardrop-shaped dual-sided chestpiece. The chestpiece is equipped with a tunable diaphragm and the shape is specially created to improve acoustic performance around pressure cuffs.
The tunable diaphragm can be adjusted as needed with a simple pressure change to move from low to high-frequency sounds. There is also a non-chill rim that helps with patient’s comfort by eliminating the cold shock of the chestpiece on the skin.
The device is also comfortable for health specialists as it is lightweight (0.26 lbs.) and measures 28-inches in length. This is enough to make it comfortable and easy to wear for an average-built person. The headset is specially angled to meet the human ear canal, and the eartips and the headset follow the same Littmann quality offering a customizable experience for everyone’s comfort. We should mention that the eartips are soft and extremely pleasant to wear, but the stethoscope doesn’t come with a spare pair.
However, the fact that it is so lightweight speaks volumes about the level of quality and durability, which is somewhat lacking. It is still an affordable stethoscope and the features it implements make it one of the best stethoscopes on the market for the money.
Finally, the stethoscope is easy to clean and it comes in several colors. If you want, you can even have your name engraved on it.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Easy to clean and use
- Great price
- 2-year warranty
- Build quality is somewhat lacking
- Not that many color options
- Some have troubles in hearing all the murmurs
Budget Pick Stethoscope
The ADC Adscope-Lite 609 stethoscope is a fantastic budget choice for beginners and students. While the build quality doesn’t compare with the Littmann choices, the device features a CNC precision-machined aluminum allow construction for the headset, a dual-head chestpiece with a diaphragm and a bell, and Adsoft Plus silicone eartips for a perfect acoustic seal.
The chestpiece is also aluminum and is specially designed with a non-chill diaphragm that is highly sensitive to high-frequency sounds. The non-chill bell is extra-large and picks up even the lowest sound frequency.
The PVC tubing is 31-inches long tubing provides the clinician with lots of space between them and the patient. The ADC Adscope-Lite 609 stethoscope is considered one of the most comfortable devices on the market due to the ergonomic headset and highly comfortable eartips.
Even though it may seem a bit less durable than other options we mentioned, this stethoscope comes with a double-leaf tension spring that will hold for thousands of uses and the headset is designed with a reinforcing yoke integrated into flexible 22-inch PVC tubing.
The entire device is lightweight (0.22 lbs.) but still promotes a sturdy build. It is also equipped with a spare diaphragm and eartips and registered users have access to free consumables.
Finally, the stethoscope comes in a wide range of colors and finishes so everyone can have their pick (there are two metal finishes and 17 colors for the tubing).
- The price is great for a starter stethoscope
- Long tubing to allow you to reach further
- Lightweight design
- 5 year warranty
- Build quality a little low in comparison with other options on our list
- Acoustic performance is decent but not advanced
As you can see, the level of quality is different for each product but most feature great performance. We hope you are now prepared to choose the best stethoscope for your needs by comparing brands, features, and prices.
Regarding producers or brands, 3M Littmann is one of the best in the market right now. All their products are carefully designed to fit the highest standards and both students and professionals can benefit from having such a stethoscope.
For instance, if you are looking for the best possible quality, we recommend going with the 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope. This one is the most expensive on our list but it does implement the best features too.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a starter stethoscope to fit your budget, the ADC Adscope-Lite 609 stethoscope is a fantastic choice