You may be used to seeing stethoscopes in medical offices exclusively, but having access to a stethoscope at home has benefits. Whether you’re training to become a medical professional or wanting to be able to monitor the health of yourself or your loved ones, stethoscopes provide a critical diagnostic function.
Stethoscopes have a variety of functions in the medical world, including helping to hear the heartbeat, the lungs and diagnosing issues in the abdomen. Thanks to their small size and portability, stethoscopes are often the first step when checking a patient’s health.
For those who are studying to enter the medical world, whether it’s as a physician, a nurse, a medical tech or another role, having a professional-quality stethoscope is a must. Students can use stethoscopes at home to practice, learning how to quickly and accurately obtain medical information from the device. Many educational programs and hospitals require students to provide their own stethoscope, so having one that you are familiar with and have practiced using can be a huge asset when in training situations.
Before purchasing a stethoscope, there are a handful of factors that medical students and providers should consider. Do they want a stethoscope that is large and designed for adults or one that is smaller and can be used in a pediatric setting? Does their job require stethoscopes to be a specific color? Will they be carrying their stethoscope with them all day and want something lightweight, or will it remain on a desk when not in use? Should the diaphragm be a turntable model?
Whatever your needs, we’ve found the best stethoscopes for providing accurate and dependable readings that are a must-have for any medical personnel.
1. 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope
The latest version of the history-changing Littman, the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope is designed for use on adults and children. The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope has a two-sided chest piece with a turnable diaphragm. Designed with high acoustic sensitivity for general physical assessments, the tubing protects against skin oils and alcohol to give the stethoscope a longer life. The Classic III weighs only 150 grams, making it Littmann’s lightest option and a great stethoscope for wearing all day.
2. 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
BEST FOR ADULT PATIENTS
Designed with a teardrop shape for easy readings under blood pressure cuffs, the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope has a non-chill rim and diaphragm that will make patients feel more comfortable. The turnable diaphragm on the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope can capture both low and high-frequency sounds simply by changing the applied pressure. The anatomically designed headset is comfortable for users and the non-chill rim adds extra comfort for patients. At 3.5 ounces, the stethoscope is comfortable for wearing all day. Users should note that it can’t be used on pediatric patients.
3. MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope
The MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope is a helpful aid for treating adults. With acoustic tubing that’s made out of thicker latex-free PVC, the Y-configuration, non-stick acoustic tubing blocks ambient sound and helps with sound transmission. This stethoscope comes in many different colors, so the options to match your stethoscope with your scrubs are limitless.
4. 3M Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope
BEST FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL WITH HEARING LOSS
When it comes to the best of the best stethoscopes, it doesn’t get much more impressive than the 3M Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope. The digital stethoscope connects directly to Eko software, which allows users to visually see and share heart sound waveforms. Users can amplify the heart sounds up to 40 times at peak frequency, which provides clear audio to help diagnose and identify irregularities. The Eko software allows users to move back and forth between analog and amplified listening modes and active noise cancellation provides a clear listening stream. The digital stethoscope also has all the same high-end features found in most Littmann products, including soft-sealing ear tips and a turntable, dual-sided chest piece. The amplification makes the 3M Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope an excellent option for medical providers with hearing issues.
5. 3M Littmann Stethoscope Cardiology IV
BEST FOR CARDIOLOGY DEPARTMENT
For a stethoscope that will allow health care providers to hear slight changes in a patient’s status, there’s the 3M Littmann Stethoscope Cardiology IV. Designed to be used primarily in the emergency department, ICU, cardiac unit, and other dynamic locations, the stethoscope provides outstanding acoustic sensitivity. Made with next-generation tubing and featuring an open bell that helps protect the diaphragm from dirt and debris, the stethoscope has a turntable design that provides both a pediatric and adult chest piece.
6. Adscope Lite 619 Ultra Lightweight Clinician Stethoscope
INCLUDES TWO SIZES OF EARPIECES
The Adscope Lite 619 Ultra Lightweight Clinician Stethoscope has developed a following thanks to its affordable price point, lightweight design, and impressive amplification. Weighing only 3.7 oz, the Adscope is comfortable to wear throughout a 12-hour shift and comes with two sizes of earpieces to ensure users get the best fit. Designed with an ultrasensitive diaphragm, the Adscope provides impressive acoustic performance. The durable unit is made with flexible PVC tubing and a durable double-leaf tensioning spring.
7. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
For health care providers with latex sensitivity, the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope offers an affordable stethoscope option that won’t aggravate the skin. The versatile stethoscope can be used on both adult and pediatric patients and comes with several add ons, including three sizes of open bells, two sizes of diaphragms, and two pairs of ear tips. The chest piece does not include a non-chill rim, but for the price point, this is a quality buy for medical students.
8. FriCARE Rose Gold Stethoscope
The FriCARE Rose Gold Stethoscope hits the trifecta of stethoscope must-haves — it provides a clear auditory reading, includes useful accessories and it looks cool. Hey, there’s a good chance your shift could end with some pretty gross stuff on your scrubs. It would be nice for one thing on your uniform to still look good. The FriCARE stethoscope comes with a penlight and storage case, making this a great item to gift new medical graduates. As for the actual stethoscope, the lightweight model weighs only 3.5 oz thanks to its aluminum binaural. Featuring a dual-headed chest piece and tightly sealed earpieces, the FriCARE is conducive to hearing clear readings of the bowels, heart and lungs.
9. MDF Sprague Rappaport Dual Head Stethoscope
BEST FOR INFANTS
The MDF Sprague Rappaport Dual Head Stethoscope offers a latex-free convertible design that makes it easy to use in just about any department. The Sprague includes attachments that make it possible to use the stethoscope on adults, pediatric patients, and even infants. Designed with dual-lumen tubing, the Sprague has two sound channels for each ear, helping to provide a clear auditory experience. The custom-fitted Accufit headset adjusts to the individual user’s sound preferences for a comfortable listening experience.