Industrial & Scientific

Top 10 Best Stethoscopes in 2017 Reviews

A stethoscope tops the list of clinical instruments that a nurse, a medical student, EMTs, and other practitioners in the health care industry require. For a nurse, this gadget allows you to study and derive accurate information from a patient’s body before sending them to a doctor. Therefore, accuracy and efficacy aren’t a priority but a necessity.

Choosing a reliable steth from the flooding market is a daunting task given the irresistible marketing hype. The rise in demand for these devices has also led to an unimaginable and frightening increase in counterfeit units. This has consequently pushed the chances of getting an authentic stethoscope even further.

However, that doesn’t mean that quality steths are utterly impossible to get. It only takes a lengthy research and numerous considerations and comparisons. Luckily, we took that burden from you and identified 10 amongst the best stethoscopes from popular brands on the market to make your selection a breeze.

Before that, here’s a quick guide to your next clinical stethoscope.

Flexible tube

Your stethoscope will be prone to regular abuse including being tightly folded. As such, you need a tube that will regain its shape easily. It should also not lose its integrity.

Lightweight

You also need a unit that will wrap around your neck without pushing you down with its weight. However, its lightweight design shouldn’t affect its accuracy and reliability.

Acoustic sensitivity

This is the hallmark of a quality steth. You need an instrument that eliminates all guess work about the heart, lungs, bowel, and other body sounds.

Availability of “consumable” parts

Some parts including the ear tips and diaphragm won’t last forever. As such, spare parts should be easily available. Some brands offer lifetime replacement on these parts while others sell them at lower prices.

Warranty and your budget are also worth considering.

10. 3M Littmann 6153 Cardiology IV Stethoscope

  • By: 3M Littmann
  • Item Weight: N/A
  • Product Dimensions: N/A

From a brand whose stethoscopes are used by millions of nurses, medical students, and EMTs around the globe, the 3M Littmann 6153 Cardiology IV Stethoscope is the next-generation in the healthcare industry. This is a USA-made instrument aiming to offer optimum convenience and professional results in matters related to the heart, the lungs, and other sounds from the body.

What are its unique features?

Littmann 6153’s tubes come in 8 cool and patient-friendly colors including navy blue, turquoise, hunter green, and raspberry.

Secondly, this stethoscope has a tunable diaphragm. Mind you, this is a feature with the 3M Littmann products only. This feature allows you to adjust the audibility to capture the acoustics clearly either in the low or high frequencies.

Thirdly, Littman 6153 uses dual-lumen tubing. Consequently, you get 2 sounds via one tube. This has a high impact in minimizing the rubbing noise associated with old-fashioned stethoscopes.

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What makes it an in-demand instrument is its next-generation tubing which won’t lose it shape even after regular folding. The tubing is also resistant to oils and alcohol which translates to high durability.

There isn’t a single negative review with this stethoscope. However, weighing 1.6 pounds, you won’t fancy having it around your neck for long.

Pros

  • Has tunable diaphragm technology
  • Has easily adjustable headset
  • Uses dual lumen tubing

Cons

  • A bit heavy

9. ADC ADSCOPE 600 Cardiology Stethoscope

  • By: ADC
  • Item Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.6 x 6.8 inches

These cardiology devices are known to be pricey. 3M Littmann 6153 above costs over 150 dollars, for instance. Getting a reliable option without wrecking your wallet could be a not only painstaking but time-consuming.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t inexpensive, but quality stethoscopes out there. ADC ADscope 600 is a good example.

An ideal option for medical students and new entry nurses in the cardiology department, this stethoscope’s metal finishes come in 3 great options to choose from; titanium gold plating, tactical, and stainless.

This USA-assembled uses AFD (Adjustable Frequency Design) Technology to bring the convenience of the traditional bell and diaphragm to deliver dependable acoustic responses in a 1.1-pound instrument.

This device also utilizes a dual-channel headset that singles out different frequency sounds.

Pros

  • Has lifetime warranty
  • Benefit from free consumables.
  • Free Adsoft Plus ear tips and scope ID tag

Cons

  • Concern about inaudible tones

8. R.A. Bock Cardiology Stethoscope

  • By: RA Bock Diagnostics
  • Item Weight: 1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: N/A

This stethoscope isn’t as expensive as those from Littman and neither can the 2 brands be compared. However, you can still opt for it if you’re not willing to spend much.

R.A Bock is amongst the cheapest in this list at below 40 bucks. Surprisingly, it brings impressive features only found in big names like Littman at a very affordable price.

For instance, it’s just as heavy as stethoscopes from Littman and is also fitted with a dual head. The diaphragms are also tunable and offer clear acoustics with a slight pressure alteration.

It also has ultra-comfortable ear tips made of soft silicone. You also get free ear tips and diaphragms.

However, most nurse practitioners are claiming that this device isn’t at par with their expectations. On the other hand, others argue that it’s better than Littman.

Pros

  • It’s inexpensive
  • Has a tunable diaphragm
  • You get spare ear tips and diaphragms

Cons

  • Some nurses claim that it’s flimsy

7. 3M Littmann Classic III (5803) Stethoscope

  • By: 3M Littmann
  • Item Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 6.6 x 1.7 inches 

At below 100 dollars, 3M Littman Classic III is amongst the most affordable in Littman’s series of stethoscopes.

Despite its low price, it still stands out as the most versatile and dependable in the healthcare industry. This stethoscope has a 2-sided chest piece and is, therefore, perfect for adult and pediatric patients. The diaphragm can also be tuned for customized sensitivity on high and low sounds.

Its adjustable headset is also worth noting. It fits snugly into your ears without screwing off. Again, they require some effort to pull out. Consequently, you won’t lose them in your busy schedule.

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To help you fulfill your mission to humankind, 3M Littman Classic 3 has no latex or phthalate plasticizers. As such, it’s safe for the physician as well as the patients.

Lastly, since its Littman’s you get a 5-year warranty cover.

Pros

  • Has 2-sided chest piece
  • Pediatric side easily replaceable with a non-chill rim
  • Has no latex or phthalates

Cons

  • Beware of counterfeits

6. Prestige Medical Clinical Stethoscope

  • By: Prestige Medical
  • Item Weight: N/A
  • Product Dimensions: N/A

Whether you’re a respiratory therapist or a cardiologist, a stethoscope is most likely than not going to hang around your neck for a better part of your time. As such, nurses can’t be happy enough for an instrument that is way lighter than a pound. That’s what Prestige Medical has for you.

Weighing 4oz, you’re more likely going to forget that you have it. This stethoscope is again fitted with a comfortable pair of ear tips that block external interferences.

Its price is also a real steal around 15 bucks.

Pros

  • It’s extremely affordable
  • You get extra ear tips and diaphragm
  • It’s lightweight

Cons

  • Some find it cheaply-made

5. MDF MDF777-14 Stainless Steel Dual Head Stethoscope

  • By: MDF Instruments
  • Item Weight: 7 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 6.4 x 2.2 inches 

Featuring a design that has been heavily relied upon since 1971, MDF777-14 remains to be a highly respected model not only because of its great price but its professional performance as well.

Its manufacturer, MDF Instrument, aims at offering optimum comforts both to the nurse and patient. How?

Firstly, the package comes with 3 pairs of ComfortSeal ear tips with different sizes; small, regular, and large. By the way, these ear tips have for long been considered the safest thanks to the Patented SafetyLock Adaptors used in their craftsmanship.

Secondly, its ergonomic design sees to it that you and the patient remain comfortable even when there’s much to study.

A chest piece is a dual-head unit precisely crafted from stainless steel. It houses a fully rotatable acoustic valve system that will not only pinpoint the active sounds but also help in sealing them for precise audibility.

Even better, MDF777-14 is wholly latex-free. You also get free replacement parts for life.

Pros

  • Free parts for life
  • Safe ear tips in 3 different sizes
  • Has dual spring system for advanced durability

Cons

  • Its paint comes off easily

4. 3M Littmann Classic III (5620) Stethoscope

  • By: 3M Littmann
  • Item Weight: N/A
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 6.6 x 12.7 inches

Littman Classic III 5620 borrows most of its features from Classic III 5803 reviewed earlier on. Its price range also plays between 80-100 bucks.

Like most of the instruments from Littman, 5620 is also resistant to alcohol and skin oil which is bound to deal with on a daily basis. This means that its tube will never prick off and neither will the metallic part get stained.

This stethoscope also has a dual-sided chest piece that offers accurate and reliable auscultation of the heart, lungs, and bowel sounds in unmatched performance and integrity.

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Littman Classic III 5620 also has a small precisely tunable diaphragm that lets you deal comfortably with pediatric and thin patients. It also offers accurate results across bandages.

Pros

  • Has a non-chill rim for the patient’s comfort
  • Has adjustable headset
  • Have tunable diaphragms

Cons

  • It’s a bit heavy given its sturdy tubing construction

3. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

  • By: Omron
  • Item Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 3.7 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches 

Omron Sprague has received the best reviews with most of the nurses, students, cardiologists, and EMTs claiming that it works more like the units from Littman, and perhaps even better.

Omron Sprague is also double-tubed and thereby eliminates all noises brought by rubbing. It also has superior acoustics, and you can easily determine blood flows and valve abnormalities as well as other body sounds.

However, actual users confirm that Omron Sprague Rappaport looks cheap. To your benefit, no physician or any other nurse would ever think of changing its ownership.

Pros

  • Have the best reviews
  • Straightforward usage
  • Has dual tubing

Cons

  • Looks cheap

2. 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. 2201 Stethoscope

  • By: 3M Littmann 
  • Item Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.6 x 12.8 inches 

If you’re not willing to spend much on a 3M Littman stethoscope, I bet you’d want to try this Classic II S.E 2201.

This clinical device has been made with you in mind. From its lightweight design that won’t break your neck to its lengthy tube for greater convenience, Classic II S.E 2201 is a worthy investment you’ll live to thank yourself for.

This stethoscope comes in 2 colors and 2 finishes to choose from. Like other units in this series, this highly affordable stethoscope utilizes tunable diaphragm technology which gives different frequent sounds through simple pressure alterations.

Its resilient tube will also never lose its shape not matter how you fold it. It’s also alcohol, skin oil, and stain resistant.

A few of its users have reported that their stethoscopes turned out to be counterfeit. As such, it’s important that you get yours from a reliable source.

Pros

  • Has ergonomically designed headset
  • Has tunable diaphragm
  • Non-chill rim
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Concern about fake steths

1. 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. 2450 Stethoscope

  • By: N/A
  • Item Weight: N/A
  • Product Dimensions: N/A

Classic II S.E 2450 is another great option you can rely on in the health care industry. Amongst its outstanding features, you get a tunable diaphragm which gives varying frequencies depending on the amount of pressure exerted.

Its headset with an anatomical design will also fit into your ear canal snugly without causing any discomforts. Its non-chill rim, on the other hand, will allow you to diagnose your patients without disturbing their peace.

Littman Classic S.E 2450 is also lightweight and offers 7 tube colors to choose from.

While 72% of its numerous buyers gave it a clean 5/5 star rating, several others claimed that it was too light. Still, others reported that steth didn’t capture the sounds right.

Pros

  • Has reliable acoustic response
  • Adjustable headset
  • Non-chill rim

Cons

  • Concern about flimsy stethoscopes

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