The 7 Best Stethoscopes for Doctors (Updated in 2020)

This post contains affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Please read our disclosure for more information.

Over the years, stethoscopes have transformed dramatically due to technology and innovative ideas (check out some of the first models) which has lead to more choices available to medical professionals. With so many options, however, some may find the process of finding the best stethoscope intimidating.

Related: The Best Shoes for Doctors

In this article, you’ll be able to explore some of the best stethoscopes to consider for 2019, including our top buying tips and other qualities to look for before you purchase.

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top 3:

Preview
Best for Students
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...
Best Overall
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...
Most Affordable
MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...
Model
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...
MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...
Prime?
Price
$41.99
$183.98
$24.99
Best for Students
Preview
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...
Model
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...
Prime?
Price
$41.99
Purchase
Best Overall
Preview
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...
Model
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...
Prime?
Price
$183.98
Purchase
Most Affordable
Preview
MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...
Model
MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...
Prime?
Price
$24.99
Purchase

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...

The 3M Littmann Lightweight II Stethoscope weighs merely 118 grams (.26 lbs) and is the lightest professional stethoscope offered by Littmann. It comes with a dual-sided chest piece with a teardrop shape, a tunable diaphragm, and soft sealed earpieces with excellent acoustics. It is an entry-level device with excellent features to cover your needs.

What we like:

  • The tunable diaphragm technology enables healthcare practitioners to detect different frequency sounds by adjusting the pressure on the chest piece
  • High sound quality
  • You do not need to turn over the chest piece to listen to body sounds
  • The adjustable headset makes it easy to adjust to head size and enables you to listen well to body acoustics
  • The headset is aligned with ear canals which reduces background noise for better body sounds listening
  • The next generation tubing does not contain phthalate plasticizers and is also not made of rubber latex
  • Lightweight material and easily carried
  • Affordable
  • Available in many tube colors and chest piece finishes

What we don’t like:

  • The tubing material can become hard if exposed to the skin for an extended period, which can also lead to cracked tubing
  • It has limited usage in patient exams outside vitals
  • The 28” tubing may seem short, especially if you’re used to 32” stethoscope

The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is ideal for nursing assistants, practical nurses, EMT/EMS, medical assistants and nursing students who use it diagnosing patients and assessing their physical condition. An upgrade is advised if the intention is for long-term use.

Sale
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Lightweight II S.E.,...
  • Provides reliable acoustic performance for taking...
  • Tunable diaphragm responds with a simple pressure...
  • Tear drop shape for easy fit under blood pressure...


Related: What to Wear to Your White Coat Ceremony


3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope

3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope,...

The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope is an affordable cardiology stethoscope. It features a single lumen binaural construction, double-sided chest piece that is convertible to adult and pediatric sides and a tunable diaphragm for a better sound experience — all of which aids in detecting frequency sounds inside the body. It also comes with a thick double lumen the same as Cardiology II.

What we like:

  • The 3M Littmann III Monitoring Stethoscope employs a two-sided chest piece that has tunable diaphragms for adults and pediatric patients
  • Both sides of the chest piece can be convertible to the pediatric and adult sides
  • The tunable diaphragm ensures accurate readings and can detect even the slightest sound changes
  • The single tube has a dual lumen which gives a better sound quality when listening to acoustics
  • The next generation tubing is of good quality and safe to use, as it is not made of rubber and phthalate plastic
  • The next generation tubing has alcohol, oil, and stain resistant features which can prolong stethoscope life
  • The single piece diaphragm is easy to clean, unlike some other stethoscopes
  • It comes with 18 different colors that can suit your practice environment
  • You can also get your stethoscope engraved for an affordable price

What we don’t like:

  • After years of using, the tubing can sometimes break due to more extended skin exposure
  • Bulky and can be uncomfortable for patients and users

The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope is suited for pediatric physicians and adult doctors who assess patients in a non-critical area. This type of stethoscope comes with lightweight yet durable materials and is quite comfortable. The Littmann Classic can serve any health practitioner in a reliable and versatile way!

3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope,...
  • Monitor and assess a wide range of patients
  • Detect normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms
  • Useful in non critical care environments such as a...

 

Related: 12 Best Medical Bags for Healthcare Professionals


3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope

3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...

The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope features a 40% larger chest piece and 60% deeper bell which is higher than the Classic III Stethoscope. It has a tunable and dual-sided chest piece with an open bell. It also features a non-chill bell sleeve and soft ear tips for better use.

What we like:

  • The stethoscope is built to hear better internal sounds or acoustics so you can easily hear body sounds such as murmurs and other pulmonary anomalies
  • The headset has a metal component that is fitted for a stable connection between the rubber and chest piece
  • It can reliably help you in ICU, Cardiac ICU, step down units and other locations
  • The tubing is also hypoallergenic which makes it a safe use even if attached to skin longer
  • You will be able to make a precise diagnosis
  • It comes with a non-rubber latex and non-phthalate plasticizers dual lumen tubing which can last longer even if used in a critical environment
  • For the piping, users have a choice of 22″ and 27″ for convenience

What we don’t like:

  • The Cardiology IV tends to be an overkill for users that are not doing any physical assessment task
  • Higher cost

The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV is a doctor stethoscope which is suited to ICU, Cardiac ICU, and other critical settings. It can also help medical students achieve a better result of their findings. The reliability of this stethoscope can help you save a patient’s life and assess their conditions better.

3M Littmann Stethoscope, Cardiology IV, Burgundy...
  • Diagnose and make decisions with confidence
  • Hear subtle changes in patient status
  • Useful in critical care and challenging...


Ever Ready First Aid Dual-Head Stethoscope

Ever Ready First Aid Dual Head Stethoscope - Black

The Ever Ready First Aid Dual-Head Stethoscope is one of the most popular stethoscopes on the market today. It features a traditional dual head design, a lightweight chest piece with PVC tubing, and a chrome plated brass and inlaid non-chill ring. The double head design guarantees an easy use and a reliable performance.

What we like:

  • The Ever Ready First Aid Dual-Head Stethoscope is ideal for monitoring blood pressure
  • It is made of lightweight material and easy to carry
  • The device has the dual-head design which enables a wide range of sound listening. It can listen to different sounds and intervals depending on the patient’s condition or age
  • The PVC tube is of good quality and can ensure excellent sound transmission
  • Great price for its purpose

What we don’t like:

  • The device looks plasticky and cheap
  • Eartips seem uncomfortable for some

The Ever Ready Dual Head Stethoscope is the best for doctors and other healthcare providers who work in the first aid department that involves monitoring and assessing the patient’s condition. The device is also recommended to medical students and nurses who do not want to pay a higher price without sacrificing the quality and durability of the stethoscope. This stethoscope is not recommended for listening to patients body sounds with complicated conditions.

Ever Ready First Aid Dual Head Stethoscope - Black
  • IDEAL FOR DIAGNOSTICS - An excellent...
  • DUAL-HEAD STETHOSCOPE - Designed for patients of...
  • DUAL LUMEN DESIGN - Eliminates the auditory...

AliMed Master Cardiology Stethoscope

The AliMed Master Cardiology Stethoscope is the same as the Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope but sold by AliMed. It is the top of the range scope by Littmann and has a 3M component that helps hear better by merely adjusting the pressure.

What we like:

  • The Littmann Cardio Stethoscope has an adjustable headset tension that gives comfort to the user. Soft, sealed earpiece gives an excellent sound and a good fit
  • Eartips are safe to use and easily removed
  • The tubing is very flexible and retains its shape even if put inside the pocket
  • Next-generation tubing is not made of rubber or latex
  • It comes with large and small ear tips and special procedure adaptor
  • The extra pairs of ear tips are useful when changing or adjusting the earpiece

What we don’t like

  • The features of AliMed Master Cardiology Stethoscope can be too much for an entry-level medical professional. It can be overwhelming to use and may lead to misdiagnosis if not handled properly
  • The price is costly compared to other brands with similar specifications

The AliMed Master Cardiology Stethoscope is ideal for all medical professions, but it is initially designed for those who work in the cardiology department. You can use the device with adults and children without any inconvenience. This is an exceptional tool for listening to body sounds with an accurate and precise result. If you can swallow the price, this is among the best stethoscopes for doctors and medical professionals.


MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight  Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...

The MDF Acoustica Deluxe has a dual head chest piece, lightweight aluminum construction, non-chill ring, large bell, latex free tubing, and an Ergonomax headset. It also features a non-stick acoustic tubing and Acoustic Pyramid Chambers for higher quality sound transmission. MDF offers loose spare parts replacement for life and a lifetime warranty.

What we like:

  • MDF Acoustica Deluxe is lightweight, making it among the best stethoscope for doctors and students looking for mobility and convenience
  • It delivers accurate auscultation of the heart, lungs, and other internal sounds with clear audibility
  • The tubing also provides good sound transmission because it blocks unwanted background noise
  • Background sounds can never crack the high-end tubing of MDF One
  • The device is affordable compared to other brands
  • The equipment is durable and offers a lifetime warranty which entails prolonging stethoscope life
  • The device is very affordable

What we don’t like:

  • The tubing tends to be longer than other brands. The longer the tube, the lower the sound reception
  • A small selection of colors can be seen as a negative. Not all men like pink!
  • The device can be inaccurate if mishandled
  • Considered heavy for some users

The MDF Acoustica Deluxe is the best stethoscope for doctors and medical students who want a quality instrument without breaking the bank. This makes it an ideal device for med school students and the warranty service which probably means that your stethoscope will still be with you even after graduation.

MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head...
  • Handcrafted Since 1971 | Free-parts-for-life...
  • ALL-PURPOSE LIGHTWEIGHT STETHOSCOPE > Durable,...
  • Includes 3 pairs of MDF ComfortSeal eartips:...


MDF MD One Stainless Steel Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF® Rose Gold MD One® Stainless Steel Premium...

The MD One is a premium diagnostic instrument with handcrafted chest piece and soft silicone ear tips. Its hand-polished stainless steel headset comes with patented dual-leaf spring construction and a safety lock. It also features a thick, denser, and latex free PVC tubing which is non-stick and dirt resistant.

What we like:

  • The MDF One comes with a patented internal dual-leaf spring construction which is comfortable and easy to use
  • The acoustic tubing gives an excellent sound transmission and is durable
  • The tube is thicker and will last longer even if used all the time
  • The tubing is designed for you to hear high and low tones
  • Great color options, including rose gold

What we don’t like:

  • The device has only got one tube attached to the bell and accommodating the two earpieces which can be a problem for doctors and physician when diagnosing patients

Generally, the MDF MD One can be an alternative for Littmann and is considered one of the best stethoscopes for physicians and medical students. The price is a strong point as it is a lot cheaper than a Littmann so if you’re looking for a classic stethoscope, try the MDF MD One!

Sale
MDF® Rose Gold MD One® Stainless Steel Premium...
  • Handcrafted Since 1971 | Free-parts-for-life...
  • 100% stainless steel construction and...
  • PRE-ANGLED > ErgonoMax Headset is anatomically...

Stethoscope Buying Tips:

Looking for a stethoscope is easy but knowing what makes a good stethoscope can be a challenge especially if you are new in the field. Apart from the budget, it also important to note that there is a specific type of stethoscope depending on each purpose.  There are also certain specifications and tiny details one must look into before purchasing a stethoscope.

Let’s take a look at some of the top qualities of a good stethoscope according to its parts.

What Makes the Best Stethoscope for Doctors?

Chest Piece

A good stethoscope is made of high-density material such as stainless steel or titanium and a hand-polished finish both inside and out. The convertible chest piece is also time-saving. Stethoscopes must maintain this quality to achieve a more precise body sound.

Headset

The headset should have a 15-degree angle to amplify sounds better. It has to be made of rubber for comfort and noise cancellation.

Diaphragm

Choose a high-quality diaphragm. You will need the right membrane for assessing high pitch sounds such as heartbeats, murmurs, and bowel movements.

Tubing

The best stethoscopes for doctors are made of material like polyvinyl chloride with thick tubing as it can isolate sounds better. Thin tubing breaks easily and will lead to low sound quality and misdiagnosis.

Ear Tips

Make sure that ear tips perfectly and comfortably fit on both ears. Unwanted background noises have to be blocked to prevent external sounds coming through.

Stem

Choose a stem that has same metal quality as the chest piece to achieve better sound experience. A good stem is designed in a way that snaps into place to reduce sound leakage. You can easily find a replacement of your stethoscopes’ spare parts if you are aware of its specification.

Other Things to Consider When Buying a Stethoscope

Length of the Stethoscope

This is an important feature to look for as you do not want to be bending over and catching viruses from patients while listening to their breathing. Twenty-five inches is still very short, while the ideal length is 27 inches or around 69 centimeters.

Diaphragm Width

Cheaper stethoscopes have diaphragms around 1.38 inches, while the best stethoscopes for doctors measure around 1.7 inches.

Weight

A good stethoscope weight is around 6 ounces. Nobody wants a device that is too heavy to be carrying around the neck comfortably during a shift. Heavier stethoscopes are annoying and probably made of plastic, which is a no-no.

Adjustable Headsets

Choose a headset that can easily be adjusted and perfectly fitted on your ears. Snap-tight headsets are good for listening to acoustic sounds and are safe to use.

Acoustic

Selecting a stethoscope based on acoustic can be a challenge, as not everyone has the same hearing ability. Try the device before purchasing it and make sure that it suits your hearing ability.

Durability

Stethoscopes with longer warranties are likely to be durable as manufacturers know their products will not break in a week or year time. This can be a good rule of thumb when considering a new stethoscope.

How Much Should You Expect to Spend on a Stethoscope?

Prices of stethoscopes vary from brand to brand. To give a rough estimate, we have listed some stethoscope brands that can give you ideas about the cost of some of the best stethoscopes for doctors and healthcare professionals.

There are a lot of brands in the market, but these 3 names dominate the market:

Littmann

The Littmann stethoscopes are some of the most versatile stethoscopes in the market with a price that ranges from $79 to $276.96. The cheapest ones are those being used in a non-critical environment, while the most expensive is known as the specialist microscope. Littmann has a 5 or 7-year warranty.

MDF

This type of stethoscope comes with a friendly price which makes it affordable for students and young professionals. Prices of MDF stethoscopes ranges from $25 to $125 and the MDF Company provides a lifetime warranty.

AliMed

AliMed is among the best brands of stethoscopes for doctors and offers stethoscopes from prices that range from $8 to $567.

JOIN US FOR THE LATEST COURSE DISCOUNTS

MCAT DEALS

TEST PREP NERDS