Best Stethoscope Reviews: Top 7 for 2016

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best stethoscopes 

Stethoscopes come in different types, sets of features, and prices, which explains why it is often hard to pick the right one suited to your needs whether you’re a medical student, a veterinarian, a nurse, or a professional doctor.

But it does make thing easier if you familiarize yourself with how one of the best stethoscopes work and what features to look for. Once you’ve figured that part out, finding the one that suits your needs and budget is almost a cakewalk. As to that, this article will provide you all the information you need.

Preview Name Rating Price More Details
3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope 4.7 / 5 $$$ More details!
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3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope 4.7 / 5 $$ More details!
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3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope 4.5 / 5 $ More details!
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3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope 4.7 / 5 $$$ More details!
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Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope 4.1 / 5 $ More details!
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MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope 4.5 / 5 $$ More details!
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American Diagnostic Platinum Adscope 615v American Diagnostic Platinum Adscope 615v 4.4 / 5 $ More details!
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Things to Look for

The ideal stethoscope is capable of producing a clear sound, has versatile functionality, and keeps both the patient and the user comfortable. Here’s a breakdown of features that will assist you in picking the right one for you.

  • The chestpiece should be made of high-quality material, preferably stainless steel or chrome, so that it can be machined to precise tolerances. This guarantees an airtight seal once fitted with the diaphragm, which in turn prevents even the smallest air leak which can cause sound degradation. A chestpiece with removable non-chill rims is also recommended to ensure the comfort of the patient.
  • The diaphragm should be made of top-grade, flexible material such as PE compound film to ensure high-precision tuning of high and low frequency sounds. The standard measurements for diaphragms are 35mm for adults, 24mm for paediatric use, and 45mm for cardiology use.
  • The headset should be anatomically angled to fit the head perfectly and equipped with durable and soft eartips to ensure that you remain comfortable even with prolonged, not to mention to prevent it from falling off as you go about your rounds.
  • The tubes used are also of paramount importance. The thick ones are always preferable since the extra layer isolates external noise, prevents tactile interference, and facilitates the transmission of sound better.

We’ve put together a list of what we feel comprises the best stethoscopes currently available in the market right now. Check out the reviews below to determine the best model for you.

Best Stethoscope Reviews for 2016

1. 3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope

 3M Littmann Master Classic II - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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The 3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope combines an ergonomic design and state-of-the-art technology to bring students and medical professionals reliable acoustic performance and optimal convenience as they check up on patients.

Using 3M Littman’s patented tunable diaphragm technology, this stethoscope allows the user to hear different frequency sounds by adjusting the pressure applied on the chestpiece. It also uses a non-chill rim to ensure patient care that is comfortable and non-intrusive.

  • Award-winning ergonomic design and amazing acoustic sensitivity
  • Tunable diaphragm technology lets you hear low and  high-frequency sounds by adjusting pressure on chestpiece
  • Headset is specifically designed to meet the path of the ear canal
  • Single-sided chestpiece
  • Non-chill rim and diaphragm for non-intrusive and comfortable patient care
  • Latex-free material is safe for allergy sensitive users
What’s to like about the 3M Littman Master Classic II

What 3M Littmann did is take note of the most common issues people have with traditional stethoscopes and then use the latest technology at their disposal to come up with a truly state-of-the-art product that addresses all these common issues in a way that can benefit both the user and the patient.

A big majority of professionals and students alike were beyond satisfied by this model. It’s ergonomic, easy-to-use, and pretty accurate. The tunable diaphragm feature takes away many of the hassles involved in detecting low and high frequency sounds while maintaining a high level of accuracy at the same time.

What’s not to like

A few buyers found it a little uncomfortable around the neck. Removing it every once in a while or when it’s not in use does make a difference.

Final Word

Would I recommend the 3M Littmann Master Classic II Stethoscope? Absolutely. With an average of 4.7 out of 5 as far as online customer comments go, it’s almost a no-brainer. It’s functional, ergonomic, durable, and amazingly accurate and it continues to be a personal favorite among most professionals.

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

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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This 28-inch stethoscope has all of 3M Littmann’s trademark features: high acoustic sensitivity, soft seal eartips, a tunable diaphragm, single lumen tubing, and a non-chill rim and diaphragm.

Featuring a two-sided chestpiece where one side is a traditional bell while the other serves as the tunable diaphragm, this device allows for an intuitive and functional user experience. It’s a great tool to use whether you’re a student or a professional.

  • Award-winning ergonomic design and amazing acoustic sensitivity
  • Tunable diaphragm technology lets you hear low and  high-frequency sounds by adjusting pressure on chestpiece
  • Dual-sided chestpiece
  • Headset is specifically designed to meet the path of the ear canal
  • Non-chill rim and diaphragm for non-intrusive and comfortable patient care
  • Latex-free material is safe for allergy sensitive users
  • Length of 28-inches allows for more leeway as you examine patients
What’s to like about the 3M Littmann Classic II S.E.

If you want a high-quality stethoscope that aims for convenience and accuracy then this one certainly fits the bill. To say that this one is the most popular is not an overstatement. Looking at the bulk of reviews alone should give you an idea on how this particular product changed the industry.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another stethoscope that is as streamlined and functional than this. It’s a terrific device that provides excellent value for a great price.

What’s not to like

There had been some complaints about the actual product’s color not matching the ones shown on the Internet. For everything else, the product works as advertised.

Final Word

If you’re looking for a great all-around stethoscope that is affordable and can last for many years, you can’t go wrong with the 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. The online reviews speak for themselves. As of today, it’s averaging 4.7 out of 5 with over 2,000 customer comments as a sample base. Highly recommended.

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

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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If you want an entry level stethoscope that is lightweight enough to carry as you go about your medical duties, you can’t go wrong with the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope.

For one, it has all the features and functions that made 3M Littmann a trusted brand in medical diagnostics. Reliable acoustic sensitivity and response, a tunable diaphragm, a headset specifically designed to meet the path of the ear canal, a nonchill rim and diaphragm for optimal patient comfort. Moreover, its teardrop shape allows for easier auscultation around blood pressure cuffs.

  • Reliable and clear acoustic sensitivity
  • Lightest of all 3M Littmann adult stethoscopes (118 grams)
  • Teardrop shape makes for easy fit under blood pressure cuff
  • Headset is specifically designed and angled to meet the path of the ear canal
  • Nonchill rim and diaphragm for patient comfort
  • Tunable diaphragm allows toggling between low and high frequencies by pressure adjustment
What’s to like about the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E.

Many customers have been raving about this instrument, most especially the obvious advantage it gives them as far as its lightweight construction is concerned. And while it’s officially considered an entry-level instrument, this stethoscope won’t disappoint those who are used to the more expensive models.

And don’t let the low price tag fool you into thinking that this won’t last long. On the contrary, this is one of the most durable stethoscopes you will ever use. Last but not least, the soft rubbery earpieces are comfortable enough to wear even for long stretches.

What’s not to like

A few buyers commented that the diaphragm is somewhat big, which might cause a little problem when administered on a skinny patient.

Final Word

This by far the best entry-level stethoscope available in the market right now. If its 4.5 rating out of 5 in online comments is any indication, most customers would agree. It’s reliable, lightweight, functional, and convenient. I’d definitely recommend it to any nursing student, medical student, or EMT.

4. 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope

3M Littmann Cardiology III - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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This dual-sided chestpiece brings versatility like no other standard stethoscope, providing seamless auscultation for adult and pediatric patients alike. With two tunable diaphragms that capture high and low frequency sounds via pressure changes, this stethoscope allows for patient care that is as streamlined as it is focused.

The  instrument’s nonchill bell sleeve more than contribute to a diagnostic process that is non-intrusive and comfortable for the patient. And unlike the traditional tube design used by most stethoscopes, this one sports a dual lumen design that eliminates noise interference.

  • Dual-sided chestpiece for a more versatile auscultation for both adult and pediatric patients
  • Two tunable diaphragms for easy toggling between high and low frequencies via pressure adjustment
  • Easy conversion from pediatric side to open bell when used for low frequencies
  • Nonchill bell sleeve for optimal patient comfort
  • Two-in-one tube design removes noise interference
  • Headset is specifically angled to meet the path of the ear canal
What’s to like about the 3M Littmann Cardiology III

This stethoscope is amazing on many fronts. A huge number of professionals, medical students, and nurse students have only great things to say about this product. On top of its magnificent reliability in terms of acoustic response, it’s also one of the most versatile diagnostic instrument you’ll ever have the pleasure of using. From its two tunable diaphgrams and dual-sided chestpiece to its lumen design and nonchill bell sleeve, this stethoscope’s got it made.

A handful of customer reviews also lauded this particular model for its top-notch construction, which is not surprising given that it’s made of solid stainless steel. To top it off, it’s backed by a five-year warranty as well.

What’s not to like

The downside to this product, as stated by some customers, is that it is a little on the heavy side, which can be a hassle when you have to wear it around your neck for most of the day.

Final Word

If you’re not bothered by its slightly heavier build, the 3M Litmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is absolutely a recommended buy. It’ getting rave reviews as well. As of this writing, it’s averaging 4.5 out of 5, which is quite impressive considering that it’s already received more than a thousand customer comments. As an acoustic multi-use stethoscope, this model is highly-recommended.

5. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

Omron Sprague Rappaport - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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As a 5-in-1 Quintscope, the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope offers a level of flexibility and versatility that can’t be found in many other stethoscopes. It comes with a small and large diaphragm that can be used on children and adults respectively.

From faint and high-pitched respiratory sounds to high and low frequency cardiac sounds, this stethoscopes can produce acoustics that let you determine the difference instantly. Moreover, it’s supplied with three bell sizes to accommodate infants, children and adults alike.

  • Comes with three sizes of open bells
  • Two diaphragms (one big and one small)
  • Latex-free tubing
  • Chrome-plated chestpiece
  • Two pairs of eartips
  • Can be fitted into supplied vinyl storage case
What’s to like about the Omron Sprague Rappaport

Going by most of the online reviews this model received, this one is giving 3M Littmann a run for their money. Many customers have been surprised by the overall quality of this product, even more so by the instrument’s great acoustics and high accuracy.

The sonic clarity is amazing, so much so that you can have someone who has no experience with stethoscopes use this and he can still tell the difference between crackles and wheezles and rales easily. The best part about it all is that you can purchase this at a very affordable price.

What’s not to like

A few buyers lamented that this model doesn’t come with soft earbuds, which is why the headset can be a little uncomfortable if worn in long stretches.

Final Word

If you want a cheaper alternative that doesn’t skimp on many of the useful features one can expect from high-end stethoscopes, the Omron Sprague Rappaport deserves your consideration. It’s not the most comfortable in the world but it comes with many great features that more than make up for it.

6. MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF MD One Dual Head - Best Stethoscope Reviews

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If you want stellar acoustic clarity in your diagnostics, this  stethoscope’s acoustic tubing uses a non-stick Y configuration that filters out ambient noise and provides the insulation needed to dramatically enhance sound fidelity. Its dual-head chestpiece is made of durable handcrafted stainless steel, all the better to bolster acoustic integrity as it administers the auscultation of the heart and the lungs.

  • Handcrafted Since 1971 | Lifetime Warranty | Free-Parts-for-Life Program | Latex-Free
  • Made of 100% stainless steel
  • Choose from 13 colors
  • Dual-leaf spring construction for added durability
  • Patented SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors are comfortable and non-invasive
  • Headset is angled at 15-degrees for a perfect fit
What’s to like about the MDF MD One Stethoscope

Using its patented Acoustic Pyramid Chamber, the MDF® MD One® Stethoscope has the open tubing needed to maintain acoustic integrity. Its ergonomic design and soft silicone eartips also ensure optimal comfort even with prolonged use.

And you just got to love the soft silicone eartips, not only for its ability to filter out external noise but also for the superior comfort it provides users.

What’s not to like

There have been some minor complaints about the earpieces feeling a bit flimsy, which makes it a little uncomfortable to wear with extended use.

Final Word

This basically has all the features you would want in a premium stethoscope. Currently averaging 4.5 stars in terms of online reviews, this one is one of the most well-received available that don’t have the name Littmann attached on it. While the earpieces could use a bit of improvement, it is stellar with everything else. If you’re on a tight budget and want a great entry-level stethoscope, you can never go wrong with this one.

7. American Diagnostic Platinum Adscope 615v

American Diagnostic Platinum Adscope- Best Stethoscope Reviews

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This stethoscope uses a gasket diaphragm to toggle between low and high frequency sounds via pressure adjustment. Using an ovoid-shaped chestpiece made of lightweight zinc alloy, the physician gets easy access even on auscultation areas that are usually difficult to probe using traditional chestpieces. Moreover, patient comfort is always assured, owing to the non-chill diaphragm retaining rim.

  • Gasketed diaphragm allows for multi-frequency response using pressure adjustment
  • Ovoid-shaped chestpiece for improved ergonomics
  • Non-chill diaphragm for patient comfort
  • Satin finish stainless steel construction
  • Double leaf internal spring angled at 15-degrees for a perfect, comfortable fit
  • Adsoft Deluxe PVC eartips for  optimal comfort
What’s to like about the Adscope 615v

This is one of the best all-around stethoscopes currently available in the market, and the best thing about it is that it works just as well as most stethoscopes that are twice as expensive. Its greatest feature perhaps is its excellent sound quality. Additionally, the supplied earpieces have excellent noise cancelling properties which make this stethoscope well-suited for use even in overcrowded hospitals.

It’s very convenient to carry around in long shifts owing to its lightweight construction. Last but not least, the long cord allows the physician more leeway to to administer checkups.

What’s not to like

Some customers commented that the ear tips cause a little discomfort though most of them also said that it wasn’t much of a big deal.

Final Word

The Adscope 615v has been getting a lot of praise and is currently averaging 4.4 out of 5 from a substantial number of customers. This model’s greatest strengths are its clear acoustics, ergonomic design, and all-around performance. While there are better stethoscopes out there this one is a great choice if you’re on a tight budget.

Choosing from the Best Stethoscope Reviews

We consider the seven stethoscopes reviewed above as the current best in the industry. The tricky part is knowing which one is the best for you, which will depend on many factors such as the types of patients they are going to be used on, the type of diagnosis, budget, and personal preferences.

By default, the 3M Littmann Master Classic II is considered the best model for professionals. The3M Littmann Classic II S.E. has the same level of excellence but is more suitable for medical students and nurses on account of the traditional two-sided chestpiece it uses. If you’re on a budget, you can never go wrong with the overall performance of the MDF® MD One® Stethoscope.

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