Are you looking for one of the best stethoscopes on the market today? If so then you’re in the right place. We’ve listed out the absolute best stethoscopes for Respiratory Therapists, nurses, doctors, students, and medical professionals.
Finding the best stethoscope can definitely be a challenge. While it’s important to purchase a high-quality stethoscope, it can be difficult to find one at an affordable price. That is, if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
But don’t worry, we’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation for you. You can use our list to find the right stethoscope for you. So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and dive right in.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Our Top Stethoscope Recommendations:
- 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope
- MDF Rose Gold MD One Premium Stethoscope
- 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
- MDF Acoustica Deluxe Stethoscope
- 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscope
- MDF Classic Cardiology Dual Head Stethoscope
- Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
- FriCARE Dual Head Stethoscope
- 3M Littmann 2144L Master Classic II Stethoscope
- Eko CORE Digital Stethoscope
- 3M Littmann Classic II Infant Stethoscope
Now that you’ve taken a quick look at our favorite stethoscopes, let’s dive into deeper into our more detailed reviews.
Best Stethoscopes for Respiratory Therapists and Medical Professionals:
Coming in at #1, the 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope is the best bang for your buck, there’s no doubt about it. This is my stethoscope of choice and the one I use on a daily basis as a Respiratory Therapist. Not only does it provide great sound quality, it’s the most affordable once everything is taken into consideration.
It has a two-sided chest piece that can be used to listen to both adults and pediatrics. It’s durable and made of high-quality materials which means that it should last for years on end.
Not to mention, it’s also very easy to clean because the surface is smooth with no crevices. The tubing is flexible, durable, and comfortable to wear around your neck or even in your pocket.
Whether you’re a Respiratory Therapist, Nurse, Doctor, EMT, or even a student, this is a great stethoscope for all medical professionals. It sits at the top of our list because this stethoscope
Coming in at number two on the list is the MDF Rose Gold MD One Premium Dual Head Stethoscope. Isn’t she beautiful? I’m not even going to lie to you, a big factor as to why this stethoscope ranks so high on our list is because of it’s aesthetic appearance. The white on the rose gold just go so well together and can definitely make anyone stand out on the job.
I know, I know; as medical professionals, we’re here to serve and take care of our patient first and foremost. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good while doing so.
Now let’s talk about its functionality. Not only is it extremely fashionable but it gets the job done nicely as well. Being a dual-head stethoscope, it works really well picking up both high and low frequencies. I always recommend this one for all the ladies out there.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and luxurious stethoscope that will also provide you with clear and crisp acoustics, this is the one for you.
Coming in at number three on our list of best stethoscopes, the 3M Littmann Lightweight S.E. Stethoscope is also a great option for most medical professionals. While it is not going to be quite as top-notch as the Littmann Classic III, this stethoscope still provides reliability and durability and will be all you need and more during your shift.
I like this one because the head has a classic teardrop shape, which fits nicely under the blood pressure cuff for when you need to do a manual assessment, among other beneficial qualities.
The reason this one ranks so high on our list is because of the affordability that comes with it. It’s great because you get a Littmann quality stethoscope at a much more affordable rate compared to others on this list.
That is what makes this our top recommended stethoscope for students who are on a tight budget.
Another budget-friend option is the MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope. The acoustics with this one
I could hear breath sounds just fine, however, if you’re needing a stethoscope for more precise listening, maybe you should select
This one is very lightweight but yet is more durable than you would expect. You are not going to be able to hear heart sounds as clearly as some of the other options. But as I said, this is still a great option for those on a budget which is why it ranks highly on our list.
When it comes to acoustics, clarity, and sounds, the 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is the best of the best. You won’t find a stethoscope that provides clearer sounds than this one that comes with reasonable affordability. I often notice that this is the stethoscope of choice for many doctors in the hospital where I work. There’s a reason for that because the quality, clarity, and durability are top of the line.
With that being said, this stethoscope is so high in quality that it tends to be a bit more expensive compared to others on this list. You get what you pay for.
If you’re a doctor or someone who is looking for top-of-the-line when it comes to acoustics, this is the stethoscope for you. Like most Littmann stethoscopes, this one has a dual-sided chest piece that allows it to be used for both adults and pediatrics.
If you are looking to shell out a few more bucks on a higher quality stethoscope that is the best in its class, you won’t be disappointed with this one. The only reason it’s not at the top is
Next up on our list is the MDF Classic Cardiology Dual Head Stethoscope. This one is simply is a beautiful, great, high-quality stethoscope. The only reason it fell down this far on our list is because it tends to be a bit more expensive than some of the other models. But as I keep saying, you get what you pay for. Not only does this one look good but it has really good sound quality. That to go along with good durability.
Just like the Littmann cardiology model that we mentioned above, this one made by MDF is similar in acoustics. That is what makes this a great stethoscope choice for doctors, nurse practicioners, and physicians assistants.
Next up is the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope. This is the cheapest option that we mentioned, which is why it sits relatively high on the list. This stethoscope is a great choice for students or someone who is looking to purchase their first stethoscope. It has dual tubing, which is unique to the others on this list.
Included with the purchase are three sizes of open bells, two sizes of diaphragms, and two pairs of extra ear tips, along with a vinyl storage case. For the price, you are actually getting a great deal because you will still be able to accomplish any task as you would with a more expensive option.
Now let’s talk about the sound quality. Obviously, this stethoscope isn’t going to provide you with the best hearing when it
Moving right along with the next stethoscope on our list. One great thing about the FriCARE Dual Head Stethoscope is that it comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee. So if you break it or mess it up ten years down the road, no worries, they will still replace it for you. How awesome it that?
This one is engineered and manufactured with thick tubing good quality for the price. Not to mention, the acoustics are pretty good as well. I’ve experienced quite a few medical professionals at my clinical sites using this brand — especially EMTs. They all had great things to say about it.
Another bonus is all the accessories that come with the stethoscope. It comes as a complete kit that includes the stethoscope, replaceable earbuds, a diaphragm replacement, and a name tag.
This is the most durable stethoscope on the list, as it literally will last a lifetime. So if you can’t afford the MDF Rose Gold that we mentioned earlier, this is a nice alternative.
Next up is the 3M Littmann 2144L Master Classic II Stethoscope. I mean, you already know. It’s a Littmann, so you know the quality will be great. With that said, this is one of the most affordable options that they have to offer as well. And that’s why it firmly solidified itself on our list of best stethoscopes because you are still getting a good tool along with great affordability.
A good thing about this stethoscope is that it is extremely lightweight, which makes it extra comfortable around your neck. This is a great choice for someone who wants a Littmann stethoscope but doesn’t want to break the bank.
Now let’s talk about the sound quality. To be honest, the quality isn’t quite as good as the 3M Littmann Classic III or the 3M Littmann Cardiology IV because as we already know, those are top-of-the-line. This is one of their older models which has older technology. With that said, it’s been one of the top stethoscopes for decades for a good reason, so you won’t be disappointed.
Next up on our list is the Eko CORE Digital Stethoscope which is the only one of its kind to make our list of top recommendations. It uses advanced technology to provide 40X amplification compared to a regular stethoscope which makes listening to heart and lung sounds much easier. This is exactly why it’s easily one of our favorites.
It enhances auscultation with noise cancellation technology so that you can truly focus and hear the sounds that other clinicians could potentially miss. This definitely comes in handy in noisy clinical environments.
Another cool feature is that it has a one-touch record button so that you can capture sounds. It links up with a mobile app that can be accessed via smartphone or tablet for additional audible and visual analysis. It supports wireless auscultation using headphones so that you can keep a safe distance from patients with infectious diseases.
- 40X Amplification and Noise Cancellation Technology
- Supports Wireless Auscultation with the Free Eko App for iOS and Android
- Visualize Heart Sound Waveforms in Real-Time
- Rechargeable Battery with 10-Hour Life and Micro-USB Charging
- Available as an Attachment Only, to Digitize Your Existing Stethoscope
- FDA Cleared and HIPAA Compliant
- 1-Year Warranty and 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Sponsorship Disclosure: Eko is a paid partner and provided us with compensation in exchange for writing a review of their product. With that said, all opinions expressed in this article are based on my own personal view.
And last but most certainly not least, our list of best stethoscopes would not be complete without the 3M Littmann Classic II Infant Stethoscope. If you’re a medical professional who works with neonatal or pediatric patients, this is the obvious choice for you. Like the other Littmann stethoscopes mentioned on our list, this one is great as well.
The only difference is that it has a small diaphragm that is designed specifically for infants. The only reason that it falls down at the bottom of the list is
What is the Importance of a High-Quality Stethoscope?
On the job, you will use many tools on a daily basis, but the stethoscope is arguably the most important. That’s because, with the right stethoscope, you can vividly hear lung and heart sounds (among other important assessments) which will help you properly diagnose and treat your patients.
A stethoscope is an indispensable utensil that nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists use over and over again throughout the day.
Rarely will you find a medical professional on the job who has strayed far from their stethoscope.
Here are the Criteria We Used to Select the Best Stethoscopes:
- Acoustic Clarity
Each stethoscope varies in price and quality, but each recommendation here will definitely meet your needs as a respiratory therapist, nurse, doctor, EMT, or any other healthcare professional.
What are the Most Common Types of Stethoscopes?
As you’ll soon notice once you start looking to purchase a stethoscope, they come in all different shapes, sizes, and models. So in order to help you choose the best stethoscope, let’s talk about the different types.
These are your typical (basic) stethoscopes that you normally see in use with medical professionals. They are also the ones that you see above on our list as well.
While acoustic stethoscopes sometimes do not pick up quite as much sound as the electronic models, they work well enough for all medical professionals and have other benefits as well, such as easier maintenance and more affordable prices.
There are Two Types of Acoustic Stethoscopes:
1. Single Head Stethoscopes – these are known for clear and wide frequency sound output. They allow you to focus in on both high or low-frequency sounds. This type of stethoscope is mostly recommended for general uses such as listening to the patient’s breath sounds.
2. Dual-Head Stethoscopes – these tend to be more versatile than their single head stethoscope counterparts. As the name suggests, they have two heads — the diaphragm and the bell. The diaphragm is the larger flat part of the stethoscope that works great for high-frequency sounds. On the other hand, the bell is the smaller cup-like part of the stethoscope that works better for low-frequency sounds.
If you’re more interested in technology as opposed to the classic acoustic stethoscopes, then an electronic stethoscope may be a better fit for you.
Due to their newer and more elaborate technology, these are equipped with features that hear a much greater range of noise frequencies compared to others. This allows medical professionals to hear more than with acoustic stethoscopes, although this is not always necessary.
With that said, as I’m sure you may have noticed — no electronic stethoscopes made it on our list. The honest reason is that I’m old-school. I personally prefer the classic acoustic models because they’re easier to use. We’ll provide reviews for the Best Electronic Stethoscopes in a different article.
But you may be interested in the Cardionics E-Scope 7700 Stethoscope.
Cardionics E-Scope 7700 Stethoscope
A solid option for those who are looking for an electronic stethoscope.
What are the Parts of a Stethoscope?
In order to truly know how to pick out the best stethoscope, it’s important to know all of the different parts. So if you’re still with me, let’s briefly discuss the stethoscope parts that you should be familiar with.
The diaphragm is the larger side and circular piece at the end of the chest-piece. It’s the primary portion that we place on the patient in order to listen during auscultation. This is what allows you to hear frequencies and sounds.
This is the small end of the chest-piece. It focuses on the sounds of lower-frequency that may not easily be detected by the diaphragm. This side is typically used on neonatal patients where the sounds are more difficult to pinpoint and hear.
This is simply the pieces that goes into the users ears, as the name suggests. It should feel soft and fit perfectly into the ear canal. Another thing to keep in mind about the
The tube is what transport sound transmissions from the chest-piece to the earpiece and allows the user to hear sounds. The tube of a high-quality stethoscope will be made of high-quality material. This is to ensure that it doesn’t crack, bend, or break after use.
I’ve already had my 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope for years and you can see no wear to the tubing. Looking at the tubing is one of the best ways to tell if a stethoscope is high-quality or not.
Which Stethoscope Brand is the Best?
As you can see, the Littmann Stethoscope brand completely dominated our list. That is because the company does a great job of providing high-quality stethoscopes at affordable prices.
But let’s not forget the others that were mentioned. There are several other great options on the list if a Littmann is not for you. For instance, the MDF One Premium Stethoscope.
This is definitely a debatable topic for most medical professionals. Just so you know, we are not sponsored or compensated by Littmann or any other brand to mention them here in this article. All opinions are my own from research and personal experience.
This is why I feel comfortable recommending the 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope because I’ve had great success using it over the years.
This is our top recommended stethoscope when it comes to quality and affordability.
So there you have it. You may be looking for an entry-level stethoscope, high-quality cardiology stethoscope, or something in between. Either way, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for using the reviews that we’ve provided for you here.
Yes, this is a Respiratory Therapy blog that mostly focuses on helping Respiratory Therapists. But even if you’re a nurse, doctor, physician’s assistant, EMT or student — no matter which field you’re in. Hopefully we’ve helped you make a wise buying decision when it comes to purchasing one of the best stethoscopes.
Thank you for much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.
The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article:
- “Proper Use of the Stethoscope: Three Heads and One Tale.” PubMed Central (PMC), 13 June 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650582.
- “A Comparison of Electronic and Traditional Stethoscopes in the Heart Auscultation of Obese Patients.” PubMed Central (PMC), 1 Apr. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524010.
- “Stethoscopes and Stories.” PubMed Central (PMC), 1 Aug. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5555332.