EMT’s & Paramedics often find themselves working in noisy environments where owning a quality stethoscope with good sound auscultation and frequency range is extremely important.
The build quality and durability of a stethoscope can have a large impact on being able to identify & interpret a patients vital signs and medical condition, therefore choosing the right stethoscope for the job can significantly improve the speed and accuracy at which an EMT/Paramedic can perform their duties.
Finding the perfect stethoscope can take a lot of time so we’ve done the research to help you quickly choose a stethoscope that works for you with our top 5 stethoscopes for EMT’s and Paramedics. These reviews are based on the average customer review, build quality, functionality, sound auscultation and price of numerous stethoscopes available on the market.
3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope
Starting off our list is the 3M Litmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, which happens to be one of the most popular stethoscope among some EMT’s/Paramedics circles and is an extremely well received stethoscope among other healthcare professionals as well.
This top of the line stethoscope features a dual sided chest piece with two adjustable diaphragms for excellent all-around sound auscultation for both adult and pediatric patients and a dual lumen (two in one) tube design to minimize noise interference.
The stethoscope is made using high quality materials including stainless steel, high quality dual lumen rubber tubing, patented soft seal ear-tips and a non chill rim.
While the 3M Litmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is at the higher end of the price range it’s uncompromising design and functionality make it an excellent stethoscope for the price.
For additional information on this product check it out here available on Amazon
American Diagnostic Corporation Platinum Edition Adscope
American Diagnostic is well known for their well priced solid line of medical stethoscopes and the American Diagnostic Corporation Platinum Edition Adscope is a great choice among their numerous offerings.
In fact the platinum edition adscope is one of the best multi-frequency scope in their range of medical devices.
It features a double leaf internal spring that is fixed at a 15 degree angle to provide optimal comfort with a reinforced yolk that’s molded onto a flexible pvc “y” tubing that measures in at 22″ long.
The Adsoft deluxe PVC ear-tips on the listener portion of the stethoscope are designed to form a comfortable acoustic seal around the ears in order to minimize outside noise interference.
As stated earlier this stethoscope is decently priced at under $50 (at the time of this writing).
For a full review of this item check out the American Diagnostic Corporation Platinum Edition Adscope here available on Amazon
3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is the least expensive 3M Littmann stethoscope in our review and a #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com.
It features a lightweight design with a tunable pressure-change tear-drop shaped diaphragm.
As with other Littmann brand stethoscopes this stethoscope uses Littmann’s patented soft-sealing eartips.
This product is comprised of metal/resin composite materials to keep it extremely lightweight at a weight of 4.2 ounces and is a wonderful device for individuals who want a good, affordable stethoscope without the extra bells and whistles.
The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope sells for under $50 (at the time of writing) and the full detailed reviews can be found here available on Amazon
ADC ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope
The ADC ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope is another popular stethoscope among the American Diagnostic brand of stethoscopes.
Instead of a single-sided diaphragm this stethoscope features a tunable dual-sided none chill bell/diaphragm design for observing varying sound frequencies.
This product costs around $30 (at the time of this writing) and is made using stainless steel, epoxy and fiber glass materials with a total weight of 5.77 ounces making it the least expensive stethoscope in our review list.
If you would like to learn more about this stethoscope or read the reviews you can find the ADC ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope here available on Amazon
Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope
Last, but definitely not least in our top 5 list is the Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope.
The Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope is a very highly rated (4.7) & popular stethoscope sold on Amazon.com.
This stethoscope features a dual sided non chill chest-piece that offers versatile sound auscultation with a tunable pressure change diaphragm.
It’s made using metal/resin composite latex free materials to provide additional comfort to allergy sensitive individuals and weighs in at 4.8 ounces.
For a full review of this item check out the Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope here available on Amazon
Stethoscope parts and accessories
Aside from purchasing a quality EMT/paramedic stethoscope there are a number of parts and accessories you can purchase to help you extend the life of your stethoscope and get the best usage out of it.
Some of the items you can purchase along with your stethoscope include eartips, diaphragms, I.D. badges and alcohol pads or stethoscope cleaners.
Eartips are one of the easiest and least expensive items to replace on a stethoscope. If you have uncomfortable eartips or you just need to replace them you can usually find a pair of quality eartips online on a website such as Amazon.com.
In fact some healthcare professionals who buy less expensive or used stethoscopes will replace the eartips as a quick way to improve their overall comfort.
Diaphragm and rim assembly
Higher end stethoscopes may offer replacement parts that can be less expensive than purchasing a whole new stethoscope. If you’re concerned about the life of your stethoscope or it’s functionality consider getting one that has a replaceable adjustable diaphragm and/or bell as this can easily double the life of your device and even give it additional functionality.
Binural / tube replacement
Some stethoscopes offer binural/tube replacements that can be purchased separately from the chest-piece.
Binural replacements are great for those who have a working diaphragm/bell, but have a damaged or old binural assembly that needs replacing.
By replacing the binural users can save additional money that would otherwise be spent purchasing a whole new stethoscope.
When you invest in a decent stethoscope you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t get mixed up with someone else’s stethoscope if you happen to put it down and walk away from it.
Name tags are also a great way to keep track of your device when you’re working in a large hospital / healthcare center where the probability of misplacing your stethoscope is fairly high.
By tagging it with your name / number you’ll have a much better chance of recovering your lost stethoscope, and if you’ve invested decent money into your device it’s worth the extra insurance you’ll get from purchasing an I.D. tag.
Alcohol pads / stethoscope cleaner
Alcohol pads and stethoscope cleaners are not only great for keeping your device in good condition, they’re also important for keeping them germ free as you deal with patients throughout the day.
By cleaning your device regularly you will minimize the chances of potential germs making contact with you or the patients you assist.
What to look for when buying a stethoscope
Choosing the perfect stethoscope often depends on your work and professional requirements.
Factors such as the stethoscopes sound auscultation, weight, materials (durability), chest-piece and warranty can have a big impact on whether or not you’ll get the most use out of a particular stethoscope.
Because of this it is important to understand which features are important to you and which ones aren’t so that you can make the best buying decision.
In some cases you may not need all of the features a stethoscope offers to do your job well.
For example the weight of a stethoscope may not be nearly as important to you as the sound quality or the material the stethoscope is made out of. If weight really isn’t that important for you in a stethoscope than you can save some money if you’re perfectly fine with buying a heavier stethoscope because it serves the purpose you need.
If you have the extra money and want to go for a stethoscope that has more features than go for it, but if you’re budget is limited choose the most important features for your working needs.
Whether you’re buying a stethoscope at a store or online make sure you keep these factors in mind and decide which features are must haves and which ones are trivial.
- Acoustic qualities
Acoustics: One of the most important factors in choosing a stethoscope is buying one that has good acoustic properties. Sound Auscultation, acoustic sound level and frequency range can have a large impact on your ability to quickly and accurately identify the sounds you are listening too.
It is important that you choose a stethoscope that will work with your hearing sensitivity and general patient population.
If you find yourself listening to low frequency sounds as well as high and mid range sounds than think about purchasing a dual-headed stethoscope with a bell.
If you deal mostly with an adult population and don’t work in a field such as cardiology than you may be fine with just a single-head stethoscope with an adjustable diaphragm.
In most cases you can purchase a quality stethoscope for around $60 – $80, however if you have a tight budget you can also go for a decent one that’s closer to $30 – $40 that will work well for your particular needs, such as some of the ones featured in this article.
For better sound quality choose a stethoscope with a dual-lumen design as it is able to separate sounds into left and right channels for better sound observation.
Weight: A potentially often overlooked part of choosing a quality stethoscope is choosing one that’s lightweight and comfortable to carry around the neck or in the ears.
Depending on how often you carry your stethoscope on you and how often you use it the weight properties of the stethoscope may become quickly apparent if the stethoscope is heavy and uncomfortable to use.
Materials: The materials used to make a stethoscope can have a large impact on the sound quality, durability, weight and allergenic properties of the stethoscope.
When choosing a stethoscope keep in mind what materials it is composed of and identify the potential trade offs of those materials to help you decide which one is right for you.
Price/Warranty: Last, but not least is understanding the price and warranty of the stethoscope you want to buy.
A great stethoscope is worth its weight in gold as it provides excellent sound quality, weight and durability for its price.
However you don’t want to choose a stethoscope based solely on its cost.
Rather than focusing on buying a cheap or expensive stethoscope you should focus on what the stethoscope offers in terms of weight, acoustics and durability.
The best stethoscope will last you years and work best for your particular situation.
Once again be sure to keep these factors in mind when choosing a stethoscope:
- Acoustic properties
You should also make sure you check out our FAQ on stethoscopes to help you make the best buying decision.
Friends, coworkers and trusted reviews
One of the best ways to find a good EMT/paramedic stethoscope is to ask around.
If you have friends or coworkers who are also EMT’s and paramedics than ask them what type of stethoscope they use and what they like or dislike about their stethoscope.
You can learn a lot about buying a good stethoscope through them, and may even be able try their stethoscope out or use it for a few days to help you make a better buying decision. Just be sure to swap out the ear tips when you use their stethoscope.
Checking out trusted reviews is another great way to find out what people think about a particular stethoscope.
Amazon is a great place to start when looking for reviews as they are one of the largest online stores for all sorts of products, including buying / selling stethoscopes.
When looking for quality reviews be sure to look at reviews that have a “verified purchase” label next to them as it ensures the review is from someone who purchased the stethoscope.
Also be sure to read other reviews made by that author to check for quality, consistency and honest feedback as it is possible for people to fake reviews on most websites.
By asking your friends and coworkers, and reading quality reviews you can get a fairly good understanding of which stethoscope will be right for you.
Choosing a great stethoscope doesn’t have to be hard. In fact with a little research and advice you can find a device that fits in well with your day to day work life fairly easily.
Consider the most important elements that will provide you with the best benefits such as the stethoscopes weight, sound quality, durability and price to help you determine the two or three devices that you’d most likely want to purchase.
Since you’ll likely be operating out of an ambulance and performing your duties in noisy environments sound auscultation and amplification will probably be the most important factors for you.
If you’re dealing with a hearing impairment then consider purchasing an electronic stethoscope as you’ll able to better amplify the sounds you’re hearing. Just be aware that these devices tend to be a bit on the expensive side.
After identifying your must haves you can use customer reviews and feedback to help you narrow down your choices even further, so that you can make a confident buying decision.
Alternatively you can ask those you work with which ones they recommend as they’ve likely already tried a number of different devices over the years and can help you pin down one that’s just right for your needs.
If they don’t mind and you know them well enough you can even ask them if you can borrow their stethoscope for a day so that you can test it out and see if it’s one you’d consider.
Hopefully these tips can help you make a better buying decision and narrow down your choices to the ones that are ideal for your situation.