Finding the perfect stethoscope for nursing /medical school can feel like a stressful experience.
After-all there are tons of stethoscopes out on the market that range from under $20 to several hundred dollars, and even more for electronic stethoscopes.
This guide will help you choose a stethoscope that is right for you at an affordable price.
The stethoscopes range from around $19 – $79 depending on your budget and use case.
Here are our top 6 stethoscopes for nursing & medical students.
3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope
While one of the pricier stethoscopes in our line up 3m Littmann’s Classic II S.E. Stethoscope is a high quality and reliable device that’s priced at the low to mid range among the Littmann brand.
Littmann is well known for making some of the best stethoscopes on the market and this one is no exception.
This stethoscope is designed with high acoustic sensitivity and features a dual-sided chest piece as is commonly used among most nursing / medical schools.
The diaphragm is tunable with a simple pressure change allowing students to listen to either low or high-frequency sounds without having to turn their chestpiece over for varying ranges.
A non-chill rim allows the patient to remain comfortable while they are being treated and the headset is designed anatomically so that it can easily, accurately and comfortably fit the ear canal and allow for an optimal listening experience.
As with Littmann’s other stethoscopes this one is designed to be latex-free in order to prevent allergic reactions from sensitive users.
If you are interested in Littmann’s Classic II S.E. stethoscope it is available on Amazon
ADC ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope
ADC is another well known maker of medical devices and their ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope is a great option.
This stethoscope features a stainless steel binaural with a reinforced yoke.
ADSOFT ear tips provide a great seal around the ears for maximal acoustic sound and are designed to remain comfortable whenever they are worn.
The chest piece is dual sided with a combination bell and diaphragm for both high and low range sounds.
A non chill bell/diaphram rim ensures that patients remain comfortable and won’t be shocked by a cold, metal rim.
The ADC 603 stethoscope comes with a lifetime warranty on the metal parts, so you’ll have a little more confidence in buying this device.
If you’d like to learn more about this stethoscope you can find out more here available on Amazon
Orman Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
Ormon’s Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope has been featured as a #1 best seller in amazon.com’s stethoscopes category.
This stethoscope is both affordable and well built.
It features a two channel design with dual lumen tubing that starts at the chest piece for optimal acoustic channeling.
The double sided chest piece with a bell / diaphragm combo allows this stethoscope to be used effeciently among adults, pediatrics and infants.
This stethoscope includes three different sizes of open bells and two different sizes of diaphram.
It also comes with two pairs of eartips and a vinyl storage case for keeping your device clean and safe while you carry it around.
All of the parts are designed to be latex-free in order to prevent allergies among users with a latex sensitivity.
If this stethoscope sounds like the right device for you be sure to check it out here available on Amazon
MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope
The MDF Acoustica Deluxe Dual Head Stethoscope is an uncompromising all-purpose stethoscope that is designed with lightweight parts so that it’s comfortable for the user to wear throughout their shift or class.
The stethoscope is reinforced with a dual-leaf spring construction that doubles the durability of the materials while also allowing it to provide high quality sound performance.
A high quality, aluminum, dual-headed chest piece with a diaphragm / bell combination and non chill rim provide excellent sound amplification and isolation for better clarity.
Thick, dense latex-free PVC tubing also provides excellent acoustic performance and seals out unwanted ambient noises.
This stethoscope includes 3 pairs of MDF ComfotSeal eartips that range from small to large in order to fit users of various sizes.
For additional information on the MDF Acoustica Deluxe dual head stethoscope you can see it here available on Amazon
Dixie EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit
Dixie’s EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit is an inexpensive option for those looking to save on both medical devices.
It comes with a matching blood pressure unit, sprague stethoscope and carrying bag.
The blood pressure unit is designed with a nylon cuff, touch and hold closure, metal gauge and inflation system.
The stethoscope comes with a dual-sided chest piece and is designed with a 22″ tubing for comfortable listening.
This kit also provides two diaphragms, three bells and two pairs of ear tips along with a carrying bag for easy mobility.
If you’re in the market for an affordable stethoscope / blood pressure kit than this one might be a great option.
Dixie’s EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit is available on Amazon
R.A. Bock Cardiology Dual-Head Stethoscope w/ Stainless Steel Chestpiece
RA Bock Diagnostics Cardiology Stethoscope features a dual-headed stainless steel chest piece with a tunable diaphragm that can be changed by applying pressure to the device.
The chest piece comes with a non-chill rim to prevent patient shock and minimize discomfort.
RA Bock Diagnositcs stethoscope is cardiology focused and designed to capture both high and low frequency sounds.
A double-leaf binaural spring is incorporated into the stethoscope for easy adjustment and the tubing is a dual side by side design that’s sealed in a single tube for superior sound quality and minimal acoustic interference.
To learn more about RA Bock Diagnostics cardiology stethoscope head here for more information available on Amazon
How to choose a stethoscope for nursing / medical school
When choosing a quality stethoscope for school there are a number of things you should consider in order to make the best purchase.
Factors such as the stethoscopes price, design, weight, build quality and acoustic quality should all be considered as they can vary from device to device.
As mentioned earlier all of the stethoscopes here are great options at different price ranges and build qualities based on your personal needs.
If you don’t mind spending the extra money a good quality stethoscope such as the ones sold by 3M Littmann are often made using premium components that are designed to provide the best acoustic quality and last longer, so if you are serious about finishing school and working in the medical field a good quality stethoscope may be worth the price if you can afford it.
Not only will you be sure that you’re using a great device, you’ll also be able to save money later on as you won’t need to replace your device as frequently or buy a new one after nursing / medical school.
Determine what is most important to you
Determining what is most important to you is the first step in picking out a good stethoscope.
If you are always using your stethoscope or wearing it in your ears or around your neck then the weight of the device may be very important as it can become uncomfortable after long periods of use.
If you find yourself having difficulty hearing sounds than you may want to invest in a higher end stethoscope that’s designed to isolate and amplify sounds better.
For those who are working in fields where they are dealing with a range of patients it would be wise to think about and consider whether a pediatric, cardiology or all in one stethoscope works best for you.
Build quality and warranty should also be considered when choosing a device as you’ll likely want one that doesn’t need to be replaced or have its parts replaced too often.
If you do have to replace your parts, having a good warranty can save you some hassle as well as some hard earned cash.
Set a realistic price range
While you may want to jump ahead and spring for the most expensive or least expensive stethoscope decide on what you can afford first and don’t be afraid to pay for what best serves your needs, not what looks like its the best price for you.
If you purchase a stethoscope that’s really inexpensive there is a good chance that you’ll be sacrificing quality, both material and audible quality, so make sure you do your research if you are going to buy something unexpectedly low cost.
On the other hand you likely don’t need to spend $100 to get a decent stethoscope with durable parts and great sound acoustics. While it might be nice to have something that’s premium built it may not yield much of an advantage in daily school use.
In fact most students can get a quality stethoscope for under $50 and don’t need to go all out, however if you do have the money and know a trusted brand that works well for you than go for it.
Ask your teacher or advanced medical students which stethoscopes they use
If you’ve looked at dozens of stethoscopes and still have difficulty choosing one that’s right for you than consider asking your teachers and classmates which ones they prefer.
You can often find good insights into why a particular stethoscope works so well for them.
Classmates and teachers are often the perfect consumers to ask because they have experience buying stethoscopes and can tell you if one is better than the other, especially when it comes to factors such as price, acoustic quality and durability.
You may be surprised by what they picked and how much it cost them to purchase.
Perhaps they’ll even let you use their stethoscope so you can test it out for yourself.
Just be sure to replace the ear tips with your own and clean the device when returning it.
Online Customer Reviews
The last thing you can do to help you choose a decent stethoscope is to check out online customer reviews from websites such as amazon.com
These websites may have hundreds or even thousands of reviews from people who purchased a stethoscope you’re interested in buying.
In many cases reading reviews will educate you to things you may not have considered about the stethoscope such as its tube length, headset angle or diaphragm shape, which may be bigger deciding factors than you originally thought.
When reading reviews try to make sure you look at both the positive and negative reviews to get a better overall understanding of the product, and be cautious of any review that seems unauthentic or made up.
Looking for verified reviews is a good way to have a little more assurance that the review is authentic as they go through a more stringent process before getting approved.