Stethoscopes are considered as a symbol of healthcare professionals. Medical practitioners are often seen or depicted in pictures or movies with stethoscopes hanging around their necks. A research paper in 2012 went as far as to claim that the stethoscope, compared to other medical equipment, had the highest positive impact on the perceived trustworthiness of the healthcare provider seen with it. It is thus important to own a good stethoscope. We will review the best stethoscope for doctors. This review is based on product functionality and customer satisfaction.
The stethoscope is an auditory medical device for auscultation, which is essentially listening to the internal sounds of the human body. Its basic look consists a small disc-shaped resonator which is against the chest, and two tubes linked to earpieces.
A stethoscope main use is listening to lung and heart sounds. However it is also used to listen to the intestines and blood flow in arteries and veins.
Another use of the device is for measuring blood pressure, done in combination with a sphygmomanometer. Stethoscopes are also effective in checking scientific vacuum chambers for leaks, and for various other small-scale acoustic monitoring tasks.
Table comparison of the best stethoscope for doctors
1. 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope
The 3M Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope comes with tunable diaphragm technology. By adjusting the pressure on the chest-piece, you can hear different frequency sounds. For low frequency sound, apply light pressure on the diaphragm against the part of the body you want to listen to. Add a little more pressure to listen to higher frequency sounds.
This saves you having to overturn-which you have to do in double sided stethoscopes- the diaphragm to listen to different frequencies.
Of all the different makes in the Littmann series of stethoscopes, this has the best acoustic response. Able to capture even the highest of frequencies.
The tubing on the cord is dual-lumen. This means it has two sound paths in one tube. This curbs the annoying rubbing noise of typical double tube stethoscopes. The next generation tubing, made with synthetic rubber prevents damage from skin oils and alcohol, and it does not stain.
The nature of the tubing compliments the Littmann flexibility. It’s able to keep its shape even after folding into a pocket. It does not contain phthalate plasticizers making it environmental friendly.
The ear pieces align with the ear canal, plus this stethoscope is adjustable to fit different head sizes. The ends of the ear tubes contain ear-tips for comfort, and seal the ears for proper acoustic listening. For safety purposes, it requires significant effort to remove it.
From the name, the Littmann Master is arguable the best stethoscope for doctors.
2. MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope
As the name suggests, this stethoscope is stainless steel, which is acoustically superior compared to other materials. Clarity is therefore enhanced when listening to the auscultations of the heart and lungs plus any other sounds you may want to detect.
The stem of the valve has a green indicator that makes it a lot easier for you to identify active sound patterns. The chest-piece comes with an ultra-sensitive diaphragm covered with a non-chill retaining ring to ensure a secure acoustic transmission.
The stainless steel headset features a unique dual leaf spring construction. This ensures durability as the spring is very long lasting. To add on, this device is number one for safety in the industry due to the patented safety lock ear-tip adapters.
The outer part of the cord is made of thicker latex free PVC with added density. This tubing allows for superior sound transmission by sealing out ambient noise and providing insulation. The dense nature of the material also acts to prevent wear that may occur from repeated use.
The cord is also long enough allowing a comfortable distance between the patient and health care provider.
The ear-tips contain soft silicone that is phthalate free which means they are environment friendly. They come in three sizes to ensure proper fit for all. A proper fit is essential for all round isolation of sound. The device even comes with two extra sets of these ear-tips.
On top of all this, the MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope comes with a lifetime warranty. It covers any defects that may occur due to manufacturing, plus the tubing.
3. 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscope
This is the latest model in the Littmann series. It has all features in The 3M Littmann Cardiology III plus improved autistic ability. Which is to say a lot considering the autistic ability of the predecessor.
It features a tunable diaphragm that allows one to listen to very high frequency sounds by increasing pressure on the chest-piece, and use light pressure to listen to low frequency sounds. The sounds you don’t hear are the most important, they say. With this device you won’t miss a thing.
The device has an adult side and pediatric side. In addition it comes with Open bell versatility that allows the pediatric side to convert to a normal open bell by replacing the single-piece diaphragm with a non-chill sleeve.
The tubing is also similar to the predecessor, is next generation. This guards from damage from skin oils or sweat and alcohol and ensures longer life. The chest-piece is detachable and easy to clean as it is not contoured on the surface of the diagram.
This is a very good stethoscope for doctors, and is surely one of the best stethoscope for doctors available.
As with its predecessor, the only down side is its price. Then again you have to spend for quality. The weight can also be a problem.
4. 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope
The 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope is considered by most leading cardiologists as the best stethoscope for doctors currently in the market. It has a solid stainless steel chest-piece, an adjustable double-lead binaural spring and soft silicon ear-tips.
It has a patented tunable diaphragm that is ideal for listening to both high and low frequency sounds. . To hear low frequency sound, you simply apply light pressure on the diaphragm against the part of the body you want to listen to. Add a little more pressure to listen to higher frequency sounds.
The device even switches from adult to pediatric diaphragms. The pediatric diaphragm can also be used to listen for listening for femoral bruits on adult patients.
Another plus on the device is tube length. It is 27 inches long, this means it is just the right length, long enough to reach where it needs to, and not too long that it will snag everywhere you go.
The acoustics for this device are outstanding. To a level that will probably never be necessary unless in very rare cases. This combined with the tunable diaphragm ensure you provide excellent care.
The only down side on this device, and rightfully so, is that it will run you over 200$, plus it is not the lightest stethoscope out there. However, its effectiveness will justify all this.
5. Vorfreude Cardiology Stethoscope
Has a lot of similarities to the Littmann series. A dual lumen tube and single head to eliminate ambient noises. This is a big plus for medics working in the field or emergency medical teams.
Tunable diaphragm that works just like the littmann by pressing a bit harder for high frequency sounds and a little lighter for low frequency sounds.
The whole package includes 4 replacement ear-tips, a Vorfreude pupil pen light and two sets of AAA size batteries. For a medical student, this comes in very handy. The device also comes with a lifetime warranty showing you just how much faith the manufacturers have in it.
The flexible nature of the patented BiChannel alignment allows you to adjust the head set and ear-tips. This guarantees a perfect fit.
The device is also lighter than most counterparts making it convenient to carry. The acoustics rival those of the Littmann series which is saying a lot when you consider it will only run you a fraction of what the Littmann costs.
6. ADC Adscope Lite 609 Ultra Lightweight Clinician Stethoscope
This device is known in medical circles for being the only stethoscope to combine excellent acoustic response and a very lightweight design-100 grams only. This is because it is made of aluminum, a very light metal. Most doctors consider it as the best stethoscope for doctors.
It has a highly sensitive diaphragm fitted with non-chill for patient comfort. The diaphragm guarantees crisper and very clear high frequency transmission. The non-chill bell on the other side listens to lower frequency sounds.
The device comes with a five year warranty and it is very affordable. The key difference and selling point for this stethoscope is the combination of affordability, lightness, and acoustic ability. Although it does not quite reach the standards set by the Littmann series.
7. ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope
This make in the ADC Adscope series comes with an adjustable frequency design that basically works as both the diaphragm and works the bell function of listening to lower frequencies.
The chest-piece is made from a light-weight zinc alloy making it conveniently light. It has a satin finish which is both stylish, and improves acoustic performance. Soft silicone ear-tips are a both comfortable good fit to get rid of ambient noises.
The stethoscope comes with a life-time warranty. Durability is guaranteed.
8. Stethoscope by Vive Precision
The chest-piece is dual-head with a stainless steel diaphragm which improves its acoustic ability. The diaphragm detects high frequency sounds while the small bell captures low frequency and aucilatory sounds.
The design includes soft silicone ear-tips that curb ambient noises to ensure uninhibited hearing. The flexible PVC tubing ensures easy handling and durable stainless steel ear-tubes ensure longevity. Add dual non chill rings that don’t expose the patient to the cold chill of metal makes and that makes the experience more comfortable. The stethoscope is very light and won’t fatigue the heath-worker hanging it around their necks all day.
The Vive Precision offers comfort and convenience. Its acoustics may not be nearly as good as some of the other reviewed stethoscope, but for the price it goes for-very pocket friendly- it more than does enough.
9. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
The Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope is one of the most basic stethoscopes you will find. It is very simplistic in its design and the key selling point on this device is the low price range. It is most peoples first stethoscope as they deep their feet in the medical profession. That’s why we’ve featured it as one of the best stethoscope for doctors, especially new doctors.
The chest piece is made of chrome meaning the acoustic value is severely lacking. The tube design is also inferior with it being dual tube. The constant rubbing of the tubes hamper the health workers ability to properly discern what they are trying to listen to.
The tubing is latex free, making it environment friendly. It comes with two different size diaphragms on each side to detect different sounds frequencies.
Another reason that makes this a starter pack is how heavy the device actually is. Wear it for long hours and you will have yourself a sore neck. Add to this ear-tips that are stiff and uncomfortable, and stiff tubing that make positioning difficult.
It is basically barely a functional stethoscope preferably for learners. The only plus is affordability.
Selecting the best stethoscope for doctors is about deciding which one best suits your needs. You have to consider acoustics, aesthetics, durability, price and comfort for both you and the patient.