Which stethoscope is better?

  1. I just received the list of needed supplies for my nursing program. They recommend purchasing either a Littmann Cardiology III or Classic II S.E. stethoscope. The former is around $160-180, and the latter is appx. $80.

    While I know that the Cardiology III is supposed to be "better", I am wondering if that "better" really makes a difference in practice. Would I be just as happy in the field with the less expensive model? Or is the Cardiology III worth paying double the money for? Any opinion from someone who has used both???

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

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    About hellerd2003

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 163; Likes: 260
    Specialty: Critical Care


  3. by   movealong
    I have a Littman Cardiology II. It was a gift from a doctor I worked for and it's great. I don't use it anymore since I do telephone triage. But before I received it, I had a regular stethospoce. There's just no comparsion.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched

    Here's one search using "stethoscope recommendation" - happy shopping .
  5. by   hock1
    Believe it or not those 'non-latex' plastic stethoscopes work excellent, even the cardiologist made a comment how well they worked. Cost isn't everything. My Litman cost about $35.00 and it's excellent.
  6. by   Dixiedi
    I've been using my Littman for a lot of years. I didn't get it when I was a student, maybe it was a graduation present. Long time ago. I've had to replace parts but it's still an excellent piece of equipment. Any Littman you choose will give great results. If you want to work SICU,ER etc I would suggest the Cardiac III.
  7. by   SCRN1
    I've had several Littman's. Recently I bought an Ultrascope. It's supposed to be comparable to the Littman's Cardiology one. AND...it's only about $100! Plus, you can buy all different colored tubing and the bell part is different with all kinds of pictures you can pick from that are hand painted. I can't remember the website I bought mine from, but the one I found offered engraving.
  8. by   Dixielee
    Check the Littman site for comparisons. It gives you a good way to decide. I work ER and had what I thought was a good stethescope until one night I thought a patients wheezes has cleared after treatment, but the doc still heard them. I borrowed his Littman Cardiology III and heard the wheezes clearly. I ordered my Littman the next day and have been very satisfied with it. Yes, they are expensive, but if you are doing anything more than getting a blood pressure with it, you need to be able to hear clearly. If you take care of it and don't lose it, it will last you a lifetime with occasional replacement of the tubing.
  9. by   Farkinott
    It depends on what you need it for. The Littman classic II is what i use in a generalist way but if you areally keen for heart sounds, stenosed valves and mitral regurgitation and stuff like that lash out and buy the dearer one. Just don't leave it lying around!
  10. by   rjflyn
    Id say the one you can hear things with. The first time I tried a Littmann several years ago I couldnt hear a thing with it. I used a old cheap nurses steth for the longest time. The best thing is to try several until you find the one that works the best for you.

  11. by   versatile_kat
    Since this is just for nursing school (and not work) then I would go with the less expensive of the 2. I used the classic Littman throughout school and it served its purpose. And for graduation, my parent's bought the the cardiology III. It has made all the difference since I work in a CVICU and recover fresh open-hearts. Save your money!!!
  12. by   veteranRN
    Whichever one you pick, I would test it out first. I have a hard time using stethescopes that don't hurt my ears when I am using them. Make sure it "fits" you.
  13. by   LadyBugLass
    Okay, as an old paramedic and supply manager, I have to say the spragues are your best bet!! I got tired of all the abuse the expensive ones took (ie the fire department leaving them out in a field somewhere, employees cramming them into the bottom of the jump kit) and just went to the spragues. We could all hear EVERYTHING, even in the ambulance, even with the sirens on. Never had a lick of trouble. Three tips, though...

    1. The longer the tubing, the more difficult it is to hear. Yes, the shorter ones will put you much closer to the patient, which sometimes is not a pleasant experience, but there you have it.

    2. DO NOT go super cheap! Those flimsy ones that the tubing looks like a straw are a waste of time and $15.00. The Spragues have the really thick tubing, and are less than $30.00.

    3. If you are going to work with neonates and infants, go ahead and get the Littman for peds. It has a teeny little diaphragm that makes it easier to hear each of the heart sounds. A regular stethoscope covers the babies entire chest!

    Isn't shopping fun? I am just buying scrubs like a madwoman!
  14. by   KacyLynnRN
    I love the plain old steths with the double tubing, costs about $15 and you can buy them at jasco.com or cottonscrubs.com. I think they are called sprague stethescope. If you can use one of those, I highly recommend it. You can hear a lot better and it's a lot less expensive!