I need stethoscope suggestions


  • Specializes in no specialty! (have to graduate first!).

I am starting nursing school this fall and I need a stethoscope. Our instructors have told us to spend no more than $50. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good stethoscope for that price range?


38,333 Posts

Our Student Nurses Assn sold stethocopes as a fundraising venture and even back then, almost 20 years ago, a Littman Classic II SE was $65 with a student discount. They also sold a cheap one. I don't remember the brand. I recommed the Littman. But you have to be very careful and mark your scope. Littmans are very popular and if you aren't careful, someone will steal it.


14,633 Posts

I realize this is not a popular point of view nowadays, but, when I started nursing school, our school specifically advised us to by the cheapest 'scope we could find (and I did just fine in school with a model that cost, at the time, $6 or $7) -- less likely to get stolen, doesn't really matter much if it does get lost or stolen, and, really, how good a 'scope do you need to get through nursing school? If you're going to be working in an area where it really matters after you graduate, you can ask for a good one as a graduation gift. (A good stethoscope used to be a common and "traditional" graduation gift for nursing students, but so many students buy really good ones for themselves, now, that that's kind of dying out ...)

I have a Classic II SE Littman and paid about $70.00 (student discount was included) for it last fall. Mine is marked and the only place that we ever take it is to Sim lab and clinicals. In regular lab we use the facility provided ones. My study buddy bought a Prestige and is now looking to buy a new one since hers began to rust at the diaphragm I think. She says it looks ICKY!!


149 Posts

I'm starting nursing school this fall also and I asked my advisor what she recommended. She told me that I shouldn't spend a whole lot because I might lose it and her suggestion was to get a Littman lightweight. I've looked on ebay, and new including shipping, they are about $50. HTH


396 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Med-Surg, Nursery. Has 8 years experience.

When I was in school, I just used a cheap one they sold in our bookstore. It always worked just fine for clinical purposes. Now that I have graduated and have started work, I invested in a Littmann. I'd def go the cheaper route in school! :)


35 Posts

You can get a littmann lightweight for about $40 on allheart.com. Thats what i have and i really like it. I got a littmann select as a gift when i started, and i actually prefer it over the lightweight, but it doesnt have a bell...and my teachers harped on having a bell so i bought the lightweight.

Music in My Heart

2 Articles; 4,102 Posts

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 13 years experience.

My hearing's not the best so I popped for the best acoustic 'scope I could find - a Littman Master Cardiology. In many/most ways, it is overkill, but it gives my ears the best chance of hearing things. I'm also a firm believer in buying quality tools and equipment for whatever I do. I'm not worried about losing it or having it swiped -- I'm careful not to leave it laying about.

It's also very comfortable.

Once I'm working I'll probably pop for an amplified 'scope. One of our preceptors has hearing trouble and loves her amplified 'scope. Even with her hearing loss she can pick up faint sounds that escape everybody else's acoustic 'scopes.

chevyv, BSN, RN

1,679 Posts

Specializes in Acute Mental Health. Has 15 years experience.

I can't figure out why you wouldn't want good stethascope right off the bat. "You might lose it" seems ridiculous to me. You might lose your name badge, car keys, etc but that's not a good enough reason to not buy something that works for you. Many of the really cheap ones have plastic ear pieces that are not comfortable at all. I have a Littman that I bought years ago ($80, probably cheaper today) and still love it. Another poster suggested allheart.com and I agree, but you might want to check out a uniform store to get an up close look and then order from allheart.com. Also, the single tube models tend to be better than the double tube.

They can get very expensive (hundreds of $$) and I can't justify that unless you graduate and specialize right away, but I would advise you to go and look at whats available. Wearing something uncomfortable in your ears only impedes learning. Hope this helps


268 Posts

Specializes in no specialty! (have to graduate first!).

Thanks everybody! Littman seems to be the brand everyone is suggesting so I will definitely look in it. I like the idea of having a light weight. I wouldn't mind have a real fancy one but I can't afford that right now. But once I start working, I will get a nicer one.


268 Posts

Specializes in no specialty! (have to graduate first!).

Okay everyone, I just purchased a Littmann Classic II SE for $65.00. It was more than I was intending to spend but after I looked at some comparison charts I decided that I needed a little more quality than the $40.00 general use stethoscopes.

Thanks again everyone!

Jaguar Boy

183 Posts


I know I'm a little late getting here, but for what it's worth, you might have a look at the nursing stethoscope forum under the forums tab. There's quite an extensive discussion on the pros and cons of the various brands and types. Also, some good discussions about other nursing gear...

This topic is now closed to further replies.