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Stethoscope problem!

So, I bought an allheart cardiology dual stethoscope (has bell) for school. I did t really want to spend the money on a littmann just yet. Well, a friend of mine gave me her maxiscope stethoscope just to have as a backup. I'm not very familiar with stethoscopes so I thought it was normal that I could barely hear out of the allheart stethoscope, until I listened through the maxiscope. It's a HUGE difference! The only problem is the maxiscope dies not have the bell. Which I have been told is required! Should I sen the allheart back and just go ahead and get A littman?


Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

You can try changing the ear buds for a better fit or cutting the tube down on the one you have, but in the end, an investment in a good scope is worth it (and fairly

cheap for something that will last through school and beyond).

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

When it comes to stethoscopes, you get what you pay for. If you want a good stethoscope that will let you hear various heart/lung sounds, you need to spend the money for it.

All stethoscopes have a bell and diaphragm- the difference is whether they are separate pieces (on separate sides of the stethoscope) or whether they are integrated into one. If they are integrated into one, like the maxiscope, you switch between the two by varying the amount of pressure you apply with the scope.

As a student, you want a good quality stethoscope that will let you hear well enough to differentiate the sounds you are hearing. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars. A Littman Classic II SE would cost $70 dollars at all heart, but last you for years.

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

I paid $60-70ish for my Littmann Classic II (its the two sided one, one side bell flip it over for the diaphragm) when I started nursing school in 2007 and I still have it (keep an eagle eye on it so it doesn't go for a walk). I love it and have no need for a new one (tubing is still in perfect condition, ear buds are still intact, still clean). I use it on a daily basis multiple times and it is still like it was coming out of the package. As Ashley said, you get what you pay for. Many of my cohorts in school got a cheap steth, and were amazed when they used mine. Most went out and got a Littmann after that.


Specializes in L&D. Has 2 years experience.

Yes, exchange and get a Littman...I highly recommend them!


Specializes in ER, ICU, Education. Has 15 years experience.

The difference between the allheart stethoscope and a Littmann is a few dinners out, but the Littmann will last for many years. I have never had difficulty hearing with my Littmann (and I have a bit of hearing loss). The first time you need to hear heart sounds on someone who weighs 500 lbs you will be grateful.

I have also had excellent service from Littmann. I initially bought a breast cancer awareness (light pink tubing) stethoscope. The tubing quickly looked filthy (ink marks) and couldn't be cleaned. I called Littmann, and they reported that this problem is common and quickly replaced it with another color tubing at no charge. I had my stethoscope back in days.

One word of advice- consider paying the extra money to have your name put on it (allheart can put it on the tubing or the stethoscope head). Littmann stethoscopes are popular and tend to "grow legs" in the clinical setting.

Many of the female students in the current incoming class purchased the Caribbean blue with rainbow finish, and many of the males liked the all black editions.

Several of my students have also purchased from Amazon, and signed up for the free Amazon prime student membership (I think it's good for a year). Here is an old thread about Amazon prime. Here is a link. It is free the first year and $39/year for the next year. Several of my students buy their books online there and save money. https://allnurses.com/general-nursing-student/free-amazon-prime-592559.html

Totally go with the Littmann!

Your stethoscope is going to be the one item you will always use as an RN. I say invest in a high quality one straight out of the gate.

Littman is good, but there are other good options out there also.

I went with the ADC Cardiology Convertible, which prices about the same as a littman classic ($60-80 on amazon). Unlike your allheart, this is a real double lumen high-quality scope, which many people find comparable to the littman cardio III which itself runs around $150.

Double lumen means it has better sound insulation from the environment, and I get a loud almost booming heart sounds from my scope. I really like it, and people with littman classics who have borrowed it tell me it's noticeably louder.

The other thing to note is the even 20-50 dollar double-tube scopes can get a nice sound. The key thing is the ear seal. An old EMT trick is to buy a low-mid range scope and then get Littman earpieces, which are real rubber and not hard plastic like you get from sound cheaper brands.

I'd also buy the ugliest color that you can, that way people won't want to steal it. =)