Stethoscopes: How to choose?

Nurses Uniform/Gear


Hi guys.. for a graduation gift I will be getting a new stethoscope (my school one isn't all that nice but it did the job). I want to get a Littmann, but I'm seeing that they range from cheap to wow.. what is the best one for me to get, starting out?

I want to go nice, but not overboard, you know? Thanks!


876 Posts

Specializes in Junior Year of BSN.

There are MANY threads on stethoscopes on this forum. Just search for Littman and look at the old threads, you will find many of your answers via that route.

Another suggestion is to go to a local medical supply store and see if they will allow you to listen to the stethoscopes before purchase, bring a friend a long and listen to them and yourself.

Hope that helps :D


660 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I have the Littmann Classic II. I like it, I can hear well, everybody has it. I wish I would have gotten the Littmann Lightweight though. Sooo much lighter. You can actually wear it around your neck and not feel it. The Classic II is heavy and strains my neck so I keep it in my pocket. If something ever happens, my next one will be the Littmann Lightweight for sure!

Edit: Check this site.


50 Posts

Thanks Cherish, didn't think to search.

And thank you, PAERRN.. I do see a lot of nurses with the same one but never thought to ask before I finished clinicals/precepting, ha ha. I will look into the lightweight one, too. I appreciate it!


264 Posts

Specializes in Pulmonary, MICU.

I prefer the Classic II to the light. I actually have 2 Classics. What you lose in weight you also lose sound quality and volume with it. Going to the Littmann site will allow you to compare products, and when you look at the Classic II SE vs. the Light, it's basically no contest. And the Light is only 7 grams lighter than the Classic. Or if you like English fractions, 1/64th of a pound lighter. It's hardly noticeable. The difference in sound quality, however, is very noticeable. The Lightweight picks up a lot more ambience and artifact noises.

If you've got more than $80ish to spend, go for a Littman cards stethoscope. Much louder than the above. But also heavier.

My next stethoscope will be electronic, probably the Littmann 3000.

Specializes in ED, Flight.

So you see you've already gotten very divergent responses, just like on the previous threads on this topic.

Just remember that the really important thing is to AUSCULTATE your patients well. Develop the skills and attuned ear. I regularly see plenty of good ER docs and trauma surgeons using whatever cheap $20 stethoscope was at hand, and getting the job done. I'm sure they prefer a better tool, but they don't rely on only that.

Having said that, I have found the Classic II S.E. adequate for the price. I just looked and it was much cheaper when I got mine several years back. That's the scope I keep in my search pack. My favorites have been the Master Classic II, which I still have on my vehicle and as a backup; and the Cardiology III, which I use daily on all my jobs, in house and prehospital.

I like the Cardiology III because I was carrying a regular and peds scope; now I get by with just one for most cases. If you're going to work regularly with newborns, then you'll probably want an appropriate scope for that size patient.

There are other brands out there, and some of them are pretty good. Despite paying for the name, I've stuck with Littman because of their consistently good quality, and easy availability of replacement parts. Parts wear out or get lost, and it is nice to quickly and easily order what you need to refurbish your scope.

Congratulations on finishing school! :yeah:

I got a Littman when I first started but I also got just a "cheaper" one, about $25 for a backup, it does work just as well but I think its nice to have both.

+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X