Jump to content

Which Littmann Stethoscope to purchase?

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day everyone:

Which would be better and why? 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope or the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope?

Would there be a better Littmann to purchase if the budget was to be

Thank you.

Carpediem1012, BSN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

If you can increase that budget at all, go for the cardioIII. Many will say you don't need it or it doesn't matter if you can hear something when you don't know what it is. I disagree. The best way to learn is with the best instruments. If you don't know, and ask, you learn so much more! The things I have heard with my scope are awesome, - and my last clinical instructor decided to buy one after using mine. It's worth the money.

Medic2BSN13, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care Transport. Has 7 years experience.

If you are unable to invest in a nicer model I would suggest the classic II SE? The lightweight stethoscope I used a couple times when someone else had it and the acoustics were not good. It may just have been that stethoscope or the fact it may have been filled with dust from being in Afghanistan, but I could hardly hear anything.

If you do have the ability to invest in a more expensive model, I second the above post and vote the Cardio III. The acoustics are great and you can use for both adult and pediatric patients or change to a bell. They are expensive, but worth the buy as they last forever. Just be sure to take care of it and also keep track of it.

Lori215, RN

Specializes in ICU, neuro ICU.

I just went through the same dilemma for school. I bought the Lightweight and ended up returning it for the Classic. I have to say, even from the 20 minutes I had the lightweight I can tell a discernible difference between it and the Classic.

I did a lot of asking around and got a pretty resounding vote for the Classic. I was just told the acoustics are better (7/10 rating instead of 5/10 for the lightweight), and since I am a new nursing student I figured I will need all the help I can get. :roflmao:

I was also told by another nurse that she couldn't tell much a of a difference between her Classic and her Cardiology (which is supposedly 10/10). Go figure! :sarcastic:

BEWARE of all the beautiful colors though! I read a million reviews (I swear!) and I kept seeing that the lighter colors WILL get dirty, look disgusting after like, a year and be impossible to clean. I was very sad about this because I wanted a pretty blue. :( So, in an effort to be different I went with the fancy all black, which looks quite classy (especially if you get the engraving done through medisave, which was only 5 bucks and looks awesome!) I think their prices were the best, as well. If you like their facebook page you get ten percent off, too! :)


1. Littman Classic

2. Dark Color

3. Medisave is the bomb.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day Carpediem1012, Medic2BSN13, mschulz, and others reading:

Thank you so much for confirming the classic is better than the lightweight along with the cardio III being a good one to buy if able. My fear of getting the cardio III is that it might grow virtual legs and walk off with another person, then hearing from my wife about how I wasted our money on an expensive stethoscope.

Thank you.

Carpediem1012, BSN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Hee hee! Smart man lol! But I have never had a problem with that (and you can get it engraved).

I know this may sound pound poor as opposed to penny wise, but if you can treat your stethoscope like you would a pair of glasses, then compare the cost of each, the Littmann Cardiology III really won't seem that expensive after all. Until it gets stolen/lost, of course.

I just got a Welch Allyn Harvey Elite, burgundy, engraved. It isn't as loud as the Littmann Cardiology III or even the Littmann Classic SE II, but the sounds are nice, crisp and allow me to zone in on the sound of what is happening below the chestpiece -- as opposed to everything within half a foot of it. I basically chose it over the Littmanns because I don't want to have it mistaken for someone else's, constantly. But nothing beats the Littmann binaurals. Best, comfiest earpieces in the market.

I would suggest to stay away from the Littmann lightweight. It's a pain for me to hear anything. The heavier the chestpiece (given a good airtight seal everywhere), the better the sound. But a lighter weight goes a long way toward comfort, so there's a balance.

I think I will be taking my Frankensteth with me back to nursing school. It is a Prestige Clinical I chestpiece with Littmann binaurals. It's about the same as a Littmann SE II, in my opinion. In case you are wondering why on earth, here goes.

I didn't know any better, bought what was in the scrub shop, hated the Prestige binaurals, bought Littmann binaurals, realized I could have spent the same amount of money on an SE II in the first place, accepted that the money was already spent, and learned to love the Frankensteth.

I have all 3 (I'm a stethoscope junkie what can I say?) and for sound quality this is how I would rank them

1-best - cardiology III

2 - good - lightweight

3 - fine - classic se ii

Idk why the lightweight worked better for me in nursing school compared to the classic ii se. I actually really hate my classic ii se. Something to keep in mind is that you can always cut the tubing to get better sound.


By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.