What Is the Best Stethoscope in 2018?

There are so many stethoscopes on the market today that it can be quite difficult to choose just one stethoscope and call it the best. In fact it would fair to say that there are several best stethoscopes since there are so many types of professionals using them and they have so many functions. We have already talked about the choices opened to doctors and to nurses but we have given you several choices since each individual is different and has different needs. However, we decided that it was about time we chose a favorite, the one stethoscope that would be the best choice for each profession, doctor, student, nurse, paramedic or even a veterinarian. These are by no means the definite, final answer for each profession, and if you would like to get more options for anyone of these professions, make sure to check out our dedicated articles, however, these are the options that will best suit the majority of specialists in any of the given fields.

For Doctors

PreviewNameRatingPriceMore Details

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Plated Chestpiece and Eartubes, Black Tube, 28 inch, 2218BE
4.7 / 5$$Click Here!

3M Littmann - 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, Black Tube, 27 inch, 3128 -
4.7 / 5$$$Click Here!

Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope4.1 / 5$Click Here!

The fact that the ultimate decision that may save a man’s life rests in the hands of the doctors means that the best stethoscope for doctors has to be the very best that currently exists on the market and that is the 3M Littmann Cardiology III. It is one of the more expensive stethoscopes, but it is so flawlessly designed and built that it is well worth the money. It is dual sided, which makes it a perfect choice for both pediatricians and general practitioners. Both diaphragms respond to pressure change to allow you to listen to both low and high frequencies. And what is even more important is the fact that their sensitivity level is unmatched by any other product on the market. Add to that the fact that all 3M Littmann stethoscopes use a dual lumen tube design – that basically means the use a tube in tube structure – which allows them to eliminate any noise interface that parallel tubes would create through friction.

3M Littmann cardiology III stethoscope

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You can further improve on the versatility and functionality of the 3M Littmann by using the provided non chill bell sleeve to listen to extra low frequencies. You need to convert the pediatric side using the bell sleeve to an open bell configuration, but that does not affect in any way the sensitivity of the diaphragm. And the quality of the sound is further improved by the patented Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips that form a perfect acoustic seal allowing you to focus just on the sounds coming from the diaphragm. In all honesty there are other patented technologies that ultimately do the same thing but the 3M Littmann is one of the best and it is well worth knowing that it is there. Finally, you should consider the fact that the 3M Littmann Cardiology III has earned a 4.7 star rating on Amazon from a whooping 450 happy customers.

For Nurses

PreviewNameRatingPriceMore Details

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, Black Tube, 27 inch, 3128
4.7 / 5$$$Click Here!

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 inch, 2450
4.4 / 5$$Click Here!

Prestige Medical Clinical I Stethoscope, Hot Pink
4.0 / 5$Click Here!

3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 inch, 2201
4.7 / 5$$Click Here!

The first thing that we need to say at this point is that there are plenty of cases where it is the nurse’s decision and quick action that saves a patient so the best stethoscope for nurses may just be the one we have talked about before. However, most nurses will be more than happy with the 3M Littmann Classic II S. E. stethoscope. It too has a dual sided chest piece so you can use it with both adults and in the pediatric section. It has a non chill rim on both sides of the chest piece so that all of your patients will feel comfortable from the first moments of the auscultation. The quality of the diaphragm itself is not as good as the one on the Cardiology III but it is still well above the average. To give you an idea of just how sensitive the diaphragm is on the Classic II we would compare it with the quality levels you would get on the initial Cardiology stethoscopes.

3M Littmann Classic II Stethoscope

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The other important thing to consider when choosing the best stethoscope for nurses is the fact that they tend to see and interact with more patients than a regular doctor, even an ER doctor. For that reason it is important to use a stethoscope like the 3M Littmann Classic II stethoscope that is made from latex free materials so that they will not trigger a latent or existing allergy in one of the patients. Speaking of the design features of the Classic II it is worth mentioning that it too uses the Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips technology to give you the best auscultation conditions possible. And the head set itself is perfectly angled to meet the ear canal, further improving the quality of the sound but also making it more comfortable for the doctor or nurse to use this stethoscope.

For Students

There are several reasons why we have chosen the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope as the best stethoscope for students but one of the most important ones is the fact that it is so much cheaper. As a student you are just learning what you need to be listening for and it is much more important to spend your money on the best books and courses than on a high end stethoscope. Plus you have to consider the fact that it is very likely you will misplace, forget or lose at least a couple of stethoscopes until you will get to practice medicine on your own, so there is no point in spending too much money on a stethoscope.


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Having said all that we need to come back and let you know that the Omron Sprague stethoscope is a fairly decent stethoscope on its own. In fact it is a far better stethoscope than most of the other products on the market today and it very well should be considering the fact that Omron is one of the biggest names in the medical accessories market. They are not specifically focused on stethoscopes but with the Sprague they have managed to create a very impressive product. They use the standard two tube configuration which has the benefit of providing a direct sound path for each of the eartips to the diaphragm. Of course, 3M Littmann built their tube in tube configuration for a good reason, but the way the Omron stethoscope binds the two tubes tightly together and sound proofs them with that latex free tubing also achieves a relatively good result. And let’s just point out again that students too tend to meet a lot of patients and having a latex free stethoscope is a good way to make sure that you will not trigger any allergies in your patients.

There are, of course, some disadvantages with the Omron Sprague stethoscope and the biggest one is that you will have to change the diaphragms yourself to match the size of your patient. The good news is that you get 3 sizes, for infant, child and adult, and the fact that you get to install them will also help familiarize you with the way a stethoscope works. The good news is that the stethoscope we have been featured here is good enough to have earned a 4.1 star rating on Amazon from more than 400 users over several years of purchases.

For Paramedics

There are several features that are specifically required of paramedic’s stethoscope in general. It needs to be extra light, so it can be carried comfortably into every situation, it needs to be sturdy since it is very likely that it will be dropped or thrown often and it needs to be cheap enough since it goes with the territory that it will be eventually lost or destroyed at least once a year. For that reason we chose as the best stethoscope for paramedics the 3M Littmann Lightweight II stethoscope. It is necessarily not the cheapest stethoscope on the market because it needs to provide the best auscultation conditions and it needs to be extremely sturdy. However, it is an entry level stethoscope from 3M Littmann so it is much cheaper than many other high quality ones and it features all those technology breakthroughs that have made 3M the dominant force on the market.

3M littmann lightweight

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The 3M Littmann Lightweight II stethoscope has that sensitive diaphragm providing a clear acoustic response on each auscultation. You can tune the diaphragm to listen for both low pitch and high frequency sounds by simply changing the pressure you apply on the chest piece. Sadly it does not work as a dual sided chest piece so it will be slightly more difficult to use this stethoscope with children, but it compensates through the tear drop shape of the chest piece. That shape makes this stethoscope the ideal tool for taking a patient’s blood pressure because it slides easily and comfortably under the blood pressure cuff. Finally the headset was designed to perfectly meet the ear canal and, in concert with the Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips patented 3M Littmann technology, you get the best noise cancelation stethoscope on the market. That is certainly a feature a paramedic will need given that they so often have to work in crowded, noisy environments.

For Veterinaries

PreviewNameRatingPriceMore Details

3M Littmann Master Classic II Veterinary Stethoscope, Single-sided chestpiece, Long Length, Navy Blue Tube, 1392
4.8 / 5$$$Click Here!

Prestige Medical Veterinary Clinical I, Purple
4.6 / 5$Click Here!

UltraScope Stick Veterinarian Stethoscope (Female/Light/Light Blue/BK Paws) - Light Blue Tubing | Adult
4.8 / 5$$$Click Here!

If you are looking for the ultimate stethoscope in resilience and durability, you need to switch your gaze from the human to the veterinarian stethoscopes, more precisely the 3M Littmann Master Classic II veterinarian stethoscope. This is a classic case situation where you will absolutely need to check our in depth article on the best stethoscope for veterinaries because there are way too many situations and stethoscopes to pick a single product that will meet all needs. However, the ultimate, defining problem for a veterinarian stethoscope is that it will need to be in contact with dirty animal under sides, it will need to survive falling in manure piles, or even to get crushed under the side of a horse or cow.3M Littmann Classic II Veterinary Stethoscope

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The 3M Littmann Master Classic Veterinarian stethoscope is perfectly designed to meet all those challenges with a heavy, sturdy and, most importantly sealed chestpiece. We were actually amazed by how strong the chestpiece was and how well it took to any kind of dirt. You can basically wipe away any type of dirt from it and it will still look and perform like a brand new piece. It still uses the impressive 3M Littmann diaphragm so the sound quality is excellent, although not as good as the one on the Cardiology III stethoscope. That is due, in part, to the sealing case that the entire chestpiece sits in, but, the fact that you also get an angled headset with the Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips means your auscultation is as close to perfect under the given conditions. You will definitely need a smaller stethoscope for some of your smaller patients like birds or gerbils, but for most under situations the Master Classic II Veterinarian stethoscope will be just perfect.


In our search to find what is the best stethoscope we were able to find the best choice for each major profession that may need such a device. However, individual situations will vary and that is why we strongly recommend that you follow the links in the article or on the site to the specific articles for each profession. You can just follow the links we have provided to get the best price for the stethoscopes we have featured in the article, if you feel that they are indeed the best match for your situation – which should be the case for most of our visitors anyway.

Dr. Andi Neeson is a long time medical practitioner with years of medical practice and teaching under his belt and the owner of StethoscopeAdvisor.com