In an age where the medical profession is relying more and more on advanced machines and gadgets, using a stethoscope is still one of the best ways to be in direct contact with your patient. There are many advantages in being able to create a personal link with your patient, but one of the most important ones is that it gives you as a doctor the possibility to use your intuition to diagnose the patient.
However, when relying on a stethoscope it is vital to use an excellent one as your tool of choice. For one thing it allows you to hear even the slightest murmurs and pitches of the heart and lungs. For that reason, we are going to look at some of the best stethoscopes for doctors on the market, but be warned that we are not even going to consider the absolute cheapest ones, since those are of too low quality for a doctor’s needs.
The Overall Champion
- High acoustic sensitivity in a dual-sided chestpiece combines with durable, compact design to deliver versatile auscultation and rugged dependability
- Tunable diaphragm responds with a simple pressure change to capture low and high-frequency sounds without the need to turn over the chestpiece
- Anatomically designed headset is angled to meet the path of the ear canal and provide optimal listening
- Latex-free materials for allergy sensitive users
- Non-chill rim and diaphragm provide welcome patient comfort
We are not going to start with the absolute best stethoscope on the market in 2014 because that it is also one of the most expensive stethoscopes out there and not everyone can afford them. We will get to them later on though, but now we are just going to consider what product provides the best quality considering the price you are paying for it.
The 3M Littmann Classic II is the absolute best stethoscope you might hope to buy for a reasonable price for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the tubing is made of an extra strength, flexible material so you can easily fold it and carry it in your pocket. It is also light enough that, although this is not recommended for your own health’s sake, you can still wear it comfortably around your neck, and it weighs just 135 grams. And, at 28” long it can be used comfortably even by a taller doctor.
Of course the center piece of a stethoscope is the chest piece and, in the Littmann Classic II, you are rewarded with a double sided, double diaphragm one. Practicing physicians, especially the ones that have worked with both children and adults, know just how important it is to have a double sided chest piece.
The smaller side is perfect for children or even small adults and then you can just turn it around and use the bigger side for regular sized patients. Each face of the chest piece has an expandable bell that you can just press down on so that you will be able to listen in diaphragm mode. That basically means you can listen both to low and high sounds with just one side in just one auscultation.
The Best Stethoscope for Doctors Regardless of Price
- The only dual-sided chestpiece in the Cardiology line provides versatile auscultation for both adult and pediatric patients
- Two tunable diaphragms respond with a simple pressure change to capture low and high-frequency sounds
- Expand versatility by converting pediatric side to open bell for low frequencies, using the nonchill bell sleeve (included)
- Two-in-one tube design (dual lumen) eliminates noise interference from two external tubes rubbing together
- Anatomically designed headset is angled to meet the path of the ear canal
If price is not an issue, the best stethoscope any doctor dreams of having is the 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope. It is one of the most expensive stethoscopes on the market today but it is also the very best product you could use. The fact that it is part of the cardiology line of stethoscopes has been putting some people off because they tend to think it is only meant for that particular branch of medicine.
However, the reason why 3M Littmann have decided to go with the cardiology name is because the heart produces the most various types of rumbles and beats and the point is that a stethoscope that can help you discern between every type of sound the heart produces, will be more than enough for every other type of auscultation.
The 3M Littmann has a dual sided chest piece so you can use it on both adults and children without having to change anything about its setup to switch from one to another, or from a wider part of the body to a narrower point. However, you can take off the bell from the pediatric side, replace it with the Littmann non chill bell sleeve and really focus on those deep rumblings.
The diaphragm itself responds to pressure so you can apply a little bit of pressure to hear the deep sounds and you can let it just float over the chest to listen to the higher sounds. And only then, if you decide you need more precision, you can switch the pediatric side to really focus on the deep sounds.
The other thing that we really love about the 3M Littmann is that they have kept the concept of the traditional high end stethoscope that used 2 tubes, but converted it to a two-in-one tube design, using a dual lumen technique. That way the sound quality remains as high as with the double tube stethoscopes, but, because there are not two tubes there, you do not get any friction sounds from the two of them rubbing together.
Finally, any doctor will love the Snap Tight Soft Sealing Ear Tips technology that 3M Littmann developed for their stethoscopes. They create a perfect, sound proof seal when you place them in your ear so that you will not be disturbed by exterior sounds. The 3M Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope comes with a pair of soft sealing ear tips but also with a larger pair of firm ear tips if that is what you are accustomed to and like to use.
The Most Affordable Stethoscope Solution for Doctors
- Latex FREE tubing and chrome plated chestpiece
- Includes: three sizes of open bells, two sizes of diaphragms, and two pair of eartips
- Comes with three sizes of open bells
As much as we love the 3M Littmann products, we have to admit that they can be a little bit too expensive, particularly for young doctors at the beginning of their career or for students studying to be doctors. If that is the case for you, you are going to love the Omron Rappaport Stethoscope.
It does have that problem we talked about earlier with the tube friction but Omron has managed to reduce that to a bare minimum thanks to the aluminum grips that hold the two cables firmly in place. The other thing that you should consider is the fact that you will have to change diaphragms in order to switch to and from the pediatric mode.
However, the bottom line is that, with just a little bit of extra work, you can get one of the most accurate auscultation levels provided by the stethoscopes for doctors available in 2014 on the market. In fact Omron is one of the best medical equipment companies on the market and this is their flagship stethoscope product. So, even though you are not getting the very best, for the money you could not hope to find a better stethoscope.
To sum up, we would recommend the 3M Littmann Classic II stethoscope for most doctors out there who are self financed. It delivers the best possible sound clarity and ease of use for the least amount of money. Of course, if you have the money, it would be great to get the very best stethoscope for doctors, which is the 3M Littmann Cardiology III, but you can also go for the Omron Rappaport Stethoscope for an adequate auscultation and an extremely low price.