Best Stethoscopes For Medical Students


Isn’t it frustrating there are stethoscopes in the market such that deciding the best one for you is difficult? What makes the decision even more challenging is the marketing strategies used by most brands, which leave us confused.

medical students with stethoscopesThe truth is that no one stethoscope that is perfect for all doctors. All factors held constant (price, packaging, etc.) a stethoscope is only good if it meets your needs. Having said that, a pediatric doctor has different medical requirements, and may need a more sensitive steth than a general doctor.

If you ask a lab technician, a doctor, an EMT, a paramedic and a nurse about the best stethoscope, they will all give you different accounts of what they look for. This is because their needs are different.

However, there are some stethoscope brands that physicians unanimously agree have torn that “best stethoscope line”. These brands are in their own leagues.

Today, we will look at the best stethoscope for medical students. This steth has been tried and tested by St John Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and has been thoroughly researched and authenticated.

Which Are the Best Stethoscopes for Medical Students?

The best stethoscopes for students in the medical field are

Check the table below for an overview of their features.

Comparison of the Best Stethoscopes for Medical Students

Littmann Master Cardiology
LittmannU.S.A.6.6 ounces27 inches7 years

Littmann Cardiology III littmann cardiology iii

LittmannU.S.A13.6 ounces27 inches7 years
Littmann Master Classic
LittmannU.S.A5.7 ounces27 inches3 years
Littmann Classic II S.E.
LittmannU.S.A5.7 ounces27 inches3 years
So, how do you choose a steth that will best suit your needs? Continue reading to find out what you should look for when evaluating a stethoscope.

What to Consider When Choosing a Stethoscope

You should buy a stethoscope that is of good quality to minimize diagnostics mistakes. After all, this is someone’s life you will be listening to through the device.

The steth you choose should enhance the sounds of the heart, intestinal tract or lung sounds of your patients.

There are four major stethoscope designs; acoustic, recording, fetal and electronic stethoscopes.

The acoustic steth is the most basic of these. The stethoscope has a chest piece with a bell to transmit different frequencies in sound. The steth also has a tubing with 2 earpieces. There is a binaural (metallic) that connects the tube and the earpieces.

Electronic stethoscopes are different due to their electronic transducers feature. The steths use these to amplify the body’s sound waves.

The fetal and recording designs are just versatile forms of stethoscopes. These unique stethoscopes are usually expensive.

Which is the Best Stethoscope?

littmann cardiology iii
Best Stethoscope for Medical Students

Based on Amazon customers the, Littmann Cardiology III is the one most praised by users. The stethoscope is versatility and has great acoustic quality. The excellent acoustic quality is attributed to its twin tube make.

Medical students also find the stethoscope reliable because of its chest piece design that only requires a little pressure to the chest piece to switch from one sound frequency to another. This reduces the stress of having to turn over the chest piece for a keener listen.

The stethoscope also comes in 11 different colors. You can also choose either a 22 inch or a 27 inch model depending on your preference.

For between 150$ and 200$, you could walk to your training station with this durable steth and forget about buying another one in a long time. The Littmann Cardiology III also has a warranty of five years.

What makes the Littmann Cardiology III better than the rest?

  • It is the only steth in the market with a dual-sided chest piece. This patented feature makes it easy to alternate auscultation for children and adults.
  • Its diaphragms are tunable. This makes capturing both high-pitched and low sound frequencies easy because you only need to alternate pressure.
  • It has an angled headset for enhanced listening.
  • Its tube design is a double lumen, which eliminates interference often created when the tubes rub together.
  • Measures 43mm in width. This makes the steth great for most medical physiques.

Complaints about the Littman Cardiology III

There are no major complaints about the Littmann Cardiology III at consumer review sites. However, medical students “complain” that the steth makes them hear more than they should have.

Also, although there are no complaints about its weight, the Cardiology III is heavier than other 3M Littmann steths.

Littmann Cardiology III Alternative Stethoscope

littmann classic ii se
Best Cardiology III Alternative

The Littmann Cardiology III is quite expensive and most medical students look for an alternative to it. There is one stethoscope that will give you almost the same benefits as the Cardiology III but is more affordable. This stethoscope is the Littmann Classi II S.E.

Manufactured to last long, and with an impressive design, the stethoscope provides one of a kind auscultation. The current price of the Littmann Classic II is 

Majority of medical students are impressed with the sound quality, versatility and durability of the Littmann Classic II.

Features of the Littmann Master Classic II

  • Adjustable diaphragm
  • Tubing made of natural materials (Latex free)
  • Black or chrome-plated chest piece
  • 0 ounces weight
  • 3 pairs of ear tips
  • Single diaphragm
  • Vinyl storage case

Although an excellent alternative to the Cardiology III, the Lttmann Classic II S.E. has some limitations:

  • People with a hearing loss of any degree cannot take advantage of it
  • The material quality of the diaphragm is of low caliber
  • Doesn’t perform as good as the Cardiology III

Even with these drawbacks, students have continued to purchase the Littmann Classic II because it gives them value for their money.


Being a student and a newbie in the medical field, it can be challenging to know best stethoscope to settle for, considering cash limitations. When still practicing, you will realize that a stethoscope that is good for another medic will not necessarily be the best for you.

It’s therefore important to research well before buying. Buying an all-round steth like the Littmann Cardiology III will give you the best performance. If you have a low budget, a great alternative to the Cardiology II is the Littmann Classic II S.E.

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