Stethoscope Price – Why Does the Cost Vary So Much?


There are different companies that manufacture stethoscopes. This explains why the various stethoscope brands come at different prices. However, you should not simply purchase one brand over the other because it is highly recommended in your field. What is important is to look for a stethoscope that addresses your specific needs.

For example, some people prefer the popular Littmann stethoscopes while others may prefer the German stethoscope; Vorfreude. Just because Littmann stethoscopes are the most popular in the medical field does not mean they will be right for you.

For example, if you have a hearing impairment, the best stethoscope for your condition would be a ThinkLabs One Digital Stethoscope. On the same note, if you are a student, it would not make sense to buy a Littmann Cardiology 3. This is because you will not be involved in any auscultation that would require such a sophisticated stethoscope. For your case, a Littmann Classic would be fine.

The bottom line is, you should buy a stethoscope that is suitable for your field and needs.

Why Do Stethoscope Prices Vary So Much?

The price of a stethoscope usually depends on the brand, quality of materials used and acoustics provided. In general, expensive stethoscopes offer better sound quality and are overall better than cheap ones.

Still, we are not saying you should go for the most expensive stethoscope in the market. Some brands, especially Littmann, charge high prices for their stethoscopes not because they are necessarily any better than, for example, MDF stethoscopes, but simply because the brand is trusted and well-known.

For example, the new Littmann Cardiology stethoscope is about $50 expensive than the previous model but there is no substantial addition to its performance that would warrant the price increase. The only reason we see is an economic one; the brand simply wants to show consumers that the new model is improved to warrant the higher price tag. But the truth of the matter is that the incremental changes from the Littmann 3 to Littmann 4 are very few, even negligible.

Finishing also plays a big role in the price of a stethoscope. For example, a gold-plated stethoscope is bound to be more expensive than a normal one. You will pay a premium for the gold-plated stethoscope, but will also be able to express your personality. Frankly, they look cool!

Let’s check some stethoscopes we recommend based on their prices.

Best Stethoscopes Under $50

Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

littmann lightweight ii se
The Littmann Lightweight II SE is the best stethoscope for nurse students, beginner med students or anyone who just wants to own a stethoscope. The stethoscope provides excellent acoustics that Littmann is known for. However, if you cannot hear low-frequency sounds, perhaps due to an ear impairment, you should look for another stethoscope. Most seniors have trouble hearing low-frequency sounds with this stethoscope.

When it comes to value, you cannot beat the price/quality ratio of this stethoscope. This is definitely one of the best cheapest stethoscopes in the market.

Cons: Does not offer excellent acoustics if you have trouble hearing low-frequency sounds.

MDF Acoustica Deluxe Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope

mdf acoustic deluxe stethoscope

The MDF Acoustica is another quality cheap stethoscope that is just as good as Littmann. The stethoscope has been tried and tested in ambulances and trauma centers and performs excellently. From the reviews of medics that have used the stethoscope, its acoustics are just as good as of the Cardiology III.

The MDF Acoustica is lightweight and feels comfortable on the neck. The stethoscope has special earbuds that fit snugly in the ears and is made of BPA-free and latex-free materials. Therefore, there is no risk of you or your patients getting an allergic reaction when using it.

The price of the MDF Acoustica is nearly 50% cheaper than the Littmann. This is a stethoscope you cannot go wrong with.

Best Stethoscopes Under $100

3M Littmann Classic II S.E.

littmann classic ii se

The 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. is the best stethoscope for beginner nurses. The acoustics of the Classic II SE is superior to of the Littmann Lightweight. When using this stethoscope, even the faintest sounds will be noticed. This is an excellent all-round stethoscope to get you started in your medical career.

After some time, you can upgrade to a cardiology-grade stethoscope for even better acoustics. However, most people find the Littmann Classic II SE to be just fine and use it to the end. Moreover, at a price of less than $100 on Amazon, this stethoscope is a steal.

ADC Adscope 645 Gold Sprague Stethoscope 18K Gold Plated w/Black Tube

adc adscope 645 gold sprague stethoscopeThe ADC Adscope 645 stethoscope looks fancy with its Gold plated diaphragm. However,  it’s the high sensitivity of the part that makes it stand out. In fact, some customers feel the ADC Adscope rivals most Littmann stethoscopes.

The only downside of this stethoscope is that it’s a Sprague-type stethoscope, and is therefore quite heavy. Some people also feel its carrying bag is a little too big for it.

All in all, the ADC Adscope is an excellent stethoscope that offers excellent acoustics and will make you look professional.

Most Expensive Stethoscopes

The most expensive stethoscopes are those that are over $100. These stethoscopes are usually specialized in various areas of cardiology or are specially designed for people with particular conditions. In 90 percent of the case, you would not need these stethoscopes in your line of work.

Below is a table showing the most expensive stethoscopes in the market i.e. those that cost over $100.

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What do you think of the stethoscopes on the list? Which stethoscope brand do you prefer and do you think it’s fairly priced? Let me know in the comment section below.

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