Choosing The Best Stethoscope

Choosing The Best Stethoscope

The stethoscope has been around for over two hundred years now. Unlike most of the evolution that takes place in healthcare equipment, modern stethoscopes haven’t changed very much in their actual design from their predecessors. Though the materials used and all round quality have certainly changed for the better throughout the years.

If you work in a healthcare profession, you already know just how important it is for diagnosing a patient’s condition quickly and efficiently. This instrument helps save more lives every year than almost any other modern medical equipment.

Read our guide on how to choose the perfect stethoscope

Any professional working in family health care centers, emergency rooms, EMT services, and any number of different specialties will agree that the stethoscope is the one medical tool they simply cannot do their job without. Listening to a patient’s heart for signs of imbalance, and the ability to hear what’s going on deep within the walls of their chest is a definite gateway to determining their overall health.

If you have a few minutes, take this opportunity to read through our list of the 6 most accurate, affordable and all round best choices when it comes to buying a new modern stethoscope.

Top Recommended Stethoscopes

*Note: If you wish purchase any of the stethoscopes below, keep in mind that each are available in a wide range of colors than those linked to. Color can be changed by using the navigation provided.

Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

1.Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

View on Amazon

Many professionals would scoff at the low, low price of this Omron Sprague Rappaport stethoscope. However, the entry level price gets you more than just a stethoscope. The package includes 3 different bell sizes, 2 different sizes of diaphragms, 2 replacement eartips, a non-latex tube, and handy vinyl carrying case.

This stethoscope is highly rated, with reviewers all claiming them to be loud enough to double for use in pediatrics as well. The Omron Sprague is perfect for medical students, EMTs looking for a “disposable” second pair for their bag, or a home user interested in learning how to use this equipment.

ADC ADSCOPE 603 Clinician Stethoscope

2.ADC ADSCOPE 603 Clinician Stethoscope

View on Amazon

The ADC Adscope 603 comes with some hefty add-ons, even though the equipment itself is very lightweight and pleasant to use. The combination headpiece and diaphragm is CNC machined from 100% stainless steel. You can also choose copper or tactical finish to customize your stethoscope.

The Adscope doesn’t come with extra bells or diaphragms like the Omron Sprague Rappaport, but it doesn’t need them either. The package includes a regular size diaphragm, along with a second extra large high frequency diaphragm. In additional, you get 2 free eartip replacements, along with free lifetime replacement of eartips and diaphragms when you register your equipment with ADC.

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

3.3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

View on Amazon

Just as the name implies, this 3M Littman Lightweight II is one of the lightest entry level stethoscopes available. Available in a variety of colors, the Lightweight II comes with an ultra sensitive tunable diaphragm that’s a favorite among doctors and field professionals for being able to pick up on murmurs and other abnormalities of the heart and chest.

The diaphragm is teardrop shaped to fit easily under a blood pressure cuff. The non chill diaphragm design also ensures that patient’s comfort is always # 1. While most physicians complain that cheaper stethoscopes are uncomfortable on their ears, 3M has taken the literal pain out of using their equipment. The headset has been meticulously field tested to ensure comfort among a wide range of users.

MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope

4.MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope

View on Amazon

Stepping up to this reasonable price range comes with a lot of quality benefits not found in cheaper stethoscopes. The MDF MD One is a remarkably handcrafted stethoscope with safety lock eartip adapters that have made many reviewers rave about the supreme comfort experienced while using this stethoscope all day long.

No latex is used in the design of the MD One. The tube is extra long for doctors who prefer more physical distance from their patients. Best, the tube has a patented acoustic chamber located under the tubing spring to prevent noise suppression when bent at odd angles. The kit includes 2 replacement eartips, 1 regular diaphragm, 1 ultra sensitive diaphragm, and lifetime parts replacement of all consumable parts.

3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope

5.3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope

View on Amazon

The Littmann Classic III from 3M is designed with comfort and accuracy in mind. It comes with an ultra sensitive tunable diaphragm that intensifies sound based on how hard it’s pressed against the skin. This, along with the non chill design allows clinicians to keep their patients comfortable, while diagnosing ailments even faster. A smaller pediatric diaphragm is also included, along with 2 replacement eartips.

Headset tension on the Classic III is fully adjustable, a feature you’ll rarely find on cheaper models. They’ve also ensured the next-gen tubing is fully resistance to skin oils, alcohol and other chemicals, while it’s also latex free for both doctors and patients who have sensitivities to latex rubber products.

Welch Allyn 5079-325 Harvey DLX Stethoscopes

6.Welch Allyn 5079-325 Harvey DLX Stethoscope

View on Amazon

If the price of the Welch Allyn Harvey DLX scares you, it’s important to consider what conditions you’ll be using your stethoscope in. This is more than your average designed stethoscope. It comes with a dual-head diaphragm to isolate chest sounds under the noisiest of conditions (perfect for EMTs and ER professionals).

Welch Allyn also offers a triple-head diaphragm that can be ordered separately and attached to the Harvey DLX. No tuning is required with either the double or triple-head designs. Taking the quality level even further, the 28” tubing is double-walled to help isolate patient sound even further when sound is transferred to the rotatable binaural eartips. Comfort and design are paramount with this stethoscope.

Stethoscope Comparison Chart 1

Omron Sprague ADC ADSCOPE 603 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. MDF MD One 3M Littmann Classic III Welch Allyn 5079-325
Ratings ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Acoustics ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Durability ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Quality ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Versatility ★★★★☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★ ★★★★★



Stethoscope Comparison Chart 2

Omron Sprague ADC ADSCOPE 603 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. MDF MD One 3M Littmann Classic III Welch Allyn 5079-325
Ideal For General Purpose Cardiology/ Pulmonar/ Diagnosis Blood Pressure and Physical Assessment Cardiology/ Pulmonary/ Diagnosis Cardiology/ High Performance Cardiology/ Pulmonary
Chestpiece Type
Double Sided Combination Dual Sided Dual Sided Double Sided Double Sided
Chestpiece Material Zinc Stainless Steel Metal and Resin Composite Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Brass
Chestpiece Finish Chromium Matte Finished Stainless Steel Finish Machined and hand polished Copper Chrome Plated
Chestpiece Weight  ? 3.1 oz  1.65 oz  1.9 oz  3 oz  2 oz
Diaphragm Diameter 2 diaphragm sizes 1.75 inches 2 inches 1 3/4” 1.7 inches 1.9 inches
Diaphragm Material Fiberglass Epoxy/ Fiber glass Epoxy/ Fiberglass Epoxy/ Fiberglass Epoxy/ Fiberglass
Tube Length 22 inches  21 inches  21 inches  20 inches 21 inches  17 inches
Total Length 30 inches  31 inches  28 inches  27 inches 27 inches  28 inches
Bell Diameter 3 bell sizes  1-3/8″ 1.25 inches Extra large bell 1.3 inches  1.6 inches
Headset Type  Clinical  Clinical  Clinical  Clinical Clinical Clinical
Headset Material ?  Stainless
Aerospace Alloy
 Metal Aerospace Alloy Brass
Headset Finish Chrome-plated  Satin Anodized Aluminum  Alloy Anodized Aluminum Chrom
Total Weight  7.2 oz  5.77 oz  4.2 oz  7 oz  6 oz 6.4 oz
Warranty  1 year  Lifetime  2 years  Lifetime  5 years  10 years


As you’ve learned, buying a stethoscope isn’t very hard. The simplicity of this reliable old two-hundred year old design, matched with modern quality parts that offer unmatched acoustic quality, makes buying a new stethoscope easier than ever.

Unlike many other industries out there, professional stethoscopes are only offered by a few of the most trusted names in the industry like Omron Sprague, 3M, ADC, MDF, and Welch Allyn.

When it comes time to make a decision as to what you’ll use as your very first stethoscope, or what to try next and add to your collection, the choice really comes down to the materials used to make it, how easy they are to listen to and adjust, comfort while in use, and the availability of replacement parts such as diaphragms and eartips.

As always, make sure to read through at least 10 or 20 reviews to get a feel for what each brand and model have to offer to professionals working in your specific field. Taking the time to decide just what features are most important to you will ensure you can use it and wear it comfortably for your entire workday – without being forced to suffer through buyer’s remorse!

Leave a Reply