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Best Stethoscopes Of 2020 – Top 9 Brands Reviews

The constant evaluation of diagnostic procedures[1] and effectiveness ensures that doctors and other medical professionals will be able to accurately gauge the patient’s health problem and come up with methods to treat it. Using medical tools like a stethoscope will greatly improve the efficacy and accuracy of your diagnosis. And If you’re looking for the best stethoscope to use for your practice, then you might want to read on because we’ll be taking a look at the top stethoscopes brands on the market.

We’ll be taking a look at popular stethoscope choices used by doctors worldwide. Expect to see both cheap and expensive stethoscopes alike. Lastly, we’ll also be covering more modern-day electronic stethoscopes that have some pretty high tech features. 

Who Needs a Stethoscope?

The stethoscope is one of the most useful tools doctors have in performing a diagnosis. It allows listening to what’s going on inside of the patient’s body.  The tool is mostly used to check for irregularities in the heart, breathing in the lungs, and even bowel sounds in the abdomen.

In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner

Editor’s Choice

Stethoscope EKO Core Digital

EKO Core Digital Stethoscope

Why is it better?

  • Comes with a useful app for medical examinations
  • Effective in noisy environments
  • Long battery life

Read Review Details

The Lineup At A Glance

Best Settings

  • Rugged design
  • Two-year warranty
  • Built-in Bluetooth technology

Best Performance

  • Non-chill rim
  • Tunable diaphragm
  • Comes with a stainless steel finish

Best Value

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Thick tubing

Best Price

  • Double-Sided chest piece
  • Comes with tons of accessories
  • Latex-free tubing

Best Durability

  • High performance
  • Affordable price
  • Free replacement parts

Best Cardiology Stethoscope

  • Master cardiology stethoscope
  • Strong Warranty
  • Special procedures adapter

Best Warranty

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Custom molded tubing
  • Ergonomic design

Best Pediatric Stethoscope

  • Child friendly
  • Single-sided chest-piece
  • Good value

Top 9 best Stethoscope brands review

EKO Core Digital Stethoscope

Stethoscope EKO Core Digital

The EKO Core Digital Stethoscope takes checkups to the next level by digitizing stethoscopes which allow physicians to effectively diagnose their patients.

  • High tech features
  • Effectively amplifies sounds
  • Allows saving of sounds for future reference
  • Needs to be charged to use digital features
  • A little bulky

!

The EKO Core Digital Stethoscope is a product by  EKO Devices Incorporated, a company known for its innovative use of medical technologies by pairing them with smartphone software.

And as expected, the EKO Core Digital Stethoscope stays true to the company’s reputation. They gave us a high-quality stethoscope capable of clearing and amplifying sound which makes it easier for physicians to do their job.

The product is surprisingly sturdy for a digital device and it’s very stylish as well. But asides from looks, it’s also very portable since it can easily fit inside the front and back pockets of a lab coat.

What we like about the stethoscope is that it has the convenience and comfort of the user in mind. It comes with multiple ear attachments allowing you to pick the best size to fit your ear holes.

Performance-wise, the device can amplify sound as well as getting rid of annoying background noise as well. Being a digital product, it comes with its software which you can use to record, filter, and share the sounds with your fellow physicians.

The only issue we have with the device is that it needs to be charged for you to use its digital features but it can still work as an analog stethoscope even without any power. Thankfully it can last for at most two weeks before losing battery which does make it more convenient as a gadget.

Lastly, the EKO Core Digital Stethoscope comes at an affordable price range making it one of the best electronic stethoscopes on the market.

Littmann Model 3200 Electronic

Stethoscope Littmann Model 3200 Electronic

The Littmann Model 3200 Electronic is a high-quality electronic stethoscope for medical professionals that provide tons of digital settings from setting the volume to frequency selection. 

  • Tons of customizable settings
  • Latex-free
  • Ambient noise reduction technology
  • Can be a little confusing to use
  • A little pricey

!

The Littmann Model 3200 Electronic is probably one of the most rugged and durable electronic stethoscopes on this list. It’s made out of high-quality materials and it’s latex-free as well allowing you to be at your best when diagnosing patients.

What we like about this stethoscope is that it comes with a backlit LCD that’s easy to use. With it, you’ll be able to adjust the stethoscopes volume and frequency as well as see your patient’s heart rate.

Although the settings are very intuitive, it can be quite confusing to use especially if it’s your first time.

What makes the Littmann Model 3200 one of the best Littmann stethoscopes is its accuracy. Thanks to its ambient noise reduction technology, physicians won’t have trouble listening to their patient’s heart sounds.  

The stethoscope can reduce up to 85% of background noise making a very good choice if you’re working in a noisy or crowded area. 

Lastly, this Littmann stethoscope has an impressive warranty of up to 2 years. If you’re having problems with this, you can simply have it repaired for free during the warranty period.

3M Littmann Classic III

Stethoscope 3M Littmann Classic III

The 3M Littmann Classic III stethoscope is a reliable tool for medical professionals. Its tunable diaphragm and durable design make it one of the best top of the line products that comes at a reasonable price. 

  • Very durable
  • Flexible tubing
  • Single-tube dual-lumen design
  • A little heavy
  • Lacks tube length variety

!

If you’re looking for one of the best stethoscopes in terms of durability and affordability, then take a look at the 3M Littmann Classic III. This stethoscope comes with a stainless steel finish allowing it to last for a long time.

In terms of reliability, It’s almost as good as a cardiology stethoscope. This is because it comes with a tunable diaphragm that allows the user to listen to both low and high-frequency sounds. And since this is a double lumen stethoscope, it provides much better sensitivity than its single lumen making it much easier to perform the correct diagnosis. 

It also comes with a non-chill surface which is good for sensitive patients who can’t stand the icy touch of a stethoscope’s rim. The tubing of the stethoscope is also very flexible allowing you to easily fold and carry around in your bag and even pocket.

One of the few issues we have with this stethoscope is that it’s a little bit heavier compared to other models of the same quality. This is most likely thanks to its rugged design that allows the stethoscope to take a beating and still come out fine. So you might have to sacrifice portability and ease of use if you plan to use this stethoscope.

Overall, the 3M Littmann Classic III stethoscope lives up to the Littmann brand with its impressive features and high-quality materials. 

FriCARE Dual Head

Stethoscope FriCARE Dual Head

The  FriCARE Dual Head is a simple but reliable stethoscope ideal for a medical professional who is just starting out.

  • Cheap and affordable
  • Comfortable ear tips
  • Replaceable earpieces
  • Lacks notable features
  • Single lumen acoustics

!

Most of the stethoscopes on this list are high-quality tools that have special features like improving sound quality and the ability to record sounds. The FriCARE Dual Head on the other hand is pretty basic in terms of features but it’s one of the best stethoscopes in terms of value since it’s very cheap and is very reliable. 

Performance-wise, it’s pretty impressive since it can listen to both high and low-frequency sounds without problems thanks to its dual-sided chest piece and tunable diaphragm.

The device also takes into consideration the comfort of the user with its comfortable earpieces that are easy to clean and fits easily into your ear canal.  Additionally, these earpieces are replaceable as well which makes it even more convenient.

Sadly, the  FriCARE Dual Head only has a single lumen tubing which does affect its ability to accurately pick up and transmit lung sounds and other body parts. Thankfully the stethoscope makes up for this with its durable and good quality design.

Omron Sprague Rappaport

Stethoscope Omron Sprague Rappaport

The  Omron Sprague Rappaport is a cheap and reliable stethoscope that does the bare basics. 

  • Inexpensive
  • Comes in multiple colors
  • 1-year warranty
  • Feels heavy around your neck
  • No tunable diaphragm
  • Stiff tubing

!

If you’re a medical professional looking for an inexpensive stethoscope that’s decent at its job, then the Omron Sprague Rappaport is a good choice. It may not give you good sound quality but it is still usable.

Budget wise, it is the best stethoscope on this list. However, it doesn’t have the features and strengths of other higher-end stethoscopes. Your patients might find it uncomfortable since it has a no chill rim.

It will also be a problem for you since the ear tips aren’t that comfortable to use at all. And to top it off, this stethoscope is a little heavy which can be problematic if you use it for long periods.

Overall, the only redeeming quality of the Omron Sprague Rappaport is that it’s very cheap. It’s nothing special but it is still a good choice if you really can’t afford the better stethoscopes on this list. After all, a decent stethoscope is better than having no stethoscope at all!

MDF MD One

Stethoscope MDF MD One adult

The MDF MD One is a durable dual head stethoscope that rivals the Littman classic models.  

  • Very durable build
  • Made with stainless steel
  • Lifetime replacement parts
  • Heavy
  • Lots of fake brands imitating it

!

Finding the best stethoscope is hard which is why we recommend you find a certain feature that you like and stick with that.

One key feature to look out for is durability and the MDF MD One is a product well known for its toughness. The stethoscope is created with high-quality stainless steel allowing it to last for a lifetime. The product even has lifetime replacements for their parts which shows how confident they are of its toughness. 

Since it’s a classic stethoscope, it doesn’t have a tunable diaphragm. However, thanks to its high-quality build, the sound quality of your auscultations is quite accurate and it will allow you to accurately listen to high and low-frequency sounds by simply using the diaphragm and the open bell of the stethoscope.

Overall, the MDF MD One is a solid choice for a dual head stethoscope. It’s one of the best stethoscopes in the market and its durable design will ensure that you’ll be able to use it for a lifetime.

3M Littmann Master Cardiology

Stethoscope 3M Littmann Master Cardiology

3M Littmann Master Cardiology is one of the best stethoscopes on this list giving accurate auscultations for cardiology and it comes with a special adapter for children as well.  

  • 7-year warranty
  • Ergonomic headset
  • Top-notch sound quality
  • Expensive
  • Bulky design

!

Handcrafted with a unique single-sided chest piece, the 3M Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope shows that it is way above in quality compared to other stethoscopes on the market.

It has one of the best acoustics among the Littmann mechanical stethoscopes. Because of this, it makes the physician able to perform more accurate auscultations and come to a more reliable diagnosis. 

The tunable diaphragm allows the user to hear a wide range of frequencies, giving them the option to hear low to high-frequency sounds.

As for comfort, the stethoscope has angled ear tubes which easily aligns itself in your ear canals. The headset is also easy to adjust which helps reduce discomfort making it easier for the physician to concentrate on their jobs.

Overall, the 3M Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope is one of the best stethoscopes for diagnosis and it is ideal for cardiologists who strive for excellence. 

ADC Adscope 600 Platinum

Stethoscope ADC Adscope 600 Platinum

ADC Adscope 600 Platinum is a beautifully designed stethoscope capable of delivering outstanding performance.

  • Strong warranty
  • Designed for comfort
  • Affordable price
  • Heavy
  • Bulky

!

The ADC Adscope 600 Platinum is probably one of the most beautifully made stethoscopes on this list. Its black tubing and stainless steel parts fit well together giving it that aesthetic design.

But this stethoscope isn’t just all looks since it performs reliably as well. Designed to be an accurate cardiology stethoscope, it provides quality accounting as well as being ergonomically designed to give comfort to both the patient and the physician.

The cardiology headsets are placed at a fixed 15° angle and the earpieces are soft to the ear which minimizes discomfort for the physician. It also features a non-chill diaphragm for the patients as well.

Lastly, the stethoscope comes at an affordable price and it has a lifetime warranty as well. This makes it a good alternative for the 3M Littmann Master Cardiology if you’re looking for something of similar quality but at a slightly cheaper price.

ADC Adscope 618 Pediatric Stethoscope

Stethoscope ADC Adscope 618 Pediatric

The ADC Adscope 618 is a child-friendly stethoscope with an animal snap-on to make it look cute. It functions reasonably well and it’s very comfortable to use as well. 

  • Interchangeable animal snap-on
  • Cheap and affordable
  • Silicone earpieces
  • Lacks durability
  • Average sound quality

!

Last but not the least, we have the ADC Adscope 618 Pediatric Stethoscope. It’s one of the cutest stethoscopes on this list since it comes with 7 animal snap-ons ranging from pandas to frogs.

Being snap-on, the physician can simply swap them at will and choose the child’s favorite animal making them more eager for a diagnosis. Asides from making children more cooperative, the stethoscope is also very comfortable to use with its flexible tubing and ergonomic design.

It may not provide high-quality performance like the top-notch cardiology stethoscopes on this list but its cheap and affordable price justifies the lack of quality.

Benefits of Stethoscope

Using a stethoscope can help physicians make more accurate diagnoses since it helps them amplify sounds[2] inside your body. The amplified sounds travel through the stethoscope’s tube up to the earpieces.

Because of this doctors can use it to listen to their patient’s lungs, heart, and other parts of the body. A doctor can even use a stethoscope to measure[3] their patient’s blood pressure manually with a sphygmomanometer.

What is the Importance of a High-Quality Stethoscope?

According to a study by Graham Neale, misdiagnoses make up to 10%[4] the causes of negative and harmful hospital practices. Improper diagnosis can lead to problems like taking the wrong medicine as well as wasting money on ineffective treatment methods.

Having better and more effective tools to use will allow doctors to have an easier finding out the problem and will give them a better chance of diagnosing their patients more accurately. 

Being tools used for diagnosis, the same logic applies to stethoscopes as well. The higher the quality of the stethoscope, the more likely it is to provide better sound quality for its users.

What are the Most Common Types of Stethoscopes?

Currently, there are many different types of stethoscopes like cardiology, pediatric, veterinary, and so much more. But they are very specialized types of stethoscopes which don’t make them a good option for general use. 

Thankfully, there is also another way we can differentiate stethoscopes between analog and a digital one. Namely, acoustic stethoscopes and electronic stethoscopes[5]. These two could be a better option when choosing something to buy for general use, so we’ll be going with these two. 

Acoustic stethoscope

This type of stethoscope is the classic and basic king. It helps amplify the sounds your body makes.  The diaphragm and the chest piece of the stethoscope capture sounds, made by the body and it travels into the rubber tubs directly into the physician’s ear allowing them to hear things more accurately. 

Electronic stethoscopes

Electronic stethoscopes on the other hand are more modern and more accurate. This type of stethoscope converts the physical vibrations sound and turns them into electronic signals which allow the physician to store and record the sound as data.

This makes diagnosis more convenient since it can be replayed over and over again as well as making it more accessible to other physicians to give their second opinions. Asides from this,  electronic stethoscopes can also increase the volume of the recorded sound as well as reduce background noise. 

These are just some of the basic features of electronic stethoscopes and they have so much more like adjusting frequency, annotations, and instant sharing. Sadly, most electronic stethoscopes are very expensive which can put a lot of people off from buying it. 

What are the Parts of a Stethoscope?

A stethoscope can be identified to have 3 main parts; The headset, the chest piece and the tubing.

The chest piece

This piece is the rounded metal part of the stethoscope that doctors use to directly listen to your heart and lungs. It consists of the bell and the diaphragm which can be used to listen to different frequencies. The bell helps doctors listen to low-frequency sounds while the diaphragm to high-frequency sounds. 

The Headset

The headset of a stethoscope has 3 main parts: the tension springs, the ear tubes, and the ear tips.

The tension springs keep the ear tubes apart to provide comfort for the user while the ear tubes help carry the sounds from the rubber tubing directly in the ear tips. The ear tips are simply padded parts that you insert into your ears. 

The Tubing

The simplest of all the parts, the tubing’s job is to connect the chest piece to the headset. By connecting the two parts, it can relay sounds captured from the chest piece directly into the physician’s ears.

Which Stethoscope Brand is the Best?

There are many brands of high-quality stethoscopes but the most famous of them all would probably be the Littmann. This brand of this stethoscope is known for its high-quality acoustics and durable design.

How to Choose the Best Stethoscopes

Choosing a stethoscope isn’t hard but there are some factors you need to consider like the price, the sound quality, and its features.

Acoustics vs price

Most quality stethoscopes have amazing acoustics that helps the doctor listen to subtle sounds in the patient’s body. Sadly, these stethoscopes lean more on the expensive side which can be a problem for medical professionals who don’t have a big budget.

With this, we recommend that you try to find a stethoscope with a good price to sound quality ratio. 

What features does it offer?

Other things to consider are features that the stethoscope has that makes your job easier. It could be something as simple as tunable diaphragms. 

If you often work in a noisy environment[6] then you might want something high tech like a stethoscope with sound recordings and a noise cancellation feature. 

Warranty, return policy, and customer service

The warranty of the stethoscope is also very important. You’ve paid good money for this and it would be a waste if the seller won’t offer a warranty to replace damaged parts or offer repairs on their part.

Materials used in construction

The materials used in making the stethoscope matter as well. We recommend choosing a stethoscope made out of stainless steel or at least have a stainless steel finish. This will help ensure that you’ll be using it for a very long time

Tube type and length

One overlooked factor to consider is the tubing of the stethoscope. Do you want a longer tubing or a shorter one?

You should also take into consideration the type of tubing as well since it matters. Should you go for a single lumen tubing or a double lumen one?

Single lumen tubings are generally cheaper but double-lumen tubings are more sensitive since they provide an individual sound channel to each of your ears.

Color and style options

The least important factor to consider is the design of the stethoscope. Some come in different color options like red, blue, and gold but these things hardly matter when it comes to diagnosis. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get tunable diaphragms?

Yes if it fits your budget. Tunable diaphragms allow you to listen to wider frequencies of sound-making your diagnosis much easier.

Electronic or acoustic stethoscope?

It depends on your budget and needs. Electronic stethoscopes are generally more accurate and they have tons of interesting features but they are more expensive as well.

What factors do most buyers overlook when choosing a stethoscope?

We have to say the warranty and tubing. Both of these are important since the warranty will ensure you have a fallback when the stethoscope malfunctions and the tubing plays a part in determining whether you’ll have good sound quality or not.

What stethoscopes do you recommend for students?

We would recommend the Omron Sprague Rappaport. The stethoscope is one of the cheapest brands on our list and it performs surprisingly well for a budget stethoscope.

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Knottnerus, J.A. (2002). Evidence base of clinical diagnosis: Evaluation of diagnostic procedures. BMJ, 324(7335), 477–480. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122397/.
  2. Science Buddies (2011). Make Your Own Stethoscope. Science Buddies. Available from: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBio_p033/human-biology-health/make-your-own-stethoscope#background.
  3. Alexis, O. (2009). Providing best practice in manual blood pressure measurement. British Journal of Nursing, 18(7), 410–415. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19373184/.
  4. Neale, G., Hogan, H. and Sevdalis, N. (2011). Misdiagnosis: analysis based on case record review with proposals aimed to improve diagnostic processes. Clinical Medicine, 11(4), 317–321. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5873736/.
  5. Grenier, M.-C., Gagnon, K., Genest, J., Durand, J. and Durand, L.-G. (1998). Clinical Comparison of Acoustic and Electronic Stethoscopes and Design of a New Electronic Stethoscope. The American Journal of Cardiology, 81(5), 653–656. Available from: https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(97)00977-6/fulltext.
  6. Patel, S.B., Callahan, T.F., Callahan, M.G., et al. (1998). An adaptive noise reduction stethoscope for auscultation in high noise environments. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 103(5), 2483–2491. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9604343/.

 

Healthcanal Staff
Written by:
Healthcanal Staff

HealthCanal Editorial team is a team of high standard writers, who qualified the strict entrance test of Health Canal. The team involves in both topic researching and writting, which are under supervision and controlled by medical doctors of medical team.