Going out into the medical world to become one of the medical providers, there are two basic things that become your identity; the white coat and the stethoscope. Apart from being a medical practitioner’s trademark, a stethoscope carries a vital value. It may be the instrument deciding between life and death. Furthermore, it is the most commonly employed instrument in every medical examination, may it be of the cardiovascular system or anywhere else in the body. Being one of the fundamentals of medicine, the need for a stethoscope that performs its function well is evident. In addition to this, with the vast majority of medical fields, each with their own requirements and specifications, finding a stethoscope that suits your work is very important.
The problem here is, with so many options now available on the market, which stethoscope do you choose? Do you get the double tubed cheap ones or should you go for an expensive Littmann? Even then, there are numerous categories to choose from which only confuse your ultimate decision. So, what do you do? Thankfully, we are here to break down the best stethoscopes on the market for you. In addition to this, we will also link, what each instrument is best suited for and why so that you can get a good idea of what the stethoscope is offering and reasons why you should buy it.
What to Look for When Choosing the Right Stethoscope
The right medical equipment is a necessity for efficient medical function. This is why choosing the best stethoscope is very important. So, how do you know that a certain stethoscope is ideal for you? You can’t just judge a book by its cover. Thankfully, there are certain aspects that you can consider before making the final decision which will ensure that your choice was indeed, the best.
Type of Stethoscope
There are generally 4 basic types of stethoscopes designated for different usage. One is the acoustic, the most commonly used stethoscopes, the fetal, for detecting fetal heart sounds in the pregnant mother, the recording stethoscope, and the electronic stethoscope. You need to decide which instrument do you want. Most medical practitioners opt for the acoustic stethoscope, however, your specialty may require a different instrument. So, it is best to confirm the type of stethoscope you need before plunging into different models available.
This means the extreme capability of the instrument to detect sounds. Obviously, the more precise an instrument is, the costlier it will be. However, most medical fields except for a select few, don’t usually require such extra sensitivity. So, confirming your needs and spending accordingly is a much better option than choosing an over qualified instrument for your job.
Weight and Length
This might not be as significant as some other factors of a stethoscope, but still carry quite some value. The weight of an instrument comes into play when you have to hang it around your neck all day. For instance, getting a weighty stethoscope may not be a good option if you are a paramedic, as your job requires you to have the instrument on you at most times. However, a cardiology consultant can afford a heavy stethoscope as he will only need it at certain times. His concern will be more about the high auscultation power of his instrument.
This plays a major part in deciding which stethoscope to go for. There are many high end stethoscopes that are very costly, with pretty fine alternatives that are relatively cheap. So, you have the option of choosing between a costly stethoscope or a quite similar but relatively cheap one to suit your budget.
3M Littmann Cardiology |||
This beauty claims the throne in the world of stethoscopes, with its supreme quality, unparalleled sensitivity and highly efficient two tubed systems. The stethoscope is one of a kind and currently the best available option on the market. Yes, it does go higher in terms of pricing, but once you get the feel of the stethoscope itself, you will realize that it is worth every last penny. The stethoscope is famous for its double tube-in-tube system, which enables frictionless incasing of the tubes. This allows the notes to be guarded, allowing clear auscultation with minimal interference from the surroundings.
The Littmann Cardiology ||| made in the USA, comes in a 27-inch tube length, which is optimized for use in most hospital surroundings. The stethoscope is furnished with a state of the art, dual-sided chest piece that is extremely sensitive in detecting even the slightest of acoustic modifications. The built in tunable diaphragm harbors the capability of detecting both high and low pressure changes without needing to turn over the chest piece as was the tradition. Furthermore, the Littmann cardiology ||| takes doctor and patient comfort side by side. With modified earpieces, the stethoscope allows for a more comfortable ear fit and with its improved non-chill diaphragm and rim, patient comfort is guaranteed.
This stethoscope has been named the best instrument for use by professional doctors. Its flawless design and unparalleled performance aided by its supersensitive acoustic detection makes it the ideal instrument for catching even the slightest problems. The dual sided chest piece makes it a good for both general health care providers as well as pediatricians. However, the big price tag means this luxury is better suited for the well settled doctors and not for students who are likely to misplace these instruments. Also, students don’t need high precision in the learning process so it’s better to get a cheaper alternative rather than an expensive masterpiece.
3M Littmann Classic || S.E. Stethoscope
This Littmann is similar to the pro Cardiology version in many aspects. With its dual sided Chest piece, the stethoscope is equipped for both general and pediatric use. The stethoscope is great in terms of quality and comfort for both the patient and the doctor. Also, it is a cheaper alternative that one can consider instead of the cardiology |||. The light weight of the instrument makes for easy straddling of the neck and the great overall functioning makes it an excellent candidate for most medical practitioners out there.
The stethoscope is a comfortable tubing of a standard length of around 28- inches allowing for easy manipulation. The stethoscope has a double sided chest piece that comes in 2 finishes, Black and Machined Stainless Steel, much lesser than the cardiology ||| of course, but still some variety. The amazing quality of this instrument is its light weight of 135 grams, which allows for easy handling and carrying wherever you go. In terms of performance, it does score a 7 which is lower than the 9 of Cardiology ||| but is nevertheless pretty satisfactory. Moving on to the diaphragm, the quality of the piece is great and suited for most medical situations, but still not in the league of the elite Littmann.
The Littmann Classic || is best suited for nurses and entry level medical practitioners as it provides a reasonably good auscultation that suffices for most medical environments. Also the lightweight and soft-sealing ear tips with perfect angulation allow easy and stress free carrying of this equipment by nurses for long hours as well as noise free auscultations in the busy ER. In addition to this, the stethoscope is made latex free, keeping in mind the frequent nurse-patient interactions this is an added advantage which will exclude any possibility of latex reactions in the patients.
Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
This stethoscope speaks its worth in terms of affordability with quality deliverance. The Sprague Rappaport aims to provide quality auscultation sufficing for most medical scenarios at a very reasonable price tag. The double tubed instrument is constructed to enable direct sound linking of each ear to the diaphragm without simultaneous interference. Also, its durable nature allows for rough and tough use without the worry of damage any time soon.
The stethoscope comes with the multipurpose Quintscope 5 in 1 accessories that allow for multipurpose use. It has a 22-inch-long tubing which is shorter than the above mentioned options but still allow for good usage. The two tubes of the instrument a bound together tightly to sound proof and insulate them which does give significant results. Yes, the instrument lacks the ear sealing and the Non-chill ring, but, despite these obvious drawbacks the very cheap price range and appreciable auscultation quality makes this stethoscope, a quite in-demand instrument.
This instrument is ideal for students. The reason can be attributed to the fact that not much quality stethoscopes are required during the learning process. The greater stress should always be on the books. Furthermore, students usually drop the stethoscopes or lose them in unlikely places which is why the cheaper Rappaport will cost you much less than a Littmann cardiology ||| for example. Also, the level of hearing quality provided more than provides the basic needs of a medical student. Yes, there is the manual diaphragm changing hassle, but look at the bright side, at least this way you know what a stethoscope is made up of.
3M Littmann Lightweight || Stethoscope
If you need a stethoscope for rough and tough use, but still require a reliable auscultation instrument, this is the choice for you. The stethoscope is built to be rugged and resists the usual wear and tear of the day well. Also, its affordable nature makes it a less of a financial loss if misplaced. The auscultation quality is pretty good, serving the needs of a general medical practitioner well.
The lightweight Littmann is a 28-inch instrument with a sensitive diaphragm that is suitable for clear and efficient auscultation. The tunable diaphragm has the quality of detecting both high and low pitch sounds with a slight change in pressure. In addition to this, the teardrop shape of the chest piece makes for good surface grip to allow for better auscultation in both children and adults. Its greatest quality, however, is its feather light weight, which makes it the lightest Littmann of all, making it extremely portable and easy to carry anywhere you want. An added benefit of the shape makes it easier to slide under the blood pressure cuff. The ear pieces are also integrated with the soft-sealing quality to make noise cancellation a reality, a much needed benefit for doctors everywhere.
Paramedics need stethoscopes that are light, durable and would withstand the usual dropping expected in the field. In addition, the nature of their job makes stethoscope losses quite common with two or even 3 misplaces every year. Plus, they need an instrument with high sensitivity that performs well in overcrowded and noisy areas so that they can listen to the auscultation better. All these qualities are best provided by the 3M Littmann Lightweight || whose durability, light weight, relative cheapness, noise cancellation and good auscultation sensitivity, makes it an ideal instrument or paramedic use. Yes, medical students and entry level doctors can also take advantage of this stethoscope, but it’s ideal benefit is for the paramedics
The above stethoscope comprises the best stethoscopes available on the market. They all have different qualities for which they are selected and suited to a particular group of health care providers. Naturally, some professionals require precision, others require comfort, whereas the student population just need a familiarizing equipment. To suit all these different priorities, there must be some ideal stethoscopes. However, with so many roaming the market it has become difficult to filter through the immense load to get to the instrument that services you best. To help you out we have chosen our pick of the best stethoscope suited for different stages and diversities of the medical profession. So, we are all set to get our hands on the best stethoscope for us, are you?