11 Best Stethoscopes for Medical Students

11 Best Stethoscopes for Medical Students

You need a stethoscope not only to thrive but also to survive in med school. It’s a necessary tool that will be required in your first and second year that’s why its important to choose the right one early. Don’t fret, I got you covered!

In today’s article, you’ll find out which is the best stethoscope for medical students.

Choosing a Stethoscope

First, let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions about choosing the right stethoscope:

There are a number of things you need to put into consideration when choosing a stethoscope including:


A high-quality stethoscope is made of stainless steel for sound quality, great acoustic performance and bacteria resistance. Preferably, the earpieces should be made of silicone as opposed to plastics and should also have an excellent noise canceling feature.

The stethoscope should have a noise canceling feature which is quite handy especially when working in loud hospital rooms listening for faint or murmuring lung sounds. Quality is very important when choosing a stethoscope because this is something that’s meant to serve you over the years.


Just like quality, the stethoscope should be equally durable. You wouldn’t want to keep replacing it or sending it for repairs all the time.

If you’re working on a budget, look for a stethoscope with high-quality components. You can carry your well invested stethoscope around with you to different hospitals way after you graduate if you take care of it properly. Otherwise, a budget-friendly stethoscope comes highly recommended especially if its ads flexible as it is durable.

You should also look for a stethoscope with a lighter chest piece and the tube should neither be too long nor too short. To add on that, a warranty would be nice for back up purposes. Most importantly, you need to take good care of the stethoscope to get the most out of it.


Price doesn’t always translate to quality. However, don’t always go for the most expensive or cheapest stethoscope available on the market without doing due diligence. It’s advisable to weigh all your options first and settle for a cost-efficient one. This means going for a high-quality stethoscope that suits your needs as a med student and can also take you through a part of your career.

It’s okay to get a cheaper stethoscope to get you started in your first year. However, it’s always advisable to save up to get a quality stethoscope before the start of clinical rotations. It comes in handy especially when listening to lung and heart sounds.

How Much Does a Stethoscope Cost?

The price of a stethoscope ranges from $5 up to $1000 and even more depending on a number of things including the materials used, and features.  Of course, you also want to choose one of the best stethoscope brands. However, you don’t have to spend a whole $1000 on stethoscope!

Most students need a general or standard use stethoscope that help them listen to common sounds. An ideal price range for the best stethoscope for medical students is anything between $30 up to $100. Besides, there are decent stethoscopes available on the market for less than $20 for those working on a budget.

However, those who work in Cardiology, Pediatric and Emergency Care need a premium quality stethoscope with high frequency range and proper sound auscultation. This type of stethoscope can listen to the faintest of sounds that its standard counterparts can’t detect. In this case, stethoscopes between 0 to 190 come high recommended for students.

Get a high-quality electronic or digital stethoscope to last you a couple of years if money is no object. Some of these stethoscopes only serve an aesthetic advantage.

What Are the Different Types of Stethoscopes

There are many different types of stethoscopes on the market including:

Cardiology Stethoscope

Cardiology stethoscopes usually have thicker and shorter tubes. However, it’s not just for practitioners in cardiovascular and cardiology surgery owing to its look. The thick and short tubing is specially designed for better sound quality and better auscultation. This allows both nurses and doctors to listen to low and high frequency sounds of the heart that might be important in the patient’s care.

How is cardiology stethoscope different from a regular one?

A standard or regular stethoscope lets you listen to fluid in the lungs and heartbeat among others.

A cardiology stethoscope, on the other hand, enables nurses and doctors to hear  even the faintest of sounds like murmurs, clicks, rubs and heart pumping through the valves.

Pediatric Stethoscope

Pediatric stethoscopes are primarily recognizable owing to their small chest piece size and child-friendly design and color. The chestpiece is place for better placement on the chest and proper diagnosis of pediatric patients that maybe compromised if you use a regular adult stethoscope.

The child-friendly design is more of a phycological benefit especially for the little ones as it pleases and soothes them. This way, they’ll be less frightened during the assessment.

Infant Stethoscope

Infant stethoscope is much smaller than the pediatric stethoscope. The chestpiece diameter is 2.6cm and is uniquely designed to assess and monitor the condition of babies. As earlier mentioned, the chestpiece is smaller for better and more accurate auscultation. This way, the practitioners can listen to the infant’s body sounds clearly including its heart.

For the most part, the infant stethoscope incorporates a non-chill rim to help prevent shock especially during assessment. The latex-free body, on the other hand, prevents any allergic reactions.

Neonatal Stethoscope

Doctors use neonatal stethoscopes to check on the little ones when they’re born. Its chestpiece diameter is 2cm which sets it apart from pediatric and infant stethoscopes.

By now, you already know that smaller chestpiece diameter translates to lesser noise interference and better and more accurate auscultation. Neonatal stethoscope is best suited for assessing and diagnosing newborns. Just the infant stethoscope, this stethoscope also features a non-chill rim and latex-free body to cater to the newborn’s sensitivity in all aspects.

Fetal Stethoscope

Just as in the name, a fetal stethoscope help monitor the breathing patterns and heartbeat of an unborn child. The doctor uses this stethoscope to listen to the baby’s heartbeat when you’re expectant at around 20 weeks or thereabout. However, you might have to undergo other ultrasound tests that will help evaluate the heart of the fetus better.

When it comes to its looks, a fetal stethoscope features a specialized bell that’s usually placed against the belly. Plus, it has sensitive earpieces and a headrest. The latter helps magnify the sound right under the bell part.

Acoustic Stethoscope

An acoustic stethoscope is one of the most common stethoscopes available on the market. They heavily rely on acoustics unpowered principle. It helps transfer sound from the body via the created vibrations in the hollow tubes. You’ll be able to hear the sounds more clearly when you place your ear on the chest of the patient since the tubing can contain sound waves.

However, this can be quite challenging in noisy environments and when trying to listen to sounds with low frequency.

Electronic Stethoscope

These stethoscopes were specially designed to address volume and sound challenges that come with acoustic stethoscopes.

Electronic stethoscopes help amplify sounds as they translate sound waves to electronic signals and optimize sounds so that you can hear better. Most electronic stethoscopes come with extra unique features like letting you choose the frequency and minimizing background noise.

You can detect the faintest of sounds using electronic stethoscopes and also apply filters to different sounds to help facilitate diagnosis.

Where Can I Buy a Stethoscope?

There are medical schools that provide stethoscopes for their students. However, very few med schools have the capacity. This shouldn’t be a cause for alarm since you can get one online or in physical stores.

However, if you don’t have time going around shopping for a stethoscope in physical stores, you can check the variety available on Amazon.com, Overstock.com or eBay.com. You can find many different types of stethoscopes online.

For those who choose to shop offline, Walgreens and Walmart come highly recommended. If they are not available, look for any specialty stores like US Med LLC and Home Medical Supplies since they sell medical equipment. You might have to do research and due diligence to get something worthwhile.

Best Stethoscope for Medical Students

Wondering which is the best stethoscope for medical students? Let’s dive into our recommendations.

1.      3M Littman Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope


This stethoscope is among one of the current favorites of most students and medical practitioners. If you plan on working in the ER, critical care field or cardiology, then 3MM Littman Cardiology Diagnostic Stethoscope is the way to go. It’s specially designed to help you listen to subtle changes in your patient’s cardiovascular system in a noisy environment.

The diaphragm is made of stainless steel on both sides. It’s equally tunable to allow you to listen to different sound frequencies without having to reposition the chestpiece. What’s more, the design of its high-quality lumen tube helps filter unnecessary noise and isolate sounds better.

Cardiology IV diagnostic Stethoscope has a larger chestpiece and deeper bell than Classic III which makes it better in isolating sounds with low frequency and reducing external noise.


  • It features a premium quality dual lumen tube
  • It has a dual-sided tunable chestpiece made of high-quality stainless steel
  • It’s best suited for challenging environments and critical care fields


  • It’s relatively expensive

This model is also rated as one of the best stethoscopes for nurses.

2.      3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope


When looking for the best stethoscope on the market, most medical practitioners tend to recommend the Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope. It’s best suited for medical students who are not in the critical care field. Here’s why:

Classic III Stethoscope is designed with a double-sided chestpiece that’s made of high-quality stainless steel. It can be used for both pediatric and adult assessments. You can also choose to convert the chestpiece to a standard open bell to listen to the sounds better.

Like all best stethoscopes for students, you can change the sound frequency by simply applying pressure on the diaphragms. All its components are latex-free and free of phthalate plasticizers to prevent any allergic reactions and avoid environmental hazards. When it comes to maintenance, the steth features a tunable diaphragm for ease of cleaning and a stain and oil resistant tubing.

This stethoscope is relatively affordable which makes it an excellent choice for almost all med students.


  • It has a non-latex tubing for easy of cleaning and maintenance
  • It features a double-sided chestpiece for pediatric patients and adults alike
  • The high acoustic sensitivity makes it ideal for physical assessments


  • It doesn’t work well in the critical care field

This is one of the best Littmann stethoscopes.

3.      ADC Adscope Lite 619 Clinician Stethoscope


ADC Adscope Lite is one of the best premium quality cardiology stethoscopes. You should give it a try even though it’s quite expensive. It features AFD – Adjustable Frequency Design and high-frequency transmission technology for better acoustics. It’s equally lightweight. With these features, it guarantees a number of benefits including comfortable wear and acoustic precision.

The best thing about this cardiology stethoscope is that it comes with scope ID tags and silicone snap-on ear tips along with an unlimited warranty.


  • It’s a high performing stethoscope
  • Its compact and equally lightweight
  • It comes with silicone ear tips and scope ID tags
  • It features an Adjustable Frequency Design


  • It might be relatively expensive

This is also one of the best stethoscope for doctors.

4.      3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E Stethoscope



If you’re working on a budget, then Littmann Lightweight II Stethoscope is your best bet. It features a double-sided chestpiece that is specially designed for better acoustic performance for adult and pediatric care assessments. It has a tunable diaphragm perfect for listening for high and low  sound frequency by applying pressure.

This 3M Littmann stethoscope for medical students has a tear-drop shape which makes it easy to fit on your patient’s cuff when checking for blood pressure. It’s designed with latex-free tubing and non-chill rim to prevent allergic reactions and for comfort wear respectively. You can use it to take a patient’s blood pressure readings and other physical assessments.

This stethoscope costs $49.


  • It has a tunable diaphragm and a teardrop shape that easily fits on the patient’s cuff when taking blood pressure readings
  • It’s designed with latex-free tubing to help prevent any allergic reactions
  • It features a non-chill diaphragm and rim along with flexible tubing


  • Physical assessments are limited

This is also a good Littmann stethoscope for nursing students.

5.      ADC Adscope 603 Premium Clinician Stethoscope


This models makes it on our list of the best stethoscope for medical students for different reasons including:

ADC Adscope Stethoscope features a high-quality chestpiece made of stainless steel and an extra-large bell for crisper and precise transmissions. The adjustable frequency design, on the other hand, provides better acoustic performance. It additionally features silicone snap on ear tips and non-chill rims and diaphragm for comfort wear.

This stethoscope also comes with a lifetime warranty and free consumables. Plus, it’s affordable.


  • It features adjustable frequency design
  • It’s compact and equally comfortable
  • It comes with additional accessories including scope ID tag, AdSoft ear tips and an accessory storage bag
  • The chestpiece is made of premium quality stainless steel for enhanced performance
  • Non-chill and extra-large diaphragm and bell for high and low frequency transmission
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty


  • Best suited for basic assessments only

This is one of the best stethoscopes for nurse students.

Best Cheap Stethoscopes for Medical Students

Here are some recommendations of relatively cheap stethoscopes for med students working on a tight budget.

6.      FriCare Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope


This budget-friendly stethoscope features a stainless steel matte design along with a latex-free rubber tubing. The chestpiece is tunable and provides better acoustics for the price. If you are looking for the best stethoscope for a medical student with affordability, quality and comfort in mind, then FriCare Lightweight Dual Head is your best bet.

FriCare Lightweight Stethoscope falls on the lower side of the pricing spectrum which makes it an excellent choice for med students working on a budget.


  • It features adjustable frequency design
  • It’s relatively affordable
  • It’s lightweight for ease of carrying around
  • The thick latex-free tube is oil and stain resistant which makes cleaning easy and guarantees long using time.


  • Works well for basic assessments only

7.      Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope


Omron Sprague Stethoscope is not only budget-friendly but its performance and quality is something you’ll love. It’s almost works like its higher priced counterparts and excels in auscultating lung and heart sounds along with any subtle abnormalities in the valve.


  • It features a latex-free tubing
  • It comes with two different sizes of diaphragms and three different sizes of open bells


  • It doesn’t work well in noisy environments

8.      MDF MD One Stethoscope


This stethoscope is made of premium quality stainless steel and has better sound acoustics almost like that of Littmann Classic III albeit more affordable. It features a thicker and longer latex-free tubing to reduce background noise.


  • Relatively good acoustics
  • It has a durable and solid build
  • It’s high-quality and equally affordable
  • It’s made with acoustically superior and high-quality stainless steel for durability and better sound acoustics
  • The double-leaf spring design makes it more durable


  • The tubing is relatively stiff

9.      Greater Goods Dual-Head Stethoscope


This stethoscope is mainly for basic heart rate and blood pressure assessments although it has a low-cost construction. It’s packed with great features including non-chill and latex-free materials, tunable diaphragm, tip seal ear tips, double-sided chestpiece and single tubing design.


  • The single tubing design is oil and stain resistant and equally latex-free
  • The non-chill materials along with the double-sided chestpiece helps prevent shock
  • It’s simple yet stylish featuring a timeless design and comes with additional accessories
  • It comes in five different colors for versatility


  • It’s best suited for beginners

10.  Paramed Classic Single Head Cardiology Stethoscope


This relatively affordable Paramed Cardiology Stethoscope is made of premium quality stainless steel chestpiece, non-chill rim and latex-free materials. It’s usually works well when paired with sphygmomanometer for lung and heart assessments along with taking blood pressure readings for different types of patients including infants and pediatrics.


  • It helps capture both low and high frequency sounds especially within an audible range
  • It has a non-chill rim and is made with latex-free materials and high-quality stainless steel


  • It’s not durable

11.  MDF Dual Head Lightweight Stethoscope


If you are focusing on comfort and affordability when looking for the best stethoscope available on the market, then MDF Dual Head Lightweight is an excellent choice for you. It features an aluminium double-head chestpiece and is ideal for basic lung and heart assessments along with taking blood pressure readings.

MDF Dual Head Lightweight Stethoscope is not very sensitive. However, its an excellent choice for a med student who’s just started school. It is also one of the top 10 stethoscope brands on the market.


  • It’s lightweight for ease of carrying around
  • It features a non-chill bell ring and a dual-head chestpiece made of aluminium
  • It offers a high sound performance


  • It’s best suited for basic assessments only

Which Is the Best Stethoscope for Medical Students?

We can’t settle on one best stethoscope for medical students. However, you can always find a better one on the market depending on the nature of your needs and what the training requires.

If we decide to choose the best stethoscope for medical students on our list, then Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope takes the cake.

It works remarkably well in the critical care field. Plus, it allows students and medical practitioners to distinguish any subtle changes in sound especially in challenging and noisy environments. What’s more, its ergonomically designed with high profile construction and comes with a 7-year warranty. Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope will help you diagnose patients and make confident decisions.

However, you need to factor in the needs for your training along with your budget. As earlier mentioned, you’ll need to do a little research and due diligence to make a worthy purchase. Don’t just settle for a stethoscope for the most expensive or cheap one.

I hope this review has answered your question of which Littmann stethoscope is best for medical students.

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