10 Best Stethoscopes for Nurses

a nurse wearing a stethoscope
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A stethoscope is one of the most important tools a nurse uses.

Being able to listen clearly to the sounds the body produces from the lungs, heart, and other organs is a crucial part of diagnosing patients.

These are 10 of the best stethoscopes for nurses.

*Disclosure: This article on the best stethoscope for nurses may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Top Picks

Best Stethoscopes for Nurses

3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 Inch, 5803
Monitor and assess a wide range of patients; Detect normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms
Sale
3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Ceil Blue Tube, 28 inch, 2454
Tear-drop shape for easy fit under blood pressure cuff; Lightest weight of all Littmann adult stethoscopes at just 118 grams
3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope, Standard-Finish Chest Piece, Hunter Green Tube,...
Diagnose and make decisions with confidence; Hear subtle changes in patient status
ADC - 600ST ADSCOPE 600 Cardiology Stethscope with AFD Technology, Tactical, Adult
Adjustable frequency design (AFD) enhances acoustic performance.; Sculpted chestpiece is CNC machined to exacting tolerances from surgical stainless steel.
MDF Rose Gold MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope - Rose Gold Edition - Black...
Handcrafted Since 1971 | Free-parts-for-life Program | Lifetime Warranty | Latex-free; 100% stainless steel construction and acoustically-superior stainless steel
MDF Rosegold Classic Cardiology Stainless Steel Dual Head Stethoscope (MDF797RG-29) (Rose...
Handcrafted Since 1971 | Lifetime Warranty | Free-Parts-for-Life Program | Latex-Free; CARDIOLOGY GRADE STETHOSCOPE > Traditional cardiology design

1. 3M Littmann Classic III

3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 Inch, 5803
  • Monitor and assess a wide range of patients
  • Detect normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms
  • Useful in non critical care environments such as a medical office, general ward, OB/GYN, ambulatory clinic or urgent care

You can’t go wrong with a classic and this 3M Littmann Classic III stethoscope proves that.

It’s versatile enough for use on patients of all ages, including pediatrics.

Both sides of the chest piece contain a tunable diaphragm that is easy to remove and clean between patients.

Comfort is found in many ways with this stethoscope, both for the nurse and the patient.

The tubing is lightweight and latex-free so even the most sensitive skin won’t get irritated.

There’s also a non-chill rim on the diaphragm for patient comfort.

Pros:

  • Tunable diaphragm
  • Latex and phthalate-free tubing
  • Non-chill rim on diaphragm

Cons:

  • Earbuds come off easily
  • Material around bell may crack
  • Tubing dents easily

Check the price of the 3M Littmann Classic III on Amazon.com.

Related Article: 5 Best Littmann Stethoscope for Nurses

2. 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E.

Sale
3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Ceil Blue Tube, 28 inch, 2454
  • Provides reliable acoustic performance for taking blood pressure readings and making limited physical assessments of adult patients
  • Tunable diaphragm responds with a simple pressure change to capture low and high-frequency sounds
  • Tear-drop shape for easy fit under blood pressure cuff

If you struggle with neck pain from constantly wearing a stethoscope, you’ll appreciate this 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. stethoscope.

It’s the most lightweight stethoscope Littmann makes, weighing in at just a quarter of a pound.

This stethoscope is ideal for taking blood pressure and performing basic assessments on adult patients.

The diaphragm is even angled into a teardrop shape so that it fits neatly underneath a blood pressure cuff.

Switch easily between low and high frequency sounds with just a simple pressure change.

The non-chill diaphragm rim is an added bonus for patient comfort.

Pros:

  • Lightest stethoscope currently available from Littmann
  • Teardrop-shaped diaphragm
  • Tunable diaphragm

Cons:

  • Only 5 color options
  • Difficult to hear low-frequency sounds
  • There are better options for cardiac patients

Check the price of the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. on Amazon.com.

3. 3M Littmann Cardiology IV

3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope, Standard-Finish Chest Piece, Hunter Green Tube,...
  • Diagnose and make decisions with confidence
  • Hear subtle changes in patient status
  • Useful in critical care and challenging environments such as the ED, ICU, Cardiac ICU, step-down unit and other dynamic locations

A stethoscope with excellent acoustic performance is what you’ll find with this 3M Littmann Cardiology IV stethoscope.

The stainless steel chest piece enhances sound waves and allows you to hear even the slightest changes in patient status.

This stethoscope is appropriate for any critical care setting, especially for cardiac patients due to the larger chestpiece and deep bell that can detect low-frequency sounds.

The dual-lumen tubing eliminates rubbing noises and the tubing is the perfect length for wearing around the neck.

Soft-sealing ear tips cancel out exterior noises and stay in place for safety and comfort.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel chestpiece
  • Deep bell
  • Two-in-one tube design eliminates noise interference and rubbing

Cons:

  • Diaphragm comes off easily
  • Turquoise tubing color fades over time
  • Tubing may irritate the skin

Check the price of the 3M Littmann Cardiology IV on Amazon.com.

Related Article: 5 Best Stethoscope for Cardiac Nurses

4. 3M Master Cardiology Stethoscope

Sale
3M Littmann Stethoscope, Master Cardiology, Black Tube, Stainless Steel Chestpiece, 27 inch, 2160
  • Chest piece delivers Littmann’s highest acoustic performance along with handcrafted, eye catching design
  • Tunable diaphragm responds with a simple pressure change to capture low and high frequency sounds
  • Twoinone tube design (dual lumen) eliminates noise interference from two external tubes rubbing together

The sound quality on this 3M Master Cardiology Stethoscope is ideal for cardiology settings where having the ability to hear even the faintest sounds is crucial to patient diagnosis and care.

Apply light pressure to hear low-frequency sounds and firm pressure to hear high-frequency sounds.

No additional parts are necessary to change from low to high.

The ear buds fit tightly and securely inside of the ear canal to eliminate any outside noises and provide a comfortable wearing experience.

The addition of the latex-free, flexible tubing makes this stethoscope even more useful and appealing.

Pros:

  • Tune diaphragm with simple pressure change
  • Ear buds fit securely
  • Latex-free tubing

Cons:

  • Bell falls off easily
  • Tubing is wider than other stethoscopes
  • Diaphragm may rust over time

Check the price of the 3M Master Cardiology Stethoscope on Amazon.

5. ADC Adscope 603 Clinician Stethoscope

Sale
ADC - 603BK Adscope 603 Premium Stainless Steel Clinician Stethoscope with Tunable AFD Technology,...
  • INCREDIBLE ACOUSTICS: Proprietarty adjustable frequency design (AFD) technology enhances acoustic performance; use light pressure for low frequencies, firm pressure for high frequencies. Individually...
  • RUGGED: Combination chestpiece is precision CNC machined to exacting tolerances from surgical stainless steel. Non chill bell and diaphragm provide wide-frequency response and patient comfort
  • COMPACT & COMFORTABLE: Clinician headset features silicone reinforcing yoke molded into flexible phthalate-free PVC tubing, stainless steel binaurals, and Adsoft Plus snap-on silicone eartips for the...

The ADC Adscope 603 Clinician Stethoscope is backed by a lifetime warranty and offers free replacements for consumables like ear tips.

As if the lifetime warranty wasn’t enough, there are plenty of features that make this stethoscope stand out.

A sturdy, stainless steel chestpiece boasts a non-chill diaphragm for patient comfort.

Both high and low frequencies can easily be detected with this stethoscope.

The headset is also made from a combination of stainless steel and durable PVC tubing.

The silicone eartips conform to the ear and create a custom seal that’s both comfortable and keeps exterior noise out.

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Soft silicone eartips

Cons:

  • Eartips break easily
  • Heart sounds are slightly muffled
  • Heavier due to stainless steel construction

Check the price of the ADC Adscope 603 Clinician Stethoscope on Amazon.

Related Article: 5 Best Stethoscope for L & D Nurses

6. ADC Adscope 615 Professional Stethoscope

ADC Adscope 615 Platinum Sculpted Clinician Stethoscope with Tunable AFD Technology,, Tactical
  • INCREDIBLE ACOUSTICS: Proprietarty adjustable frequency design (AFD) technology enhances acoustic performance; use light pressure for low frequencies, firm pressure for high frequencies. Individually...
  • ERGONOMIC: Sculpted oversized chestpiece is precision CNC machined to exacting tolerances from lightweight alloy. Overall length 30 inches, weight 5.4 oz.
  • COMPACT & COMFORTABLE: Clinician headset features silicone reinforcing yoke molded into flexible phthalate-free PVC tubing, stainless steel binaurals, and Adsoft Plus snap-on silicone eartips for the...

Superior sound quality is the biggest feature you’ll find with the ADC Adscope 615 Professional Stethoscope.

A single tube design virtually eliminates exterior noises that can make it difficult to properly diagnose a patient.

The large chestpiece also enhances sound quality and allows you to hear even the smallest change in patient status.

The look of this stethoscope is flawless and smooth.

Flexible PVC makes up the generously-sized tubing while the stainless steel binaurals and silicone ear tips offer a clean, professional look.

The eartips are also comfortable and mold to the ear canal, creating a custom seal that cancels out exterior noises.

Pros:

  • Large chestpiece
  • Flexible tubing
  • Silicone eartips

Cons:

  • Single sided
  • Head is heavier than other stethoscopes
  • Diaphragm finish wears off

Check the price of the ADC Adscope 615 Professional Stethoscope on Amazon.

7. ADC Adscope 600 Platinum Series

ADC - 600ST ADSCOPE 600 Cardiology Stethscope with AFD Technology, Tactical, Adult
  • Adjustable frequency design (AFD) enhances acoustic performance.
  • Sculpted chestpiece is CNC machined to exacting tolerances from surgical stainless steel.
  • High-performance cardiology headset features black anodized aluminum binaurals and Adsoft Plus silicone eartips for the ultimate in wearing comfort and acoustic seal.

The ADC Adscope 600 Platinum Series is easily tunable so you can quickly change from high to low frequency, saving you valuable time when treating patients.

Each stethoscope has solid stainless steel construction for durability with soft features like silicone ear tips for you and a non-chill diaphragm for patient comfort.

Ten great color options give you plenty of versatility so you always have a color that matches your style and personality.

If anything breaks, there’s nothing to worry about since there’s a lifetime warranty and free replacement on consumables like ear tips and the diaphragm.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Silicone eartips
  • 10 color options

Cons:

  • Eartips and diaphragm wear out quickly, although they are replaceable
  • Tubing is short
  • Easily slides off the neck

Check the price of the ADC Adscope 600 Platinum Series on Amazon.com.

8. ADC Adscope Adimals 618

ADC - 618SF Adscope Adimals 618 Pediatric Clinician Stethoscope With Tunable AFD Technology,...
  • INCREDIBLE ACOUSTICS: Proprietarty adjustable frequency design (AFD) technology enhances acoustic performance; use light pressure for low frequencies, firm pressure for high frequencies. Individually...
  • CHILD FRIENDLY: Distinctive molded-resin animal face chestpiece with 7 interchangeable snap-on's: Panda, Frog, Koala, Deer, Monkey, Tiger, and Bear
  • COMPACT & COMFORTABLE: Clinician headset features silicone reinforcing yoke molded into flexible phthalate-free PVC tubing, lightweight aluminum alloy binaurals, and Adsoft Plus snap-on silicone...

The adorable ADC Adscope Adimals 618 stethoscope is the perfect option for nurses who work in pediatrics and see young patients on a daily basis.

Three great colors- white, pink, and seafoam- coordinate well with the 7 interchangeable chestpiece animal designs.

Your pediatric patients will feel comfortable and reassured when they see the cute animals on your stethoscope, allowing you to perform the necessary assessments to properly diagnose them.

The non-chill bell and diaphragm is another important feature for patient comfort.

You can also quickly change from high to low frequency with just a simple pressure change.

Pros:

  • Interchangeable cute animal designs
  • Non-chill bell and diaphragm
  • Tunable diaphragm

Cons:

  • Tubing color fades over time
  • Sound quality is hit or miss
  • Eartips crack easily

Check the price of the ADC Adscope Adimals 618 on Amazon.com.

Related Article: 5 Best Stethoscope for Pediatric Nurses

9. MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope

MDF Rose Gold MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope - Rose Gold Edition - Black...
  • Handcrafted Since 1971 | Free-parts-for-life Program | Lifetime Warranty | Latex-free
  • 100% stainless steel construction and acoustically-superior stainless steel
  • PRE-ANGLED > ErgonoMax Headset is anatomically angled at 15 degrees for a precise fit

The MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope was built with safety in mind.

Each stethoscope is made from high-quality stainless steel for durability.

All parts are latex-free so it’s safe for those with allergies.

The SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors prevent the very painful condition of punctured eardrums from occurring.

While there are plenty of safety features found in this stethoscope, it also looks great.

There are 22 colors and designs to choose from so there’s something for every nurse.

The chestpiece and tubing colors and finishes vary from matte and shiny, depending on the option you choose.

Pros:

  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Latex-free tubing
  • SafetyLock Eartip Adaptors

Cons:

  • Not all parts are included in the free replacement plan
  • Scratches easily
  • Stiff tubing

Check the price of the MDF MD One Dual Head Stethoscope on Amazon.

10. MDF Classic Cardiology Stethoscope

MDF Rosegold Classic Cardiology Stainless Steel Dual Head Stethoscope (MDF797RG-29) (Rose...
  • Handcrafted Since 1971 | Lifetime Warranty | Free-Parts-for-Life Program | Latex-Free
  • CARDIOLOGY GRADE STETHOSCOPE > Traditional cardiology design
  • TWO SOUND CHANNELS, ONE FOR EACH EAR > Duel Lumen Tubing

A lifetime warranty and a Free-Parts-for-Life Program make this MDF Classic Cardiology Stethoscope a wise investment.

While not all parts are included in the free replacement program, the ones that wear out the most like the diaphragm and eartips are.

The acoustics on this stethoscope is very good, making it an ideal choice for those who work with cardiology patients where faint sounds like murmurs need to be easily detected.

Five great color options, dual lumen tubing, and dual-leaf spring construction are just a few of the other great features you’ll find.

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Free replacement parts for consumables like ear tips and diaphragm
  • Excellent acoustics for a cardiac area

Cons:

  • No storage case included
  • Tubing tends to become discolored
  • Slightly heavy around the neck

Check the price of the MDF Classic Cardiology Stethoscope on Amazon.com.

Stethoscope Buying Guide for Nurses

1. Acoustic Stethoscopes

An acoustic stethoscope is the most commonly used stethoscope by medical professionals.

They work by channeling sounds waves produced by the body- such as a heart beat or air expanding the lungs- to make them loud enough for medical professionals to hear.

The louder acoustics allow medical professionals to properly diagnose a patient, versus simply putting their ear up to a certain area of the body and listening without a stethoscope.

The stethoscopes tubes channel the sound waves upwards until they finally reach the ear canal where the medical professional can hear them.

2. Eartips

Eartips are the part of the stethoscope that is placed within the ear canal.

This is where the sound waves finally reach the medical professional’s ear so they can hear the patient’s body sounds.

Since everyone’s ear canal is shaped differently, a stethoscope that comes with flexible ear tips, often made from soft silicone, are ideal.

Some stethoscopes come with multiple ear tips in various sizes, such as:

  • Extra-small
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra-large

The different sized ear tips allow for a perfect fit which then seals out exterior noises that may otherwise interfere with properly diagnosing a patient.

3. Tubing

Stethoscope tubing can make all the difference when it comes to properly diagnosing a patient.

Single tubing is preferred over double tubing because there is less of a chance for excess noise inference from the tubes rubbing together.

Tubing should be sturdy but flexible and free of any holes or cracks that may add additional noise interference.

If you have double tubing on your stethoscope, try to hold the tubes still while you’re listening to the patient so no rubbing occurs which could cause a false diagnosis.

4. Latex-Free

Many people have sensitive skin- whether it be the patient or the medical professionals themselves.

One of the most common allergies is to latex, which can cause everything from a mild rash to severe anaphylaxis.

Since latex allergies are so common, it’s a good idea to get a stethoscope that is latex-free.

Like many other medical tools and supplies, stethoscopes are now often made without latex, although this important fact should be notated on the stethoscope’s box or website to be sure.

5. Lightweight

Stuffing a stethoscope into a scrub or jacket pocket isn’t recommended since the tubing can crack or become distorted over time.

That’s why you see so many medical professionals wearing their stethoscope around their neck.

It’s also more convenient to have it around your neck so you can quickly assess patients.

A lightweight stethoscope is ideal for nurses who take care of patients frequently throughout their shift.

Heavy tubing and other materials can cause your neck to grow sore and tired and may even lead to other problems like skin irritation.

The BATCLIP (Black) - Premium Leather Handmade Clip-on Stethoscope Hip Holder; no More Neck...
  • DISTINCTIVE, PROFESSIONAL, TOP-OF-THE-LINE QUALITY. Individually made in Maine from hand-picked cow hides, the BATCLIP holster provides an elegant carrying solution that matches the value that...
  • DESIGNED BY AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN seeking a solution to repeated misplacement and loss of his own stethoscopes. His criteria for an ideal stethoscope carrying solution included extreme portability;...
  • >20 YEARS OF TESTING. The original prototype, from 1995, has undergone over a dozen substantive improvements based on the inventor’s use in his hospital, EMS, and rural developing world medical...

6. Tunable Diaphragm

The diaphragm is what allows a medical professional to hear high-frequency sounds.

Some stethoscopes contain both a diaphragm and a bell.

The bell allows the user to also hear low-frequency sounds.

Some stethoscopes come with a tunable diaphragm, which can be changed from high frequency to low frequency with just a simple change in pressure.

When more pressure is applied, you can hear high-frequency sounds.

When the stethoscope is placed gently on the patient, low-frequency sounds are heard.

This easy-to-tune diaphragm is very important in critical settings like the emergency department where time is of the essence and switching between different stethoscopes is not ideal.

7. Replaceable Consumables

Consumables are parts of the stethoscope that are used most frequently and that wear out quickly, such as the diaphragm and eartips.

Stethoscopes that come with a guarantee for free replacement consumables are excellent for nurses who use their stethoscope frequently and may notice these important parts wearing down or even breaking over time.

It’s usually easy to put the new parts on your stethoscope, often just requiring a simple click into the proper position.

Some other stethoscopes come with a lifetime warranty which would replace the entire stethoscope when certain manufacturers defects occur.

8. Caring for Stethoscopes

Caring for your stethoscope should be an easy process.

After each shift and between patients, wipe down parts that come into contact with a patient such as the diaphragm and tubing with a disinfectant wipe.

Eartips should be wiped down after each shift with a disinfecting wipe to avoid buildup of ear wax and other debris.

Eartips should also be removed and cleaned once a week, if possible, and thoroughly cleaned by:

  • Placing them into a bowl of hot, soapy water and allowing them to soak
  • Wiping down with a soft cloth to remove any dirt or debris
  • Allowing to dry thoroughly before placing them back onto the stethoscope
  • Wiggling them to make sure they are securely fastened onto the stethoscope after cleaning

9. Storage Case

Having someplace to safely store your stethoscope in between shifts can help it last longer.

It’s also easier to find if you always keep it in the same place.

While some stethoscopes come with a storage case that has a space specifically carved out for the stethoscope, others may not.

You can create your own storage case with a small tote, medical bag, or even toiletry bag that the stethoscope fits into without having to be scrunched up or bent.

PROHAPI Hard Stethoscope Case, Large Stethoscope Carrying Case with ID Slot, Compatible with 3M...
  • Case Only! (Stethoscope and other accessories are not included). LARGE & VERSATILE SIZE: Outer: 11.82" L x 4.92" W x 2.37" H; Internal Dimension: 11.0" L x 4.33" W x 1.97" H, larger than most others....
  • KEEP EVERYTHING ORGANIZED: This stethoscope carrier is designed with ID slot and a compartment divider, which comes with 4 pen holders (2 large and 2 small), and Interior mesh pockets to keep your...
  • DURABLE & PROTECTIVE CASE: We use hard EVA and 1680D nylon to bring you a stethoscope carrying case that is durable, tear-resistant, and flame resistant along with a soft interlayer and fluffy fabric...

Color Vs. Black and White

Black is the most common stethoscope tubing color you will find, with white probably being a close second.

Colored stethoscope tubing is becoming more and more popular, with nurses often taking this opportunity to express their own personal style.

While colored stethoscopes are vibrant and fun, be sure the tubing is made from high-quality material that won’t chip or fade over time.

Stethoscopes with faded or chipped tubing can look unprofessional and even be a safety hazard if the tubing chips off onto a patient while you’re working on them.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the most commonly used material for the chest piece of a stethoscope.

This is because it conducts sound the best and is sturdy and durable, leaving less chance for air leaks to occur which can interfere with properly diagnosing patients.

Other material options include aluminum or zinc alloy, although they are not as sturdy or as good at conducting sound and, therefore, not recommended over stainless steel.

Stainless steel is also less likely to rust.

Final Thoughts

The type of stethoscope you need depends on the patients you see and the department you work in.

A great stethoscope should be durable, have excellent acoustics, a generous tube length, and comfortable ear tips.

These 10 stethoscopes contain some of the most appealing features nurses look for in a stethoscope.

Related Article to Best Stethoscope for Nurses

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