Best stethoscope for doctors

The Stethoscope is the most important diagnostic tool for doctors. It’s used in every patient encounter and is key to formulating the initial differential diagnosis and following investigations.

As a doctor, once you’ve chosen your stethoscope, you’ll use it thousands of times in your medical career to examine patients and form decisions.

It’s important to choose the best stethoscope for your needs, that will last you through your medical career.

Our team of doctors at MedicsList have compiled a list of the best stethoscopes for doctors. We’ve reviewed and ranked our top 5 stethoscopes, taking into account professional quality, durability, and value for money.

Best Stethoscopes for Doctors 2017: Reviewed

Editor's Rating
Littmann® Cardiology IV

Read Our Review

★ Best Choice Overall ★

  • Exceptional acoustic quality with superior audibility of high-frequency sounds

  • Tunable diaphragm allows adjusting between high or low frequency sounds by via slight pressure on the chestpiece.

  • Dual-lumen tubing eliminates rubbing noise
    Highly durable, latex-free and stain-resistant tubing

5 Stars (5 / 5)
Littmann® Master Cardiology

Littmann Master Cardiology

Read Our Review

  • Highest mechanical acoustic quality in the Littmann Stethoscopes range

  • Tunable diaphragm alternates from low to high frequencies without needing to turn the chest piece

  • Dual-lumen tube design eliminates rubbing noise artefact

  • Includes Special Procedures Adaptor for paediatric or neonatal auscultation

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Littmann® Master Classic II™

Littmann Master Classic II

Read Our Review

  • Single-sided chestpiece allows for easy manoevering and quick assessments

  • Tunable diaphragm allows adjusting between high or low frequency sounds by via slight pressure on the chestpiece.

  • Dual-lumen tubing reliminates rubbing noise

4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)
ADC Adscope 601 Convertible
Cardiology Stethoscope

ADC Adscope 601 Convertible Cardiology

  • Convertible chestpiece with replaceable adult/pediatric diaphragms

  • Enhanced acoustics with AFD technology

  • Extra-deep bell with improved low-frequency acoustics

  • Dual-lumen tubing eliminates rubbing noise

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Littmann® Classic III

Littmann Classic III

★ Best Value for Budget ★

  • Two-sided chestpiece with tunable diaphragms on both adult and pediatric sides

  • Paediatric side can be converted to tradition open bell

  • Durable, latex-free tubing resistant to skin oils and alcohol

4 Stars (4 / 5)

How do you Choose the Best Stethoscope?

Too commonly you see health professionals with the wrong stethoscope for their role and needs, but with so many options it can be easy to make that wrong choice, then be forced to stick with it, or pay dearly for the necessary upgrade. Before you buy, learn which criteria and preferences you must prioritise.

Our team has created this guide with our medical consultant Dr. Knöbel, extensive research, and unbiased product analysis. We never accept free products from manufacturers, so you can be sure that we never feature products in exchange for freebies or payments.


If you’re short on time and already know what you’re looking for, please check out our top contenders above. Otherwise browse our menu and stethoscopes to read detailed individual reviews.

Most health professionals buy one stethoscope to last them their entire career, therefore, much rides on making the right choice from the beginning. Do you need a quality stethoscope that distinctly captures all relevant sound frequencies necessary for high-level Cardiac, Respiratory, and Abdominal auscultations? Or do you just need one that’s good enough to identify the presence or absence of breath and bowel sounds?

★ How do Stethoscopes Work?

A stethoscope is a medical device designed to pick up body sounds through vibrations and transmit them to our ears. They are usually composed of a flat or curved chest piece covered highly by a film, like a drum, called the diaphragm. As sound vibrations reach the diaphragm, this vibrates and amplifies these sounds, transmitting them through the sealed hollow tubing into the earpieces and into the user’s ears.

Where stethoscope quality variation comes most into play is how well the stethoscope can pick up sound and transmit these while maintaining it’s characteristics and without losing important sound detail.

Dual-headed stethoscopes have a larger flat surface (the diaphragm) which is better suited to picking up high-frequency vibrations, and a smaller side (the bell) which collects low-frequency vibrations.

Benefits of The Best Stethoscope for Doctors

Proper auscultation involves listening carefully for distinct sounds that can be very hard to distinguish. If you are using a low-grade stethoscope, different sounds don’t maintain their quality during transmission, making meaningful auscultation very difficult.

A good-quality stethoscope doesn’t just transmit sounds loudly, but maintains the pitch and character of sounds, which results in an overall clearer auscultation to help you reach more accurate diagnoses.

Using a stethoscope that’s made from high-quality materials will provide you with extra comfort. A Stethoscope is something that is used often in the daily life of doctors and nurses, which is why investing in more comfort certainly pays off in wearing over time.

A proper examination usually requires a lot of auscultations, especially if your patients feel a lot of things and do not know specifically where it hurts.

You would need to do auscultation of the neck, the arteries, the lungs, the abdomen, and some other parts where it is necessary.

The different sounds heard in those areas can indicate different conditions and malfunctions. In some circumstances, the sounds produced by the parts of the body are not very distinct.

Some of them are in a very low frequency.

This is where a good stethoscope benefits you, they make the process of auscultation a much easier and simpler process because they are made of high-quality parts that work better.

We’re going to go over what to look for in a good stethoscope for doctors, but…

If you already know what you’re looking for, we created this quick reference list of our top recommendations from stethoscope ratings.

Top Rated Stethoscope for Doctors

1.) Littmann Cardiology IV

2.) Littmann Electronic 3100

3.) Littmann Master Cardiology

4.) Littmann Master Classic II

5.) Thinklabs One

What To Look For

Ear Piece

It is important to look for a stethoscope with a proper fitted earpiece.

Earpieces are available in several forms such as threaded, rubber-seal and snap-tight. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

For example, a rubber-sealed earpiece is preferable because it is softer, but it reduces the acoustic sounds. On the contrary, hard earpieces produce better sounds.

Chest Piece

Now, chest pieces are also important.

You would want to choose the size of the chest piece carefully.

Some stethoscopes are made of plastic and aluminum. Others are made of stainless and titanium.

The material affects the weight of the stethoscope.

A heavy and big stethoscope can produce better sounds than a light and small stethoscope.


Tubes carry the sounds in the stethoscope.

This is why even tubes must be taken into consideration.

You would want to look for tubes with a proper length and composition, do not look for tubes that are too short or too long.

Most tubes are made of flexible, hard materials.

A good tube should be made from thick material with a large internal double bore.

These features reduce external noises and improve the sound transmissions.


The diaphragm has to be made of flexible, high-quality materials.

This is because a diaphragm made of bad-quality materials will not be able to distinguish minuscule sounds in the body.

Having a tunable diaphragm is helpful too because a tunable diaphragm can help you to listen to sounds at different frequencies without having to move or rotate the device.

Types Of Stethoscopes

There are different kinds of stethoscopes, different kinds of diagnoses require different kinds of stethoscopes.

For example, different kind of stethoscopes is required to examine heart and lungs because both of them produce different kinds of sounds.

The stethoscopes needed for emergency, general practice and pediatric are different too.

There are some types of stethoscopes:

Acoustic Stethoscopes

Acoustic stethoscopes are the usual stethoscopes that have chest piece, tube and earpiece as the components.

Electronic Stethoscopes

Electronic stethoscopes have a better sound level than acoustic stethoscopes.

Electronic stethoscopes utilize technology to increase the sound level.

This is so that the doctors can have a better hearing, thus resulting in better diagnoses.

There are two types of electronic stethoscopes.

Amplifying Stethoscopes

Amplifying stethoscopes is stethoscopes that can amplify the sounds so that the doctors can hear the distinct sounds produced by our body better.

Digitizing Stethoscopes

Digitizing stethoscopes are the stethoscopes that convert sounds into digital signal.

These kinds of stethoscopes detect sounds from the sensor of the stethoscopes.

Then they convert the energy to electricity.

Afterwards then they run it through a circuit that can amplify it, filter it and then convert it into digital data.

According to The Function

There are different kinds of stethoscopes used for different kinds of situations because different kinds of stethoscopes have different features.

For example, stethoscope used by surgeons for surgery is of course different with the stethoscopes used for other means such as cardio examination.

There are other types of stethoscopes according to the function such as stethoscopes for cardiac, pediatric, ER, recovery, floors, CCU and ICU.

How to Choose The Best Stethoscopes

There are several things you would want to consider.

You would want to get the best stethoscope for doctors and nurses available in the market.

Getting the best stethoscope is not as simple as you think it might be, there are tons of things you would want to consider.

These are the things you need to consider:


Budget is one of the most important things to consider because even if you can find the stethoscopes you think is the best for you, you would not be able to buy it if you do not have enough budget.

So it is important to get the best stethoscope available with suitable budget for you.

Requirements from School

Do not forget to remember the requirements by the school.

For example, you do not need to buy super-expensive, electric stethoscopes if you only need to do general examination on the patient.

So make sure you know what you are required to do with the stethoscopes so that you can find a one with features suitable for you.

Quality and Dependability

Quality and dependability is something people always consider in any products.

It is especially important to have tools that are highly qualified so that they will produce dependable results and diagnoses in the medical world.


Remember that there are different types of stethoscopes that work better on different circumstances.

It is important to choose the type of stethoscopes that matches the circumstance you are facing.

The type of stethoscope is highly related to the requirements by the school.


As stated above, weight can highly affect how your stethoscope works.

Heavier and bigger stethoscopes can produce better and more distinguishable sounds than lighter and smaller stethoscopes.

Even though for some circumstances, lighter and smaller stethoscopes might be more suitable than bigger and heavier one.


Stethoscope BellPay attention on the parts of the stethoscopes, make sure that they are made of high-quality parts so that it would be comfortable to use and produce better results.

The stethoscope bells are not applied frequently, but it is actually effective in listening to low-frequency sounds and murmurs.

Bells and diaphragm are very essential if you need to distinguish distinct internal sounds in the body.

Other than stethoscope bells and diaphragm, do not forget to pay attention to the earpiece, and also the tubes.


The last but not least; is durability.

Durability is one of the things you would want to consider carefully because the price of a stethoscope is not cheap.

And if you bought a great, high-quality stethoscope, it would be pricey.

You would not want it to last for a short time of period only.

That is why you have to consider the durability of the stethoscope, can it withstand pressure or damages, and how long will it be able to function effectively.

Each of the qualities listed above is important because even though it might be overwhelming to pay attention to each of the things above.

However, if you pay attention to each of them and make sure that you are choosing the best ones, you would be able to get the best stethoscope for doctors or nurses.

It’ll work efficiently at the circumstance or situation you are facing.


So what is the bottom line?

Choosing the best stethoscope is not as simple as choosing the most expensive one.

Littmann stethoscope are well regarded in the medical profession.

It depends on what you need to do with it, even though the quality of the stethoscope is important and most of the time high-quality products come with high-price.

Other than made of high-quality parts, it is the durability and the dependability is important too.

The tools in the medical world need to have a high dependability because people’s health and life could be at stake.

This is why getting a good stethoscope is very important in your medical career.


Use this comparison tool to help you determine which of the top rated stethoscopes for doctors is best for you.

It’s a drag and drop tool.  Click and hold down on the stethoscope name and drag it to a slot.  It’ll give you a list of relevant features so that you can compare them.

You can click on the review button to see detailed individual stethoscope reviews too.

Have fun with it!


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