As a health professional, you need to have the right tools to help assess, monitor, and diagnose your patients. This includes all the essentials you need to keep track of their vital signs, like the humble stethoscope. Finding its place as a daily necessity for health care providers, the stethoscope helps its user better understand the internal conditions of a patient in order to prescribe the appropriate treatment procedures.
For the majority of health workers, Littmann is the golden standard when it comes to stethoscopes. This line of premium instruments boasts some of the best acoustics, ergonomics, and quality across the board, making it a sound investment for any health care provider.
Wondering which ones are the best Littmann stethoscope designs available? Let this complete guide help you make the right choice.
Top 8 Littmann Stethoscopes Comparison Table
Overall Make, Material, and Design
Littmann is known for providing buyers with a vast array of choices that cater to every taste and preference. Although all of their stethoscopes boast the same high quality performance and construction, some differences across their designs can make certain choices a better fit for your needs than others.
- Chestpiece – The chestpiece found on Littmann stethoscopes can either be single or double-sided. The prior is best for those who don’t really need to adjust sensitivity, simply taking in the S1 and S2 sounds of the heart for the purpose of documentation. Most doctor’s assistants and nurses use this type of chest piece.
Double-sided chestpieces can be fine-tuned to help users hear more sounds inside the chest cavity. The smaller bell side can pick up on the S3 and S4 sounds of the heart, which are usually monitored by doctors.
Some Littmann chestpieces, like those found on their Master Cardiology series, can be fine-tuned further by applying more or less pressure on the chestpiece during use. This makes it the ideal selection for professionals who specialize in conditions of the heart.
- Earpieces – Wearing a stethoscope for an extended period of time can be uncomfortable on the ears. Littmann stethoscope earpieces can be interchanged with smaller or bigger pieces for better comfort. Commonly, the stethoscopes are bundled with replacement earpieces so you can interchange them to fit you better.
- Tubing – When the tubes aren’t properly designed, they can rub together and cause noise during use. This can drown out the important sounds that health care providers need to hear.
Littmann tubing features a design that comes from two sound paths from either ear which converge to a single tube towards the chestpiece to prevent unwanted noise coming from the tubing. Lightweight options use a lighter material for their tubing to reduce the overall bulk and weight of the tool for greater comfort and ease of use.
The tubing design for their Cardiology series features dual tubes connecting either earpiece at the center of the stethoscope. This helps improve sound quality to provide users a fuller and more accurate sound representation.
Consider Your Specialization
Different doctors specializing in varied fields face completely different types of patients on a daily basis. For instance, a pediatric doctor will deal with a unique group of patients compared to a cardiologist who might meet older adults throughout a shift.
That said, your chosen stethoscope should suit the pool of patients you expect to see so that you can more accurately assess their specific conditions.
Littmann offers four distinct types of stethoscopes, each catering to different types of patients. Their Cardiology line of stethoscopes is particularly more sensitive to heart sounds, making them ideal for cardiologists and even pulmonologists.
The pediatric line of stethoscopes from Littmann features a smaller diaphragm and bell so as not to cover the entire area of the chest. This is important because using a larger chestpiece of a small patient can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of sounds. In the same light, infant stethoscopes are even smaller and are designed to be much more sensitive to pick up on softer sounds from newborns and infants.
Finally, the classic series from the brand is the standard stethoscope design for general use. They’re durable, seamless, and provide just the right sensitivity to give users a basic understanding of the internal conditions of a patient. These are also the most affordable, so they make a good choice for nurses, assistants, aids, and other health care workers who need to monitor patients for charts and documentation.
Top 3 Best Littmann Stethoscope Reviews
Probably the best Littmann stethoscope currently available is the Classic II Pediatric model. This premium quality tool is made to the highest of standards and is best suited for doctors who benefit from hearing the subtle, often difficult to hear sounds of the heart, lungs, and diaphragm of smaller patients.
The design features a sophisticated double-sided chestpiece that can be fine-tuned to pick up on faint sounds in the chest. The rubber rimmed metal was designed to keep the chestpiece from becoming cold to the touch. So babies and children won’t have to go through the discomfort of having a cold piece of metal pressed against their chest.
Tubing on the Classic II Pediatric stethoscope is thick and double-lined, preventing sounds from leaking out or into the tool during use. The earpieces are made from premium, soft material that gently seal the ears for improved acoustics.
With a 7 year warranty, this expertly crafted professional stethoscope is the ultimate option available. So if you’re looking for something that truly delivers crisp, clear, and accurate sounds for your practice, this stethoscope is the one for you.
Our second best Littmann stethoscope is the reliable Classic III – a straightforward design that offers the bare essentials for users who don’t need all the fuss and fancy bells and whistles.
The award winning ergonomic design features a one-sided chestpiece with an easy-grip shape for a secure hold. The earpieces are particularly soft and pliable, angling slightly to accommodate the anatomical shape of the ears for better comfort.
The tubing works well to keep sounds from leaking out or seeping into the tool to prevent interrupting diagnostic performance. Finally, the no-chill chestpiece makes the experience particularly comfortable for patients, eliminating the surprising feel of having a cold metal rim making contact with skin.
Perhaps the only problem with the Classic III is that the chestpiece isn’t quite as sensitive as other models. The fact that it also comes with shorter tubing could make it inconvenient for some users.
As one of the most sensitive models in the series, the Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscope was designed for doctors that need to hear delicate heart sounds to come up with appropriate treatments and diagnoses. The tool features a reinforced double sided chestpiece with an ergonomic easy-grip design. This, combined with the robust construction, makes the Cardiology IV particularly resistant against wear and tear.
Much like other stethoscopes produced by the Littmann brand, the Cardiology IV Stethoscope also features the same soft eartips, sound enhancing tubing, and non-chill rim and diaphragm for superb patient comfort.
Probably the only downside with the Cardiology IV design is that it is more expensive than other choices. So while it is a lot more efficient in terms of sound quality and acoustics, you may have to shell out up to three times the cost of other, more affordable options up front.