How To Pick A Great Stethoscope For Your First Time

Stethoscopes are essential medical equipment for healthcare practitioners. They help make a diagnosis and give medical professionals a better idea of what’s going on.

When looking for your first stethoscope, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options available.   There are 100s of different stethoscope companies all with their own products that have unique features. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a stethoscope.

Start with a budget in mind 

If you’re a new student, then your stethoscope budget is probably pretty low. One thing to remember is you won’t be using your stethoscope daily as a new medical student. It doesn’t make sense to buy a top of the line stethoscope if you won’t be using it daily.

If you’re a medical student a stethoscope in the $30 – $50 range is probably appropriate. Stethoscopes in this range have all the essential features and above average acoustic quality.

History of the development of stethoscopes

Here are a few pointers about stethoscope brands

Littmann is probably the most common and highly reviewed stethoscope brand. Littmann is often considered top of the line for stethoscopes.

ADC is another popular brand that offers solid stethoscopes. ADC has reasonably priced equipment and is well reviewed.

MDF is another popular brand that has been around since the 1970’s. You can get very affordable stethoscopes from them, which are perfect for students.

Decide if you need to specialize

Acoustic stethoscopes are the most popular stethoscope. Acoustic stethoscopes are great for general use such as assessing patients or taking blood pressures. Depending on your area of study you may need a specialized stethoscope.

Electronic stethoscopes work the same as acoustic stethoscopes, but they are amplified with electricity. You’ll find things are easy to hear with this type of stethoscope. Electronic stethoscopes run on batteries and are vulnerable to interference from other electronic devices.

Another example of a specialized stethoscope is the Littmann Cardiology line. The Cardiology stethoscope is designed specifically for EMT’s, emergency nurses and critical care nurses.

Part of choosing the best stethoscope is aligning your responsibilities with the abilities of the stethoscope. This is why many people find the Littmann Cardiology to be an excellent investment when working as a professional.

Here are some tips for cleaning your stethoscope



Tips for cleaning your stethoscope

It might not be the first thing that jumps to your mind, but it’s important to keep your stethoscope clean. Stethoscopes have different parts that need to be maintained to keep a high acoustic quality. Dirt and debris can crack the tubing and clog the ear tips. It’s important to keep your stethoscope clean to maintain a high level of quality.

If you have a stethoscope with a two-sided chest piece that rotates, it’s important to keep the moving parts lubricated. You can use specialized stethoscope lubricating oil to help keep your stethoscope in top shape. You can also use a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to clear out the moving pieces.

When cleaning your stethoscope, disable all the moving parts. Take the ear tips out and remove the rim from the diaphragm. Cleaning these areas will help prevent any clogs or disfunction.

Another thing to keep in mind about cleaning your stethoscope is to do it on a daily basis. You don’t want your stethoscope bringing infectious germs from the hospital into your home. A quick wipedown with antimicrobial spray is a good habit to develop.

In-depth cleanings should take place once a week or once every two weeks. It’s important to take all the moveable parts and give them a good clean. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning your stethoscope.

• Keep your stethoscope away from extreme temperatures to avoid damaging it
• Never completely submerge your stethoscope to clean it. Using a damp cloth is ideal
• Your stethoscope tubing will become brittle and hard over time, try and use specialized oil to keep it in top shape
• Remove the ear tips and do a mini clean at least once a week
• Use a long item to reach into the ear tips to clean debris


The Best Stethoscopes For Each Profession

Not all stethoscopes are created the same. The most common kind of stethoscope is called the acoustic stethoscope, it has a lot of uses but fails when specialization is required. This is why electronic, Doppler and fetal stethoscopes were invented to address the needs of particular areas of health care.

Today we’ll take a look at different jobs that require a stethoscope and which kind you should consider. These are just opinions and not official recommendations. Make sure you do your research!

EMT/Emergency Nurse/Critical Care Nurse

The Littmann Cardiology is one of the best stethoscopes for these jobs. The Littmann Cardiology offers the best quality you’ll find in an acoustic stethoscope. When working as an EMT or emergency nurse, you’re going to have to deal with making diagnoses in a loud environment.

Electronic stethoscopes are generally too heavy to carry around in an emergency environment. This makes the Littmann Cardiology line an attractive option.

Medical student

As a medical student, you don’t need a top of the line stethoscope. The best stethoscope for medical students will probably run you between $30 and 50 dollars.  You can use this article here to guide you in your search:

It’s good to start off with a lower quality stethoscope. This forces you to get used to the nuances of how the tool works and develop your stethoscope skills. Eventually, you’ll be ready to move up to the higher quality stethoscopes, with a skillset that makes your job easier.


Depending on the scope of your duties, a few different types of stethoscopes may be appropriate as a cardiologist. If your responsibilities include doing specialized assessments, then an electronic stethoscope may be beneficial. Usually, as a cardiologist, you don’t have to worry about working in a fast paced environment. Your job will be more stationary, so the drawbacks of electronic stethoscopes won’t affect you.

General Practitioner

For general practitioners, the best stethoscopes are acoustic stethoscopes. The Littmann Classic iii is an example of a stethoscope great for general use.

If you are a pediatrician, then you may want to invest in a stethoscope specifically for children. Brands like Littmann, ADC & MDF have stethoscopes specialized for pediatric care.


Stethoscopes for veterinary use don’t need to be particularly special; most high-quality acoustic stethoscopes are great for veterinary use. One thing to consider is to get a stethoscope with a long tube. This will make it easier to comfortably listen to larget animals.

Throughout your journey to becoming a healthcare professional, you’ll get opinions from other people on which stethoscope to use. These are just some cursory recommendations to help you get an idea of what to look for.

More tips here –

Check out our other article here on cleaning your stethoscope