Let’s Talk Stethoscopes!

There's nothing quite like a good stethoscope... maybe an amazing pen! Seriously, a good stethoscope can be an expensive investment but man is it worth it! We want to hear from you! What is your stethoscope of choice? How much did you spend? Was it worth it? What recommendations would you give your fellow nurse looking to buy a good stethoscope? Thoughts on some of our favorites including Littman, Kila, Eko? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and check back to see what other nurses recommend!

22 COMMENTS

  1. I used a Littman 3200 but a pediatric patient wanted to help me and washed it. I now use a think labs and LOVE IT

  2. I had a Litman at one time but hated it so I went back to my nice cheap Prestigue cost about $20.00 and love it.

  3. Littman Master cardiology is the stethoscope I have had for years and would recommend to anyone. In fact, this was my second stethoscope I purchased in my 38+ years of nursing. I know some of my colleagues feel it is a little pricey but it is well worth the price in my opinion.

  4. I have an MDF that I bought in nursing school for $60-80. I could hear better with it than the others I tried. They replace all parts for free, which I didn’t know at the time. There’s a particular doctor that comes through and never has his stethoscope and always asks for mine. I’ve had to chase after him a few times to get it back. Thinking of getting an Eko. A coworker has one and she loves it. The Littman isn’t compatible with iPhones.

  5. My husband and I both have Littman cardiology scopes that were purchased for us by the ER physicians group maybe 20 years ag. We used to be able to send them back to Littman for refurbishing. Funny thing though, just the other day my husband decided to clean the ear pieces out and he did it with the air compressor and all kinds of junk came out! He says it works better than it has in a long time. HA HA.

  6. The key to making a stethoscope better is to shorten the tubing. Less tubing makes heart sounds more pronounced.
    Littmann is my brand. Well worth the money.

  7. Bought a Litman 41 yrs ago when I graduated. Paid $60! (My wages were $3.25/hr). Couldn’t hear a thing.
    Bought a double lumen $25 stethoscope with super soft, very flexible ear pieces and tons of replacement parts and attachments (think pedi) at Wear Guard and never looked back.
    Fast forward to 4 yrs ago. Massive, unilateral ear infection. Facial paralysis. 1 month of max Cipro, Augmentin, and Prednisone. Multiple months of steroid challenges. More ear drops than you can imagine. The best care you can imagine and I still lost my hearing in that one ear.
    Now I had serious stethoscope drama. Spent hours researching them. Lots of good, not great, expensive, choices. Problem is, there is no unilateral augmented stethoscope. Audiology couldn’t help.
    Solution? A double lumen, inexpensive, Work and Gear stethoscope. Soft ear pieces. Then, cut off 1/2 the length of the tubing.
    Somewhat stiffer tubing and less distance improves transmission of sound.
    If you haven’t noticed, try different ear pieces. It makes a world of difference!

  8. I’ve used a Philips electronic stethoscope since the beginning of my nursing career almost 20 years. At the time it was more reasonably priced compared to the Littman electronic stethoscope. I think Philips no longer manufactures this type of stethoscope. There is a digital noise cancelling stethoscope by a company called Eko priced around $250. Still a little more reasonable than the Littman. The same company also manufactures a digital attachment you can use on your existing stethoscope for around $200. Two main points: 1)don’t let any resident or fellow borrow your stethoscope because they’ll walk off with it and 2) engrave your name/initials into the head and put another identifying mark someplace else like a contrasting nail polish color.

    • Same! Mine is about 12+years .
      I am going to be purchasing a new one soon
      Before I graduate with my APN NP.

  9. When I was a student nurse, I helped change the options that the student nurses association gave to the incoming students. I still believe that if you don’t know what you’re listening for and you do not have equipment that will clearly help you hear it then you have two strikes against you. I am considering the Eko. I have a ThinkLabs One and a Littmann Master Cardiologist. I suggested that the Littmann Classic was the entry level / bare minimum. To each their own. One thing – I have learned how to hang into my equipment.

  10. I had been happy with the $20 sprauge-rappaport stethoscope for most of my nursing career, even in ICU when lung sound changes were really the most important thing I tracked in my particular patient population. Later, I needed to be able to distinguish the various grades of heart murmurs, and I found I needed to upgrade. The Littmann Master Cardiology does the needful –much easier to hear and distinguish! It runs $200 but well worth the price.

    • Littmann® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 I am over 60 years old and thought I was missing something. It is a very good model. Cost is about $400. I have used Littmann’s most of my nursing career.

    • LMC all the way, you can’t go wrong. Have had one for years. I have unfortunately had to replace it twice only because I left it at work and it was missing when I came back in. A very expensive mistake!

    • I have a littmann classic I . It is very good, clear. I have no problem with it. I would recommend it. As long you know how to differentiate the sounds, whether heart or lungs you could hear it clear. To me littmann stethoscopes are the best.

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