Best Stethoscopes for Nurses and Nursing Students

Stethoscopes are an important part of the health care profession, and are used as an acoustic apparatus to hear lung and heart sounds, and blood flow in veins and arteries.

There are a variety of stethoscopes to choose from, including the electronic stethoscope which electronically magnifies sound, and the acoustic stethoscope which transfers sound. This review will help you to find the best stethoscope as a physician or medical student focusing on the ADC ADSCOPE 603 stethoscope, Littmann Classic stethoscope, and the Littmann Cardiology stethoscope.

What makes the best stethoscope for nurses?

While considering the best stethoscope in the medical profession for nurses, identifying your area of expertise, whether in pediatrics, cardiology, or the OR for example, will help you in choosing the most suitable stethoscope. If you’re working in pediatrics, it’s ideal to have a stethoscope that caters to children or one that lets you adjust between different sound frequencies. Pediatric stethoscopes differ from cardiology stethoscopes or standard adult stethoscopes and thus understanding this distinction is an important factor.

In most cases the best stethoscope will be comfortable for you and your patient, have reliable high definition acoustics and have an adjustable diaphragm to let you adjust between low and high frequencies.

What makes the best stethoscope for a nursing student?

If you are a medical student and somewhat uncertain of the exact area you are going to pursue, it’s best to pick up a standard issue stethoscope. I believe it’s important to have a high-end stethoscope when training to be a nurse, as they are more accurate in depicting vital sounds, which could otherwise be missed with a low-end stethoscope.

In considering the high quality stethoscopes, one thing to keep in mind is that they are not always the most expensive. A top-notch stethoscope can be found in leading companies at affordable rates. Again, it's jsimply a matter of finding one which will suit your area of expertise.​

Functionality is Key

Under all circumstances, you want to ensure that the stethoscope you do end up purchasing is functional for a variety of situations. No matter how specialized you may be, it's extremely likely that you will need a stethoscope suitable for a wide range of patients and applications. In all of our reviews, we took functionality and versatility as the most important factors, which is why the following three stethoscopes made our list for best stethoscopes for nurses and nursing students.

Reviews - Best Stethoscopes for Nurses and Nursing Students


ADC ADSCOPE 603 Stainless Stethoscope

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With good acoustics, the ADC Adscope 603 Stainless Stethoscope boasts a neat design combined with great performance, all at an affordable price. This stethoscope is equipped with a non-chill rim, which will be appreciated by your patients, and has soft rubbery earpieces offering a satisfying fit and seals any external noise. One of the best things about the Adscope is the lifetime warranty, a feature many people desire and a large reason for it’s popularity.

It is available in black, and retails at around $50.00 but can be purchased on Amazon.com for about $30.00, but this can fluctuate slightly depending on any potential sales.

Critical Comments:​ When it comes to hearing the most discreet of breath sounds or murmurs, the acoustics aren’t as clear and precise as the Classic or Cardiology. It is also somewhat heavier to carry around throughout your day.


3M Littman Classic II S.E. Stethoscope

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The Littmann Classic II receives high ratings for its comfort, precision, and impressive acoustics. “I can hear everything from lung sounds to the faintest BP over my obnoxiously loud Horton ambulance on the road…” (Unknown). Comfort is assured with an engineered correct headset, and tight soft sealing ear tips.

The classic comes in a variety of colors, including black, cell blue, green lilac, pink, and sea foam green, a bonus reason why this stethoscope is highly popular among nurses. It is well suited for beginning and experienced nurses alike, as well as nursing students. You can purchase the Classic ll on Amazon.com for approximately 30% less than the regular retail price.

Critical Comments: I found that the pink color option advertised isn’t actually as vibrant, and the plastic tubing can stain from general use.


3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope​

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The Cardiology lll is arguably the best stethoscope for nurses regardless of the field you are in. With impressive top-notch acoustics and a comfortable fit, the innovative design and versatility allows you to easily switch between adult to pediatric settings. It includes a dual lumen which eliminates noise created by tubes rubbing together.

Like the other Littmann Stethoscopes, the Cardiology lll comes with the non-chill bell. It is available in a few colors, including black, brown, grey, purple and chocolate. The superior quality and durability is built to last, making the instrument a worthwhile investment. It retails at around $200, but typically sells on Amazon.com for 20-30% less.

Critical Comments: Be cautious that if worn in direct contact with your skin the tubing will stiffen and eventually crack. You can purchase a vinyl protector or be sure not to wear it in direct contact with your skin.


Stethoscopes for Nurses - Concluding Notes

The Littmann Stethoscopes have been around since the late 1960’s and have been offering high quality acoustics ever since inception. Whether you are a doctor or medical student, Littmann as well as Adscope stethoscopes are superior products that won’t disappoint.

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