BEST Stethoscopes for Nurses & Nursing Students!


If a nurse was stuck in a patient’s room and could only have one piece of equipment which do you think you would want to have?
Besides the on / off switch for the family members mouths

I’d be hard pressed to find a nurse that wouldn’t say they wanted their stethoscope. Along with your brain your stethoscope is what leads your assessments. The piece of plastic and metal connected is what creates the availability for us to listen to our patients.

Can we listen to the lungs without it? No

Can we assess for S3/S4/V-Gallop/Murmurs/Bruits? No

Even before joining a nursing program, once accepted I was already researching what stethoscopes were best and there is a lot of different brands, prices, styles, options (I noticed my female co-workers really love embezzling theirs). It truly is that vital to every nurse and nursing student.

So how do you decide?!


Do you go with a Littmannn Cardiology IV right out of the gate?

What about a Littmannn Classic? (Can you tell what I went with?)

Bargain deal brands like MDF Acoustica Deluxe or other off brands?

Or if you’re lucky enough to receive a hand-me-down from your grandmother who was a nurse when Florence Nightingale herself invented the theory of why handwashing is important? 😉

So here is a photo of the one I went with the, Littmann Classic III for a few reasons. One I like everything in black, smooth, classy black. My wife spotted it online when I got my acceptance letter and after a bit of research (without a clue to auscultation) I received it as a gift and on I went with my super sleek stethoscope that I was going to stick on people with lungs that sounded like two balloons getting into a fist fight.

The price played a major role, we wanted something under $100 with that being the max and this fit the bill perfectly. I don’t think until you’re an experienced practicing nurse that you need anything more than this. At that point you’re at a penis measuring contest with your flashy scope.


Finally we bought it blindly because we bost honestly didn’t know shit about nursing or stethoscopes or supplies or brands, unfortunately it was blind-buying based on product reviews. Which can be helpful and in the same token not be helpful. We just so happened to find a good deal with a decent brand that now has made me partial to others (yes I am partial).

I trust the Littmann brand all around, the stethoscopes themselves are made by 3M. The fit is nice and you can tell is has quality in the bell end. It rests comfortably in the hears and has excellent acoustics. The tubing of the stethoscope is durable, feels light weight but is thick so it won’t be broken easily. My only complaint is I personally get annoyed as shit with it styled around my neck, maybe I should invest in a stethoscope clip, maybe. So a little recapture of why I would suggest the scope I have:

  • Durable you can “feel” the quality per say.
  • Smooth fit and tubing.
  • Color varieties are endless
  • Price range of $80-$130
  • Comes in smooth, silk black (yes this was that important to me)
  • Replacement tubing available in case you get C. Diff smears on it

If you’re looking to just be a show-off asshole and have the best stethoscope in the game (according to most) then you’d probably be ready to sell a kidney for the godfather of all scopes. Yes, the Littmann Cardiology IV. Your cardiologist has one. Your renal doctor has one. Hell the infectious disease doctors are probably sporting these bitches just because they can (in the comments can someone tell me why ID doctors always take an eternity to consult and see patients?) 

Building on the last few bullet points of the Littmann Classic’s the Littmann Cardiology IV has a few marked upgrades which are:

  • Markedly increased acoustics
  • Tunable bell end allows for sound adjustments
  • Dual-lumen tubing to decrease noise
  • Even better tubing (tubing is obvs. important in this article)
  • Better aligned ear pieces to fit into ear better

If you’re wanting more info on this beast of a stethoscope check out Littmann’s website.

If you’re looking to pick one of these up you probably are rich enough and should send me one as a Christmas gift (DM me). In all seriousness, though this is the one that I personally will be trying to buy in the future as a nurse to not only upgrade my scope but to be able to give back my other stethoscope to a new nursing student as I believe giving back is just as important as the journey of school itself.


Finally, the “cheaper” brands. Where do I begin with these products like:


MDF | Ever Ready | ADC

 Click here to see the “Master List” of stethoscope brands!

Do I have a personal grievance with these scopes? No. Do I think that they have their purpose and place? Yes. In my opinion (those are unpopular these days) I think these scopes are great for students. You read that right, students. Those who are already under financial burden and stress of school and need a cheap scope to take to clinicals. These scopes work but I’m a strong believer in having a good quality stethoscope. Our patients deserve it.

The one positive thing about these is that if they DO break they are easily replaceable at around $25 and they are lightweight which is nice for comfort. However, I have some grievances about these as I’ve used a few of my co-workers / students before.

They feel cheap. The tubing has a harsh plastic feel. Their sound is eh.

But don’t let that stop you from using one for the very basics of assessments in nursing school.


Thanks for reading! I hope my opinionated viewpoint on the bread and butter of our assessments (besides our brain!) has been somewhat helpful.




Stethoscope brands (Check out the major compilation list of brands!)

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