Litmann Cardiology iii: Comparison with other stethoscopes

stethoscope brands

The Litmann Cardiology iii stethoscope is soon becoming outdated. Littmann has recently come out with the Cardiology IV, the next generation in cardiology-grade stethoscopes.

However the good news for us is that this means sales! As the stock turns over more likely than not the Litmann cardiology ii will be put in a discount, to make room for the newer model.

In this article we’ll take a look at how this stethoscope holds up against other leaders in the field.

Litmann Cardiology iii

We can’t start off our comparison review without taking a look at our main star. The Littmann cardiology 3 stethoscope.

Litmann cardiology iii, 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope, Black Plated Chestpiece and Eartubes, Black Tube, 27 inch, 3131BE

First off it features a dual-sided chest-piece for both adult and pediatric patients. So no need to switch in between auscultations.
Secondly this one also features Littmann’s “Tunable Diaphragm”- technology where you can hear high and low-frequency sounds by simply changing the pressure you apply to the chest-piece.
The fact that it has a dual lumen tube design, ensures that there is no sound interference from 2 external tubes rubbing together.
Lastly the angled headset is designed in such a way that the earpieces align with the path of the ear canal. Offering more comfort to the user!

It’s incredibly light, coming in at 13.6 ounces. It comes in a variety of colors and the one featured here is the black version.

The Litmann cardiology iii has a 5-year warranty and is made in the USA.

Now let’s compare this one to some other, cardiology-grade stethoscopes on the market.

 

MDF stethoscopes versus Littmann

First up are the MDF stethoscopes.

litmann cardiology iii, MDF ProCardial ERA Cardiology Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope with Adult, Pediatric, and Infant-Neonatal convertible chestpiece - All Black (MDF797X-BO)

Let’s take a look at MDF’s ProCardial ERA Cardiology Lightweight Dual Head Stethoscope.

I don’t understand fully why but MDF makes good stethoscopes and I am unsure why people aren’t falling for these beauties more. The Procardial ERA stethoscope is also a lightweight, weighing in at 1.25 lbs.
However the litmann cardiology iii only weighed 13.6 ounces, which is 0.85 lbs. Score one for Littmann!

As is the case with most MDF stethoscopes, this one also comes with a lifetime guarantee. Coupled with a free-spare-parts-for-life program, this more than makes Littmann bite the dust. 1-1 all.

One major point that Littmann has over MDF stethoscopes is that Littmann has the “tunable diaphragm”-technology. It has it patented and uses it throughout their stethoscope lines.

The MDF ERA stethoscope comes with a whole host of attachments and interchangeable parts which can have an adverse effect on usability. Plus not to think that you need to store those changeable parts somewhere and they might get lost. I wonder how much their free-spare-parts-for-life program is costing them on a yearly basis!

Reports are out there that the tubing is too stiff and the acoustics not what you’d expect from a cardiology grade stethoscope.

Looks like the Litmann cardiology iii has got this one in the bag!

 

Vorfreude stethoscope versus Littmann

The Vorfreude stethoscope is Germany’s answer to US’s Littmann. You can see this both in design and funtion. Just pay attention to how the chest-piece of the Vorfreude stethoscope looks like versus the one on any Littmann stethoscope.

The shape of the stethoscope looks A LOT like a cursively written “L”.

However looks don’t say anything about acoustic performance. And this is where Vorfreude really holds their own.

Several users online have reported that the acoustic performance of Vorfreude holds up to for example the Litmann cardiology iii.

But unfortunately that is where the comparisons end. It seems that the Vorfreude stethoscope is a victim of its low price. While this is an incredibly affordable stethoscope, the finished product leaves a lot to the imagination. after only a few weeks of intensive use, the plastic ring that holds the diaphragm up tends to loosen. As a result the diaphragm pops out. at the same time the earbuds that come with this product tend to fall off again.

So if you are a hobby-builder or like to construct stethoscopes on a continuous basis, this is the stethoscope for you! For everyone else, here is the link to the Littmann cardiology 3 stethoscope on Amazon.

 

RA Bock versus Litmann Cardiology iii

 

R.A. Bock Cardiology Dual-Head Stethoscope w/ Stainless Steel Chestpiece

 

RA Bock has spent a lot of time and effort in making a copy of the Littmann Cardiology stethoscope-series. And they freely admit this as well.

Look-wise, weight-wise and size- wise they are right on the money.

Even functionability. The RA Bock cardiology stethoscope features push-over eartips, just like Litmann. It has a chest-piece that is tunable, just like a litmann cardiology iii stethoscope.

They even offer a lifetime warranty that covers the binaurals, tubing and stainless steel stethoscope head.

They do state that while diaphragms and eartips wear out over time and are not covered in the lifetime warranty, they’ll sell replacements for less money than it would cost you to pay the shipping on the MDF free-parts-for-life program.

Although they didn’t directly mention MDF by name, you can deduct it by the way the text is written. Seems the competition in the stethoscope world is fierce!

Upon unboxing however the tubing does feel stiff and there are reports of the bell having fallen off completely from the tubing.

I’d stick with a litmann cardiology 3 in this case as well.

 

 

editor’s note:

This is more a confession than a note. I am very well aware that throughout this article I have used “Litmann” with a single “t” compared to Littmann. Which is the correct name for Littmann stethoscopes. However through research I have found that there are more hits in search engines for Litmann cardiology iii than there are for Littmann cardiology iii. Hence to bring this article and information to the masses, I have used the wrongly written “Litmann” throughout.

I hope you forgive yet enjoy!

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Jacob Nyman

Jacob Nyman is an expert when it comes to stethoscopes. Ever since he was 10 years old he has been handling stethoscopes starting with the very first Littmann stethoscopes that came out in the sixties!

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