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The Litmann Cardiology iii stethoscope is soon becoming outdated.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!

Blood pressure monitor: which one to buy?

Blood pressure monitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So how can you be sure you got the best blood pressure monitor for your money? Read on and find out how!

In the next few chapters I’ll try and separate the good from the bad and the beautiful from the ugly in the world of blood pressure monitors. Amongst sphygmomanometers, another, more scientific name for blood pressure gauges, there is a wide variety. Depending on what and where you intend to use your monitor, your choices will be largely based on whether you want an alaog or a digital device.

Digital Blood pressure meters

Let’s start off with the best digital blood pressure meter out there today:

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The automatic digital upper arm cuff blood pressure monitor from Vive Precision. Please note that Vive Precision is not paying me to advertise their products on my website. If they would I wouldn’t be spending my time writing this detailed guide for you, believe me!

Vive Precision is known for their accuracy and detail eye for quality. Each and every blood pressure monitor is individually tested for accuracy. This helps ensure you that the reading you get is your actual blood pressure. No need to doubt the result!

The large and bright display is there to make sure you have no trouble reading the result off the screen. Due to the backlight you can now also effortlessly take your measurements at night or just when you wake up! No need to switch on those lights that early in the morning.

The main reason why to my opinion this is the best blood pressure monitor out there is the fact that you get a full 2-year guarantee with this device. Also everything is included right from the get-go. You get a one-size-fits-all cuff, 4 AAA batteries and an illustrated user’s manual. The second you unbox this beauty you are good to go! and retailing at less than $50 this is a must-have device to have in your home.

Follow this link to check it out for yourself on Amazon!

So are there no downsides to this device?

Actually… There are. Some people have reported great inaccuracies with their device when operating it straight out of the box. Sometimes the devices are wrongly calibrated leaving the factory and this can result in faulty readings. Usually you notice by the fact that your blood pressure, according to the monitor, would be sky-high.

If this is the case with your blood pressure monitor, please do the following:

First of all, remove the batteries. Replace them and go through the steps for setting the unit exactly as is told in the instructions manual. This will enable you to reset the device. Pay attention that when you get to page 8 in the instructions manual, you repeat step 2 and 3 to calibrate the unit.

If you did this as explained above, take a reading again and it will be your correct blood pressure!


Another good, slightly more expensive blood pressure monitor is the Omron 10 series wireless upper arm blood pressure monitor.


Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Cuff that fits Standard and Large Arms (BP786/BP786N) with Bluetooth Smart Connectivity, best blood pressure monitor, blood pressure gauge, blood pressure meter, best blood pressure meter, best blood pressure gauge

What’s so good about this one?

In addition to the big digital screen comparable to the Vive Precision, the Omron blood pressure monitor allows you to store the last 200 measurements. For more than one person even! As a result you can now fully track how your blood pressure develops. Does that new diet really work? Should I actually eat MORE sodium than before? These questions will now remain answered as you track the development of your blood pressure.

The cuff is however not as versatile as the Vive Precision. This one fits arms with a circumference between 9 and 17 inches. So if you are petite this might not be the best blood pressure monitor for you.

Another possible drag with this blood pressure monitor is that you need to set the time and date before every reading. As a result it is quite cumbersome to get it done as there are a few extra steps that need to be taken. However this is in your benefit thought as increased tracking helps provide more accurate readings.

For example the Omron 10 series offers you the possibility to get average readings. If you take 3 readings within 10 minutes this blood pressure meter will give you the running average of those 3 readings. As a result you get a much more accurate read-out!

Please note that unfortunately the Bluetooth pairing with smartphones only works if your phone is an iPhone. For Android phones the Bluetooth pairing will NOT work!


Best analog blood pressure monitors

The real McCoy however are the analog blood pressure monitors. However they need to be paired up with a stethoscope if you want to work with them. In the previous link I made a list for you with the best stethoscope and best analog sphygmomanometer.

My choice for analog blood pressure monitor is the MDF Calibra Aneroid sphygmomanometer. Not only is it one of the most reviewed blood pressure meters on Amazon, it boasts the best reviews as well.

MDFbest blood pressure monitor, blood pressure gauge, blood pressure meter, best blood pressure meter, best blood pressure gauge, MDF® Calibra Aneroid Sphygmomanometer - Lifetime Calibration Warranty - Blood Pressure Monitor with Adult Sized Cuff Included - Black (MDF808M-11)

MDF offers you a 3 year warranty on this gauge. Also make sure to check out for special promo’s where you can get a free stethoscope with your purchase. Find out more about these promotions on this page. They offer good stethoscopes too and I wrote a review on some of them here.

This blood pressure meter is latex-free yet stick and crack-resistant. Should any of the tubing crack then note that this device has a 3-year warranty as mentioned above. Or read here on how to prevent tubing from cracking.

Each and every device is stress tested 3000 times and calibrated 5 times.


How to use a blood pressure monitor

Before you can even start you need to take care of a few things.

  1. Many things can cause a temporary rise in your blood pressure and as a result give you a false reading. As such make sure you haven’t eaten a big meal at least 30 minutes before taking a reading, or that it has been a long time since your last cup of coffee. Also measure your blood pressure some time after you have last gone to the toilet!
  2. Make sure you always use the same arm when you measure your blood pressure. If possible try and remember the arm your doctor or nurse uses and use that same one at home.
  3. Before taking your blood pressure try and rest for at least 5 minutes. Sit upright in a comfortable position at a table, with your feet firmly on the ground and your arms resting on the table in front of you.
  4. The cuff around your arm needs to be roughly at the same level as your heart in order to get really accurate readings. So make sure that you have a pillow or cushion ready to give your arm some extra support. Don’t hold up your arm as the exertion might cause your blood pressure to spike!

Next it is time to measure your blood pressure.

Digital devices

Digital blood pressure monitors are the best blood pressure monitor to use at home. As long as you follow the instructions provided with your device such as making sure the tubing points up and is aligned along the visible arteries in your arm.

However analog meters come with a bit of a challenge. What you need is a stethoscope. You’ll be listening to so-called Korotkoff sounds. See the video below for a full how-to in measuring BP!


I hope you have found this guide useful! Let me know in the comment section below if I have missed the mark completely or if there is something more you’d like me to add!