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The Litmann Cardiology iii stethoscope is soon becoming outdated.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!

Litmann Stethoscope Sale

litmann stethoscope sale, stethoscope price

Litmann stethoscopes are usually on sale in a variety of places. Which Litmann stethoscope sale is next depends largely on the age of the model under review. Usually the models that are about to become obsolete due to the arrival of a newer model gets put on sale.

Amazon in general offers decent sales from time to time. As a result in the review of the most commonly sold stethoscope models here below, the links in there will take you to their respective Amazon pages.

Unfortunately I cannot say in realtime whether or not the stethoscopes reviewed are on sale. You’ll have to go check it out for yourself.

Other places than Amazon to look for a Litmann stethoscope sale

However Amazon is not the only marketplace that offers a Litmann stethoscope sale from time to time.

I have personally had really good experiences from Usually when you go to their main page they offer a whole list of featured items. Most of the times in this mix are a lot of Littmans.

Secondly Allheart offers good sales from time to time and prisewise they give competitive prices on their Litmann selection. I once asked for a batch offer from them and in that particular case they came out on top pricewise.

If you are looking for a discounted deal then other than Amazon those would be the two other sources I’d start looking. However as mentioned, the links below will take you to Amazon so to make it easy for you I listed some of the features Litmann stethoscopes have.


Littmann stethoscopes:

Headset tension is easily adjusted. Simply squeeze together or pull apart the eartubes. Snap-tight, soft-sealing eartips conform to individual ears for an excellent acoustic seal and comfortable fit. Eartips snap firmly onto the ends of the eartubes and, for safety, require a significant effort to remove.

Resilient next-generation tubing retains its shape and flexibility even after folding tightly into a pocket. It provides longer stethoscope life due to improved resistance to skin oils and alcohol. Secondly it is less likely to pick up stains. In addition  the next-generation tubing is not made with natural rubber latex. This is  a benefit to sensitive medical professionals and their patients. Lastly to play its part in the protection of human health and the environment, the next-generation tubing does not contain phthalate plasticizers.

3M Litmann Stethoscopes are used by millions of medical professionals around the world who are dedicated to achieving the best patient outcomes. Litmann stethoscopes offer superb acoustic performance, consistently high quality, and outstanding value. Wearing a Litman stethoscope is an expression of your commitment to medicine, and personal success.


Check the overview below to see if Amazon is doing a Litmann stethoscope sale.



Classic III, Littmann, Stethoscope, stethoscope allergies Master Classic II, Littmann, Stethoscope, stethoscope allergies Cardiology III, Stethoscope, Littmann stethoscope, stethoscope allergies Littmann, Cardiology IV, Cardiology, Stethoscope, stethoscope allergies Master Cardiology, Cardiology, Littmann, Stethoscope, stethoscope allergies
Classic III Master Classic II Cardiology III Cardiology IV Master Cardiology
Acoustic Performance 8 9 9 9 10
Ideal For Diagnosis and Physical Assessment‎ Diagnosis and Physical Assessment‎ Cardiology/High Performance Cardiology/High Performance Cardiology/High Performance
Warranty 2 Years 3 Years 5 Years 7 Years 7 Years
Chestpiece Design/Material Double Sided/Machined Stainless Steel Single Sided/Plated and Polished Alloy Double Sided/Machined Stainless Steel Double Sided/Machined Stainless Steel Single Sided/Cast Stainless Steel
Available Color/Finishes 18 Colors/ 4 Finishes 9 Colors/ 2 Finishes 16 Colors/ 6 Finishes 7 Colors/ Stainless Steel Finish 7 Colors/ 3 Finishes
Diaphragm – tunable: hear different frequency sounds without turning over or repositioning Redesigned Single-piece Tunable Diaphragm on each side of the Chestpiece Tunable Diaphragm Two Tunable Diaphragms Redesigned Single-piece Tunable Diaphragm on each side of the Chestpiece Tunable Diaphragm
Tube Design Single Lumen Tubing Single Lumen Tubing Dual Lumen Tubing Dual Lumen Tubing Dual Lumen Tubing
Weight/Length 150 grams, 27″/69cm 160 grams, 27″/69cm 175, 180 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm 167, 177 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm 175, 185 grams Available in 22” / 56cm and 27” / 69cm
Made in the USA

Littmann Cardiology 3 Review

The Littmann Cardiology 3 is known to be the somewhat holy-grail of stethoscopes currently. Although the Cardiology 4 is out already this stethoscope is high regarded in the medical field.

The tunable diaphragm that 3M has patented is ideal for listening to low and high frequency sounds. More so the diaphragm has been designed to easily switch from adult to pediatric diaphragms.


Littmann Cardiology 3 stethoscope

Weight: 13.6 ounces | Length: 27″ | Warranty: 5 years

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Littmann Cardiology 3 features:

littmann cardiology 3, littmann cardiology 3 review, littmann stethoscope cardiology 3 review, littmann cardiology iii, littmann cardiology iii review, littmann stethoscope cardiology iii review, Littmann Stethoscope Cardiology 3 diaphragmYou might be put off by the price, but trust us, this stethoscope is worth your investment. Just make sure you maintain it properly throughout its lifetime and your set for life! Because let’s be honest, what is $200+ USD divided over a lifetime?

It has a solid stainless steel chest-piece, non-chill rims, adjustable double-lead binaural spring and patented soft sealing ear tips.


Acoustic features:

If you are a medical professional, specialized in Cardiology, you require this stethoscope. However if you are just starting out, I would rather go with a Classic model.

Very rarely it is necessary to have this level of acoustics when you are just starting out. However for cardiologists this stethoscope’s acoustics are out of this world. Combined with the tunable diaphragm make sure you provide excellent care!

Some Neurologists state that they use the pediatric diaphragm to listen for carotid and femoral bruits on adult patients.  Some will remove the pediatric diaphragm side and use it as a bell while other say it works fine with the diaphragm.


Tube length:

The tube length for this model Littmann cardiology 3 stethoscope is 27 inches. It’s not too long that it’ll snag everywhere you go. It’s not too short either, saving your back as you do auscultations.

Some users have reported the tubing cracking after 7+ years of use, however if you read this article you should be fine! Plus also 3M has an excellent service and repair program. If necessary you can get your stethoscope refurbished for $60 or less.


It’s definitely not thlittmann cardiology 3, littmann cardiology 3 review, littmann stethoscope cardiology 3 review, littmann cardiology iii, littmann cardiology iii review, littmann stethoscope cardiology iii review, Littmann Stethoscope Cardiology iii sideviewe lightest stethoscope out there.  At 13.6 ounces you will feel it hanging around your neck as you wear it. However if you need to use it, you just have to grin and bear it.

There are heavier ones on the market that perform just as well, so in that respect the Littmann cardiology 3 is not a bad choice.

At the same time if you easily get a stiff neck or suffer from shoulder problems, there are lightweight stethoscopes out there that perform a little worse than this one. However if that means not needing a neck massage every time you get off work then maybe it’s worth it!



The Littmann Cardiology iii stethoscope has a 5 year warranty.  If you are outside of the United States, you may want to check with the Littmann Technical Assistance for your country. Most owners do not need to activate the warranty. Simple maintenance, prevention,  and cleaning is all that is needed to make your stethoscope last.


Ear tips:

This stethoscope comes with 3 sets of ear tips.  Most reviews talk of using the gel-like soft bud tips as they provide a snug fit. As a result they help drown out some white noise and help with auscultations.

Especially EMT’s using a Littmann cardiology 3 report using the gel-buds as they often have to check patients in loud environments (think blazing sirens). But as always 3M offers the luxury of choice. With 3 styles to choose from I’m sure you’ll find the tips that fit your ears perfectly!


In conclusion

If you need a cardiology grade stethoscope, by all means go out and buy a Littmann cardiology 3 or even 4!

However if you do not need one or if you are just starting med school, go for a simpler one. Your rich friends might show off theirs around campus, but chances are they’ll never need to use the specific features that make this stethoscope so great.

They’d basically be driving a Ferrari in a residential area. It has the potential, but rarely sees it used.

That analogy holds through all the way. The Littmann Cardiology truly is a fantastic piece of kit and I’m sure if you do decide to get one you won’t regret it!