Littmann Cardiology Series – Which one suits you best?

littmann cardiology

When you ask any doctor “What’s the best stethoscope out on the market today?”, chances are they’ll say the Littmann Cardiology 3 stethoscope.

Littmann was an actual doctor. Doctor David Littmann was born in 1906 in Chelsea, Massachusetts and was a cardiologist. He became well known for his patented Littmann stethoscope that he started selling with Gus Machlup. At the time only two versions of his stethoscope were available. One for doctors and a less sophisticated (and cheaper!) one for nurses.

Later on 3M acquired the company in the late 60 but kept dr. Littmann on board as a consultant.

Funny fact that the 1960’s era Littmann cardiology 3 stethoscope, which is out of patent, became the basis of a 3D-printed telescope. The model of which is freely available through the open source Glia project.

Currently the newest version of the Littmann cardiology series consists of the following stethoscopes:

Littmann cardiology IV stethoscope

littmann cardiology


This stethoscope is designed for medical professionals who need exceptional acoustic performance. Its innovative design provides a single. Its innovative design provides a single-piece tunable diaphragm on each side of the chestpiece.

It’s the next generation of one of the most recognized stethoscopes in the profession. It offers improved acoustics with better audibility of high frequency sounds, compared to the Littmann Cardiology 3. To hear the higher frequency sounds, turn the chestpiece to the adult-side and press firmly. The distinctive Littmann chestpiece has a pediatric and adult side. Simply flip the sides to fit the patient.

Both the adult and pediatric sides of the chestpiece have single-piece diaphragms that are easy to remove, attach and clean because the surfaces are smooth and without crevices.

3M-tunable diaphragm

The 3M-tunable diaphragm technology allows you to hear different frequency sounds by simply adjusting the pressure on the chestpiece. Hold the chestpiece with light pressure to hear low frequency sounds. To hear higher fequency sounds simply press a little more. This time-saving feature allows you to focus on the patient, while the non-chill rim provides patient comfort.

Headset tension is easily adjusted for head size. Simply squeeze together or pull apart the eartubes. Snap-tight, soft-sealing eartips fit individual ears completely 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.

Dual-lumen tubing combines two sounds paths in one tube, eliminating the rubbing noise that traditional double tubes create. This feature makes it possible for the clinician to hear patient sounds with less interference.

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, and is less likely to pick up stains. Next-generation tubing is not made with natural rubber latex, a benefit to sensitive clinicians and their patients. Also, to play its part in the protection of human health and the environment, the next-generation tubing is not made with phthalate plasticizers.

The Littmann Cardiology IV stethoscope is made in the USA and is supported by a seven-year warranty. It comes complete with large and small soft-sealing eartips, large firm eartips, non-chill bell sleeve, and instructions.

Customer reviews: ( from

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.


A piece of perfection and a master of all. I’ve enjoyed much the joy of extraordinary purity and clearness of sounds transmitted by this very high-quality stethoscope. As a pediatric cardiologist I am sure I cannot find more satisfying experiment with this product which have certainly no competitors at this high level of performance. I have the 27”. Only I have wished if the tube was an inch or two longer, like 28 or 29. I think that gives more space and comfort while performing examination of children in their mother’s laps, and it is my personal preference.


5 out of 5 stars.

Great for moving rigs and noisy areas

I replaced my trusted cardiology scope of 30 years with a new cardiology IV. I am most impressed with its performance especially when I’m around a nosy area or getting vitals in a moving vehicle like an ambulance or rescue rig. The services provide their own equipment but what they use is inferior to the Littmann. The cardiology IV sounds are crisp and clear without the noise that other stethoscopes let in to muffle/confuse the sounds your trying to hear. If you need a stethoscope that isolates sounds better that any other stethoscope (I have tried many over the years) to preform your job than this is the one for you.


★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

An extension of my ears!

After 25 years of faithful service, my Littmann Cardiology ll finally needed repair so I sent it in and am waiting for the return of my trusted friend. While waiting, I purchased the Cardiology IV and I absolutely love it. Being a Pediatric Nurse, I need a quality stethoscope and I had no hesitation purchasing the Cardiology IV.

My colleagues have used it and comment on how well it auscultates heart and lung sounds. Once you have an outstanding stethoscope like the Cardiology Series, nothing can compete. It is worth spending the extra money on a stethoscope that will last for many years. Don’t let it out of your sight because everyone in your department will want to use it. Wrap a fall precaution bracelet around it and put your name on it!! I will always have and always will use a Littmann Cardiology stethoscope. You will not be disappointed with any of the Cardiology Series stethoscopes.


Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope

littmann cardiology

The Littmann Master Cardiology stethoscope has the best acoustic response in the Littmann series. It too feautures the tunable diaphragm that are now slowly becoming standard on other Littmann stethoscopes.

This technology allows you to hear both low- and high frequencies without needing to turn the chestpiece. Simply apply more pressure to hear the higher frequency sounds. Apply normal pressure for lower frequency sounds. This saves you both time and effort and makes the whole diagnostic procedure run a lot smoother.

To adjust the headset tension just pull apart the eartubes. The eartips are also specially designed to fit snugly in your ear. This just adds to the overall comfort.

The Master Cardiology stethoscope is made in the USA for consistent quality. It comes complete with large and small soft-sealing eartips, large firm eartips, Special Procedures Adapter, and instructions.

Customer reviews: ( from

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

Best stethoscope on the planet

Simply the best stethoscope available. Crystal clear sound (beats any available product, including electronic type), durable tube, easy-to-grab chestpiece, easy to clean, 7-year warranty with a relatively reasonable price, cannot find a better choice. You want the hi-end stethoscope, and here’s the hi-end.



★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.


I owned a classic when I received the hunter and brass edition as a gift. Its fantastic. No difficulty like with the classic listening to AF etc. Only downfall it’s heavy. Other than that, fantastic.



★★★ 3 out of 5 stars.

Great stethoscope, bad tubing.

This has been my favorite stethoscope as an ER doc, but I am currently returning it due to the tubing being cracked in multiple places. This is the SECOND TIME this has happened in 6 years. Thankfully, Littmann makes return and repair easy for scopes under warranty, which this one is and has one year left. But I question why the vinyl tube is so fragile. I use vinyl tubing when I brew beer that runs boiling liquid through it, and they stay supple. Clearly from prior comments this is a recurring problem. Buying a replacement on Amazon is $85. Boo.

  1. Response from 3m-littmann:

    Hello — The tubing material may become hard when exposed to skin for long periods of time. We recommend wearing the stethoscope over a collared shirt or jacket away from direct contact with your skin. We also recommend keeping up on cleaning and care to help combat the tubing becoming rigid. Here are some tips:

    We are glad that we were able to help repair the two stethoscopes that this has happened to previously. If you would like to speak with us directly, we are always here to help: Thank you!



Let us know in the comments below what type of Littmann cardiology series stethoscope you have and what your experience has been with it so far!



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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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