Stethoscopes are manufactured by a variety of brands. That is why a stethoscope price can vary greatly. However important to remember is that when you are looking to buy a stethoscope, buy one that is suited to your field.
It doesn’t make any sense for you to get a Littmann Cardiology 3 if you are a student nurse for example. Hardly will you ever have to do an auscultation that would require the need for such a sophisticated stethoscope. You will be more than fine with a Littmann Classic.
However if you plan on specializing in cardiology or surgery in general then a Littmann Cardiology-grade stethoscope might be just what you need.
If you are an EMT however you might be better suited with a Littmann Master Classic II. These stethoscopes have an additional feature to them that they filter out excessive background noise. So they are perfect to use in a blaring ambulance. You’ll have no trouble hearing the sounds you need to hear in the line of duty.
Why does stethoscope price vary so much?
Usually it has to do with the quality of the acoustics provided. Generally speaking a more expensive stethoscope will give you a clearer sound and a better overall quality. That is not to say though that some brands..ahum..Littmann..ahum.. at some points tend to overcharge just for the sake of the brand.
I see no reason for example why the newest Littmann cardiology needs to be priced $50 more expensive than the current one on the market. The only reason I see is an economical one as they want to somehow show to the consumer that the new one is better and hence more expensive. Even though the changes they did to go from Littmann cardiology 3 to 4 are in my view incremental in nature.
Secondly of course the finishes play a bog role in the price of any item. If you have a gold-plated stethoscope vs a normal one, chances are you’ll pay a premium for the gold-plated one. But they also just look really cool!
Let’s list some stethoscopes below and I’ll go by stethoscope price:
Stethoscopes under $50
This is an excellent stethoscope if you are a young nursing student, a beginning med-student or if you just want to own a stethoscope. The Lightweight Littmann offers supreme acoustics that we are accustomed to from a Littmann stethoscope. However if you find it difficult to hear low-frequency sounds, I would recommend you another stethoscope.
There have been some issues reported by older people that they had trouble hearing lower frequency sounds with this stethoscope. When it comes to stethoscope price you can hardly beat the price/quality ratio with this stethoscope. Definitely a winner in my book, if you keep in mind above concerns.
The MDF Acoustica is proof that not all stethoscopes need to be Littmann stethoscopes to be good ones. Sure Littmann might have a lot of marketshare but that doesn’t mean there are other stethoscope manufacturers that can’t be just as good. This particular model has been tried and tested in trauma centers and ambulances throughout the country. All of the feedback so far has been positive. Some even saying that the acoustics on this one are as good as on the Cardiology III.
It is lightweight and feels comfortable around the neck. This stethoscope has specialized earbuds for a snug fit in your ear. It is also latex free. As a result the chances of an allergic reaction on you or your patient have been diminished. At half the cost of a Lightweight Littmann you can hardly go wrong with this one.
Stethoscopes under $100
If you are looking for a stethoscope to get your medical career started, This is the one. The Littmann Classic is a classic in itself. It has superior acoustics than the Lightweight version. It can pick up even the faintest of low frequency sounds, ensuring you that nothing will go unnoticed. This is a good all-round stethoscope that will get you started. You can still decide later on if you want to upgrade to a cardiology-grade stethoscope. However you’ll find that most will stick to their classic in the end. At less than $100 this is a steal on amazon!
Don’t let the looks of this stethoscope fool you. You might think all you’re paying for would be the fancy look of this stunning stehoscope. And I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so. However the sensitivity of this ADC Adscope stethoscope truly is exquisite. A customer even wrote on amazon that it rivals that of some of the Littmanns he owns.
The downside of this stethoscope is that it is a Sprague-type stethocope, making the head quite heavy. It also comes with a bag however that one is quite big too. All in all a decent stethoscope that will truly make you look professional!
Stethoscopes over $100
At this point the sky is the limit really. You can spend a fortune if you wish on stethoscopes. However the truth is that you rarely need to unless you plan on specializing in a certain field of cardiology. I would say that 90% of cases where you need a stethoscope, you can solve those with the stethoscopes mentioned above.
Let me know your opinion on this list. Do you think the acoustics of the MDF Acoustica can be compared to that of a Littmann? What do you think influence stethoscope price?