3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope

Last updated date: October 8, 2019

DWYM Score
9.8

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We looked at the top 1 Stethoscopes and dug through the reviews from 3 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, My Access Health, Test Prep Nerds and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Stethoscope you should buy.

Overall Take

You'll get a high acoustics rating and accuracy from the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope. One of this stethoscope's best features is that it has a separate side for adults and children. So, you can use it on everyone in your household. You can also tweak the pressure you're putting on the chestpiece to better hear lower and higher sound ranges. In our analysis of 29 expert reviews, the 3M Littmann 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope placed 1st when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note October 8, 2019:
Checkout The Best Stethoscope for a detailed review of all the top stethoscopes.

Expert Summarized Score
10.0
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
4,811 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Offers almost every feature medical professionals need, including clear acoustics, adults/pediatric sides and tunable diaphragms
- BestReviews
The Classic III is very high-quality and almost universally well-reviewed, giving excellent, accurate acoustics and adjustability for any purpose. It’s comfortable and well-constructed of quality materials. It’s also available for an excellent price, much less expensive than higher-end models but far superior to cheaper ones, making it a great choice for an all-around, versatile stethoscope.
- My Access Health
The 3M Littmann III Monitoring Stethoscope employs a two-sided chest piece that has tunable diaphragms for adults and pediatric patients
- Test Prep Nerds
What experts didn't like
The earpieces may fit some users a bit loosely
- BestReviews
Not as comfortable as other stethoscopes. Ear pieces sometimes fall off.
- My Access Health
After years of using, the tubing can sometimes break due to more extended skin exposure
- Test Prep Nerds

From The Manufacturer

The compact and sensitive Littmann Classic III stethoscope is the perfect instrument for clinicians who monitor and assess children or adults in non-critical environments. Manufactured with strong yet lightweight materials for hours of comfortable use. Education at your fingertips. Get exclusive training content on your mobile device that will help you improve your auscultation skills and use your stethoscope more effectively. The 3M Littmann Learning Institute App includes self-paced lessons with heart and lung sounds, patient scenarios to help improve your diagnostic thinking, self-tests to track your progress, a sound library, and more. Get the app and start training today! Here’s how: Find Find the Littmann Learning Institute App in the App Store or Google Play. Download Download the free app to your mobile device. Unlock Enter the serial number, found on your 3M Littmann Stethoscope chestpiece, or voucher code to unlock unique educational content.

Overall Product Rankings

1. 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 3
2. 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 3
3. 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 3
4. MDF Instruments Premium Dual Head Stethoscope
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
5. Prestige Medical Clinical Lite Stethoscope
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 2
6. Dixie EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 1
7. ADC Adscope Lite Clinician Stethoscope
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Stethoscopes

Medical professionals use stethoscopes to monitor your health, particularly your heart and lungs. If you head to the doctor when you’re sick, chances are the practitioner will use a stethoscope to see what’s going on internally.

But you don’t have to wait until you visit a doctor to use a stethoscope. If you have children or an elderly adult in your life, you may want to keep a stethoscope on hand for those quick checks. There are plenty of good quality stethoscopes that you can use at home without medical training.

The most popular type of stethoscope used today is acoustic, which picks up soundwaves from your body, vibrating the surface of the diaphragm on the chestpiece. That vibration makes its way to the ear tips, which brings the sound to the listener’s eardrums. When you’re looking at stethoscopes, you’ll often see acoustics mentioned as a top benefit for that very reason. Acoustics play an important role in how effective your stethoscope will be, says Dr. Anis Rehman, an endocrinologist and an assistant professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine.

Another feature you’ll often see mentioned is “tunability.” This refers to the diaphragm on the chestpiece. Newer acoustic stethoscopes feature a tunable diaphragm, which puts the bell-shaped piece of metal together with the diaphragm on one side of the chestpiece. Technology is also built into the chestpiece that can record sound and provide it as a digital file. These stethoscopes also have noise-canceling features in the earpieces to make it easier to get a reading.

Of course, along with all of the technical details, you’ll want to know about the comfort of the earpieces themselves. Although you won’t be wearing it for hours on end, you’ll still need earpieces that will fit snugly enough so that you can listen without distraction. Additionally, it’s important to look for a stethoscope that is flexible enough to provide accuracy whether you’re using it on a child or adult.

Dr. Rehman also advises that you should consider how easy it will be to find replacement parts for your stethoscope, since you may eventually want to replace the eartips or the diaphragm itself.

DYWM Fun Fact

If you need a stethoscope now and can’t wait a couple of days for your order to come in, don’t worry. You can put your own together while you wait. Plus, it makes a fun craft project for children. First, grab a paper towel roll and a balloon. You then cut the end off the balloon and roll it over one end of the paper towel roll, then press the roll, balloon side down, on the chest of your patient. If you don’t have a balloon handy, no problem. Just use a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the tube, fasten it in place with some duct tape and use that side against the chest of your patient. Obviously, it will lack the features of a stethoscope, but it’s a fun way to teach the science of stethoscopes to the young people in your house.

The Stethoscope Buying Guide

  • Your first stop when shopping for a stethoscope is to check out the acoustics ratings. The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope has the highest rating, a 9, followed by the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring, at an 8. The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope rates a 6 for acoustics. The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope is built specifically to catch even the most subtle issues, such as heart murmurs or pulmonary anomalies.
  • As valuable as great acoustics are, it won’t help if it’s overwhelmed by surrounding noise. The MDF Premium Dual Head Stethoscope features a design that insulates the noise transmission and keeps out ambient sounds.
  • If you’ll be using your stethoscope on children, you can’t go wrong with the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring. It has an adult and pediatric side, making it easy to use it on everyone in your family.
  • As you become more advanced in using a stethoscope, you’ll want a device that can give you the full range of sounds. The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring and 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope let you easily change the sounds you’ll be able to hear. Use light pressure on the chestpiece to hear low-frequency sounds, then increase the pressure if you want to get sounds at the higher range.
  • If you’ve ever been surprised by a cold stethoscope, you know the experience can be pretty uncomfortable. The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring, 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope and 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope all feature non-chill rims on the diaphragm to keep the experience as comfortable as possible.
  • For those planning to use the stethoscope under a blood pressure cuff, the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope features a teardrop shape that makes it easy to slide beneath.
  • Build is important if you want to make sure your stethoscope will last over multiple uses. The MDF Premium Dual Head Stethoscope is made from high-quality stainless steel. The acoustic tubing is also durable, resisting cracks. As a bonus, the entire stethoscope is also latex-free.
  • Stethoscopes range in price from $50-$200. For the highly rated acoustics of the 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope, you’ll pay between $100 and $200, but the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring, 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope and MDF Premium Dual Head Stethoscope all retail for less than $100. The 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring is on the higher end of the lower-priced stethoscopes, but the extra features may make it worth it.
  • A good diagnosis is about more than what happens on the chestpiece end of things. There are also the two earpieces, each fitting into one of your ears. It’s important that the earpieces fit comfortably and snugly so that you can hear clearly. The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope includes earpieces that can be adjusted upward or downward by simply squeezing the ear tips. They’re designed to conform to a variety of ears for the best sound.
  • As valuable as a powerful diaphragm can be, it can also lead to problems, especially for newer users who are still trying to get the hang of things. The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope’s diaphragms can be overly sensitive, which can lead to interference if you don’t dial it correctly.
  • If you want to use your stethoscope in a clinical setting, it’s important to note that the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, although lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear, is considered an entry-level stethoscope. You may want to stick with a more advanced stethoscope, despite the lower price.
  • Hygiene is an important factor in a stethoscope. The earpieces on the MDF Premium Dual Head Stethoscope are clear in color to make it easier to see when they need to be cleaned.