3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

Last updated date: March 25, 2019

DWYM Score
8.9

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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

The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope lets you hone in on both low and high frequencies by merely adjusting the pressure you're placing on the chestpiece. The teardrop shape makes it easy to slip this stethoscope beneath a blood pressure cuff, but it's more of an entry-level stethoscope. The low price makes it a great choice for families on a budget. In our analysis of 29 expert reviews, the 3M Littmann 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope placed 3rd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 26, 2019:
Checkout The Best Stethoscope for a detailed review of all the top stethoscopes.

Expert Summarized Score
9.0
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
4,061 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Non-chill, tunable diaphragm
- BestReviews
The Lightweight II SE is not as featured as some of the other, more expensive options, but is still very high-quality, especially for its price range.
- My Access Health
The tunable diaphragm technology enables healthcare practitioners to detect different frequency sounds by adjusting the pressure on the chest piece
- Test Prep Nerds
What experts didn't like
Only includes one pair of ear tips
- BestReviews
Diaphragm is metal/resin composite; not meant for professional use.
- My Access Health
The 28” tubing may seem short, especially if you’re used to 32” stethoscope
- Test Prep Nerds

From The Manufacturer

The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is an ideal entry-level instrument, with a tunable diaphragm, dual-sided chestpiece, and reliable acoustic performance. Its teardrop shape makes auscultation around blood pressure cuffs easier. The suggested use for the Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is as a diagnostic aid as part of the physical assessment of a patient. It is Ideally suited for certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, EMT/EMS, licensed vocational nurses, medical assistants and nursing students. The power to learn in the palm of your hand with our free educational app. Practice your auscultation skills anytime, anywhere with the 3M Littmann Learning Institute app, free with the purchase of a 3M Littmann Stethoscope. The app allows you to practice and improve your auscultations skills, which can result in better performance in school or your practice and provide better patient outcomes. With the app, you can: Develop diagnostic skills using patient scenarios Listen to real heart and lung sounds to recognize different conditions Track your progress Test your knowledge Unlock the full content of the app with the serial number found on the chestpiece of your Littmann stethoscope. Go to the iTunes App Store or Google Play to download the free app and start training today! The colors shown online are approximations. We have made every effort to show the best possible match to the color of the actual product. However, some variation is expected, due to differences in both lighting and monitor calibration.

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.

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.

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.