3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

Last updated date: July 20, 2021

DWYM Score

9.1

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope

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We looked at the top Stethoscopes and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Stethoscope you should buy.

Update as September 3, 2021:
Checkout The Best Stethoscope for a detailed review of all the top stethoscopes.

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 26 expert reviews, the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope placed 8th when we looked at the top 17 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

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.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

9.0
3 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.8
4,061 user 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

Our Expert Consultant

Dr. Anis Rehman 
Endocrinologist and assistant professor of internal medicine

Dr. Anis Rehman is a board-certified endocrinologist who treats diabetes, obesity, thyroid diseases and osteoporosis, as well as general endocrine diseases. He also serves as an assistant professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine.

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.

The Stethoscope Buying Guide

  • Your first stop when shopping for a stethoscope is to check out the acoustics ratings. The higher the acoustic rating, the more likely you are 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. Look for certain models that feature a design to insulate the noise transmission and keep out ambient sounds.
  • If you’ll be using your stethoscope on children, you will want to identify a stethoscope that is designed to work well on children. Some models have 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. 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. Certain stethoscopes 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, look for a model that 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. Look for high-quality stainless steel and durable acoustic tubing.
  • 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. Some stethoscopes include 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. Some 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 certain models , although lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear, are considered entry-level stethoscopes. You may want to stick with a more advanced stethoscope.
  • Hygiene is an important factor in a stethoscope. Clear earpieces make it easier to see when they need to be cleaned.