As an ER or ICU nurse, you’d agree that a stethoscope is one of the most important equipment that you need almost all the time. You’d also agree that your ability to quickly pick the patient’s heart, breath, and blood pressure sounds quickly and accurately hinges largely on the quality of stethoscope you use. This explains why you should always use a top quality nurses’ stethoscope.
Now, the truth is, the market is flooded with stethoscopes of various models and brands, with each being marketed as “the best”. Therefore, making the right choice from the huge pack can be a head-scratching experience. And if you’re not careful, you’re more than likely to end up with the wrong choice.
In this guide, we’ll review the best stethoscopes for nurses who work in the emergency room (ER) or intensive care unit (ICU). But before we go to the review proper, let’s discuss some important things you need to consider before buying a stethoscope.
Best stethoscopes for ER & ICU nurses: what to look for before buying
- Weight: Because you’ll be carrying your stethoscope with you throughout — or for most of — your practice day, weight is one of the important things to consider. You sure don’t want a stethoscope that will be a burden on your neck or one that will gradually tear down the edges of your pocket due to its heavy weight.
- Comfort: Only few things can be more discomforting than using a stethoscope whose eartips are too large for your ears. So, you need to consider this before buying a stethoscope. Your best bet is one that comes with extra eartips of varying sizes.
- Foldability: Some stethoscopes are more foldable than others. For example, dual-tube stethoscopes are not as easy to fold, which means they’re not good options for you as an ER or ICU nurse. Foldable stethoscopes are easy to keep in your pocket, so you won’t be compelled to carry them around your neck or in your hand all day.
- Simplicity: As an ER and ICU nurse, you need stethoscope that is of high quality, yet very simple. You’ll be dealing mostly with life-threatening situations where you’re required to act fast and work with multiple instruments at once. You sure don’t want a stethoscope that takes time to get used to or will get in the way of other instruments you’re using.
- Your allergies: One of the golden rules of medical practice is that you must always protect yourself. In your bid to save others’ lives, you needn’t endanger yours. So, if you’re allergic to latex, nickel, and specialized plastics used to make stethoscopes, you need to keep this in mind when looking for the right option.
Having discussed what you need to consider before pulling out your cash or card to pay for any stethoscope, let’s now look at the best options you’ve got.
Best stethoscopes for ER & ICU nurses: Review of our top 3 picks
We understand you’ve got tons of options when it comes choosing a stethoscope. And we know that making the right choice can be challenging. So, we’ve decided to ease your task by conducting and extensive market research, which involved comparing the best options available in the market.
Based on real buyer opinions, product features, brand trust, durability, price, and other important factors, carefully handpicked the best stethoscopes for ER & ICU nurses. And here are our top three choices.
1. 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope
The 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope is not just another stethoscope; it’s well-made for all-round nursing use. This explains why it’s a great choice for all-round nursing use. It’s lightweight and comes in a very simple and compact design, and these make it easy to carry around and work with.
With its dual-sides chestpiece, the stethoscope picks all important sounds and provides high quality acoustic output, so you won’t miss anything vital. You can easily listen to both low and high frequency sounds by changing the amount of pressure applied on the diaphragm (light pressure for low frequency sounds and firm pressure for high frequency sounds).
The 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope comes with a 28-inch tubing that is foldable, yet resilient. The tubing never kinks and retains its shape and flexibility even after you fold it tightly in your pocket or hands. And it’s not made of natural rubber latex, which triggers allergies in professionals who are sensitive to it. The stethoscope also comes with snap-tight, soft-sealing eartips that will fit your ears comfortably and provide an excellent acoustic seal, which is needed for vital sounds to be clearly heard.
For the lovers of specific colors, the 3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope comes in 17 different tubing colors and 4 different chestpiece colors. And even though it comes with a 3-year warranty, it lasts several years, according to more-than-countable buyers and users of the product. That’s no surprise, considering that it came from Littmann, the most trusted stethoscope brand.
2. 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope
Just as its name implies, the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is the lightweight version of our top pick. With a 28-inch tubing that is resilient to multiple folding, the stethoscope is one of the best models available in the market at the moment.
The stethoscope sports a tunable diaphragm that helps to detect low and high frequency vital sounds with simple changes in applied pressure. The chestpiece comes in a tear-drop shape, which makes it fit easily under the blood pressure cuff. So, if what you do is more of checking blood pressure, this is your best bet.
The 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope is ergonomically designed. The eartips conform well to the anatomy of the ear, giving the user sustained comfort even after prolonged wear. And the acoustic output is of top quality, which means you won’t miss any vital sounds.
The stethoscope comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and lasts several years of continuous use. It’s available in 7 different colors.
3. MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope
The MDF MD One Premium Dual Head Stethoscope is unique on our list, in that it sports a dual-head stethoscope. Though not a Litmann model, it doesn’t disappoint in every aspect that matters to you as a nurse. The tubing is slightly shorter at 25 inches, but this doesn’t affect its output sound quality, as it delivers accurate vital sounds with acoustic clarity and integrity. The tubing is made of thick, dense, latex-free PVC, which is resilient and kink-proof. It seals out ambient noise and provides insulation for high quality sound transmission.
The headset is made of stainless steel and bears soft silicone eartips that are made transparent for hygienic purposes. The eartips conform to the ear anatomy to seal out unwanted extraneous noise and ensure maximum comfort during prolonged use. The chestpiece is handcrafted, made of stainless steel, and polished for durability and high performance.
The MDF MD One Premium Dual Head Stethoscope comes with two extra pairs of eartips (large and small sizes), ID tag, and spare ultrasensitive diaphragm. It’s available in 17 different colors.