Littmann Stethoscopes: The Gold Standard in Medical Diagnostics 



A Complete Guide to Littmann Stethoscopes.

In the early 1960s, a Harvard cardiologist named Dr David Littmann developed a stethoscope far superior to anything else on the market. It was so monumental that 3M, a multinational conglomerate, saw massive potential in this idea and acquired its patent. They also hired him as a consultant to lead future efforts to improve their products. 

Dr Littmann’s impactful designs were a huge success—today, you’ll still find a Littmann in each corner of a hospital. They are the gold standard for acoustic quality and are celebrated for their accuracy in medical diagnostics.   

The Anatomy of a Littmann Stethoscope: 

Before we talk about the unique features that make Littmann an industry leader, let’s recap the parts of a stethoscope so that you can better understand the variations between different Littmann models.  


Part of Stethoscope  Description  
Headset  Part of the stethoscope worn by the user. 
Ear tips  A part of the headset that fits into your ears. Like earbuds, they improve the quality of the sound you hear without causing discomfort in your ear canal. 
Ear tubes  Metal tubes that are part of the headset and connect ear tips to the tubing. Transfer sound from the chest piece to your ears. 
Tubing   The long, flexible tube-like structure that connects the chest piece with the ear tubes. 
Stem  The metal component that allows the chest piece to rotate to switch between the bell and diaphragm. 
Chest piece  Part of the stethoscope that is placed on the patient’s body. 
Diaphragm   The bigger, flatter part of the chest piece that is used to hear high-frequency sounds, e.g., heart and lung sounds 
Bell  The smaller, cup-shaped part of the chest piece that is used to hear low-frequency sounds, such as bowel sounds and heart murmurs. 


What Sets Littmann Stethoscopes Apart? 

Littmann stethoscopes are widely trusted by medical professionals worldwide, from doctors and nurses to students. They have won various accolades for their quality by industry giants like Popular Science and Fast Company’s Innovation of the Year Award. 

  1. Superior Acoustics: 

Littmann stethoscopes provide crystal-clear sound thanks to their highly advanced build. Their dual-lumen tubing eliminates background noise and allows you to focus on patient vitals in noisy, distracting environments.  

In addition, the diaphragm’s adjustment allows for easier transitions between high and low frequencies, which helps you detect even the slightest clinical sign during a physical exam.  


2. Unmatched Durability: 

Littmann stethoscopes are known to last well beyond their warranty, as they are often passed down from one generation of doctors to another. They have high-quality PVC tubing that can withstand constantly getting folded around your neck or in your pocket.  

 Moreover, the diaphragm is non-porous and resistant to the absorption of body fluids and oils. The earpieces are made of aerospace aluminium alloy, which does not undergo corrosion and rust. 


3. Built for User Comfort: 

Despite their sturdiness, Littmann stethoscopes are light and cause little strain on your neck and shoulders. Their flexibility also helps professionals’ manoeuvre around easily.  

 Additionally, they have snap-tight, soft-sealing ear tips that fit snugly in your ears. The ear tubes have been designed with the anatomy of human ear canals in mind, and the headset can be adjusted according to your needs, too. 

Choosing the Right Littmann Stethoscope: 

Littmann stethoscopes come in dozens of designs, as 3M caters to the needs of many different medical specialties. However, with so many great options to choose from, it’s tough to figure out which stethoscope is the right choice for you or your loved ones in healthcare.  

So, to help you make a better decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best Littmann models for different specialties and discussed their features.


  1. 3M Littmann Classic III: Best Littmann Stethoscope for General Practice  

The 3M Littmann Classic III stethoscope is perfect for seeing diverse patient populations. It features a dual-sided chest piece with tunable diaphragms for both adults and children. Its next-generation tubing resists oil and wear, staying undamaged even on busy days with many patients.  

The Classic III’s high acoustic sensitivity helps GPs detect subtle sounds and diagnose diseases early on during routine checkups. Its easy-to-clean design ensures hygiene, and a five-year warranty guarantees reliability. 

Here’s a comparison of its features with another Littmann stethoscope that is well-suited to the needs of a medical practitioner who sees a number of patients every day. 




Littmann Classic III  Littmann CORE Digital 


69cm  71cm 


150g  232g 
Chest Piece  Double-sided  Double-sided 


Diaphragm  Dual-turnable, tunable, easy to attach  Dual-turnable, tunable, easy to attach 


Tubing  Single-lumen, next generation, no latex, resistant to oils and alcohol  Double-lumen, most advanced, no latex, resistant to oils and alcohol 


Bell sleeve  Non-chill bell sleeve for comfort 


Non-chill bell sleeve for comfort 


Warranty  Five years  Two years 


Ideal Use  Physicians seeing a wide range of diverse patients in a non-critical setting  Physicians seeking excellence in their diagnostic capabilities 


2. 3M Littmann Cardiology IV: Best Littmann Stethoscope for the ER and Emergencies 

The 3M Littmann Cardiology IV stethoscope is a lifesaver in noisy, high-stress environments like critical care units and emergency rotations. It can detect even the faintest body sounds— and not just in your heart— with its superior acoustics.  

In addition, its single-piece tunable diaphragms facilitate high and low-frequency sounds in both children and adults, and it has a sturdy build to survive the wear and tear that ER and ICU professionals face daily. 

Let’s compare Cardiology IV with other Littmann stethoscopes used in fast-paced and critical healthcare settings. 





Littmann Cardiology IV  Littmann Cardiology III  Littmann Master Cardiology 


Great  Good  Excellent 


69cm  69cm  69cm 


177g   185g   185g 
Chest Piece  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece 


Tunable diaphragm  Tunable diaphragm  Tunable diaphragm 


Dual-lumen tubing  Dual-lumen tubing  Dual-lumen tubing 
Warranty  Seven years  Five years  Seven years 



 3. 3M Littmann Master Cardiology: Best Littmann Stethoscope for Cardiology 

The 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope is the top choice for cardiology. It has the best acoustic performance of all non-electronic stethoscopes. The only Littmann that is more sensitive than Master Cardiology is the CORE Digital one in its amplified sound mode.  

Because the CORE can sometimes run out of battery time, we recommend Master Cardiology. In addition to being acoustically great for auscultation, the Master stethoscope has a stainless steel chest piece that assists you in gauging your patients’ physical signs accurately. 





Littmann Master Cardiology  Littmann CORE Digital  Littmann Cardiology III 


Excellent  Digitally: Superior to Master Cardiology. Up to 40x amplification and active noise cancellation  


Analog: Good 



69cm  69cm  69cm 


185g  232g  185g 
Chest Piece  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece, digital electronic filtering  Dual-sided stainless steel chest piece 




Tunable diaphragm  Tunable diaphragm, digital electronic filtering, ambient noise reduction 


Tunable diaphragm 





Dual-lumen tubing  Dual-lumen tubing 



Dual-lumen tubing 



Warranty  Seven years  Two years  Seven years 


4. 3M Littmann Classic II Paediatric Stethoscope: Best Littmann Stethoscope for Paediatrics (Children) 

The 3M Littmann Classic II Paediatric Stethoscope has been designed according to the different physiology of young patients. Its dual-sided chest piece allows for versatile auscultation of both high- and low-frequency sounds in paediatric patients. 

In addition, it has a small 3.3cm diaphragm, which is ideal for auscultating young patients without discomfort. Like other Littmann stethoscopes, it lacks latex, which is excellent for children’s sensitive skin. 


5. 3M Littmann Classic II Infant Stethoscope: Best Littmann Stethoscope for Paediatrics (Infants) 

The Classic II Infant Stethoscope is designed for the tiniest patients, such as newborns and young infants. At 2.7 cm, its smaller chest piece and fine diaphragm are optimized for detecting subtle sounds in this age group. 

The Classic II Infant is ideal for neonatologists, NICU nurses, and paediatricians working primarily with infants. For professionals dealing with toddlers and older children, the Classic II Paediatric is a better choice. 

Here’s a comparison of both the paediatric and infant Littmann stethoscopes to help you make an informed decision. 





Littmann Classic II 


Littmann Classic II 




Good  Good 


71cm  71cm 


105g  95g 
Chest Piece  Double-sided 

(3.4cm, 2.7cm) 


(2.8cm, 1.7cm) 












Single-lumen tubing  Single-lumen tubing 



Warranty  Three years  Three years 


6. 3M Littmann CORE Digital: Best Littmann Stethoscope for High Acoustic Quality 

Finally, we have the latest offering by Littman — the cutting-edge CORE Digital which is a whopping forty times more sensitive at picking up the slightest of body sounds than the regular Littmann stethoscope. The only downside to it is that this quality is limited to its digital mode, which can run out of battery.  

Nevertheless, it is currently the best Littmann stethoscope in terms of audio quality and has recently received an honorary mention in the 2022 Fast Company World Changing Ideas global awards. It has quickly become a favourite among our Australian physicians, too.



Where to Buy Littmann Stethoscopes in Australia?


If you’re looking to buy a Littmann stethoscope in Australia, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a student on a budget or a professional looking for the latest Littmann that 3M has announced, we’ll help you find the stethoscope of your dreams. 

We don’t just sell you a stethoscope and then disappear. As a family-owned business, we consider you a valuable part of our family, too. You’ll have access to maintenance tips, usage guides, and ongoing support so your Littmann stethoscope remains in excellent condition. 

Here is a link to our product page to find the stethoscope that suits you and place your order on the spot: 3M Littmann Stethoscope Sales and Supplies (teammed.com.au) 

If you need any advice or have any questions, our team of experts is ready to assist you. Drop us a message here: Home – Team Medical