3M Littmann Classic III
- Good workmanship
- Tunable and machined stainless steel diaphragms
- Tubing free of latex or phthalates
- Dual-head chestpiece
- 5-year warranty
- Ear pieces sometimes fall off
- Quite uncomfortable
- Lack of variation in tube lengths
The Littmann Classic III is a solidly designed stethoscope for those individuals wanting good acoustic properties mixed with affordability. The Littmann brand equates quality regardless of which model you purchase. When I initially sought to graduate from lower quality stethoscopes, and more specifically from my Sprague Rappaport design I gravitated toward a Littmann. The Littmann Classic III offers similar features to that of higher end cardiology stethoscopes while not breaking the bank. While the design of the “classic” models of Littmanns have gone through multiple variations, the Classic III model’s perhaps best feature is the upgraded tubing that Littmann built into the design. The thicker double lumen-single tube design that they integrated into this generation of stethoscope has a similar feel to that of the Cardiology III.
Most doctors will be familiar with the Littmann Classic III. If Littmann is the icon of contemporary stethoscopes, the Classic III is the flagship of its middle series.
Why is it so popular and how has it collected so many positive reviews?
Affordable, long lasting, versatile, reliable and suitable for most medicine professionals. It doesn’t incorporate any sophisticated features. It simply works, and it works very well. Therefore, this is an appropriate stethoscope for most general medicine practitioners, nurses and clinical professionals. For other specialties, it’s better idea to go for models within the superior Cardiology series (such as Littmann Cardiology III, the most affordable in the superior series)
With the Littmann Classic III, you will, in short, be able to listen to any sound you wish: grade I murmurs, S3 and S4 noises, among others. This stethoscope comes with excellent acoustics thanks to the development and the experience Littmann has built up over the several decades they have been manufacturing stethoscopes.
However, is their acoustic as great as in the Cardiology series models? No, any cardiologist or specialist with a trained ear will be able to perceive the difference. Its acoustic, although fair, is not as excellent as in other superior models. It doesn’t have the same clarity, or amplification, or ability to detect details and nuances.
It is a good stethoscope, with above average acoustic performance, but its results are not outstanding.
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Monitor and assess a wide range of patients
Detect normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms
Useful in non-critical care environments such as a medical office, general ward, OB/GYN, ambulatory clinic or urgent care
Fun and vibrant; match color and finish to your personality
Designed for use with adult and pediatric patients
Tunable, dual-sided stainless steel chestpiece with open or closed bell
Non-chill bell sleeve for greater patient comfort
Soft-sealing ear-tips provide optimal comfort and excellent sound occlusion
Made in the USA without natural rubber latex
Versatility of tunable diaphragms and chestpiece with pediatric and adult sides
Very likely, you already know their tunable diaphragms is one of the main innovations in Littmann stethoscopes. It can detect both low and high frequencies by modifying the levels of the pressure that is exerted on the client.
Thanks to this innovation, it’s not necessary to have a stethoscope with one traditional diaphragm on one side (to detect high frequencies) and a bell on the other (to detect low frequencies). Both sides in the Littmann Classic III series can detect both high and low frequencies by changing the pressure that is exerted.
Thus, the largest diameter side of the chestpiece doesn’t function as a traditional diaphragm, but it is at once diaphragm and bell for use with adult patients. As expected, the chestpiece’s smaller side is reserved for pediatric clients.
This feature adds versatility to the Littmann Classic III, since it will be as useful with adult as with pediatric clients. Moreover, the smaller diameter side can turn into a traditional open bell, by simply replacing the diaphragm by a non-chill rim (included).
Littmann Classic III’s Materials and Manufacturing
Same as other Littmann in its series, Classic III is made of an aeroespacial steel alloy, and also includes some parts in anodized aluminum. As we have pointed out at other times, top-notch quality steel alloys are one of the best materials for the chestpieces due to their great degree of sound conductivity.
Classic III’s tube is made with a material that is fold and pressure resistant, and can return to its original shape even after being folded. Besides, it includes no latex or phthalate plasticizers in its composition and can resist both skin oils and alcohol.
Littmann Classic III comes with a 5-year guarantee which, in the end, helps us realize that this is a stethoscope made to last and resist continuous hustle and bustle.
3M Littmann Learning Institute app
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Littmann Classic III includes the “3M Littmann Learning Institute app”. This smartphone application allows access to a series of lessons with real auscultation sounds, performing a follow-up on your progress and even testing your knowledge. In short, a very useful tool for medical field students and beginner clinical professionals.
The Littmann Classic III is the best stethoscope for its features and price point. It can hold its own from an acoustic standpoint in any setting. In my personal experience with it I feel that I could make an easy assessment of most medical problems with this model. I think for many people this will appeal since we all look for versatility in our healthcare tools given tight pockets, and the need to be adaptable to different practice settings. The Littmann brand and quality carry significant weight at this price point. There are few competitors that make a device with this quality, or who can stand behind the 5 year warranty that Littmann provides. For most healthcare professionals this will be an excellent stethoscope for the brunt of their work.