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Asking the price of a stethoscope can be as challenging to answer as asking what the price of a car is. It varies widely depending on the maker, technology involved, and specific end-usage.
This article will go through the price points of the brands and models to consider as a veterinarian, nurse, or seasoned cardiologist.
Stethoscopes’ price points can vary from as low as $30 up to more than $600. A high-quality device that will last numerous years can be acquired for an average of $250.
The range is mainly influenced by three factors that we will cover in more detail:
- Intended usage
Is it worth buying an expensive stethoscope?
A stethoscope is the only medical equipment a doctor will always bring with him. It is also critical as a training device.
The eternal debate is whether a medical student will need to buy an expensive one or if it makes sense to buy a middle-range stethoscope while in training and a better one after graduation.
Stethoscopes can be forgotten, lost, or even stolen. So a name tag may be a good idea, especially in the medical world where most practitioners favor Littman models. After all, nothing is more similar to a 3M Littman than another 3M Littman.
Without investing more than $500 for a top-of-the-line electronic stethoscope, it is always worth buying a device that will provide clear sounds and help establish diagnostics.
Especially for students, buying a good quality stethoscope is critical for differentiating the relevant body sounds and learning auscultation. Unfortunately, too often, buying a low-end or average stethoscope will end up with frustrating feelings by the need for a new one.
A delicate balance should be found between the quality and the price. The worse scenario is to buy one, feel frustrated, and end up a couple of months later with the need for a new device.
The best advice we can give you is that you will get what you pay for as for everything. It makes sense to ask your friends or colleagues for advice/feedbacks or even for a test of the model they recommend. This way, you will choose the device that will meet your needs. Paying $50 or even $100 less may not be worth it when choosing a stethoscope.
How Much Does a Good Stethoscope Cost?
A good stethoscope might cost anywhere from $20 and $400. So yes, there may be a significant difference since training and nursing stethoscopes must also be considered.
A lightweight nurse or at-home stethoscope starts at around $20, while a sophisticated Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscope may cost close to $300. As a result, the cost of a stethoscope is significantly dependent on your requirements.
As we mentioned, it is not always a good idea to be cheap when buying a stethoscope. However, high-end stethoscopes have a price tag for a reason. In addition, they integrate technological innovation, and the clarity of the sounds can not be compared.
What Can Raise the Price of a Stethoscope?
As previously said, there may be various features that will raise the price of your stethoscope.
Acoustic stethoscopes are often less expensive than electronic stethoscopes since they have much more functionality built into their design: sound amplification, sound recording, electronic noise reduction, remote listening, and other features.
Certain acoustic stethoscopes have sophisticated features such as a tunable diaphragm or binaural pieces that rival the electronic stethoscope. This, however, will be reflected in the price of the acoustic stethoscope.
Of course, medical practitioners must consider the brand as well because some companies provide identical functions for their stethoscopes while charging vastly different rates.
What you need to consider when choosing a stethoscope
A stethoscope is all about sound quality. A digital stethoscope will allow removing the background noise while concentrating on what needs to be heard. Some of them are even optimized for practitioners using hearing aids.
When choosing a stethoscope, we recommend going with a reputable brand. Cheap models may be interesting for at-home use but are not recommended for clinical settings.
Even though most stethoscopes are robust, a well-established brand will carry replacement parts and allow for after-sales services that you will not find in cheaper counterparts.
A good quality stethoscope will last you numerous years and maybe even a lifetime for mechanical ones. I still use the stethoscope of my grandfather, and it looks and sounds as good as new.
The rule of thumb is to be ready to pay between $200 to $300 for a device you will use every day. Not a bad investment, isn’t it?