Ready, Steth, Go: A Guide To The Best Stethoscope For Nurses and Nursing Students

Nurses are the backbone of the medical profession. They are the unsung heroes that keep everything running smoothly; whether it’s at a clinic, in the hospital, or out in the field. Being a nurse can be a thankless job but it is also a rewarding and enriching calling. We often take for granted how hard nurses work, and it’s about time that we think of how to best help them do their job.

All vocations come with a price, and nursing is no exception. Nursing school can be very demanding physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Anyone who has studied to get into the medical profession will know how large of an investment it is. Part of this investment comes in the form of medical equipment. All nurses carry around important tools for the job, and no tool is probably as distinct and recognizable as the stethoscope.

A quality, gold standard stethoscope is important for all nurses, regardless of specialization or years of experience. Anything that can make a tough job even just a bit easier is a plus in our book. There are so many stethoscopes in the market these days, it can be hard to know where to look so we can advise on some of the best stethoscopes for nurses with this handy guide.

Your stethoscope should be able to keep up with the hard work that you do. It’s time to get yourself the product you deserve!

What Stethoscopes Do We Offer?

We have different types of stethoscopes to suit everyone from new nursing students to experienced nursing professionals. We’ll get into specific recommendations later so you can have a better idea of what to look for. For now, let’s look at the variety of stethoscopes we have available.

Ultrascope Single Stethoscope

The Ultrascope Single Stethoscope is our flagship model and one of our best-selling stethoscopes. It’s popular among nurses and all kinds of medical professionals for being a versatile, reliable, do-it-all stethoscope. This can also be used for both humanandanimal patients.

Pressure Sensitive Acoustic Stethoscope

The Single Stethoscope is a pressure-sensitive acoustic option. It has a single-sided adjustable or tunable head, meaning that its diaphragm functions both as a bell and a diaphragm to enhance those.

All Ultrascope stethoscopes are pressure-sensitive, single-sided acoustic stethoscopes.  The adjustable diaphragm of the Single Stethoscope lets users listen to high-frequency sounds by simply changing the amount of pressure applied to the head. The head is made of acrylic, making it naturally more noise-resistant than metal stethoscope heads. Acrylic heads are excellent at reducing ambient noise and blocking out external sounds. 

 All Ultrascope stethoscopes also come with acrylic heads.

Personalize Your Medical Equipment

The Ultrascope Single Stethoscope comes with the most customization options out of all our models. Medical professionals have really started to embrace the personalization of their equipment, and other brands like MD One have also started to offer customization options for stethoscopes.

With Ultrascope, you get hundreds of head designs and a rainbow of tubing colors, along with custom engraving and name-tag options. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope

At first glance, the Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope looks nearly identical to the Single Stethoscope. However, the Duo Stethoscope has another feature hidden up its sleeve: the ability to swap between stethoscope heads.

Switching between stethoscope heads is quick and easy. You just have to unscrew the head connectors by hand and then screw on the head that you need—no tools or equipment required.

Two Different Head Size Options

It’s similar to the Sprague Rappaport stethoscope, but it only has one tube, so it’s easier and faster to switch between heads. We offer two different head sizes: an Adult head and a Pediatric head; the Adult head is good for dealing with patients of average to large size, the Pediatric head was designed for smaller patients like infants or birds. This can be used on human and animal patients of all shapes and sizes.

Pressure Sensitive Acoustic Stethoscope

Like the Single Stethoscope, the Duo Stethoscope is a pressure-sensitive acoustic with an adjustable diaphragm. The Duo also has an acrylic head that’s great for reducing noise. These features make auscultation a breeze even in noisy or difficult environments.

The Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope is the perfect choice for nurses who deal with a wide range of patients or those who just enjoy having different designs to choose from.

Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope

The Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope is unique in the Ultrascope line for its tubing. A standard stethoscope is about 30 inches in length. The Extended model, on the other hand, can reach up to 51 inches in length—almost double the standard length!

How does it do this? The Extended Stethoscope has an optional tubing extension that you can attach whenever necessary. Like the Duo, no tools or equipment will be required to get the tubing extension on, making this a convenient piece of equipment that’s always ready to go. You have both the standard length and the extended length right at your fingertips.

Best Stethoscope For Large Animals Or Patients

Why would users need all that extra tubing length? Some parts of large animals or large patients can be difficult to reach with standard tubing. The extra tubing length makes it possible to reach all the necessary parts without being at awkward angles or crawling under large animals, for instance. The extra tubing is also useful when you want to maintain distance between yourself and a patient.

Like all Ultrascope stethoscopes, the Extended option is a pressure-sensitive acoustic that has a single-sided acrylic head.

A Stethoscope Built To Withstand All Situations

No corners were cut with this model even with its added features, and you can expect the same Ultrascope quality when using this stethoscope. It was even designed for use in extremely cold weather. Users can still listen in sub-zero temperatures through a gloved hand. This really was built to withstand all situations and all environments.

Ultrascope Classic Stethoscope

Two things immediately stand out when you look at the Ultrascope Classic Stethoscope: the two tubes emanating from the chestpiece. The Classic Stethoscope is unique in the Ultrascope range for its method of relaying sound to users’ ears. The two tubes deliver individual sounds to users’ left and right ears separately, unlike other stethoscopes where the sound is transmitted through a shared tube

Featuring A Single Sided Acrylic Head

The Classic Stethoscope has a pressure-sensitive diaphragm on a single-sided acrylic head that easily picks up sounds of various frequencies. It is operated in the same way as all other Ultrascope stethoscopes. You don’t have to do anything differently for the sounds to reach your ears through the two tubes, as the tubes will do the work for you.

Best Stethoscope For Nursing Professionals With Hearing Loss

The Classic Stethoscope is our recommendation for nursing professionals who have hearing loss or hearing issues.  Because sound waves travel to your ears separately, each ear gets more focused sound and you get improved audio quality overall through the ear tips. The two tubes coupled with the acrylic head really give users the best sound amplification and noise reduction. This is another versatile option that can also be used on human and animal patients.

Ultrascope Teaching Stethoscope

This Ultrascope line has two tubes, similar to the Classic model. These two tubes, however, were intended for another purpose: to enable two different users to use one stethoscope at the same time. This is the most commonly found in school or educational environments and using a dual head stethoscope makes training that little bit easier.

This has another pressure-sensitive acoustic stethoscope with a single-sided chest piece.

Effective At Blocking Out Ambient Noise

Like all our stethoscopes, it has an acrylic head that is excellent at blocking out ambient noise. The Teaching Stethoscope is perfect for nursing educators, especially those that teach auscultation to their students. With this, instructors can hear what their students are hearing in real-time. This gives multiple users the ability to listen simultaneously, an invaluable feature that can really enrich the learning experience.

It's is not only great for learning, but it’s also great for hygiene which the dual head stethoscope is perfect for as well. The earpieces don’t have to be shared between different users, and users don’t have to deal with binaural not adjusted for their head size and preferences.

Best Stethoscope For Your Nursing Specialization

With our range of different models, we believe that there’s something we can offer for all kinds of nursing students and healthcare professionals. Whether you’re looking to get your first stethoscope or looking to upgrade your existing one, there’s an Ultrascope model that can meet your needs.  We’ve examined some fields and specializations below to help you find the best one for you.

Best Stethoscope For Nursing Students

Nursing school is one of the most challenging and exciting parts of any budding nurse’s life. It can be a real drain on your resources—your time, sleep, money, and energy—so we want to help make things as easy for you as possible. A good stethoscope can go a long way toward making your nursing school experience as fulfilling and smooth as possible.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Single Stethoscope

First, it’s the most affordable one that we offer. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that the other models do but it certainly gets the job done as well as the others. School expenses can really pile up and the last thing you should be concerned with is an underperforming stethoscope that doesn’t quite do its job. Luckily, most nursing schools don’t require students to use expensive stethoscopes like 3M Littmann ones.

Second, you are guaranteed a reliable, durable, and adaptable stethoscope to last you through nursing school and beyond with an Ultrascope. You will only have to buy one and you’ll be set with our lifetime warranty. Stethoscopes go through a lot of wear and tear and we have you covered in case something happens to your Ultrascope.

Finally, the Single Stethoscope is top-notch that delivers great sound quality. There might be more affordable stethoscopes out there but we think that it’s worth paying a little extra for superb sound. The sound quality of this model really sets it apart from others in the market.

The Ultrascope Single also comes in a wide range of designs and colors. Our customization options will allow you to really personalize it, making it as subtle or unique as you want. Yours can really stand out in a sea of identical-looking stethoscopes in your nursing classes.

Best Stethoscope For Nursing School Educators

Trainees play such an important role in the medical world. They are responsible for molding future generations of nurses. By providing quality education and training for nurses everywhere, nurse educators in effect ensure that hospitals and other places run smoothly and efficiently.

Auscultation can be a tricky skill to teach since it requires that teachers and students both get the same audio ‘input’ for accurate teacher feedback.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Single Stethoscope

For teachers, we recommend the Ultrascope Teaching Stethoscope.

This will be a particularly valuable tool for nurse educators who teach auscultation. With this, you and your students can hear the same sounds together, with simultaneous, real-time input, and real-time feedback.

It can be cumbersome when students have to relay or describe what they’re hearing. It can also be difficult to describe to students what sounds they should be hearing or looking for. With the Teaching model, that uncertainty is eliminated. You and your students will know exactly what sounds the other is hearing.

Best Stethoscope For Cardiac Nurses

Cardiac nurses deal with patients that have various heart diseases or conditions, such as congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease.

Some are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) or clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and they work with cardiologists to treat and care for patients with heart ailments. They assist in procedures such as angioplasty and pacemaker surgery as well. Now that heart disease has steadily risen to become one of the leading causes of death among humans, the jobs of cardiac nurses are more important than ever.

Cardiac nurses can be found in cardiovascular centers, clinics, and home health agencies as well. Although heart disease is more commonly associated with older patients, cardiac nurses deal with patients of all ages. Some children have congenital heart malformations that require specialized care and treatment.

Cardiac nurses must learn how to use special medical equipment and cardiology stethoscopes for monitoring heart conditions. Of course, cardiac nurses also become experts in using the most basic piece of medical equipment—the stethoscope.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Single Stethoscope / Classic Stethoscope

For cardiac nurses, we recommend the Ultrascope Single and the Ultrascope Classic Stethoscope.

Cardiac nurses must be able to distinguish among heart sounds very precisely, so sound quality is the most important feature to look for.

The Ultrascope Single model has an acrylic head that blocks out ambient noise better than a metalhead. Acrylic is poor at transmitting vibrations, meaning that sound waves have to pass through a material that isn’t conducive to their movement. Metal, on the other hand, is excellent at transmitting sound waves.

For stethoscope users, this means that external noise passes through a metal head more easily than through an acrylic head. This is why an acrylic head is ideal for cardiac nurses who have to listen to different sounds very closely without interference such as lung sounds.

The Ultrascope Classic is another good choice for cardiac nurses because of how it delivers sounds to users’ ears. It has separate tubes for each ear, so it delivers really clear and accurate sound each time.

The Classic option also has an acrylic head that reduces ambient noise. Some users prefer the sound quality, although others don’t like the sound of the two tubes rubbing together.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope

For emergency nurses, we recommend the Ultrascope Duo.

This stethoscope is the perfect match for ER nurses and the diverse patients they encounter every day. We suggest getting an Adult head and a Pediatric head to use. This way, you can easily switch to the Pediatric head when a young patient comes in, and switch back to the Adult head for older patients. The extra head won’t weigh you down and you’ll be ready for whatever is thrown your way.

Best Stethoscope For Emergency or ER Nurses

Film and television have led us to believe that ER nurses lead exciting, action-packed careers. For the most part, that can be very true! Emergency nurses are often on the move, assessing patients’ needs left and right, making quick decisions and tough calls even in life-threatening situations.

Not only do they have to deal with patients that need urgent care, but they also have to deal with families and loved ones in distress. You need a tough stomach to be an emergency nurse because you can be exposed to all kinds of trauma and gore. Some ER patients are the victims of abuse, violent crimes, horrific accidents, and the like. It might make for riveting television but the reality can be quite mentally taxing.

ER nurses specialize in caring for patients with medical crises in need of urgent attention. They often work as a team with other emergency staff like physicians, radiologists, and laboratory members to deliver the fastest and most efficient care for patients.

They must be quick to evaluate patients’ needs and just as quick to provide care. They have excellent triage skills, assessing large numbers of patients at once and determining which cases are the most serious. ER nurses perform all kinds of tasks, from treating wounds and administering fluids to performing CPR.

Emergency room training tends to be hospital-specific since different hospitals have different procedures. However, some emergency nurses do find work in other settings. Some ER nurses provide community or military care. Some are sent on flights or as part of search-and-rescue teams. Many emergency nurses have previous experience as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics.

Best Stethoscope For Pediatric Nurses

Pediatric nurses specialize in the treatment and care of infants, toddlers, children, and young teenagers. They provide care for children from the beginning of their lives until their teens. Pediatric nurses don’t just deal with children, but also deal closely with parents and families.

Parents will always have many concerns and anxieties over their children’s health and development. Pediatric nurses thus become involved in developing plans of care for children and monitoring their growth and development.

Pediatric nurses must be excellent communicators. They must know how to talk to children and get them to feel comfortable. Children have to feel safe in a pediatric nurse’s presence. Otherwise, getting the necessary medical information might become very difficult.

Pediatric nurses have to ask the right questions because not all children can verbalize what their ailments are.

Pediatric nurses not only have to communicate well with children, but they must also communicate well with parents. Part of the job is educating parents on caring for their children, understanding their needs, and helping them develop care plans or strategies when necessary. This is especially crucial for parents of children with chronic or serious conditions. Sometimes, a pediatric nurse will have the difficult role of providing comfort for parents of children with terminal illnesses.

They work in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. They are also often in schools because of the great number of children that congregate there. They can be employed in private practice, community groups, and organizations that provide healthcare services for children.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Single Stethoscope / Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope

For pediatric nurses, we recommend the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope with a Pediatric head and the Ultrascope Duo too.

The Single Stethoscope is one of two Ultrascope models that can come with a Pediatric head, the other being the Duo. If used with a Pediatric head, this will be more than enough to meet your needs if your patients are exclusively kids and younger teens. The acrylic head will let you perform auscultation even in a room full of noisy toddlers. It also comes in a wide variety of designs that children find attractive and interesting to look at.

If you sometimes deal with adults or patients in their late teens, the Duo Stethoscope is the tool that you need. We recommend getting an Adult head and a Pediatric head so that you can easily assess patients of all ages and sizes.

You’ll likely be using the Pediatric head most of the time, but it never hurts to be ready with the Adult head if the need arises. The Duo Stethoscope also has numerous design options, so you can have a child-friendly option that kids will enjoy looking at and won't find threatening. 

Best Stethoscopes For Intensive Care Or Critical Care Nurses

Critical care nurses deal with a very particular subset of patients: unstable patients facing or likely to face life-threatening conditions. Their patients are usually chronically ill or postoperative patients facing high risks of disease and injuries.

A patient in an intensive care unit (ICU) requires constant attention and monitoring compared to a patient that only needs basic care. Critical care nurses are thus called on to provide total patient care. This means that processes like taking vitals and intensive care nurses must be aware of everything going on with their patients.

These nurses have such an important role apart from providing care for patients. They are in the best position to learn and understand their patients’ conditions. They are responsible for constant assessment of their patients’ complications and for helping them with the treatment they need.

Some critical care nurses are also tasked with educating patients or patient representatives on their options near the end of life. Families and loved ones of patients often turn to critical care nurses for comfort in these trying times.

Critical care nurses can work in a variety of settings. In a hospital, they are often in ICU and emergency or recovery rooms. Some hospitals have specific ICUs for different kinds of patients, like pediatric ICUs, neonatal ICUs, and trauma ICUs.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Single Stethoscope / Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope

If you don’t often deal with children or younger patients, the Single Stethoscope will be enough to meet your needs. Our stethoscopes are durable and long-lasting, and they’ll be able to withstand all the use and cleaning that you’ll be putting them through.

A reliable stethoscope is absolutely essential for critical care nurses, as they have to frequently monitor patients over the course of the day. The acrylic head will also be helpful for blocking out the sounds of beeps or machinery coming from the room.

The Duo Stethoscope is our pick for those assigned to pediatric or neonatal ICUs, or those that deal with more diverse patients. This is similar to the 3M Littmann classic iii stethoscopes. A Pediatric head and an Adult head will give you all the tools you need to monitor all kinds of patients.

Best Stethoscopes For Veterinary Nurses

Veterinary nurses provide care for animals. They work closely with veterinary surgeons or work as part of a veterinary team. They perform various tasks such as assisting in surgical procedures, taking samples of bodily fluids, and performing diagnostic tests on animals.

Veterinary nurses may also have to educate owners on the proper care for their pets. Some animal patients require management and treatment plans for their conditions, as much as human patients do.

Veterinary nursing can be a physically demanding specialization. Many veterinary nurses have to clean kennels and manage the upkeep of clinics since animals can leave quite a bit of dirt, dust, and fur whenever they visit.

They may also be tasked with setting up the operating theatre during surgeries and preparing patients for operations. Veterinary nurses are often on their feet and sometimes have to restrain and maneuver animals. They have to be hands-on with their patients, so bites and scratches are always a risk to contend with.

Veterinary nurses must be as good with people as they are with animals. Animals can’t verbalize their ailments, and it’s up to their owners or caretakers to explain their conditions. Veterinary nurses may also be given clerical duties like booking appointments and updating patient records, so good communication with animal owners is a must.

Our Recommendation: Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope

It’s the all-in-one stethoscope that you need for dealing with animals of all shapes and sizes. The standard tubing length will be sufficient for average-sized patients like cats and dogs. For larger patients like livestock, you can easily attach the tubing extension and you’ll be able to assess them without issue.

The tube length will also come in handy if a patient is agitated or excitable. You’ll be able to put some distance between yourself and the patient while still performing proper auscultation on them.

For veterinary nurses that deal with small animals, we recommend the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope with a Pediatric Head or the Ultrascope Duo. Our Pediatric head is perfect for use on birds, rodents, and other small animals. Our stethoscopes come in many different animal designs, so you can choose your favorite.

What Are You Waiting For? Try An Ultrascope Stethoscope Now!

A robust and quality stethoscope is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll have as a nurse. If you’re a nursing student, getting your first is an exciting experience that should leave you with a tool for years to come. If you’re already a nurse, your work experience can be vastly improved by a simple upgrade with a price point to match your needs.

With this guide, we hope that we can help you find the best to match your needs. We know that you’ve been working tirelessly to provide care and help for your patients in your department. Now, it’s our turn to help you purchase a high-quality stethoscope to hang around your neck!

Read More of our Best Stethoscopes Guides

Keep up with Ultrascope.