The stethoscope is a device that demands precision engineering and tightly-controlled manufacturing processes. There are dozens of stethoscope manufacturers, but only a few of those consistently demonstrate an ability to turn out a top-tier product.
What sets these companies apart is the fact that their founders are experts in their field, they have the resources to continue to innovate, and they are passionate about their product. Though these companies differ in their product offerings and design, you can’t go far wrong purchasing your next stethoscope from any one of them.
Littmann is a premiere brand of stethoscope from tech giant 3M. Littmann stethoscopes are named for Harvard Medical School professor Dr. David Littmann. Dr. Littmann founded Cardiosonics, Inc. in the ’60s, and he sold to 3M in 1969. At that time, the company sold two models of stethoscope, one for general practitioners and one for nurses.
Today, thanks in part to 3M’s legendary R&D department, the Littmann brand sells dozens of stethoscope models designed for nearly every medical field imaginable. The company offers stethoscopes for anesthesiologists, cardiologists, EMTs, internists, pediatricians, nurses and respiratory specialists. Popular models include the Littmann Cardiology III, Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope and the Littmann Classic. Littmann stethoscopes come in a variety of colors, including the popular all-black versions.
American Diagnostic Corporation
ADC, founded in 1984, started its existence as a direct marketer of general medical supplies. The company’s operation was run out of a 700-square-foot storefront and office in New York until they incorporated and expanded. Today, ADC is one of the largest manufacturers of diagnostic medical products in the world. ADC manages a variety of brands including Medicut, Adscope, Diagnostix, Prosphyg, Adtemp, Adlite and Multikuf.
One of the largest suppliers of stethoscopes in the United States, ADC offers these popular stethoscopes: ADC 605 Stainless Infant Stethoscope, ADC 609 Adscope and the ADC 600 Single Head Ninja.
Welch Allyn is a firm that manufactures and sells stethoscopes designed by Dr. Proctor Harvey. Harvey’s stethoscopes are designed to provide superior sound fidelity when listening for diagnostic signals such as systolic clicks, murmurs and ejection sounds. All Welch Allyn stethoscopes feature both a bell and a diaphragm as recommended by the American Heart Association, as well as adjustable binaurals. The company maintains that stethoscopes that feature a discrete bell and diaphragm provide superior sound quality. The company is well-known for its industry leading warranties and rugged designs.
Popular models include the Welch Allyn Harvey DLX Double Head, the Welch Allyn Professional Stethoscope and the Welch Allyn Harvey Professional Pediatric Stethoscope.
Cardionics has been an innovator in the stethoscope space for over 30 years. The company is well-known for its high-fidelity scopes that provide superior auscultation. Cardionics also produces a wide range of products aimed at medical students and instructors, and their products can be found in universities the world over. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Abe Ravin, the company’s first innovation was a heart simulator that assisted students in learning to recognize and diagnose the various sounds that the organ produces. The company’s most popular stethoscope models include the Cardionics E-Scope) II, Cardionics E-Scope) EMS and the Hearing Impaired E-Scope).
Heine is one of the most long-lived stethoscope manufacturers, having been founded in 1946. Helmut A. Heine brought his unique insights as a physicist to the medical diagnostics field to create stethoscopes that provided superior sound quality and sensitivity. Heine partnered with many physicians and universities over the years to develop his innovative products. Today, Heine Optotechnik remains family owned and operated, which allows them to focus on long-term results as opposed to short-term profits. Additionally, the company controls its manufacturing process at every step, which allows them to ensure that quality remains high. Their best-selling models are the Heine GAMMA 3.2 Acoustic Stethoscope, the Heine GAMMA 3.1 Pulse Stethoscope and the Heine GAMMA 3.3 Pediatric Stethoscope.