REVIEW: Littmann Classic II S.E. — Is it only for students?

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The Littmann Classic II S.E. is the most popular stethoscope in med schools, but does that mean it’s a bad choice when you’re in the “real world”? Read on to find out!

Once again, this is one of the most popular Littmann in the market. Actually, Littmann Classic II S.E. is among Littmann’s best sellers. Every time we find such a bestseller, we come up with a lot of questions:

Why does it sell so well? What’s worth that average score of 4.7/5 based on over 6000 Amazon reviews? Is it just because of its meager price?

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 Inch, 2450

Check Current Price

To answer these questions, we can start by saying that this is one of the most popular stethoscopes among students of medical disciplines. To many, Littmann Classic II S.E. is their first option when trying to find their first stethoscope.

If we check the whole range of Littmann stethoscopes, we will see how the stethoscopes that score below Classic II S.E. are the simpler ones, made up of plastic resin. Sure they are $20 bucks cheaper, but they are made of plastic. Let’s note that many students and novice professionals will reject a plastic stethoscope, maybe due to its shorter lifespan or to the feeling of getting something with less value.

Thus, we see how Littmann Classic II S.E. is the only Littmann stethoscope that combines two key features: Its typical price remains under $70 and is made of metal. That means it’s long-lasting, robust, and made to turn the decade while at the same time, it’s within everyone’s budget.

Let’s leave this aside for a minute and let’s wonder about the, in the end, most important feature: What about its acoustic performance?

It’s simply correct. We can even claim it offers a good acoustic performance for its price. Nevertheless, anyone who has tried a model of the Cardiology Series will be able to tell you that both volume and sound quality defies comparison.

Littmann Classic II S.E. is an introductory stethoscope for general use. It’s perfect to ground the base of your knowledge and your praxis. It can also be very useful for nurses or general practitioners. But it’s not the stethoscope we’d recommend to specialists or medical professionals who are looking for considerable acoustic performance.

Whether you work as a nurse or in general medicine, do you wish for high acoustic performance? Do you want to be able to listen to any grade I murmur in detail? Any S1 and S2 cardiac sounds?

Then this isn’t your best option.

Less polyvalent: Open bell and tunable diaphragm

Littmann Classic II S.E. is not as polyvalent a model as others, since it doesn’t come with a pediatric side on its chest piece. Most Littmanns that come with a dual-sided chest piece have tunable diaphragms on every side of the chest piece. Both of them can detect high or low frequencies depending on the exerted pressure. And so in these cases, the smaller diameter side is targeted to pediatric clients while the other one is for adult ones.

However, Littmann Classic II S.E.’s chest piece has a traditional open bell in its shorter diameter side, exclusively reserved to detect low-frequency sounds. Consequently, Classic II S.E. is not so appropriate for the auscultation of pediatric patients.

Summing up, if you are going to work with young clients in your professional practice, the stethoscopes with the pediatric side are your best bet, such as Littmann Classic III or Littmann Cardiology III.

Littmann Classic II S.E.’s materials and manufacturing

On the one hand, Classic II S.E.’s chest piece is made of stainless steel. The remaining superior models by Littmann come with chest pieces that are usually made of an aerospace steel alloy. These are, indeed, higher-priced models.

On the other hand, we find a tube made of the typical Littmann material: one that is resistant to folds and pressure, and able to recover its original shape, with no latex or phthalate plasticizers. Moreover, Littmann claims that it is resistant to skin oils and alcohol.

Finally, this model is guaranteed for 3 years (instead of the 5-7 that are included in the superior models).

3M Littmann Learning Institute app

As a final remark, this Littmann includes the learning application “3M Littmann Learning Institute app”. When you install this app on your smartphone, you can access real auscultation sounds to make your own diagnoses, test your abilities and keep a log of your progress. Indeed, a useful and instructive tool for students and novice professionals.

List Price

As we mentioned earlier, Littmann Classic II S.E. can be often found for less than $70. You can check its current price here:

3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethoscope, Black Tube, 28 Inch, 2450
  • Lightest weight of all Littmann adult stethoscopes at just 118 grams.
  • Dual-sided chestpiece provides versatility of both a tunable diaphragm and open bell.
  • Teardrop-shaped chestpiece for easier positioning under blood pressure cuffs and around bandages.
  • Tunable diaphragm: Hear high or low frequency sounds by slightly adjusting pressure on the chestpiece.

The above information is valid for the most basic black model. If you choose a different color, the pricing may be a little higher.

If you’re interested in comparing this stethoscope with the other Littmann models on the market, you can check out our article here where we review all the Littmann stethoscopes!

Or, maybe you’re a student and still trying to decide which stethoscope will be best for your situation and budget? Check out our article on the best affordable stethoscopes for students!

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