Have you ever looked for a stethoscope that doesn’t drag you down? The Littmann Lightweight II S.E. might fit the bill. One of the biggest disadvantages to stethoscope use is the constant need to carry it around with you. I have found that as healthcare professionals we do this for two reasons: 1) We never know when we might need the stethoscope next. 2) You constantly worry when you might either misplace your stethoscope or have it walk off with someone else. The stethoscope often ends up around our neck as a piece of workplace jewelry or feeling like a collar on a cart horse. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
Littmann was pretty smart when they approached the Lightweight II S.E. It saw a clear need for a stethoscope that maximizes new age composite materials and they capitalized on it. I personally am not the biggest fan of it, but let’s dig in deeper. For starters it is indeed light. It weighs only 4.2 ounces. Almost 25% less than some of its competitors. I find that it almost feels too light, almost to the point of feeling cheap. The stethoscope accomplishes its weight reduction through a combination of the tubing which doesn’t feel as heavy as some other Littmann models. Additionally, Littmann chose to use some composite material for the chestpiece. Rather than having a stainless steel weight on one end, you have a moderately lighter resin type material.
Littmann also made some modifications including a teardrop shaped diaphragm, which is supposedly to help let the stethoscope slide under a blood pressure cuff easier??? I’ve never struggled with this personally, but I supposed they saw a need for this modification and went for it. While weighing less, the chestpiece is really where much of the glamor of this model wears off. It has a tunable diaphragm and an open bell. I find the sound quality of both to be just okay, not great. You can get general lung sounds and decent S1 and S2 with this model, but I find the quality of the acoustics to be a little less than I would like. As for being tunable, I am not sure that I can really tell a difference with this diaphragm. I felt the sound quality through the bell was poor in comparison with other models. The earpieces help as they are Littmann’s typical soft rubber design which does a good job of filling the ear canals.
- Unique tear-drop shaped chestpiece for use with blood pressure cuff
- Metal/Resin Composite Chestpiece
- Tunable diaphragm
- Nonchill rim and diaphragm
- 28″ length
- Price Point
- It’s a Littmann
- Comfortable to wear
Note the unique teardrop shape
- Feels cheap
- Tunable Diaphragm and open Bell leave much to be desired
- Questionable durability
- Not the best sound quality
The Littmann Lightweight II S.E. is an affordable upgrade from a basic stethoscope. If comfort is something you are looking for this is the model for you. At this price point you can replace it easily if it disappears or breaks, and you still have a couple years of Littmann warranty service to back you up. If you want more of a work horse stethoscope that can take a beating you might look at something else, but be prepared to pay more.