How much should you budget for when you’re going stethoscope shopping? It depends on what you’re looking for. There are many different factors that determine how much a stethoscope cost. Below are 10 of these, and how they affect the value of the stethoscope.
10 Factors Influencing The Stethoscope Cost
1. Sound Quality
High sound quality is a result of great craftsmanship, design, and material. These kinds of stethoscope are commonly known as cardiology stethoscopes
The higher the quality the more expensive a stethoscope becomes than those with average sound quality. However, the accuracy and sound clarity you get to enjoy during the examination makes the extra pennies more than worth it.
Sensitivity refers to the ability of the diaphragm membrane to pick up faint vibrations. In this case, fiberglass membranes are the very best. They also happen to be a bit more costly than plastic membranes that are less sensitive.
3. Easy Of Operation
In this case, one of the most important features is the tunable diaphragm feature. This means that by simply adjusting the pressure on the chest piece, you get to alternate between bell and diaphragm settings. This makes the stethoscope a lot easier to use than traditional dual sided stethoscopes. Stethoscopes
with the tunable diaphragm tend to be considerably more expensive.
Read more: How to Use A Stethoscope
4. Comfort Features
In this case, it is the design of the earbuds that matters most. Stethoscopes whose earbuds are made from soft silicone are a lot more comfortable and also more expensive than those made from plastic material.
5. Sound Transmission Features
How well the stethoscope transmits sound is also important in determining just how expensive or cheap it will be. In this case, there is a tendency of stethoscopes with double lumen tubing to be more expensive among some brands. This is because they offer better sound transmission with less interference than single tubed stethoscopes.
Dual lumen tubings are commonly mistaken with the classic double tubing stethoscopes. They are very different.
Dual lumen tubings consist of one tube which contains two separate channels while the classic double tubing is basically two tubes running side by side. The classic double tubing is known for caring independent sounds to the left and right earbud. However, we have heard of users who complain of sound interference when two of the tubes rub against one another.
6. Material Used
This applies to the material used on both the metallic and non-metallic parts. With the non-metallic components, silicon on the earbuds and PVC on the tubing are more expensive than rubber and ordinary plastic. However, they are more effective in their respective function. For metallic components, when rust resistant materials like stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum are used they significantly increase the digits on the price tags.
Another important factor is the use of rubber versus PVC. For those who are allergic to latex, it is best to opt for the PVS version as it is latex free.
The stethoscopes aesthetic design also has a bearing on the how much a stethoscope costs. Some models come in different colors with some colors being more expensive than basic black and grey.
Others feature unique detailing and finishing not only on the tubing but also on the chest piece and the metal earpiece frame. These additional touches increase not only the stethoscopes aesthetic appeal but also value.
Most stethoscopes now also come with the option to personalize your stethoscope with engravings. This normally comes at additional cost.
8. Stethoscope Type
In this case, the difference is between tradition and digital stethoscopes. Traditional acoustic stethoscopes are considerably more affordable than their electronic counterparts. However, the digital options have a lot to offer you as the user. This includes many different special functions including automatic monitoring of heart rate among others.
Read more: Types Of Stethoscopes
The regular adult stethoscopes are used by everyone from medical students to paramedics. They are simple and effective and happen to be the most affordable. Specialist stethoscopes, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more expensive. These include fetal stethoscopes, pediatric stethoscopes, and cardiology stethoscopes.
Finally, the stethoscope brand plays a huge role in determining the price. You may find two models with basically the same features and appearance but at completely different price points due to the brand name. In this case, it is usually because some brands are known to design and manufacture very high-quality stethoscopes which makes the extra dollars a worthy sacrifice.
Top 5 brands with value for your money
Before we conclude, it is important to know which some of the best brands in terms of value for money are. These 5 have been around for years and have been known to produce very high-quality stethoscopes in all price ranges. They include;
1. Ultrascope- This stethoscope cost between $90 and $100. In addition to the high-quality construction and great aesthetics, these stethoscopes also feature a lifetime warranty. Their cardiology stethoscopes are especially popular for their great design and very high-quality sound. It's important to note the Ultrascope only sells cardiology stethoscopes which are very competitively priced compared to other cardiology stethoscopes in the market. In fact, their prices come very close to the price of regular type stethoscopes.
2. Littmann- This household brand has stethoscopes in all price ranges from as low as $79 for regular stethoscopes to as high as $276.96 for specialist stethoscopes.
3. MDF Instrument- These are perfect for students and professionals on a budget. You get to enjoy high quality for prices ranged from $25 to $125.
4. ADC- As with the Littmann stethoscopes, ADC is a brand known for variety as far as stethoscope cost are concerned. Regular stethoscopes can go for as low as $17 while cardiology stethoscopes cost up to $296.
5. Omron- For the most part, Omron stethoscopes are designed for students. This is evident in their price tag as they are among the most affordable stethoscopes ranging from $16 to $30.
With all this information, it should be easy for you to come up with a reasonable budget that will give you access to great stethoscopes without leaving you broke. That way, whether it is your first stethoscope or an upgrade you will be able to find the very best model within your price range.
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