Littmann’s stethoscopes are famous and well-liked among professionals all around the world. Out of all these stethoscopes that are very famous the most are Littmann Classic III and Cardiology IV. Both stethoscopes have characteristics that set them apart and similarities. The objective of this Littmann Classic III Vs Cardiology IV is for you to make a clear understanding of which suits your needs better.
Both Littmann models are designed for different medical needs; Classic III is for monitoring and assessing, while Cardiology IV is a cardiology grade stethoscope built for a more critical environment like the ICU. They both share some similarities, like in the diameter of the chest piece, but the cardiology IV is the very improved version of the classic III made for listening to the more faint sounds in the human body.
27 Inches / 68 Cm
22 Inches /56 Cm
What Is The Major Difference Between Classic III And Cardiology IV?
The major difference between both modes is the tubing construction; the cardiology IV offers dual-lumen, while classic III only offers a single lumen. As for the headset, the classic III has the traditional Y-frame yoke design, and cardiology IV, on the other hand, has the A-frame yoke design, which is the standard for the cardiology grade stethoscopes.
In terms of cost, cardiology classic is more affordable and lightweight than cardiology, but the cardiology IV has a little superior acoustic and is a little heavier than the cardiology. Classic III is more preferred by the nurses and the students’ thanks to its lightweight design. However, for medical professionals that need more detailed information like listening to the blood vessel, then the cardiology IV is more preferred. When it comes to the warranty, Cardiology IV comes with 7 years. Classic III comes with 5 years of warranty.
The tubing feels on both stethoscopes is excellent and doesn’t cause any discomfort. The length of the stethoscope is also decently long enough, which does not affect the sound acoustics. We compared Littmann’s model Classic III and Cardiology IV in this article. We provided a detailed comparison of the similarities and differences in their performances and features to draw a more accurate picture.
The first thing that affects the acoustic performance of the stethoscope is the chest piece. After that, the factors like the material shape or the diaphragm type directly determine how accurate sound will be captured.
Stainless steel is the golden standard of stethoscopes, and that is the reason you will find that on the top-notch stethoscope’s chest piece will be made from stainless steel. In addition, both models’ chest pieces are made from premium stainless steel, as is expected for Littmann quality stethoscopes, making them longer-lasting and protected from rust and stain.
Versatile Dual Sided Design
It is always a good idea to select a product when choosing something that offers you more versatility than just the intended purpose. For example, cardiology IV and Classic III both have a dual-headed design, making them ideal for more flexible use for patients of different ages.
One side has the adult chest piece, while the other has the pediatric chest piece. This will make your life easy when checking the pediatric or infant patient because a standard chest piece can be used too. Still, the pediatric size is easier and more reliable when diagnosing a child. So you don’t need to buy a separate dedicated pediatric stethoscope.
The pediatric side of both models is convertible into a bell shape. All you need to do is to remove the diaphragm and place the non-chill rim, and it will be converted into a bell shape for listening to the low-frequency heart sound.
The diaphragm of both stethoscopes offers a tunable diaphragm, which is a common feature in the Littmann stethoscope but not common on all stethoscopes in the market. In addition, diagnosis is made easier and more reliable with the tunable diaphragm since it allows you to hear low and high-frequency sounds with a single diaphragm corresponding to different pressures applied.
If you are listening to this term for the first time, let us elaborate on how this works and its benefits.
If you want to listen to low-frequency sounds in the body like the “lub dub” sound of the heart, then slightly press the chest piece. This will allow the diaphragm to vibrate more easily, and low-frequency sound will be captured. On the other hand, if you firmly press the chest piece, the movement of the diaphragm will be restricted only to allow high-frequency sounds like the murmuring sound of the heart.
This saves time because you don’t have to rotate the chest piece to open the bell side for low-frequency sound, and you can easily compare between the two frequencies sounds. Although if you still want to use the open bell, there is still an option.
In cardiology IV and classic III, the chest pieces rotate so that you can move them without straining the tube. And the active side is indicated by the dot on the stem, which eliminates the confusion,
The chest piece of the cardiology IV is 40 percent larger and has a 60 percent more deep bell design than the cardiology III. This slightly improves the acoustic of the Cardiology IV. In addition, both stethoscopes have the same adult and pediatric sides sizes which are 1.7″/4.3 cm on the adult size and 1.4″ / 3.4 cm on the pediatric side. But as for the thickness, cardiology IV is thicker 29mm while classic III is 20 mm.
Single-piece Rim and Diaphragm
In many stethoscopes, the diaphragm is held by the retainer ring on the chest piece, a separate component; this allows the dirt to stick between them. These Littman models feature the single-piece rim diaphragm, which allows more easy cleaning and more accurate performance.
Metal is a good conductor of heat, so it gets cold easily in the winter or in air-conditioned rooms, which can cause discomfort to the patient when placed on the skin. That’s where the non-chill rim comes in handy; it does not get cold easily, thus eliminating the discomfort.
Color does not offer any functional benefit for stethoscopes, but that does not cause any hindrance either. We all have a favorite color that we prefer over the other, so the freedom to choose from different colors is a desirable feature that will improve our mood.
The two models offer many vibrant options to choose from. In Classic III, there are seven finishes you can choose from for chest pieces which are Mirror, Smoke, champagne, black matte rainbow, copper, and machined stainless steel. Cardiology IV chest pieces can be found in High polish Rainbow, High polish smoke, Black, Rainbow, Champagne, mirror, and machined stainless steel.
Tubing is another component of the stethoscope quality that affects the performance of the stethoscope. No matter how high-end the chest piece or headset is, if the construction of the tubing is lacking, you will not get the optimal quality of the performance.
Single-lumen VS Dual-lumen
The type of lumen design in Classic III and Cardiology IV differs the most because cardiology IV’s tubing is the dual lumen while Classic III has the single lumen design. The tubing construction can improve the acoustic performance of the stethoscope, and the dual lumen is superior to single-lumen tubing.
Let us further elaborate on the concept of dual lumen tubing to explain the benefits better. There is a channel in the middle of the tubing in the dual lumen construction that separates it into two paths. These paths lead to each ear which improves the sound transmission as the stethoscope delivers a better acoustic result. This also eliminates the rubbing sounds, which is an issue in the single lumen tubings.
Another major difference is that the yoke design at the end of the headset classic III has the “Y” format. In contrast, Cardiology IV has the “A” shape formation, which is the standard for the cardiology grade stethoscope.
Classic III has a length of 27 inches, while Cardiology IV, on the other hand, comes in two variants, 27 inches, and 22 inches. Length is the factor whose pros and cons are often apparent after the stethoscope is bought and used. The reason for that is the length of the stethoscope can affect daily uses.
22 and 27 inches are the most common tubing lengths medical professionals recommend. Because if the tubing is too short, you will have to get too close to the patient, which can be a little inconvenient. On the other hand, if the tubing is too long, it will affect the sound transmission, and performance will suffer a little.
Allergies are a common issue these days and can cause a great deal of discomfort. If you have sensitive skin, then you will be relieved to know that both models’ tubing is not made from natural rubber or, in other words, are latex-free. This will also save our patients that also have a latex allergy.
In the manufacturing of these tubing, Littmann has used environmentally friendly means. For example, phthalate plasticizers are harmful chemicals used to soften the PVC and are avoided because of their harmful nature. Phthalate plasticizers can cause lung, kidney, and liver disease in humans and long-term damage to aquatic life. That’s why Littmann does not use it in their products.
Wide Range Of Colors
A Classic III tubing comes in 13 different colors, whereas cardiology IV’s 27 inches variation tubing comes in 9 colors. Tubing is the component of the stethoscope that is the largest out of the other two components. In Classic III, you can get Ceil blue, Plum, Pearl Pink, Gray, Black, Burgundy, Navy Blue, Raspberry, Lemon Lime, Caribbean Blue, Chocolate, Lavender, and Turquoise.
While in the Cardiology IV model, you can choose between plum, Black, Caribbean Blue, Gray, Navy, Hunter Green, Raspberry, Rose Pink, and Burgundy. Most medical professionals wear the stethoscope around, and tubing is one of the longest parts of the stethoscope, so the color of the tubing will be more noticeable than any other component of the stethoscope. Because of this, the color of the tubing is more important if you want to give your stethoscope a personal touch
Headset and Eartips
A good seal is required for the stethoscope’s good sound and acoustic performance because it stops the external sound from interfering. And the headset supports and maintains the necessary clamping force.
Lightweight Aerospace Alloy
Headsets need to be lightweight so that they don’t cause any strain on the ears. That’s why Littmann makes its stethoscope from the wide Aerospace aluminum alloy, which is lightweight and durable and allows better acoustics.
As for the angle of the headset, it has also been optimized anatomically to fit snugly in the ear canals with no issues whatsoever. The headset tubing will also be finished in the same manner as the chest piece you choose.
Many medical professionals prefer soft ear tips with a Littmann stethoscope. The ear tips on both are very comfortable and come with spare ear tips if you lose ear tips, or the first one wears out after some years.
The ear tips are made of soft material for creating a good fit to ensure that no external sound interferes with the diagnosis. With Classic III, you get the soft ear tips, but with Cardiology IV, you get two ear tips sets, one set of small soft, and one set of hard ear tips.
Thanks to the snap-on design, the ear tips are tightly secure on the headset tubes. This feature is for safety, so that ear tips don’t come off on their own and cause injury. However, it is quite secure that you need quite a force to remove it. Both Classic III and Cardiology IV offer the same snap-on design as the other Littmann models.
The weight of the stethoscope is often neglected but is a very important factor to consider because, in the short run, it does not look much, but in the long run, it adds up. Classic III is more lightweight than Cardiology IV, as expected from a cardiology-grade stethoscope. Because the classic weighs only 150g while the cardiology IV 27 inches variation weighs about 170 g and its 22 inches variation only weighs 167g. This few grams difference might not feel much, but it will start to feel at the end of the long shifts.
We don’t like to talk about the replacement when we purchase something natural. And with the Littmann quality standard, you probably are not going to need it soon. But after a few years of use, ear tips do wear out, especially the ear tips or non-chill rim, so it’s a good idea to always have a spare available.
With Classic III, you will get a set of small soft ear tips, a non-chill rim for the open bell, and a manual. On the other hand, with cardiology IV, you will get two sets of ear tips, one set of small soft ear tips, one set of hard ear tips, a non-chill rim, and the manual.
Warranty And Price
As for warranty Classic III comes with 5 years while Cardiology IV offers 7 years. Of course, we all want something that we have purchased to last longer, but no matter how high-end something is built or durable, it can not be invincible, so that is where warranty comes into play. When a manufacturer makes something top-notch and has confidence in its quality, they offer a warranty to show their confidence in the product.
In terms of price, at the time of writing, classic III cost under one hundred dollars while Cardiology IV was near two hundred.
Littmann’s both Classic and Cardiology IV stethoscopes are very accurate and reliable. But the Cardiology IV has a more superior acoustic than the Classic III, which is reasonable since Cardiology IV is a cardiology grade stethoscope designed for a more critical environment and more sensitive sound. Classic III is designed for physical assessment and monitoring of patient conditions.
So in our Cardiology IV is more suitable for the cardiovascular specialists as clear from the name or for the cardiology ward nurses. On the other hand, classic III is a good choice for the nurses since they have to monitor the patients’ conditions and medical students.
Littmann Classic III
- Dual headed versatile design
- Stainless steel and slim chest piece
- 13 tubing colors to choose from
- Convertible bell design
- Latex-free tubing
- 5-year warranty
- Not as acoustic as Cardiology IV
- Single lumen tubing
Littmann Cardiology IV
- Dual lumen tubing for better acoustic
- A-Frame yoke design
- 40 % larger and 60% deeper bell than classic III
- Cardiology grade acoustic performance
- Latex-free tubing
- Two spare ear tips
- 7-year warranty
- Slightly Weight more than classic III
- Relatively little expensive
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of cardiology and clinical stethoscope?
Stethoscopes are widely used to monitor heart rate, lung sounds, and bowel sounds. However, compared to a traditional stethoscope, cardiology stethoscopes have a lot of advantages.
Some of the benefits of using cardiology stethoscopes are that they are more versatile because they can also be used for lung and bowel sounds. However, they are also designed to be more sensitive because they pick up lower frequencies and are vulnerable to interference from ambient noise.
While clinical stethoscopes are usually more lightweight because they are designed by keeping the long shift in mind and comparatively more affordable.
Which is a more suitable option for students, Classic III vs. Cardiology IV?
Classic III is more suitable for the students because of the affordable price than cardiology IV. The classic III’s lightweight aspect will benefit long classes and house jobs. But if you have a more flexible budget, cardiology IV is also a good option, but it is overkill for a student. You can get the classic III which is a more affordable option and offers the ascension features like the dual-headed design, long tubing, and 5-year warranty.
Does a stethoscope color matter?
The stethoscope color does not matter since it offers no functional advantage for personal aesthetics. However, suppose your Co-worker uses the same stethoscopes as you. In that case, it is a good idea to get a stethoscope of different color or finish so you can easily differentiate between them, so they do not get mixed up.
Littmann Classic III and Cardiology IV are very popular stethoscopes, but choosing between them can be confusing because they share more similarities than any other models of the 3M Littmann. Although they have many differences, they are useful for two different medical professionals. To better elaborate the difference and similarities in detail, we have presented this detailed comparison between Littmann classic III vs. Cardiology IV stethoscope to the best of our knowledge.
Long story short, the most different in terms of acoustic sensitivity, tubing lumen construction, chest piece thickness, yoke frame design, warranty, and pricing, etc. They are very similar in terms of design.
Littmann Classic III is designed for noncritical environment monitoring and physical assessment of the patient’s condition. It is also lightweight, which makes it ideal for nurses or students. Cardiology IV is a Cardiology stethoscope designed for a critical environment more intended to words the medical professional in the cardiovascular field. The dual lumen is one of the reasons for its better acoustic sensitivity.
Both models offer a wide range of tubing colors and chest piece finishes to distinguish the stethoscope better.