Littmann Master Cardiology Vs Cardiology Iv

Littmann-Master-Cardiology-Vs-Cardiology-IvThere are lots of amazing medical instruments out there, but when it comes to which one is best for you, the choice may depend on what your needs are. Littmann Master Cardiology and Cardiology IV have both been designed with physicians in mind to help them diagnose heart conditions. 

However, each instrument has its own benefits that set it apart from the other. Read our blog post today to learn more about these two popular stethoscopes and how they compare.

The two stethoscopes we chose to compare are the company’s best non-electronic stethoscopes. This comparison of Littmann master cardiology vs Cardiology IV makes it easy for you to decide which one is for you. Both of them are designed for more advanced users and have amazing acoustics. They are used fully for professionals that work in the most critical environment. 

Littmann Master Cardiology is Littmann best performance stethoscope and Cardiology IV is the most versatile cardiology grade stethoscope. In terms of comparison, both have many similarities and differences. 

The main difference between the both is the chest piece design. Master cardiology has the traditional single-sided chest piece and the cardiology IV has the dual-headed. This difference makes it ideal for different professionals although both are ideal for critical environments. Master cardiology is good for Cardiologists that deal with patients of adult age. Cardiology IV, on the other hand, is good in critical situations like Emergency rooms because of its versatile use.

They are also considered the benchmarks for the other stethoscopes on the market for quality and performance. In this article, we will analyze different aspects of the stethoscope to better explain the differences and similarities that Littmann master cardiology and Littmann cardiology iv have with each other for a better prescription.


Littmann Master Cardiology Vs Cardiology Iv

Chest Piece Chest Piece stethoscope

Let’s start with the chest piece because it is the first component that will affect the quality and performance of the stethoscope.


Stainless Steel  

Good material is essential for creating a good quality stethoscope, Littman has created both of their stethoscopes from high-quality stainless steel. Why stainless steel? Because stainless steel is one of the best materials for chest pieces it offers superior acoustics to other materials and is more lightweight. It also has a low impact on the environment. The material of the diagram is also made of Epoxy/Fiberglass, a flexible and durable material that allows it to last longer.


Single-headed VS Dual-headed

The major difference between Littmann cardiology and Cardiology IV has the design they are built-in. Master cardiology has a single-headed design which makes the acoustic sound a little more reliable and accurate since there is one opening for sound to travel and the other side is sealed, so no sound loss. 


Since it does not have pediatric size the checkup of the children can be a little tricky. But Littmann also has included the solution for this problem in the box, the special-Procedures Adaptor. You can attach it to the chest piece which has a narrow pediatric size opening. But you do have to snap on and off them every time. But if you only want to check the heart and arteries related diagnosing then this will do fine on its own. 


Cardiology IV on the other hand has a dual-headed design which makes it a more versatile option that some people might find more attractive. The one big size is adult and the other is pediatric. If you ofter check the patients that are children and infants then the pediatric side will come in handy. The pediatric side can also be converted to an open bell by removing the diaphragm and placing a non-chill rim.


One thing that some people might find interesting is that the chest piece of the Littmann master cardiology is slimmer than the IV which makes it easy to slide under the sphygmomanometer when checking blood pressure.

Tunable Diaphragm Tunable Diaphragm stethoscope

One of the many signature features of the Littmann stethoscope is its tunable diaphragm. All the Littmann stethoscopes have both diaphragms on the CardiologyIV and one on the master cardiology are tunable diaphragms which also compensates for the lack of bell design in master cardiology. 


If you know what a tunable diaphragm is then you will know how much a game-changer it is. If you don’t know what it is, let us explain.


A tunable diaphragm lets you hear the low and high frequency of the sound through one diaphragm by changes in pressure. If you want to listen to the high-frequency sound then firmly press the chest piece and the diaphragm’s movement will be restricted and only high-frequency sound will be heard


If you want to hear low-frequency sounds like heart sounds and murmurs then lightly press the chest piece. In addition to saving time by reducing the need to move the chest piece too much, the result can also be more reliable.  


Chestpiece of the cardiology IV is also rotatable which can come in handy in many situations since it is the dual head. Master cardiology has a single head design so there is no need to rotate so it does not have that.


DiameteDiaphragm Diameter stethoscoper

The size of the chest piece can also be important because it can also affect the performance. The size of both models is the optimized size for better performance. The chest piece of the master cardiology IV is 1.7″/4.3 cm on the adult size and the pediatric side, it is 1.4” / 3.4 cm. Master on the other hand has a slightly bigger chest piece length which is 1.9” / 4.8 cm in length which means it covers a slightly bigger area. 


Wide Range Finishes 

Colour and finishes of the tool and instrument that an individual uses improve the mood and as a result, the productivity level and work become more likeable and enjoyable. Since the chest piece is the instrument that doctors use and wear daily, it will also have the same effect on them. 


The finish of the chest piece introduced uniqueness to the stethoscope’s aesthetics both of the models have offered a good number of choices although cardiology IV has more options than a master in comparison. Black bass smoke and stainless steel finishes are offered by master cardiology. Cardiology IV has an option like Black, mirror, rainbow, high polish rainbow, high polish smoke, Champagne and stainless steel. 

Cardiology IV also has different variations in the stem of the chest piece like Black, Blue Red, Violet, Orange, Mirror even the slightest details matter.

Non-Chill Rim

Most of the time some features can improve the quality of something but their absence does not affect it to the same extent. Non-chill rim or retainer rim is one of these features that make checkups little comfortable for the patient.


Metal is a good conductor of heat so it gets hot and cold easily which can be a problem in a cold environment and when the cold chest piece touches the patient’s skin it can cause discomfort. In those cases, the non-chill rim and retainer rim on the diaphragm side of the chest piece can eliminate it since it is made of a material like rubber which both of the models have in common.

TubingTubing stethoscope

The tube is to the stethoscope what the backbone is to humans. Without it will not function since it connects both the headset and chest piece of the stethoscope and is responsible for the reliable transmission of the sound. 

So the quality of the tube is important for the quality of performance of the stethoscope. If it does not make excellent material and design it will reduce the sound quality. Both of their Littmann stethoscope tubings are made from thick material and designed to transmit sound reliability.

Dual Lumen All the Way

Both Master cardiology and Cardiology IV features the thick dual-lumen design which is the golden standard for the cardiology grade stethoscope. The main advantage of this design is that it ensures a low loss of sound during the transmission. 

These stethoscopes have single tubing as most stethoscopes have but how the inside is designed is what makes the difference. Inside of the tubing, there is a single channel that separates the two paths one for each ear which makes the transmission of the sound more loss proof and maximum sound is transmitted to you.



Master Cardiology and Cardiology IV both have the same length 27 inches which is the right size that most people prefer but both also offer the 22 inches option if you prefer. The most common issue individuals have is due to the length of the tubing. Because the tall person has to bend down just to check the patient’s reading which is not a big issue but avoiding this can make life a little easier. 27 inches is long enough to avoid this issue and it is also not too long so that it loses the sound along the way. 


Vibrant Colours

The longest component of the stethoscope is so it is natural the tubing will be the first thing you will notice when wearing one so the colour of the tubing will add to the personality. Littmann has nailed that part there both stethoscopes have vibrant tubing colours to choose from. Cardiology IV has more colour options. Master Cardiology offers four colour options Black, Navy Blue, Plum, Burgundy. 


Cardiology IV on the other hand has nine options Black, Plum, Raspberry, Caribbean Blue, Gray, Navy Blue, Hunter Green, Rose Pink, Burgundy which is quite a lot and all are vibrant colours that will look good on everyone.



Littmann does not make their tubing from natural rubber and it is no surprise their tubing on both of the stethoscopes is also latex-free. Some people might not worry about that but for most of the users that is a big relief that has sensitive skin and has a latex allergy which can be very problematic.


Another thing Littmann makes sure of is to not add phthalate plasticizers in the making of the tubing which is commonly used by some to soften the PVC. This step is a contribution to the environment because this substance can cause many issues in human health. Going out of the way to make sure the product is environmentally friendly and gives benefit only to the users shows the values of the company.

Headset And EartipsHeadset and Eartips stethoscope

Headset and ear tips are the components of the headphone that contribute towards comfort and quality. Because they make sure that you get the final result and comfort contradicts the useability.

Aerospace Alloy headset

The headset of the master cardiology and Cardiology IV is made from wide diameter Aerospace Alloy which is lightweight and durable. It also enables it to make the travelling of the sound more easy and accurate.


The headset finish of the Master cardiology offers black, and metal the same as their chest piece, Cardiology IV also comes in black and metal finish which is also good since these are the most common colour that is preferred. So no difference there 

Soft Sealing Ear Tips

Eartips on the Littmann stethoscope are always liked by its user because they are nicely made from fine silicone material allowing it to make a perfect seal so no external sound leaks out so diagnosis should be more reliable. The ear tips on the stethoscope also feature the snap on and off design. Which required a considerable amount to force to remove so it will not come off on there own and will not cause any injury.


Luckily both come with extra ear tips which are good for replacement if one gets damaged but Cardiology IV offers more. It gives one small soft ear tip and one hard ear tip which are handy since we all have ears that have different structures so size might not fit everyone so a different option always makes things a little easier.


Weight is also important when selecting a stethoscope because if you are a medical professional and use a stethoscope daily on the shift then you will know how hectic the struggle can be to use a heavy stethoscope. 


Although both models of Littmann are cardiology grade which is known for being heavy due to the heavy-duty design. But the Littmann master cardiology is heavier than the cardiology IV as a comparison. Master cardiology has a weight of  6.2 oz 175 g for 22 inches and 6.5 oz 185 g for 27 and cardiology IV has a weight of  5.9 oz 167 g for 22 inches and 6.2 oz 177 g for 27 inches. Whatever you look at cardiology IV is slightly lighter.

Spare kit

Having a spare is always convenient because in case you lose something you don’t have to buy them or wait for the order to arrive. Both Master Cardiology and Cardiology IV come with a spare kit. The master cardiology kit contains a set of ear tips, a Special-Procedures Adaptor and a manual. Cardiology IV on the other hand features small soft ear tips and hard ear tips and  Non-Chill Rim and manual which will come in handy in the future. 

Price and Warranty 

Price is the real main thing that can affect our budget, of course, we want good value for less cost but both have a good price for value. In terms of price, they both cost under 200$ but master cardiology precise is slightly higher than the cardiology IV which for a cardiology grade stethoscope is a reasonable price. Since both are for the same purpose, both models offer 7 years of warranty. This means both are warranted for any defect in the materials and craftsmanship for a time period of 7 years. But this will not be valid in case of obvious abuse.  


The Littmann Master Cardiology and Cardiology IV both are reliable stethoscopes for a cardiology grade level use. Although the Master has an acoustic performance that is a little high, the difference is hardly noticeable. Cardiology IV has an advantage due to the dual-head design featuring adult and pediatric sides with the ability to convert into an open bell design makes it more versatile for the older patient.


In our opinion master cardiology is good for individuals that only deal with patients with cardiology related issues and are only entrusted in carotids, renal arteries, single head design and don’t mind the price. Cardiology IV is a more versatile option since it has a pediatric side making it ideal for more professionals that deal with patients of different ages in critical environments like ICU.


Cardiology IV

Cardiology IV
9.5/10 Our Score
  • Cardiology grade
  • Dual headed Chest Piece with adult and pediatric side
  • The pediatric side is convertibles into an open bell
  • Dual lumen tubing for maximum sound transmission
  • Offers two different tubing length
  • Tunable diaphragm
  • Stainless steel chest piece
  • Vibrant colour option
  • Little expensive
  • Cardiology IV have a thicker chest piece than Master cardiology
  • Might catch slightly background noise due to the open bell


Master Cardiology

Master Cardiology
9.8/10 Our Score
  • Littmann’s best non-electronic stethoscope
  • Large chest pieces ensure better acoustic performance
  • Durable stainless steel chest piece
  • Includes Special-Procedures Adaptor for pediatric patients
  • Single side chest piece ensure no external sound interfere
  • Dual lumen tubing eliminates the rubbing sound
  • Two different tubing lengths to choose from
  • Single-sided chest piece instead of dual makes it less versatile
  • Little pricer then Cardiology IV


Frequently Asked Questions

What length of the stethoscope is best?

Most of the predictions do not mind the length of the stethoscope but 27 inches is considered the best length for the tubing. If you ever use the tubing that is short you will be painfully aware that you have to be close to the patient which can be a little awkward. Another advantage tube length can have is that with the decent length you do not have to bend down to check the sitting patient.


But too long is also not a good idea either because the larger tube length also compromises the sound quality so 27 inches is the optimal length.

Does Littmann Cardiology IV have a bell?

Yes, Littmann master cardiology has the open bell which might not be apparent in the first look but the pediatric side can be converted into the open bell. All you need to do is to remove the diaphragm on the pediatric side and place the non-chill rim. Open bell design can be useful in case you want to listen to the low sound frequency which can be handy.


How do you check if the Littmann stethoscope is real?

Littmann is a popular brand and is liked and trusted by many medical professionals but there are many people that want to take advantage of that trust and sell knock out products. The main method to avoid that is to check for the serial number engraved on the chest piece of the stethoscope. If you don’t find one you can also contact Littmann through their website.

Always buy from a trusted dealer and read the review to get an idea of whether you are getting a genuine product.

Summing Up

Both models are cardiology grade means they are designed for listening to the faintest to faintest sound in the human body. Since they both are made for the same level of use, choosing the one that best meets your needs can be a little confusing. To eliminate that confusion and inform you about its feature to the best of our ability we have prepared this detailed comparison of Littmann Master Cardiology vs Cardiology IV for a better decision. 

Both have a superior acoustic and excellent stethoscope Cardiology IV might have a little edge due to the dual-sided chest piece and open bell convertibility but Master Cardiology’s single chest piece doesn’t let sound loss because there is one opening. Other than that both have excellent tubing with dual-lumen which is superior to other types and a 7-year warranty. Cardiology IV offers a little more variety in tubing and the finish of the chest piece. 

Overall both are the top-notch trusted quality of Littmann stethoscopes design for the critical environment delivering outstanding acoustics                                                                                  

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Muhammad Bilal Qayyum

MBBS from Taishan Medical University and currently working in Bahawal Victoria Hospital. The blog is a great resource for both novices and experienced users when it comes to stethoscopes. As I studied and practiced, I evaluated various models on the market, which led me to become an expert in stethoscopes.

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