Since we RTs are the lung experts, it's important that we have a good stethoscope. And that's why I arm myself with a Litman.
I remember when I was a student I had a cheap one I bought at Walgreens, and it worked fine while I was a student. But one day I decided to splurge and buy a Litman, and the first time I went to use it I could really tell the difference.
With a Litman (or any quality stethoscope), you can hear things that you simply cannot hear with a cheap stethoscope. And, being the lung experts, it's important that we RTs are armed with the best stethoscope possible.
I can't remember what I paid, but I think it was something like $120 or less. If I were recommending a stethoscope to a student, I'd recommend a Litman that is of a reasonable price. I don't think there is much of a difference between the $60 version and the $300 version.
Also, you must realize that a stethoscope doesn't last forever, especially since you will be using it often. And the warranty only lasts so long.
I think the bell broke on my first one, and I sent it to the Litman company a week before the warranty ran out, and they gave me another 2 year warranty. So, if your warranty is ending soon, you might want to consider getting it fixed if you were thinking about it.
A few years later I noticed the casing of the stethoscope was really hard. Then it cracked. Then I learned this happens because you wear it around your neck. The oils in your neck get into the material of the scope, and it hardens.
So I got this fixed and got another 2 year extension on my warranty.
When I got it back I decided to carry it in my pocket instead. I actually liked this method of carrying it better than wearing it around my neck, because I hate wearing things over my neck.
But then the ears of the stethoscope got snagged on a door handle, and my lab coat ripped. This has happened many times.
Then, one day, after the warranty finally ran out, I got it snagged on a door handle and the metal part snapped. So, then I used a warped stethoscope because I'm too cheap to buy a new one.
Finally my wife splurged and bought me a new one for my birthday a few years ago, and now the new one is wearing out and in need of repair.
So, the moral of my story here is this: you need a good stethoscope, but don't spend to much on it because you may need to replace it eventually.