The price-to-earnings ratio has its supporters and detractors, but this simple statistic can be an easy way for investors to gauge how cheap an average stock is on the fly. For some stocks, however, the P/E ratio is a misleading statistic -- particularly when earnings betray a poor business model. With stocks' rise this year and earnings on the upswing, however, is the P/E ratio a suitable fit in the medical device industry, particularly as many device stocks have soared in 2013?

Using data compiled by stock screening site, here are three of the cheapest medical device stocks in the industry as sorted by the P/E ratio. Are these picks worth your investment -- or is this simple statistic hiding lagging financials and flailing companies? Motley Fool contributor Dan Carroll tells you what you need to know about the device industry's cheapest pickings below.

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.