Scientific Calculator Buying Guide

Even though many people can have a calculator located right at the tips of their fingers with smart phones, or could also use them right through their computers these days, sometimes that just isn't enough. If you happen to need a calculator for exact calculations whether for your job or for schoolwork then you have to know the best scientific calculators to actually use. Instead of just picking up the very first one that you see, check out the following info so you can set yourself up for success.

Types of Scientific Calculators

General Calculator

While many calculators are out there, the traditional pocket calculator continues to be one of the favorites. For anything from shopping to contractor estimates, project calculations for measurements and even budgets or bills, a simple scientific calculator is one of the advancements that has helped countless people with quick calculations in many lines of work.

Graphing Calculator

The graphing ability of a graphing calculator is what makes this form of scientific calculator a top item on many mathematician's lists. By being able to plug in functions and formulas you can not only see the output in a visual sense, but you can also use the ability to program to your advantage and create anything from actual equations to games and macros yourself.

Solar Powered Calculator

While not everyone loves the solar powered variety, this type of calculator has become very popular for those who work in the field for long periods of time. The downside is you have to have light to use it, but with advancements in solar technology you can see why some would choose to use a durable scientific calculator for quick computations on the go while never needing to worry about a replacement battery.

Financial Calculator

When you think about the ability to actually calculate anything from annuities, mortgages, and general investments down to any other present value and future value type problems, a financial calculator is the easiest way to work with financial values of those types. Not only do you have multiple uses for this calculator, but it has financial functions and rate calculators built right into the scientific calculator itself.

Calculus Calculator

When you think about some of the most powerful calculations that are known to current mathematicians, you know that calculus is truly a higher level type of understanding. That being said, if you have ever attempted to do calculus at all, then you can fully imagine just how chaotic it would be without using a calculator. The scientific calculators that help you to figure out everything from mins to maxes and every derivative in between will absolutely help you when you are working on higher level mathematical concepts.

Pay Attention to

Intended Use

When you think about the general use of a scientific calculator, you don't want to have a huge piece of equipment that runs thousands of computations when you only need a small adding machine. You also don't want the first simple calculator off of the shelf when you know you have to run statistical regressions and high level equations. Know what you want your calculator to be used for long before you actually use it.

Memory Functions

Some calculators have built in memory that will let you store hundreds of lines of code and calculations for as long as you need to save them. They are essentially mini computers when you think about it. But if you need to run significant data then you can't have a calculator just shut off and clear everything because you will lose minutes (or hours) of computations and input data.

USB Functionality

When you have a calculator that can export data to a computer, then you can do your calculations on the go and come back at a later time and review them via computer. This way you can back them up long term, save them for your personal information instead of just clearing them, and even transfer them to others. This is much more sophisticated than your grandparent's calculator that just did basic arithmetic and cleared data when you turned it off.

Additional Features

While some calculators might be great at one thing, you also want to be sure your scientific calculator works for multiple uses as well. The last thing that you want to do is need to have six or eight different calculators because each one only works for one main purpose. By picking up a solid calculator that not only works well for your specific need but that can also do many other calculations well, you can accomplish many goals with just one item.


Pay attention to the design and the durability of any calculator that you want to use. It might not seem like a major factor but as technology continues to get sleeker and thinner, you don't want to spend time putting computations into a calculator and then be relying on it for work or for a test only to find that it has been smashed to pieces by other books. Calculators need to be taken care of, but some are built tougher than others (and this is before you consider the general colors and designs).

Top Brands and Product Lines

Hewlett Packard

One of the oldest and most traditional computing makers, Hewlett Packard devices are designed simply to make sure they last. They have computer technology down to a T and their products have built a brand and a reputation that people trust.

Texas Instruments

Not every calculator is a TI or a Texas Instruments calculator, though you wouldn't know it if you casually strolled down a calculator aisle. TI has been cranking out quality calculators at different levels and of different styles for years and they not only build quality devices, they also build functional devices that people like as well.


A lesser known brand that has died off quite a bit, the Casio machines are still seen as one of the top favorites by those who choose to stay loyal to them.