Middle school, high school, and college students all have one thing in common: they all need a good calculator. With so many calculators to choose from, which one is the best? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. Are you in the market for a graphic calculator? A financial one? An engineering one? It also depends on your price point. Are you looking for the most inexpensive one? The best one for your budget? The most expensive one? Here we’ll review best seven scientific calculators – all with different price points and unique functions. The rest is up to you!
Hewlett Packard 300S+ Engineering Scientific Calculator
Pro: Good engineering calculator for the money
Con: The buttons have been known to freeze and not work properly. Not RPN supported
The most inexpensive calculator of our list, the HP 300S+ Engineering Scientific Calculator features a textbook format display with a four-line LCD screen. It’s not the fanciest or most high-tech calculator, but it’s still a great one! It’s the perfect calculator for basic engineering functions. If you’re looking for an inexpensive calculator that will get the job done, the HP 300S+ is a safe bet.
Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator
Pro: Comes in lots of colors, great substitute for graphing calculator
Con: Keys can be unresponsive rather quickly
The TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator is a great calculator for middle and high school algebra and geometry students. It features a two-line display that will show the entry and calculated results at the same time. It has the ability to edit, cut, and paste entries as well as fraction features. The TI-30X IIS also features three angle mode – degree, grads, and radians – as well as one- or two- variable statistical modes. It comes in an assortment of colors and – bonus – it’s solar powered! This calculator is definitely a great buy – especially at under $20!
Casio fx-115ES PLUS Engineering/Scientific Calculator
Pro: Has the most features for the price, including a textbook display and more than 280 functions
Con: Keys have been known to not work properly
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this calculator is it. The Casio fx-115ES PLUS Engineering/Scientific Calculator features more than 280 functions! It has a textbook display, meaning it will show expressions and results just as they appear in your textbook. It is based on their previous model, the Casio fx-115ES, but features upgrades perfect for advanced level math needs. This calculator also features multi-replay functions, which essentially allows you to step-by-step backtrack through your calculations. Another perk (or con, depending on your preference) – the Casio fx-115ES PLUS will display a fraction rather than a decimal if dividing uneven numbers. At only $16.00, this calculator is easily worth 20 times that!
Sharp Engineering/Scientific Calculator (EL-W516XBSL)
Pro: Many great features for the price
Con: Quality of keys/screen isn’t the best
Another great calculator for the price, the Sharp Engineering/Scientific Calculator is pretty remarkable. This calculator boasts a four-line, 16 digit display with an LCD screen. Probably the best feature is the 556 different scientific functions – including trigonometric and statistical! It also has the capability to solve three equations at once, using its equation solver feature. With seven different modes – including normal, complex, matrix, and equation – the Sharp Engineering/Scientific calculator has “playback” which allows you to easily edit formulas. Bonus – it has “WriteView” Technology – which displays formulas as they are in your textbook. Like the Casio fx-115ES PLUS, this calculator is well worth the money – and more!
HP 35s Scientific Calculator
Pro: 30 KB of memory and many useful features, including RPN mode
Con: Quality can be lacking, especially for the price
The HP 35s Scientific Calculator is the perfect calculator for engineers, scientists, medical professionals, and college students. It features more than 100 built-in functions with 30 KB of memory. This calculator also has over 800 registers that allow you to store equations to use for different variables or to use with the 100+ functions. The HP 35s Scientific Calculator boasts a 2-line display able to show 14 characters. The best perk of this calculator is the ability to use RPN or algebraic mode. RPN is Reverse Polish Notation, which is a different way to enter algebraic equations (it takes a little learning, though!). Fun fact – Hewlett-Packard was the first to use RPN in their calculators!
HP 12C Financial Calculator
Pro: Great size, perfect for beginners, and features over 120 built-in financial functions
Con: Unreliable keys, a little slower than modern financial calculators
The HP 12C Financial Calculator is a great calculator for your financial needs. It features over 120 built-in financial functions and statistics – including a register-based, cash-flow analysis – and a one-line, 10-character display. The HP 12C Financial Calculator, like the HP 35s Scientific Calculator, also uses RPN mode. It’s a great calculator for a beginner finance student – especially since it has all the calculating basics like APR (Annual Percentage Rate), NPV (Net Present Value), and IRR (Internal Rate of Return). This bad boy, though old (it’s from 1980!), is well worth the price for the practicality and financial functions!
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphics Calculator
Pro: Lots of features, can file share on-the-go
Con: Very similar to the TI-83, may not be worth the price
Probably the most well-known scientific calculator, the TI-84 Plus Graphics Calculator is pretty common when it comes to high school and college math. This calculator is great for calculus, trigonometry, finance, and engineering. It comes with 12 pre-loaded applications such as Inequality Graphing, Science Tools, StudyCards, and more. Not only does it display graphs, it also display the equation and coordinates on the same screen. One of the coolest functions of the TI-84 Plus is the ability to file share on-the-go with the included USB. You can use this to connect to other calculators or to a PC. Overall, the TI-84 Plus is pricey, but could be worth it if you take advantage of all its features!
Overall, all seven of these calculators have their own unique characteristics – it just depends on your budget and your needs!