Just how many different types of calculators are out there?
If you think about it, there are lots of different calculator types to choose from.
The right type of calculator can make your math subjects (and your life in general) a lot easier.
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The wrong type of calculator, on the other hand, will be useless for certain kinds of tasks.
What you need to do is find the right type, and this guide can help.
Different Types of Calculators
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of calculators that you can find today:
Basic (General Purpose) Calculators
This is a compact model with an LCD screen showing a line for figures.
The display can show 8 up to 12 digits, depending on the calculator model.
They’re great for basic mathematical calculations, and for most household or office chores.
A special type of basic calculator acts as an adding machine, which works very well with business functions.
This type of calculator may offer specialized functions, such as computing prices, profits, and taxes, and doing currency conversions.
These calculators may offer special buttons, such as large keys for “+” and “=”, and may offer the “00” (double-zero) button as well.
This is what you pick among the different calculator types if you need more advanced math subjects.
With this type of calculator, you may be able to tackle subjects such as geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and calculus.
The more advanced models offer sophisticated functions such as hexadecimal calculations, fractions, and Boolean math.
Their screens can be better too, with multiple lines and equations shown similar to how they appear in textbooks.
This type of calculator is very similar to a scientific calculator with their advanced mathematical functions.
But the screen here can plot the graphs resulting from your equations and these calculators are generally miniature computers, and some are even programmable.
They can have fast CPUs so that they can perform calculations and show graphics quickly.
These calculators may even connect with smartphones and desktop PCs for added capabilities.
Pick this among the different calculator types if you’re an engineer or studying certain math subjects.
Just make sure that you consult with your teacher if you’re using this for an exam, as some courses may not allow its use.
This is similar to the basic type of calculator that can help with business math functions.
The main difference here is that this calculator can print out your equations, figures, and results.
This can then print out your payroll time, profit margins, and even receipts.
Lots of small businesses can make use of this type of calculator.
These are the different types of calculator that you can find on the Internet that help people in various ways.
For example, you may find online financial calculators that can help you figure out your auto loan or mortgage.
Then there are health calculators that can calculate your body mass index given your weight and height.
A calorie calculator can help you find out how many calories you need to consume so you can maintain a proper weight or lose weight.
There are even calculators that can pinpoint when a pregnant woman will give birth.
This is the most ancient of the different calculator types.
This is actually a mechanical device, and not very popular in most Western countries.
But it is commonly used in some parts of the world, especially in Asia.
The device is made with a bamboo frame, with beads sliding along the wires in the middle of the frame.
Picking the Right Type of Calculator: Factors to Consider
Determining what you need the calculator for will help you pick among the different types of calculators.
If you need to add costs for groceries and other household math tasks, then a basic calculator will do just fine.
A business calculator is better if you have a small business, as the special functions for prices and taxes will make the work a lot easier.
Get a printing calculator for work if you can, as then you’re able to use the printouts for your records or for receipts.
A scientific calculator is needed for advanced math subjects, but a graphing calculator will really help with many more subjects.
Calculators of the same type may offer different functions, depending on the model you’re looking at.
Go with the different calculator types with features that can help with your work.
Just keep in mind that you don’t want to pay for features you don’t really use.
Screen for Business Calculators
The most basic requirement for your calculator screen is that it should be easy to read.
For business calculators, you need an angled display with large digits.
This will let you can easily confirm the figures on screen.
Go for backlighting if you can get it in any of the different types of calculator.
You may want to consider a screen that can offer more digits.
Check for commas (on top of the digits) to help you recognize thousands and millions quickly.
Screen for Scientific Calculators
For scientific calculators, look for a screen that can offer several lines at once.
This will let you see the math problem and the answer at the same time.
It also helps a lot if the math symbols and equations should appear on screen the same way as they do in your textbook.
Screen for Graphing Calculators
For graphing calculators, you may want a high-resolution display that can offer several colors.
That way, you’re better able to differentiate your various graphs.
Some calculators even offer different graphing styles as well.
Power and Speed
Some of the different types of calculator are basically miniature computers, as they’re able to handle complicated equations and graphs.
The faster the CPU of the calculator, the faster it will display answers and graphs on your screen.
Whatever you choose among the different types of calculator, they ought to be easy to use.
Buttons should be large enough for your fingers, so you don’t have to worry about pressing 2 keys at once or pressing the wrong key.
Those problems will just slow you down, and may even give you wrong answers.
Look for different colors for special keys to help you find them more quickly.
Check that the keys you tend to use more often (such as the “+” key in a business calculator) should be larger.
Look for special buttons as well, such as the double-zero key in business calculators.
Some different types of calculator are very portable so you can bring them with you wherever you go.
Others are bigger and heavier, but that’s usually because they offer lots of functions that can’t fit in a bigger calculator.
In general, school calculators are pocket-sized but the business calculators are bigger and meant for desk work.
Most calculators these days are battery-operated.
It’s just picking between using disposable batteries or rechargeable built-in batteries.
Just check for how long the batteries will last before you need to replace or recharge them.
Some calculators are solar-powered, but the battery should still work as backup.
The bigger calculators may be powered by an AC adapter, but battery backup is still nice for work on the go.
Obviously, you want your calculator to run for years without breaking down.
You should check customer reviews to see if there are too many complaints about how a calculator breaks down too quickly.
On the other hand, there are also some calculators that can still go on even if you drop them.
Most calculators these days are downright affordable, so cost isn’t really much of a factor.
The basic rule is that the more features you get, the more you pay.
That’s why you need the right features among the different types of calculators, so you get what you need with what you spend.
Just don’t assume that the more expensive models are always better!
Our Top 5 Product Reviews!
Now that you’re aware of the various features of the different types of calculators, you may now have a fair idea of what to buy.
But which model among the different types of calculator should you pick?
You can do yourself a huge favor by starting your search with these excellent models:
“Great Calculator for School Math”
Our Rating: 4.5
This is a terrific calculator that lots of students have praised, and that’s not only because of the affordable price.
It may be inexpensive compared to the other different types of calculator, but no one describes its quality as “cheap”.
In many ways, it’s an improvement from the TI-84 Plus CE.
Many say that it’s the best non graphing calculator for its price range.
The screen offers several lines of display, which is useful as it can then show you accurate equations.
That is, your equations look just like they do in your textbooks.
The 4-line screen (with up to 16 characters each) also allows you to see several calculations at the same time.
Variety of Functions
With this, you can pick any of the several modes available, such as degrees and radians.
For real functions, it can find the numeric derivative and integrals.
With this, you can solve quadratic equations and equation systems with up to 3 variables, without the need for matrix functions.
This also allows you to convert terms, decimals, and fractions into different representations.
Basically, this is a calculator that can do everything a graphing calculator can do, except do graphs.
Highly Compact and Lightweight
This is very compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around.
It measures 6.1 by 3.2 inches, which fits in nicely in a shirt pocket.
It also measures just 8/10 of an inch thick.
It only weighs 4 ounces as well.
Includes a Protective Slide Hard Cover
This has a protective slide hard cover included to help with potential issues should you drop the calculator on the ground.
Solar Cell and Built-In Battery
This has a solar cell that gives you the power you need when you have enough light.
For backup, it has a built-in battery that should last for years.
It helps that it has an Auto Off function that conserves power if you forget to turn it off.
When the battery runs out after 3 years or so, you can then just buy another calculator this inexpensive.
You can use this in lieu of a graphing calculator, since many exams don’t allow graphing functions.
It’s okay to use for SAT, ACT, and AP exams.
Ease of Use
With the color-coded keys, it’s easy enough to quickly find the keys you’re looking for.
The keys are made of hard plastic, and you know when you’ve pushed a button properly.
The non-skid rubber feet also let you just lay this on a table while you work, as it won’t move in place.
Perhaps the only issue here is that some key colors (especially the silver ones) aren’t always easy to see when you’re working outdoors.
“Excellent Graphing Calculator”
Our Rating: 5.0
This has lots of fans calling it the best calculator for their money, and it’s not hard to see their point.
It has so many advanced features that with this calculator, you can pass many of your math subjects.
Functions and Features
This comes with a very fast processor, which is necessary because the calculator can be used for many complicated equations.
This can handle integrals and derivatives, analyze stat data and offer graphing functions, with tick-mark labels for each axis.
The graphs can appear in different colors so you can differentiate them, and you have different graphing styles available as well.
You even get 3D graphing, plus use TI-Basic to program your own functions.
The only drawback here is that with the advanced features, you need time to become really familiar with all the available functions.
You may want to download the manual for this, and also watch several online videos demonstrating how to use this properly.
The screen is quite large, with a diagonal of 3.5 inches.
You have a nice 125-dpi resolution, along with 16-bit color (which actually means you have trillions of colors to use).
This is thin at 6/10 of an inch, with measurements of 7.5 by 3.4 inches.
It weighs just 13.6 ounces.
You can probably just put this in your shirt pocket.
The only issue is that it doesn’t feel solid, and you may want to get an optional padded case for this.
This comes with a built-in rechargeable battery, which you don’t really need to recharge too often.
A full charge is enough for up to 2 weeks of constant use in school.
Ease to Use
The menu-driven navigation makes it easy to use, with app icons and color-coded tabs on screen to help.
The touchpad also lets you work more easily.
In addition, the buttons “click” every time you press them so you don’t have to worry whether you clicked a key or not.
“For Home and Business Use”
Our Rating: 4.5
You may not think that you don’t need the best basic calculator in these days of smartphones.
But if you tend to use the calculator app on your smartphone every day, you’re better off just getting this calculator instead.
For Managing Finance
This will let you do the 4 basic math operations with a lot more ease than your smartphone.
Also, this has special functions such as tax functions, calculating for profit margins, and currency conversions.
With this, you’re able to deal with your small business or home finances a lot more efficiently.
Angled Screen with 12 Digits
This calculator is meant to be laid flat on your table.
It won’t move in place as it has an anti-slip mat.
The screen is angled so you’re able to see it directly and clearly.
You have 12 digits on display, and they’re larger than usual so you won’t make mistakes reading the figures.
These numbers have commas on top to easily denote millions and thousands.
The larger buttons make this a joy to use, since you won’t have to deal with mistakes such as pressing the wrong buttons.
You have useful extra buttons like the “00” key, plus the “+” and “=” keys are larger.
This may not be easy to pocket, since the angled display means that the calculator isn’t totally flat.
But it’s still relatively compact, as it only measures 4.8 by5.8 inches.
Solar-Powered with Single AA Battery
This is a solar-powered battery, but you have a single AA battery as backup.
“The Business Calculator You Need”
Our Rating: 4.5
This is one of the most popular printing calculators around.
It’s great for office work and to help you run your small business.
It may also be the best accounting calculator in this price range.
Excellent Business Calculator
This is terrific for business, as its functions include calculating for prices and grand totals.
You can easily get the averages of several prices, too.
Some keys let you deal quickly with tax issues, and you can round off figures in any manner.
This also has the change feature that quickly gives you the change once you input the price and the money you get.
After all that, you can print in 2 colors, as positive numbers can be printed in black and negative figures in red.
This prints out quickly, with a speed of at least 2 lines per second.
Angled Display with Fluorescent Numbers
The angled display shows you a basic dark screen with fluorescent numbers.
The digits are large so they’re easy to read, and you have convenient commas to denote thousands and millions.
Raised Big Buttons
The raised buttons are large and very easy to use with your adult fingers.
The commonly used “+” key is especially big, and there’s a convenient “00” key as well.
Other keys offer quick use of the special functions.
“Must-Have Tool for Piping”
Our Rating: 5.0
You know how some online calculators offer specialized functions such as calculating for BMI?
This one offers specialized functions for those who deal with pipe layouts.
This is meant for pipe fitters, welders, steamfitters, sprinkle fitters, and even plumbing engineers.
If you’re a student who studies Math for Plumbing, this tool can really get your grades up.
For Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
This lets you enter data and then calculate whatever you need.
These can be the right flow rates, angles for pipes, bends, fitting angles, and parallel pipe cutbacks.
This handheld calculator basically does everything that you need for complicated pipe runs.
You’re even able to enter data in decimals or in fractions, and it can instantly do metric unit conversions.
The built-in pipe data includes 7 different pipe materials and types and it will define velocity, flow rates, force, and volumes.
You’ll even know of the pressure loss for any pipe type, size, or distance.
This is a hardy tool, with a very rugged case.
It is resistant to shock, dust, and moisture.
It is also powered by 2 long-life batteries.
Different Types of Calculators: Conclusion
If you don’t really use calculators often, then your smartphone calculator may be suitable.
The problem is that if you’re going to use a calculator regularly, you’ll be super-annoyed by the smartphone calculator, which is tedious to use.
What’s even worse is that if you try to work quickly with a smartphone calculator, you’re likely to make a lot of mistakes.
Using a good calculator with the right type of functions, features, and display, you can do the work properly.
Whether you need it for math subjects, for business, or for precise engineering work, the right type of calculator can save you a lot of trouble.
Pick the right model among the different types of calculators, and you can rest easy knowing your figures and computations are right on the money!