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The days of high school algebra may be a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean a trusty calculator can’t help you as a businessperson. Whether you’re a small business owner trying to balance their budget or a home office worker determining their self-employment taxes, having a good calculator on hand can expedite the process. And though the technology behind handheld calculators is more than 50 years old, today’s devices run the gamut between options made for basic calculations to more advanced models with a built-in printer and full-color LCD screen.
To find the best calculator, it’s important to consider how intuitive its functions are, how affordable the model in question is, and how reliable the manufacturer’s products have been historically, along with other determining factors. With that in mind, here are the best calculators for you.
The Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS (view at Amazon) is the best overall calculator for multiple reasons. With an easy-to-use interface and large two-line display, it has enough power to handle larger calculations while maintaining the kind of functionality that people expect from Texas Instruments. Combine all of that with a reasonable price tag and you get a great calculator that can tackle everything from easy sales transactions to complicated tax considerations.
What type of calculator is right for me?
Today’s calculators can handle a wide range of calculations, but sometimes you just need a simple calculator for work. If you only need to compute basic addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication (with some consideration for decimal points), then you will likely be fine with a regular calculator. The moment you need to solve for X or use data points to plot out a graph, you’re going to need a more advanced calculator.
What is the difference between a calculator, a scientific calculator, and a graphing calculator?
Though every calculator can handle basic mathematical equations, scientific and graphing calculators are typically more advanced than regular calculators. For instance, a scientific calculator features functions that can solve algebraic equations, such as finding exponents, roots, and logarithmic equations. Conversely, a graphing calculator can do all of those things, along with the ability to plot a graph on its screen, creating different types of graphs with just a few buttons.
Why would I need a printer-enabled calculator?
If you need to compute financial calculations or work in the financial sector, a printing calculator could be useful in avoiding the need to create lengthy spreadsheets for a single equation. Printing calculators have the innate ability to let you review your calculations whenever you want.
Traditional calculators have screens that can display just a few lines at a time, but a printing calculator creates a receipt of your entire string of calculations. Rather than having to do your work over again, you can read what was printed out to double-check it. When you’re done, you can remove the printed paper from the calculator and store it with your records.
Why are some calculators significantly more expensive than others?
As with most tech, calculators typically become more expensive as features like computational power, high-resolution color screens, and the ability to code and implement your own applications are added. It’s why a simple calculator can cost under $10, while a graphing calculator retails for around $100.
Why Trust Investopedia?
When selecting these calculators, we conducted research into the top calculator manufacturers before seeking out the most highly rated devices in their lineups. We sought out specification sheets and considered how intuitive each model would be for the average user. Our initial research resulted in a curated list of 20 calculators, which was then whittled down to a select few by comparing the price, feature set, and ease of use associated with each model.
Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist who has written for prominent publications including Business.com, Business News Daily, and The New York Daily News. Throughout the years, he has covered a range of topics including technology, financial regulations, and public policy.