If you’re fed up with being handed decade-old battered calculators and struggling to read the numbers on the faded screens, it might be time to invest in a calculator of your own.
Aside from being turned upside down to spell words (for, admittedly, respectable amounts of amusement), they can help you store equations and come back to your work, so you can pick up where you left off.
This is our rundown of the best scientific calculators on the market. There should be a model for every ability, chosen based on in-depth research and analysis of consumer reviews.
The UK’s best-selling calculator, the Casio fx-83, is instantly recognisable, found in classrooms and university students’ bags alike.
It’s an upgraded version of the classic Casio fx-83GTPLUS, including a clearer display, faster processor, and wider range of functions—there are 276, including ratios, digit separators, statistics, tables, and a variables list.
The natural textbook display shows mathematical expressions such as roots and fractions, simulating the way they appear in textbooks to make the results easier to understand.
Recommended for key stages 3 and 4, including GCSE and higher education, this calculator is allowed in every UK calculator exam.
NEWYES Scientific Calculator
This unusual calculator comes fitted with a 6.5-inch tablet and stylus, allowing you to take notes while you work. It could be a great option for anyone looking to solve equations on the go, allowing you to show your working as though you were writing in an exam.
The tablet even has a delete button, allowing you to clear your notes. You can also flick a button to lock the screen and ensure your notes won’t be accidentally deleted, meaning no more scribbling on flimsy whiteboards.
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The calculator includes 349 computing functions: from basic arithmetic, fractions and statistics; to computer science and standard deviation. It uses a solar panel and replaceable button battery for a lengthened battery life.
A more advanced option from Casio, the FX-991EX is allowed in every UK calculator exam, recommended for key stages 3, 4 and 5.
It uses ClassWiz technology for a high-resolution natural textbook-style display. As a result, the display has a resolution that Casio claim to be four times higher than similar models from the FX-ES range.
There is a faster processor and double the memory size of the classic FX-ES Plus series. There are 522 functions, allowing you to work through large spreadsheets and matrix calculations.
Casio also provide an online visualisation service, allowing you to generate a QR code for the problem you’re working on and scan the code to see a graphical representation of your data.
WHSmith Scientific Calculator
This budget calculator from WHSmith covers all the basics, with over 224 functions, including nine memory functions to save your work. It’s suitable for all UK calculator exams and recommended for Key Stage 3 and 4.
It’s designed with the intention of being a straight-forward, practical option, featuring a flip stand and a protective hard case.
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, Casio’s fx-CG50 is their most advanced graphic calculator approved by exam boards.
It features all Casio’s latest graphic calculator tech, displayed on a high-resolution colour screen. You can use the picture plot function to analyse images and videos and create 3D graphs.
This calculator uses Python, a programming language used to develop Internet search engines, robots, and social media sites—great for polishing up your coding skills.
You can plot pie and bar charts in statistics or spreadsheet mode, import data via USB and visualise other complex calculations.
Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX (II-T) CAS
This advanced calculator from Texas Instruments uses a series of maths, science and statistics applications to offer a wide range of functions for users.
Students can plot graphs and animate points, use lists and spreadsheets, and enter notes and comments as they work. Images can be imported and used as reference points for calculations.
There are animated figures for geometry and graphical methods such as histograms, box plots, bar and pie charts, and more.
Like the Casio fx-CG50, this calculator features Python, helping to prime students for STEM careers with a widely used programming language.
Texas Instruments BA II Financial Calculator
Another option from Texas Instruments, this calculator is designed for finance calculation, allowing users to work out time value, cash flow analysis and use advanced statistics.
With up to ten user memories to store your work, this could be a great option for an economics student or anyone working in accounting or investment.