The 8 Best Scientific Calculators of 2020
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Scientific calculators are designed for solving math, science, and engineering problems. In addition to the basic arithmetic operations, a scientific calculator lets you solve trigonometry, logarithm, and probability problems. When it comes to quality calculators, Texas Instruments, Casio, and Sharp have consistently produced quality devices year after year, but there are several options to choose from. Whether you're a student, engineer, or medical professional, these are the best scientific calculators out there.
Best Overall: Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro Engineering/Scientific Calculator
The Texas Instruments TI-36X features a MultiView display area that shows four lines (most other calculators just show one or two lines) and multiple calculations on the screen at the same time. Math expressions, symbols, and fractions appear on the screen just as they do in textbook. The mode menu can be used to choose between various number modes depending on the type of equation you have to enter: degrees/radians or floating/fix. Solve numeric, polynomial, and linear equations with ease by following on-screen prompts. The TI-36X can be used in high school and college for algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, and biology. The calculator is solar powered with an internal backup battery.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Casio FX-115ES Plus Engineering/Scientific Calculator
The Casio FX-115ES Plus includes more than 280 functions and 40 metric conversions. As you enter expressions and view results, you’ll see that they appear on the calculator screen exactly as they do in the textbook. One of the best features is the multi-replay function that allows you to go back through previous calculations step-by-step. This helps you easily edit your calculations in case of an entry error. The Calculator is great for high school and college students in general math, algebra, statistics, trigonometry, calculus, engineering, and physics. It comes with a slide-off protection cover.
Best Value: Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator
The Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS Scientific Calculator is versatile and reasonably priced. The two-line display shows both entry and calculated results at the same time. The calculator is capable of performing operations with both fractions and mixed numbers — you can enter fractions exactly as they appear in the textbook, no conversions necessary. Make a mistake? Use the arrow keys to scroll through the original equation to recalculate the answer. Or, use the entry line scrolling feature to review previous entries so you can look for patterns within answers or simply retrieve answers to previous calculations.
The calculator uses solar power and internal battery as a backup source just in case there’s not enough light. A snap-on cover fits on the back of the device or can be slid over the front of the calculator to protect it when not in use. The calculator is ideal for general math, pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, geometry, statistics, and general science. The TI-30X IIS is also available in pink and blue.
Runner-Up, Best Value: Casio FX-300MS Scientific Calculator
The Casio FX-300MS Scientific Calculator has a two-line display that displays up to 10 digits. The calculator is capable of performing 240 functions and supports up to 18 levels of parenthesis. Use the backspace key to quickly clear up any errors with your calculation entry. And if you need to check your last equation, you can use the auto replay function. The Casio FX-300MS Scientific Calculator allows you to enter fractions, figure out standard deviations, calculate sine, cosine, tangent, and inverse, and many more mathematical functions. You can even program it to save formulas you want to use in the future. It comes with a hard case that slides on to protect the screen or snaps onto the back of the calculator when you’re using it. Plus, it’s solar powered with a backup battery so you’ll always be able to use your calculator when you need to.
Best Entry-Level: Casio FX-260 Scientific Calculator
The Casio FX-260 Scientific Calculator is a reasonably-priced, entry-level calculator great for middle school and early high school math. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to carry. The large one-line display shows up to 10 digits and two exponents. It is capable of performing 144 functions including fraction calculations, logarithms, exponents, and trig functions. You can quickly erase mistakes using either the clear last entry and clear all functions. Use the slide-on hard case to protect the screen and buttons when the calculator isn’t being used. The Casio FX-260 scientific calculator is solar powered and includes a backup battery.
Best for Professionals: HP 35s Scientific Calculator
The HP 35s Scientific calculator is the only scientific calculator on the market that lets you choose between RPN (reverse Polish notation) or algebraic entry-system logic. It’s a great option for engineers, surveyors, scientists, medical professionals, and college students. Use it to perform single and two-variable statistics, linear regression, and more. Includes a complete library of unit conversions, inverse functions, cube root, and exponents.
The display shows two lines with 14 characters on each line. The adjustable contrast feature allows you to maximize screen visibility for both indoor and outdoor use. Backed by a manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty, which will make it easier to replace the calculator in the case of an early malfunction. The calculator comes with two LR44 batteries and includes 30KB of memory.
Best Features: Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator
The TI-30XS Multiview Scientific Calculator gives you the ability to enter multiple calculations, which is a great feature for easily comparing results of various expressions and looking for patterns. Enter and view expressions using common math notation — exactly the way expressions appear in the textbook — for easier understanding. That includes stacked fractions, exponents, square roots, and more. A toggle key lets you switch alternate forms of fractions and decimals quickly and easily. Need to view your previous calculations? You can scroll through previous entries and even paste old problems into a new calculation. This is especially helpful if you enter a calculation incorrectly. You can nest up to 23 levels of parentheses for complex calculations. The calculator is solar powered and includes a backup battery just in case there’s not enough solar light.
Best Display: Sharp Calculators EL-W516TBSL Advanced Scientific Calculator
Sharp Calculators' Advanced Scientific Calculator features a large, 16-digit, 4-line LCD Display — the biggest screen of any of the calculators on our list. The WriteView display feature allows you to see expressions, fractions, and symbols exactly the way they appear in a textbook. This feature reinforces classroom lessons and allows users to verify that they’re entering expressions correctly.
The calculator offers seven different modes to choose from depending on the type of calculation you need to perform: normal, stat, drill, complex, matrix, list, and equation. The calculator can handle 640 different functions including trig functions, logarithms, reciprocals, powers, and more. It can even factor polynomials. You can use the home key to start over no matter which screen you’re on.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular scientific calculators on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different calculators overall, screened options from 5 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 25 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.