A Calculator Buying Guide

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A Calculator Buying Guide

Calculators are used by students and professionals as a tool that offers a range of features and functions to make mathematics easier. Although there are only about four categories of calculators, the purposes and features that exist on each calculator give the consumer a variety of options to choose from. Understanding which calculators are right for specific needs makes for choosing the right one much easier. Determining what category is needed is another integral step in purchasing a quality calculator.

Many traditional stores carry calculators that meet the needs of both students and professionals, but selection in such stores has the possibility of being somewhat lacking. Online marketplaces such as eBay, however, offer more choices than brick and mortar stores with thousands of potential sellers. Narrowing down which category of calculator is needed only takes a few clicks when using online options like eBay. Understanding the ins and outs of the different calculators available helps to make purchasing one less complicated.

What to Know Before Buying a Calculator

There are hundreds if not thousands of calculators available for purchase, so knowing what is needed is vital. Those purchasing a calculator for a class of some sort should be sure to ask the teacher what calculator is best. Spending a large sum of money on a calculator that is not adequate for the class is to be avoided. For instance, many graphing calculators are not even allowed into some classrooms. Be sure to understand the technology requirements of the class and purchase the calculator that best fits those needs. If any uncertainty exists, refrain from purchasing an expensive calculator until a class calls for one.

Categories of Calculators

Although there are thousands of different calculator types and manufacturers, most of these pieces of technology fit into one of four calculator groups. The four categories can be logically condensed into basic calculators, scientific calculators, graphing calculators, and financial calculators. Basic calculators are just that, basic. Scientific calculators offer a larger quantity of functions that basic calculators do not. Graphing calculators are nearly as powerful as small computers. Financial calculators are also fairly unique when compared against other options. Knowledge of the different options makes shopping more productive.

Basic Calculator

People who need quick access to a calculator for relatively simple mathematics should shop for a basic calculator. These calculators are designed to complete calculations that include basic math and small to medium calculations. The screens on basic calculators tend to be quite small, but the basic option is also much more mobile. Keys on these calculators tend to be quite a bit larger than other options as well. Small children, those with trouble viewing small numbers, and people on the go tend to lean towards basic calculators as their favourite option.

Basic Calculator Options

Many major technology companies produce basic calculators for use by the general public. Students and individuals looking for a traditional option should look into Casio, Canon, HP, and Texas Instruments for calculators that fit the most basic needs. The smallest, most portable calculator technologies are designed with small solar cells, making them much more portable. Some basic calculators are even small enough to fit into purses and wallets, making for a slim and compact technology choice.

Financial Calculator

Financial professionals need a way to quickly enter data and receive dependable, easy to read results. Financial calculators are developed with the functions required by those in the finance, accounting, and general economics fields. These calculators offer simple to use functions that calculate everything from net future values to cost sell margin issues and more. Financial calculators are intuitive enough to be used by both professionals in the industry as well as students in the growing field.

Financial Calculator Options

Professionals and students in need of a financial calculator find that the options available are numerous. Some of the most popular and dependable financial calculators are designed by HP. The HP calculator can range from simple devices that have no memory to more advanced devices that hold up to as much as 28 KB of storage. Other popular options include the Texas Instruments line, as well as options from both Canon and Sharp. Needs necessitate which company and calculator technology is most applicable to the situation.

Scientific Calculator

For an option that offers a few more functions than a basic calculator with a similarly slim construction, scientific calculators are the most logical option. Scientific calculators are most popular amongst students studying algebra, calculus, statistics, and a range of other math focused disciplines. These calculators typically feature around two lines of display, and offer a reasonable amount of functions for the user as well. Searching for a scientific calculator that has a keyboard with both numbers and letters results in a piece of technology which meets most needs.

Scientific Calculator Options

Perhaps the most utilised scientific calculator comes from the technology manufacturer Casio. Casio scientific calculators offer users enough functions to aid in completing a range of mathematical and scientific questions. HP is also quite popular amongst those interested in a scientific calculator option. When shopping for a scientific calculator, look for one which comes with at least a two line screen. Also, a alphanumeric keyboard is almost always a better option that one that only comes with number keys.

Graphing Calculator

The most powerful and functional calculator option is a graphing calculator. Graphing calculators come with enough power to rival any other calculator option. These pieces of technology are designed with large screens that are able to display graphs, 3D vectors, and much more. Graphing calculators are constructed to be used in advanced math and science courses or by engineering and science professionals. These calculators are designed with hundreds of functions and are able to help solve almost any problem. With a larger memory than any other calculator option, graphing calculators can store a variety of formulas, programmes, and more.

Graphing Calculator Options

Without a doubt, the most widely used graphing calculator on the market is designed by Texas Instruments. The TI-89 is one of the most popular calculator options available on the market. Another, less powerful option is the TI-73 Explorer and is designed for use during less advanced classes. Those studying calculus, physics, and statistics, however, are much more likely to be satisfied with a TI-89 or similarly powerful calculator technology. Individuals who want an even more powerful piece of technology should consider the TI-Nspire as an adequate option.

Buying a Used Calculator

Calculators, specifically of the graphing variety, tend to be quite a bit more expensive than one might expect. Due to the high prices of some types of calculators, many individuals turn to used options as the answer. Used calculators may be difficult to find at traditional consignment shops. Individuals who take advantage of online marketplaces such as eBay, however, are able to find a used version of almost any type of calculator. With so many used options available, students and professionals alike are able to find reasonably priced calculator options.

Using eBay to Purchase a Calculator

When shopping for a calculator, those who use the online marketplace eBay are able to choose from a wide vareity of different calculator options. Since so many options are available, searching through thousands of listings tends to be quite intimidating. Consumers who want to narrow their search down must simply choose to use the advanced search function on the site. Advanced search allows consumers to focus their product search from the very beginning.

Once a set of items adequate to your needs appears, choosing between sellers is the next step. There are many authorised sellers on eBay who offer brand new merchandise at a relatively low cost. Individuals who are interested in used options might consider local sellers as a more reasonable option. Both authorised and local sellers offer used and new merchandise, so choosing between them can still be quite difficult. Luckily, eBay offers advanced seller ratings for customers to browse through.


Students, professionals, and the everyday individual all need calculators in order to more easily solve mathematical problems. With calculators designed for the finance field, for portability, for everyday use, for science, and for advanced math, choosing the right piece of technology for the job can be intimidating. The right amount of consumer knowledge, however, leads to the right purchase. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks from the different calculator options available requires only minimal education on the subject.

Basic calculators are all that is needed for most individuals, but students and professionals of all ages require more advanced options. More advanced options such as graphing calculators, however, tend to be expensive. With online marketplaces such as eBay, consumers are able to find used options that can save them a good deal of money. By taking advantage of eBay's search options, consumers are able to browse through all types of calculators until the right device is found for an individual's needs. No matter if the calculator is needed for simple math problems or the most complex calculations, you are then able to find the right device for you on eBay.

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