Written by Tim

Advice on calculators

What kind of calculator you need depends entirely on what you are going to do with the machine. Then it is important again what sort of calculations you will make with the calculator. Below you can determine which calculator is best suited for your use based on your type of usage situation and type of calculation.

Which type of calculator?

There are roughly 5 types of calculators: graphic calculators, desk calculators, counting machines, financial calculators, and scientific calculators. They all have their own specific functionalities for use. If you need the calculator for business activities, check the calculators for business use. If you need the calculator for school, check the calculators for school or study.

School or study

As a student or student you must be able to use your calculator every day and you must be able to rely on it. Often one specific model is mandatory and we advise you to buy it. In that case, tap the model name at the top of the search bar or select it in the list of models on the left.

The graphing calculators allowed by the CvTE for the Central Final examinations in the Netherlands from exams havo 2018 and vwo 2019:

  • Texas Instruments TI-84 + CE-T (all 3 colors)
  • Texas Instruments Nspire CX (without CAS)
  • HP Prime
  • Casio FX-9860GII (and SD)
  • Casio FX-CG20
  • Casio FX-CG50

Is not a model recommended? Read below what you can look for when buying your calculator.

Graphical calculator

graphical calculator

Take a good look at the appearance of the calculator, since the differences are minimal. The differences between the calculators are made on the following points.

  • All graphing calculators

  • All graphic calculators for final exams

  • Pay attention to: * | color screen, rechargeable battery versus batteries, connection to computer, connection to other calculator, format and shape of the buttons, touch screen, CAS (Computer Algebra System), weight.

Scientific calculator

scientific calculator

Look carefully at the functionalities of the calculator. The differences between the calculators are made on the points below. \ n \ n * Pay attention to: * | Number of display lines, menu button, number of functionalities for scientific calculations, sum notation, number of variable memories solar cell.

Business use

As a business user you want to be able to rely on your calculator every day. View the headings below to see which calculator fits your use. At each piece is also \ "pay attention to ". These are the functionalities that are available and therefore make a distinction within that type of calculator. You have to pay attention to which function (s) you want to use and look at the calculator to see if it has this function (s).

Office drawing machine

office drawing machine

Do you do a lot with the calculation of VAT, margin, tax or with the conversion of currency: then you are looking for a desk calculator. All office calculators have basic functionalities (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). You can also pay attention to the functionalities below.

  • Pay attention to: * | Solar cell, memory function, cost calculation, margin calculation, percent calculation, TAX calculation, currency conversion function, self-entered calculation, multiple decimal places, double zero and triple zero.

Counting machine

Would you like to check again on a paper roll what your calculations look like: then you are looking for a counting machine. A counting machine (also called a counting machine, a card-printing machine or a printing machine) is an office drawing machine with the extra functionality that it prints every sum when the printing function is switched on.

  • Pay attention to: * | power supply via batteries or power cable, printing in only black or in black and red, all functionalities of an office drawing machine (see above).

Financial calculator

financial calculator

Do you want to make a large variety of practical financial calculations every day: then you are looking for a financial calculator. Financial calculators have an extreme variety of functionalities that could be required for business use and use by financials. The differences are made between the presence of the functions below.

  • Pay attention to: * | Percent calculations, currency calculations, time and value calculations such as cash flow and depreciation, interest, bonds, depreciation, variable calculations, arithmetic time and date calculations, solving comparisons, printing, calculating loans or savings and using RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) mode.

Tracking machines allowed on the CFA exam:

  • HP 12C Financial
  • HP 12C Platinum
  • TI BA II Plus
  • TI BA II Plus Pro

What kind of energy supply?

** AA or AAA batteries **

Prices: available in many places, cheap Numbering: can leak with the risk of corrosion on the electronics causing irreparable damage.

** Button cell batteries **

Prices: long life, leak less fast than AA and AAA batteries Neverling: can contain mercury, emit less power than AA and AAA batteries

** Battery or power cord **

Prices: Do not buy new batteries Numbering: Charging is necessary and in some cases you can not even work without a mains connection.

** Solar energy **

Prices: energy-efficient, no or less battery costs Numbering: can take a while before the machine turns on, light is needed

Why should I use multiple screen rules?

calculator screen rules

Your calculator will become larger and more expensive, but that means all the disadvantages of multiple screen rules are also listed immediately. With a calculator with multiple screen rules you can look back on old calculations if you accidentally made a mistake in the calculation, without having to look back. You can also see the previous answer or the assignment, so you can immediately count on or see what you have done wrong. This is especially useful if you make multiple calculations in succession.

Why a color screen instead of a normal screen?

calculator with color screen

The main advantage that you have with color in a calculator is clarity. Because your parenthesis functions or sums are created with brackets with different colors of brackets, you can see exactly which color you started with and thus which color you should finish with. Furthermore, you work with different color graphs, so plotted graphs with multiple colors are displayed much clearer so that the chance of errors is minimized.

What is RPN?

RPN stands for Reverse Polish Notation, which actually only partially clarifies the meaning. "Polish notation" stands for a different way of writing down the task, which was devised by the Polish Hab Kujasuewicz. The 'reverse' scheme has only been developed years after the normal 'Polish notation', but after a bit of exercise it works much easier and faster than the normal 'algebraic' method. You do not need to remember or save anything from the sum.

Example RPN: You want to divide 5.5 + 4.5 by 3 + 2. Written as (5.5 + 4.5) / (3 + 2)

The differences between algebraic and RPN


  • Type in: 5.5 + 4.5 ENTER \ n * Write the answer (or save it): 10 \ n * Type in: 3 + 2 ENTER \ n * Write the answer (or save it): 5 \ n * Type in the answers: 10/5 \ n * He immediately gives the answer: 2


  • Enter in: 5.5 ENTER \ n * Type in: 4.5 + \ n * Type in: 3 ENTER \ n * Type in: 2 + \ n * Type in: / \ n * He now gives the answer immediately: 2
Article by:
Tim Calculator specialist.

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