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Calculators buying guide

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Introduction to Calculators

Walking into your local store such as Rymans for a calculator can be a bit tricky, you know why you need to buy one but there are so many and they all look the same! Don't worry, Price Inspector is on hand to give you the low down on the different types of calculators.

"Price Inspector - my son is doing his GCSE's this year and I am unsure which calculator he needs - can you help?"

Well, one of the easiest things to do is contact the school and get advice from the teachers - usually they will have a couple of recommendations on which specific model of calculator to buy. Most common school calculators are Casio calculators and the more advanced TI calculator (Texas Instrument).

Calculators generally fall under the following categories: Basic, Scientific, Graph based and Financial. Obviously if your looking for a childrens calc, the basic one will do, or if you are an accountant, you're more likely to be looking for the financial calculator. Students, on the other hand, such as A-Level and degree based will more likely want to purchase a Scientific version.

Types of Calculators

  • Basic Calculators
    • Great for the standard stuff - addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Usually have over-sized screens, big buttons - these are usually cheap and some can be powered by solar. Ideal for the home or office, they may not be suitable for school children. Good basic models include Canon, Casio, HPTI and Sharp.
  • Scientific calculators
    • Has all of the above plus some 2-variable functions. A good school recommended option, as they can perform maths functions such as stats, algebra and trigonometry. Price on these can vary, but the HP33 is a good option here.
  • Graphical calculators
    • By far the most expensive of calculators, the graphing calculator is also considered the most advanced in its field. Definately recommended for those taking "pure and applied" mathematics. This calculator also has an in-built memory so can remember set formulas. Some schools have banned certain calculators, as they are deemed to help cheating in exams. Popular models include the TI-89 and the TI-73 explorer.
  • Financial calculators
    • Finance calcs are ideal for finance professionals, people looking to keep an eye on their home budget or anyone who wants to track their daily ins and outs. Perfect for business style classes, this calculator has some great programmes for really complicated financial forecasting. Can also do such things as tax calculation, or currency converting. Our price detectives tried out the BA II, Sharp and Canon models and recommends them.

You should be well equipped to making a decision on which type of calculator suits your needs, go and have a good look on Price Inspector for the best prices in the UK on some of the models we have recommended.

Buying Guide to Calculators
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