Whether in need to perform different mathematical tasks, calculators are your best and time-saving ally. Due to the fact that there are different types of calculators available, it is crucial to understand their differences and functions in order to choose the one for your needs.
Since the calculators have become a universal tool for many people, different models now include different functions tailored to specific groups of people. For instance, simple function calculators designed for elementary math, can be found in most homes, while the more powerful graphing calculators are available for students in math and engineering classes, as well as for engineers and accountants. With so many types of calculators, we’ve rounded up the most popular and common types of graphing calculators you can find on the Australian market to help you get the best option for your needs.
Handheld calculators are the simplest types of calculators today. They are small just like the size of a pocket and are powered through solar energy. They are used only for basic math calculations.
- The Basic Model – The most basic type of handheld calculator displays the results in a led one-line screen. These basic models are called “four-function” calculators as they can only add, subtract, divide and multiply. However, there are some variations of the basic calculator. These different types of basic calculators have larger and easy-to-read display, as well as a battery when there is no solar power available. They can do basic functions like tax and discount amounts, as well square roots. The basic model calculators are great for the elementary math students and for home use.
- Dual Display – The dual display handheld calculators have the same features and functions as the former. The main difference is that it has two LCD displays for easier operation. You can copy values between the main and sub display or perform independent calculations at the same time. Dual display calculators are used for business calculations like currency conversion, taxes and cost/sell/margin calculations.
- Three Line Display – The three line display calculator with wide LCD display allows you to see the original input, calculation, and final total at the same time. These types of calculators are usually used in currency exchange operations since they can store numerous conversion rates in memory for instant recall. They can also calculate tax, time, and cost, and they are usually used in retail stores, restaurants and accounting departments.
Printing calculators were popular right before the computers came in use. They were used mainly to keep a running total of numbers over a period of time. Printing calculators have a paper tape and an internal printer so they can give a written record of all performed calculations. Depending on the model, they can print in two colors for positive and negative value.
- Compact – Compact printing calculators are similar to the handheld basic models with one difference, the latter allows users to print the results. Compact calculators have large and easy to read displays. The more advanced versions can perform tax and exchange functions, percentages, simplified costs and profit calculations. They are usually used in retail, bookkeeping and restaurants.
- Desktop – The desktop version of the printing calculator has the same functions as the compact one, but in a larger version. It has more function buttons and provides a faster line-per-second printing ratio than the previous one.
- Thermal – The thermal calculator has the same features as the previous models. The printing is done through a thermal printing process with a heat applied to a special paper that changes colours. The line-per-second printing speed is faster than the traditional printing models, but you should keep in mind that they are more expensive than regular paper tape.
Scientific calculators provide a range of more complicated conversions, analysis, statistics and scientific data plotting. They are advanced models and provide different functions for math, algebra, engineering, and statistics. Most scientific calculators use the VPAM (Visually Perfect Algebraic Method), which changes the way math problems are written and displayed on the calculator.
- Standard Calculators – These types of calculators contain different math functions that give students, engineers and scientists the ability to perform complex algebraic tasks, like combinations, fraction calculations, statistics and permutations.
- Graphic Calculators – Graphic or graphing calculators are the most commonly used scientific calculators that provide a wide range of functions. They can easily plot coordinates, sketch, solve, graph and perform complex statistics and that is why they are considered miniature computers. Graphing calculators have high-resolution LCD displays, resulting in easy to read results. They feature high-speed CPUs that perform complex calculations and graphics, while the onboard flash memory allows for free storage of data and applications. Graphing calculators are used in science, math, and technical fields and they are a must for most engineering and math students. The more advanced models of graphing calculators are used to colour dot matrix displays and have a camera so you can easily take pictures of items, real objects and plot graphs.
- Programmable – Programmable models of calculators contain all the functions found in other graphing calculators, with one difference. They allow you to program functions, calculations and applications.