The Complete Guide to Scientific Calculators

Like if this Guide is helpful
The Complete Guide to Scientific Calculators

For many, having a scientific calculator will be a necessary part of a job, university course or classroom scenario. Scientific calculators are not just for complex maths problems though; science, business and other disciplines will also put their many useful functions to use at some point. There are many different types of calculators available to buy, and many are listed on electronics section of eBay’s website.

This guide will outline some of the key features of scientific calculators, their uses, functions and buying considerations, as well as detail how to purchase one using the unique features of eBay’s site. This guide is suitable for those just starting off looking for a calculator, as well as those already familiar with their functions.

Types of Scientific Calculators

When it comes to choosing a scientific calculator, the market is as varied as it is full. Many different brands and manufacturers have whole collections of scientific calculators. It is in these collections that specific needs and functions are catered to, with the variations being either small or large, depending on the class of calculator.

Scientific calculators are used to calculate complex problems, but there are also graphic calculators, which are capable of plotting large amounts of data into a graph format. For those involved in the financial sector, such as an accountant, a financial calculator will help with various financial functions. Here are some of the key types of scientific calculator:

Scientific Calculator

A few key features define the standard scientific calculator. They are designed to have quick access to many mathematical functions, in particular trigonometry.  They are becoming ubiquitous in schools around the world, as standardised math papers are increasingly popular. They allow for the user to input a whole equation, including powers, brackets and logarithms and calculate across more than one row. Below is a table showing some of the main functions of scientific calculators:


Typed in



Sin (x)

The trigonometry sine function.


Cos (x)

The trigonometry cosine function.


Tan (x)

The trigonometry tangent function.

Arc Sine

Asin (x)

The trigonometry inverse sine function. The angle whose sine is x.

Arc Cosine

Acos (x)

The trigonometry inverse cosine function. The angle whose cosine is x.

Arc Tangent

Atan (x)

The trigonometry inverse tangent function. The angle whose tangent is x.

Square root

Sqrt (x)

Square root of x.


Log (x)

The log base 10 of x. The power to which you must raise the base (10) to get x.

Ten to the power x

Pow (10,x)

Ten raised to the power x.

X squared


X raised to the power 2.

Natural Log

Ln (x)

The log base e of x. The power to which you must raise the base (e - approximately 2.718) to get x.


Exp (x)

E (approx 2.718) raised to the power of x

Those functions can be broken down into some more general rules, as outlined in the points below:

· Quick access to important terms such as Pi and e

· Notation of scientific terms

· Base 10 and basee functions for logarithms

· Arithmetic in floating point

· Trigonometry functions

· Square roots and more advanced features

As can be seen, the functions that determine a scientific calculator are quite varied, and can differ from model to model and brand to brand.

Graphic Calculator

Graphic calculators are used to plot graphs, complete simultaneous equations, and perform tasks that include variables. Their use is often essential in advanced mathematics, as the ability to program specific functions means that they are highly customisable. This also means that they can be used in almost any field where complex problems need to be solved. The display on graphic calculators often tends to be larger and be capable of showing more detail and more lines of code. They are useful for:

· Hexadecimal and binary calculations

· Fractions

· Statistics and probability

· Calculus

Financial Calculator

Financial calculators are much like standard scientific calculators, with the difference that most of the quick access keys and shortcuts are based around financial requirements. Like graphic calculators, they can also be programmed to be performed specific functions.

Scientific Calculator Buying Considerations

There are a number of factors that should be brought into consideration when making a purchase of a scientific calculator. After the type of calculator has been decided on, the other considerations are:


There are some main manufacturers when it comes to scientific calculators, and each has slightly different uses and features. A certain amount will come down to personal taste; however, here is a quick rundown of some of the major manufacturers:

· Canon: A lesser range of options, but quite specific models in their collection

· Casio: Manu schools use Casio calculators across their syllabus, and most users will be familiar with their layout

· Hewlett-Packard: Specialise in programmable calculators

· Sharp: Often produce graphic calculators of a high standard

· Texas Instruments: One of the most popular makers of scientific calculators


This will be a driving factor behind any purchase. Prices range considerably, so it’s important to understand the budget for a specific set of needs. A good idea would be to research the different price ranges and then make a budget to fit in with that – this ensures that a less affordable item isn’t purchased.


The condition of a unit will often affect the price. Items on eBay are available both new and used, meaning that different prices can be found for similar items. Many people may find that buying a used item is a more affordable way of purchasing a higher-end calculator.

Buying a Scientific Calculator On eBay

When visiting eBay’s website, scientific calculators can be found on the electronics section under the calculators category. After navigating here, there are some useful site features that make the buying process easier:

Left-Hand Refines

The left-hand side of the site has a number of different filters on, for aspects such as price, condition and brand. Any number of these can be selected to refine the results displayed down to only the relevant ones.

Product Pages

After clicking on one of the products in the search results, a product listing page will be open. This page will detail the further information of that product, including descriptions, images, delivery options and seller information. From here you can contact the seller about the product.


Viewing a seller’s page shows information about their selling activity on the site. This includes ratings and comments from previous customers, as well as other products they may have listed on the site. This is a good way of gauging a seller’s repute on the site.

Bidding and Buy Now

Once a desired product has been found, there will be listings that are either registered as auctions or buy it now. Auctions work just like regular auctions; bids can be placed within a time limit, with the highest bid winning. There is the function to place a highest bid, with new bids allowed to be added if the original one is outbid. ‘Buy It Now’ sales offer the opportunity to buy the product outright. This is a good way of securing an item immediately.


Buying a scientific calculator online is made easy when shopping on the world’s leading auction website, eBay. Whilst there are many different options and varieties available when shopping for calculators, the site makes it straightforward, as it has features such as the refine and search bar, making it uncomplicated to find what is required. It also a good idea to make a purchase through PayPal, as it will be covered by the buyer protection programme, which ensures shopping on eBay is safe and secure.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides