Best Engineering Calculators

Updated on May 4, 2016

Engineering Student's Dream

Many a high school freshman has salivated over this bauble-y bad-boy.
Many a high school freshman has salivated over this bauble-y bad-boy. | Source

Best Engineering Calculators

Engineers and their calculators evolve through three phases of relationships.

First, in high school and college, the emphasis is on appearance. A bigger calculator translates directly to projection of an image of a bigger brain. The biggest geek requires the most functions on his electronic gadgets in order to translate giant thoughts into something numeric the art world can gaze upon.

Second, engineers need to pass the EIT and the PE exam. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying maintains tight rules for conducting the Fundamentals of Engineering, Professional Engineer, and other exams. To combat those sneaky fellows working for exam prep services, NCEES bars calculators that can record information from the exam onto the device. For this reason, engineers must train and practice with a more limited calculator.

Third, engineers begin working for pay. In this phase, appearances maintained by "my calculator is bigger than yours" fail to boost geeks to the head of the nerd herd. Instead, it is performance and output that count. Preparing for the PE exam taught them: Even a little calculator gets the job done. So, the calculator as big as a woman's wallet takes semi-retirement in the corner of the desk (where non-engineers can admire it- keep it dusted.) The new paradigm of prestige establishment for working engineers shifts to more and bigger books. Instead of the latest calculator, it becomes who has the latest code book edition. One of the best examples is the Civil Engineering Reference Manual. It weighs 5 pounds.

Best Calculator for High School Engineering Students

In high school, appearance has a premium. In the geek squad, these honors can be purchased in the form of tech. Most Honors Calculus II students will have the latest and greatest Texas Instruments Calculator, a TI-92. Rumors this wonder machine has it's own satellite are highly exaggerated. Others will purchase the HP 48G or the newest unit, the HP 50G.

However. a TI-89 also has prestige. It just has to graph. Oh, and the student owner must be able to graph in front of others. For more campus nerd stardom, download cool programs, then link up with infrared to upload them to your buddies. Be sure this is done in a public place. Don't bother with impressing cheerleaders. They still think muscles equate to a better future and cheering will earn them respect with college admissions.

What NOT to Bring to the PE Exam

This modest little calculator ( $10 new) almost got me kicked out of the PE Exam- before it began.
This modest little calculator ( $10 new) almost got me kicked out of the PE Exam- before it began.

Best Calculator for the FE Exam & the PE Exam

The NCEES prepares and administers the Fundamentals of Engineering (now administered by contract by Pearson VUE) and the Professional Engineer exam. Preparing and vetting questions, and standardizing the exam versions requires many man-hours. When questions are "stolen" by copying during an exam, the Society loses both money in reproducing fair exams and credibility as a testing agency.

So, we all have to suffer for the cheating-hearts of those who don't want to study an hour each night for many months. Real engineers do that anyway, right? Right?

Be sure to visit the NCEES site and review their policy. It changes. I took the PE in 2011. The exam was proctored by some retirees' association. In the last minute, when it's time to just mark any unanswered questions, the old lady over my shoulder began to shake and vibrate like a toddler who has to make pee-pee. She was waving her arm around and looking toward the moderator in the front of the room. It felt like sniper school with the sniper recruit trying to make his final qualifying shot and the instructor shouting in his ear, calling him an environmentalist, and flicking his ear lobe until it stings. It was bizarre of her to do that. But, that is what went down. I'm pleased to report she survived her spasm, or whatever it was that got into her.

Think I exaggerate? I innocently brought my preferred calculator, which met all the physical requirements for calculators under their policy: no qwerty, no recording capacity, etcetera. However, it was not specifically pre-approved by them. It had no gold star by it's name. It was not on the list!

When they asked who did not have one on their list, which they read aloud, I raised my hand. Believe it or not, they actually had a conversation about whether or not they should kick me out of the exam. Instead, they had a magic box of forgiveness. Just put your rule-violating equipment into the box, and your dishonor can be overlooked. I put my name on it and placed it in the box on top of a stack of cell phones. The ladies were explaining to me, "We are not responsible if it is stolen. You are responsible to retrieve it yourself after the exam," and blah blah blah.

So, be sure not to bring a $6 drug store Sharp EL-531W with you. You might give an old lady a seizure.

My back-up was the Casio fx-115W. Thank God I had it. It is permitted. Here is the list of officially sanctioned devices:

  1. Casio fx-115 (any variety)
  2. Hewlett Packard 33s and 35s models "but no others" (NCEES, 2012)
  3. Texas Instruments TI-30X and TI-36X (any variety of these two)

Be sure not to bring anything other than these. Otherwise, you will have to make the walk of calculator shame back to your assigned seat- in front of everyone.

Some of the permitted calculators are actually useless. So, I wrote a new article about NCEES approved engineering calculators.

Check the current NCEES calculator policy.

It appears the calculator policy updates each November. Be sure to check the calculator policy here: NCEES policy.

The Casio fx-115 includes an insert inside the cover which details step by step the keystrokes for Calculus integrations, statistics, and a regression.
The Casio fx-115 includes an insert inside the cover which details step by step the keystrokes for Calculus integrations, statistics, and a regression. | Source

Why Buy the Casio

When I ordered my Casio fx-115W (the solar model), I researched reviews on all three brands: Casio, HP, and Texas Instruments. I bought the Casio because it won in both categories I chose as criteria for my selection: price and user ratings. I have listed Amazon links for you to find a good price. You'll see what I mean.

If examination dates are approaching, buy quickly. The best prices disappear fast. Plus, you really want to own it and become familiar with it as soon as possible. And, what engineer does not love a new calculator???

PRICE COMPARISON

I went to the local Office Max. They sell TI-30 calculators for about $18 and TI-36 scientific calculators for $23 each. The HP units are priced much higher. The HP 33s sells for around $30 and the HP 35s sells for about sixty bucks.

The solar Casio I bought is easy to use and there is no worry the batteries will die during your EIT exam, or at 2 a.m. while you're pulling an all-nighter to wow a new customer. And, it sells in the range of only 10 to 15 dollars. It's the best value.

If you decide to buy your PE exam study materials from ppi2pass.com, you can bundle your calculator purchase in with that purchase, save on shipping, and receive a 5% discount on books using this code word: PASS1114. Enter it into the discount code box during checkout.

Price Comparison of NCEES Exam Eligible Calculators

Brand
Models
Price
Casio
all fx-115 models
$12-$30
Texas Instruments
TI30X & TI36X models
$33-$36
HP
HP33s & HP35s only
$45-$99

Best Engineering Calculator for Professional Engineers

Okay! You passed the PE exam. You have a state-sealed license on your wall. Now, you need a new calculator, right?

Wrong!

All you use now is the $15 Casio you bought for the PE exam. Or, perhaps you use an HP48. Few practicing engineers use a TI. Why? Because the HP is actually designed for engineers. The TI is designed for students. For example, the HP can be symbiotically integrated into a Total Station, then used to download the survey into your computer. TI tech does not do that.

However, as stated above, be sure to keep the old guard calculator on the corner of your desk. People need to respect your massive brain, after all! (Use the small calculator in secret.)

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Jazzy3 

        7 months ago

        What would be a great calculator for a gift, my friend is going into mechanical engineer and I want to buy him a calculator for college.

      • profile image

        Bdb 

        9 months ago

        Ti's look like toys, feel like toys and are way too expensive for what they are. They are designed solely for highschool, not for practical use. Better go with HP. These are the real engineer machines.

        Cheers

      • profile image

        DWonline 

        9 months ago

        Great article! Here are 80 other engineering calculators for frequency, wave length, voltage, conversions and more here:

        http://www.designworldonline.com/engineering-calcu...

      • profile image

        vvddss 

        19 months ago

        if you are mechanical engineer you need to see this calculator

        http://www.mechanicalengineercalculator.com/

      • profile image

        Johnson 

        23 months ago

        TI's are used by real engineers. I have a TI-89 Titanium that recently replaced my trusty TI-85. I work in aerospace and have no problems with my much loved and used TI's.

        Total Station? What's that? Must be used by those "other" engineers that deal with roads, bridges and sewage lagoons.

      • Steel Engineer profile imageAUTHOR

        Steel Engineer 

        2 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

        Mawadri,

        If you need a calculator, I expect that one of these brands is available in a large electronics store in large cities of Uganda. If you want to learn more about the PE exam, you can buy "Pass the PE like a Pro" from Amazon.com and read it on free Kindle software. You can also read my blog peexamstudy.blogspot.com.

        Peace.

      • Steel Engineer profile imageAUTHOR

        Steel Engineer 

        2 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

        Yahia,

        To learn more about the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, I recommend "Pass the FE like a Pro." It is an electronic book. You can download it to your computer and read it using free software, "Kindle for PC" or "Kindle for MAC."

        Your grades will not affect your ability to sit for the FE exam. But, you must know the engineering material very well to pass.

      • profile image

        MAWADRI NICHOLAS AKUKU 

        2 years ago

        I am in Uganda; a Student how do i get your product?

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)