The Best Non-Programmable Scientific Calculators for Students in 2023

Whether you’re a high school or college student taking advanced math and science courses, having the right non-programmable scientific calculator can make all the difference in understanding complex equations and formulas. Unlike graphing calculators, non-programmable scientific calculators are more affordable, intuitive, and allowed on most major standardized tests.

This comprehensive guide reviewed and ranked the top 10 non-programmable scientific calculators today based on performance, features, durability, and value. We’ll compare popular models from leading brands like Texas Instruments, Casio, and Sharp that excel in algebra, trigonometry, statistics, chemistry, physics, and more. Key factors we considered include the number of functions, display size and resolution, battery life, case durability, and extra perks like slide covers and exam modes.

Whether you need a budget-friendly calculator under $20 or a more advanced model with a natural textbook display and multi-line functionality, our guide covers you. By the end, you’ll know exactly which non-programmable scientific calculator best matches your math and science coursework and standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, AP exams, and more. Let’s dive in and explore the top non-programmable scientific calculators for students this year!

Sharp EL501X2BWH Engineering/Scientific Calculator

The Sharp EL501X2BWH Engineering/Scientific Calculator is a high-quality, battery-powered device that assists in various mathematical and scientific calculations. It suits general math, pre-algebra, algebra, and trigonometry students. The calculator has 146 functions, including essential scientific measures such as trigonometric functions, logarithms, reciprocals, powers, and roots.

The calculator features a one-line LCD that can accommodate up to 10 digits, making it easy to view calculations. The calculator’s design is robust, with a protective hard case that ensures its durability for years. This makes it an ideal tool for students from early school through college.

The Sharp EL501X2BWH calculator is also lightweight and conveniently sized, making it portable and perfect for desk and on-the-go use. It has a gloss black case with green accents and a durable matte finish with black and white accents.

Despite its many features, some users have noted a few drawbacks. For instance, the calculator lacks a reciprocal key, which can be helpful for fraction inputs in more extended calculations. Additionally, while it does have a scientific format transformation key, it lacks an engineering/scientific notation formatting key. Some users have also pointed out that the shiny plastic front panel attracts fingerprints and smudges, making it look dirty after use.

Despite a few minor design flaws, the Sharp EL501X2BWH Engineering/Scientific Calculator is a reliable and functional tool for mathematical and scientific computations.

Casio FX 260 Solar II Scientific Calculator 5″ x 0.6″ x 2.9″

The Casio FX 260 Solar II Scientific Calculator is a compact and reliable tool for various mathematical and scientific calculations. Measuring 5″ x 0.6″ x 2.9″, this calculator is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, making it highly portable. It comes in a sleek black and is engineered for scientific and engineering calculations.

One of the standout features of this calculator is its solar-powered design, which ensures consistent performance without the need for battery replacements. This high-sensitivity solar power system can operate even in relatively dim light conditions, around 50 lux, making it an environmentally friendly and cost-effective choice.

The calculator’s screen size is 2.25 inches, providing clear visibility for calculations. However, it does not display calculation formulas. Despite this, users have found it easy to use due to its similarity with previous models like the FX-990.

The Casio FX 260 Solar II includes 144 built-in math functions, including store/recall, backspace key, exponential functions, and more. These features make it suitable for general math, pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, trigonometry, statistics, and science.

The calculator also has a unique ‘counter operation’ feature, which is not commonly found in other scientific calculators. This feature allows the calculator to function as a counter by pressing ‘1’, ‘+,’ ‘+,’ and ‘=’.

The device comes with a slide-on hard case for protection when not in use, ensuring safe storage and transportation. However, some users have noted that the lock on the cover is unusually stiff, but this can be adjusted by filing down the lock’s claw.

The Casio FX 260 Solar II Scientific Calculator is available on Amazon, with free shipping on orders over $35.00. The price starts from $14.30, offering good value for its features and reliability.

Casio fx-115ESPLUS2 2nd Edition, Advanced Scientific Calculator

The Casio fx-115ESPLUS2 2nd Edition is an advanced scientific calculator that caters to various mathematical needs. It is equipped with Natural Textbook Display technology, which allows it to display mathematical expressions exactly as they appear in textbooks. This feature enhances the user’s understanding and makes complex calculations easier to follow.

The calculator is powered by solar energy but has a battery backup supply, ensuring its reliability even during long study sessions or exams. It is lightweight, with dimensions of 5.5 x 2 x 9 inches and a weight of 6.07 ounces, making it portable and easy to carry around.

One of the key features of this calculator is its ability to solve equations and systems of equations quickly and efficiently. It displays intermediate steps and complete solutions, which can be invaluable for verifying calculations and understanding the procedures involved. The calculator also offers a memory function, allowing users to store often-used constants for quick recall.

However, some users have noted that the calculator lacks a “change sign” button, which can make specific calculations more cumbersome. Additionally, the visibility of the calculator’s screen and keypad can be an issue due to smaller digits and less contrast than other models. Despite these minor drawbacks, the Casio fx-115ESPLUS2 2nd Edition remains a powerful tool packed with useful features.

This calculator is ideal for students studying trigonometry, statistics, Algebra I and II, calculus, engineering, physics, and more. It is available in white color and can be purchased from various sellers on Amazon.

Texas Instruments TI-30XIIS Scientific Calculator

The Texas Instruments TI-30XIIS Scientific Calculator is a highly recommended tool for students and professionals. It comes in various colors, including Dark Navy Blue, Black, Orange, Dark Blue, Lavender, and Lime Green. The calculator is engineered to be portable, with dimensions ranging from 6.1 x 3.2 x 0.74 inches to 10 x 7 x 1 inches and weights varying from 5.60 ounces to 6.16 ounces. 

This scientific calculator is powered by solar energy and batteries, specifically requiring one Lithium Metal battery. It has an LCD with two lines for easy viewing of calculations. The product is sold by different sellers, with the most frequent being ‘Thanksforyourorder’.The price of the calculator varies depending on the seller and color, with prices ranging from $17.99 to $44.99. However, the list price, the suggested retail price provided by the manufacturer, is $25.99.

Amazon offers free returns for this item if it is in new and unused condition. The calculator has received positive reviews from customers, earning a global rating of 4.7 out of 5 from 4,477 reviewers. Users have praised its ease of use, lightweight design, and suitability for school use. Some users have been using this brand and model since their teenage years, highlighting its durability and reliability. The product can be purchased with fast, free delivery for Amazon Prime members. Other sellers on Amazon also offer the product, providing more options for potential buyers.

Casio FX-991EX Engineering/Scientific Calculator, Black, 3″ x 6.5″ x 0.4″

The Casio FX-991EX Engineering/Scientific Calculator is a high-performance device that caters to various mathematical and scientific needs. It comes in a sleek black color, measuring 3″ x 6.5″ x 0.4″, making it compact and portable. The calculator is powered by solar and battery sources, ensuring reliable operation in any setting.

One of the standout features of this calculator is its high-resolution LCD screen that can display more information at once, making it ideal for large spreadsheets and complex matrix calculations. It boasts a super-fast calculation speed, particularly beneficial for high-stakes testing or advanced mathematics.

The FX-991EX offers a comprehensive set of advanced calculations, including integration and differential calculus, vector and inequality calculations. It also has basic spreadsheet functionality, ratio and statistical functionality, and ratio calculation and prime factorization, making it suitable for middle and high school grades.

A unique feature of this calculator is its ability to generate a QR code for a problem. Users can scan this code to see a graphical representation of their data, allowing students to view collective data in real-time.

The calculator is highly recommended for its vast range of functions, processing speed, and programming capabilities. It’s an excellent choice for mathematics and sciences students, professionals, and enthusiasts. Its compact size and weight of just 90.72 grams make it easy to carry and use anywhere.

The FX-991EX also offers programming functions that allow users to create and use custom formulas. This feature is especially useful for advanced users who need specific or repetitive calculations. The build quality of the calculator is solid and durable, with a well-designed keyboard and comfortable tactile button response. The battery life is also impressive, ensuring prolonged use without worries.

In terms of customer reviews, the calculator has been praised for its power, wide range of functions, clear display, and fast delivery. It is considered a reliable and quality tool for studies. The calculator is perfect for general math, pre-algebra, algebra II, trigonometry, college algebra, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

FX-260 Solar II All-Purpose Scientific Calculator, 10-Digit LCD, Pink

The Casio FX-260 Solar II is an all-purpose scientific calculator with a 10-digit LCD display. It comes in a vibrant pink color and is solar-powered, making it an eco-friendly choice. The calculator is equipped to handle a variety of mathematical functions including fraction calculations, standard deviation, trigonometric functions, and logarithms/exponents. It is approved for use on AP, SAT, PSAT, ACT, and NMSQT tests, making it a suitable tool for students.

However, the product has received mixed reviews from customers. Some users have found it difficult to slide the calculator out of its protective shell, with the detents being so strong that they fear breaking the device. The direction of the protective shell has also been reversed from the original model, causing some inconvenience.

Another issue raised by users is the visibility of the secondary functions. They are printed in yellow on pink, which can be hard to read. Users suggest that black or dark blue would have been a better choice for legibility. The thickness of the Solar II model has also increased from the previous model, Solar I, without any apparent benefit. Despite these issues, once set up, the calculator works well according to users.

The calculator is priced at $9.79 and is available for purchase on Amazon. It offers free shipping on orders over $35.00 and also provides free returns for items in new and unused condition. However, some users have reported that the calculator did not work on the day of their exam, suggesting potential reliability issues.

In summary, while the Casio FX-260 Solar II Scientific Calculator offers a range of features and is approved for use on various tests, potential buyers should consider the reported difficulties with the protective shell, visibility of secondary functions, and possible reliability issues.

Helect 2-Line Engineering Scientific Calculator, Suitable for School and Business (Black)

The Helect 2-Line Engineering Scientific Calculator is a budget-friendly tool suitable for both school and business use. It comes with a hard slide-on cover to protect it when not in use, and the cover can be slid onto the back of the calculator during use to prevent misplacement. The calculator’s size, measuring 3 ½” x 6”, makes it larger than regular handheld calculators, providing larger buttons and a substantial feel.

The calculator works fine right out of the box without the need for additional batteries. It also includes an illustrated instruction booklet, which is particularly useful for those unfamiliar with full-function calculitors. However, some users have reported issues with the RCL memory function, which operates differently from similar functions on other brands like Casio. This difference may cause confusion and lead to incorrect calculations if not properly understood.

The screen of the calculator is generally readable, but the visibility decreases when viewed from an angle. Some users have also reported issues with the calculator not turning on due to battery corrosion, possibly caused by exposure to high temperatures during delivery. Despite these issues, many users find the calculator to be a good value for its price, especially considering its similarity to more expensive models like the Casio FX 300MSPLUS2.

The Helect calculator has received positive reviews from users around the world, including Italy, the United Kingdom, and France. Users appreciate its ease of use, quality, and affordability. However, some users have reported problems with certain keys not working after a short period of use. Despite these occasional issues, the Helect 2-Line Engineering Scientific Calculator remains a popular choice for those in need of a reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use scientific calculator.

Casio fx-300ESPLUS2 2nd Edition, Standard Scientific Calculator, Black

The Casio fx-300ESPLUS2 2nd Edition is a standard scientific calculator that offers an extensive range of functionalities. It is capable of performing basic arithmetic, scientific calculations, statistical analysis, and complex algebraic equations. The calculator also supports fraction calculations and matrix operations, making it a versatile tool for various academic and professional disciplines.

One of the key features of this calculator is its dual-powered system, which allows it to operate on both solar power and a backup battery. This feature ensures uninterrupted usage in different environments without worrying about power shortage. The calculator also boasts a user-friendly interface designed by Casio, with well-organized menus and options, and a user guide providing clear instructions on how to use its different functions.

In terms of portability, the fx-300ESPLUS2 2nd Edition is compact and lightweight, fitting comfortably in a backpack or bag. It also comes with a protective cover to prevent damage during transport. However, some users have noted that the display could be slightly larger to enhance the user experience, especially when dealing with complex equations.

The calculator has a sleek and modern design with a well-sized display that offers clear and sharp resolution. The buttons are responsive and well-placed, ensuring smooth and accurate input. Despite a minor issue with the display size, the fx-300ESPLUS2 2nd Edition excels in performance and functionality, making it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a high-quality calculator.

The Casio fx-300ESPLUS2 2nd Edition is priced between $10.00 to $13.00 USD. It is available in black color and can be purchased from various sellers including Amazon. The product dimensions are 6.25 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches and it weighs 3.7 oz. Please note that this product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

OSALO Scientific Calculator 

The OSALO Scientific Calculator, specifically the model OS 991ES Plus, is a highly functional tool designed for precision and ease of use. It boasts an impressive 417 functions, making it suitable for a wide range of mathematical operations. The calculator features a 2-line display that can show up to 10+2 digits, providing a clear view of calculations and results.

This scientific calculator is powered by both solar energy and a single LR44 battery, which is included in the package. The battery life is estimated to last for two years. The calculator also comes with a protective cover, ensuring its durability.

The OSALO Scientific Calculator is equipped with special features such as 40 scientific constants, 40 metric conversions, and various calculation functions including algebra, basic calculation, function calculation, complex number calculation, statistical calculation, equation calculation, matrix calculation, table function, vector calculation, and base-n calculation. Its written display mirrors the expression format found in textbooks, making it convenient for students to check their calculation process and results.

The product is packaged in a color box that uses ink printing and a polishing process. The packaging is designed to be completely decomposable after recycling. However, it’s noted that the material may not be sturdy enough to withstand long-distance transportation and may get damaged. The calculator itself is protected by a bubble bag within the packaging.

The OSALO Scientific Calculator is ideal for college students, engineers, and financial professionals. The package includes the calculator with a slide cover and a user guide available in English, Spanish, French, and Chinese. The product is available for purchase with fast, free delivery and free returns for any reason, provided the item is in new and unused condition.

Sharp Calculators EL-W535TGBBL 16-Digit Scientific Calculator  

The Sharp EL-W535TGBBL 16-Digit Scientific Calculator is a highly recommended product due to its extensive features and affordability. It is particularly useful for algebra classes, as it can display fractions, a feature not commonly found in basic calculators. This calculator is also versatile enough to be used in various other mathematical fields such as chemistry, trigonometry, architecture, and engineering.

This scientific calculator is lightweight and portable, making it ideal for students or professionals who need to carry multiple items at once. Despite its compact size, it does not compromise on functionality. It performs as well as higher-priced calculators, making it a cost-effective choice. However, users may need to research how to access the different modes available on this calculator.

The Sharp calculator has proven to be durable, remaining functional even after a year of use. The packaging is generally well-maintained, although there might be minor dents in the box corners. One potential drawback is that the product does not come with instructions, which could pose a challenge when trying to solve complex mathematical problems. Users may need to resort to online resources to learn how to access certain features like the WriteView function.

In terms of aesthetics, the Sharp calculator leans towards functionality over design. It is available in black and blue colors, without any patterns. Despite this, the product has received a 5-star rating for its performance and value for money.