Best Free Calculator

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Introduction

As I reviewed this category, like my predecessor I discovered there are a lot of free calculator programs available.  Some have specific purposes, some are mixed use or what I call multi-purpose calculators. Trying to pick a best calculator that fits everyone is difficult, but I’ll do my best.  Please leave any comments and suggestions you may have or calculators you use that you would like to see reviewed.

 
Discussion

SpeedCrunchSpeedCrunch is the best scientific calculator.  I like the lists of constants, functions and variables available along with the math book. The math book gives useful information such as how to get the volume of a cube. Other cool features are customizable result format, angle format, behavior and radix character. The features are a little complicated for someone wanting to perform simple math.

Microsoft MathematicsMicrosoft Mathematics has the most features for a scientific calculator.  The worst I can say about it is that it does so much that it might not seem as accessible as the simpler  SpeedCrunch. Many features will help basic users particularly unit conversions, comprehesive help, worksheets that explain the steps to the solution, export to to Microsoft Word, and if you're really keen there is an add-on that allows you to work directly in Word and Onenote. There are lists of constants, functions and variables which may not be quite as comprehensive as SpeedCrunch. But you hardly notice because of many more cool features like one-click 2D and 3D graphs, the option of pen, touch or mouse input, nerdy stuff like differential calculus, complex numbers and matrices, and some interesting skins for the calculator.

CalcTapeCalcTape (formerly known as SFR Calculator) I like this calculator because of all the calculators so far, it has a modern, clean, Windows 7 look to it. CalcTape uses a menu ribbon that functions like MS-Office menus as you can see from the screenshot.  Work can be saved as file.  The installer gives you 3 options; 1) use the free version, 2) the Pro version for 30 days, or 3) register the program.  The calculator is best for simple calculations however it will perform some advanced operations, exponential and percentage calculations.

Windows 7 Calculator   I rate the Windows 7 calculator as the best all-around multipurpose calculator.  The calculator includes a tape called history that can be edited or copied to the clipboard.  Various modes include standard, scientific, programmer and statistics. It also offers unit conversion, date calculation and various worksheets for calculating things like fuel economy and mortgages.  Product rating docked for only being available with Windows 7.

CalcCute   is amazingly simple but powerful software.  I like the small in file size, and small footprint.  The lack of a typical menu bar confused me at first.  I found the menu by right clicking the icon in the upper right corner of the window.  CalcCute does have a help file, unlike many of the other calculator programs. The tape can be expanded, and allows for live edits. The keypad has a back button, clear button and undo button.  CalcCute performs basic or scientific calculations.

SuperbCalc is a great desktop calculator.  This program runs using Java so it does require Java 5 or above to work.  To download save the Java app to your computer, don’t run the download or the calculator will open but not stay saved to your computer. I saved the file to my desktop.  Execute the app to open the calculator.  The buttons on the calculator utilize the buttons on the right of the letter keys of a standard keyboard (see image). SuperbCalc uses a tape that can be cut into a text window multiple times. The tape can be printed, saved and uses unlimited length. I really liked being able to customize the size and appearance. Customizing the tape output is a really nice feature often missing with calculators of this type. SuperbCalc is considered a financial calculator, not scientific.

 
Quick Selection Guide

SpeedCrunch
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Formula friendly for scientific calculations, math book
Small buttons, appearance out of date
http://speedcrunch.org/
0.10.1
2.5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows NT and higher, Mac OS X 10.3 and higher, Linux

Many other languages available

Microsoft Mathematics
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
The most features: generates worksheets including steps to solve and 2D/3D graphs; exports to Microsoft Word; add-on for Word and OneNote; equation solver; libraries of scientific formulae; unit converter; differential calculus; matrices; data sets; excellent help; etc.
Only runs on Windows.
4.0
17.6 MB x86; 18.9 MB x64
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP SP3 to 8.1

Many languages.
Add-on to work in Microsoft Word and OneNote: Version 2.0; 6,6 MB; http://www.microsoft.com/en-nz/download/details.aspx?id=17786

CalcTape
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Modern interface, easy to navigate, savable tape
No help section, better features aren’t free
5.1.5
5.0 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Android. Not free for iOS.

Many other languages available

CalcCute
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Small file, flexible tape, easy features, detailed help file
Limited keypad/scientific options
http://calcute.com
11.5.27
149 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 98 and higher
Windows 7 Calculator
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Multiple calculation formats and worksheets, help file, comes with Windows 7
Fixed window size, not available in other platforms.
http://www.microsoft.com
6.1
32 and 64 bit versions available
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 7
SuperbCalc
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Tape has many features including the ability to customize output view and format, small file size
No scientific features, help file only shows formulas, feature use online only, not in product help.
1.08
686 kb
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/Me/98, Linux (better with Gnome or KDE), Solaris and Mac OS X

Requires Java 5 or better.

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Glyn Burgess. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

calculator, math, scientific, algebra, numbers, mortgage, statistics

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Comments

by metatech on 4. April 2014 - 20:58  (115506)

I went with SpeQ Mathematics as well. You can find it's homepage here:
http://www.speqmath.com/
I really think it deserves top-spot in your review list editor.

[Commercial details edited out]

I also use Geogebra for geometry fun. It's quite advanced, but doesn't do common arithmetic. It's very fun, and hand's on.

Does anybody know of a software that mimics the 1980's toy, "Spirograph". For more info on such, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirograph

Thanks for listening, and for the interesting finds in the forum posts.

by jimcarter1959 on 27. January 2013 - 5:32  (104849)

I loved SpeedCrunch on my XP machine, but I'm concerned about system stability now that I've moved past that OS. These apps that haven't seen development in 5 years should be disqualified. If I could--at least--see compatibility with Windows 7, then I'd take a chance it would function on 8.

by joeguru on 31. March 2013 - 23:06  (106710)

Hi Jim, SpeedCrunch is compatible with Win 7. Stay tuned for further updates and more calculator reviews. Thank you for your comment.

by Panzer on 22. December 2012 - 8:23  (103860)

SFR Calculator links - 404 Page not found.

by Jojo Yee on 22. December 2012 - 9:01  (103861)

Thanks for pointing out Panzer. The product is now known as CalcTape and the links are fixed.

by AKE (not verified) on 17. November 2012 - 6:55  (102466)

The listed calculators are all quite heavy.

I use CalcCute by Rejean Lefebvre(Canada) http://calcute.com/

It is versatile, has a tape mode in which it shrinks down to less than 1cm high and 5cm wide (1/4" by 2.5"), whilst still retaining full usability.

So it can be tucked away in the top corner of the screen, made to stay always on top, and kept running always.

When installed, it uses 2.8MB RAM, almost 4 times less in-memory usage than any of the other three calculators reviewed.

Freeware, no ads, portable app -- a very nice little utility.

by joeguru on 17. April 2013 - 13:26  (107151)

Thank you for the recommendation, this product has been reviewed.

by tarstarkas27 on 16. March 2012 - 3:30  (90673)

Try Skincalc by Cloanto
http://www.skincalc.com/

[Moderator's note : Link changed to homepage, from download page]

by joeguru on 17. April 2013 - 13:37  (107152)

Thank you for the suggestion. This product was considered but didn't offer anything new except being available in multiple skin colors/configurations. Also the web site says the file is 2.5mb download but the browser said it was 5mb.

by Didier Gosseau (not verified) on 15. January 2012 - 14:21  (87208)

If you prefer an RPN Reverse Polish Notation (Hewlett-Packard like) scientific calculator with advanced graphical and solver features, have a try also to: OCaPy

http://users.skynet.be/xray_corner/ocp

or

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ocapy

by Magdalena (not verified) on 19. December 2011 - 23:17  (85326)

There are also:

http://formloop.com/

Where you can create your own calculator widgets.

by Zeus36 (not verified) on 1. December 2011 - 3:53  (84212)

Try this Instant free online calculator:

http://instacalc.com/

by Australia (not verified) on 30. November 2011 - 10:51  (84167)

Thank you for suggesting Moffsoft FreeCalc. A high quality adfree application, and very useful. Highly recommended !

by Sea Mac on 19. September 2011 - 23:11  (79921)

Has anyone tested Super Calculator?
http://www.syncedit.com/software/supercalculator/

Or how about Precise Calculator?
http://preccalc.sourceforge.net/

These belong in the Scientific Calculator post ....

by lmg on 31. May 2011 - 18:00  (72720)

Sadly SpeedCrunch crash for me when using many of the options under the "view" menu.

Many bug reports here (scroll down for latest and click on the striked "issues"):

http://code.google.com/p/speedcrunch/issues/detail?id=196

It seem to crash on Windows 64 bit systems especially.

I have Win 7 64 bit.

UPDATED SOME DAYS LATER...

I just discovered an alpha version exists:
http://speedcrunch.blogspot.com/2009/11/speedcrunch-011-alpha-released.html

This one doesn't crash anymore on my Win 7 64 bit.

by Agam Saran (not verified) on 10. April 2011 - 23:24  (69937)

Now that Microsoft Math's free, I don't believe any calculator and/or graphing tool can beat it's interface and usability in the heavyweight category.

by Mit (not verified) on 14. April 2011 - 16:40  (70189)

But using Microsoft Math:

1. requires download/install
2. only runs on windows machine.
3. is not a CAS (computer algebra system)
(can it solve differential equations?)
4. does not work with iPad, iPhone or any mobile device.

IMHPO, microsoft math remains a lightweight calculator.

by Tim Warren (not verified) on 31. March 2011 - 20:44  (69198)

I have discovered this ** very powerful ** online calculator:

http://www.vroomlab.com/nhome

on 1st page, click on the calculator image will let you use it without userID/password

It is actually an online CAS (Computer Algebra System)

it works with iPad and Smartphones too.

by Drongo on 15. January 2011 - 6:18  (64587)

Ok there's a better one now for students...

Microsoft Mathematics is a free download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9caca722-523...

This is no ordinary calculator, it will solve the problem then show you every step involved in solving it yourself. Somewhat like having a math teacher on your pc.

by Casey (not verified) on 26. January 2011 - 7:19  (65215)

This one looks very promising- thanks Drongo

by Raineed (not verified) on 13. July 2010 - 13:58  (54196)

I would like to recommend SpaceTime 4.0, a high quality graphic scientific calculator.

http://www.spacetime.us/

It was just FREE for registration on 3rd July(http://www.spacetime.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1075). Simply and intuitive tutorial, pretty graph, mathematical animation, and supporting scripts, which make it suitable for a scientific calculator.

by IronPlatypus on 20. August 2010 - 22:01  (56439)

Raineed, thanks for sharing this! SpaceTime is really an amazing piece of software.

It can handle algebra and calculus (it can find derivatives :D ). Its graphing features include 2d, 3d, 2d and 3d graphs that change over time, fractals, and some others. All of this is done from the same window - click "solve" to solve an equation, or "plot" to graph it - a very intuitive way to lay out the program, if you ask me.

You can try the program out for 30 days before you have to register.

by Raineed (not verified) on 13. July 2010 - 19:55  (54214)

I am sorry for my poor English. I realized the sentence "It was just FREE for registration on 3rd July" is misleading. Actually, I wanted to say SpaceTime was just free for registration SINCE 3rd July 2010.

I had downloaded it and activated it successfully using the registration code obtained online.

by MidnightCowboy on 13. July 2010 - 20:45  (54218)

Thanks for taking the trouble to come back and post this clarification. Please don't worry about your English. I still struggle with it and I was born there :D

by Anupam on 13. July 2010 - 14:18  (54198)

Thanks for the suggestion. I checked up the site, and it says that its a free download and registration. The program requires registration after installation, on which they provide a free activation code.

If anyone do decide to try this out, please provide feedback if the activation is indeed free.

by Drongo on 14. July 2010 - 0:10  (54226)

Yes activation is free and they ask for no information of any sort, just click the register button when it pops up on the second run of the program and copy the key code off the webpage it sends you to.

by Anupam on 14. July 2010 - 5:50  (54238)

Thanks Drongo :) and also Raineed, for this information.

by Trev (not verified) on 11. July 2010 - 17:47  (54096)

Does anyone know of a free loan calculator?

by muddappa92 on 12. July 2010 - 6:25  (54127)

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