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Best Free Calculator

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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
 
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 Jojo Yee on 12. July 2010 - 2:35  (54114)

I happened to have coded one myself for my own use, free for anyone who wants to try it. Contact me if you're interested.

by Anonymous on 24. June 2010 - 13:26  (52993)

For the RPN addicted ones like me (maybe not so many ones...?) I would suggest Free42, the total rewrite of an HP-42S hand-held simulator.
http://thomasokken.com/free42/

I install it on every PC I use, and assign it to a short-key, to pop it up quickly. It's multi platform as well, so you can run it on the OS of your choice.

~Lou

by Zeus36 (not verified) on 1. December 2011 - 3:50  (84211)

Free42 rocks! I use it several times a week!

by Drongo on 25. June 2010 - 0:38  (53049)

Thanks, you're not alone in preferring RPN logic. Other good RPN ones for Windows are XCalc which is RPN only and Calc98 which can be set to use RPN logic in the options.

XCalc http://www.tordivel.no/xcalc

Calc98 http://www.calculator.org/download.aspx

Moderators comment:
Calc98 link changed to point to the free version and not the download page for the latest commercial product.

by Anonymous on 21. April 2010 - 15:50  (48141)

Thanks to everyone for this very helpful article. I've enjoyed using Java Scientific Calculator: http://jscicalc.sourceforge.net/

by Anonymous on 28. April 2010 - 9:17  (48628)

I wonder why these fine programs allways imitate cheap pocket calculators.
Try Pc-Calculator at
http://pc-calculator.sourceforge.net/index.html
to see, why I think it is superb. And look at its size. It is smaller than the image of its screenshot.

by Anonymous on 26. March 2010 - 20:35  (46255)

MyCalc2 at http://homeproduction.free.fr/mycalc2/index.htm is a pretty good free calculator. Download the latest version at Freeware Files - http://www.freewarefiles.com/MyCalc2_program_54312.html

zubina

by beagle17 (not verified) on 19. December 2010 - 17:42  (62937)

MyCalc was flagged by my firewall for trying to connect to the internet the first time it was run. Otherwise, it's pretty and nicely functional software. I'll just let my firewall control it and keep using it I think.

by Century22 on 21. February 2010 - 18:08  (44128)

SpeedCrunch is also available in a Portable version:
http://portableapps.com/apps

by Anonymous on 3. February 2010 - 1:44  (42661)

I've been using WiseCalc for a long time now and have been very happy with it.

http://www.wisecalc.com/

by Anonymous on 1. February 2010 - 3:42  (42515)

RedCrab is a comprehensive scientifical calculator with full screen formula editor.

The mathematical expressions are not typed in a typical command line, but can be enter in an editor window similar to a piece of paper. The calculator's editor supports the entry of complex algebraic equations like fractions, square roots, exponents, etc.

http://www.redchillicrab.com/calculator/redcrab.html

by Jaikrishna on 1. January 2010 - 3:11  (39955)

Those who need to do complex mathematics occasionally can checkout www.wolframalpha.com
It is really very great. It is called a Knowledge engine.
For eg. entering 5, 12, 13 triangle will return its shape, area, perimeter, interior angle and many other information.
It can also solve equations with ease.

Just see a few examples on the site and you'll get stick to it.
NOTE: IT IS A WEB APPLICATION AND CAN'T BE RUN OFFLINE.
If you like it so much, there is also a browser addon and a taskbar gadget

by Drongo on 27. March 2010 - 8:31  (46278)

Wolfram Alpha site is quite good and is actually a free interface to Mathematica software which is used for the calculations. The only other way to use Mathematica as far as I know is to buy the program which is pretty expensive.

by Anonymous on 31. December 2009 - 15:34  (39908)

Another vote for Console Calculator. Advanced enough for engineers, but simple enough for every day tasks. Love the minimalist interface that stays out of the way.

by Anonymous on 4. April 2010 - 13:30  (46934)

Better than this: Command Line Calculator. It can also plot functions in a very easy way.

by Jaikrishna on 20. December 2009 - 2:17  (39040)

I corrected all the link problems and made a revision. If you are the admin please accept the revision.

by dk-spec on 20. December 2009 - 3:41  (39045)

thanks for fixing the problems

by Anonymous on 17. December 2009 - 12:27  (38877)

Check out SFR Calculator. Pretty nice with editable tape and everything.

http://www.sfr-software.de/cms/XX/windows/sfr-calculator/index.html

by athome on 1. July 2010 - 22:15  (53600)

Thank you for recommending SFR. It has an excellent interface & being able to save calculations is a plus. I have been using Speed Crunch for a while and more recently Karen's Calculator: http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptcalc.asp

by jeffd150 on 22. November 2009 - 4:44  (37083)
by dk-spec on 20. December 2009 - 2:00  (39039)

Your list was very helpful, I've tested each program and put together the top 3 recommendations above.

by jeffd150 on 25. December 2009 - 23:49  (39472)

good job...

i was using Moffsoft, will have to check out the other two...

by Anonymous on 3. December 2009 - 14:44  (37767)

In office I have to do simple calculations only.
So I started looking for a calculator which takes less amount of desktop area as my office monitor is small CRT.
As I am given only 150 MB space to use I also wanted it to be of smallest size.
I want to do my work fast so I required a simple calculator.

SpeedCrunch 2.5 MB
Sage 17 MB
Calc 98 :very dull interface.
Most of them above occupy much of desktop area.

I found two which appealed me:
TheCalcMan and Calcute

Of them TheCalcMan has a much better user interface (with visual effects), is small (20 KB) as compared to calcute(170 KB).

Also TheCalcMan offers "Constant Operator". This is feature that caught my interest as I have to many additions.
In this feature, you just have to select addition operator and just enter numbers. Like this:
23
24
and so on

and you'll get results.

TheCalcMan is best for me and I am going to keep it.

by Anonymous on 31. October 2009 - 15:34  (35536)

Have you tried TheCalcMan?

Its good.
You need only the keyboard to operate.

Its nice.

by OpenZero on 31. October 2009 - 20:21  (35553)

The above link is wrong, here is the right one:
http://venussoftcorporation.blogspot.com/2009/07/thecalcman.html

by Anonymous on 6. November 2009 - 14:57  (36078)

thanks buddy.

by Anonymous on 8. October 2009 - 20:45  (34183)

XCalc shrinks down to a tiny stay on top window and is always handy.

by Anonymous on 25. September 2009 - 17:48  (33315)

Easy but smart calculator:

Calcute

by Anonymous on 16. November 2009 - 1:30  (36697)

I use it since 2008 after a lot of time lost on searching a good tape calculator. It's really great (simple, fast, always on top if you want, any kind of calculation in a human way ()*^/.

Really thanks to the author

Daniele from Italy

by Anonymous on 7. August 2009 - 5:57  (26569)

I use pmaCalc a lot. It is freeware, very handy, have almost all necessary functions and converters and it is very light.

http://www.pmasoft.net/englisch/pmacalc.htm