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.

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