Best CFA Calculator – Buy The Right Calculator For Your CFA Exam

CFA is a time-sensitive exam that requires 100% focus and attention. A below-average calculator has the capacity to hamper your speed and lead to frustration. On the contrary, if you are able to find a calculator that helps you boost your speed, half your battle is won. This article is aimed at helping you with just that.

Best CFA Calculator

Approved Calculators For CFA

Just like CPA, FRM, and CAIA, there are certain authorized calculators for the CFA examination. The rules are strict and you must adhere to them if you want to be allowed to use the calculator. And, we don’t even want to put the thought of writing your CFA exam without a calculator – it is incredibly difficult and scary.

So, which calculators does the CFA board approve?

  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus
  • Hewlett-Packard 12C

Just two? Well, yes. These are the main models that CFA has authorized. But, you can also use their variations without problems.

Best CFA Calculator – Editor’s Choice

Both Texas Instruments BA II Plus and Hewlett-Packard 12C have variations such as BA II Plus Professional and HP 12C Platinum. Among these variations, it can be hard to pick one. 

Also, there’s an ongoing debate about which one is the better calculator – Texas Instruments or HP. According to us, the choice is personal. What works for you may not work for the person next to you. Keeping this in mind, we have enlisted the top calculators that you can choose from.

1. Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator

 The Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator is one of the most user-friendly and functional devices out there for CFA exams. Its specifications are as follows:

  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator It allows profitability calculations along with IRR for uneven cash flows.
  • The calculator can also calculate NPV.
  • There are specific amortization and time-value-of-money keys that help solve problems related to mortgages, loans, and pension calculations.
  • The built-in functionalities include list-based statistics (one or two), and multiple regression options – power, exponential, logarithm, and linear.
  • The calculator has a prompted display that shows the current variable and label.
  • It powers down automatically.
  • It is suitable for statisticians, students, accounting, economics, and finance.
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Most widely used for CFA exams
  • The build is not very aesthetic – it is plastic
  • Some of the keys need to be pressed hard to register

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2. Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional Financial Calculator

The BA II Plus Professional is an upgrade of the base model that we just discussed. It is a premium calculator that is easy to get the hang of. Here are a few highlights of the same:

  • Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional Financial CalculatorWith this calculator, you can easily solve time-value-of-money calculations including savings, leases, mortgages, and annuities.
  • Cash flow analysis is super quick on this calculator as it has 32 uneven cash flows. They can go up to 4-digit frequencies.
  • Its financial functions include net present value, net future value, modified internal rate, payback, internal rate of return, modified payback, etc.
  • The calculator has APD or the Automatic Power Down function that helps save battery life.
  • It has a 10-digit display.
  • It has been authorized for use in CFA and GARP FRM exams.
  • The additional functions include DPB, PB, and NFV.
  • Has more features than BA II Plus
  • Easy to use
  • Very handy for finance students and professionals
  • More expensive than BA II Plus
  • Some keys are hard to press

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3. HP 12C Financial Calculator

Hewlett-Packard doesn’t just make great laptops. Its calculators are highly sought-after as well. The HP 12C Financial Calculator has been around for ages and is loved by its users. It is so popular that it also has the Amazon’s Choice tag attached to it. Read on to find out more:

  • HP 12C Financial Calculator The layout is very easy to understand and use. It prevents typing errors and ensures quick data entry.
  • It has around 120 functions that are already loaded, and ready to be used for different calculations.
  • The calculator has an excellent feature known as power-off memory protection, which keeps data safe.
  • It uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN).
  • The display can show 10 characters at a time in a single line.
  • This is an excellent choice not just for CFA students but also for finance, business, real estate, and accounting.
  • It comes with an instruction manual that makes the learning process easy
  • Expensive
  • Pocket-sized
  • Can be difficult to use if you don’t understand RPN
  • Not as widely used as Texas Instruments BA II Plus for CFA

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4. HP 12CP Financial Calculator

The HP 12C Platinum Calculator is another authorized device for CFA exams. It is a variation of the original 12C calculator and has a few interesting features. A few of them are as follows:

  • HP 12CP Financial CalculatorThis is an energy-star-certified calculator with a portable and aesthetic design.
  • The versatile calculator has more than 120 functions ready to be used. Date calculations are a part of these functions.
  • If you are familiar with RPN, data entry will be a piece of cake on this device.
  • It has a long battery life.
  • It is faster than the original calculator – the HP 12C.
  • Fast and powerful
  • Looks good
  • Capable of algebraic entry
  • The keys are not well-built and can wear off within a year or two of frequent use

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Exam preparation is a tedious process that you must pay attention to. Using a good calculator will make the process easy and help you ace your CFA test. We advise that you purchase a suitable calculator from our list beforehand and use it during preparation so that you are familiar with the functions and are able to use it well during the exam. 

If you need any more assistance, please leave a comment. Our experts will help you out.

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