What is the best financial calculator made by HP


My 'collection', and I hesitate still to refer to my dozen or so models as a collection, since I use them all, or try to, regularly, has consisted of scientific calculators. Lately, my career path has taken me into the Marketing and Sales world, but I still consider myself an engineer at heart. Anyway, I scored a truly pristine HP 19BII (with RPN) for $50CDN on Kijiji yesterday. I have neglected and avoided owning any of the financial calculators up until now since my main financial interests seldom went beyond the Time Value of Money, which is easily computed on a number of programmables, but am I ever impressed with this one! With its scientific feature set and HP Solve, it makes for a great multi-function calculator! Plus, it looks great on a desk.

How does it compare with other financial calculators made either by HP or others? I know it is far more powerful than the world-famous 12C, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this.

Jeff Kearns


The 17bII (and its recent incarnations with the "+") comes closest. Same feature set except for the missing trig functions and the less then perfect alpha entry in the solver.


HP-30b. It's the pinnacle of modern tech, with the most finance and stats functions available. Also programmable.

Of course, the 17bii+ have the HP Solver, which is also legendary.




The HP palmtops (95LX, 100LX, and 200LX) are all financial/business calculators at heart. The HP Calc application is essentially the 19BII with a huge screen, and there are also built in word processing and scheduling programs, and a great little customizable database. Plus you have Lotus 1-2-3, and full DOS 5.0 compatibility, and you get a lot more storage than 7KB!


Aside from the palmtops (which I assume have it all...) do any other financial calcs have hyperbolic trig functionality (or trigonometric functionality period!)? The 17BII doesn't appear to, and forget about the 12C, 27, 38C etc...

You can hardly call the Palmtops calculators. I am really enjoying this (my first clamshell) fine machine, the HP 19BII. I put in a similar category to my trusty HP 32E, also a great machine with some interesting features that its elder brother the 34C doesn't have, but that are oh, so important - e.g. hyperbolic trig!

Jeff Kearns, in Ottawa


Both the 20b and 30b have trig and hyperbolic.

Arguably, they are the most powerful financials HP has ever made. Sure as mentioned with programability you can make up for it with some other models, but there is a strong argument for that statement.



For the moment, I'm torn between the HP 30b and 17BII+ (Silver). Both are very fast and have a great amount of features.

The 30b has an extended funciton set, both in finance and scientific caclulator functions; but with 17bII+'s big memory, one can make up for it.

The 14B gets an honorable mention, only because it was made in the USA.

The 12C Platinum - the 25th Anniversary Edition - is my dad's favorite.

Edited: 20 Mar 2010, 7:55 p.m.


If you want traditional RPN, the 19BII is the best. The 20b and 30b have RPN, but it's different in several ways from traditional RPN, which I find very irritating. That aside, the 30b is certainly one of the most powerful financial calculators.


Good point. I think it was Gene Wright that said "it is a 4 level RPL machine".

The differences are there, but coming from RPL machines personally it is the first "RPN" machine that doesn't annoy me to death. Every time I use one I constantly end up with duplicated items on the stack. :-D



I could live with four-level RPL, though I don't think it's a particularly good idea, but I can't stand that pressing the backspace key doesn't act as CLx when there is a result in the display. I complained to Cyrille about that previously, and he claims that it's a useful feature, but I've never understood how it is useful.


Unless I am mistaked about what CLx does on old RPN machines, ON/CE does that operation on the 20/30. Is there a way to edit the number in your display on old machines?



No, and I don't see why there should be a way to edit a result; that doesn't make any sense. On the 41C/CV/CX, 11C, 15C, 16C, AND on all RPL models (28/48/49/50), the backspace key allows editing of entry, but acts as clear X for results.

Edited: 22 Mar 2010, 3:55 a.m.


I find myself editing things all the time. Granted, it isn't a result but rather a miskeyed entry on the 20b. . . :-D



I don't have any issue with editing entered numbers. I've never before seen a calculator that makes it easy to accidentally edit results, and IMNSHO the value of the feature is negative.


There's a possible joke to be made about the particular needs of the accountancy profession here ...!


Choosing between the 17B11 and the 19B11 is a horse race I won't bet on. I have 2 of each. If a person wants to carry one in his pocket, the 17B11 wins. If he (she) wants to do alot of solver problems, the 19B11 wins hands down (to me). However,it isn't pocket-able. These are just two different and wonderful creatures. Buy and enjoy them both!

Looking forward to getting my 30B with a good keypad (hopefully).



The 19BII does fit nicely in a jacket pocket though.
Jeff Kearns


I prefer 17BII. It's a masterpiece except for the LCD Display.

17BII+ is also good financial calculator but I like the industrial design and keyboard feel of old 17BII more than 17BII+.

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