Sharp EL-501XBGR Scientific Calculator

Last updated date: June 18, 2021

DWYM Score

8.8

Sharp EL-501XBGR Scientific Calculator

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We looked at the top Scientific Calculators and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Scientific Calculator you should buy.

Update as June 18, 2021:
Checkout The Best Scientific Calculator for a detailed review of all the top scientific calculators.

Overall Take

This calculator features 131 mathematical, scientific and engineering functions. Large, easy-to-push buttons provide access to the many functions, and a well-designed case can be set on the back of the calculator when in use, and protects the front of the calculator when put away.


In our analysis of 15 expert reviews, the Sharp EL-501XBGR Scientific Calculator placed 2nd when we looked at the top 5 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Sharp Electronics strives to help you create a balance between work and personal time. Our products enhance life at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Sharp is dedicated to improving lives through the use of advanced technology and a commitment to innovation, quality, value and design. The EL501XBGR is a fully-functional, high quality scientific calculator that performs over 130 scientific and math functions. This conveniently sized calculator fits perfectly on your desk at home or at work, and it is lightweight so you can take it with you wherever you go. Also, it has a large, easy to read display and a hardcover that protects it from scratching and damage. Advanced technology and engineering gives you the pin-point accuracy you expect from Sharp Electronics. This calculator is ideal for students who are studying general math, pre-algebra, algebra, and trigonometry.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.6
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.2
560 user reviews

What experts liked

Boasts a streamlined build that feels comfortable in the hand, and doesn't add a lot of bulk to bags or book packs. Perfect for algebraic and statistical equations. Falls on the lower end of the price scale.
- BestReviews

What experts didn't like

Buttons have a bit of a flimsy feel. Display is one line. Some owners gripe about the distracting glossy finish.
- BestReviews

An Overview On Scientific Calculators

Calculators are useful for many common tasks such as balancing a budget or calculating tax. However, for students in math or science courses or for professionals who work in the realms of engineering, math, information technology or computer science, more advanced functionality in a calculator is required.

Scientific and engineering calculators are equipped to handle most operations that students and science professionals will need to perform on a day-to-day basis, though there are a number of factors that are important to keep in mind.

If the user is a student, some calculators may have too much functionality and will not be allowed by the teacher or professor. Many algebra classes, for example, do not allow graphing calculators because part of the course material is learning how to graph equations and functions, so a calculator that does it for the student is barred.

Another functionality that may not be permitted in certain courses is the ability to program the calculator, such as to do recursive or serial operations. Both of these abilities are typically not allowed in standardized testing scenarios. On the flip side, some higher level math classes such as calculus instead require graphing and/or programming capabilities.

Scientific or engineering calculators have a number of advanced abilities and functions such as exponentiation, taking roots, logarithmic functions, calculating trigonometric functions and many others. These features are generally accessed by buttons that have multiple functions each.

When shopping for a scientific calculator, first make sure it has the functionality you need and does not have any abilities that are not allowed in your context. Next, consider ease of use issues. Are the buttons too small or just the right size? Is the writing on the buttons easy to read? If there is additional functionality such as memory or replay capabilities, are they intuitive and straightforward to use?

Another consideration with scientific calculators is the display. Many calculators have single-line displays that show something like 10 digits, which is sufficient for many purposes. However, some calculators have multiple lines used for displaying the input alongside the output or for displaying equations and formulas in a “natural” style similar to how they are written in textbooks and standard notation. This type of display includes things like stacked fractions, radicals, symbols, superscripts, integrals and so on.

Finally, make sure that the calculator comes in a size that comfortably fits in your hand. Many calculators also have protective cases over the front that flip around to protect the back of the calculator when it’s in use.

The Scientific Calculator Buying Guide

  • If the calculator is for a student or may be used for tests such as the SAT, ACT or GMAT, find out the specifications of permissible calculators before purchasing. What’s required in one context may be banned in another.
  • Ideally, a single calculator will meet all your needs, but some students end up with three calculators: an arithmetic-only simple calculator, a scientific calculator and a graphing calculator.
  • Consider the type of battery and how easy it is to access. Some calculators are solar-powered, but still might have battery backup.
  • Solar power is convenient and reduces battery waste, but can be a hassle if you forgot to charge it (if you left it in a backpack or briefcase, for example) and there is no backup.
  • If there are batteries, make sure they are a common type (such as AA or AAA) and are easy to access without requiring tools.
  • The brightness and resolution of the display can be a deciding factor. Some lower-end calculators have displays that show “ghosts” of numbers not currently displayed and can be hard to read.
  • In bright environments, dim displays can also be a problem. Make sure the display resolution suits your needs and reading preferences, with numbers that are a comfortable size, style and darkness for you to read.