Technical assistance

Advantages and disadvantages of online calculators compared to their offline physical counterparts

Imagine you’re in a department store and you’ve just stumbled upon the perfect jacket. And luckily, it’s on sale! However, you can’t quite determine what the final price will be. You quickly access an online calculator to understand if the new jacket will fit your budget.

It happens to so many of us throughout our day. Because of our interconnected world, we don’t hesitate to use an online calculator to get precise answers to important or more frivolous questions.

Online calculators are almost easy to find and can help you with very specific tasks. All you need is an internet connection and a browser to log in with a robust tool.

However, like anything on the internet, it’s important to know the downsides of using such a handy tool. In this article, we will describe the pros and cons of using an online calculator.

Advantages of online calculators


Online calculators are often found quickly and easily, usually for free. From tip calculators to imperial to metric conversion, all you need to do is use a search engine. A quick search for an online calculator brings up 1.5 billion results, the vast majority of which are free.

Physical calculators can be very inexpensive for simple models, often under $10. However, these calculators often require replacement batteries, which can cost as much or more than the calculator itself. Online calculators are almost always the more affordable choice.


There is an online calculator for many different needs, from calculating your mortgage to count the significant digits of a given number. This means that anyone can quickly find a calculator that will help you with the precise answer you are looking for.

In fact, if you decide to do an online search for “online calculator specificity”, the first results you will find are for an online specificity calculator. There truly is an online calculator that can accomplish any task.

Technical assistance

Many web hosts for these online calculators are keenly interested in this specialized tool. Therefore, even the most obscure type of online calculator usually includes an explanation or description of how to use the calculator.

Physical calculators, the traditional battery-operated versions that you hold in your hand, may come with a user manual. However, this does not compare to the technical support offered for free on these widely available online calculators.


Online calculators are available at the push of a few buttons, whether you’re sitting at your desk or on the go. Due to the increased connectivity of our world, you now have an online calculator in your pocket in addition to any other information you may need.

Disadvantages of online calculators

Hosted in a fun environment

Choosing to use an online calculator means you have to go online. Anyone can feel distracted as soon as you connect to the limitless possibilities of the Internet. To successfully use one of these online calculators, you must first resist the temptation of distraction.


Some online calculators receive significant reviews for their accuracy. Mortgage calculators in particular are one of the types of online calculators that have come under the most scrutiny for their reliability.

Mortgage calculators don’t have to show you all of the factors that make up your final mortgage payment. In addition, they rely on information entered by the user into the calculator. It also opens the door to other errors.

While mortgage calculators are most often criticized, anything you come across online should be used with care. Most of the calculators available are hosted by unknown sources and have no obligation to be accurate or maintained. Like everything on the internet, use a trusted source.

A good example of a reliable online calculator is this one Social Security Benefits Online Calculator offered by the social security administration. This calculator relies on your income information and is backed by the US government, giving it more credibility.

Unfriendly to users

Offline handheld calculators have a simple operation: press buttons, press equals. However, online calculators open up more questions to the user.

If you use a mobile phone, can you use your touchscreen? If you’re sitting at a PC, will the online calculator work with the numeric keypad or will you have to use the mouse?


Offline calculators rely on a battery, or some are even solar powered for maximum efficiency, reliability, and durability. Although there is no battery or sunshine required for an online calculator, it relies on a stable internet connection and a charged or plugged in device.

For those who don’t have regular internet access, it may be a good idea to invest in an offline calculator as well. A scientific calculator can provide any basic household calculation you might need for an investment of around $15.

Online vs Offline Calculators: The Verdict

Online calculators are an inexpensive and easy to find resource for a wide variety of information. They can help with finances, health care, and other day-to-day needs. This Internet resource is handy, and if you don’t know how to use the calculator, there are often tools to help you.

As with anything on the Internet, online calculators should be used with care. Their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed, so be sure to use a trusted source.

An offline calculator may be a better choice for those who don’t have a reliable internet connection or if you can’t find the specific tool for your calculation needs, and it may also be a better decision if you find the World Wide Web too distracting.