The CFA Calculator Policy is very strict. There are two types of calculators allowed in the exam room:
Texas Instruments BA II Plus (including the BA II Plus Professional)
HP 12C (including the HP 12C Platinum and anniversary models)
The good news is that the HP 12C is the most widely used financial calculator and will be a companion throughout your career. In fact most banks will provide this calculator to their incoming class of investment bankers.
The TI BA II Plus is also an excellent calculator. It might not be as popular as the HP 12C, but it has the same functionality.
I owned and used the BA II throughout college and would never consider changing to the HP 12C for the exam because in a timed test environment, speed is important. My familiarity with the BA II Plus provides that speed.
If you are starting out in college and wondering which one to buy, there is no wrong answer, but know that the 12C comes with a certain cachet because of its long history with the banking industry. Pick one of the two, use it through your undergrad years and then as you study for the CFA knowing that you won’t have to learn a new calculator on top of studying for arguably the most difficult of professional exams.
To buy the 12C or BA II Plus on Amazon, click on the pictures below.
All the best on your studies.