For the CFA exam, there are only two calculators allowed by the CFA Institute. The candidates can buy either of these and must carry them to the Exam Center on exam day. The two calculators are:
Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator (including BA II Plus Professional)
HP 12C Financial Calculator (including the HP 12C Platinum, 12C Platinum 25th anniversary edition, 12C 30th anniversary edition, and HP 12C Prestige)
Both these are great calculators, however, if you are going to purchase one then the best calculator for CFA exam would be Texas Instruments BA II Plus. There are many reasons why I feel this is the best calculator.
One strong reason is that most training providers provide their examples with BA II Plus. So, when you are learning you get hands on instructions on how to solve each problem with this calculator.
BA II Plus has more formulas (Such as for NFV, Combination and Permutation) which HP 12C doesn’t have. It is also comparatively easier to use.
On the other hand HP is a more traditional calculator and some people may prefer it. But if you are looking for more functions, ease of use, and support from training preps, then Texas Instruments BA II Plus is the best calculator for CFA.
Texas Instruments BA II plus Financial Calculator for business professionals and students features are that it performs common math as well as various financial functions; the Worksheet mode includes tables for amortization, bond, depreciation, and compound interest, Built-in memory for storage of previous worksheets, Can perform cash-flow analysis and advanced list-based statistics and a Slide-case included to protect screen.
The HP 12C Financial Calculator features built-in financial functions and statistics, uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), more than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis, 10-character, 1-line LCD display, Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD).It has 10-character, 1-line LCD display.