Top Construction Calculator Apps to Have at Your Fingertips
Pros rely on these five iOS and Android compatible construction calculator apps to get the job done right.
Dewalt Mobile Pro
The Basics: Developed by Portland, Oregon-based Infinity Softworks, this app includes a basic construction calculator for free, plus several trade-specific add-on packs that cost extra. Those options are: business, carpentry, concrete, construction math, site work, finish materials, trim carpentry, landscaping and electrical.
Cost: Free, but add-on features range from 99 cents to $5 bucks each. Or you can buy the "Master Pack," with all the whiz-bang features, for $24.99.
Highlights: In the freebie version, you can calculate feet and inches for lengths, areas and volumes. You can also estimate what you'll need in terms of paint, studs, drywall sheets and bags of concrete.
Bummers: Rounds answers to the nearest 64th, which does not appear on standard tape measures. The wallpaper calculator does not consider repeats.
What the Pros Say: "As a Project & Safety Coordinator for a structural steel company I found this very useful. As a homeowner, I find it indispensable!"
Construction Calc Pro
The Basics: Developed by Lightray Studio, this app has 82 construction calculators, including 15 measurement calcs and 32 material estimators.
Cost: $4.99 (Android) or $13.99 (iOS) There is a free version with ads, however (Construction Calc Pro Ads). The free version has a banner ad at the bottom that cannot be removed and sporadic pop-ups.
Highlights: Allows you to work in feet, inches and fractions of inches.
Bummers: Inputted values are cleared when the screen shuts off. Unit conversions are rather tedious.
What the Pros Say: "I use this app a lot as an inspector to double check the contractor's math. I have saved people some serious heartache with this over the last year. Totally worth it.
AWC Span Calc
(also known as The American Wood Council's Maximum Span Calculator for Wood Joists and Rafters)
The Basics: Calculates floor joists and rafter spans for many species and grades of commercially available softwood and hardwood lumber.
Highlights: This is the only construction calculator app that considers species and grade.
Bummers: Does not calculate for girders and headers; will not convert to metric. Will calculate joists but not beams.
What the Pros Say: "Was a big help when I was inspecting a job with storm damage and needed answers immediately."
The Basics: A sturdy app with lots of functionality. Lots of options in particular for working on stairs. It also has a handy fence function: give it a length, and the app will tell you how many posts, rails, pickets or panels you need.
Highlights: This construction calculator is great for those who do a lot of CAD work because the calculation and conversion between metric and imperial happens simultaneously; offers several obscure functions such as stringer throat and purlin angles. Allows you to email pdfs of layouts constructed on the app.
Bummers: App asks for an excessive amount of personal data.
What the Pros Say: "I use it every day for calculating quantities and in various elements of civil and structural inspection. Worth every penny."
Construction Master 5
The Basics: This app comes from Calculated Industries, maker of the IRL construction calculator that so many grew up using.
Highlights: Press and hold any button and this construction calculator's Help menu pops up with a real-world example.
Bummers: Has no 'back' button; seems to have licensing issues on some users' phones.
What the Pros Say: "I have been using a Construction Master calculator for years as a concrete business owner. After breaking and losing so many of these I finally just downloaded the app and boy was I pleased. It's crisper, easier to use and honestly going to save me money and heartache when I can't find my calculator."