Pros and Cons of Using Abacus

abacus pros and cons

More parents are opting for online education and homeschooling since the pandemic. As a result, there’s a new wave of using an abacus for teaching math to young kids.

If you’re also finally caught up in this wave, you’ve come to the right place. Beginning with the pros and cons of using an abacus, I will answer every question related to the abacus.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using an Abacus?

Abacus: A Brief Introduction

Abacus is an ancient mathematical tool. Before jumping into the pros and cons of using an abacus, we need a brief introduction to what is abacus.

Abacus is an ancient calculator with beads and rods to conduct basic math operations.

The history of the abacus goes as far back as 300 BC when the Babylonians used the predecessor of the abacus, presently known as the Salamis tablet.

Earlier, the abacus was just a flat surface, bamboo sticks, and pebbles, but since the invention of the Chinese abacus Suanpan, the abacus has evolved into a proper instrument. Now, it’s made with rods, frames, beads, etc.

The Chinese Abacus is called Suanpan.

To know more about what Danish abacus is, read What is Abacus.

Later, it traveled from China, through Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and India to the West. Currently, many schools in the U.S and many European countries use the abacus.

It is used to teach counting numbers and represent bigger numbers keeping in mind their place values. An abacus is also used in primary schools to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Wondering How to Multiply on the Abacus?

Go to How to Use Abacus for Basic Math Operations to find out.

Pros of Using an Abacus

1. Learning Mental Math

Mental math is the ability to solve mathematical calculations in your mind without using any calculator. It’s an effective skill that not only makes the child math-confident but also helps them in higher exams (like SAT and university entrance tests.)

In Japan, many companies consider efficient calculating skills as the primary benchmark of staff selection. Young adults and children prepare themselves for future job prospects by taking regular abacus classes from an early age.

Receiving proper abacus training teaches you the ability to calculate bigger numbers in your mind within seconds. If you learn mental math using an abacus, you’ll also be able to conduct huge calculations in your mind and save significant time during tests.

Looking for abacus instructor? Hire EnthuZiastic Abacus Experts to master abacus in no time.

2. Teaching Counting Effectively

Abacus learning is the best tool at your disposal when it comes to teaching numbers and basic counting to kids. You can introduce an abacus as early as you want. Let the little one get familiar with the counting device, and then begin your process.

The colorful beads catch children’s attention easily and help them understand the basic concept behind the number. You can separate one bead (to the right) in the first row, 2 beads on the 2nd row, 3 beads on the 3rd row, and so on.

One of the biggest perks of using an abacus is teaching numbers to kids. Use it correctly, and you’ll see results.

child using abacus

3. Abacus Users Become Intuitive & Creative

Young kids generally use the left side of their brains to decode sounds, understand language, and analyze information. Kids who use the right side of their brains tend to become more sensitive and intuitive and show signs of critical thinking.

Using an abacus involves functioning of two hands at the same time. According to studies, moving the abacus beads with two hands stimulates the brain cells on both sides of the brain.

As a result, using an abacus boosts intuitive and imaginative capabilities in children. It also enhances visualization.

In simpler words, using an abacus impacts a child’s brain development which shows in their artistic abilities and academic performance.

Learn the Right Age for Learning Abacus.

Read What is the Right Age to Learn Abacus and begin your journey today.

4. Reduces Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, & Dyslexia

Many studies have proven over the years that using an abacus can reduce symptoms of memory-related or cognition-impairment issues.

Firstly, if an individual practices abacus regularly, their chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and dyslexia are reduced dramatically. Secondly, if someone is already suffering from such problems, using an abacus daily can help reduce the symptoms.

Also, using this calculator enhances one’s photographic memory.

Therefore, you don’t need to be a kid in order to learn abacus. Adults can too!

child using abacus with an old man

5. Makes Math Fun

Honestly, kids never care if a calculating device is scientifically proven beneficial. All they need is to have fun; using an abacus can help with that.

Here, I am talking about young children between 3 to 10 years old. These kids must learn numbers, counting, addition, multiplication, etc. Their school syllabu revolves around basic arithmetic operations. In such scenarios, kids often end up bored and repel from math.

Introducing an abacus to your young ones will not only make math fun but also help them get over math anxiety. It will help them not dislike math and give up any chance in math-related career options.

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Cons of Using an Abacus

1. Not Suitable for Advanced Mathematical Calculation

Yes, indeed, the abacus is a great instrument for conducting mathematical operations with single-digit numbers or more, but there’s a limit.

One can add, subtract, multiply, and divide on the ancient calculator. If you train further, you can also extract square and cube roots, but what after that?

Using the abacus up to solving middle school arithmetics is fine. When one reaches high school, the abacus becomes an outdated calculator.

Also, the modern calculator is so efficient that the abacus gets reduced to a mere toy.

Wondering which is better? The Danish Abacus or the Rekenrek?

Read the Danish Abacus Vs. Rekenrek to find out.

2. Not Portable

If you haven’t learned finger abacus or mental math, you’re as good as having no calculator during an exam. An abacus is a visibly bigger device than a modern calculator. If you need it to calculate sums during exams or any other occasions you won’t be able to carry it.

Therefore, the biggest cons of using an abacus is that it’s not portable or user-friendly.

3. Time-Taking & Lengthy Counting Process

Abacus is an ancient calculator meant to help people with their day-to-day calculations. Around a thousand years ago, this counting device was a miraculous invention.

However, given the fact that we have a modern calculator conducting math operations within mili-seconds, the abacus appears to be a time-taking inefficient device.

Especially for people who haven’t learned finger abacus and mental math, it might take a lot of time to calculate, making it a disadvantage of using an abacus.

4. The Calculating Methods are Confusing

Some people conduct math operations on the abacus by sliding the beads from left to right, while others slide the beads from right to left. My point is that there’s no fixed method of conducting math operations on the abacus.

This is why it’s often confusing to beginners and kids, becoming of the major disadvantages of using the abacus.

The Roots of Abacus go as back as in 27th BCE.

Want to know more? Read the History of Abacus to find out.


Does the abacus confuse kids?

Yes and no. If young children try to learn by themselves without any help, then it might be confusing. However, if they are trained by an abacus expert, then they’re less likely to get confused.

Using an abacus has several benefits. It can enhance cognitive development resulting in positive changes in critical thinking, creativity, and intuition. A regular abacus user is also math-confident and an expert in mental math. To know more about the benefits of the abacus, read 8 Amazing Benefits of the Abacus.

What are the disadvantages of using an abacus?

The biggest disadvantage of using an abacus is that you can’t calculate advanced arithmetic on it. If you compare it with the modern abacus, then it’s terribly slow. However, one mustn’t decide to use an abacus only to calculate. Instead, try learning an abacus to train yourself in mental math and benefit from other perks of using an abacus.


Abacus, as a counting device, has its pros and cons. Its biggest limitation is time and efficiency in counting advanced mathematics. But my question is, why should we rely on an abacus for advanced calculations? We have the modern calculator to do so.

As an abacus user, I would rather suggest you look at the perks of using an abacus. Try to use an abacus to sharpen your memory and train in mental math. Instead of worrying if an abacus is helpful or not, I suggest you try gaining those benefits.

learn abacus

Learn Abacus From Expert Teachers

Book a free demo class with one of our top teachers and start learning Abacus