# How Many Beads are on an Abacus?

The answer to this question depends on the type of abacus you are considering. The Japanese version of the abacus, called a Soroban, has 5 beads per rod. Each rod of the Soroban can represent a digit from 0 to 9. Since a soroban is designed with a base-10 numbering system, the soroban is ideal for learning number sense, number recognition, all arithmetic operations, and developing mental calculation skills.

The Chinese version of the abacus, called a Suan Pan, has 7 beads per rod. Each rod of the Suan Pan can represent a digit from 0 to 15. In ancient China they used a base-16 numbering system. The Suan Pan can also be used to do calculations on base 10 numbers but has the additional complexity of the two additional beads per rod. The Russian version of the abacus, called a Schoty, has 10 beads per rod. The Russian abacus has horizontal rods while the Japanese or Chinese abacus have vertical rods. An abacus can have any number of rods typically an odd number such as 15, 17, 31, 33 rods

The Russian version of the abacus, called a Schoty, has 10 beads per rod. The Russian abacus has horizontal rods while the Japanese or Chinese abacus have vertical rods.

An abacus can have any number of rods typically an odd number such as 15, 17, 31, 33 rods. Most beginning students will use a 15 or 17 rod soroban while more advanced users will work with larger versions with 31 or 33 rods.