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For many students and professionals, having a reliable calculator that can handle their daily assignments and projects is imperative to their success. Whether you’ve gone back to school to study math and science, you need a calculator for your older child, or you’re looking for something that can help with balancing your budget at home or work, having the right calculator for your specific needs can mean the difference between solving for X and getting an F.
Not all calculators are created equal, which is why we included a variety of calculators on our list. Scientific calculators assist in geometry, statistics, biology and chemistry and can be used in situations when graphing calculators are not permitted, which is often the case in tests and exams.
Calculators with mathematic equations allow students to backtrack through calculations step by step, so they can better understand how they arrived at the (hopefully) correct answer. Graphing calculators also help students visualize their equations.
Desktop or financial calculators are more straightforward and are better adept at helping with everyday math problems involving balancing a budget, crunching numbers for a project and general invoicing. We like these calculators for home and office use.
Whatever your math needs, there’s a calculator that’s right for you. Check out our top picks below.
1. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator
The TI-84 features several improvements over the original, including a backlight display and a 30 percent reduction in weight. The calculator includes a rechargeable battery and comes pre-loaded with apps and images. Like the TI-36, the TI-84 includes MathPrint for a textbook display. The TI-84 is allowed for most major exams, including the SATs, PSATs, IB exams and AP exams that allow a graphing calculator. We also like that it’s easy to distinguish between graphs and plot points thanks to the color-coded equations.
2. Canon LS-82Z Handheld Calculator
BEST BUDGET BUY
For a calculator that is affordable and durable, we recommend the Canon LS-82Z Handheld Calculator. The small but mighty desktop calculator measures 4.4 inches by 3.5 inches, making it compact enough to slip into a pocket or pencil case. The calculator features a floating decimal point system, product dimensions, and square root functions. An angled display makes for easy viewing and the calculator has a dual power source of solar and battery and an auto-shutoff after seven minutes.
3. Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator
BEST BUDGET SCIENTIFIC CALCULATOR
Scientific calculators are typically used by high school students in geometry, precalculus and calculus classes. They’ve invaluable when it comes to graphing equations and solving complex theorems, however they also tend to be pricier than your average number machine. This one from Texas Instruments, however, is only $20 and is currently on sale for 23% off! It’s got functionality that enables you to enter more than one calculation at once so you can explore patterns all on the same screen. You can also quickly view fractions and decimals in alternative forms with one toggle key and scroll through previous entries as well. It comes with a clear display, easy-to-use buttons and a cover that protects it from damage.
4. Sharp 16-Digit Advanced Scientific Calculator
This calculator from Sharp has a large, 16-digit display that’s equipped with WriteView so you’ve got a large calculation surface and a 4-line LCD screen. It comes with seven different calculation modes to choose from: normal, stat, drill, complex, matrix, list & equation, as well as over 640 different functions you can perform. It’s got a home key that allows you to start fresh no matter what you’re doing, and it’s got quadratic and cubic equation solvers, as well as three different variable linear equation solvers in case you need them. It comes inside a durable hard case with a glossy black finish and silver accents.
5. Texas Instruments TI-1795 SV 8-Digit Desktop Calculator
BEST FOR OFFICE USE
For a basic business calculator that is perfect for office or home use, we like the Texas Instruments TI-1795 SV 8-Digit Desktop Calculator. The desktop calculator features a clear 8-digit LCD display and includes basic functions as well as buttons for financial calculations and a built-in tax rate key for easy accounting. The desktop calculator runs on solar and battery power and has responsive contoured keys for ease of use.
6. Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator
BEST BUDGET GRAPHING CALCULATOR
Need a graphing calculator that won’t break the bank? We like the Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator. Designed for students from middle school to college, the Casio is capable of graphing X=relations and has streamlined solving for intercepts and intersections. The versatile calculator can be used in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, biology, physics and stats, including AP level classes and financial courses. Thanks to the high-speed CPU in the calculator, the Casio immediately creates graphs on its high-resolution LCD screen. A USB port makes it possible for students to connect their Casio to other calculators or their computers. The Casio is approved for the PSAT, SAT, ACT and other college entrance exams.
7. HP 12CP Financial Calculator
BEST FINANCIAL CALCULATOR
This calculator is made for calculating your finances and helping you make smart decisions with your money. It’s got over 120 different built-in functions for finance, business, statistics and mathematics. It can also do date calculations and the data entry uses the efficient RPN system. It’s small, portable and easy to carry with you and comes with easy-to-read keys and a clear display.
8. Casio fx-300ES PLUS Scientific Calculator
BEST FOR FIRST TIME USERS
For those who are new to the world of scientific calculators, a top-of-the-line Texas Instrument may be beyond their needs at the moment. Instead, start new students with the Casio fx-300ES PLUS Scientific Calculator, which is available in black, blue and pink. Great for middle through high school students, the math and physics calculator has over 200 features and is approved for use on SAT, AP, PSAT/NMSQT, and ACT exams. Ideal for general math, as well as introductory algebra, geometry, trigonometry, stats and physics, the calculator has a natural textbook display and multi-replay function that enables students to check their work. Solar and battery-powered, the Casio is designed to last.
9. Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro Engineering Scientific Calculator
This is another stellar scientific calculator from Texas Instruments that’s got MultiView technology so you can see multiple calculations at the same time, as well as MathPrint that shows expression and symbols just as they would appear in textbooks. You can easily convert fractions, decimals and other mathematical terms like Pi into alternative forms depending on what you’re calculating, and you can select degrees/ radians, floating/fix number modes with the touch of a button. This calculator is perfect for kids in math classes in high school all the way through college, who are taking courses like algebra 1 & 2, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, biology, physics, etc.
10. Avalon 8 Digit Dual Powered Desktop Calculator
BEST CALCULATOR FOR KIDS
This calculator is perfect for kids who need a little help with their math homework or are just starting to use a calculator. It can display up to eight digits at once and comes with an extra-large LCD display that’s easy for them to read. The display is tilted so it’s easy to look at and the buttons on it are large and easy to press. It comes with batteries included so it’s ready to use right out of the box, and has the ideal functionality for basic math classes and lessons.
11. Sharp EL-1801V Printing Calculator
BEST ACCOUNTING STYLE CALCULATOR
Check your work quickly and easily with the Sharp EL-1801V Printing Calculator. The traditional accounting style calculator has been the standard for decades, whether users are running a household or a small business. Printing in black and red ink, users can confirm their calculations and store the paper as a physical record. Small businesses can use the calculator to confirm sales and provide receipts for customers thanks to the markup and tax functions. A large, 12-digit fluorescent display, one-touch change calculation function, cost-sell-margin, grand total, and average keys provide an easy way to quickly calculate costs and print receipts.
12. ONXE Electronic Calculator
For users who don’t want to struggle to find small buttons, we recommend the ONXE Electronic Calculator. The desktop calculator features an ergonomic percussion keyboard with large, raised buttons that make a slight tapping sound so users can hear when they’ve hit the correct key. The tilted 30-degree screen provides a comfortable viewing angle. The Onxe has two battery options, including solar power and a backup AA battery, which is included with the purchase of the calculator. Designed for home or office use, the calculator includes 12 digits, a margin account, memory load/clear function, and an extraction function.
13. Helect Standard Function Desktop Calculator
BEST COLOR OPTIONS
The Helect is a standard desk calculator available in five color options, including black (shown here), white, pink, orange and blue. The large calculator is ideal for tax and currency conversion, while also including function and command signs. The 12-digit calculator includes large, easy-to-read buttons, has an ergonomic design and anti-slip feet to keep it in place. We also like that the digital readout is placed on a 30-degree incline for clear visibility.
14. Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS
BEST FOR ADVANCED CLASSES
Whether you need a calculator for calculus or a calculator that can handle intricate graphs created with 15 colors to choose from, the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS has you covered for all that and more. The 320 x 240-pixel screen has an impressive 125 DPI that clearly displays the six styles of graphs available on the rechargeable calculator. The newly updated TI-Nspire has a fast response time and comes with TI-Inspire CX Student Software to help students create advanced graphs. The TI-Nspire is also a great option for geometry students since the calculator can explore geometric figures and create full-color animations. The calculator is not allowed in most AP math classes, but it is allowed for the SATs and makes a great option for engineering students and professionals.
15. CASIO PRIZM FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator
If you’re serious about graphs, check out the CASIO PRIZM FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator. The full-color graphing calculator brings equations to life, using picture plot technology and real-life images to create intricate, 3D graphs. The high-resolution LCD screen has over 65,000 colors to help students visualize their work and the improved catalog function helps increase the real-life application of the calculator. Built-in conic sections and a natural textbook display make this an easy-to-use calculator with statistics regressions. Students will enjoy using the intuitive icon-based menu on the Casio, which is approved for use on all major exams, including the SAT I/II, PSAT, NMSQT, and ACT tests.
16. Casio SL-100L Basic Solar Folding Compact Calculator
We know what you’re thinking — what calculator isn’t portable? Fair enough, but if you need something even more portable than the average desktop or graphing calculator, the Casio SL-100L Basic Solar Folding Compact Calculator is going to be your favorite little buddy. The compact calculator is ideal for people who need to make fast calculations on the go, from contractors figuring out the number of materials they need for a project, to sales reps providing estimates to customers. The solar-powered calculator has a large, easy-to-read eight-digit display, includes basic functions, and folds for a pocket-sized footprint.