The 8 best graphing calculators in 2021

Staff, courtesy of Casio

Spiral and composition notebooks, tri-ring binders, protractor and compass, these are of course the school supplies that you can add to your basket without hesitation. But if you have kids entering more advanced math and science classes, a graphing calculator is likely to appear on the long list of fall must-haves. Generally speaking, they are more expensive – and certainly more complex to cover a wider range of topics – than the scientific calculators used at the start of college. Read on for our top recommendations, as well as how to find the right model and other buying tips before you buy.

What to consider

To start with a few basics, a graphing calculator has more advanced capabilities for higher level math than a scientific calculator, with a larger, more dynamic screen for graphing functions and coordinate plotting. Before you start shopping, it is essential to consider the school year and the school program of the student.

There are graphing calculators that can take a student from college pre-algebra to calculus, but younger ones can be overwhelmed with too many features, and higher-level math students can learn better on a specially designed calculator. for advanced concepts rather than a basic model that just scratches the surface.

You may want to choose something that matches what your child will learn. Additionally, especially in younger classes, a teacher may recommend using a specific make and model. For older high school students, keep in mind that some calculators are accepted for various AP and college entrance exams and some are not, and some models may be better suited for specific tests.

Graphing calculators have black and white or color LCD screens, many have rechargeable batteries and offer USB connectivity, and some come preloaded with apps.

How we chose

All of the graphing calculators in our selection received at least 4.5 stars or more from top brands. In addition to combing through customer reviews, we consulted with hired experts during our research, including TechRadar and PC Magazine. We’ve included a range of calculators suitable for students of different grade levels, from middle school to high school and up, as well as models spanning multiple price points, with both color and black and white displays, from around $ 40 to around $ 140. $. We’ve also compared and highlighted the features of each graphing calculator we cover.

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1

Best value for money black and white

Casio fx-9750GII graphing calculator

Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 1 inches
Weight
: 7.6 ounces
Energy source: Four AAA batteries

The price of this graphing calculator is unbeatable. In addition, students can use it from middle school to high school, and in some university courses. The user-friendly Casio has an icon-based menu, showcasing all the basics students need as beginners to pre-algebra, as well as essentials for later courses like trigonometry and geometry, everything throughout the AP calculation.

Among its features, the highlights include a high resolution backlit LCD display and high processing speed, in addition to its light weight and ability to deliver up to 230 hours of battery life on a single charge.

  • Versatile for many materials
  • Very affordable
  • Some customers say the instructions are confusing
2

Color at the best price-performance ratio

Casio PRIZM FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator

Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 2 inches
Weight
: 12.8 ounces
Energy source: Four AA batteries

There are over 65,000 colors and 82,000 pixels on the high resolution LCD screen of this graphing calculator with text display, and it offers 3D graphics capabilities. This is Casio’s latest PRISM model, so it offers all the top-notch features you want, without the extras you might not need that would jack up the price. With an intuitive icon-based menu, high school and college math students will find this graphing calculator easy to navigate.

  • Manual display for easy reading
  • High resolution LCD display
  • Battery life is an issue for some
3

One step forward

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator

Texas instruments
amazon.com

$ 108.25

Dimensions: 10.7 x 7 x 2 inches
Weight
: 14.4 ounces
Energy source: A lithium metal battery

This versatile, reasonably priced graphing calculator offers great value for money and is a solid choice for high school students. It comes preloaded with a wide range of features and has a multi-line display as well as vertical and horizontal split screen options so you have all the information you need right in front of you.

The calculator also offers 14-digit precision and 10 graphing functions, and you can also save and work on up to 10 graphs at a time. The fact that it lacks a color display given the price is a downside, although it might not be a problem, and it’s heavy, too.

  • Solid features overall
  • Very precise
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Average price but lack of color display
4

Our premium selection

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS Color Graphing Calculator

Texas instruments
amazon.com

$ 137.04

Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 0.6 inches
Weight
: 12.6 ounces
Energy source: A lithium-ion battery

This slim graphing calculator might be pricey, but its full-color interactive visuals and 3D graphics make it one of the best on the market for higher-level math – and it scores a 4.8-star average of over 3,400 clients.

One of its main features is its CAS (computer algebra system) for understanding and solving more complex equations. Other highlights include six different styles and 15 color options for graphics, as well as an incredibly fast processor and the touchpad is easy to navigate.

The calculator has a rechargeable battery that would last up to two weeks on a single charge.

  • 3D graphic representation in color
  • A CAS for complex calculations
5

Best entry level

Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator

Texas instruments
walmart.com

$ 76.99

Dimensions: 7 x 3.5 x 1 inches
Weight: 8 ounces
Energy source: Four AAA batteries; a lithium metal battery

If you are looking for an entry-level graphing calculator, this one is your best bet. It is perfect for college or high school pre-algebra algebra classes. Students can use it for trigonometry and calculus as well, although there are better options for more advanced courses (and we cover them here).

The TI-83 is lightweight and has built-in memory that can store up to 10 matrices, as well as a split LCD screen for plotting and scrolling through tables and an interactive equation solver.

  • Very user friendly
  • Calculation history displayed on screen
  • Low resolution colorless display
6

Ideal for high school

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator

Texas instruments
amazon.com

$ 143.99

Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Energy source: A lithium metal battery

The ever-popular TI-84 Plus CE is the gold standard for high school and some early-college students because it’s easy to use and has a full range of features, as well as a dynamic display and a clean design.

For starters, the graphing calculator comes with a plethora of preloaded apps and can represent images, and its battery life is exceptional, said to run for a month with average use on a single charge via a USB cable and again. longer in standby mode.

Another bonus is that it comes in eight attractive colors which most of the competition lacks.

  • Tons of functions
  • Preloaded with great apps
7

Ideal for advanced math

Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium CAS Graphing Calculator

Texas instruments
amazon.com

$ 127.00

Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 3 inches
Weight
: 7.6 ounces
Energy source: Four A batteries

This graphing calculator is ideal for college and high school students taking higher-level math courses, and it doesn’t weigh a backpack down at just 5.3 ounces.

It has an impressive 2.7MB flash memory, 3D graphics, CAS and a large screen for split-screen views, as well as optional apps to add from the website of the brand. It also comes with a user-friendly menu system, which makes navigation easy.

Another major benefit is file sharing with other calculators and computers via USB cable, which is included in the package. The calculator also comes with a one year warranty.

  • 3d graphics
  • Can handle complex calculations
8

Better design

NumWorks graphing calculator

NumWorks
amazon.com

$ 99.99

Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 3 inches
Weight
: 5.9 ounces
Energy source: A lithium-ion battery

With a simple, minimalist white design, this eye-catching graphing calculator has a modern smartphone-like appeal that sets it apart from the crowd. It’s smaller and lighter, and it has a simple interface that’s easier to navigate than some more traditional options.

The keyboard is divided into three areas for navigation, advanced functions and a numeric keypad, in addition to six built-in apps for high school math and science lessons. The calculator has a micro USB port and cable for charging, and is said to last for weeks in sleep mode.

  • Cutting-edge design for an exceptional user experience
  • Reasonable price
  • Lightweight
  • Doesn’t have as many apps as the competition

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