Best Calculators Available

The best calculators for High School and University Math Classes are made by Texas Instruments. Though there are a few out there that might have the same functionality or cost less, the TI family of calculators is the golden standard. In another blog post we will discuss each of these calculators in greater detail. For now, though, a short overview:

The top 3 best calculators for high school and university use are:

  1. TI-36X Pro:†This is the best scientific calculator
  1. TI-84+ CE:†This is the best graphing calculator
  1. TI-Nspire CX CAS:†This is the best calculator with a computer/calculator algebra system
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Best Calculators
Best Calculators

Best Calculator, Scientific: TI-36X Pro

The TI-36X Pro wins the best scientific calculator debate. Though it is disallowed for the SAT and possibly not allowed for classes limited to 2-line readouts (the TI-36X Pro has a 4-line screen), it is amazing.

High Marks:

  1. Costs $20 and is solar-powered
  2. Makes tables of equations*
  3. Solves systems of equations quickly via matrix mode

Best Calculator, Graphing: TI-84+ CE Graphing Calculator

Yes, this is where I consider there is room for debate about graphing calculators. Nonetheless, itís my favorite because it:

-is allowed on SAT and AP exams

-can graph multiple equations and inequalities on the same graph

-has a periodic table in its apps that cannot be blocked with a memory reset

-has a unit converter which is excellent for chemistry and physics classes

-is programmable; you can download programs off the internet or from friends

Though there are other calculators with the same or almost the same functionality, the popularity of the TI-84 makes it the best. The sheer ubiquity of the calculator makes it easier to learn. And, it makes the programs more accessible.

Further, more and more textbooks no include instructions for using the TI-84 Calculator as applied to your math curriculum.

For a primer on 98% of the functions available on the TI-84 Calculator, click here. This Youtube Channel provides over 300 AD-FREE videos on the TI-84. AND, 95% of the videos are less than 90 seconds long.

TI Nspire CX CAS: Best Calculator for classes allowing CAS

The illegal calculator. Engineers only. Skynet.

Be warned: this calculator is most likely not allowed in your class unless youíre a college or engineering student.

If you can use this calculator in your high school or university class, you can


-Solve (most) equations

-Differentiate, both derivatives at a point and general form of the derivative

-Integrate both definite and indefinite integrals.

Learning how to use the TI-Nspire CX CAS takes time, but itís quite worth it. Itís a math-phobicís dream.

SET a Session so You Can Learn How to Use these Best Calculators

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Check this YT channel for TI-84 videos to learn on your own.

Otherwise, book a session to shorten the time needed to learn the full functionality of these amazing calculators.

*Though a table of values isn’t equivalent to a graph of an equation, it’s quite close. You only need to plot points from the X-Y (aka T-) chart in order to make the graph of your equation. This is the greatest function of the TI-36X Pro calculator.


By Martin

Martin McSweeney is a National Merit Finalist, Pomona College Graduate, and member of MENSA. He has worked at the Center for Talented Youth (Loyola Marymount University campus); Upward Bound (Harvey Mudd campus); various test prep companies; and Whittier High School. Now, Martin helps students of all abilities improve their relationship with math.