A scientific calculator is any calculator designed to carry out equations concerning subjects in sciences, mathematics, and engineering. In short, they’re much better than the app on your phone. They’re very popular in higher education, which is why most incoming high school and college students find it listed under the must-have supply list on their class syllabus. So, if you’re on the hunt for a scientific calculator, here are a few options that we recommend.
What To Look for in Your Calculator
Consider these factors when making a selection:
- Areas of Focus: A scientific calculator is used to calculate in areas of math and sciences, and most, while varying in functions, can achieve the same level of problem-solving. However, a handful of scientific calculators also employs a secondary feature (graphing) to solve and better understand mathematic relationships that can be visualized. While the integration of the graphing, especially if it’s a high-resolution option, tends to run the price up a bit, you’re facing a bang-for-buck scenario that’s really dependent on your field of study. Are you looking to solve chemistry equations or create graphs?
- Screen Size: The size of your display screen is another factor, or rather preference, that you should take into account. Calculators with larger functions, like those used for graphing, are large so that you can see the graph of a function as accurately as possible. However, a multiple line design can get messy if you’re only looking to solve division equations. Your standard scientific options present one or two lines without crowding your screen. Again, this falls back on understanding if you truly need a scientific calculator with graphing capabilities.
- Price Awareness: If you haven’t heard it from students in a while, here it is: calculators can get very expensive. That’s why you should be conscious of where to save. The biggest factors driving a calculator’s price are screen resolution, which is most desired when graphing, and function capacity. More functions mean more dollar signs. However, if you buy with specificity in mind, then you can afford to short yourself as long as that calculator is a sound fit for the subject you’re using it for.
Top Choice: CATIGA Scientific Graphic Calculator
This scientific and graphing calculator from CATIGA is great for use in any algebra, geometry, calculus, chemistry, or statistics equation. This calculator features an LCD screen that’s more than large enough for a user to read its formulas and display graphs. It has a programmable system for any level of learning and over 280 functions for creating and solving formulas involving fractions, complex numbers, linear regression, and standard deviation.
Scientific Graphic Calculator - CATIGA CS121 - Scientific and Engineering Calculator - Programmable System (Black)
A moderately priced calculator with over 280 functions for solving algebra, calculus, and statistics equations.
Best Budget: Sharp Engineering/Scientific Calculator
Conveniently priced and capable of handling over 130 scientific and math functions in its memory system, this Sharp Engineering & Scientific Calculator is as easy-going as they get. It features a 10-digit, single-line LCD screen and is automatically programmed to shut down when not in use. All 5.4 inches of this calculator are also constructed from a protective hard case that’s built to last beyond a single school year.
Sharp EL501X2BWH Engineering/Scientific Calculator
A budget-friendly option that's easy to use and built to last.
Best Premium: Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator
A pinnacle calculator for those who demand top-dollar, trusted operations, this Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE is a quality color calculator that features a variety of preloaded apps and images. Texas Instruments calculators are widely favored at the high school and collegiate levels, and the high-quality perks included here remind us why. Its striking resolution and vibrant backlit color display provide enhanced readability of your graphing, data, and formulas. Additionally, this calculator is 30% lighter than previous TI models, weighing 12 ounces across 7.5 inches. Users can take pleasure in knowing that this device, while powered by a single lithium battery, is also rechargeable.
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator, Bionic Blue
A top-dollar choice that's available in a variety of fun colors.
Also Great: Sharp Scientific Calculator with WriteView
Designed for use in equations concerning everything from trigonometry to engineering, this Sharp Scientific Calculator with WriteView Display offers users over 400 functions for their work. It includes a large 16-digit, four-line LCD screen powered by a WriteView system. This function allows scientific equations to be entered and viewed exactly as they would be written or viewed in a textbook, thus making them easier to solve in the process. Additional perks include the calculator’s solar and battery-powered ability.
Sharp Calculators EL-W535TGBBL 16-Digit Scientific Calculator with WriteView, 4 Line Display, Battery and Solar Hybrid Powered LCD Display, Black & Blue, Black, Blue, 6.4" x 3.1" x 0.6" x 6.4"
This scientific calculator possesses over 400 functions and can be operated via batteries or solar energy.