Why buy a scientific calculator?
Scientific calculators offer a wide range of advanced functions that go well beyond the functionality of the calculator on your smartphone. As such, they come in handy once you get to higher-level math classes requiring a calculator with graphing functionality, engineering functions, and impressive processors that save you time and frustration. Luckily, scientific calculators are very affordable, so you can probably find a perfect model that suits your budget.
What should you look for in a scientific calculator?
- Areas of Focus: A scientific calculator is used to calculate areas of math and science, and most, while varying in functions, can achieve similar levels of problem-solving. However, a handful of scientific calculators also employ a secondary feature—graphing—to solve and better understand mathematic relationships that can be visualized. Graphic functionality tends to increase the price, so you’re facing a bang-for-your-buck scenario dependent on your field of study. Thus, ask yourself whether you’ll need a graphic calculator for your current classes or future areas of mathematical studies.
- Screen Size: The size of a calculator’s screen is another factor you should consider. Calculators with more advanced functions, like those used for graphing, are large so that you can see the graph of a function as accurately as possible. However, a multiline design can get messy if you only want to solve simple equations. Your standard scientific options present one or two lines without crowding your screen and are perfectly suitable for most students.
- 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.
Can you use a scientific calculator for your exams?
While most scientific calculators can be used for basic math and science exams, some standardized tests are more strict about which specific models can be used. As such, if you’re a high school student and will soon be taking AP exams and the SAT, it’s a good idea to pick a calculator that can be used during these exams.
Pros: Featuring a nice variety of color options and an affordable price tag, the Texas Instruments TI-30XIIS Scientific Calculator is a great product for high schoolers needing a scientific calculator. For one thing, it’s approved for use with SAT, ACT, and AP tests, which is great for peace of mind. However, this calculator also stands out for its two-line display and edit functionality, allowing you to quickly fix mistakes in your equation without redoing the entire thing. Factor in its rugged build quality, and you have a scientific calculator that’s well worth the asking price.
Cons: While this is a very intuitive scientific calculator to pick up and use, its display wasn’t quite well received. Some mentioned having to look at it at a precise angle for best results, which can be irritating when you’re in the middle of a high-stakes exam.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for one of the most reliable scientific calculators on the market for one of the lowest price points, this is probably the calculator for you. While its display isn’t exactly top-of-the-line, this calculator’s intuitive layout, rugged build quality, and widespread adoption make it a safe choice for most high school and junior high students.
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator
This scientific calculator helps users visualize formulas, making it great for visual learners.
Pros: In the market for a high-quality scientific calculator with nifty graphing functionality? The Texas Instruments TI-84 PLUS CE Color Graphing Calculator is worth considering. This calculator scores points in substance and style by featuring some bold color options and three operating modes (Angular Measurement, Calculation, and Display). It’s convenient for visual learners since it offers a quick and effective means of visualizing formulas. This calculator also stands out for its large display and various functions, making it a great scientific calculator for those seeking a step above basic models. The split-screen option makes complex calculations easier to manage. No more worries about running out of batteries; this calculator comes with a rechargeable battery. With preloaded apps and images, you’ll have everything at your fingertips. The interactive zoom features allow you to explore your calculations up close, while the MathPrint feature enhances clarity. Choose from seven different graph styles to give your graphs a unique touch. This calculator is lightweight yet built to endure the classroom’s hustle and bustle year after year. It’s also compatible with the CBR 2 motion sensor, adding versatility.
Cons: Some found the charge to be slow and stated that the adapter was obscure and difficult to find. In addition, this is a significant investment. It’s also more expensive than the other options because it’s a graphing calculator.
Bottom Line: This calculator is a reliable companion for most students. It’s got all the convenient features that people look for and then some.
Mr. Pen- Scientific Calculator
A budget-friendly scientific calculator that's easy to navigate and built to last.
Pros: Conveniently priced and capable of handling over 240 scientific and math functions in its memory system, the Mr. Pen Scientific Calculator has a lot to offer for its price. It sports an easy-to-read 10+2 digit-wide LCD screen and offers a slide-on case for added protection. This scientific calculator also stands out for its intuitive key layout, which is way easier to navigate than similar products when you first get the hang of your new calculator.
Cons: If you are considering purchasing this product for high school classes, check its functions to ensure they are suitable for the courses you plan on taking. While its 240 scientific and mathematical functions will be more than enough for most students, those taking advanced courses may be better off investing in a more function-rich scientific calculator.
Bottom Line: This is a great, affordable option that easily outclasses most competitors in terms of build quality and ease of use. If you’re seeking a calculator that is great for advanced arithmetic and sports plenty of essential scientific functions, this one’s a great choice.
IPepul Scientific Calculators for Students
This unique scientific calculator features a built-in notepad and intuitive layout.
Pros: This ingenious combination of calculator and notepad revolutionizes how you learn and work. Seamlessly jot down notes while performing calculations. Its intuitive interface guarantees straightforward operation. The blue matte LCD screen ensures a comfortable viewing experience, and it weighs next to nothing, so you can slip it into your bag or pocket easily. Boasting a spacious 10-digit display and powered by easily replaceable button batteries, this calculator prioritizes uninterrupted functionality.
Cons: Not everyone will be willing to settle for a single-line display when looking for the perfect scientific calculator for their needs. If you prefer to see your work saved on a scrollable display to tell how you got to the solution for an equation, this is probably not the scientific calculator for you.
Bottom Line: While this is not the most advanced scientific calculator you will find, its basic functions and handy notepad are more than enough to suit the needs of a wide variety of middle-school to high-schoolers. Despite its affordable price point, it also performs well in terms of longevity, so it should last most people more than just a few semesters.
RENUS 8-Pack Scientific Calculators
These reliable scientific calculators make great classroom loaner models thanks to their durable designs.
Pros: If you’re a teacher who needs some high-quality loaner calculators without breaking the bank, the eight-pack from RENUS is your best choice. These calculators make life easier for students thanks to their easy-to-read two-line displays, but teachers will appreciate their durable designs and protective covers even more. These calculators also stand out for being approved for many standardized tests, making them an excellent option for classes that require calculators capable of one and two-variable statistical calculations.
Cons: While these calculators sport a fairly impressive build quality for their inexpensive price point, there may be issues such as keys sticking or being loud when pressed. Also, these calculators have a somewhat long auto-shutoff period of five minutes, meaning they may deplete batteries faster than some other models.
Bottom Line: While these calculators sport a clunkier feel than most premium scientific calculators, they’re still impressive compared to similarly-priced bulk options. As such, if you’re looking for long-lasting loaner calculators that should be easy for most students to use, the RENUS Scientific Calculator is an excellent choice.
While some may assume that most scientific calculators are interchangeable, this is not true. To choose the best scientific calculator for you, research its functions, screen size, and overall build quality.