If you have a high school student, their math teacher will likely require a specific calculator that is mandatory. Students will need a particular calculator for Algebra, Geometry, or Trig to complete their math work. Initially, it may be challenging to determine the most suitable calculator for your child.
There are hundreds of graphing calculators available to choose from on Amazon.
It’s common for professional architects and engineers to encounter the same problem when determining the best option. So, there’s no need to worry. A new architect or engineer may seek advice from a colleague but may still need help to make the best choice.
Professions that necessitate a blend of creativity and technical skills are similar to the math class one would take in high school. It would be best to have a calculator best suited for the specific calculations in both areas, as they require specialized knowledge.
Performing complex calculations is necessary for success, whether in a high school math class or at work. As your child ages, the math problems will become more complex. Similarly, you’ll handle more involved tasks with increasing experience.
For complex calculations requiring more functions, the basic calculator from the store’s stationery aisle may not suffice and may be unable to keep up with your increasing expertise. It is recommended that you use a calculator that can handle both.
You’ll need a graphing calculator with advanced features to plot your graphs. Many options are available, so it can be challenging to choose the right one. This guide will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. You can enjoy the benefits once you have selected the right calculator for your needs.
About – Graphing Calculator
It can be challenging to define if you’re unfamiliar with a graphing calculator. It is a tool that allows you to visualize mathematical equations and principles in a way that can help you better understand them.
A graphing calculator first solves multiple equations at once and then displays the results on a large screen unique to this type of calculator. Although there are different brands of graphing calculators, they all have a larger display screen than other calculators.
Graphing calculators have many buttons, functions, and programs to perform advanced tasks that regular calculators cannot. They come in different levels of complexity and offer various options.
As you progress towards the more advanced graphing calculators, the basic units will have limited functions initially but will increase in complexity. These functions help work with quadratic, polynomials, and linear functions.
A graphing calculator can help you find where curves intersect, graph lines, solve cubic functions, and perform other math tasks. If you deal with precise numbers involving many digits and scientific notation, you can manipulate algebraic equations using brackets and store answers on the calculator’s visual graphics screen.
In math, chemistry, and physics, it’s essential to be familiar with scientific notation for calculations such as mole calculations and force of gravity calculations. Additionally, graphing calculators allow the use and modification of various programs, making them even more helpful.
Texas Instruments calculators are known for offering a wide range of programs that can simplify tasks and provide various games to entertain you when you need a break.
Differences Between a Graphing Calculator and a Scientific Calculator
There are two main types of calculators: graphing and scientific. Both types can perform a broader range of functions than a basic calculator. However, their main difference is the specific functions they can achieve.
A scientific calculator can carry out a range of complex mathematical calculations, including Trigonometry functions like Sine, Tangent, and Cosine, as well as their inverse functions. Additionally, it can perform logarithmic and exponential calculations.
Any student in grades 9-12 taking a science or math class should have these capabilities. Although a graphing calculator is more complex, it provides a significant benefit over more straightforward scientific calculators. A graphing calculator is necessary when dealing with complex functions such as calculus.
The graphing calculator’s screen visually represents each completed calculation, allowing for a more seamless workflow. Additionally, it is possible to transfer values from previous work to current projects through the copy-and-paste feature.
A calculator with the ability to store numbers is precious for solving math problems in different fields, such as physics, engineering, statistics, and complex areas of biology, especially in issues that involve multiple steps, large numbers, or decimal values.
Scientific calculators are considerably cheaper compared to advanced graphing calculators. While a scientific calculator costs around $10, the latter can cost over $300 for several reasons.
Many graphing calculators have Wi-Fi, which can be used to download apps, programs, and data from the internet or other devices to help solve math problems.
A key advantage of graphing calculators is their ability to represent problems on a large screen visually. Additionally, they offer advanced calculation functions compared to other types of calculators.
Student Use of a Graphing Calculator
The versatility of a graphing calculator allows it to solve various mathematical problems, including primary and complex calculations. However, we will focus on exploring the practical applications of a graphing calculator for high school and college students.
Becoming more proficient with the graphing calculator’s functions and capabilities can improve students’ ability to solve challenging problems. Proficiency with the calculator’s visual display can also increase efficiency when taking tests with time limits.
Although many people think that all calculators are the same, each calculator has its features and capabilities and can only perform the operations requested by the user. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the specific nuances of your calculator and choose the appropriate one for your intended purposes.
If you’re a student who just got a graphing calculator, you’d likely want to learn how to use its graphing feature initially. Seeing how simple it is to graph a function using the calculator can be pretty thrilling.
Students must learn to plot graphs manually with paper and pencil before using a graphing calculator. A profound understanding of algebraic equations ordered pairs, and the Cartesian coordinate plane is necessary to comprehend the significance of plotting a function’s graph.
Understanding how a function is calculated can help you identify errors. The primary part of a graphing calculator is to graph the student’s function. Once the graph is created, the calculator provides students with different tools to analyze and modify it.
The most commonly used features are:
- Finding the X-intercept
- Locating the Y-intercept
- Determining the maximum or minimum values of a function.
One of the best uses for a graphing calculator is solving word problems. It provides the users with a visual representation of the function, which can help them identify what solution the question wants.
Considerations Before Purchasing
You are gaining confidence in selecting the graphing calculator that suits your requirements. However, it is crucial to contemplate certain factors before making the final purchase, as the calculator needs to cater to your needs.
2nd (3rd) Functions
Graphing calculators typically have buttons with multiple functions. One example is the COS button, which also contains the COS-1 function. To access the second function on the same button, you must push the SHIFT or 2nd function key. However, a calculator with too many extra functions can be challenging to read and confusing. Looking at different models to find the calculator that best suits your needs is essential.
When selecting a calculator model, it’s essential to consider what tasks you need to perform. The features necessary for a student may differ from those required by an engineer. Additionally, it’s worth evaluating whether a calculator can download apps and programs since this enables it to grow alongside the user’s development.
When selecting a graphing calculator, it’s essential to factor in the speed of its processor, which is measured in Megahertz. A faster processor enables quicker decision-making, so opt for a calculator with better processing speed if you require quick calculations.
When buying a graphing calculator, it’s essential to keep the price in mind. It’s challenging to find one that costs less than $70. The price of a graphing calculator depends on its features and technology. Students may find it more helpful to have a cheaper or mid-range calculator. However, professionals like engineers or architects should invest in more expensive devices.
The appearance of the screen depends entirely on personal preference. Monochrome screens function similarly across all devices. Nevertheless, graphing calculators offer the option of a more significant color screen. Your decision should be based on your specific requirements and desires.
If you plan to use a graphing calculator frequently, it’s best to opt for the rechargeable version since most models require batteries to function.
After reading this, you should feel more confident about choosing a graphing calculator to buy. In the next section, you can find reviews of the top eight graphing calculators on the market to help you decide.
List of the Best Graphing Calculators
Here is a list of some of the best graphing calculators in 2023.
TI-83 Plus – Best Simple Graphing Calculator for Beginners
Although this calculator is one of the oldest models still in use today, its longevity may be regarded as a positive or negative attribute depending on your perspective, while the hardware may be a potential disadvantage, its affordability and ease of use make it a top choice.
The TI-83 Plus is highly recommended for newcomers as it is straightforward. It can work with natural and non-real numbers, as well as being able to switch between radian and degree modes. The screen has a clear layout, displaying your calculation history on the left with answers on the right.
The TI-83 Plus is advantageous in usability, apps, and graphing. Its user-friendly interface and intuitive operating system make it an ideal choice for beginners, with simple menus that are easy to navigate.
Because many people know how to use this graphing calculator, it is widely popular and can help find answers quickly. However, some users believe that the limited availability of only five apps is a drawback.
For beginners, it is beneficial that there are only a few apps available. The available apps are sufficient for those who only need essential functions. Currently, the available apps are listed below:
- Financial Calculation- Consists of a list of parts applicable in finance.
- Easydata- It analyzes the collected data.
- Scitools- The app is helpful for science class as it provides tools like a vector calculator and a unit converter.
- StudyCrd- This app can be used as a digital flashcard app.
The TI-83 Plus calculator allows you to enter a maximum of ten equations at once when graphing. However, its screen has low resolution and no color, which is a significant drawback.
The-83 Plus calculator needs four AAA batteries, so its back is thicker than other calculators. It also comes with a slide-on cover that protects the buttons when not in use and covers the back when used.
TI-84 Plus CE – Fantastic Choice for College Students
The reason why this graphing calculator is so popular among college students is because of its user-friendly interface. It already has a wide range of practical applications that come pre-installed. These applications can do anything from collecting data and graphing inequalities to ensuring proper notation.
The TI-84 calculator has a high-resolution color display that is great for any calculation related to various subjects and courses. Advanced users and beginners can use it due to its range of applications and ease of use.
The device has 154K RAM of memory capacity and comes in various colors to cater to your preferences.
The TI-84 Plus CE calculator has a user-friendly design that enables easy access to multiple functions. These functions can be helpful in various college courses. Moreover, the calculator look is modern and trendy, and you can choose the full-color display option.
Regularly opting for the rechargeable battery feature when using the TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator can be cost- and time-effective. The calculator automatically enters deep sleep mode when unused for a few days, ensuring the battery lasts longer and stays charged even during extended breaks such as summer vacations.
This TI-84 calculator can be used continuously for a month on just one charge. It is very lightweight as it does not require heavy batteries. Additionally, it comes in different color options, such as red, two shades of blue, plum, pink, gray, and black.
Some users have experienced charging issues, which is the only major disadvantage found.
The TI-84 Plus CE is a part of the TI-84 model family but has a different operating system than its predecessors. While the system has similarities with other models, it doesn’t support the transfer of apps from older devices. To address this, Texas Instruments has developed new versions of its popular apps for this device.
The company has created an upgrade package that includes all the new applications and the most recent operating system version. For current long-time TI-84 users looking for an upgraded graphing calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE is an excellent choice because it offers a familiar interface that you can quickly get used to.
TI-89 Titanium – Best Suited for Advanced Users
The-89 graphing calculator is versatile and can perform all the calculations other graphing calculators can. Some of its functions include solving complex equations, finding square roots, calculating X and Y intercepts, graphing functions, and many more. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of graphing calculators!
The TI-89 Titanium calculator has a 3-D graphing feature and preloaded programs tailored to specific subjects or courses. However, it is recommended for experienced graphing calculator users as novice users may find the numerous available functions overwhelming.
This calculator has the unique advantage of having a calendar agenda function. Although you may wonder why a graphing calculator would need a calendar, you are not the only one with this question. Indeed, a calendar and agenda function may seem optional.
The TI-89 is a great graphing calculator with many useful features, including multiple functions assigned to its buttons, various menus, and extra buttons. Additionally, it has a convenient method for entering numbers with the exponent button, either EXP or EE.
Using the EE button will be helpful if you work in fields like physics, chemistry, or astronomy. You can enter 700,000,000 by typing seven, the EE button, and then eight. This method saves you from manually typing nine digits, requiring only three control pushes.
Entering massive numbers on some graphing calculators can be difficult as the EE button is often a second function. Another disadvantage of the TI-89 is that you must use the 2nd function key to access the SIN, COS, and TAN functions.
Placing brackets at the end of functions takes a lot of work. While some may consider this a minor complaint, it can become a significant annoyance when using the calculator for these calculations because it requires an extra button press every time.
The TI-89 Titanium is an excellent graphing calculator with many capabilities and features. However, it may not be suitable for high school students as it is not considered an entry-level graphing calculator.
This calculator can demonstrate how math and science concepts apply by measuring various factors such as sound, light, motion, temperature, etc. With its numerous features, you can experiment and handle different mathematical expressions in symbolic notation.
Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM – Best Value Calculator for High School Students
This is an excellent option if you need a graphing calculator for the AP, SAT I/II, PSAT/NMSQT, or ACTs. It has a multicolored 216 X 384-pixel display that is especially useful for high school students.
The Casio PRIZM FX-CG10 requires AAA batteries but can last over 140 hours with one set. It weighs just under half a pound, making it easy to carry around. In 2012, it also won the CES 2011 Award for Design and Engineering and Functionality.
The calculator has several great features, including the Picture Plot function. This feature lets you use pictures saved in the PRIZM’s memory to create equations and understand math concepts like curves and gravity in real-world contexts.
The calculator allows high school students to view equations in a format resembling a textbook, providing an additional level of familiarity. Additionally, the Casio calculator has a faster boot-up time than other color models.
The calculator has a color-coded bracket feature matching the pairs when solving equations with multiple parentheses or brackets. To use the calculator, you must enter different modes. The previous message has remained the same in terms of details and facts.
One significant benefit of this calculator is that the student’s work will likely be recovered. If a wrong button is pressed, it is possible to return to where they were before.
This Casio has two drawbacks. Firstly, it is thicker than other watches on the list due to its requirement for AAA batteries. Secondly, despite being a newer model, it still utilizes the same operating system interface as its previous models, which is another disadvantage.
The PRIZM has several modes that it can operate in, which include:
- Regular Calculation Mode enables students to input different equations using mathematical symbols such as root signs, power signs, and parentheses similar to those found in textbooks.
- Statistics Mode allows the student to input a series of numbers, which the calculator will display as a bar or line chart.
- Note-Taking Mode can save notes on topics such as concepts, equations, or even a locker combination.
- Spreadsheet Mode is a function that operates similarly to an EXCEL worksheet. It allows students to input data and formulas to perform dynamic calculations.
- The Geometry Mode feature lets you create geometric shapes like circles, triangles, and lines on the screen.
- Picture Plot Mode is a mode that differs from Geometry mode. It involves using preloaded images to place points on a line. After that, a student can manipulate the device to discover the equations and real-world significance of the inputted data.
Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX CAS – Fabulous for Professional Architects
The Nspire CX CAS has a full-color, backlit display and was initially designed with students in mind by Texas Instruments. However, architects have found it to be a perfect calculator as well.
The Nspire CX CAS provides numerous 3D capabilities that utilize color-coded concepts in mathematics and science. It has a 100 MB memory capacity, making it an ideal tool for professionals. Additionally, if you’re an architect who enjoys taking breaks, the Nspire CX CAS offers a solitaire game for you to enjoy.
This calculator has a Computer Algebra System, which allows you to obtain solutions to equations directly from the screen. To do so, type in the word “solve,” followed by the equation in parentheses. This is one of the calculator’s most significant benefits.
To use this calculator, follow these steps: First, input the equation. Then, add a comma and include the variable you want to solve. The calculator will give you an exact solution, including multiple solutions for quadratic equations. It will also calculate factors and configure expanded polynomials.
The interface is entirely document-based, opening a separate document from other applications. This interface allows you to conveniently add notes or instructions to solve various calculations in the same area.
By using a rechargeable battery, you can save money with this calculator. However, some professionals may find that the calculator operates at a slower speed, which is the main drawback.
The Nspire CX CAS calculator suits Algebra 1 and 2, Trigonometry, Statistics, AP Statistics, Calculus, and various science classes. Eleven interactive Zoom features are included to cater to the user’s requirements while using the calculator.
The calculator has a keyboard beneath the screen, but it is not a QWERTY keyboard because it is designed to abide by the college board approval rules, which do not allow QWERTY keyboards.
Casio fx-9860GII – Great Choice for Teachers
This calculator has a unique feature that allows it to connect directly to Casio projectors, which teachers appreciate. With this feature, teachers can display the buttons that need to be pressed to solve equations, which helps students engage more easily without feeling frustrated or confused.
The calculator has a big, high-resolution display that makes it easier for people who struggle with smaller screens on other calculators to see. The screen is backlit for better viewing, and you can analyze graphs and display data on it.
The Casio calculator has a flash ROM of 1500 kb. With this ROM, it can quickly run preloaded spreadsheets and activity applications. Also, it is possible to transfer data from this calculator to other computers or devices.
The LCD backlit display lets the teacher switch off the overhead lights so students can view the screen projection more clearly. Additionally, it enhances students’ visibility in various study settings.
This calculator has a natural display feature that shows complex equations in the same format as the textbook, which is especially helpful for students encountering these types of problems for the first time.
Although it has been authorized for use in the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and ACT exams, this device does not have an instruction manual to guide users through the calculation steps.
The Casio calculator includes a USB cable and unit-to-unit cable for sharing data and programs, making it ideal for Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry, and Trigonometry teachers.
To start using the Casio watch’s features, turn it on. It has 15 pre-installed icon menus making accessing its functions quick and easy. Plus, its user-friendly and intuitive interface is suitable for various users.
HP Prime Graphing Calculator – Excellent Calculator for Engineers
Among the devices listed, this one is the most powerful and sleek. It features a full-color touchscreen and keyboard, which makes it an excellent option for engineers, surveyors, and architects.
The HP Prime calculator has many applications, enabling it to tackle various equations. It is suitable for individuals using calculators, thanks to its rechargeable lithium battery. Additionally, it has 256 MB flash memory and 32 MB DDR memory.
This device has a significant advantage in its ability to perform many conversions. It comes equipped with pre-programmed conversion formulas, eliminating the need to rely on memory or reference charts.
The HP Prime has two different home screens with different functions. One of the screens has a built-in computer algebra system, while the other is a standard mode. The modes are separate and independent from each other. Additionally, switching between the CAS and normal modes is easily possible.
One significant drawback of the HP calculator is the absence of a comprehensive user manual, which can pose a challenge for individuals unfamiliar with graphing calculators.
This calculator has a special Exam Mode, which turns off certain functions such as CAS functionality, user-created apps, and notes for a specific duration of time. The LEDs at the top of the calculator blink to indicate to the exam instructor that the calculator is in Exam Mode.
Although this feature is available, it must still be allowed in many standardized testing facilities. Therefore, there may be better options for students needing to take one of these tests in the future.
Casio fx-9750GII – Good Value for Any Profession
This device is a beautiful low-priced choice if you’re searching for an entry-level graphing calculator. However, this device might not meet your needs if you require a professional-grade calculator.
The device has all the fundamental features and functions and has a menu consisting of icons. It also has a high-definition display with an LCD backlight. You can easily access pie charts and bar graphs using the menu without having to input excessive data.
This unit has a USB cable and a built-in port, enabling you to share files and data with other devices. The designers of this device prioritized memory by providing a 62 kb RAM CPU to ensure optimal performance.
The Casio software is designed to be easy to use and understand for beginners and advanced users. Additionally, this device offers excellent value for money as its features and functions are top-notch compared to its price point.
This Casio calculator has a drawback: it is optimized for graphing and not as much for essential functions.
With over 200 hours of battery life, this calculator enables uninterrupted graphing of X= equations and conic sections and easier solving for intercepts and intersections.
Before purchasing a graphing calculator, it’s essential to consider your needs and options carefully. It would be best if you were equipped to make an informed decision with the information provided. Invest in a product with all the necessary functions, so you won’t have to buy another calculator in just a few months.
Choosing an excellent graphing calculator is a wise investment that can last you through high school and beyond. Although new models are introduced occasionally, the essential functions of these calculators remain consistent, allowing you to pass them down to your other children without having to buy a new one every few years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Review the most popular user searches for the best graphing calculator in 2023.
Q. Is the TI-84 outdated?
Ans. The TI-84, Texas Instrument’s top-selling graphing calculator since 2004, needs to be updated as its specifications and components have remained mostly unchanged since its launch.
Q. Is the TI-84 Plus better than the TI-84?
Ans. The TI-84 CE Plus is the latest version of the TI-84 calculator. It has several enhancements, like a better color screen, longer battery life, improved software, and a smaller size. It is trendy among American teachers and widely used in classrooms.
Q. Do people still buy graphing calculators?
Ans. Graphing calculators are crucial for high school and college students. They are required for most math courses such as Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus. Additionally, they play a significant role in standardized testing.
Q. Why is a TI-84 calculator so expensive?
Ans. A TI-83 calculator costs approximately $100, while a TI-84 is above $100. The price of most outdated gadgets usually decreases over time, but graphing calculators remain expensive. This is solely based on the economic principle of supply and demand.