5 Great Calculators for College Students

Whether you’re taking college courses in high school or starting your first year of college, you need a calculator you can rely on! This list of calculators will help you find the perfect match for your needs, wants, and budget, including some additional information on what you should look for in a calculator for your college classes.

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What Should You Look for in a Calculator for College?

The type of calculator you’ll need for college completely depends on the types of math classes you’ll be taking! Many schools require you to take general education courses in subjects like math and science, so even if you’re not majoring in a math-oriented subject, you’ll likely still need a calculator for your classes. 

Classes like a 101 in science won’t obviously need a powerful calculator, but courses including calculus and organic chemistry will need devices capable of helping you with the workload. If you have any questions about what type of calculator you should have, be sure to talk to your professor ahead of time. They will be able to provide you with direction. For many earlier courses, though, you should be able to get by with the calculator you used in high school. 

However, it’s important to note here that if you’re taking a college class in high school, such as an AP course or a class through your local community college, you will want to talk to your teachers before buying a new calculator. Some more powerful devices may be fantastic for the college course, but not be allowed on state tests in math or exams like the SAT and ACT. Students may also want to have different calculators for their high school and college courses because, for AP tests, the SAT/ACT, and state tests, calculators are often wiped before the exam begins to help eliminate cheating (such as saved formulas).

Best Calculators for College Students

Without further ado, here are some of the best calculators that are currently out there for college students!  

1. Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CXII CAS Color Graphing Calculator

With a 15-color screen and 6 graph styles, the TI-Nspire CXII CAS Color Graphic Calculator brings a whole level of depth to the math class. It’s capable of showing several different equations at the same time, drawing different graphs and tables, and a friendly user interface. This calculator is thin, meaning it won’t take up limited space in your bag, and comes with rechargeable batteries.

  • Great for engineering, math, and tech-savvy students

2. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

Many students went to high school with the TI-84, and this upgraded version is fantastic for college. With a similar layout to the original calculator, it’s easy to re-learn how to use it, but this one also comes with a backlit display, a color screen, pre-loaded applications, and a rechargeable battery.

  • Great for many math and science-related courses

3. Casio FX-991EX Engineering/Scientific Calculator

The FX-991EX Engineering/Scientific Calculator from Casio may not seem like a graphing calculator on the surface. But you can actually use the Online Visualization Service feature. This feature allows you to scan a QR code and see a graph of your data on your phone! It comes with a high-resolution LCD screen, can handle advanced calculators, and is very affordable.

  • Great for math, algebra, calculus, and similar classes

4. Sharp EL-W516TBSL 16 Digit Advanced Scientific Calculator

With a retro look, another top choice among calculators for college students is the Sharp EL-W516TBSL 16 Digit Advanced Scientific Calculator. It shows four lines at once. And it’s capable of a number of equations with more than 640 functions. This option also has seven modes: normal, stat, drill, complex, list, equation, and matrix.

  • Great for math and science classes that don’t necessarily need a graphing calculator

5. Texas Instrument TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator

Another top choice for college students and another Texas Instrument, the TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator is simple and reliable. But, it’s capable of entering more than one calculation allowing you to compare results and find patterns. It’s also very inexpensive.

  • Great for math and science classes that don’t necessarily need a graphing calculator

These are just five of our favorite calculators that are great for college students! Your coursework may dictate the type of calculator you need. So be sure to do your research or talk to your professor before making a purchase. If you’re majoring in math, science, or a related field, you’ll want to be sure to get a calculator that can be used for all or most of your classes, too!

Love math? You may just want to major in it! From math to science to engineering, there are plenty of areas of study that focus on equations, puzzles, graphs, and more. If you want to explore majors that interest you, make sure to use our Major Search tool to see which schools may be best suited for your goals!

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