It can be a chore to teach a class how to use a graphing calculator when you first introduce them to the classroom. You never know how many students actually purchased their own calculator, or the level of understanding of the calculators of the students that are introduced to the class. Finding a useful and durable graphing calculator can be a challenge because of this, which is why I created this list of the 10 best graphing calculators of 2016.
1. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Color Graphing Calculator
- Turns on quickly
- Has good battery life
- Screen resists scratches
- Comes with fancy cover case
- Has a recharge port
- Has a movie function
- Color design makes it user-friendly
- Screen is high-quality
- Creates good graphs
- Can be used for SAT practice
2. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Lightning Graphing Calculator
- Lots of functionality
- Solid construction and durability
- Excellent customer service
- Lots of extras
- Cluttered interface can take getting used to
- Not the best app support
The TI-84 Plus CE is an excellent upgrade from previous versions of the TI-84, and the first CE model. It comes equipped with a higher memory, faster processor, USB port, and a color screen. It also includes an SD card slot and a rechargeable battery that lasts longer than previous models.
These features allow you to run complex, high-level programs and display colorful graphs with a single touch. It also includes many extra features for advanced math students. These features include equation library, lists, differential equation solvers, table creation, animation and sequence drawing tools. Plus, it has the graphing capabilities many students want, including 3D graphing.
3. Case Fits Graphing Calculator Texas Instruments TI Nspire CX/CX II/CX CAS
- Available in a variety of colors
- Attractive appearance
- Decent battery life
- Customizable interface
- Easy to use
- The case does not provide complete protection
- Not good for high school students
- The case is not padded, so the calculator is not very secure
We always strive to make sure we have your back when it comes to our recommendations, which is why we’ve put together a few things about this Case Fits protective casing which you’ll want to know before making your purchase.
First, this item was designed in the United States with advanced protective materials that are superior to many other competing options. It can protect the inside components from scratches, scuffs, and dirt, and it’s available in a variety of brilliant colors that will fit in with your design scheme. One stellar feature of this model is that it has a padded front compartment designed for a calculator, which gives you the ability to travel with your device without worry that it will get damaged.
4. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator
- Lots of extra features
- Appropriate for students from middle school to college
- Good price for the features
- Excellent customer service
- Color screen can be handy for printing off exams
- Easy-to-use keypad
- Large memory
- USB port for easy sharing between TI calculators
- Trigonometry function
- Advanced algebra and calculus functions
This is a TI graphing calculator most commonly used by high school and college students, but one found at an appropriate level for students of middle school and probably elementary grades as well. For students in high school, it may be a little more expensive, but it is also appropriate for college students, and also for students of any other grades who might grow up to be college students.
It is easy to use and includes a keypad that is very convenient if you are already used to using a calculator with a keypad. The large memory can also come in handy, and if you need to transfer files between other TI calculators, you can do that via the USB port.
5. Caseling Graphing Calculator CASE fits TI-84 Plus or TI-83 Plus. And fits the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE or TI-83 Plus CE. + More. Includes Mesh Pocket
Despite the number of options available, there are only a few graphing calculators that are worth using. Product reviews reveal that many of the calculators available are more options than they are functional. However, there’s one definite favorite, and it’s this Caseling Graphing Calculator CASE.
The Caseling Graphing Calculator CASE sports a very simple design. It’s made from durable foam material and is very light. It also comes with a binder ring so you can store your notes together with the calculator.
It’s compatible with the Caseling case for the iPad mini, so if you’re a math geek like someone we know, you’ll appreciate the perfect integration of function and design.
6. Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator
The Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator has a sleek, simple design. It features a large viewing screen and a full-featured LCD display that makes it easy to operate, even in low-light conditions.
It has a powerful processor and an elegant keyboard that makes basic calculations and editing simple. This graphing calculator from Texas Instruments has a large memory capacity that allows you to store a larger number of variables.
However, due to its simplistic design, it doesn’t come with advanced features that you’d find in higher-end models. The Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX is available in three different configurations with varying functionality. The base model is able to perform well, but if you’re expecting this graphing calculator to do all the heavy lifting for you, you’re bound to be disappointed.
7. Casio fx-9860GII Graphing Calculator
- Very affordable price point
- Large display screen
- Multiple programming languages
- Equation editor with easy-to-use interface
- Forms displayed on 2 results screens
- Different compass modes
- Quick memory access
- 5-key memory function
- Teaching/learning mode
- 3-year warranty
- Clunky keys
- Large, and thus difficult to carry in a bag
- Batteries not included
The Casio fx-9860GII Graphing calculator is a powerful handheld graphing calculator that can accommodate anything from time and date to financial calculations. It has a large display with vibrant colors, and will show you your graph projections right on screen. It has a set of five express keys that you can program, and five more keys on the right that double as shortcut keys.
It can accommodate complex calculations and equations, and is especially useful for advanced learners and professionals. All in all, this is a great calculator and our top pick, considering it’s price point and performance.
8. Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator
- Great value for money
- Full-color display
- Comes with a protective cover
- App integration and wifi access
- Sturdy, comfortable design
- Easy to use
- Self-check tests
- Supports multiple programming languages
- Must be purchased with a TI-84 cover
- No integrated storage
- Limited keyboard
Another one of our favorite graphing calculators is the Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus. It has a great price point for a device that supports a wide range of programming languages, like TI-BASIC, TI-CAS, TI-Nspire, and more.
The calculator comes with an operating system compatible with Mac and Windows laptops, so it’s easy to transfer information and access actual graphing calculators online. The calculator has a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a lithium ion backup battery, so you won’t have to replace the batteries in a long while. It even comes with a protective cover and a custom stylus for control, LED light for visibility, and multicolor menus for ease of use. The screen has a 3.8-inch LCD and a 160 x 240 pixel resolution.
The international version is compatible with both American and European systems, and it’s backed by a one year warranty.
9. TI-Nspire CAS Graphing Calculator
- Measuring 27.2mm in thickness and weighing just 50 grams
- Wide range of applications
- Easy to use
- Some users claim it takes a long time to hit power key during first use
- You cannot use the program keys to draw more than one curve
The TI-Nspire from Texas Instruments is a graphing calculator that’s designed to work with the TI-Nspire series. This calculator is the first one to incorporate a color screen into the TI-Nspire series. It is also 33 percent thinner than most of the other graphing calculators on the market.
The TI-Nspire is an excellent calculator to use when you want to integrate multiple applications into one unit. This calculator is solid and sturdy, and it can withstand up to 270 pounds of pressure, even if you accidentally drop it! It’s easy to carry around with you because of its lightweight design.
The TI-Nspire allows you to perform more functions than most other calculators. It’s ideal for students who want to graph multiple curves and make calculations. It even has accounting, business, and statistics applications. The buttons are user friendly, and they’re easy to hit.
10. CASIO PRIZM FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator
- Easy to use interface
- Comes with free batteries
- Comes with a premium carrying case
- Comes with data cable for easy SD card transfers
- Best bang for the buck
- Negative display
- Average battery life
- Lacks functions most students need
The first graphing calculator on our list comes from Casio, one of the best manufacturers out there. The Prizm FX-CG50 might be their least expensive graphing calculator yet, but doesn’t lack on many important features.
The Prizm offers a wide range of functions and can be used for basic, intermediate, and advanced forms of math. The cost is affordable, and the battery and SD card are included in the box.
Some of its highlights include stats that keep track of calculations and display them real time, a two-line display, and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 200 hours on a single charge. It also has some cool functions beyond the norm like different graphs, gridlines, and a timer.
11. HP G8X92AA LA Prime v2 Graphing Calculator
- Very thin and lightweight
- Good battery life
- Colorful display
- High-quality graphics
- Very sturdy design
- Excellent customer service
- Comes with a protective cover
- Keyboard not backlit
- Very minimal memory
- Confusing menu
- Keys are too tiny
The HP Prime v2 Graphing Calculator looks sleek and stylish with an attractive metallic look. This baby has a very nice and colorful 5-inch touchscreen that emits very intense and bright colors. It also features an enhanced quad-core processor which allows users to enjoy significant speed and performance improvements.
This really is a cool piece of technology and it is very affordable as well. In addition to being thin and lightweight, it is also very sturdy and durable. For the money you pay, you do get so much more in terms of quality. It has high-quality graphics and it delivers excellent performance.
A protective cover is included in the box, but you have to purchase a separate smartphone-to-pc connector. The keyboard is pretty small, and there is no online tech support. If you find the menu confusing, the company will provide you with customer service, and you will be happy to know that search and other menus are very easy to navigate. It comes with an in-depth calculator manual, so you get to learn its features and functionality gradually.
12. Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium CAS Graphing Calculator
- Large and high-resolution color display
- Highly customizable
- Can open multiple apps in designated slots
- Long-lasting battery
- Snake connector included
- Entry of numbers can be slow
- Not suitable for classroom use
A graphing calculator is a necessity for many students and career professionals. While your smartphone is not a viable replacement yet, we came across the Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium CAS Graphing Calculator which is still the best graphing calculator in our opinion.
This great calculator has a color LCD display that measures 15 centimeters (6 inches). It has a high resolution of 240 x 160 pixels and can display up to 50 LEDs at a time. You can also customize your TI-89 according to your needs and preferences, thanks to its large selection of apps.
The TI-89 has a high-capacity lithium ion battery. It provides power for up to 35 hours when used heavily, and its backup battery is able to power the calculator for more than a month. This means you don’t have to worry about looking for a power source as often.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which TI graphing calculator is the best?
Most commonly used; perfect for students in middle school and above.
What is the most powerful calculator?
The TI-89 Titanium by Texas Instruments is the most powerful graphing calculator. It is significantly more powerful than the TI-84 Plus because of its additional functionality, memory, and online features.
The TI-89 Titanium is widely used by high school, college, and university students for its capability of substituting the standard mathematics curriculum with the calculator's computer algebra system. This approximation is not possible with the TI-84 Plus.
You may be wondering why most colleges and universities require students to use a scientific calculator like the TI-89 when the standard mathematics curriculum provides sufficient calculation methods for solving most problems. I doubt that many calculus students are expecting to have to use calculus to answer simple questions.
Is there an online TI 84 calculator?
Yes, there is, but it's not officially supported by Texas Instruments (the makers of the TI 84 calculator). It's an unofficial calculator, and it may have some bugs. The website is here:
Why are graphing calculators so expensive?
; How do I know what calculator to buy?; What models meet my needs?
First off, I want to say that if I have the option of doing homework on a computer, then I won't opt for the calculator. On the other hand, if I'm doing a small assignment that involves mainly simple arithmetic, I'll usually prefer the calculator to a laptop.
While most people would think of a 'calculator' to be a boring, outdated technology, graphing calculators are still the most powerful and useful math tools around. Even though it's possible to submit your math exams from a phone now, there is no replacement for the power of a good graphing calculator.
In a lot of reviews users were clearly interested in an engineering calculator, but found themselves overwhelmed by the number of choices and unable to make a decision. Our team has worked hard to narrow the field down to our top ten recommendations, and we think that if you make a decision based on the results of our tests you will not be disappointed with you choice.