Watch CBS News

The best calculators for back to school

calculator-header.png
Getty Images

Need a new calculator for the school year? Whether you're looking for a scientific calculator for lab classes or a graphing calculator that can be used on standardized math tests, we found top-rated calculator options for sale online. Best of all, many of these calculators are selling at a big, back-to-school discount.


Top products in this article

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus graphing calculator, $100 (reduced $150)

Casio fx-55 Plus fraction calculator, $19 (reduced from $23)

Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView scientific calculator, $15 (reduced from $20)


You might think that getting a calculator is one of the simpler purchases on your back-to-school list, but there are actually quite a few options. High-school math students will likely need a graphing calculator, while other specialized classes may require a scientific calculator.

One important factor to consider when shopping for a calculator: Not all of them can be used during standardized tests. We recommend reviewing the updated 2023 AP Exams calculator policy and the SAT calculator policy before you buy. (In general, most scientific and graphing calculators are permitted so long as they don't have a QWERTY keypad or wireless communication capabilities.)

To help simplify your back-to-school shopping, we've compiled a list of the top-rated calculators. These calculators have received rave reviews from parents, teachers and students online. Of course, it is a good idea to double-check your school supplies list or syllabi to make sure that you are buying a calculator that meets teacher requirements.

Best elementary-school calculators for back-to-school

Check out these top-rated calculators for younger students.

Casio fx-55 Plus fraction calculator

casio-fraction-calculator.png
Amazon

If you have an elementary- or middle-school student, consider this fraction calculator. The 4.7-star-rated calculator is easy to use and can help students perform common calculations with fractions and integers.

"I am using this for my grades 5 to 7 math classes and requiring my students to purchase it," one reviewer shared. "I love the display style and the fraction features! It is simple but very full-featured and has everything we need and then some."

Casio fx-55 Plus fraction calculator, $19 (reduced from $23)


Texas Instruments elementary calculator 

ti-elementary.png
Walmart

This 4.8-star-rated calculator is designed for students in grades three through six. It supports subtraction, addition, multiplication, division, and fractions. It also includes built-in flashcards to help students develop math skills.

Texas Instruments elementary calculator, $20


Best scientific calculators for back to school

Scientific calculators are designed for higher level math and science calculations. These are often required in middle-school and high-school classes.

Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView scientific calculator

texas-instruments-ti-30xs.png
Amazon

This Texas Instruments calculator has an Amazon rating of 4.8 stars. The TI-30XS MultiView can do basic calculations as well as more advanced functions such as stacked fractions, exponents, and exact square roots. One notable thing about this calculator is that it is one of the approved models for use during the SAT, ACT, GED, and AP exams.

Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView scientific calculator, $15 (reduced from $20)


Casio standard scientific calculator

casio-scientific.png
Amazon

If you're looking for a simple and reliable scientific calculator, this Casio calculator is a worthy option. It offers a display similar to those in math textbooks.

Casio standard scientific calculator, $11


Best graphing calculators for back to school

Students taking algebra, calculus and advanced science classes will want one of these calculators with graphing capabilities.

Casio FX-9750Glll graphing calculator

casio-fx-9750glll.png
Walmart

This Casio model is a relatively affordable option. The Casio FX-9750Glll can graph rectangular, polar and parametric functions and inequalities. It can also conduct graphing analysis and graph conic sections.  It can be used for math, science and finance classes.

Casio FX-9750Glll graphing calculator (black), $50

It is also available in pink, if you or your child prefers a more colorful option. 

Casio FX-9750Glll graphing calculator (pink), $50


Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus graphing calculator 

ti-84-plus.png
Amazon

The TI-84 Plus is one of the most popular graphing calculators on the market; it's been a mainstay in school math class rooms for decades. It boats a 4.7-star rating with more than 13,000 reviews on Amazon. With this graphing calculator, students can have up to 10 functions defined, saved, graphed and analyzed at one time.

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus graphing calculator, $100 (reduced $150)


Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II color graphing calculator 

ti-nspire-cx-ii-cas-color-graphing-calculator.png
Amazon

This top-of-the-line graphing calculator is a great choice for college students. It features a bright touch-screen display that can show graphs in color. It offers six styles and 15 colors for differentiating the look of each graph.

Note that because this calculator has a QWERTY keypad, it cannot be used during AP or college-entrance exams.

One reviewer shared how much the calculator has helped them at college.

"As an engineering college student, this calculator really helps save time. With its CAS, solving integrals and taking complicated derivatives couldn't have been any easier. It has functions from solving systems, to analyzing statistical data, and you can even program your own functions using TI-Basic. All in all, this is definitely a must-buy for any college student taking high-level engineering classes."

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II color graphing calculator, $194


Related Content from CBS Essentials 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.