Depending on what your major might be, the calculator might be a crucial tool for your studies. Sure, you may argue that the calculator app you probably have installed on your smartphone could do the work, but some college students need to carry out advanced calculations, for which they need special kinds of calculators.

If you’re studying mathematics, physics, chemistry, or anything else that requires plotting graphs and solving complicated equations, your smartphone won’t be able to help you. Instead, you will need to buy yourself the right kind of calculator. And we’re now going to show you which calculators are ideal for college students!

We’re going to present you with different devices, designed to take care of different functions. This way, you will surely be able to find exactly the one that you need just by going through our reviews. Apart from being able to do all sorts of calculations, the calculators we’re going to discuss are great for other things as well.

They’re all made with user convenience in mind, meaning that even if you’re not an expert when it comes to using them, you will be able to figure it out quickly. These calculators are also built to last for a long time, while their reasonable prices make them very attractive to college students who wish to save some money.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Calculator For College?

If you’re asking us to point you to the best calculator for college students, we won’t be able to do it. It’s because what’s best for one student might not be useful for another. It all depends on what you need it for. You ought to choose your calculator depending on the area of your studies.

The good news is that no matter what your major might be, we will be able to help you. We’re now going to present you with our picks for best college calculators, all sorted according to their main function, application area, and other criteria. By reading our reviews, you will be able to find your perfect calculator, which will serve you well throughout your college years and which will not empty out your bank account.

Best College Calculators By Feature Or Function

All basic calculators are pretty much the same, but when it comes to those tools meant for advanced uses, they can differ quite a lot. And the difference we’re talking about is their primary function. Different calculators are meant to perform different operations.

This means that you need to make your choice according to the purpose you’re going to use the calculator for the most. And to help you out with your choice, we’ve decided to review best calculators for functions like graphing, CAS, printing, and so on.

Best Graphing Calculator For College Students: TINSPIRECX TI-Nspire CX by Texas Instruments

If you are supposed to do a lot of work regarding graph plotting during your studies, you will need an appropriate calculator.

A graphing calculator is basically a small computer that uses all of its computing power to plot graphs and solve simultaneous equations, in addition to all the simple functions that simpler calculators have as well.

So, if you need a graphing calculator, which one should you buy? We say TINSPIRECX TI-Nspire CX, a fast and reliable device made by Texas Instruments.

Everything about this calculator seems amazing, starting with the fact that it has enough computing power to take care of a variety of graphing tasks.

It’s also relatively easy to use, not to mention that all devices made by this manufacturer are expected to last for a long time.

Pros

  • Fast and reliable
  • Plenty of functions
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Durable device

Cons

  • Not the cheapest graphing calculator you can find

Best Scientific Calculator For Students Of College: TI-30X-IIS

Although it’s not expensive, this calculator comes with all the functions you need to start your studies on the right foot.

It might not be the most powerful and the fastest calculator on the planet, but it can cover a wide range of operations.

For instance, it works with 1 and 2 variable statistical calculations, as well as different angle modes, namely degrees, grads, and radians.

Another great thing about this calculator is that its size is compact and that it comes with large buttons, which you can clearly differentiate.

Its display size is not too impressive, but it does have two lines, one for the result and one for the entry.

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Plenty of different functions to choose from
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Not a very large display

Best CAS Calculator For Students: Nspire CX CAS By Texas Instruments

The first thing you will notice about this calculator is that its design is really awesome. It’s mostly black with plenty of buttons all over the place, as well as a pretty large color screen.

Yes, you’ve read it correctly, this is one of not too many calculators that come with color screens.

We believe this to be the best CAS calculator for students not only for the fact that it comes with an integrated Computer Algebra System (CAS), but for many other reasons as well.

The calculator has interactive zoom features, which you can change. Actually, you can choose from 11 different zoom modes.

The calculator has enough computing power and memory to take care of a number of different operations, including algebra tasks, trigonometry calculations, AP, physics, and so on.

Pros

  • Built-in CAS
  • Beautiful design
  • Large color screen
  • Plenty of different functions

Cons

  • Not the cheapest calculator on Amazon

Best Non-Graphing Calculator For College Study: Sharp EL501XBWH

This is a not-graphing calculator meaning that you can’t use it for plotting graphs and doing other advanced operations.

But, you can use it for many other things.

Actually, Sharp EL501XBWH is a calculator that comes with a total of 131 built-in functions, meaning that you will definitely find it useful in your studies, particularly if your major is engineering, science, or something along those lines.

It has a 1-line 10-digit display, large buttons, and protective hardcover, which ensures its durability.

It also looks alright, while one of its main sell points is the fact that this calculator is incredibly cheap. It’s more than 10 times cheaper than some of the calculators we previously reviewed.

Pros

  • Large number with pre-installed functions
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not for advanced calculations

Best Desktop Calculator For College Students: Helect H1001

Desktop calculators are made to be easy to use; thanks to their design, you can just keep one next to your textbooks/project sheets on the tabletop.

This way, you can use it whenever you need to calculate something quickly.

Most desktop calculators are meant to be able to take care of basic operations, not complicated calculations. This is why they’re usually pretty cheap.

Helect H1001 is a very affordable calculator, but it will provide you with a variety of different functions.

It will also provide you with convenience, considering that it’s designed to be very user-friendly, with large buttons and a wide 12-digit display.

Another awesome thing about this calculator is that it works on an AA battery, but can also be solar-powered. Just expose it to the sun and you won’t need to buy a battery!

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable price
  • Solar-powered

Cons

  • Not suitable for advanced operations

Best Printing Calculator For Students Of College: Casio Inc. HR-100TM

Here’s another desktop calculator, which, unlike the previously-reviewed one, comes with a printer.

This way, you can do your calculations without having to write down the results; they’re all gonna be printed on the 2 ¼-wide rolling paper.   

Thanks to the fact that this is a printing calculator, you will be able to do your calculations quickly.

Speaking of which, this calculator allows you to do all kinds of different operations.

Although it may not be suitable for advanced scientific projects, it definitely has plenty of functions to offer.

Pros

  • Prints results as you type
  • Desktop calculator
  • Easy to use with big buttons
  • Plenty of functions
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Not suitable for science work

Best Calculators For Students By Use / Application Area

Perhaps an even easier way to decide which calculator you need is to tailor your search according to what you’re studying. We’ve sorted out best calculators for those studying finance, those involved in mechanical engineering, students of chemistry, and so on.

That said, this doesn’t mean that each of these calculators can’t be used for other purposes as well. You will be able to perform all kinds of calculations if you decide to buy one of the devices we’re now gonna discuss in detail. So, let’s start!

Best Financial Calculator For College Students: BA II Plus By TI

Designed for finance students and business professionals who need an easy-to-use calculator, with plenty of advanced option.

Speaking of those options, one of the most important ones for business students is the cash flow function, which calculates IRR and NPV for uneven cash flows.

There’s also an option for profitability calculations, thus helping you deal with all kinds of different problems.

Thanks to all these things, this calculator is suitable for calculating pensions, mortgages, loans, and so on.

The calculator also looks nice and although its display isn’t too big, it provides you with a clear image of what you’ve been calculating.

The buttons are also pretty awesome; they have a decent size, as well as contrast labeling.

Pros

  • Ideal for financial purposes
  • Plenty of advanced functions
  • Easy to use
  • Nice design
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Not too big display

Best Calculus Calculator For Students Of College: CASIO PRIZM FX-CG50

Made by Casino, one of the biggest names in the world of calculator production, this is a device that’s guaranteed to serve you well for a long time, providing you with nothing but top-class performances along the way.

Everything about this calculator seems awesome, starting with the fact that it uses a color LCD display with over 65k colors.

It’s also pretty large, which means that you will be able to clearly see everything you need about your calculations.

Apart from coming with some basic pre-installed functions, this calculator is also suitable for graphing tasks. Speaking of which, CASIO PRIZM FX-CG50 can make graphs in 3D!

Still not convinced that this calculator is the right one for you? You should also know that it’s approved for ACT tests, as well as for AP, PSAT, SATs, and many other major exams.

Pros

  • Built to last
  • Color screen
  • Large display
  • Plenty of functions
  • Graphing calculator
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • None

Best Calculator For Statistics College Students: TI-83 Plus

Here’s another graphing calculator with a large display and plenty of preset functions.

Its LCD screen is large enough that you can split it and trace graphs on one end, while reading table values on the other.

It also comes with pretty decent memory storage, where you can save analysis of up to 10 matrices.

Thanks to all these facts, the calculator can be used for a variety of different purposes. You can use it for calculus, trigonometric, engineering, and financial tasks. On top of everything, this calculator also comes with functions that make it a suitable choice for those dealing with statistics work.

Another great thing about this calculator is that it’s permitted for use on many major exams, including ACT, NMSQT, PSAT, and SAT.

Finally, this calculator is also very reasonably priced, especially considering what you get in return.

Pros

  • Large LCD screen
  • Ideal for statistics work
  • Decent memory storage
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • None

Best Calculator For Mechanical Engineering Students: Casio FX-991EX

The first thing you will notice about this calculator is that its display has a decent size, although not as large to be suitable as a graphing calculator. But, this is a graphic calculator!

You can create graphic representations for data generated by this calculator, but instead of displaying it on the calculator, it’s going to be displayed on your smartphone.

The calculator will create a QR code, which you then need to scan with your phone.

Another awesome thing about this calculator is that it comes with 552 pre-programmed functions, many of which are those that mechanical students will need to use on a regular basis.

The calculator is solar powered, with batteries as a backup solution. It’s also pretty reasonably priced, which is another reason why college students with major in mechanics should take a closer look at it!

Pros

  • Graphing done via QR scan
  • Made by a reputable brand
  • Plenty of functions
  • Solar powered
  • Cheap price

Cons

  • None

Best Calculator For College Algebra Studies: TI-84 PLUS CE

If algebra is what you’re studying, buying this calculator would definitely be a good choice.

There are so many reasons why that is the case, starting with the fact that it’s full of pre-programmed functions.

It also has a large full-color display, which enables you to create graphs based on the data you’re working with.

Another thing that makes it a popular choice among students is the fact that it’s approved for use on many major exams, including ACT, PSAT, and SAT.

It can also be used on AP and IB exams that require using a graphing calculator.

The calculator is awesome for another fact and that is that its battery is rechargeable. You will get a USB cable in the package, which you can use for this purpose.

Pros

  • Ideal for algebra studies
  • Plenty of functions
  • Large color screen
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons

  • Could’ve been cheaper

Best Accounting Calculator For College Students: HP 10bII+

HP developed this calculator for accounting purposes, so if you’re studying anything that involves a lot of finance work, this might be an ideal device for you.

What makes it so awesome is that apart from having basic functions, it also comes with some advanced ones, many of which are commonly used in finance.

There’s a total of 100 functions, which you will be able to use to save time doing calculations regarding interest rates, mortgage, loan payments, and so on.

The calculator is also easy to use with buttons of decent sizes, each labeled with white letters over a black background. Thanks to these facts, doing your calculations can be done really quickly.

The calculator is also pretty affordable, which makes it a suitable choice for college students. On top of that, it’s also permitted for use on some major accounting exams, including the CFP Certification test.

Pros

  • Plenty of accounting functions
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not too large display

Best Calculator For Chemistry Studies At College: TI-30XS MultiView

This calculator comes with many pre-installed functions, many of them are unique. The ones we’re talking about can’t be found in too many other calculators. And many of those functions are commonly used in chemistry projects. So, if you’re studying chemistry, buying this calculator would definitely be a smart choice.

Being able to take care of complicated operations for you is not the only great thing about it. Another thing that makes this calculator awesome is the fact that it’s very easy to use. It’s designed with user convenience in mind, with big buttons and a display of a decent size.

The calculator works both on batteries and solar power, which can save you some money in the long run. Speaking of money, this is one of the most affordable calculators you can find on Amazon. Of course, we’re talking about calculators with advanced functions.

Pros

  • Ideal for chemistry students
  • Plenty of unique functions
  • Easy to use
  • Solar powered
  • Decent screen size

Cons

  • Monochrome screen

Best Exam Specific Calculators For Students

You can’t use any kind of calculator on every kind of exam. In order to be allowed to use a calculator, that device needs to be certified for use at that specific test. What this means is that you need to be careful when buying a calculator for your college studies.

If you’re not careful enough, you can end up owning a device that’s not permitted on exams. And that could mean big problems for you, including such scenarios as failing exams. To help you prevent such horrible scenarios, we reviewed best calculators for some major types of exams. So, here they are!

Best Calculator For SAT Exam: Casio fx-300ES PLUS

This calculator is approved for use on SAT exams, which are the ones most colleges use to test potential candidates whether they’re suitable for admissions.

This type of exam has been introduced almost a century ago and is still one of the most commonly used.

More than 2 million high school graduates have to take this exam every year while applying for undergraduate programs in the US.

If you need to take an SAT exam, you will be tested for critical reading, writing, and mathematics. In order to do well on the exam, particularly in its maths section, you will need a good calculator.

And the one we think is best for this purpose is Casio fx-300ES PLUS.

Pros

  • Permitted at SAT exam
  • Plenty of mathematical functions
  • Made by a reputable brand
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Not suitable for advanced operations

Best Calculator For FE Exam: TI-36X Pro

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) is an exam with over a hundred questions, many of which require the use of a good calculator.

But, buying just any kind of calculator that comes with plenty of pre-installed functions useful for engineering work is not enough.

You need one that’s actually permitted for use at the FE exam.

And one such calculator is the TI-36X Pro. Made by Texas Instruments, it comes with all sorts of advanced functions and you can do several of them at once.

This is possible because the screen of this calculator can be split into several sections.

Pros

  • Allowed on FE exams
  • Plenty of engineering functions
  • MultiView display
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Monochrome display

Best Calculator For ACT Exams: Casio fx-9750GII

Similarly to SAT exams, the ACT exam is also commonly used as admission test in various colleges across the United States.

There are nearly 2 million high school graduates who take this exam every year while trying to get admission to an undergraduate program.

The test includes several knowledge areas, including writing, reading, and English, as well as science and math. The final two areas often require the use of a calculator.

But, you can’t use just any kind of calculator on this exam; graphing calculators, for example, are not permitted. So, which one to get?

If you ask us for advice, we say go for Casio fx-9750GII! Not only is it ACT-permitted, but it’s also fantastic in terms of functions.

That said, you can be sure you’ll find use for it after you’re admitted to college.

Pros

  • Allowed at ACT exams
  • Plenty of math functions
  • Easy to use
  • Built to last

Cons

  • Could’ve been slightly cheaper

Best Calculator For PE Examps: Casio fx-115MS PLUS SR

In order to become a Professional Engineer in the US, you need to pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination exam, better known as the PE exam. It tests your knowledge and skills on analytical and quantitative reasoning, as well as on subjects specific to your area of expertise. As a lot of is at stake when taking this exam, you probably would appreciate any help you can get.

And you can get a lot of help from an advanced calculator. Buy yourself a calculator designed for engineering and you will increase your chances of passing the PE exam. But, there is a catch; not all calculators are allowed for use on this exam. The good news is that we’ve found one amazing calculator that is permitted.

Casio fx-115MS PLUS SR comes with a huge number of functions commonly used in engineering projects. It also packs a two-line display, which allows you to perform multiple operations at the same time. Finally, the calculator is pretty reasonably priced, which is kind of surprising knowing that it’s really impressive in terms of features.

Pros

  • Suitable for PE tests
  • Plenty of engineering functions
  • Easy to use
  • Built by a reputable manufacturer
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • None

Best Calculator For CFA Exam: Casio FC-200V

The Chartered Financial Analyst Exam or CFA requires the participants to take care of a number of different math operations.

Most of these tasks simply cannot be done by hand, that is, by using pen and paper. Instead, you need a calculator with functions specific to finance.

One calculator that comes to mind is Casio FC-200V, which is permitted for use at CFA exams. It comes with a large number of features you are likely to find useful at the exam.

For example, there is a function that allows you to automatically convert a percentage between interest rates and effective interest rates. The calculator is also pretty reasonably priced, so there really is no need to look further.

Pros

  • CFA-permitted
  • Plenty of finance-specific functions
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • None

Best Calculator For College Students By Brand

How can you be sure if a calculator is going to serve you well for a long time? You can’t take a look at its specs and figure out whether it’s a durable product or not. But, you can take a look at who’s made it.

If the manufacturer is famous for reliability and durability of its products, the chances are that the calculator you’re going to buy from them is good as well. Focusing on reputable brands is definitely a good idea for finding your ideal calculator. So, which brands should you focus on?

We believe that companies like Texas Instruments, Casio, Helect, and Sharp really do stand out from the crowd. Buying one of their calculators means buying a quality product. But, if you want the best out of best, you better read the reviews below. It’s because in them we discuss best calculators from each of the aforementioned brands.

Best Texas Instruments Calculator For College: Ti-84 plus

Although all Texas Instruments calculators are awesome, one that does stand out is the Ti-84 plus.

It comes with a 10-digit screen, as well as plenty buttons for complex functions, including 10 graphing ones.

Furthermore, this calculator allows to choose the zoom level, make lists, store matrices, and so on.

In fact, there’s a total of over 200 functions this calculator comes with.

This makes it an ideal choice for college students of various different majors.

Pros

  • Huge number of functions
  • Easy to use
  • Many innovative features
  • Built to last
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • None

Best Casio Calculator For College: Casio fx-9860GII

Casio is a name synonymous with quality when calculators are concerned, but if you want the very best product made by this company, it’s Casio fx-9860GII.

This is a graphing calculator with a large LCD screen, which makes it very convenient to use.

It also comes with a huge number of pre-defined functions.

On top of that, it has its own memory storage, which allows you to save your own functions.

Pros

  • Graphing calculator
  • Large color display
  • Large number of functions
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • None

Best Helect Calculator For College: Helect H1002

Although it’s very cheap, this calculator is not cheaply-made.

On the contrary, its robust build makes it a very rugged option.

And proof of that is the fact that the manufacturer is giving a 2-year warranty on this calculator.

It has a 2-line display, so that you can see both the entry and the result at the same time.

The calculator comes with many functions, including a couple of advanced ones. Therefore, it’s a suitable choice for scientific, engineering, and similar purposes.

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Built to last
  • Plenty of functions

Cons

  • Not a graphing calculator

Best Sharp Calculator For College: Sharp EL-W516TBSL

This calculator features a 4-line LCD display, which allows you to perform multiple functions simultaneously.

Speaking of functions, this calculator comes with a huge number of them.

We’re talking about 640 functions.

Apart from being very useful, the calculator is also very sturdy. It comes with a protective case, which will prevent it from breaking even if you drop it on the ground by accident.

Still not sure this is a good option for you?

Then, you should also know that its price is really low, making it perfect for college students.

Pros

  • 4-line LCD display
  • Huge number of functions
  • Rugged and durable construction
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • None

Conclusion

After finishing with our reviews of best calculators for college students, you can consider yourself an expert on the subject. We’re sure that with this kind of info, you will have no problems finding your ideal calculator.

Your choice needs to be in accordance with your needs, that is, what you need to use the calculator for. Things you need to take into consideration include your major, your area of expertise, and so on. And if you need a calculator for an exam, you need to make sure that it’s approved.

Going forward, you also need to pay attention to the number of functions a calculator has. But, it’s not just about the quantity, it’s also about quality. If it doesn’t have the functions you will need during your studies, it’s of no use to you.

Finally, you also need to pay attention to the quality and ruggedness of its construction, ensuring that the calculator isn’t easy to break. Your ideal calculator also needs to be easy to use and its price needs to be affordable. The good news is that you will be able to find many such calculators in our reviews, so all that is left is to buy one at Amazon!