In high-schools and colleges around the world, a graphing calculator is becoming a math-class staple. Several subjects from algebra to advanced calculus require the ability to plot lines and create graphs of numeric functions. We’ve assembled a list of the best graphing calculators on the market, including everything from the widely-recommended TI 84 and TI 89 Titanium to the powerful HP 50g. With articles on graphing calculators and a side-by-side comparison of the best calculators available, you will find everything you need to purchase the instrument that meets your needs. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™
There are several key factors to consider when purchasing school supplies, like their longevity and ease of use. A calculator that is confusing and fragile or outdated will not last long under the rigors of high-school and college life. We identified four important features that contribute to the quality of a calculator and make your study time much less stressful.
This category covers technical aspects of the device, including available RAM (random-access memory), ROM (read-only memory), the screen resolution and input styles. The majority of calculators use an algebraic input method, though some, like the HP 50g and its antecedents, use the Reverse Polish Notation or RPN. Look for a high amount of RAM for faster calculation and graphing speeds.
A calculator must be able to withstand the abuse of a heavy backpack or purse. It must also maintain its usefulness through multiple school years; a device that is unable to perform multiple types of mathematic functions quickly loses its value as needs progress. Be sure the calculator you choose can perform in a variety of different subjects as well as withstand a bit of rough treatment. If you’re taking tests that require a calculator, ensure that your model is compatible with the test.
Ease of Use
The ideal calculator will be ergonomic and easy to use with a user-friendly button layout and several functions within close reach. Specific mathematic formulas should not be buried under multiple menus and endless lists. The buttons must be easy to read and the display should deliver a clear, high-contrast readout. Reaching the desired formula or symbol should be intuitive and quick.
Graphing calculators are complex machines and extensive user’s manuals and documentation are often needed to perform specific tasks. We looked for helpful and thorough user’s manuals, an online knowledgebase and manufacturer support via email or telephone. Most manufacturers also include a one-year limited warranty for their products. High-quality support is essential when dealing with these expensive and versatile machines.
Graphing calculators are meant to make your math-infused life a little easier and the products we’ve included in our lineup will do just that. Our top rated calculators will offer a solid feature set and great longevity; they are easy to use and include extensive customer support.