Best Calculators For A Stress Free Semester

Having trouble choosing between calculators to ace your next class and pass that dreaded math final. Here at CollegeTechBits, we have the answers.

What is the best calculator for a college student? In general you should try to find one that fits your specific needs and budget. Not every class is going to need a complex $200 dollar calculator, so don’t go overboard until you have a clear image in your mind of what you need. It can be helpful to talk to your classmates or professor to set expectations of what your course work will entail.

The Ti-84 Plus CE covers all the bases. It provides a streamlined graphing experience that saves you time while gathering the data you need with a high-resolution screen. The rechargeable batteries also come in handy saving you a few trips to the store. Overall the Ti-84 will be adequate for day-to-day use and will be a great addition to your backpack.

If your looking for something more specific read below to see our other favorite calculators.

Ti-84 Plus CE: Best Overall Calculator

best calculators


  • Slim Body
  • Light
  • Fast
  • Programmable


  • Expensive

Back in 2015, Texas Instruments released the TI-84 Plus CE which updated the TI-84 Plus C. It slimmed down on the body of the calculator reducing its weight and updated the look of the buttons providing a more modern look. The software was also redone to provide a more streamlined experience while keeping the familiarity of the old TI-84. This is great as our favorite part of the TI-84 was the easy-to-use interface. The new rechargeable battery is also impressive letting you ditch those old AAA and save a little cash in the process. In general, the TI-84 Plus CE is a very capable calculator that can provide you the tools needed for a successful semester.

With a new look and updated software, the Ti-84 Plus CE will last you through your college experience

TI-30XIIS: Best Scientific Calculator



  • Very Cheap
  • Two-Line Display
  • Light


  • No Graphing Capabalites

The TI-30XIIS has stood the test of time and for good reason. It provides a simple button layout with simple functions giving you just the basics. The two-line display sets this calculator apart from other scientific calculators showing your input and answer on the same screen. Overall, this calculator is great for simple math calculations but not much more which in some cases is all we need.

If your looking for just the basics then the TI-30XIIS has you covered.

TI-Nspire CX II CAS: Best Engineering Calculator

smart calculator


  • Student Software for PC
  • Complex Computing
  • Programmable
  • Apps


  • Very Expensive
  • Confusing

I personally own a TI-Nspire and have grown to love it. At first, this calculator can be very confusing because of all the options this calculator supplies. If your willing to learn then this calculator is amazing as it provides you with everything you can think of. I really enjoyed the built-in equation solver which made some of my more difficult math homework bearable. The speed is also spectacular making the overall experience a lot more enjoyable.

If your looking for all the bells and whistles then the TI-Nspire CX II CAS has it all.

Helect Calculator: Best Desktop Calculator

cheap calculators


  • Very Cheap
  • Simple
  • Easy to Use


  • Very Basic
  • Battery Not Included

Sometimes you just need something to crunch numbers and that’s it. The Helect Calculator does just that while still looking good. Including built-in tax and currency conversions, the Helect is perfect for any student looking to stick to a budget. A cool feature of the Helect is the two-way power which reduces the load on the battery when solar power can be used.

If your looking for something simple to help you thourgh your day-to-day calcualtions then the Helect calculator is perfect.

TI-36X Pro: Best Non-Graphing Calculator



  • Slim Body
  • Light
  • 4-Line Display


  • No Graphing Abilites

The TI-36X is the best-reviewed non-graphing calculator on the market. The reason being it has almost the same functionality as a graphing calculator without the graphing capabilities. This makes it perfect for any circumstance where using a graphing calculator isn’t allowed. A feature I really enjoyed seeing is the math print feature. It displays symbols, expressions, numbers that would show up in your textbook. The four-line display is also great for letting you do longer equations.

If you’re looking for something that has the same functionality as a graphing calculator without actually graphing then the TI-36X Pro hits that bar.

Casio HR-100TM: Best Printing Calculator

printer calculator


  • Writes Solutions
  • Basic


  • Can Be Expensive

If your looking for a printer calculator then the HR-100TM by Casio is perfect. It saves time by printing your calculations for you so you don’t have to write them down. Sure it doesn’t have complex functions like some of the other calculators on this list but what sets it apart is its ability to write.

If your constantly writing you answers down then the HR-100TM may be worth your time.

Why Use A Physical Calculator

A big question that is often asked is “why use a physical calculator when I have my smartphone?” At first, it doesn’t make sense how an old piece of tech our parents had to use would be more useful than the advanced computers in our back pockets. Through my own experience, I find using a physical calculator has an advantage over using an app, and here’s why.

1. User Experience

Using a physical calculator provides the user a more established experience. The tactile buttons give the user feedback when pressed and provide easy means to access more difficult functions. While using an app often takes a little research to understand how to get certain math symbols or equations.

2. Speed

Physical calculators are just faster than their smartphone counterparts. Being optimized and built specifically to do calculations gives them an advantage over using an app. They just get things done quicker than any app that does the same thing.

3. Exams

I don’t think I have ever had an exam where I was allowed to use my phone as a calculator and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. As a college student, you will always need a physical calculator if you want to use one on your exams.


Calculators are here to stay and for good reason. They can provide a wide range of functions that would be hard to find elsewhere. And on top of that, you can find one that fits your needs and price range. No matter what field your going into, you’ll be able to find a calculator to fill the position.

It is for these reasons that we chose to put together this list of our favorite calculators. Any of these calculators will provide you with a stress-free semester so you can worry less about that math exam coming up.


I'm a college student just like you. I want to know what the best tech is so I can be successful at college.

Recent Posts