Which Texas Instruments calculator is best?

Even though our teachers were wrong, that we would, in fact, have a calculator on us at all times for double-checking that two plus two equals four, there’s still the problem of complex math that requires special functions our phones don’t have. In these situations, you need a dedicated calculator, and it’s hard to find a better brand than Texas Instruments.

The best Texas Instruments calculator is the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator. It has everything students up to the college level need.

What to know before you buy a Texas Instruments calculator

Texas Instruments calculator types

Texas Instruments makes four types of calculators.

  • Basic calculators typically can’t handle anything more complex than addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These are meant for people who either don’t have a smartphone or are in a situation where phones aren’t allowed such as an elementary school-level test.
  • Scientific calculators are an upgrade over basic ones. They can handle complex math problems a high schooler may need to solve. They’re also useful for those who code. 
  • Graphing calculators are a further step up, introducing the ability to create and display graphs. College students and jobs which require the most complex of math problems to be done should buy one of these.
  • Financial calculators take a scientific calculator and add functions that those in business and financial fields require. If your job is all about money then this is the calculator you need.

Power source

Texas Instruments calculators run on one of three types of power.

  • Replaceable batteries are the most reliable, but they’re also the most expensive. Additionally, calculators using them tend to stop functioning when the batteries are low rather than when they fully die.
  • Rechargeable batteries are more environmentally conscious, but they also have the shortest lifespans both in terms of hours of use on a full charge and in that they degrade over time.
  • Solar batteries are the best. They use solar cells that convert light — natural or artificial — into the energy needed to operate. As long as you have light, you have power.

What to look for in a quality Texas Instruments calculator

Display

The displays of a Texas Instruments calculator have several aspects to consider.

  • Lines refer to how many lines of your equation you can see at once. Basic models have one line, better models have two and the best have four.
  • Size is tied closely to how many lines the calculator has with more lines meaning larger screens. The biggest screens are roughly 3.5-inches on the diagonal.
  • Color is available on the most advanced graphing calculators, but most are in black and white.
  • Backlighting is available on the best calculators so you can see clearly in any condition.

Testing compatibility

Many standardized tests require the use of a calculator, but these tests are also restrictive when it comes to the calculators allowed. Many Texas Instruments calculators are compatible with most standardized tests; in fact, most calculators’ packaging even lists the tests it’s compatible with.

If you aren’t sure if yours is compatible with your upcoming test, check with the test organizer.

How much you can expect to spend on a Texas Instruments calculator

They can cost as little as $5 or as much as $200. Basic and scientific calculators typically cost no more than $20. Financial calculators typically cost $30-$60. Graphing calculators typically cost $75-$175 and up.

Texas Instruments calculator FAQ

Does Texas Instruments offer a warranty?

A. Yes. Most of its calculators have a limited one-year warranty that covers the usual glut of manufacturer defects such as bad batteries and malfunctioning buttons or screens. There’s typically no option to purchase a more comprehensive warranty, though a retailer may offer a retailer-specific one.

Can you order Texas Instruments calculators in bulk?

A. Yes. Many of its calculators come in “teacher bundles” that include up to 10 calculators and any accessories those calculators may need. These aren’t usually discounted much, if at all. 

What’s the best Texas Instruments calculator to buy?

Top Texas Instruments calculator

Best Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

What you need to know: This model has long been a favorite of students and schools the world over.

What you’ll love: The display is full color with a 320- by 240-pixel screen size. Its battery is rechargeable. A USB cable for both charging and updating its operating system is included. It comes in 11 colors and can be purchased individually or in a teacher-focused 10-pack.

What you should consider: There’s no backspace button; one wrong key and you need to delete and retype your entire equation. A few consumers thought the battery life was too short.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Top Texas Instruments calculator for the money

Best Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator

Texas Instruments BA II Plus Financial Calculator

What you need to know: This calculator is perfect for crunching business-related numbers.

What you’ll love: It splits its function in two. The standard mode handles basic calculations you might use your phone for. The worksheet mode handles business-related calculations such as cash flow analyses. It can handle up to two-variable statistics and has four regression options. 

What you should consider: It may not register a button press if you press too lightly and there’s no tactile feedback saying you successfully pressed a button.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Worth checking out

Best Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS Graphing Calculator With Student Software

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS Graphing Calculator With Student Software

What you need to know: This is Texas Instruments’ most powerful and fully featured calculator.

What you’ll love: It has a full-color display that’s 320- by 240-pixels large. There are six graph styles and 15 colors to choose from for clarity. It’s bundled with student-focused software that can be used on Macs or PCs. The battery can last for up to two weeks on a full charge.

What you should consider: It’s Texas Instruments’ most expensive calculator. Some purchasers found the buttons to be too small and too loud to comfortably use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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