The Best Calculators for the SAT

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In this post, we review the best calculators for the SAT. If you’re not sure what calculator will give you an edge in finishing the SAT Math section faster, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll go over our top picks here. If you’re looking for SAT tips and strategies, check out our extensive SAT study guide here. But let’s get back to calculators.

A calculator makes things easier and, yes, you may bring your own calculator when answering the Math portions of the SAT. However, not all calculators are created equal. There are functions that only certain calculators can do and there are also calculators with features that can give you the edge during the SAT. Even the smallest of details such as battery power may already enough to spell the difference between a good calculator and a bad one. That said, here are the best allowable SAT calculators we believe should best help you during the tests.

Our Favorites for the Best Calculators for the SAT (the best out of the bunch)

TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator by Texas Instruments

One of the newest calculators on the market, TI-Nspire CX CAS is also one of the best ones on our list for the SAT. It is primarily marketed by Texas Instruments for its sleek and thin design, which is their thinnest to date. However, it is more than just a slim and sexy calculator because it actually has some of the best features you can find anywhere.

The TI-Nspire CX CAS does not need battery replacement because it is fully rechargeable. It does not even drain so easily as it can survive two weeks on one single charge. Also, it comes with a backlit color display that makes it easier for anyone to use it during the night or in a dim room. In all other cases, that very same feature just makes this calculator easier to use. Plus, who would not want a slim and light calculator that can easily fit the pocket?

However, the best feature of this calculator (and what sets it apart) is its CAS capability or Computer Algebraic System. This feature allows you to perform algebraic functions, solve equations, and look for limits automatically. In simple terms, you can solve for X in the easiest way possible. The best part is that it is completely allowed during the SAT.

TI-Nspire CX CAS costs a little over a hundred dollars on Amazon and has earned itself a good rating primarily for its rechargeable feature and for the CAS. Nobody can go wrong with this calculator even though it comes with a hefty price tag. The value and utility it brings simply outweighs its price. However, you cannot use this one for the ACT.

What makes it unique:

  • It is thin, light, and easy to carry.
  • The CAS.

Why choose this calculator:

  • You can practically carry it anywhere you go.
  • Solving for X has never been easier and more simplified.


TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator by Texas Instruments

Arguably the most popular calculator in the entire United States of America, the TI-84 Plus belongs on our list not only because of its fame but also because of its functions. After all, there is a reason why it is as popular as it is. It comes with the same features that some of the best SAT calculators on the market have even though it is not as powerful. However, that also means that it can be used for both the SAT and the ACT.

Because of how popular this calculator is, it is not uncommon to see high schools teaching students how to use this very same calculator. It comes with the same statistical and algebraic features that many other graphing calculators have although it does not have the CAS function. But the CAS feature is simply an added bonus in some calculators because the TI-84 Plus already has everything you need for the SAT.

At its price, the TI-84 Plus is not the most affordable calculator but it also is not as expensive as some of the newer ones with the more modern functions. Some would say that this calculator is a middle-of-the-pack tool but we rated it high as one of our favorites precisely because it already gives you everything you need for the SAT without having to give you extra functions you might not even use.

What makes it unique:

  • Its popularity is its unique selling point because it so commonly used that schools even teach students how to use it.
  • This calculator is not powerful enough that it is banned for the ACT.

Why choose this calculator:

  • You can never go wrong with one of the most popular calculators of all time.
  • Its versatility coupled with its mid-level features means that it can also be used for the ACT. That means that you do not have to secure another calculator for the ACT.


The Runners-Up for the Best Calculators for the SAT (still good but a little lacking)

TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator by Texas Instrument

When TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator was released, it completely changed the game because of its features. It has the CAS functionality that makes algebraic and statistical functions easier. It can also solve for limits and make graphs faster and much more efficient than any other calculator on the market when this was released.

Aside from its advanced functionalities, one of the best features of the TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator is that it is less complicated to use. Some calculators require you to be able to memorize a lot of key presses just to use one single function. However, this calculator simplifies all that. The advanced functions are made available in a much simpler way, which does not require you to memorize steps and keys.

What makes this calculator a runner-up is its age. As advanced as it was when it was released, it still pales in comparison to the TI-Nspire series in terms of the more modern functions. It also cannot be used in the ACT. The worst part is that, at its price on Amazon, it is more expensive than the TI-Nspire series. But, it still is a great choice for students who are not looking for the most advanced calculators but prefer ones that are simple yet modern.

What makes it unique:

  • It makes it easier to get to advanced functions.

Why choose this calculator:

  • This calculator simplifies advanced functions and lays them out in a way that makes them much more available for users that do not want to memorize steps and keys to get to a certain feature.


TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator by Texas Instruments

This is the little brother of the TI-Nspire CX CAS. As anyone can suspect from the time, what is missing in this one is the CAS functionality. It basically is just the same as its bigger brother. It has a slim and lightweight design. It comes with a rechargeable battery. It also has the same kind of colored backlit screen. All of those functions make it a great calculator to use for any kind of occasion.

Like its bigger brother, the TI-Nspire CX was built for the modern age. That means that it was meant to be future proof and to last for a long time. It is basically the TI-Nspire CX CAS but without the CAS. The design even looks almost the same as the more advanced brother.

As it is merely the less advanced version in the TI-Nspire series, this calculator is a runner-up on our list. However, it might also be a good thing that it lacks the CAS function because that means that it can be used for the ACT as well. In that regard, it is considered the best calculator that can be used for both the SAT and the ACT. Other than that, its bigger brother might be the better choice considering that their prices are typically not even that far apart.

What makes it unique:

  • It is basically the TI-Nspire CX CAS that is a little less powerful.

Why choose this calculator:

  • There is no other calculator that is as advanced as this one but can still be used for both the SAT and the ACT.


The Best Value for Your Money for SAT Calculators (good and affordable)

Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator by Casio

This calculator breaks the monotony this list, which is dominated by Texas Instrument. Considered the most affordable graphing calculator on the market, Casio fx-9750GII gives you both value and functionality all in an affordable package that is far less pricey than anything Texas Instrument can throw in the market.

Casio fx-9750GII comes with a high-resolution LCD display that might not be on par with the backlit colored screens of the other calculators on this list but is still able to do its job really well. In fact, in terms of functions, it has the same capabilities as the TI-84 but comes in a price that is more than half of it. The only knock is that you may have to adjust to using it if you are already used to Texas Instrument calculators. But other than that and the colored screen of the TI-84, there might not be a lot of differences as this one can do everything that your modern-day graphing calculator can do.

If you are looking for a graphing calculator that you will probably only need on the day of the SAT, this one should be the top pick on the list. The biggest reason is that it costs much less than others we’ve gone over. In comparison, you cannot get a TI graphing calculator that is under a hundred dollars. That makes this one the more practical choice.

What makes it unique:

  • It can do almost everything a mid-level graphing calculator can do but is a lot less expensive.
  • This calculator can be used for both the SAT and the ACT.

Why choose this calculator:

  • It costs less than half of what TI graphing calculators cost but is on par in terms of overall functionality.


Summary of the Best Calculators for the SAT

To sum up, here are the Calculators for the SAT we looked at today:

ProductList PriceWarranty
Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator $185.00 1 year
Texas Instruments Ti-84 plus Graphing calculator $113.99 1 year
Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator $124.98 Comes with Manufacturer Warranty.
Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator $165.00 1 year
Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator $69.99 N/A

While calculators are indeed invaluable when it comes to the SAT, they should not always be used especially if the question can be answered in a more efficient manner without the use of a calculator. There are also some calculators that are not allowed in the SAT. That said, it should be of utmost importance for test takers to check whether or not their calculators are allowed. If not, then this list serves as a guide for anyone in the market for the best calculators for the SAT.

Studying for the SAT? Review our comprehensive list of 125 SAT tips and test taking strategies here.


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