The Best Programmable Calculators of 2019

By October 7, 2019 October 16th, 2019 Calculator & School Supplies Reviews
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Regardless of whether you are a student or are already in the professional world working as an accountant, a businessman, a scientist, or an engineer, the fact of the matter is that you will not go far in your major or in your line of work when there are a lot of computations involved and you do not have a good calculator to help you out. But what is also true here is that you should not merely rely on any ordinary calculator. Instead, programmable should be on the top of your list if you want to purchase a really good calculator to make your life as a student or as a professional easy. In this post, we’ll detail the best programmable calculators.

Programmable calculators are not the simple calculators that just do the basic math for you. They are like computers in the sense that they can carry out sequences of calculations that have already been pre-programmed in them so that you no longer need to do them yourself. In other words, with just a few presses, the calculator does the entire long process for you. Today, the most well-known programmable calculators are graphing calculators because of how they are able to do a wide variety of graphing processes and programs.

There is a huge pool of great graphing calculators on the market today but we have narrowed down the best programmable calculators that you should very well consider if you are looking to grab one today.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top pick for the best programmable calculator here.

Our Favorites for Best Programmable Calculator (the best out of the bunch)

Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

The TI-84 Plus line of calculators from Texas Instruments has been a staple in the United States for a very long time that it has become the most widely used graphing calculator in the country. High school classes teach students how to use graphing calculators using the TI-84 Plus as their blueprint. This time, however, it has an upgraded in the form of the TI-84 Plus CE.

Like its predecessors, the TI-84 Plus CE has a lot of different pre-loaded programs that range from simple math all the way to various graphing programs that allow you to focus more on the analysis of the data and the graphs as the calculator does all the math and graphing for you using its programs and its apps. The programs are said to work without flaw and are more than capable enough in terms of computing ability and functionality when it comes to helping you in different college-level courses and in the professional world as well.

The TI-84 Plus CE packs power. It has a 3mb ROM and a 154k RAM that allow it to work in a smooth and flawless way as it computes for different values and while it uses even the most complicated pre-loaded apps and programs. You can even use its internal memory to store graphs and data in case you will be needing them later on.

You do not have to worry about the TI-84 Plus CE’s screen because this is one of the best programmable calculators when it comes to display. It comes with a full-colored backlit screen that will allow you to vividly see the data as well to clearly distinguish graphs and numerical values from one another because of the color-coded function it comes with. And when you are using the various graphing programs, you will be surprised to see how the graphs look so clean and easy to read because of how they actually look like they came straight out of your math textbook.

In all other facets, the TI-84 Plus CE also stands out. It comes with a rechargeable battery that dispenses the need for you to consistently purchase replacement batteries. The build design also looks so sleek and stylish that it will allow you to stand out, especially if you consider that it comes in different colors. It also is very much a lot lighter and easy to carry than the older TI-84 Plus Models.

Simply put, the TI-84 Plus CE is an upgraded version of a calculator that teachers, students, and professionals love. It has everything you need from a programmable calculator in terms of power, programmability, and overall aesthetic appeal. And if you have owned a TI-84 calculator, you do not have to adjust too much because this one has a menu interface that is just as easy to navigate as its predecessors. That is why, at this point, it is one of the best-selling calculators in the country.

What makes it unique:

  • Has a full-colored backlit display that allows you to distinguish values and graphs from one another.
  • Feels very light and easy to carry as opposed to other programmable calculators.

Why choose this programmable calculator:

  • Teachers, students, and even textbooks will more than likely recommend you to use the TI-84 Plus line of calculators.
  • It is power, design, and programmability all rolled into one.


Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator

Like the T-84 Plus line, the TI-89 is also one of the most well-known lines when it comes to the best programmable scientific calculators on the market. However, its upgraded version, which is the TI-89 Titanium, has risen up as one of the most sought-after programmable calculators around and has programs and features that make it ideal for the ordinary college student taking up math, engineering, and business courses.

With its 2.7mb flash memory, the TI-89 Titanium has enough power and storage to allow you to store different types of programs that suit your needs either as a student or as a professional. It also has some of the most important functions you can use for different math and statistics so that you no longer have to store programs that suit your needs. It comes with 16 of those programs, which are useful for high school and college students alike.

The TI-89 Titanium’s menu interface makes things easy for you because it allows you to arrange your programs depending on your preferences. For example, if you have programs that were meant for your business courses, you can create a folder to assign programs related to it so that the programs you need for specific situations will be easy to locate.

Of course, as a graphing calculator, the TI-89 Titanium has the graphing functions that fit a lot of various equations. You just need to input the equation and the necessary numerical values and then wait for the TI-89 Titanium to do its magic. Its 100 x 160-pixel display makes the graphs and the numbers visible enough in almost any kind of conditions and will not make it difficult for you to analyze the graph.

And in case you need to upgrade the TI-89 Titanium, you can do so electronically via its USB cable. To that end, this calculator won’t seem too outdated even though it was released back in the middle of the 2000s and is a machine that is almost a decade and a half old.

Other than the fact that it comes with a sexy-looking titanium design that a lot of students and professionals tend to love, TI -89 Titanium is also designed to mimic actual titanium in the sense that it comes with a body build that was made to withstand shocks. To that end, it fits what a college student needs because it is not only powerful and functional but is also quite durable and will certainly last for a long time.

What makes it unique:

  • Allows you to store your apps and programs in an organized manner.
  • Its solid body build makes it a durable and long-lasting tool.
  • You can upgrade its features electronically.

Why choose this programmable calculator:

  • The TI-89 Titanium improves what has always been one of the best lines of programmable calculators.
  • You can use it in almost all of the standardized tests.
  • Even though it has been around for more than a decade, it still is proven to be effective and long-lasting.


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

Texas Instruments Nspire CX II CAS Graphing Calculator

When it comes to choosing what is one of the most advanced programmable calculators from Texas Instruments, the TI Nspire CS CAS takes the cake. Released in 2019, this is an upgraded version of the first Nspire CX CAS and comes with improvements in its operating system and its overall design and hardware features.

The Nspire CX II CAS is unbelievably powerful and carries a 100mb memory that allows you to store a lot of different graphs and photos needed for school or for work. It is also more powerful than most of the other programmable calculators from Texas Instruments and packs a heavy punch when it comes to its computing capabilities.

When it comes to its best features, the Nspire CX II CAS most appealing function is the CAS, which stands for computational algebra system. The CAS is perfect for college students because of how it allows you to manipulate the variables of an algebraic equation and then solve for any of the missing variables in such an equation. Simply put, you are making the calculator do all of the algebra for you. This makes the Nspire CX II CAS the best calculator for engineering students today. Even those taking up physics classes can also benefit from the CAS as it allows them to focus more on the theory behind the equations instead of on the math.

When it comes to its screen, the Nspire CX II CAS comes with a beautiful and very clear full-colored 320 x 240-pixel screen that is able to show you graphs and numbers clearly. Because of its colored screen, this calculator will allow you to distinguish between one graph and another so that you will be able to minimize mistakes when you are analyzing data.

As powerful as the Nspire CX II CAS is, the downside is that it is very expensive. On top of that, its CAS functionality is so powerful and handy that this programmable calculator cannot be used in high school standardized tests. It might be best for you to use this calculator for when you are already in college especially when you are taking up engineering courses.

What makes it unique:

  • It comes with the CAS, which simplifies solving algebraic equations.
  • Packs a large RAM space to allow you to store graphs and images.

Why choose this programmable calculator:

  • Engineering students will find this a really good calculator to use because of its powerful graphing functions and its CAS capability.
  • It is very easy to navigate and the interface is friendly to any type of user.


Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator

Casio is another leader in the programmable calculator industry because of the high-quality products that they produce at prices that are more affordable. In that regard, the Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator is one of the better choices you can go for if you want a full-colored programmable calculator at a price that is not as expensive as the other brands on the market.

The FX-CG10 PRIZM has a roster of useful programs that are great for high school courses as well as entry-level college courses that involve a lot of complicated math. It comes pre-loaded with geometry programs and you can download add-in programs that involve other subjects and courses such as physics and chemistry. You can even give it CAS capabilities by downloading algebra formulas. That will only serve to make your life so easy. But it is recommended that you only do so if you are not using for school because of how there will be teachers who will be inspecting programmable calculator apps and programs prior to the exam.

Of course, since the FX-CG10 PRIZM is a graphing calculator as well, it comes with the ability to create 3D graphs. You can even create the graphs over pictures that you downloaded into the calculator to make it easier for you to understand an actual mathematical scenario. And when you enter data into the calculator, it gives you a textbook-like experience that will make you feel like you are using an actual textbook while inputting and analyzing data.

The FX-CG10 PRIZM has a beautiful interface that uses menu options for easy navigation. It is quite easy to use and is made even better by the calculator’s full-colored display that features over 65,000 different colors. In that regard, it is quite detailed and will allow you to understand the data better and more clearly compared to other types of programmable calculators.

As far as functions and design are concerned, the FX-CG10 PRIZM should be one of your favorites but it does not have the best battery. Meanwhile, there are plenty of teachers or instructors both in high school and in college who do not recommend Casio because of the differences in how to use them as compared to the other top names in the industry. Nevertheless, if you can get by the differences and learn how to use the FX-CG10 PRIZM just as effectively as, let’s say a TI calculator, there is no reason why you should not go for this much more affordable option.

What makes it unique:

  • Has a lot of downloadable programs, which include CAS capabilities.
  • The textbook-like feel when inputting data feels so refreshing.

Why choose this programmable calculator:

  • A great alternative to the more expensive Texas Instruments calculators.
  • It has an amazing roster of pre-programmed apps and downloadable programs.


The Value Pick for the Best Programmable Calculator (good and affordable)

Casio FX-9750GII Graphing Calculator

If you really want to go cheap because you only care about how the programmable calculator functions, then the Casio FX-9750GII Graphing Calculator is probably your best bet. It comes with all the basic functionality of a good programmable calculator and has apps and features that make it a good bet for courses related to statistics, calculus, trigonometry, and geometry.

The FX-9750GII comes with a really intuitive design in its software to allow you to learn how to use the calculator as you navigate through it and as you use its different functions and programs. The icon navigation feature is a fresh departure from the common key-based navigation you often see in lower-end Casio scientific calculators. And, of course, it comes with a pretty solid CPU that allows it to perform computations and tasks quickly and effectively. You will notice how quick it can solve for even the most complicated computations. It can also put up graphs in a hurry the moment you enter the necessary data.

In terms of its display, the FX-9750GII comes with a basic LCD screen but its resolution is one of the best when compared to other non-colored calculators. And the best part about the display it is that tends to enhance the visuals when it comes to graphs. This makes it easy for you to see and comprehend the data on the graphs.

And when it comes to taking tests, the FX-9750GII will never let you down because it comes with a good balance of functionality and features to help you perform well on standardized exams. That is why it is approved in all of the major standardized tests. It is cheap, fast, efficient, and very useful for any type of situation whether you are a student in high school or college or are already a professional working on some complicated computations.

What makes it unique:

  • Comes with a really efficient CPU that allows it to perform quickly.
  • Its enlarged-dot area tech visually improves the data flashed on the screen.

Why choose this programmable calculator:

  • It is quite affordable and comes with everything that you need from a programmable calculator.
  • You can use this calculator for all of the major standardized tests.


FAQ When Buying Programmable Calculators

Why Buy a Programmable Calculator?

Probably the only reason why you should buy a programmable calculator is that it allows you to do away having to manually input formulas or even memorize them when you are doing your computations using a calculator. Instead, you can program the formulas into the programmable calculator so that it can instantly do the computations.

What are the Key Advantages and Disadvantages of a Programmable Calculator?

Advantages:

  • Has automated functions and programs that allow you to do computations without knowing the formula.
  • They are easy to carry around compared to computers.
  • You can do the most complex computations in a heartbeat so that you only need to focus on the analysis of the data.
  • Saves you time when you are answering standardized tests, wherein time is a major factor.

Disadvantages:

  • You become too reliant on programmable calculators even for the simplest formulas that are not even too time-consuming.
  • Most programmable calculators are quite expensive.
  • The really powerful programmable calculators cannot be used for some standardized tests.

What Brands are Best for Programmable Calculators?

In the market today, the dominant brand when it comes to programmable calculators has been Texas Instruments. In high school and in college, teachers, professors, and instructors alike will always recommend that you buy a TI brand because of how some textbooks and lectures are streamlined to be used in conjunction with a Texas Instruments programmable calculator. However, for those who do not have the budget for TI, Casio is a good alternative so long as you can learn how to use it as efficiently as a Texas Instruments programmable calculator.

What’s the Difference Between Programmable Calculators and Scientific or Graphic Calculators?

Some scientific calculators are made to be programmable but they are generally plain calculators that already have pre-loaded functions and cannot be programmed to do other functions. Meanwhile, graphing calculators are merely scientific calculators that come with graphing capabilities. However, because of how advanced the graphing calculators are today, they can be interchanged with programmable calculators as they can now be programmed.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Programmable Calculator

  • The best programmable calculators already come with a lot of pre-programmed functions.
  • Always see to it that you use a programmable calculator that can be used for most, if not all, of the standardized tests.
  • Programmable calculators need not be every expensive since you can get ones that are close to the $50 to $60 range.

Summary for Best Programmable Calculators

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

ProductList PriceWarranty
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator $150.00 1 year manufacturer
Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator $129.75 Comes with Manufacturer Warranty.
Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX II CAS Color Graphing Calculator $175.00 1 year manufacturer
Casio FX-CG10 PRIZM Color Graphing Calculator $129.99 90 day
Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator $49.99 90 day

If you want the best all-around programmable calculator on the market, the TI-84 Plus CE should be a really good pick as it comes with all of the basic features you would want from a programmable calculator and also comes packed with enough computational power and memory. On top of that, it has a colored screen that makes it a better choice than the regular TI-84 Plus.

While the TI-89 Titanium is our close second pick for the best choice, this powerful programmable calculator is a lot more expensive than the TI-84 Plus and comes with features similar to CAS, which limits its usability in standardized tests. But if you are looking for raw power when it comes to programmability and overall efficiency, the TI-89 Titanium should take the cake. The more affordable and slightly less powerful TI-Nspire CX II CAS should not be far behind.

But if Texas Instruments is a tad too expensive of a brand for you, Casio is a great alternative. The FX-CG10 PRIZM is a fantastic choice because of its smooth features and its detailed colored display. But if you really want to go cheap, then the FX-9750GII is a highly functional programmable calculator that is only a fraction of the price you would be paying for a TI product.

Did you find this helpful? If so, you may enjoy our other calculator and school supplies reviews here.

You may find our guides on the best accounting calculators or best financial calculators also useful.


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