6 Best Calculator for SAT | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Best Calculator for SAT

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We think everyone will agree that calculators make the SAT exam a bit easier. Especially the sections which require numerical calculations. 

The SAT Math section is no piece of cake, and on top of that, not every calculator available on the market is allowed on the exam. So, what calculator to use during your SAT exams? Not all the scientific calculators available in the market are SAT-approved. That’s why we’ve created this list of the six best calculator for SAT examinations that were certified by the organization. 

This informative guide will look closely at each calculator’s features, ease of use, and functionality. After going through these reviews and the buyer’s guide, you’ll certainly be able to make a better decision regarding which calculator to use for your SATs. 

We also recommend you understand the difference between a scientific and a graphing calculator before taking a pick. You can even take a look into our previous article on high quality scientific calculators used for trigonometry, and find some SAT-approved calculators there as well. 

So, without wasting much time, let’s get right into it. 

Top 6 Best Calculator for SAT




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Opened notepad, scientific calculator and pencil on rustic wooden table. Best calculator for sat.

1. Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator

The first calculator on our list is from the brand Texas Instruments and is one of the most popular calculators among SAT students. This device has proven its worth for a long time and is packed with features that can help you excel in your SAT exams. 

Why Did We Like It?

This Texas Instruments Graphing Calculator is considered one of the best calculators for the SAT exam as it includes graphing functions and statistical analysis capabilities. It also comes with a large number of preloaded images and apps that make studying and memorizing topics an easy task. 

We love how this SAT calculator has enhanced readability with a high-resolution and vibrant backlit color screen. This enables the user to distinguish between multiple graphs and plots easily, along with viewing the color-coded equations. 

Another great feature of this calculator is its ability to convert decimals into fractions. This helps save precious time during the test and lets you sail ahead of the competition. Plus, the added grid lines help in interpreting graphical results much better than regular displays. 

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What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite all the great features that this product packs, there are a few downsides that we can’t help but mention. First, the price is rather steep for the tech being offered, and might not be within everyone’s budget. Second, we think that the presence of a touch-enabled display would have enhanced the usability of the calculator by several notches. 

Pros

  • Available in multiple colors
  • 30% lighter and thinner
  • Graphs are easier to read
  • Vertical and Horizontal split-screen options

2. Texas Instruments TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator

The next product is another graphing calculator from Texas Instruments and is a new offering from the brand. Despite being new, it has caught everyone’s eye due to its slim and sleek design. But, this device is not only about looks because it offers a wide array of advanced features for students taking tough exams like the SATs. 

Why Did We Like It?

The TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 2 weeks on a single recharge. This ensures that the battery won’t give up on you in the middle of the exam, which is a problem that many students face with low-quality calculators. 

The device comes with a color display that ensures you can use it in dim light or even in the dark without straining your eyes. Also, this calculator has the Computer Algebraic System (CAS) functionality, which allows you to solve and analyze algebraic expressions and check limits automatically. 

This SAT calculator has the Vernier DataQuest Application, which allows you to create a hypothesis graphically and replay all the data collection experiments in a single application. It even comes with a drop-down menu that provides easy navigation and almost feels like using a computer. 

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What Could’ve Been Better? 

In our opinion, the only drawback related to the TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator is that it’s on the expensive side. However, it’s worth an investment if you want a graphing calculator to help you quickly solve math equations and algebraic functions on the SAT exam. 

Pros

  • Battery lasts for two weeks on a single charge
  • Animated path plots for easy visualization
  • Six different graphing styles
  • Color-coded screen tabs

3. Casio fx-9750GII Calculator

If you are looking for a budget SAT calculator, we suggest the Casio fx-9750GII Calculator. This device has all the features that you will need for the SAT exam and also all the standard features required by students and educators in schools as well as colleges. 

Why Did We Like It?

The Casio fx-9750GII graphing calculator is an excellent entry-level graphing calculator with an intuitive software design. This device facilitates a student’s grasp of mathematical concepts by encouraging engagement with the subject. 

Apart from that, this calculator displays 21 characters and 8 rows at a time, which is more than enough for displaying most calculations. The user-oriented hardware of this calculator helps students make use of it easily and for long durations. 

Coming to the design, this calculator is slim and sleek and can be gripped easily. It is powered by 4 AAA batteries which allow prolonged usage without needing a battery change. There’s also a USB port, which allows you to easily upload data to PCs and share data with other calculators. 

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What Could’ve Been Better?

Even though 4 AAA batteries power this SAT calculator, we were a bit disappointed as they are not rechargeable. This only means that you have to buy new batteries every time the previous ones run out of power, which will increase the overall cost of the calculator. 

Pros

  • Graphing X= relations capability
  • Easy-to-use
  • Built-in graphing of conic sections
  • Interactive equation solver

Cons

  • Non-rechargeable batteries

4. Casio Prizm fx-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator

Next on our list is another calculator from the trusted brand Casio. The Prizm fx-CG50 color graphing calculator is one of the most advanced SAT calculators. It has a high-resolution color LCD screen that displays crystal clear texts and equations, making it a top-quality calculator among students. 

Why Did We Like It?

This SAT calculator from Casio uses Picture Plot technology, which makes learning enjoyable. Also, its interface is easy to navigate as compared to other similar calculators. Since the icons are colored, you can easily see the applications that you need on the menu. 

Another impressive aspect of this calculator is that it is approved for AP, SAT, I/II, PSAT, NMSQT, and ACT tests. And it even lets you draw the 3D graphs required for solving complex equations, which is a must for advanced math papers. 

Coming to its design, this calculator has a modern look, and the front panel has a carbon fiber pattern, making it durable. An additional protective hard case is included in the package to protect the device from external scratches. 

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What Could’ve Been Better?

According to customer reviews, the quick start guide that comes with the calculator has minimal information. But, this problem can be solved by watching the videos made by Casio explaining the features and functions of this color graphing calculator. Apart from this, we didn’t notice any drawbacks related to this device. 

Pros

  • Natural textbook-like display
  • Allowed for most tests
  • Bright backlit color display
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The guide has minimal information

5. HP Prime Graphing Calculator

Founded in 1939 in the United States, HP is a well-known brand for manufacturing top-quality software and hardware, and the HP Prime Graphing calculator is no exception. This sleek, full-color graphing calculator with an application-based interface provides a rich calculating experience for students looking to solve problems fast and easily. 

Why Did We Like It?

This SAT calculator from HP has fantastic features that make calculating much easier. You can explore math concepts with the inbuilt comprehensive library of applications, including Dynamic Geometry, CAS, Advanced Graphing, and spreadsheet applications. 

Another notable feature of this device is that it allows you to add images in the background and manipulate functions to create a blended learning environment. Not only that, but you can also sketch the images according to your need using the multi-touch display. 

In addition, this calculator has multiple apps related to the STEM ecosystem which are color-coded for easy identification. This makes the device suitable for exams such as PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and AP. 

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What Could’ve Been Better?

Although it’s not technically a drawback, this calculator has some advanced apps which can take some time to learn. So, if you’re looking for a simple calculator with just the basics, this is not for you. 

Pros

  • Sleek and brushed design
  • Multi-touch display
  • Color-coded apps
  • Wireless connectivity

6. Casio fx-9750GIII Graphing Calculator

Up next we have another graphing calculator from Casio. It has an easy-to-use menu system that makes navigation quick and allows users fast access functionality for performing mathematical tasks. 

Why Did We Like It?

This Casio calculator has a natural textbook-style display, which means that it prints expressions and values the way you see them in textbooks. It also shows fraction bars unlike old calculators, which is quite impressive. Plus, it’s capable of graphing X=relations and conic sections 

The USB interface of the device lets you connect it with PCs for faster data transfers. And it’s suitable for a wide range of exams such as Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, etc. 

Since this device offers 200+ hours of battery life, you can get a ton of work done. This calculator will give you all the support you need, be it for homework or taking an exam. It even has a Python option, which makes it all the more enticing for those looking into mathematical programming. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

The Casio fx-9750GIII Graphing Calculator is a noteworthy mention on this list because of its impressive features that help students and educators. The only flaw we found is that despite the high-res display, the digits are a bit too small, which can be a problem for some students. 

Pros

  • High-resolution LCD display
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Built-in conic equations
  • Spreadsheet functionality

Cons

  • Digits are a bit too small

Calculator for sat buying guide

Calculator for SAT Buying Guide

Well, now that you know all about our top picks for the best calculators for SAT, you might be ready to order one. However, we recommend you stop a while and take some time to go through our buyer’s guide on the topic. 

This guide lists some factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing a graphing calculator. 

A. Graphing Capabilities

Before buying a calculator, you need to understand why you need it. As a student, you don’t need all the capabilities an engineer needs in a calculator. For the SATs, it’s best that you get a device that has graphing features along with other common algebraic functions. 

B. Battery Life

The next thing to consider is the battery life of a calculator, as most of them operate on batteries. Here, the ideal choice would be a rechargeable battery-operated calculator because you don’t have to worry about changing the batteries often. 

C. Display Quality

The display of a calculator is very important to view values clearly while solving math questions. Some calculators come with colored screens, while some have black and white displays; more advanced calculators are manufactured to display 3D graphs and real images. 

D. Advanced Features

If you plan to study Advanced Math and Engineering, checking the calculator’s features is a must. If the calculator has essential and additional functions like making spreadsheets, importing images, and creating documents, you can go for it. 

E. Price

If you are a student, you can benefit from a cheap to mid-range calculator that performs all required functions. However, investing in an expensive calculator is not bad if you plan to use it long-term. 

Calculator for SAT Frequently Asked Questions ?

Can you use a graphing calculator for the SAT?

Yes, you can use a graphing calculator, as most graphing calculators are accepted for the SAT. It is recommended to have one for the test. 

What are SAT-approved calculators?

The SAT includes two math sections, and while students are not allowed to use a calculator in the first section, a calculator is permitted in the second section. 

SAT-approved calculators are permitted by the College Board and must be battery-operated and hand-held. Some of the SAT permitted calculators are: 

    • Graphing calculators
    • All scientific calculators

Which calculators are not permitted by the College Board for the SAT?

Calculators that the College Board does not permit for the SAT are: 

    • Calculators that have computer-style (QWERTY) keypads
    • Laptops, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and many more.

What is CAS functionality in SAT calculators?

The CAS functionality in SAT calculators refers to the ability to perform algebraic operations like factoring, solving, and providing simplified answers with variables. In simple terms, it allows users to solve problems involving terms like ‘X’ and ‘Y’. 

CAS calculators are powerful devices that can solve complex questions, and that’s why it is among the calculators allowed for SAT. However, they are not allowed for the ACT exam as they are an undue advantage to the student. 

Can you use a calculator for all sections of the SAT?

You can only use a calculator during the test labeled Math Test – Calculator. You will be required to put down the calculator for all other sections, including Reading, Writing, and Math Test- No Calculator. 

What is the SAT Math Test- No Calculator section?

In this section, SAT test-takers need to attempt the questions without the help of a calculator. This section features 20 questions and is 25 minutes long. Therefore, it accounts for one-third of your SAT Math score. 

Top calculator for sat

Top Calculator for SAT Verdict

A suitable graphing calculator for SAT exams is an investment worth making, so please take ample time in understanding which one you should go for. It’s best to compare and contrast at least three products before making a final choice. 

So, go ahead and take your pick among the calculators discussed above. If we are to share our favorite, the TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator from Texas Instruments is the best for students taking their SATs. And if you’re on a budget, go for the Casio fx-9750GII calculator. 

That’s all from us today. Choose wisely, and all the best for your exams! 

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