The 5 Best Calculator for SAT [2020 Edition]
16 Min Read
Table of Contents
- 1. Best Graphing Calculator for SAT – TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator By Texas Instruments
- 2. Best Overall SAT Calculator – TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator by Texas Instrument
- 3. Best SAT and ACT Combo – Casio Prizm FX-CG50 Graphing Calculator
- 4. Best SAT Starter’s Package – TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator By Texas Instruments
- 5. Best Budget SAT Calculator – Casio FX-9750GII Graphing Calculator by Casio
I believe every SAT student would agree – calculators make SAT math easier! The SAT is one tough cookie and its math section is no piece of cake. Attempting the actual exam without the right calculator can be quite an unnerving experience. You wouldn’t want to enter the exam hall without the perfect SAT calculator.
However, there is one tiny problem! The market is flooded with SAT calculators and choosing the perfect one without breaking the bank takes some effort. To make matters worse – not every calculator passes SAT recommendations.
What type of calculator is allowed on the SAT?
As per the standard ‘SAT Calculator Policy’, an allowed device must fall into three broad categories namely:
- Graphing calculators
- Scientific Calculators
- Four-function Calculators
The device must not have any wireless communication support. There must not be any stylus or pen based support. It must not have qwerty keyboard or make any processing sound. Additionally, no power cords must be there and it should be fully battery operated. Can I use a graphing calculator on the SAT? Yes, pretty much most graphing calculators acceptable for SAT and it’s recommended to have one on the test day.
With all these regulations and abundant choices, a simple decision soon turns into a dilemma. Don’t worry! We have created this list of 5 best SAT calculators to solve every student’s conundrum. These options are a mix of student-recommendations and choice of teachers. Take your pick as per your requirements and budget.
The 5 best calculators allowed for SAT
1. Best Graphing Calculator for SAT – TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator By Texas Instruments
A relatively new launch in the market, but TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator by Texas Instruments packs a punch. Backed by the legendary Texas Instruments, this sleek and trendy design is easy on the pocket and sure turns heads. In fact, it is their thinnest model to date. That being said, its thin proportions doesn’t compromise on performance. It surely offers all the features and then some!
The TI-Nspire CX CAS offers the full recharging feature. That means it won’t be down during the middle of the exam, and you don’t struggle with annoying battery replacements. Users enjoy two weeks of performance with a single charge. Back-lit display ensures the viewer can see in dim light and even during the night without undue strain on the eyes.
The feature that stands out is Computer Algebraic System (CAS), which allows users to solve equations, perform algebraic functions and check limits automatically. To put it simply, students can find ‘X’ with the touch of a button. It is so easy that you may feel like cheating. CAS functionality truly separates it from other average SAT calculators. Ample RAM ensures calculations are powered through easily. You can also store your spreadsheets and calculating programs. One drawback is that it cannot be used for ACT, which isn’t a big deal for students dedicated towards SAT.
The pricing of TI-Nspire CX CAS is another USP making it the best SAT calculator. Costing around one hundred dollars, this device boasts good Amazon ratings too. That’s pretty neat, considering it has a sleek design, CAS functionality, rechargeable battery, and more. The value and utility promised by this calculator far outweighs its price factor. TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator by Texas Instruments is something that will surely help you even after you clear SAT. Read more user reviews on Amazon.
- Thin, sleek and easy to carry design
- Firm grip and high-grade materials
- Backlit display with tactile button feel
- Hard-front slide cover
- One-year limited warranty
- CAS and rechargeable battery
- Not allowed in ACT for being too powerful
2. Best Overall SAT Calculator – TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator by Texas Instrument
TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator is the tried and tested workhorse. Trusted by generations of SAT students, it has proven its worth for decades now. It is credited for bringing CAS functionality to the SAT realm helping students perform statistical and algebraic functions easily. Its advanced functionalities allow graphing and work on limit functions. Back in the day, it was way ahead of the competition, and its novelty factor was CAS, which changed the SAT game.
But what makes it a leader even today is its ease-of-use. To use advanced features in the TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator, you don’t need to memorize multiple key combinations. The advanced function keys ensure complex solutions are just a click away. You don’t have to remember any convoluted key combination or steps during the exam. Students love ability to turn decimals into fractions which helps save considerable time on the SAT.
With age, the TI-89 Titanium Graphing Calculator has lost some of its shine. Modern competitors like the TI-Nspire series have taken its throne by offering more complex features. Moreover, it cannot be used in the ACT exam. To add to the woes, it is expensive than the TI-Nspire series. Still, it makes for a great choice for students who want a simple calculator with straight-forward functionality. Read more user reviews on Amazon.
- Easy one-key access to advanced functions
- Hard material slide case
- No deep menus
- Quick reference card
- USB computer cable and Unit-to-Unit USB cable
- One-year limited warranty
- Not allowed on the ACT
- Smaller display compared to the competition
- No rechargeable battery
3. Best SAT and ACT Combo – Casio Prizm FX-CG50 Graphing Calculator
When it comes to budget SAT calculators, the Casio Prizm FX-CG50 Graphing Calculator is the ideal choice. Users can create custom graphs on real-world pictures. The color LCD screen displays text and equations with textbook-grade clarity. Instead of the conventional method of adding information to create graphs, it allows students to create graphs over real-scenes and then learn the functions from the graph itself.
The Casio PRIZM FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator has been built keeping in mind the classroom audience, including teachers and students. The focus is on experimentation instead of memorizing functions and keys. The high-resolution LCD displays crystal clear colors including real-life images. Data manipulation with real-world graphs helps students optimize their inputs and achieve desired results.
Formulas can be stored in the 16MB memory for fast operations. Implementation, editing, and re-execution of the formulas are also pretty easy. Data and results can be transferred easily to the PC using USB connectivity options. No printing your homework is a piece of cake.
Design-wise, the Casio PRIZM FX-CG50 is sleek and easy to operate with both hands. Being lightweight and sleek, it can be easily carried in the front pocket. Four AAA alkaline batteries ensure 250 hours of operation. However, a lack of rechargeable battery option is sorely missed on an otherwise well-specced device. Depending on the usage pattern, it is always recommended to carry extra batteries.Read more user reviews on Amazon.
- 21-character, 8-line display
- 16MB memory (10-digit mantissa + 2 digit exponential display)
- High-resolution color LCD
- Shortcut keys plus short key combinations
- Four AAA-size alkaline batteries
- No rechargeable battery
- No CAS functionality
4. Best SAT Starter’s Package – TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator By Texas Instruments
TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator is the next best thing after its big brother, the TI-Nspire CX CAS. The obvious difference between the two remains the CAS functionality. Apart from this, the TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator has a similar design, features, and functionality. The slim and sleek design, quality materials, rechargeable battery and colored backlit 3.5 inch LCD screen all makeup for an excellent product.
It is a powerful calculator capable of handling complex mathematical problems and does graphing as well. Easily solve financial calculations with cash flow, amortization, net future value, MRR functions, and much more. Graphing features include sequence, parametric lot, polar, and bar plots.
Notable apps include spreadsheets, calculators, Vernier DataQuest and geometry. Besides lightening quick calculations, it can store images using 100MB memory. Data can be entered easily using the built-in touchpad and 64MB RAM. The slim design means it can be carried in the pocket easily. PC connectivity ensures your data is safely transferred to your computer.
Built for the modern age, the TI-Nspire CX delivers long-lasting performance with better RAM, advanced chipset, LCD and in-built graphing functionality. Thin design, color display, rechargeable battery, and quality materials bring it at par with the best of the lot. In many ways, the lack of CAS makes it an ideal calculator for both ACT and SAT exams. The lower pricing further makes it a winner in the category. Read more user reviews on Amazon.
- Rechargeable battery
- Battery Charger
- Hard-front slide cover
- One-year limited warranty
- Lack of CAS functionality
5. Best Budget SAT Calculator – Casio FX-9750GII Graphing Calculator by Casio
- 200+ hours of battery life
- Intuitive Casio menu
- Quality materials with a sleek design
- Graphing X= relations capability
- Built-in graphing of conic sections
- Easy to use equation solver
- Lack of CAS
- Abbreviations in the menu can confuse some users initially
In a realm dominated by Texas Instruments calculators, Casio fx-9750GII
Calculator breaks the monotony. Often touted as the best ‘value for money’ calculator, it delivers the same punch in far less money than the competitors.
Casio FX-9750GII features sleek, thin design flanked by a high-resolution LCD. Though it’s not back-lit, it does the job really well in average lighting conditions. You will only feel the difference if you have been using Texas Instruments calculators for a while – in which case you won’t find it satisfying enough. Display powers seven rows and 21 characters at a time, which is sufficient for most SAT questions.
Processing speed is top-notch since most power is diverted towards calculations and not lighting a high-resolution screen. The average screen ensures that it doesn’t have to power many pixels. Some abbreviations on the menu can be quite inconvenient to read through. The number of applications is limited to 14 and is nothing write home about. Most apps perform simple calculations and graphing jobs excluding CAS (Computer Algebra System).
Main apps include financial functions, lists and tables, matrices, graphing, simultaneous equations, and more. The model lacks exact values and returns square roots and trigonometric values as decimals instead of simplified figures. The programming interface is highly capable in the Casio FX-9750GII. The language and key combinations are basic which users can access quickly through the mini ‘menu.’ Non-Casio users will take time getting used to the abbreviations.
The design is slim and sleek, offering a firm grip. The materials are durable and feature soft-touch plastics. The buttons are arranged logically and have a tactile feel to them. Casio users will recognize the identical menu quickly. It is powered by four AAA batteries, and unfortunately, there’s no rechargeable battery here. You can easily upload apps and data to the PC using a USB port.
If you are looking for an SAT-focused calculator in a budget, simply order Casio FX-9750GII. Read more user reviews on Amazon.
The SAT calculator market is dominated by two manufacturers namely Texas Instruments and Casio. Whether it is graphing or general quantitative calculations, both these brands deliver the ideal calculators.
TI-Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator By Texas Instruments may seem like a clear winner in SAT category but students looking for ACT combination must look elsewhere.
Remember there is no one calculator that satisfies criteria for every standardized test such as ACT, SAT or PSAT. Each test has its own rules regarding use of calculators and students must conform to these regulations. Consult with your professors and fellow students to zero in on one final choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is CAS functionality in SAT Calculators?
A. CAS Calculator vs. Non-CAS Calculator
CAS refers to ‘Computer Algebra System’. It represents the ability to solve factors, simultaneous equations, manipulate variables and more. To put it simply, users can solve problems involving ‘X’ and ‘Y’ such as Y+2X=3Y. CAS calculators are powerful devices capable of solving complex questions within seconds. Thus, they are ideal for SAT, AP calculus and regular classroom studies.
However, calculators with CAS function are banned from ACT exam since they give an undue advantage to the student. In our list, we have featured non-CAS calculators that are ideal for both SAT and ACT students.
Q. What is the SAT ‘No Calculator’ section?
A. The ‘No Calculator’ section in SAT has to be attempted without any help from the calculator. It is the third section and you’ll attempt it after the ‘Reading’, ‘Writing’ and ‘Language’ sections. Being the shortest section, it features only 20 questions and is only 25 minutes long. Consequently, it accounts for one-third of your math score in SAT.
Q. How to Use SAT Calculator?
A. Every SAT Calculator is unique and provides different functions. A student should avoid changing the device or model frequently. It is vital that you master one calculator, know all its functions and improve your operating speed accordingly. Learn its input functions, key combinations, line breaks, menu options and abbreviations.
If any software update is available, update it as per your needs. Do not spend excess time on the device during the exam as there is no one-click solution to SAT questions. For more queries, you should consult their official policy.
Q. What are the brands and models of accepted SAT calculators?
A. There is an extensive official list of acceptable SAT calculators that students can view before they buy a device. All the major manufacturers and their corresponding approved models are available in the list. Students must check out the models then comp