Best 5 Trigonometry Textbooks

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Trigonometry—literally meaning the measurement of triangles—is a mathematical subject that studies the relationships and interactions between the angles and sides of triangles. A major component of trigonometry is using functions to find the degrees of certain angles or other calculations of the triangle. For example, sine, cosine, and tangent are the functions used most often. This may sound complicated at first, but trigonometry is actually part of many major math courses, including geometry, algebra, and calculus. Trigonometry is typically taken as a higher-level course in high school or college, but almost every student will encounter this subject in some form, whether it is in a class dedicated to it or as part of a unit in another math course.

Although trigonometry may seem like a niche course that has little purpose in your academic or personal life, it actually has both real-life applications and relevance to your other schoolwork. First, you will likely encounter concepts from trigonometry on the SAT as well as in other math courses (such as calculus, AP courses, and geometry). Additionally, trigonometry may be relevant to a career that you are interested in, such as architecture, engineering, manufacturing, science, medicine, and economics. In order to not draw a blank when encountering trigonometric functions in these exams, courses, and careers, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the basics. This article covers five of the best trigonometry textbooks that all have their own strengths in teaching this difficult subject. Whether you are researching a particular textbook or are looking for the textbook that will work best for you, the following five books have been reviewed in detail to help make this decision easier. Read on and get ready to come prepared to your mathematics course!

The 5 Best Trigonometry Textbooks

1. Trigonometry, 11th Edition by Margaret Lial et al

The newest edition of Trigonometry by Margaret Lial and others is a thorough, four-hundred-page introduction to the subject of trigonometry. The textbook is cleanly divided into eight main topics with additional subtopics, and it takes the student through the basics of trigonometric functions up to complex numbers and parametric equations. Each main topic has detailed examples throughout the chapter that can then be used for the practice portions of the textbook, which include quizzes, problem sets, and mock exams.

The book also includes detailed appendices at the end that provide graphing examples, equations, and additional tips and tricks. If students wish to focus on practicing their trigonometry abilities further, they can purchase the companion solutions guide to see the practice problems solved in full. Along with the companion guide, the textbook also has additional resources on MyLab Math, including tutorials, problem sets, and advice from teachers and experts.


  • Thoroughly explains the concepts of trigonometry through detailed explanations, illustrations, and examples
  • Provides the student with many resources to practice on their own, including problem sets, mock exams, and MyLab Math materials
  • Both physical and digital versions of the textbook are available for purchase to suit the preferences of any student
  • Organization of the textbook is clear and logical, with a clean table of contents, eight main chapters, and additional appendices
  • Can be used as a resource for trigonometry courses as well as precalculus/calculus courses


  • The digital version of the textbook has multiple formatting issues and does not consistently display illustrations for examples or practice problems
  • The MyLab Math resources and the solutions guide are additional purchases that do not come with the base textbook
  • Higher-level trigonometry concepts that may benefit advanced students have been left out of the textbook

2. Trigonometry, 11th Edition by Ron Larson

The 11th edition of Trigonometry by Ron Larson is an ambitious academic undertaking that attempts to combine the teaching and application of trigonometric concepts with technology to create a more engaging learning experience. The textbook allows students to read through lessons in their physical or virtual book while following along with videos and tutorials through Cengage online. QR codes are placed throughout the textbook to allow for easy access to relevant lesson materials online without searching through the website.

In addition to this virtual component, the textbook itself is well-organized with a review of mathematical concepts needed for trigonometry at the beginning, five chapters that tackle various subtopics of the subject, and an appendix section that allows students to easily locate formulas and examples. As they work through the textbook, students are provided with many opportunities to test their knowledge in both the Cengage companion website and in review exercises and practice tests at the end of each chapter. If students are struggling with grasping concepts and solving the practice problems, there are study tips and tricks included in each section, along with advice on the content covered.


  • Covers a wide range of topics related to trigonometry in detail to help prepare the student for coursework
  • Provides the student with assistance frequently throughout the textbook in review and advice segments
  • Combines digital content with the teachings of the textbook to create an interactive learning experience
  • Includes multiple forms of review for the student, including both online content and problem sets/exams
  • Content is organized clearly, and the textbook is easy for the student to navigate


  • Some of the exercises and examples make assumptions about the student’s prior knowledge of algebra and other mathematical subjects
  • Glitches and errors with the Cengage website may make coursework more difficult at times
  • Relies greatly on the online content, which some students may not prefer

3. Essential Trigonometry: A Self-Teaching Guide by Tim Hill

Essential Trigonometry: A Self-Teaching Guide serves as a strong introduction to the core principles of trigonometry through its clear and concise presentation of material. Through either the eBook or paperback edition, students can avoid flipping through a textbook that is hundreds of pages to find one lesson or concept. The book is well-organized into ten sections, which include a review of related algebraic concepts, introductions to functions and graphing, and explanations of important formulas and terms. The lessons themselves consist of multiple illustrations and examples that are supplemented with short explanations in order to not distract from the main concepts the student should absorb. In addition to its straight-to-the-point mode of teaching, this guide also includes practice problems in each section and a solutions page near the end to allow students to test their knowledge of the material. This guide can serve as both an introduction to these concepts as well as a means of review for more advanced courses that use trigonometry.


  • A straightforward introduction to the complicated concepts of trigonometry that avoids unnecessary or irrelevant information
  • Can serve multiple purposes, such as a supplement to a textbook, an introductory guide, or a review book
  • Practice problems and solutions are included throughout the guide to help students solidify their understanding of the material
  • Easy to navigate with an organized table of contents that progresses through concepts in order of difficulty
  • Comes in both a digital and physical format to best suit the needs and preferences of any student


  • Errors in the formulas appear throughout the guide, which may distract or confuse the student
  • Practice problems and the solutions guide are not too thorough in explaining the steps to solve the questions or why an answer is incorrect
  • Cannot replace a more detailed textbook or course for most beginner students in trigonometry

4. Trigonometry, 2nd Edition by John Coburn et al

The 2nd edition of Trigonometry is a solid, thousand-page presentation of trigonometric concepts and ideas that emphasizes making connections both within this branch of mathematics and between other courses. To do this, the textbook begins by reviewing concepts from algebra and precalculus that are relevant to trigonometry before covering new content. Additionally, two of the final chapters of the textbook draw connections to other algebraic material and prepare the student to do more advanced work in calculus.

This textbook is clearly organized and moves through the material in a logical manner, with each chapter building off the previous one. Within these chapters are explanations of concepts and formulas, examples that focus on the real-life application of trigonometry, and practice problem sets for the student to test their knowledge. The final portion of the book includes appendices and solutions to practice problems that work through the steps in detail, allowing students to understand where they went astray and why. If the material in the textbook does not fully satisfy the student, they can go to the companion book website for further information and examples.


  • Covers all the necessary concepts needed to fully grasp trigonometry throughout eleven chapters and multiple appendices
  • Focuses on real-world applications of material to help the student feel like what they are learning has relevance outside of the classroom
  • Draws connections between previous and subsequent math courses to help students feel more comfortable with what they are learning
  • Practice sets are part of every chapter to test students on the concepts they just learned, and answer keys are available at the end of the book
  • Additional information can be found on the book companion website if something remains unclear after reading the text


  • There is a lack of formats available besides the large, physical textbook
  • Explanations of concepts are lacking at times due to assumptions about the student’s knowledge
  • Instructions for practice problems are slightly vague and difficult for the student to follow

5. College Trigonometry, 6th Edition by Richard N. Aufmann et al

The most recent edition of College Trigonometry provides the student with a thorough foundation in trigonometry that is supplemented with interactive elements of learning and real-world applications. The textbook is divided into seven main chapters, with each chapter having multiple sub-topics that build on the primary concept being introduced. At the end of each chapter is a review section, graphing problems, practical examples, and practice exercises/exams. The text contains detailed explanations of trigonometric material, illustrations and graphs, relevant examples, and appendices with additional resources. If students are struggling with the information presented in the textbook, they can utilize the online learning resources included with Cengage. These resources include an online study center with further tutorials, examples, practice sets, and a study guide for the student to tackle.


  • Provides detailed explanations of concepts to the student that includes examples, illustrations, and additional tips and tricks
  • Includes an abundance of resources in both the textbook itself and on the online companion website for further guidance
  • Comes in both a digital and physical format to fit the preferences of the student
  • Content is well-organized in order of difficulty and is easy for the reader to navigate
  • Provides the student with practice problems and exams in the textbook and on the companion website


  • Certain concepts and examples are not explained fully to the student, making it difficult if a student wants to use this textbook to teach themselves
  • Practice problems can be too difficult for some students due to a lack of step-by-step instructions
  • Assumes that the student has already taken a trigonometry course when teaching certain concepts
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