Calculators – When to allow one? Which one to buy?

Saxon recommends the use of a calculator at the start of the Algebra series. By the time a student enters Algebra, they should have enough computational skills under their belt. The time it takes to do a lesson will increase once they begin Algebra, so we’d like to see them spend the majority of their time practicing their new algebra skills. However, access to a calculator should only be granted once the student’s computational skills are already in place.

Scientific vs Graphing Calculator? Here are the differences: 

  • A scientific calculator performs functions beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. A scientific calculator usually has special buttons for things like exponents, pi and trigonometric functions.
  • A graphing calculator is a scientific calculator plus more.  It has a larger screen that allows you to type in a function, then see a graph of it. 

Scientific calculators are sufficient for SAT and ACT testing.  However, if you’re student plans to take Saxon Advanced Math or any AP testing, they will need a graphing calculator. 

There’s a lot of calculators out there and it can be overwhelming to pick one.  Below you’ll find the ones I recommend. You will also find links to the complete lists of acceptable calculators for the SAT and the ACT.  (Disclosure:  Nicole the Math Lady, Inc. is a part of the Amazon Affiliate program.  By purchasing through these links, Nicole the Math Lady, Inc. may earn a small commission.)

Graphing Calculators

Best Scientific Calculators

Complete List for SAT and ACT