Crunching the Numbers: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Calculator at OfficeMax


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Making Math Easy With the Right Gear

As a high school or college student, having the right calculator can make all the difference in acing your math and science classes. Whether you need a trusty scientific calculator for algebra and chemistry or a full-featured graphing calculator for calculus and physics, heading to OfficeMax is a smart move to find exactly what you need at a great price. I recently visited my local OfficeMax store to scope out their impressive calculator selection ranging from basic $5 models to professional-grade options over $200. Read on for my insights after testing out a bunch of calculators hands-on to help you find your perfect math sidekick for school and beyond!

The moment you walk into the calculator aisle at OfficeMax, you’ll be greeted by a wall of options to power you through math class and standardized tests like the SAT. The most basic calculators start around only $5-10 and are perfect if you just need a cheap model for occasional work like balancing your checkbook. These standard calculators from brands like Texas Instruments and Casio offer all the essential arithmetic functions like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Though super affordable, these no-frills models lack more advanced math capabilities beyond simple equations.

Stepping up to a scientific calculator opens up more functionality for around $15-35 at OfficeMax. Along with the basics, scientific calculators include buttons for sine, cosine, tangent, logarithms, roots, factorials, and more keys essential for high school level algebra, geometry, trigonometry, chemistry and physics. Leading brands for scientific calculators are Texas Instruments and Casio, which both offer durable models packed with math power perfect for standardized tests. I especially liked the sturdy plastic TI-30Xa which sells for around $20 and has handy math shortcuts to make working with fractions and decimals a breeze.

For more advanced high school and college math and science needs, OfficeMax offers a solid selection of graphing calculators starting around $100. Loaded with high-resolution display screens, robust programming options, and major computing power, these gadgets are must-haves if you’ll be plotting complex functions, finding derivatives and integrals, or crunching statistics. Models like the wildly popular TI-84 Plus CE offer color-coded graphs along with plenty of pre-loaded apps and memory to handle demanding calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering courses. Though pricey at around $150, this versatile calculator is approved for SAT/ACT tests and will serve you all the way through college if you study a STEM field.

If you’ll be tackling higher level math and science courses, OfficeMax also stocks specialty calculators designed for specific subjects. Engineering students will appreciate the** Casio fx-115ES** with handy converters and references for solving complex equations for around $25Pre-med students can benefit from the Casio fx-300ES with built-in anatomy diagrams and medical formulas for about $50. Business and accounting majors should check out the $70 TI BAII Plus loaded with functions for time value of money, cash flows, depreciation and more finance essentials.

For maximum versatility, OfficeMax offers programmable calculators that let you customize functions and store data sets for around $70-100. Models like the TI-83 Plus allow entering and running multiple lines of code to speed up solving repetitive math problems. This flexibility along with the larger display and more memory makes the TI-83 Plus a great STEM pick for about $90. If you’ll be using RPN stack-based notation in certain college courses, the HP 35S provides easy RPN entry for around $60.

In today’s digital world, you may wonder if you even need a standalone calculator versus just using your smartphone. While apps can work in a pinch, a dedicated calculator offers more math power with faster processors, better displays, and tactile button feedback. Physical calculators also tend to be more durable to withstand being tossed in your backpack versus delicate smartphones. And during exams, many professors ban phones but allow standalone calculators, so it helps to have both options covered.

When picking a calculator at OfficeMax, pay close attention to what’s approved by your school and exam boards like the CollegeBoard. Using a banned model can lead to your test scores being cancelled, so steer clear of flashy options with too many features. Teacher recommendations and online reviews can help determine which calculators best fit your specific courses and tests. It’s also smart to try calculators out in person at the OfficeMax store rather than just buying sight unseen online. Testing key functions and the display visibility can prevent getting stuck with a dud.

While essential for school, calculators can also get quite pricey, especially graphing models. Luckily, OfficeMax offers regular discounts and deals on calculators that make these classroom must-haves more affordable. Signing up for OfficeMax Rewards gets you coupons and sale alerts on calculators. Their current offerings include $15 off the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator and a coupon for 30% off all Texas Instruments models. For big sales like back-to-school, OfficeMax also runs specials like buy one, get one 50% off all calculators. And be sure to check for manufacturer rebates that can score you $10 or $20 back by mail after purchase.

When buying a vital tool like a calculator, you’ll also want assurance that your investment will last. OfficeMax provides a 1 year replacement warranty included free on all calculator purchases. This warranty covers defects and even accidental damage like dropping your calculator or spills. OfficeMax also has a general 60 day return policy if you decide a calculator ultimately isn’t a good fit. Just make sure you don’t open software packages like games and apps, or the calculator itself if it’s shrink wrapped. Keep your receipt and original packaging to ease any returns or exchanges.

While online shopping may seem tempting, I highly recommend stopping by your local OfficeMax to try out calculators in person before buying. Testing keypads and screens for responsiveness gives you a better sense of build quality and usability than pictures online. OfficeMax staff can also give demos of key features and recommendations based on the types of math you’ll be doing. This hands-on experience ensures you’ll walk out with the perfect calculator to boost your math and science skills without any surprises.

When comparing prices, OfficeMax holds its own against competitors on calculators. Models like the TI-30X scientific calculator or TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculator generally sell for the same prices at other major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Staples. OfficeMax also commonly price matches competitors if you do find a lower rate, making it easy to shop and save. They often beat Amazon on pricing for less popular calculator models too.

Eco-conscious shoppers will appreciate that many OfficeMax calculators are now made with greener materials like recycled plastics and solar power. Solar-powered options like the Casio fx-300ES ($50) recharge via natural and indoor light so you avoid wasteful batteries. OfficeMax also collects used calculator batteries for responsible recycling. And purchasing a higher quality OfficeMax calculator means replacing it less often, avoiding electronic waste from cheap disposable models.

With new calculators constantly released, OfficeMax keeps its selection updated with all the latest models. New offerings I spotted include the Casio Prizm fx-CG50 ($130) with enhanced graphing capabilities and user-friendly natural textbook display mode. Also fresh in stock is the HP Prime Graphing Calculator ($160) with robust STEM features like advanced regression analysis and matrix functions. OfficeMax buyers can rest assured they’ll find the newest calculator innovations in-store as manufacturers issue upgrades.

No matter your math skill level or course load, OfficeMax has the right calculator ready to solve your every equation. From their basic dollar models to specialty graphing powerhouses, find one suited for everything from algebra basics to advanced quantum physics. Trying calculators out in person is key to getting the responsiveness and functionality you need to ace that next big test. With its breadth of trusted brands at affordable prices, OfficeMax has all the math gear you require to crunch the numbers with confidence. Just don’t forget to also stock up on plenty of fresh batteries!

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