The 10 Best Calculus Textbooks

Updated May 17, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Calculus Textbooks
Calculus by James Stewart
Larson, Hostetler and Edwards' Calculus
An Intuitive and Physical Approach
We spent 26 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Math is hard enough as it is, so you don't need bad instruction making it that much more difficult. The calculus textbooks here will help guide you through one of the most difficult subjects you're likely to encounter, and they're packed with quizzes, illustrations, and definitions designed for all levels, so even the biggest math-phobes can breathe easy while mastering the material. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best calculus textbook on Amazon.

10. Calculus by James Stewart

Calculus by James Stewart starts you off with a series of tests designed to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, so you know exactly which areas you need to focus on the most as you work through the book. It also teaches useful strategies for approaching the problems.
  • extremely in-depth
  • helpful for exam prep
  • not enough practice problems
Publisher Calculus by James Stewa
Model n/a
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

9. Calculus with Applications

Calculus with Applications is written with non-math types in mind, as it takes examples and applies them to other fields, such as medicine and social science. It will also bring you up to speed on the algebra you'll need, so don't worry if you're a little rusty going in.
  • uses real data in problems
  • good for business majors
  • doesn't explain solutions in depth
Publisher Pearson
Model n/a
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Calculus of a Single Variable

Having a firm foundation is essential to mastering any science, and Calculus of a Single Variable lays out and thoroughly explores a new concept in each chapter. It's built like a fine argument, layering on new information that integrates with what you already know.
  • biographies of mathematicians
  • vocabulary is well-defined
  • ebook edition has formatting errors
Publisher Unknown
Model n/a
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Early Transcendentals

Early Transcendentals is an excellent guide for working a math problem, giving you a step-by-step look into the process, rather than just providing an answer and moving on. This makes it ideal for self-directed learners, as there are no gaps in the instruction.
  • hints given on publisher's website
  • relates material to life
  • very heavy and cumbersome
Publisher Early Transcendentals
Model n/a
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Thomas' Calculus

A standard of math courses for over 50 years, Thomas' Calculus is still one of the top options on the market. It devotes itself primarily to practical applications of the material, rather than getting bogged down in theory, making it perfect for hands-on learners.
  • answer key shows work
  • ideal for introductory classes
  • only has solutions to odd problems
Publisher Thomas' Calculus
Model n/a
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Early Transcendental Functions

Early Transcendental Functions is an excellent resource for anyone trying to learn the subject on their own, as the authors fully flesh out each example and explain their methods, ensuring you understand it before moving on to the next topic.
  • exceptionally well-organized
  • a must-have for ap students
  • assumes some trigonometry knowledge
Publisher Cengage Learning
Model n/a
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Larson, Hostetler and Edwards' Calculus

Larson, Hostetler and Edwards' Calculus takes you from beginning calculus all the way to Calc 3, so you can get through multiple classes with just one book. Science majors will appreciate the clear and succinct language, as the writing makes the concepts easy to follow.
  • excellent choice for home-schoolers
  • incorporates computer use
  • contains worked-through problems
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Model n/a
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic

If you prefer textbooks that get straight to the point, Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic doesn't bury its concepts in flowery language or extended examples. This keeps the illustrations simple, which makes it less likely to confuse beginners.
  • a good fit for engineering students
  • lots of helpful pictures
  • several quizzes per chapter
Publisher Graphical, Numerical, A
Model n/a
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. An Intuitive and Physical Approach

Math is the language of nature, and An Intuitive and Physical Approach lays this out clearly, showing how you can see the scientific basis of everything that surrounds you, helping you to relate to the material and appreciate the structure of the universe.
  • encourages creative thinking
  • uses down-to-earth writing
  • shows how math relates to physics
Publisher An Intuitive and Physic
Model n/a
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Calculus and Its Applications

Calculus and Its Applications does an excellent job of spicing up the material as much as possible, demonstrating how math is used for things like solving crimes. If you have trouble relating to calculus, or you want to keep students engaged, this is the book you need.
  • keeps info from being intimidating
  • applies math to business world
  • explanations are clear and concise
Publisher Calculus and Its Applic
Model n/a
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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Last updated on May 17, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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