Which are the best calculus textbooks? The Theory Behind the Selection

May 06

For many years calculus has been a hard part of science both for students and tutors. It needed a thorough approach of mathematics that is not easy to happen when many students of various educational backgrounds and abilities were present in the class. However, most educators and instructors have tried to give the best knowledge to their students by writing some calculus textbooks that are there to give you more confidence to explore the world of mathematics.

Most of the textbooks that you are going to see here are available for self-learning. This, of course, doesn't mean that you cannot apply it in classes, however, it would be good to know that you are going to have the chance to study calculus and mathematics all alone if you want. In times of quarantine and Coronavirus where the schools are closed, it would be wiser to invest in calculus textbooks that are easy to follow and read, with a natural flow of chapters so that you are not compromised by the difficulties of the subject. Let's now dip inside and check thoroughly all the best calculus textbooks that are now on the market.

Best Calculus textbooks to read by yourself

Most of them are available in paperback editions so let's examine them:

1.Calculus (10th edition)

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It is the first calculus book to be written for students who want to have individual mathematics courses. It starts with the basic principles of calculus and can give you precious information about how the different equation grades are cooperating to find the solution in applied mathematics problems.

One of the best features of this book remains the fact that it can give you live online links where you can resolve example exercises using the knowledge you got from each chapter.

It is one of the most affordable calculus books you may find online. The illustrations are great for all people who cannot understand mathematics without watching some pictures.

Price: $82.50 (used edition)


  • Illustrated book

  • Gives a lot of examples to understand the calculus principles

  • Available in a paperback edition

  • Affordable for most students


  • You don't have the chance to participate in online classes using this textbook

Where to buy it: https://go.valueq.com/eqsp15nztprtsi99

2.The Humongous Book of Calculus Problems

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It is the sole calculus textbook that has over a thousand new calculus problems. The authors have the perception and knowledge that the only viable way to understand calculus principles and equations would be to resolve as many problems as you can possibly take.

The book has several chapters to cover velocity, sums, limits, derivatives, integrals, tangent lines, etc. You shall find some notes from the authors to explain the way of thinking behind the solutions of each calculus problems. You can even pose questions to the authors via their e-mail that is always available for the readers. 

You will never feel alone resolving the calculus problems there since there is a separate section with the solutions to each problem so that you always know if you are right or wrong.

Price: $11.13


  • The most affordable online price you may find

  • It has by far more calculus problems than the competition

  • Authors are always there for you to communicate


  • Only comes into the paperback edition

Where to buy it: https://go.valueq.com/cnmsyu8o8ylmk3g9

3.Calculus (by James Stuart)

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James Stuart has been the inspirational calculus teacher that has written more than a dozen books for students who struggle in mathematics. He starts from presenting the fundamental principles of calculus and even though you feel you know them, please take your time to read the chapter so that you can profoundly understand all the provisions and details.

Since the author knows that when your target is to study calculus by yourself, it would be difficult to stay focused since the classroom spirit is absent. For that reason, Stuart gives you lots of problems with their potential solution so that you know the exact way of thinking and imitate it to the following ones.

The textbook focuses on the real-life problems, the ones that are more important when you study applied mathematics. In this way, calculus principles are easy for everyone and you end up deeply understanding them.

Price: $133.50


  • Offers you an explanatory view on all applied calculus problems

  • Gives you a thorough analysis of all principles


  • Cost a lot more than other textbooks

Where to buy it: https://go.valueq.com/d3h67494icied6k1

4.Calculus: 1,001 Practice Problems For Dummies

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The well-known and reputable series of Books for Dummies has finally made its appearance for the calculus students. It is a practical handbook so that you can learn Calculus through the presentation and solution of 1,001 problems covering all the materials you need to know about this domain of mathematics.

It has several chapters and a roundup after each chapter you are finishing so that you can test your knowledge and understanding of the specific part you were studying. Not to mention, that the authors offer an online platform where you can log in with the codes you find in the book, and have some more practice in common calculus principles that you are about to learn when finishing reading the book. 

Once more Calculus for Dummies has managed to bring mathematics closer to anyone, no matter his level achieved at school.

Price: $18.92


  • You become more confident with the thousand problems you are going to resolve

  • Subjects are easy to understand and recap after finishing each chapter

  • Affordable price applies for every student


  • Some people get intimidated when ordering books for dummies

Where to buy: https://go.valueq.com/ih2guocg7mxg00f4

5.Calculus: Early Transcendentals

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This is the most recent book that James Stuart, the famous mathematics teacher, releases for the public. The textbook comes with a clear language not taking into account that the reader has little or no knowledge of Calculus before reading the book. The author also likes to give real-life examples for each book and that is the way to make it perfect and clear for everyone that wants to learn mathematics.

This textbook can give you knowledge of all basic calculus principles but it can also give you some more profound information. For all these students that want to continue exploring the calculus principles, Stuart has created an online platform giving access to it through this textbook. 

There the student has the chance to interact with the author as well as with other students and resolve more mathematics problems to become more and more competent.

Price: $123.45


  • The textbook builds confidence for students to understand calculus

  • The author uses clear language and explains all basics when entering a new chapter

  • Gives real-life examples of calculus applications on everyday problems


  • Still remains one of the least affordable textbooks for Calculus you may find online

Where to buy: https://go.valueq.com/j3mni0lt3yhc6br5

6.Barron’s AP Calculus

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As we all know Barron's editions are gathering the best authors from the free market, to create books that will make you prepare for the SAT exams. The book has the ability to make you feel ready and confident to take the exams right after you finish every presented module.

You have the chance to view all the calculus problems through a CD-ROM that you can use on any laptop or desktop computer, without the need to be online for that reason. However, for all people who like to be online, Barron's has created a special and secure online platform to offer them even greater problems to resolve when they are done with the CD-ROM.

Many students complain that this book has a lot of pages and sometimes they get discouraged from reading it. However, Barron's say that they have included much more information for Calculus difficult issues there, to get students better prepared for their exams.

Price: $10.24


  • By far the most affordable calculus textbook you can find online

  • It is the only one that gives you access to your desktop without asking for an online connection

  • Covers more than the necessary areas of Calculus to make you feel confident you can pass the exams


  • Comes only in the paperback edition without a hardcover

Where to buy: https://go.valueq.com/l8q9w0093t72b0o8

Buying Guide

For most people, there are simple rules to follow when you buy a calculus book. You need to ensure that they cover all the various subjects of calculus to ensure that you are ready for exams.

Then you need to know if the textbook comes into an online edition, or has an additional online platform to give you more problems and access to the authors for further questions.

Finally, there is a great need to have more problems than the usual textbooks and give you their solutions to have a reliable guide when you need to study calculus alone at home.


Every calculus textbook is good for preparing students to take their exams and succeed. You need to ensure that you read them thoroughly without skipping any chapter as all the calculus subjects connect to each other.

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