best calculus textbooks

If you’re destined to be an engineer, mathematician, or physicist, you’ll have to take your fair share of calculus classes. And when it comes to learning about integrals, derivatives, and l’Hopital’s rule, you don’t want bad source material.

To build a solid foundation in calculus for the rest of your studies and career, you need a solid textbook to be worthwhile with. Over the next few minutes, we’ll be exploring the 10 best calculus textbooks on the market. Whether it’s learning about the history of calculus, how calculus applies to everyday life, or working through practice problems, you’ll find the best fit for you on this list.

calculus textbooksEssential Calculus Skills Practice Workbook with Full Solutions

by Chris McMullen

If you’re looking for a workbook to build up your essential calculus skills, this book is for you. In just over 150 pages, you’ll focus on the most important foundational concepts in calculus rather than doing problems on every single calculus topic.

In case you forgot, practice makes perfect! In a subject like calculus, where concepts can be hard, and problems can be even harder, the best way to learn is through exposure to each type of problem. Plus, you’ll have access to full solutions, so you don’t have to guess about what went wrong when you do make mistakes.

calculus textbooksCalculus For Dummies

by Mark Ryan

Calculus can be an intimidating topic, but Calculus For Dummies breaks it down into manageable bits. Thanks to the expertise of Mark Ryan, a Brown University alum and math teacher, you’ll learn about calculus and how it can be applied to the real world.

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Throughout this book, you’ll get an overview of algebra, trigonometry, and calculus concepts, all of which contribute to a strong foundation in more advanced calculus. You can overcome your fear of sequences and series with lots of examples and practice problems.

calculus textbooksInfinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe

by Steven Strogatz

This book goes above and beyond the average calculus textbook as far as a theoretical framework. You’ll dive into the history of calculus, including the beginnings of algebra in Europe around the 13th century.

Steven Strogarza breaks down calculus into not only its history but a way of thinking and approaching the world. If you’re interested in how calculus has evolved over time and helps us in our everyday lives, this is a great read for you.

calculus textbooksCalculus

by James Stewart

When it comes to math, problems can get very complicated very quickly. And when it comes to a field like calculus, where equations deal with real-life problems, even the simplest topic has complexities.

Luckily, this edition of Calculus breaks down calculus topics into a simple language you can understand. You’ll have plenty of practice problems and examples to work with. By the end of this book, you’ll be confident and appreciate the subject as a whole.

calculus textbooksAP Calculus Premium, 2022-2023: 12 Practice Tests + Comprehensive Review + Online Practice (Barron’s Test Prep)

by Dennis Donovan M.S., Shirley O. Hockett Ph.D.

There are few things more stressful to a high school student than AP tests. And when it comes to AP Calculus, there’s sure to be even more stress. Luckily, Barron’s AP Calculus review book provides everything you need to prepare for the test.

Besides the chapters covering each concept in calculus, there are 12 full-length practice tests. The more practice questions and tests you can take before the big day, the better!

calculus textbooksCalculus Made Easy

by Silvanus P. Thompson, Martin Gardner

As you probably picked up from the title, this book is all about making calculus as simple as possible. It makes calculus approachable for students and readers of all levels. You’ll find the average textbook layout of chapters of content, practice problems, and examples.

Plus, reviews state that this book does a great job of explaining everything in plain language. Instead of stressing out during class when you don’t understand a concept, you can use this resource to supplement.

calculus textbooksCalculus: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself

by Hugh Neill

Written by “leading expert” Hugh Neill, this textbook covers all areas of calculus. You’ll learn all about gradients, functions, rates of change, logarithmic functions, and integration. If none of those topics are familiar now, they’ll be familiar by the end of this book!

This book is best for those who have a strong foundation in algebra. Otherwise, it’s a great review for old calculus students and a great introduction for brand-new calculus students.

Calculus in 5 Hours, calculus textbooksCalculus in 5 Hours: Concepts Revealed so You Don’t Have to Sit Through a Semester of Lectures

by Dennis Jarecke

Ringing in at around 124 pages, Calculus in 5 Hours is definitely the shortest book you’ll find on introductory calculus. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t cover a wide range of topics in calculus. You’ll find that this book has a straightforward approach to calculus, cutting out details on proofs and theorems that otherwise get in your way.

This book will break down calculus into easier segments that will help you understand your homework and perform well on tests. You can expect simple, straightforward drawings and examples to get you going.

In Pursuit of the Unknown, calculus textbooksIn Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World

by Ian Stewart

If you’re studying anything calculus-related, you’re probably aware of Newton’s Law of Gravity or Einstein’s theory of relativity. But what about the other 15 equations that apply to your everyday life?

This book is all about how calculus can be used in the real world. Each chapter is dedicated to an equation, and you’ll find that the author goes into just enough detail to make it interesting.

Essential CalculusEssential Calculus: Early Transcendentals – Standalone Book

by James Stewart

Compared to typical calculus books that are over 1000 pages, this 900-page option is a more concise breakdown of calculus topics that still goes into much-needed depth. In Essential Calculus, you’ll have plenty of coverage on all essential topics in calculus, along with definitions, problems, and examples.

This textbook improves upon other editions by incorporating technology and moving some of its features to the associated website. Overall, this textbook will cover everything you need to know to be successful in calculus—and then some.


Whether you’re a high school, undergraduate, or graduate student, you can use this list to find the perfect calculus textbook for your needs. Some options focus on the theoretical framework of calculus, which might benefit someone who’s been in their field for a while and wants to push boundaries. Other options focus on practicing problems and building a solid foundation.

Wherever you are in your calculus journey, make sure you pick one of the best calculus textbooks to help you take your next step.