From Developmental I all the way to College Algebra, you can make it with a simple decimal calculator or even the calculator you will find on most phones. Issues can begin with fractions, because once you get into Intermediate Algebra the "grammar" of most the math will shift almost completely to working in fractions from beginning to end.
Consider investing into a scientific calculator that can display fractions in their proper form, and that can switch between fraction and decimal notation. It is my experience that students who invest in calculators that display fractions properly see subtle improvements in their overall ability to work through Algebra. Most scientific calculators will often come with features for doing statistics as well, which is another discipline that fraction notation can lead to simple mistakes.
For the most part, you want to be on the lookout for a calculator with a rather wide display and a clearly marked fraction button. There will be a picture of one below, as well as some suggested products.
Here are a few examples of some calculators from popular brands, each of which is under $20.
Example of a good fraction display!
Follow this link for a common scientific calculator with a poor display for fractions.
It's worth mentioning that any scientific calculator will get you through most of your math classes without issue, but it can take more work on your part when your calculator doesn't display fractions properly.
Looking for more Tips and Tricks of what you can do? Check our Primo Guide.