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Don't know which Kindle reader is right for you? We break it down

Kindle readers are a great way to take your bookshelf on the go. There are several models, however, so it becomes complicated choosing one. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is our top choice overall. But let's compare it to other Kindle readers available.
taylor-clemons
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer on

Kindle readers are popular tablets for book enthusiasts since they allow users to download and store thousands of comics, novels, and audiobooks. A Kindle device with 32GB of internal storage can hold almost 14,000 titles, meaning you can read one new book per week for 269 years before you repeat. And while most Kindle tablets have a fixed amount of internal storage, many also support Amazon Cloud backup for when you need to make room on the device or microSD cards for expanded on-board storage.

Many Kindle readers are also waterproof up to 2 meters, meaning you can take your e-reader to the beach or pool and not have to worry about splashes and spray ruining your tablet. And with anti-glare screens and auto-adjusting backlights, it's easier than ever to read your favorite books in direct sunlight.

So which Kindle is right for you? I gathered a list of the five best Kindle readers available to buy right now. I broke down their features and price points to help you decide which is the best fit for both your reading needs and budget. Keep reading below to find the perfect Kindle for you.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Post-consumer materials
  • Excellent battery life
  • Waterproof up to 2 meters
  • Easy to use
cons
  • Audible requires separate app
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card support
More Details

Screen size: 6.8 inches | Storage: 8GB, Amazon Cloud | Battery life: Up to 6 weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: No 

The Kindle Paperwhite is a simple, no-fuss e-reader that allows you to download and store thousands of comics, novels, and audiobooks to enjoy at home or on-the-go. The 6.8 inch display provides 300 points-per-inch for crystal clear text, and the glare-free coating makes reading easier in direct lamp or sunlight. The integrated battery can last up to 10 weeks on a full charge, letting you read for almost two months straight before you need to think about plugging in; and when you do need to recharge, it uses a USB-C cable, so you don't have to worry about keeping a special charging cable handy. 

The Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof up to 2 meters for one hour in freshwater or .25 meters for three minutes in saltwater, meaning you won't have to worry about spills and splashes while reading at the beach, by the pool, or at the dinner table. And with the Kindle Unlimited app, you can browse hundreds of thousands of titles, including Kindle exclusives. And if you prefer your e-reader to be eco-friendly, the Kindle Paperwhite is made of 60 percent post-consumer materials, including magnesium, to keep electronic and plastic waste out of landfills and oceans.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Under $100
  • Up to 1TB microSD card support
  • Good battery life
  • Alexa built-in
cons
  • On the heavy side
  • No headphone jack
More Details

Screen size: 7 inches | Storage: 16 or 32 GB | Battery life: 10 hours | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: Up to 1TB 

Since an e-reader like the Kindle is usually a single-purpose device, it doesn't always make sense to spend a ton of money on one. Thankfully, the Amazon Fire 7 is an exceptionally affordable Kindle-capable tablet. For just $60, you'll get a 7-inch tablet with 16GB of internal storage, though you can expand that with up to a 1TB microSD card. The internal battery lasts up to 10 hours, so you can listen to audiobooks or read all day before you need to plug in. And since the Fire 7 is closer to a typical tablet, you can also download apps like YouTube to turn it into an entertainment hub for both kids and grown-ups. 

With Alexa built-in, you can use voice commands to launch apps, play music, and even make video calls to friends and family; which is a great way to keep in touch with your book club or reading circle in a post-Covid world. Or you can switch Alexa off to prevent misuse of your Fire 7's camera and microphones to gather information on you and your family.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Auto-adjusting front light
  • Waterproof up to 2 meters
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Page-turning buttons
cons
  • No cover or stylus included
  • No microSD card support
More Details

Screen size: 7 inches | Storage: 8 or 32 GB, Amazon Cloud | Battery life: Up to 6 weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: No 

For customers who are willing to spend a bit more to get more features, the Kindle Oasis is an excellent option. The chassis features an ergonomic design that is more comfortable to hold and easier to use with its integrated page-turning buttons. The screen has an adjustable, warm backlight for reading in both dim rooms and direct sunlight as well as to reduce eye strain. It also uses built-in sensors to automatically adjust screen brightness and light temperature depending on your environment, or you can actually schedule screen lighting changes based on typical use times for different members of your family. 

The chassis is waterproof, able to be submerged up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) for up to an hour in freshwater or .25 meters for three minutes in saltwater. And while it doesn't have a regular headphone jack, the Kindle Oasis does support Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use wireless headphones and speakers to listen to audiobooks or the screen reader function. And if you need to download a few last-minute titles in the airport lounge while you wait for your flight, the Kindle Oasis supports WEP and WPA2 WiFi security to protect your connection.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Wireless charging capable
  • Water resistant
  • Cloud storage backup
  • Accessibility options
cons
  • No microSD card support
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Only available in black
More Details

Screen size: 6.8 inches | Storage: 32 GB, Amazon Cloud | Battery life: Up to 10 weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: No 

The best part of having an e-reader is being able to take dozens, if not hundreds, of books with you while you travel for work, family gatherings, or vacations. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is built with travel in mind. It supports both USB-C and Qi wireless charging, so you don't have to keep a special charging cable for a single device; and the internal battery can last up to 10 weeks on a full charge, so if you forget your charging cable, you still can enjoy your summer reading on the beach. 

The screen features an anti-glare coating for better visibility in direct lamplight or sunlight as well as an auto-adjusting backlight to suit dim rooms. The 32 GB of internal storage allows you to store tens of thousands of titles on the tablet, but if you somehow need even more space, you can utilize Amazon Cloud storage to free up room on the Paperwhite Signature Edition for new books. The tablet is water resistant, which is great for reading by the pool, on the beach, or anywhere accidental spills may happen. 

It even has a screen reader function for blind and visually impaired users and Bluetooth headset support for audiobooks. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Parental controls
  • 1 year Amazon Kids+ included
  • Waterproof chassis
  • For reading only
cons
  • Parental controls can be confusing
  • No screen reader function
  • No headphone jack
More Details

Screen size: 6.8 inches | Storage: 8GB, Amazon Cloud | Battery life: Up to 10 weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Not specified | microSD card support: No 

If you have a child who loves to read, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids is the perfect e-reader for him or her. The 6.8-inch display features a warm, adjustable backlight that's easier on the eyes and better for reading in both direct light and dark rooms. Parents can set up screen time limits as well as other parental controls like limits on content type to keep your little ones from accessing books, comics, and audiobooks that may not be age appropriate. The Kindle Paperwhite Kids doesn't have the ability to download or use apps like YouTube, so your children won't be distracted from their reading by games and videos. 

This tablet comes with a year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which is similar to Kindle Unlimited, offering a selection of free books for kids to borrow and read; which is great news for parents of voracious readers. You also can use the Paperwhite Kids with your local library's app to borrow free titles. The 8GB of internal storage lets your children keep hundreds of titles on their digital bookshelf, and Amazon Cloud backup gives you the ability to safely store already purchased books while making room on the tablet itself for new titles. 

The Kindle Paperwhite Kids is waterproof, so you don't have to worry about spills and splashes ruining the tablet. And if your child is dyslexic, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids works with OpenDyslexic, a font that is easier for some readers with dyslexia to understand.

What is the best Kindle?

The best Kindle e-reader is the Kindle Paperwhite. You can choose between 8 or 32 GB of internal storage to download thousands of comics, novels, and audiobooks. You can opt for cloud storage syncing for near-infinite storage space for your digital library. The screen features an anti-glare coating for better visibility in sunlight and flush bezels for better handling. The integrated battery can last up to six weeks on a full charge, letting you read as much as you want, worry-free.

Kindle reader

Price

Screen size

Storage

Kindle Paperwhite

$75

6 inches

8 or 32 GB, cloud storage available

Amazon Fire 7

$60

7 inches

Up to 1TB with microSD card

Kindle Oasis

$280

7 inches

  8 or 32 GB, cloud storage available

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

$190

6.8 inches

  8 or 32 GB, cloud storage available

Amazon Paperwhite Kids

$160

6.8 inches

  8GB

Which is the right Kindle for you?

When shopping for a new Kindle reader, aside from price, you also should think about how much storage space you'll want or need for your digital bookshelf. The Kindle Paperwhite has 8GB of storage, which is enough for hundreds of books, audiobooks, PDF files, and graphic novels, while the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has 32 GB of storage, which allows your digital bookshelf to store almost 14,000 titles. And no matter what model of Kindle reader you use, many support either  microSD cards up to 1TB or cloud syncing for near infinite storage.

Choose this Kindle

If you need…

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

An easy-to-use and well-rounded e-reader for Kindle books

Amazon Fire 7

A more budget-friendly option for digital books

Kindle Oasis

A high-end e-reader for Kindle books

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

An e-reader with wireless charging and glare-free screen

Kindle Paperwhite Kids

A child-friendly e-reader with parental controls

How did we choose these Kindles?

I chose Kindle readers that have relatively affordable price points for budget-minded shoppers as well as customers who are willing to spend a bit more to get all of the features they want. I also chose models that support microSD cards for expanded storage to allow for truly huge digital libraries.

How many books will 32GB hold?

It all depends on what kinds of books you want to download, as different media files have different sizes. For example, a single comic book issue file can be as small as 650MB, while a graphic novel can be up to 1.5GB. Plain-text files like novels, nonfiction titles, and even school textbooks have fairly small sizes, allowing you to have up to 13,500 books in your digital library with 32GB of storage space. 

Of course, longer titles like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy will have a larger file size than something like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. If you like longer reads, you'll probably store fewer books, though you should still be able to download and store thousands of titles. 

You even can download audiobooks from the Kindle app, though the audio files are quite large. Which means that a 32GB Kindle only will hold about 150 audiobooks, depending on the length of the recording.

Can I read Kindle books on an iPad?

Absolutely! If you have an iPad, you can download the Kindle app from the iOS App Store. This allows you to buy and download digital books to your iPad, turning it into a true multimedia entertainment device (and eliminating the need for a single-purpose tablet).

And it's not just iPads. Samsung, Lenovo, and other tablet makers allow you to download the Kindle app to so you can take your digital library with you.

Are Kindle books free?

They can be. Whether you're looking to fill out your library or to finally get around to reading those classics that were assigned back in your high school English class, it's pretty easy to find free Kindle books. Lots of classic literature is in the public domain, which just means that they are no longer protected by copyright laws and can be provided for free. If you're looking for new titles, you don't have to spend a fortune.

You also can find thousands of titles for very low prices, sometimes as low as 99 cents. However, these are often self-published works. And while self-publishing is a great way for writers to get their work in the hands of readers without going through literary agents and publishing houses, it also means that sometimes the work isn't entirely up to snuff. So if you're tempted to buy that ultra-low priced title, make sure you read reviews first so you don't end up buying something you won't like.

Are there alternatives to the Kindle worth considering?

If you don't like the idea of a single-purpose tablet taking up space in your home, but still want the ease and portability of a digital library, you're able to download the Kindle app to just about any tablet on the market. Here is a short list of Kindle alternatives that I thought were great:

Editorial standards

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