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The best Kindles you can buy: Expert tested

We tested and reviewed the best Kindles so you can take your favorite books on the go, hassle-free.
Written by Nina Raemont, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite | Best Kindle reader overall
Kindle Paperwhite against wood backdrop
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Best Kindle reader overall
View now View at Amazon
Kindle Scribe | Best Kindle for note-taking
Kindle Scribe
Best Kindle for note-taking
View now View at Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition | Best Kindle reader for travel
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
Best Kindle reader for travel
View now View at Amazon
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus | Best non-Kindle e-reader
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus Show Mode
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus
Best non-Kindle e-reader
View now View at Amazon

It's ramping up to be a busy summer travel season, and if you're anything like me, your summer vacation isn't complete without a few novels in tow. But who has the suitcase space for every single Emily Henry novel? I don't. Those hefty books become a lot lighter when you read them on an e-reader, like a Kindle. Kindles can hold a near-infinite number of books, newspapers, and magazines in one compact, lightweight device. My Kindle even fits in my jacket pocket -- talk about portable. Plus, you can save lots of money when you switch from physical books to e-books. 

Also: The best iPad models you can buy

While most Kindle tablets have a fixed amount of internal storage, many support Amazon Cloud backup or microSD cards for expanded onboard storage. Plus, many Kindle readers are waterproof up to 2 meters, so you can take your e-reader to the beach or pool and not have to worry about splashes and sprays ruining your e-reader. With anti-glare screens and auto-adjusting backlights, it's easier than ever to read your favorite books indoors and outdoors in direct sunlight. And as a bonus, many of our top choices are on sale for Memorial Day, so be sure to snag a deal before they're gone.

What is the best Kindle right now? 

ZDNET rounded up the best Kindle readers available to buy right now, with the best Kindle reader overall being Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite for its excellent battery life, easy readability, and mainstream appeal. We broke down their features and price points to help you decide which is the best fit for your reading needs and budget. Keep reading below to find the perfect Kindle for you.

The best Kindle readers of 2024

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

Spend any time on Reddit threads, and you will quickly realize that there is one Kindle that reigns supreme among the rest: the Kindle Paperwhite. 

I use my Kindle Paperwhite to read on the subway because of how pocketable and light it is to carry in my bag and because I can download tons of library books onto it and read them at my leisure. The battery life blows me away. I've only had to charge it two or three times since using it for around three to four months. Compared to the Kindle Oasis, the refresh rate on the Paperwhite is as smooth as butter, and reading is as enjoyable as can be with adjustable lighting, page sizing, and more. 

Also: The Kindle Paperwhite gets a new look

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 more manageable by a direct lamp or in sunlight. The integrated battery can last up to ten weeks on a full charge, letting you read for almost two months before needing to plug in. It uses a USB-C cable when you need to recharge, so you don't have to worry about keeping a special charging cable handy.

Furthermore, the Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof up to 2 meters for 1 hour in freshwater or .25 meters for three minutes in saltwater. This means you won't have to worry about spills and splashes while reading at the beach, pool, or dinner table. Additionally, the Kindle Unlimited app lets you browse hundreds of thousands of titles, including Kindle exclusives. 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite specs: Screen size: 6.8 inches | Storage: 8GB, 16GB, Amazon Cloud | Battery life: Up to six weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: No

Pros & Cons
  • You're able to sign documents, take notes, and draw
  • Robust 10.2-inch screen
  • Battery life for literal days
  • It's expensive
  • Limited note-taking capabilities
More Details

The Kindle Scribe combines a digital library with a digital notebook. You can use the basic pen to create notes either through an app or on the book you're reading, making it convenient if you're studying for a test and want to organize what you're reading and your notes in one place. Additionally, you can upgrade to the Kindle Scribe Premium Pen to easily erase notes.

The display is remarkable, with a high-resolution 10.2-inch screen. You'll also have access to ample storage options, and the battery life will let you read the next bestseller without worrying about finding the nearest plug for charging. 

Review: Amazon Kindle Scribe

When Matthew Miller reviewed the Scribe last year, he called it his on-the-go note-taking tablet of choice. "My desire to find something that doesn't waste paper and also provides the ability to preserve and share my notes has been met with the Amazon Kindle Scribe," Miller said. He adds that the writing and erasing capabilities are top-tier, too, especially with the add-on Premium Pen. 

One Scribe owner on Reddit said that the wider screen is "a joy to read on," while other Redditors reported that the writing software is "half-baked" with minimal note-taking capabilities. So, if you're looking for a Kindle with a great screen and some beginner note-taking options, this one is for you. 

There is certainly room for improvement. Currently, you can export notes to a PDF and email them. However, sending notes to other programs like Microsoft Word would be ideal, as it will be part of a future software update. Additionally, we found that organizing your notes on the Kindle Scribe is impossible. Overall, it's an excellent foray into the digital note-taking market, and with future software updates, it should become one of the more popular models in the Kindle lineup.

Kindle Scribe specs: Screen size: 10.2 inches | Storage: 16, 32, or 64GB | Battery life: Up to 6 weeks at 30 minutes per day | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: No

Pros & Cons
  • Wireless charging capable
  • Water resistant
  • Cloud storage backup
  • Accessibility options
  • No microSD card support
  • A bit on the heavy side
  • Some owners on Reddit say that the extra storage is unnecessary
More Details

The best part of having an e-reader is taking dozens, if not hundreds, of books with you while you travel for work, errands, family gatherings, or vacations. Ayman from @aymansbooks on TikTok is one of BookTok's most successful accounts, with over 900,000 followers. She creates content and memes about novels and recommends the books she reads on the platform. 

Ayman told ZDNET that the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is her Kindle of choice. Whether she's at the DMV, sitting at a cafe, or waiting in a line, she always takes along her Paperwhite Signature Edition and pulls it out when she has a spare second to read. "I love how I can easily highlight and make annotations as I'm reading; it feels just as though I'm reading a physical book," Ayman said. 

Review: Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is built with travel in mind. It supports USB-C and Qi wireless charging, so you don't have to keep a special charging cable for a single device. The internal battery can also last up to 10 weeks on a full charge, allowing you to enjoy your beach reading even if you forget your charging cable.

The screen features an anti-glare coating for better visibility in direct lamplight or sunlight and an auto-adjusting backlight to suit dim rooms. With 32GB of internal storage, you can store tens of thousands of titles on the tablet. However, some Reddit owners say extra storage is unnecessary, given how many books the Kindle Paperwhite already holds. The water-resistant tablet is excellent for reading by the pool, on the beach, or anywhere accidental spills may happen. Additionally, it has a screen reader function for blind and visually impaired users and supports Bluetooth headsets for audiobooks.

When former ZDNET contributor Jason Cipriani reviewed the Signature Edition, he said: "If you opt to spend a little bit more for the signature edition, you're gaining some notable features in wireless charging and a light sensor, improving even more on an already reliable experience." 

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

Pros & Cons
  • $120
  • Up to 1TB microSD card support
  • Good battery life
  • Alexa built-in
  • On the heavy side
  • No headphone jack
More Details

Since an e-reader like the Kindle is usually a single-purpose device, spending a ton of money on one may not always make sense. Fortunately, the Amazon Fire 8 Plus is an exceptionally affordable Kindle-capable tablet. For just $120, you can get an 8-inch tablet with 32GB of internal storage, which you can expand with up to a 1TB microSD card. The internal battery lasts up to 13 hours, allowing you to listen to audiobooks or read all day before needing to plug in. Moreover, since the Fire 8 Plus is closer to a typical tablet, you can download apps like YouTube to turn it into an entertainment hub for kids and adults.

Also: Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

With Alexa built-in, you can use voice commands to launch apps, play music, and even make video calls to friends and family. This is an excellent way to keep in touch with your book club or reading circle in a post-COVID world. Alternatively, you can switch Alexa off to prevent misuse of your Fire 8 Plus camera and microphones to gather information about you and your family. Most Reddit users prefer the Fire 8 Plus over the Fire 8, given its negligible price difference. 

This tablet is for casual browsing, streaming, mobile entertainment, or even for your little one. "At $120, the latest model is not the cheapest of the Fire tablet bunch, but it's certainly a compelling option for its sharp visuals, enduring build quality, and exceptional battery life," June Wan writes in his review of the tablet. 

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus specs: Screen size: 8 inches | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Battery life: 12 hours | Lock screen ads: Yes, removable with fee | microSD card support: Up to 1TB

What is the best Kindle?

The best Kindle e-reader is the Kindle Paperwhite. You can choose between 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of internal storage to download thousands of comics, novels, and audiobooks. Additionally, 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. Plus, the integrated battery can last up to six weeks on a full charge, allowing you to read as much as you want worry-free.

Best Kindle readerPriceScreen sizeBattery lifemicroSD card support
Kindle Paperwhite$1506.8 inches6 weeksNo
Kindle Scribe$34010.2 inchesSeveral weeksNo
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition$1906.8 inches10 weeksNo
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus $1208 inches12 hoursUp to 1TB

*Lowest price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which is the right Kindle for you?

When shopping for a new Kindle reader, aside from price, you should also consider 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. On the other hand, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has 32GB of storage, which allows your digital bookshelf to store almost 14,000 titles. Furthermore, no matter which model of Kindle reader you use, many support either microSD cards up to 1TB or cloud syncing for near-infinite storage.

Below is a table that outlines which Kindle corresponds to specific needs:

Choose this Kindle reader...If you need...
Kindle PaperwhiteThe best overall due to its outstanding battery life, waterproof body, and ease of use. It also has a 6-week battery life.
Kindle ScribeA notetaking powerhouse with a 10.2-inch screen, ample storage, and the ability to transfer notes to PDF. This makes it a great option for students as well as professionals.
Kindle Paperwhite Signature EditionA travel companion with wireless charging, water resistance, and cloud storage. This version of the Kindle is great for taking on vacations and work trips.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus A budget-friendly option with a large, 8-inch screen and Alexa voice assistant built-in. It also allows you to stream videos and music for more entertainment options.

Factors to consider when choosing a Kindle

  • Price: The Kindles and Kindle alternatives on this list range from $120 to $340. With more features, like drawing capabilities, strong battery life, and large storage, you will pay a higher price. 
  • Storage capacity: The point of a device like a Kindle is to store as many books in one compact device as possible. We looked at Kindles with wide storage capacities that can hold thousands of titles. 
  • Extra features: Some Kindles are kid-friendly or offer customizable displays and more. Lots of models offer water resistance and have anti-glare features so you can read in whatever environment you're in -- whether that's on the sandy beach or in a bathtub. 
  • Battery life: The e-readers on this list should last you a few days, and ideally a few weeks, before recharging. 

Also: How to buy books on Kindle

How did we choose these Kindle readers?

ZDNET only recommends products we have used and can speak to. We do this by spending a few weeks constantly using the products we write about and evaluating them for performance, battery life, usability, special features, and more. Then we write a product spotlight or review of the product and add it to one of these best lists. Each month we evaluate which products still deserve a spot on this list, and switch out older models with newer models. 

What's the point of a Kindle?

If you have only ever read books through physical copies, not digital e-readers, you might think buying a Kindle is a waste of money. There's the argument that you don't even need the Kindle e-reader when you can download the app on your phone and read digital books and magazines from there. Sure, that's a good point. But many readers see having the Kindle app on a phone more distracting, while a Kindle whose sole purpose is to function as an e-reader is distraction-free. 

Then there's the fact that carrying paperbacks while you travel, commute to work, or lug around in that small bag of yours can get heavy, and sometimes we don't have the space for every book we'd like to read. A Kindle is slim, lightweight, and easy to plop into a purse or even put in your coat pocket. 

Holding a physical book is not the same as holding an e-reader, but for certain use cases, like portability and space optimization, a Kindle e-reader reigns supreme. 

Can I bring my Kindle to the beach?

Yes, you certainly can. Many readers enjoy taking a Kindle to the beach instead of a paperback book, thanks to select Kindle models' waterproof build and glare-free display. If your beach bag is too heavy for a thick book, a thin Kindle could be a splendid alternative. Plus, you don't have to choose between two or three books to read -- you can bring them all on your Kindle. 

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. On the other hand, 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.

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

What's the difference between the Kindle Paperwhite and a regular Kindle?

The Kindle Paperwhite boasts a bigger display, warm light adjustment feature, longer battery life, waterproof build, and higher price tag.

Do Kindles offer audiobooks?

All Kindles offer text-to-voice narration through Alexa. But if you want to buy an audiobook specifically, you'll have to use Amazon's Audible. Audible is integrated into all newer Kindle models. 

Does a Kindle need Wi-Fi?

For certain things, like downloading new books and accessing the internet, yes. But if you have already downloaded the book you'd like to read on your Kindle you can read it without a Wi-Fi connection. I take my Kindle on the subway, where there's no Wi-Fi connection, and have no problem reading my favorite titles. 

Do I need a Kindle to read Kindle books?

Nope! Whether you have an iOS or an Android, you can download the Kindle app from the App Store or Google Play store and start reading on it. This allows you to buy and download digital books to your phone or tablet.

Also: The best tablets you can buy: Apple, Samsung, and Amazon compared

Can I get Kindle books for free?

You can get Kindle books for free. 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. And many free Kindle books can be found on none other than Amazon itself. All you have to do is go to Amazon and search "free Kindle books." 

Also: How to get (great) free books on Kindle

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:

View at Best BuyView at Amazon
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