Whether it's fantastical voyages, autobiographies, or thrillers, we love books in all their different guises. There's nothing wrong with tucking a small paperback discretely into a pocket, but if you're planning on regular journeys with your beloved books, you can expect dog ears, tears, and even torn covers. Why risk it? A Kindle can save your books a whole load of harm, can hold thousands of titles, and is much easier to take on holiday than a briefcase full of books.
The Amazon Kindle is easily the best-known e-book reader, and it's probably the best you can buy. It's intimately embedded into Amazon's ecosystem, making buying and downloading books a breeze, and it has some of the best e-book reader technology around. If you're looking to buy a Kindle, you may have been confused by the range of devices on offer. Don't worry, we're here to demystify your choices. Here are the best Amazon Kindles you can buy, including the best overall choice, as well as other options if you're looking for something different.
Want to explore other e-book reader brands? We have a list of the best e-book readers that explores brands other than just Amazon's Kindle.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)
Best Kindle overall
- Bigger, brighter screen
- Warmer color temperature adjustments
- USB-C charging port
- Screen smudges easily
- No auto-adjusting light
Why you should buy this: Pound for pound, it's the best Kindle around.
Who it's for: Anyone who wants a great Kindle with a wide range of features.
Why we picked Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite (2021):
If you want the best Kindle for most people, keep it simple and get the Kindle Paperwhite. An update to the 2018 Paperwhite, the 2021 version of Amazon's midrange Kindle has increased the size of the screen and added a USB-C port. These two updates may seem fairly small, but they're what the Paperwhite needed to catapult itself to the top of our best Kindle list.
The screen is 6.8 inches and sports slightly slimmer bezels around the edge. That's a good and bad thing, as it means a large screen-to-device ratio, but it also means less bezel to grip while reading. It's also prone to smudges, and the larger design also means it's slightly less portable than the smaller basic Kindle and the previous model of Paperwhite. The screen is clear and crisp, though, with a 300 pixels-per-inch resolution. There's a blue-light filter, so it's easy to read at night, and since it's an e-ink screen, it's easy to read in direct sunlight too.
The Kindle Paperwhite is also waterproof, which provides peace of mind if you like to read in the bath. The inclusion of USB-C means your Kindle can share a charger with all of the best Android phones, though the battery still lasts for weeks, so it's not something you'll have to do often.
The Paperwhite comes with 8GB or 16GB of storage, and you'll need to upgrade to the Signature Edition if you want more storage space. While 8GB is more than good enough if you're only planning on packing it with books, if you're looking to use Audible, then the larger audiobook downloads will take up a lot more space, so you may want to upgrade to 16GB. The Paperwhite is fast, even though e-book readers aren't particularly known for speed. This helps the reading experience, cutting down on those micro-pauses when turning pages.
The Kindle Paperwhite starts from just $140 (with ads) or $160 ad-free. Yes, that's still an unfortunate reality in Amazon's ecosystem. But there's an upgrade you can grab: the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. Is it worth your money? Read on to find out.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
Best Kindle upgrade
- Wireless charging
- More storage
- Auto-adjusting brightness
- More expensive than basic Paperwhite
- Upgrade usefulness is debatable
Why you should buy this: It's a slightly upgraded version of the Kindle Paperwhite.
Who it's for: Audiobook lovers who want more storage than the basic Paperwhite offers.
Why we picked Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition:
The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition exists in a strange space, because it's basically a 32GB upgrade to the standard Paperwhite, with a few extra bits thrown in for good measure. It's an odd beast, and you'll have to decide for yourself whether the extra features are worth the additional price.
The first upgrade is auto-adjusting brightness, and it's the strongest of the three. Changing the brightness of your Paperwhite isn't difficult, but it could be a chore if you're moving around a lot. The Signature Edition handles that chore for you, automatically altering the brightness to match your surroundings.
The next upgrade in the Signature Edition is 32GB of storage. It's only really useful for those who expect to carry a lot of audiobooks on their Kindles. The 8GB version can carry thousands of books, so the upgrade is only really useful if you love to listen to audiobooks and have Bluetooth headphones to connect to your Kindle.
The final upgrade is wireless charging, and this usefulness may vary depending on how you use your Kindle. If you read all day, every day, and really give your Kindle battery a hammering, then being able to drop it on a wireless charging pad may be useful. But for most people, a single Kindle charge will last weeks, meaning your charging pad is either constantly topping your Kindle to full from the high-90% mark, or it's waiting for weeks between charges. While this upgrade may be attractive to some, it's difficult to see how this will benefit most people. Still, it's there if you need it.
The Signature Edition costs $190, so it's a $30 upgrade on the Paperwhite without ads, or $50 with ads.
Amazon Kindle (2022)
Best cheap Kindle
- Lightweight and compact size
- 6-inch e-ink screen with 300 ppi
- Dark mode and backlight display
- USB-C charging and great battery life
- Very affordable
- No ambient light sensor
- Not waterproof
Why you should buy this: It's a great basic e-book reader.
Who it's for: Someone who wants value and doesn't care about waterproofing.
Why we picked Amazon's Kindle (2022):
With the new Paperwhite being so good, you might worry there's no place for the even newer Amazon Kindle. Worry not, the basic Kindle is still excellent, and there are still very good reasons to buy it over the Paperwhite.
The base Kindle is certainly not a flashy device. It's made from black plastic, which means it's cheap and would benefit from the extra grip offered by a case. However, it's extremely light and small, with a 6-inch display. This means the Kindle is even more portable than the Paperwhite and can be easily slipped into most pockets or bags without adding much bulk at all. The screen has also been upgraded, and now boasts the same 300ppi resolution as its more expensive sibling. There's no blue light filter, though, so you may need to be more careful when reading at night. However, it does have a dark mode, which helps a bit with night reading.
Like the Paperwhite, the new Kindle features a USB-C port at the bottom of the unit, finally bringing Amazon's cheapest Kindle into line with most Android devices in 2023. It also has 16GB of storage as standard, another excellent upgrade over the base-level Paperwhite, which only has 8GB. Unfortunately, you don't get any waterproofing, so keep it away from the pool and the bath. Like previous Kindles, the basic Kindle's battery should easily last you weeks between charges.
You're missing out on some tasty features from the Paperwhite, but if you're looking to save some money and just want a basic e-book reader, you really can't do much better than the Amazon Kindle. It's small, portable, and still an excellent way to read thanks to the upgraded screen and extremely long battery life. At just $100, it's an easy pick for our Best Kindle list.
Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019)
Best premium Kindle
- Excellent screen that’s perfectly readable outdoors
- Comfortable to hold
- Color-adjustable front light allows for better nighttime reading
- Good performance
- IPX8 water resistance
- No USB Type-C charging port
- User interface could use a visual refresh
Why you should buy this: The Oasis offers a great reading experience and a big screen.
Who it's for: Someone who doesn't mind paying a lot for a great e-book reader.
Why we picked Amazon's Kindle Oasis (2019):
It's absolutely crying out for an update, but the Kindle Oasis is still the best big-screen Kindle you can buy. Almost four years on, Amazon hasn't launched anything quite like the Kindle Oasis, and that means it still deserves a place on this list. The most expensive Kindle e-book reader is a more premium offering than the Paperwhite or basic Kindle, and that shines through.
We'll start with the design. Unlike the plastic Paperwhite and Kindle, the Oasis has an aluminum frame that feels heftier and higher quality. There's a thick bezel on one side that houses the page-turning button. Yup, no swiping across the screen for Oasis viewers, who can more comfortably use their Kindle with a single hand. It's a real winner of a design, and being able to use the buttons instead of swiping is a game-changer.
The 7-inch screen has a 300ppi resolution, but it also has an auto-adjusting backlight that changes colors, so you're not bathed in blue light at bedtime. The orange tone can be set to come on automatically at nighttime, and since this is an e-ink screen, you'll have no problems viewing the display in the strongest sunlight as well. Storage options are 8GB or 32GB, and the 8GB option really rankles in 2023, especially at this price point. Still, that's thousands of e-books, and dozens of audiobooks, so even the basic option is fairly generous.
The battery doesn't last as long as other Kindles', as you'll get roughly a week or two of use. The Oasis' age really shows when you see the Micro-USB port. It's an extremely dated port and feels very out of place in 2023. But when you're only charging a few times a month, it's far from a deal-breaker.
The Kindle Oasis is the most expensive Kindle that's dedicated to reading, and it has the features to back up that price, which starts at $250.
Amazon Kindle Scribe
Best Kindle for writing
- Slim and lightweight design
- E-ink screen looks fantastic
- Tried-and-true Kindle reading
- Superb writing experience
- Weeks of battery life
- Very competitive pricing
- Few formatting tools for writing
- Limited Kindle app integration
Why you should buy this: It's a Kindle, but you can write on it.
Who it's for: Note-takers and editors galore.
Why we picked Amazon's Kindle Scribe:
The Kindle Scribe is Amazon's latest Kindle device, and it's a strange piece of kit unlike any other Kindle that's ever been released. This is the first Kindle you can write on, and it's a unique twist that works really well. The Kindle Scribe is the best Kindle for writing, and is worth every cent if that's something you need.
The writing experience is a great place to start. The Kindle Scribe comes with either the Basic Pen or the Premium Pen, and it's these you'll use to create your notes and jottings. Writing feels amazing, and you can make notes directly in your e-books, or choose from a number of different templates, including music sheets. Both attach to the Scribe magnetically, though only the Premium Pen has a built-in eraser and shortcut button. No matter which pen you get, they're both ready to go out of the box and never need to be charged.
The Scribe has a 10.2-inch display, making this the biggest Kindle ever made. Thanks to the 300ppi e-ink tech, it's easily legible and useful in a wide range of lighting. It has an auto-adjusting backlight, and an adjustable warm light too. It looks a little unwieldy, but the light build and thin frame mean it's just as easy to handle as the much smaller Paperwhite. The Kindle Scribe is not as portable, though, so expect to be shoving this into a bag, rather than a pocket. Despite its size, the Kindle Scribe still delivers the same amazing reading experience we've come to expect from other Kindles, which is quite the achievement.
Battery life is measured in weeks, but don't expect to see the same battery life you might get out of a Paperwhite. Our review period saw the Scribe being used throughout the day for note-taking, with 30 to 60 minutes of reading as well, and the battery life came in around two to three weeks. That's still a great battery life span, and if you use it less, expect to see it last for longer. Like all modern Kindles, the Scribe uses USB-C for recharging.
The Kindle Scribe has a massive amount to offer, so it's only fitting it comes with a high price as well. The Scribe starts at $340, and you'll pay more for the more useful Premium Pen. It comes included with higher storage models of the Scribe, which is a nice bonus. We don't recommend this Kindle for anyone who just wants to read; pick the Paperwhite instead. No, this is for the avid note-takers who would also appreciate a reading device. Those who edit and take notes on documents will likely find the Scribe invaluable, but it's a much more niche device than the other Kindles. But wow, what a device it is.
Frequently Asked Questions
Amazon Kindles used to be quite restricted with the formats you could read, but those days are firmly behind us. Amazon has also recently embraced EPUB files, opening Kindles up to some of the best sources for free e-books -- without the need for conversion. Kindles support the following file formats:
- Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
- HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
- RTF (.RTF)
- Text (.TXT)
- JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
- GIF (.GIF)
- PNG (.PNG)
- BMP (.BMP)
- EPUB (.EPUB)
This is an eternal question, and it's a good one. The answer is primarily comfort-based. The OLED and LCD screen technology used on our phones and tablets is gorgeous, but staring at them for hours at a time can be tiring on our eyes. The e-ink technology used in e-book readers, like the Kindle, has been specially created to be easier on the eyes and also has the benefit of being easily legible even in bright sunlight. Unlike your phone's screen, e-ink screens don't have glare, so they're just as easy to read on a sunny day as your favorite paperback book.
Also, e-book readers don't come with the same distractions as a smartphone or tablet, so you're able to properly seal the world away while you read.
The easiest way to get new books onto a Kindle is just to buy them from Amazon. However, there are plenty of free resources for e-books out there, and plenty of other stores too. There's an easy way to send new books to your Kindle though, and it involves just emailing them across to your device.
Head to the Content and devices page of your Amazon account, then click Devices. You'll be able to see that your Kindle has its own email address. Simply attach the e-book files you want on your Kindle to an email to this address, and they'll be sent to your Kindle.
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