Our guide to the best eReaders has been expertly picked to ensure you choose the right device to indulge your literary wants and desires. Through bibliophile-level research, we evaluated options based on the following criteria: lighting and screen quality, usability and size, battery life and storage, plus added perks, such as library access.
While there's still a place for the humble paperback or hardback in our collections - we'll admit to having been swayed by the convenience, ease and accessibility that the best eReaders offer. You can download your favorite book at the touch of a button, and have it ready to peruse in mere seconds. And today’s options feature top-of-the-line innovations that’ll forever elevate your foray into literature.
eReaders, including the best Kindles on the market, run the gamut. They have been designed specifically for the practice of reading, which means no sleep-disrupting blue-light screens that will make your eyes ache, and seriously impressive battery power that won’t run out on you mid-chapter. Plus, they’re lightweight, easy to use, the text size is adjustable, they come in a range of colors and styles and can also be used to listen to audiobooks. Some models are now waterproof, too, making them perfect for those of you who like to read whilst lounging in the tub. We could go on and wax poetic, but simply put: it has been substantiated that an eReader will change your life for the better.
In order to bring you the definitive list of the best eReaders on the market, including the much-loved Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and the popular Kobo Clara HD, we tested the eReaders focusing specifically on usability, connectivity and overall value for money. We have even given a nod to the best tablet for reading on, too – as well as which eReader is robust enough to give to the little people in your life. And if you’re still undecided, we’ve answered your most common questions.
But first, here's what to look out for in your eReader, which also highlights our testing methodology:
1. Screen display quality
2. Battery Life
3. Interface quality (think touchscreens, buttons, etc.)
4. Size and weight (think portability, comfort while holding, etc.)
5. Features included
The best eReaders to buy
1. Amazon Kindle
Best budget eReader
If you’re looking for all the benefits of an eReader and aren’t too fussed about snazzy extras, then this basic-yet-brilliant original-style Kindle could be the one for you – especially if you’re keen on keeping costs down. With an RRP of £59.99, the Amazon Kindle 8th Generation is often available for under £50 – so it’s definitely worth hunting around for offers. Once connected to WiFi, it takes less than a minute to download a new title, and you can store over 1,000 at a time.
It has a touchscreen, which makes navigating all the features far easier than it was with the buttons of old, and once fully charged, the battery will last you for weeks. Bookworms appreciate its straightforward usability – you can have it out of the box and be reading or listening (via wireless Bluetooth headphones) inside minutes. You can even highlight passages and translate words without leaving the page for a seamless, more convenient reading experience. The additional VoiceView capability allows you to adjust font size, screen color and brightness, line spacing and margins, which is great if you’re beginning to find standard books a struggle. And the cherry on top? It has a long battery life (we’re talking weeks of strong charge).
Some shoppers point out that letter and picture quality could be improved, especially compared to more expensive options. Regardless, it’s an excellent alternative for a beginner’s foray into eReaders, one that will ease you into the digital reading world. Just don't forget to invest in the best kindle cover for durable protection.
2. Kobo Libra H2O
Best waterproof eReader
Bath time reading fans rejoice! The Kobo Libra H2O can withstand up to 60 minutes in two meters of water, so even if you fall asleep reading in the tub and drop this little fella, it will survive. Another standout feature on the Kobo Libra H2O is its ComfortLight – a front-light that cleverly adjusts depending on where you are, be it out in your sunny back garden or snuggled up in the dark under a duvet, thus giving you one less thing to think about and ruling out any disruptions to your reading.
The built-in bedtime setting is a thoughtful addition, especially for readers who reveal in exploring their literary worlds at sundown. While it is bigger and slightly heavier than the equivalent Kindle models, this Kobo will tell you with a simple tap how many minutes it will take you to reach the end of your current chapter, allow you to place bookmarks, sync with your other devices and has a dictionary function to look up bizarre words. An added perk: you’ll enjoy long-lasting battery life, 8 GB of on-board memory for carrying up to 3,000 eBooks, plus Instant access to Kobo’s eBookstore through WiFi.
When using this agile device, be sure to have stable WiFi connection as some shoppers say it’s glitchy with hotspots.
3. Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition Tablet
Best eReader for kids
There is very little that we don’t love about this robust and reliable tablet – it’s a real all-round winner with heaps of features that have been designed with children in mind. The Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet comes housed in a rubber ‘kid-proof’ surround, which bounced merrily when we lobbed it onto the floor, and is very easy for small hands to grip. Or, you can take a look at the best Kindle covers here, if you're worried about slippy hands.
The two-year no-fuss warranty also provides additional peace of mind. Aimed at children from the age of three right through to 12, this tablet comes with a free one-year subscription to Amazon Fire For Kids Unlimited ($2 per month usually), offering access to thousands of books, but also to TV shows, films, teaching apps and games (hello, quiet time for mum, dad and grandparents).
There’s no need to worry about the kids straying across any unsavory content online, however, because you can fully customize this tablet to block certain sites, as well as setting bedtime curfews and timeouts. You can choose a blue, pink or yellow design, and while all are sturdy, they sadly won’t survive immersion in water. Since it's a tablet rather than a straightforward eReader, the battery time is significantly less at only 8 hours, so if you take it away for the weekend, don’t forget to pack the charger. It's a great option for younger children, but may be a bit too basic for the tech-savvy teens in your life.
Best eReader for reading at night
The Kindle Oasis may be the priciest on our list, but it does have a lot on offer to warrant a splurge, especially for those with astigmatism, cataracts, or weak eyesight. To start, it’s by far the most aesthetically pleasing. The slick graphite aluminum casing feels high-end next to its plastic companions, and the new champagne gold shade helps it to become a genuine thing of beauty.
The Kindle Oasis has a high-resolution touchscreen larger than any other eReader on the market, while its unique wedged back makes it comfortable to hold – especially when you’re curled up in bed. Add to this a smart light sensor (a night-reading essential), 3G connectivity (for a slightly higher price) and the fact that the Kindle Oasis is waterproof, and you’ve got a failsafe option that really is as good as it looks. It may seem like a lot to shell out when the Kindle Paperwhite is less than half the price, but if you’re an ebook fanatic who prefers their gadgets to offer more than the average, then you’ll be extremely satisfied with this one. We didn’t want to part with it!
See our full Amazon Kindle Oasis review
Best one-handed eReader
There is no doubt that the Kobo Clara HD has been designed for those of us with busy lives and cluttered handbags, and by focusing more on the simple musts rather than the slick extras, Kobo have created an eReader that may admittedly be low-frills, but is also no-fuss. Clara’s slim, textured body fits easily into one hand, making her the perfect companion for a cramped commute or a quick on-the-go gander. She is also very light – coming in at 39g less than Kindle’s equivalent, the Paperwhite, and we barely remembered she was there once we’d slipped her into the inside pocket of our denim jacket.
There’s a nifty feature that allows you to select passages of text and share them on Facebook, but only if you’re connected to WiFi, mind, because 3G connectivity is not yet a feature of this model. As with the Kobo Aura H2O, the Kobo Clara HD has ComfortLight Pro, as well as a night mode that can be set to switch on automatically once the sun goes down. The battery will last for up for four weeks of standard use, and the huge 8GB of storage means you can really fill up on novels and audiobooks.
Some caveats to consider: its interface is a bit non-intuitive, and some shoppers say the 6-inch screen is too small. So, if you’re a bespectacled reader with poor eyesight, you may want to invest in an option with a larger monitor.
See our full Kobo Clara HD review
Best eReader for the beach
Now we come to the market leader, the eReader most consistently voted into the top slot and the one all our friends have urged us to buy when our ancient model finally gives up. The Kindle Paperwhite is incredibly easy to use – you touch the right of the screen to turn a page, the left to turn back, and the top to access the menu and features. This innate usability makes it the perfect choice for a sun-lounging holiday, as does the paper-alike non-glare screen, extended battery life (up to six weeks from a full charge) and the fact that it’s now waterproof to boot. Shoppers also love its lightweight, thin design that lends for convenience and easy carrying.
The built-in storage is a substantial 8GB, but you can extend this easily with the addition of a memory card. For an extra £100, the Paperwhite will also connect through 3G as well as the standard WiFi option, meaning you can update your library more or less instantly while you’re out and about, and it is also set up for both Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Audible. You can choose from 16 adjustable font sizes to your liking, plus 16 levels of grayscale to enhance your text detail. Simply put, the Kindle Paperwhite is a book lover’s dream come true in digital form.
See our full Kindle Paperwhite review.
7. Amazon Kindle 2020
Best real-book eReader
If you are reading this article with a mild sense of trepidation about the whole concept of an eReader, then let the Amazon Kindle 2020 reassure you. Far from being a top-of-the-range mini-computer with enough functions, settings and extras to turn your brain into mashed potato, this user-friendly gem is the most like the real thing that you will find on the market. We promise that after you’ve read a few pages, you will forget that you’re not holding an actual paperback in your hands – in fact, you’ll probably hold it longer than you would a standard novel, because it weighs so much less.
And while the touchscreen may be lower resolution than the swankier Paperwhite and Oasis, all this really does is make it seem more book-like, not less. Plus, just like them, this Kindle has Bluetooth and is set up for Kindle Unlimited, all without the eyeball-enlarging price hike. It is the best basic model on the market by a mile, and an ideal choice for those taking their first tentative steps into the world of eReading.
8. Amazon Fire 10 (2021)
Best tablet eReader
There are a wealth of tablets out there that you can use for reading, but none have been so well reviewed or are as well designed for the purpose as the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet. Of course, the great thing about using a tablet as an eReader is the fact that they do so much more, so as well as covering your reading and listening bases, you can also get online, use all your favorite apps and update your social media accounts. As an Amazon tablet, it comes with Kindle store connectivity, enabling you to search for and then download as many ebooks as you want.
However, unlike standard eReaders, the Amazon Fire HD 10 does have a much shorter battery life, and a full charge will give you around 12 hours of reading time, as opposed to the multiple weeks offered by other eReaders. That said, reading on this tablet is preferable to squinting over a smartphone screen, and it’s nice to have the option of switching from book to video or music without having to swap devices. If you’re someone who enjoys having everything you need in one attractive black, blue, red or yellow package, then the Amazon Fire HD 10 could be the box-ticking choice for you.
EReaders versus Tablets
To enhance your shopping journey, we've evaluated the differences between eReaders and tablets as it pertains to digital reading. We've assessed the pros and cons, and include other considerations, below. Note: one isn't technically better than the other, and your purchasing decision generally hinges on your personal preferences.
Pros and cons
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Pros and cons
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Which eReader is right for me?
To eliminate guesswork on your end, we’ve explained what to consider and look out for in our how to choose the right eReader for you guide. Here, we break down what to keep in mind during your shopping journey — like personal preferences, affordability, and screen quality.
How can I get started with an eReader?
First, make sure your nifty gadget is fully charged. Then, you’ll want to sign into your WiFi network, which will allow you to complete the registration and setup process.
Once complete, you’ll have access to a behemoth selection of reads to download and/or purchase to your convenience.
With most eReaders, readers can select, download, and purchase books through a store(s) offered directly through your device, right at their fingertips. When you find a title you want, you’ll be able to check its price and other relevant information.
You’ll want to swipe the left or right edges of your screen to turn the page. Or, tap the left or right edges of your screen. Note: you can only turn one page at a time.
Do eReaders read and look like printed books?
Yes and no. Yes, as in you can still glean for details and information, albeit through a different medium. But aside from that, the eReader has greater capacity for a curated, customizable reading experience — an obvious limitation for print, where text and flow are fixed on page. With eReader tech, you can change fonts and font sizes, even line-spacing and margins depending on your device.
We've analyzed the topic of print books vs eReaders with a meticulous, bordering pedantic eye (because everything we do is all for you).
Can eBooks be printed and downloaded to other devices?
It is generally prohibited and not possible to print an entire eBook, due to publisher and copyright restrictions (you may be able to print a portion of each eBook, though).
You can download and transfer downloaded eBooks to a compatible eReader using Adobe Digital Editions software, a program that enables you to “acquire, manage, and read e-books, digital newspapers, and other digital publications.”
The sharing process is a tad different for the Kindle: if you want to share the eBooks, simply add another Amazon user to your account and enable sharing access. This is an especially convenient feature if you're searching for the best books for your book club.
How do I get help if my eReader isn’t working properly?
Thankfully, we have a guide that resolves this inquiry. Here’s how to reset your Kindle – and further steps to take if it still doesn't work.
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