The best eReaders for literary lovers to buy - from Kindles to Kobo devices

With our expert guide to the best eReaders on the market, step boldly into a digital reading future.

Best eReaders
(Image credit: Future)

Our guide to the best eReaders has been expertly picked to ensure you choose the right device for your literary wants and desires. 

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. 

eReaders, including the best Kindles on the market, have been designed specifically for the practice of reading, which means no sleep-disrupting blue-light screens, and seriously impressive battery power that won’t run out on you midway through your best eBook. Plus, they’re lightweight, easy to use, and the text size is adjustable. Some models are now waterproof, too, making them perfect for those of you who like to read whilst lounging in the tub. 

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. 

How we tested the best eReaders

In order to test the best eReaders on the market, we took at look at each of the most popular models - eight of them, to be specific - and tested them ourselves

We examined the following aspects in order to provide fair and honest feedback on each eReader:

  • Screen display quality: One of the most important aspects of a brilliant eReader is the screen being clear and high-quality enough for you to read every last word on there. So we took a look at the overall screen quality on each device.
  • Battery life: We also tested how long each eReader lasted from the point of being fully charged. You need to be able to read yours whilst out and about - and away from a charging point - so a long-lasting battery is seriously vital.
  • Price: While the below eReaders vary in price, during our testing we took a look at the value for money of one, to work out if sometimes it really is worth paying the extra price.
  • Size and weight: These are important aspects when it comes to an eReader - think portability, comfort while holding, etc. - because the best eReader should be easy to transport and not too heavy to hold
  • Features included: We also looked at any extra features the eReaders had, to see how they added to the overall user experience.

The best eReaders to buy as chosen by our experts

Amazon Kindle, best eReaders

(Image credit: Kindle)

1. Amazon Kindle

Best budget eReader

Specifications
Storage size: 4GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 160 x 115 x 9.1 mm
Backlight: No
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Straightforward and easy to use+Great battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Screen quality could be improved

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.

Kobo Libra H20

(Image credit: Kobo Libra H20)

2. Kobo Libra H2O

Best waterproof eReader

Specifications
Storage size: 8GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 144 x 159 x 5.0 - 7.8mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Can withstand up to 60 minutes in two meters of water+Brilliant battery life+A built-in bedtime setting
Reasons to avoid
-Glitchy when hotspotting

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 in hotspots.

best eReaders, Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition Tablet

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition Tablet

Best eReader for kids

Specifications
Storage size: 32GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 220 x 161 x 26 mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 2 years limited
Reasons to buy
+Robust and can withstand any damage from little hands+You can block certain sites if you want
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life isn't the best

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.

Kindle Oasis, best eReaders

(Image credit: Kindle)

4. Amazon Kindle Oasis

Best eReader for reading at night

Specifications
Storage size: 8/32GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 159 x 141 x 3.4-8.3mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Great quality screen+Very comfortable to hold+It looks stylish
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than other models

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

Kobo Clara HD, best eReaders

(Image credit: Kobo)

5. Kobo Clara HD

Best eReader to use on-the-go

Specifications
Storage size: 8GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 159.6 x 110 x 8.35 mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Great for use on-the-go+Very good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Some say the screen is too small

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

Kindle Paperwhite, best eReader

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Best eReader for the beach

Specifications
Storage size: 8/32GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 167 x 116 x 8.18mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to use+Lightweight and comfortable to hold+Battery lasts a long time
Reasons to avoid
-Might not be enough storage for some

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

Amazon Kindle 2019, best eReaders

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Amazon Kindle 2020

Best real-book eReader

Specifications
Storage size: 8GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 160 x 113 x 8.7mm
Backlight: No, but front light allows reading in the dark
Warranty: 1 year limited
Reasons to buy
+Very lightweight+Feels much more 'book-like' than other options
Reasons to avoid
-Screen isn't as high quality as others

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.

Amazon Fire 10 (2021)

(Image credit: Amazon Fire 10 (2021))

8. Amazon Fire 10 (2021)

Best tablet eReader

Specifications
Storage size: 32GB
Dimensions (H x W x D): 192 x 115 x 9.6 mm
Backlight: Yes
Warranty: 90-day limited limited
Reasons to buy
+This does lots more than a standard eReader+Colour screen, which some may prefer
Reasons to avoid
-Shorter battery life

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.

How do I choose the right eReader for me?

If you're wondering how to choose a good eReader, As mentioned above, the right eReader for you will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, price, screen quality and how you plan to use your eReader.

When you're working out which eReader to buy, we'd suggest first setting your price point - the best eReaders on the market vary hugely in price, so you want to be sure that you're not pushing your budget, and simply buying the best one you can afford.

It's also important to consider where and when you will use your eReader before you purchase. For example, some people might only take theirs away on holiday - in which case, they need a screen that can function properly in the sunlight. Others will want their eReader to be multi-functional, and allow them to browse the internet in between reading. In that case, a tablet eReader may work better. Take a moment to think about what you want from your eReader before purchasing.

And finally, it can also be helpful to consider how big you want your eReader, and how heavy or light you need it to be. eReader sizes and screen sizes vary, so be sure to check this before buying.

Should I choose an eReader or a tablet?

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. 

EReaders

Pros and cons

Reasons to buy
+Strong battery life+Light and small in design, comfortable for holding (and sometimes one-handed use)+Simple-to-use software to enhance reader experience (i.e. highlighting functionality)+Easy display+Non-glare screen for outdoor reading+Portable for on-the-go travel+Waterproof options are available
Reasons to avoid
-Limited function (to just digital reading)-Smaller screens-Limited color-scale

Tablets

Pros and cons

Reasons to buy
+Robust hardware+You can do more (like explore multiple apps and play games)+Bright, full-color screens+Added features+Streamlines features of multiple devices+Extensive software that supports camera use, etc.+Larger screen
Reasons to avoid
-Generally have a shorter battery life-Bulkier in size, not meant for one-handed use-Expensive-Many are not waterproof

It's important to note that one isn't technically better than the other, and your purchasing decision generally hinges on your personal preferences.

How do 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 huge selection of reads - including free eBooks - to download and/or purchase to your convenience. 

With most eReaders, readers can select, download, and purchase books - such as some of the most popular book club 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.

It's interesting to note that in ongoing print books vs eReaders debate, 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.