- Our choice for the #1 best e-reader on Earth today is the Amazon Kindle.
- When choosing an e-reader, you want to consider the screen size and whether you want to be in Amazon’s ecosystem.
- Another factor is whether you want something that is good for use near a pool or at the beach with waterproofing.
As much as the touch of a paperback book can make you feel warm and fuzzy, there is just something about having one of the best e-readers available with thousands of books at your disposal that hits differently.
While some might argue there is a case to be made for e-reading on a smartphone or iPad, there is plenty to say about a dedicated e-reader being the superior product. It’s these reasons that have helped the best e-readers grow in popularity over the last decade and a half. The ability to focus solely on reading, without email, a web browser, or dozens of other apps to distract you, you are forced to just read.
E-ink displays have long been well-regarded for making it feel as if you are reading on paper. For anyone with sensitive eyes, reading on e-ink screens is arguably the best way to go if you want to pick up any device for ebooks.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best e-readers on Earth today.
- Best Overall: Amazon Kindle
- Best Kindle Alternative: Kobo Libra 2
- Best Waterproof Design: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- Best for Notes: Amazon Kindle Scribe
- Best Large Screen: BOOX Note Air2 Plus
- Best for Kids: Kindle Kids
#1 Best Overall: Amazon Kindle
- 300 PPI display (glare-free, paper-like)
- A single charge via USB-C lasts up to 6 weeks
- 16GB of storage
- Access to Kindle Unlimited with over 2 million titles
Amazon has long been the giant in the e-reader space with what is believed to be close to 72% of the e-reader market. The 2022 release of the Kindle has continued to evolve the popular e-reader as it’s now the lightest and most compact it has ever been. Featuring a 6-inch display with a 300 PPI resolution, you have one of the most comfortable e-readers on the planet. On top of being comfortable, you also have great battery life with a single charge providing up to six weeks of reading.
As another highlight, you also have 16GB of total storage, which means room for thousands and thousands of books. Rest assured you should never want for something new to read. Plus, the Kindle can access Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service, which provides up to 2 million titles as part of its subscription. Available in both black and blue, there is even a trade-in offer if you want to send back your current Kindle for 20% off a new model.
|Hands down the best e-reader for most people||Some people may want a larger screen|
|Awesome battery life||The screen is still not completely accurate to touch|
Check out the Amazon Kindle on Amazon today.
Best Kindle Alternative: Kobo Libra 2
- 7" HD E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen
- Waterproof body for reading anywhere
- 32GB of storage
- You can take up to 24,000 ebooks, 150 Kobo Audiobooks, or a combination of both with you anywhere
While the Kindle might be the most popular and best-known e-reader, it’s certainly not the only one, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t want to be stuck in Amazon’s ecosystem. Should you opt for the Kobo Libra 2, you will be rewarded with a 7-inch HD glare-free touchscreen, one inch larger than the #1 overall choice.
Along with the larger screen, Kobo also includes blue light reduction technology as well as adjustable brightness. A dark mode can also quickly transition to white text on a black background to make sure you can read at all hours of the day.
Beyond its screen, the Kobo Libra 2 also excels with its ergonomic design courtesy of dual page-turn buttons. You can also transition the Kobo into landscape mode if that is your preferred way of reading. With an IPX8 rating, the Kobo is waterproof for up to 60 minutes in up to six feet of water so feel free to read by the pool or in the bathtub. With 32GB of storage, you will never want for anything new to read as you can fit up to 24,000 books.
|A fantastic Amazon alternative||The glare-free screen only works about 95% of the time|
|Blue light reduction technology is welcomed||No Amazon Kindle Unlimited alternative|
Take a look at the Kobo Libra 2 on Amazon today.
Best Waterproof Design: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
If you want an Amazon Kindle e-reader with a little more punch, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the best answer.
Upping the screen size from 6 to 6.8 inches on the Paperwhite model, you also go from two color options on the smaller size to three with the Paperwhite. Where the Paperwhite sets itself apart from other best e-readers is that it now includes a waterproof frame so you can relax at the beach without any fears. More importantly though, no matter where you read, you now have up to 10 weeks of battery life on a single charge. Add in 20% faster page turns over the previous Kindle Paperwhite model and there is just something really excellent about this e-reader.
The 300 PPI screen is glare-free so reading anytime, anywhere is easy, and with 8GB of storage, you will always have another book available. Plus, you can go hands-free by adding books from Audible directly to the Kindle and listening over Bluetooth. Starting at $139 with lock screen ads, you can also go for an 8GB variant as well as pay extra for no ads at all.
|Outstanding battery life||May not be worth the extra cost for most people|
|Increased screen size makes reading even more comfortable|
Check out the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon.
Best for Notes: Amazon Kindle Scribe
When it comes to the best e-readers for taking notes, the Amazon Kindle Scribe is undoubtedly the best choice for most people.
Starting at $339 before trade-in, the Kindle Scribe is a great option for e-reading but also for reading, writing, journaling, and sketching. With a 10.2-inch screen, you can choose between Amazon’s Basic or Premium Pen, both of which enable handwritten notes on your favorite books. All of these sticky notes can quickly be referenced later so you don’t need to try and remember anything you previously wrote down. Best of all, neither pen requires any independent charging and attaches magnetically to the Kindle Scribe, similar to the Apple Pencil.
When you want to take a break from reading and actually do some work, you can import any number of file types into the Kindle Scribe, including Microsoft Word documents. Marking up PDF files on an e-ink screen is incredibly fluid and with one device for both reading and working, it can help stream your life with one less device in your gadget bag.
|Don’t need to worry about reading poolside||Not exactly the greatest way to mark up PDF files|
|Excellent battery life||Tries to be one gadget for everything but doesn’t always succeed|
Take a look at the Amazon Kindle Scribe on Amazon.
Best Large Screen: BOOX Note Air2 Plus
While the Amazon Kindle Scribe offers a similarly large screen, the BOOX Note Air2 Plus is a big winner with its Android 11 operating system.
Powered by Android, 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage, and free cloud storage, the BOOX is far more than just a simple e-reader. While reading may be its main focus, with the Note Air2 Plus, you have the ability to do real work on the display. With the ability to download a number of apps and put them into split screens for easy multitasking, you can send files and other documents via email apps. Popular apps like Google Drive, One Drive, Google Docs, and DropBox are all available for downloading as soon as the BOOX comes out of its box.
Priced at $449, the BOOX Note Air2 Plus offers strong competition to other e-readers with its 10.3-inch display as well. Lightweight and easy to carry, the BOOX feels like it should weigh far more but really lives up to the “Air” part of its name.
|A terrific alternative to Amazon and Kobo||An iPad does far more for the same price tag|
|Up to 64GB of storage can hold a ton of documents|
Take a look at the BOOX Note Air2 Plus on Amazon today.
Best for Kids: Kindle Kids
- Designed for reading only, so there are no apps or games
- A single charge lasts up to 6 weeks
- 16GB of storage
- Comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+
Very similar to the number one best overall choice with the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle Kids may be the only screen you don’t mind your kids regularly using.
For the $119 price tag before trade-in, you receive a protective cover of which there are three different options. The protective cover includes a 6-inch 300 PPI display and on this screen, it’s all about the reading. There are no games, apps, or Roblox to otherwise distract your kids. Instead, this Kindle is purpose-built for reading and because of that, Amazon Kids+ is included for two years (a $209 value), which adds a host of free and regularly updated books each month.
Amazon even claims that using the Kindle Kids has added up to an average of an hour a day of reading with the Amazon Kids+ 3-12-year-old subscription. Parents will also enjoy the knowledge they do not need to charge as regularly as other tablets as battery life can last up to six weeks before needing to be plugged in. With 16GB of storage, there is plenty of room for thousands of books and parents can even use a parent dashboard to monitor reading progress and adjust age filters to block books.
|A great device to get kids off their video screens||Should be better built to withstand kid drops and spills|
|Comes with a two-year subscription to Amazon Kids+||Amazon Kids+ should offer far more books|
Take a look at the Kindle Kids on Amazon.
What to Know Before Buying an e-Reader
Before you dive into the e-reader space, there are a few important things to know. First and foremost is that an e-reader is not a tablet. In that sense, this is not a device where you will download dozens of apps, browse the web, do video calls with friends and family, or go on social media. Instead, the best e-readers are devices specifically made for reading. Now, there might be a bit of a happy medium here with devices like the BOOX Note Air2 Plus but it’s still an e-reader first and foremost.
The second thing to know is that not only can you buy books from various stores like Amazon, but you can also add your own books or get them from your local library. There is a good chance your local library has some type of digital pathway for loaner books that you can read on your Kindle or Kobo device. This is a great way to do as much reading as possible without spending a fortune on new books.
The third thing to know is that you need to decide if you will spend time reading outside of your home. In that case, you might want to focus on an option that does better with the elements like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, which can be waterproofed and ready for the beach or pool.
Using an E-Reader: What It’s Like
When it comes to reading on any of the best e-readers, it’s, simply put, a much better experience than trying to read on a smartphone or tablet. Whether it’s better than a physical book is totally subjective, but there is little argument that reading on a Kindle is better for your eyes than an iPad. There is also a consideration that not having to worry about charging a device for weeks makes it easy to carry with you for a weekend trip or a two-week cruise and leave the charger at home.
For the price, you can spend right around $100 to get into the e-reader space and that’s a very attractive price point. It’s not quite impulse buy territory, but it’s close, and as soon as you start reading on an e-reader, there is a good chance you will stick with it. Not only are they lightweight, but the screens feel like you are reading a paperback or hardcover book, which helps make the transition from paper to digital even easier.
|#1||Amazon Kindle||Lightest and most compact, 16GB storage, Kindle Unlimited access||Some may prefer a larger screen, touch accuracy issues|
|Best Kindle Alternative||Kobo Libra 2||7-inch HD screen, blue light reduction, 32GB storage, waterproof||Glare-free screen not always effective, no Kindle Unlimited alternative|
|Best Waterproof Design||Amazon Kindle Paperwhite||6.8-inch screen, waterproof, 10 weeks battery life, Audible support||Extra cost may not be worth it for some|
|Best for Notes||Amazon Kindle Scribe||10.2-inch screen, pen support for notes, versatile usage||Not the best for PDF markup, tries to do too much|
|Best Large Screen||BOOX Note Air2 Plus||10.3-inch display, Android-powered, multitasking, 64GB storage||Similar price as an iPad, which offers more features|
|Best for Kids||Kindle Kids||Protective cover, Amazon Kids+ subscription, parental controls||Could be more durable, limited book selection on Kids+|
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