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10 best Kindles and other eReaders

Bookworms in their droves are turning over a new leaf by switching to electronic book readers – and even the most die-hard bibliophiles can’t deny the countless advantages of these novel digital devices. We’ve rounded up the 10 best Kindles and other eReaders.. 

By Louise Cole | Last updated Jan 14, 2022

Woman sitting down reading from Kobo eReader

Lighter, thinner and arguably more eco-friendly than the average tome, it’s little wonder that eReaders have caused a popularity plot twist in terms of book-buying. And while these divisive devices continue to be rejected by traditionalist bookworms, countless modern-day readers have welcomed this new chapter in what is quite literally novel technology. 

With glare-free screens, batteries that last for weeks and storage for thousands of books, eReaders excel both at home and away. They trump their paper counterparts on several counts – they can be held in one hand, are legible in the dark and have customisable text to suit your peepers, plus you’ll never lose your page. Some models are waterproof, others read to you and all benefit from virtual bookshops that remain open 24/7. You can even use them to borrow electronic library books.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a Kindle is the only way to go when it comes to buying an eReader – and, of course, it is the preferred option for many people – but there are plenty of other options out there too. 

So we’ve gone on the hunt for the best Kindles and other eReaders to buy this year. We've whittled down our list with the help of numerous consumer reviews and countless recommendations from unbiased Mumsnetters, who’ve tested out all types and brands for ease of use, simplicity of navigation, text clarity, comfort when holding, battery life, the range of books available and other features.

So whether you’re snuggled up in bed, in the bath or beyond, our selection ensures that you’ll never be without a good book.

Here are the best Kindles and other eReaders for 2022.

1. Best overall eReader: Kindle Paperwhite 6-Inch

Kindle Paperwhite

Price: From £99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I used to sneer at eReaders. Then I bought a Paperwhite and loved it. I love the lit screen, the compact size and the fact that I can immediately have another book or buy the sequel. I’m a total convert.” SoupDragon

“I really have no experience with other eReaders or tablets – except for phones or the Kindle Fire – but the Paperwhite trumps these by miles!” Ylvamoon

“I love my Paperwhite. I don’t get tired eyes like with a standard screen.” nocoolnamesleft 

Recommended repeatedly on the Mumsnet forums and boasting tens of thousands of positive reviews, it’s easy to see why this bestseller continually flies off the shelves. Simple to navigate for even the most technophobic among us and with more than five million titles to choose from, its matte touchscreen is designed to look like real paper – and it doesn’t disappoint.

With a resolution of 300 pixels per inch for superb clarity of text, its adjustable brightness means you can read inside or out at all times of the day without the worry of eye strain, plus the evenly-lit display makes it ideal for use in the dark without disturbing others (particularly feeding babies).

A single battery charge lasts up to six weeks and it even comes with Audible so that you can pair it with Bluetooth headphones or speakers when your eyes need a rest.

While we’re not keen on the home-screen adverts, these can be removed for a well-spent tenner.

Pros

  • Built-in Audible
  • Waterproof
  • Four colour choices

Cons

  • No paper instructions
  • Adverts can be annoying

Key specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Storage: 8GB or 32GB
  • Resolution: 300ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 191g
  • Battery life: Up to six weeks

2. Best budget eReader: Kobo Nia 6-Inch eReader

Price: £89.99 | Buy now from Argos

“I had a Kobo and liked it a lot. I never had a problem finding the books I wanted.” Elbbob

“Yay to Kobo! I love mine. It's seven years old now but still going strong, while my mum is on her third Kindle.” Gentlemanwiththistledownhair

Bookworms on a budget will appreciate the basic but brilliant Nia eReader from Kobo. While this entry-level model may have a slower response time than some of its rivals, it’s nevertheless a dependable Kindle alternative that can hold up to 6,000 ebooks.

Quick to set up and able to support multiple languages, it has more than 50 different font styles and a dimmable ComfortLight that makes it perfect for bedtime reading or low-lit plane journeys.

The Nia’s non-reflective touchscreen features a virtual keyboard. But a word to the wise: the buttons may prove too small for some users.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Dimmable

Cons

  • Can be slow to load
  • Available only in black

Key specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Resolution: 212ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 172g
  • Battery life: Several weeks

3. Best eReader for versatility: Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet

Amazon Fire tablet

Price: £159.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“The Kindle Fire HD is a more versatile Kindle. Close to an iPad, you can play games, watch TV and surf the internet. That said, it’s rubbish in the direct sun but I’m a parasol fan anyway.” DinnaeFashSassenach

While not strictly an eReader per se, the Amazon Fire is capable of doing everything its solo-function rivals do – and much more. Essentially a multimedia Android tablet, it’ll not only allow you to access thousands of books, newspapers and magazines, you’ll also be able to browse the internet, take photos and watch videos, all on a colour HD screen. Plus, having Alexa built in, you can ask for tomorrow’s weather forecast before starting a new box set.

With 32GB and 64GB versions available, this model is ideal for those who favour space-gobbling audiobooks, but it should be remembered that downloaded apps will also eat into the device’s storage capacity. That said, buying a microSD card can take this up to a massive 1TB.

There are drawbacks when using the Fire to read books, however. The screen is susceptible to glare, making it harder on the eyes, plus the device is significantly heavier than regular eReaders despite being relatively thin. On the plus side, it comes in four classy colour options.

Pros

  • Can run any Android apps
  • Large colour screen
  • Front and rear-facing cameras

Cons

  • Heavier than regular eReaders
  • Short battery life

Key specs

  • Screen size: 10 inches
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB
  • Resolution: 224ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 465g
  • Battery life: Up to 12 hours

4. Best waterproof eReader: Kobo Libra H20 eReader

Price: £145.74 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a Kobo H2O. It’s completely waterproof. I love it.” PancakeAndKeith

“Best thing about the Kobo is that it’s waterproof and I like to read in the bath. Had a few dodgy moments with my previous eReader. Now I don't need to worry about any liquid getting near it. I’ve had mine over two years and it looks new.” codswallopandbalderdash

Those who get immersed in a book in more than just the metaphorical sense may like to splash out on Kobo’s Libra H20 eReader, which – as the name suggests – is fully waterproof. Able to withstand accidental splashes and unexpected spills, it’ll also remain unharmed after being submerged for an hour in up to two metres of water, meaning you can relax when reading at the beach, by the pool or in the bath, with no soggy pages in sight.

Unofficially also winning our accolade for the best eReader to take on holiday, it’ll use up little of your luggage allowance and its HD screen is like reading off paper, even in direct sunlight. You may not even need to take a charger away with you as its battery lasts for several weeks.

Ergonomically designed to be comfortable in the hand, it has a landscape mode plus physical page-turn buttons in addition to those on-screen, although they’re not the easiest to click and the sound may annoy a sleeping partner.

It comes – aptly – in black and white versions.

Pros

  • Fully waterproof
  • Portrait and landscape orientation

Cons

  • Some users experience connectivity issues
  • Buttons could be easier to press

Key specs

  • Screen size: 7 inches
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Resolution: 300ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes  
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 192g
  • Battery life: Several weeks

5. Best eReader for kids: Kindle Kids

Kindle Kids eReader

Price: £99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought DD a Kindle Kids edition for Christmas as she hijacked mine about six months ago and she adores reading on it. It comes with a subscription that gives her access to hundreds of books.” Heiferr

If there’s one screen that you’ll be happy for your kids to look at for hours on end, then this is it. The Kindle Kids eReader encourages your child’s inner bookworm and has more than 1,000 popular titles and series to discover – from Harry Potter to The Secret Garden – so it should keep them entertained for hours. The included one year of Amazon Kids+ also means that children can access some 100 Audible books, including Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan.

No ads, videos or games means no distractions, and if the device is broken within two years for whatever reason – and let’s face it, that’s a distinct possibility despite the protective cover provided – it’ll be replaced free of charge.

While the display lacks the crispness of some alternatives and the absence of colour is less than ideal when reading picture books, this is nevertheless a fun and educational device that’s perfect for youngsters of various reading levels. Available in four designs.

Pros

  • Two-year replacement guarantee
  • Opens and closes like a book to wake it or put it to sleep

Cons

  • Can be laggy
  • Not ideal for picture books

Key specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Resolution: 167ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 169g
  • Battery life: Several weeks

6. Best user-friendly eReader: Kobo Clara HD eReader

Kobo Clara eReader

Price: £119.99 | Buy now from Argos

“I am so pleased with my Kobo Clara. Best thing I’ve bought in the whole pandemic.” MiraWard1

“I’ve got a Kobo Clara because I wanted to borrow library books on it and I love it.” Fluffycloudland77

Technophobes and those seeking a simple life will be grateful for the straightforwardness of the uncomplicated Kobo Clara, which is rated by users for its clear instructions, easy setup and user-friendliness. It lacks water-resistance, however.

Creating a customised reading experience is a doddle, with moveable margins and dozens of changeable fonts and text sizes. Like most eReaders, the Clara has a built-in dictionary that can be accessed with the tip of a finger and you can even write notes or highlight passages.

While the power button being on the bottom won’t please everyone, this device makes it easy to borrow books from your local library and could soon pay for itself in loaned books – just be sure to check that the library uses an app compatible with Kobo’s for downloading books.

Pros

  • Straightforward setup
  • Easy navigation

Cons

  • Odd power button position 
  • Not waterproof

Key specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Resolution: 300ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 166g
  • Battery life: Several weeks

7. Best lightweight eReader: PocketBook Touch HD 3

Price: £128.88 | Buy now from Amazon

“Pocketbooks are nice eReaders.” GrolliffetheDragon

Lighten up with this convenient and compact eReader from PocketBook that, at just 155g, weighs around the same as a packet of Oreos. Small enough to fit in a jeans pocket or even the littlest changing bag, this practical device is extremely portable and perfect for when you want to travel light.

With a 16GB memory that’s large enough to store all your favourite titles, it’s ideal for prolific readers who want the capacity to have a whole library at their fingertips. While it may lack the speedier performance of some eReader models, such as the Kindle Oasis, the Touch HD 3 offers excellent contrast and sharpness as well as vertical and horizontal orientation. It’s also waterproof.

Choose from either Spicy Copper or Metallic Grey.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ample storage
  • Physical buttons plus touchscreen

Cons

  • Touchscreen could be more responsive
  • Can feel a little clunky

Key specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Resolution: 300dpi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 155g
  • Battery life: Up to one month

8. Best eReader for one-handed reading: Kindle Oasis

Kindle Oasis

Price: £229.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have an Oasis and love it. It's nice and light and easy to use one-handed.” Starjammer

“I have the Kindle Oasis. It can be used left-handed – the screen rotates to be used that way. I’m not left-handed but know someone who is and they say it’s great for them.” Abraxan

“I have a Kindle Oasis. I really like it for reading before bed, in the sun and in the bath as it’s water-resistant. It also plays Audible books when paired with headphones.” SuperLoudPoppingAction

When it comes to comfort, paper books are no contest for their electronic equivalents: no pages to hold open plus far less bulk equals considerably less arm ache (particularly for anyone partial to hardback or doorstep tomes). And in terms of one-handed reading, the Kindle Oasis outshines its competitors thanks to its asymmetrical design, side page-turn buttons and light weight.

With Graphite and Gold options, the stylish aluminium finish gives it a quality feel and aesthetically-pleasing look, but the Oasis is also around £100 more than many of its rivals. It has a larger screen than most, however, with a pin-sharp display and is less sluggish, turning pages super-fast and auto-rotating for left- or right-handed reading.

You’re also paying extra to have the ability to tweak the shade of screen lighting from white to a warm amber for a more authentic reading experience and you can even schedule light changes. What’s more, the Oasis will automatically adjust screen brightness to suit your surroundings.

Do these plus points justify the additional outlay? We think so.

Pros

  • Outstanding screen quality
  • Auto-adaptive front light
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No USB-C cable

Key specs

  • Screen size: 7 inches
  • Storage: 8GB or 32GB
  • Resolution: 300ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 188g
  • Battery life: Up to six weeks

9. Best large-screen eReader: Kobo Forma 8-Inch eReader

Price: £239.99 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“Kobo has a good reputation.” Mrsfussypants1

“I’ve had my Kobo for nearly seven years – I love it. I have never struggled to find what I was after.” AvonCallingBarksdale

The Kobo Forma is a big deal in every sense. With a whopping eight-inch display, it’s made for those who prefer a large screen (or who simply lack 20/20 vision) and it offers clear, crisp text.

With the increase in size comes a greater weight, of course, but this device is thinner and lighter than expected. Bath-friendly and with physical page-turn buttons, it also keeps flashes between turns to a minimum.

Its curved design on one side makes it comfy to hold and, like many modern models, it boasts an illuminated front light that shines towards the screen instead of into your eyes. We love that its ComfortLight PRO – which also features on several other Kobo models – reduces blue-light exposure as the day wears on so you’ll have no trouble sleeping come bedtime, no matter how many chapters you get through. A 32GB version is also available.

Pros

  • Large screen
  • No adverts

Cons

  • Heavier than many eReaders  
  • Quite pricey

Key specs

  • Screen size: 8 inches
  • Storage: 8GB or 32GB
  • Resolution: 330ppi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Weight: 197g
  • Battery life: Several weeks

10. Best high-end eReader: Boox Note Air 10.3-Inch Ebook Tablet

Boox eReader

Price: £419.99 | Buy now from Amazon

With the name Note Air, it’ll come as no surprise that this device from Boox does far more than its single-function competitors. Though made by a relatively unknown brand in comparison to Kindle and Kobo, this is a premium product that’s an eReader, notepad and canvas in one.

Those who frequently view PDFs will particularly appreciate this model, which has an A5-sized display and allows users to annotate, take handwritten notes while reading, add bookmarks on various file formats and even draw using the stylus provided. Even better, you can install any Android app and have two open at the same time on a split screen. All these bells and whistles may be unnecessary if you plan to use the device for reading only, however. 

At just 5.8mm thick (or should we say thin), the Note Air is surprisingly portable. But be warned: it’s fairly slippery, so you might also want to fork out for a case.

Pros

  • Large storage capacity
  • Speaker on side

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Quite heavy

Key specs

  • Screen size: 10.3 inches
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Resolution: 227dpi
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes  
  • Weight: 420g
  • Battery life: Up to four weeks (standby mode)

How do Kindles work?

Amazon designed the Kindle so that the interface connects directly to its store. Since Amazon already hosted millions of books, the launch of the Kindle was a huge success.

Kindles work by giving you access to the store and letting you select a book to buy and download while you are connected to Wi-Fi. Once the download is complete, you’re free to read it anywhere you like and you don’t need an internet connection. Newer Kindles now also come with data plans so you can roam around using 3G and 4G. Other brands followed by creating their own online store app and linking up with the likes of Waterstones and WHSmith.

Where do I buy Kindle books and how do I find free ebooks?

You buy books from Amazon within the Kindle. Amazon Prime members can get discounts and even free reads if they have that infamous tick next to the title. Other eReaders operate in a similar way. While your device may come with a limited selection of free ebooks, it’s worth doing a bit of googling as there are numerous websites – such as Project Gutenberg and Planet eBook – that offer many free of charge. And don’t forget that wonderful resource that is the local library for borrowing ebooks free of charge, with Kobo being your best bet for doing this.

How do I download Kindle books?

  1. Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi
  2. Tap the ‘store’ icon and start browsing
  3. When you’re ready to download a book, tap it and select the ‘buy’ button
  4. Once it has downloaded, tap the ‘home’ button which displays your library and you should see your new book

What’s the difference between the Amazon Fire and Kindle Paperwhite?  

While these two Amazon devices look similar on the outside, they’re designed to perform quite differently. The Kindle Paperwhite is a matte-screen eReader that has just one purpose, whereas the Amazon Fire is a colour tablet that pretty much does it all, whether that be partaking in Zoom calls, watching Netflix or listening to music.

Whereas the Paperwhite is limited as to what it can do, its anti-glare screen helps users to avoid eye strain, while the Fire will reflect light and be harsher on the eyes. The former is much lighter than the latter, making it far more comfortable to hold.

The other major difference between them is their battery life – the Fire’s is up to 12 hours on a full charge, with the Paperwhite’s lasting up to six weeks.

Is Kobo better than Kindle?

Amazon’s Kindle continues to dominate the eReader market, with Kobo its biggest competitor. Similar in looks and price, both brands’ products offer excellent performance and it’s ultimately up to personal preference as to which you go for. Amazon unsurprisingly boasts the larger ebook store, so it’s worth checking that the titles you want to read are available before buying any device.

While you can listen to audiobooks on a Kindle through Amazon’s Audible service, this cannot be done with Kobo models, which support more file formats than Kindles and are also a good choice for readers who plan to read books from the library.

Advertising is another consideration: while Kobo models have no ads, you’ll have to pay to remove them from a Kindle (or buy the device at a discounted rate if you’re prepared to put up with them).

How do I choose the best Kindle or eReader?

Before deciding on a particular eReader, it’s vital to pinpoint which features are most important to you:

  • Screen size: Many eReaders have a six-inch screen, with others being seven or eight inches and beyond.
  • Text clarity: The higher the ppi (pixels per inch) or dpi (dots per inch) figure, the clearer the text will be, with less pixelation.
  • Design: Is the device comfortable in-hand? Does it have a touchsreen? How much does it weigh? Pick up and hold the device before buying if possible. And if an in-built light is important to you, check that it has one before parting with your cash. 
  • Ease of use: Check how easy the eReader is to set up and use, as well as how simple it is to navigate. 
  • Range of books available: It’s worth looking into whether or not the books you want to download are available from your chosen device’s ebook store.
  • Storage capacity: Even 8GB models are unlikely to run out of room in a hurry, but if storage is a feature you’re concerned about, go for a 16GB or 32GB eReader – or even better, choose one that’s compatible with a microSD card.
  • Battery life: The longer, the better. A battery life of several weeks on one charge is the norm for most eReaders. 
  • Water-resistance: If you plan to read in the bath, on the beach or at the poolside, it’s wise to opt for a waterproof model.
  • Cost: With models ranging in price from tens to hundreds of pounds, there’s sure to be one to match your budget.
  • Recommendations: Reading as many reviews as possible and asking for recommendations from friends and family members is advisable when in the market for an eReader.

Which model of Kindle is the best?

The best Kindle model is the Kindle Paperwhite 6-Inch. Rated by countless Mumsnetters for its simplicity, clarity and download speediness, it’s a worthy recipient of our highest accolade. Fairly priced and available with or without ads, there’s a 32GB version if you need additional storage space.

With a built-in adjustable light and available in Black, Twilight blue, Plum and Sage, it’s easy on the eye in more ways than one, meaning you can read comfortably for hours (or even weeks thanks to a superb battery life). There’s a vast selection of books to choose from, it’s waterproof and the fact that it comes with Audible is the icing on the literary cake.

What is the best non-Kindle ebook reader?

Readers seeking an alternative to products made by the behemoth that is Amazon won’t be disappointed with Kobo’s Clara, which crops up in a positive light on the Mumsnet forums time after time. A step up from the more basic Nia model, it’s simple to set up and use, makes it easy to borrow library ebooks and it’s fairly priced too. 

What is Audible?

Audible is a monthly subscription service that allows you to listen to audiobooks, original podcasts and dramas on your smartphone, tablet, Alexa-enabled device, computer or MP3 player.

Audible subscriptions begin with a 30-day free trial, after which you pay £7.99 per month and receive one book credit each month that you can exchange for any book on Audible. There are also some Audible original podcasts that you can enjoy free, without using any of your credits.

Once you redeem a credit or buy an audiobook, it's yours to keep forever – even if you cancel your subscription. After the book is downloaded to your device, you can listen anytime, anywhere without needing an internet connection. 

How we chose our recommendations

We first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which Kindles and eReaders discerning Mumsnetters recommended and had bought themselves, noting their feedback about these brands and models. We then drew up a shortlist of those that were repeatedly mentioned.

From there, we did some research across the wider web, consulting independent review sites and taking into account what customer reviews said about the products featured. Having collated all that information, we picked the eReaders and Kindles we thought were worthy of taking the titles in an array of interest categories.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one. Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).

Main image credit: Kobo