The best kindles and other eReaders 2020
17 April 2020
You’d be forgiven for thinking that getting a Kindle is the only way to go when it comes to buying an eReader - and, of course, they are the preferred option for lots of people - but there are other options out there. Then, what about the fact there is no ‘one’ Kindle anymore? They seem to be having an Apple moment and releasing a new update yearly, so, how do you decide between them and how do they even work?
Things to consider before you buy
Why buy a Kindle?
Convenience. You no longer have to palm off hoards of consumed books on friends or slip them into waiting rooms. You can access thousands of titles from one device and save valuable holiday luggage space. It never does replace the feel of a real book, but they’re getting closer.
How do Kindles work?
Amazon designed the Kindle so the interface connects directly to their store. Since Amazon already hosted millions of books, the launch of the Kindle was a huge success.
It works 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 to buy Kindle books
You buy books from Amazon within the Kindle. 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, but some have a feature that will allow you to borrow from the public library.
How to 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
Storage capacity varies from eReader to eReader and ranges from 6GB to 32GB of memory.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 6-inch, £99.99 (was £119.99)
If you like reading in the bath or, even better, by the pool, you’ll be happy to learn that the updated Kindle Paperwhite is now waterproof – and comes with twice the storage. You can pick between an 8GB or 32GB model, which will allow you to hold more audiobooks, comics and magazines than before.
A single battery charge will last weeks and it even comes with Audible so you can pair it with some Bluetooth headphones or speakers to switch seamlessly between reading and listening. Mumsnetters also rate the Paperwhite model for its built-in adjustable light so, no matter the time of day – or whether you’re inside or out – you can enjoy reading your books without worrying about straining your eyes.
“I vote for Paperwhite. Glare-free screen, well-lit, easy to download books, battery lasts for several weeks with wireless off.”
“I'm on my third Kindle which is the Paperwhite (my favourite so far). I really like having adjustable brightness. It's also good for being able to read without having to have the bedside lamp on.”Buy now from Amazon
Amazon Kindle Fire 7, £49.99
For a Kindle that also operates like a tablet, the Fire is well worth consideration. It has a seven-inch display and boasts either 16GB or 32GB of storage. Plus, if you get a microSD, you could take it up to a massive 512GB – more storage than you can shake a stick at. This Kindle is all about the entertainment factor, giving you access to books, movies, TV, music, apps and games. It's also voice-search compatible – meaning you can ask Alexa what the weather is going to be like tomorrow before you start a new box set. Plus, with up to seven hours of reading and surfing time, you’ll have more than enough battery life to get stuck into a new book or TV show. It’s a tablet and Kindle in one and, at under £50, it’s a steal.
“I have a Kindle Fire HDX which I use for everything. Really simple to download books and perfect for internet use.”
“I just bought my daughter a Kindle Fire for her 8th birthday while it was on offer at £50. Other eReaders were more expensive and didn't have the tablet function so she will get more use from the Kindle Fire.”Buy now from Amazon
Related: The best children's books, as voted by you
Amazon Kindle Oasis, £184.99 (was £229.99)
The Oasis is the largest Kindle on the market, with a seven-inch 300ppi display and advanced page-turning technology – ideal for one-handed reading. Unlike the Paperwhite, the Oasis has a warm backlight for a richer reading experience. You can even customise the screen to the shade of light that suits you and go one step further by scheduling in brightness levels, so it’ll work to your schedule. It can also handle being dropped in the tub (though don't make a habit of it) or taken to the beach so you can read anywhere.
This is the all-singing, all-dancing Kindle with a price tag to boot. It’s all about customisation and you can adjust fonts, boldness and size as much as you like. Plus, Whispersync allows you to switch between reading and listening without losing your place. If you’re a multitasker, you’ll really appreciate the extra features of the Kindle Oasis.
“If you can afford it, get an Oasis. It's a more advanced version, more lightweight, has a grip to enhance comfort to your fingers. It’s also more lightweight and has a rotating screen. It comes with a case where you can charge your Kindle so the battery can last for like two months.”
“I'm getting the Oasis mainly because it's more comfortable to hold one-handed, but it's also waterproof so you can read in the bath.”Buy now from Amazon
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 then, after the trial period, 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 which you can enjoy for 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.Find out more
Sony PRS-T1 eReader, £78.88
Looking for a Kindle alternative? You’ve come to the right place. Mumsnetters like this Sony eReader because it’s incredibly light and thin so fellow bookworms can snuggle up without worrying about repetitive strain or bulky handling. The display itself is also glare and eye-strain free, perfect for whipping out on those long train journeys. You can pinch-to-zoom to adjust text sizes, navigate PDFs and even highlight or add notes to annotate pages.
Mumsnetters who bought this enjoy the fact you’re not tied into buying books from one store. They like being able to access stories from Waterstones, WHSmith and Google Books via the Sony Reader Store – that means more choice and better value reads. It was also the first eReader with public library access so you can borrow books locally.
“I would highly recommend a Sony E-reader (PRST-1 or PRS150). It's far more flexible than the Kindle given that it takes the e-pub format of books which means you can buy your books anywhere and get a huge number of books free.”Buy now from Amazon
Kobo Glo eReader, £145
The Kobo Glo is another eReader Mumsnetters recommend. The integrated ComfortLight has been engineered to provide a comfortable reading experience so you can escape into a book at any time of day – no lamp necessary. It looks stylish, feels comfortable, and gives you built-in Wi-Fi access to nearly three million eBooks.
“The Kobo Glo is what I'd buy over the Kindle. Personal preference.”
“I have a Kobo Glo and the new Kobo Aura one. They are both very good. My eyesight is getting worse, so the display is important to me. The Aura one is bigger and a bit crisper, but quite a bit pricier. I would say the Glo is a good bet if the screen size suits you and you're not worried about the overdrive feature the Aura one has.”Buy now from Amazon
Kobo Aura eReader, £133
Waterproof. Eyesight-friendly. Comfortable. This Kobo Aura eReader is perfect for getting stuck into a good book. More than water-resistant, this model is fully waterproof thanks to its inside-out H20 and HZO protection. The ComfortLight Pro goes one step further than the Glo by reducing blue-light exposure throughout the day so at bedtime, you’ll sleep well no matter how many chapters you get through.
Designed to be light to hold for long periods of time, the 6.8-inch screen delivers a reading experience akin to a physical book – and yet you have access to Kobo’s five million strong bookstore at your fingertips.
“I love my Kobo Aura. I didn't want a Kindle as I get most of my electronic books from the library and save myself a fortune. Best thing about the Kobo is that it's waterproof and I like to read in the bath. I had a few dodgy moments with my previous eReader but now I don't need to worry about any liquid getting near it. I've had mine over two years and it looks new. Also, it’s really easy to use with the library software.”Buy now from Amazon
Prices correct at time of publication. 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).