E-readers have come a long way since the early Kindle models first hit the market over 15 years ago. Today‘s e-readers boast crisp, paper-like displays, robust app ecosystems, and premium hardware – all packed into thin, lightweight designs perfect for reading anywhere.
Choosing the right e-reader involves weighing factors like display size, storage capacity, waterproofing, and note-taking functionality. After extensive research comparing the latest models, here are our picks for the 6 best e-readers available today:
1. Amazon Kindle (2022) – Best Overall
- 6" 300 PPI glare-free display
- 16GB storage (thousands of ebooks)
- Up to 6 weeks battery life per charge
- Access to Kindle Unlimited (2 million titles)
- Lightest and most compact Kindle ever
The latest entry-level Amazon Kindle remains the best overall e-reader for most people. It packs impressive tech like the 300 PPI display into a lightweight, easy-to-hold design.
With 16GB of storage, you can load thousands of ebooks from the Kindle Store‘s vast selection. A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours or days like tablets. Plus, you get access to Kindle Unlimited‘s library of over 2 million titles.
For the price, convenience, and ecosystem, the standard Kindle is hard to beat for everyday ebook reading. It‘s the perfect balance of affordability and premium e-reader capabilities.
- Affordable price
- Long battery life
- Massive ebook selection
- Lightweight, compact size
- Smaller screen than some models
- Not waterproof
- Locked into Amazon‘s ecosystem
Bottom Line: With its combination of affordability, portability, and access to Amazon‘s robust ebook library, the latest Kindle is the best overall e-reader for most people.
2. Kobo Libra 2 – Best Kindle Alternative
- 7" HD E Ink Carta 1200 display
- IPX8 waterproof rating
- 32GB storage (24,000 ebooks)
- Supports ePub format ebooks
- Customizable blue light reduction
For those who want excellent e-reader hardware without being locked into Amazon‘s ecosystem, the Kobo Libra 2 is the top Kindle alternative. Its 7" HD Carta E Ink screen provides a crisp, paper-like reading experience with fully adjustable blue light reduction for nighttime reading.
The Kobo is IPX8 waterproof rated for up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water. So feel free to read in the bath or by the pool worry-free. It also packs an impressive 32GB of internal storage, enough for over 24,000 ebooks.
Unlike Amazon‘s offerings, Kobo supports the common ePub ebook format. This gives you more flexibility in where you purchase titles from independent stores beyond just Kobo.
- Waterproof for worry-free use
- Expansive ePub format support
- Excellent nighttime reading experience
- Robust internal storage
- Slightly more expensive
- Smaller ebook selection than Amazon
Bottom Line: With robust waterproofing, stellar reading experience, and flexible ecosystem, the Kobo Libra 2 is the best Kindle alternative available today.
3. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – Best Waterproof E-Reader
- 6.8" 300 PPI glare-free display
- Waterproof IPX8 design
- Up to 10 weeks battery life
- Available in 8GB or 32GB models
- Supports Audible audiobooks
For reading near water, the Kindle Paperwhite‘s IPX8 waterproof construction makes it our top pick. Its 300 PPI 6.8" display with adjustable warm light provides stellar visuals. An impressive 10+ weeks of battery life per charge means you can go multiple vacations without plugging in.
You can opt for 8GB or 32GB of storage. Plus, Bluetooth support allows you to pair wireless headphones and listen to Audible audiobooks directly on your Kindle.
While it costs more than the base Kindle, the Paperwhite‘s larger screen, waterproofing, and Bluetooth audio make it a worthwhile upgrade for avid readers.
- Waterproof for worry-free use
- Long battery life
- Larger, high-resolution display
- Audiobook support via Bluetooth
- More expensive than standard Kindle
- Not the largest display for PDFs
Bottom Line: With its IPX8 waterproofing, excellent display clarity, long battery life per charge, and Audible support, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best waterproof e-reader available today.
Price: Starting at $139.99
4. Amazon Kindle Scribe – Best for Note Taking
- 10.2" 300 PPI paper-like display
- Basic and Premium pen options
- Sticky note annotations sync across devices
- Supports Microsoft Word docs
- Up to 12 weeks battery life
The Kindle Scribe stands out as the best e-reader for taking notes while you read. Its large 10.2-inch display provides ample room for handwritten notes using the included Basic pen, or the more premium Premium pen option.
Your handwritten sticky notes and highlights sync across your devices automatically. You can also import Word docs, PDFs, and more to markup with the pen. Battery life lasts up to 12 weeks per charge.
If you want robust note-taking and document markup capabilities beyond just ebooks, the Kindle Scribe is a great pick. The functionality comes at a higher price tag, but frequent note-takers will find the investment worthwhile.
- Fluid pen input experience
- Automatic syncing of annotations
- Support for importing and marking up documents
- Huge display great for note-taking
- More expensive
- Not as lightweight or portable
- Less than 2 weeks battery life with constant pen use
Bottom Line: With its responsive pen experience, vast note-taking space, and document importing features, the Kindle Scribe is the top e-reader for annotations today.
5. BOOX Note Air2 Plus – Best Large Display
- 10.3” E Ink Carta display
- Wacom pen with 4,096 pressure levels
- Runs full Android 11 OS
- 64GB storage + free cloud storage
- Sync files from cloud services
For the largest display in an e-reader, the BOOX Note Air2 Plus tops our list. The 10.3-inch Carta E Ink screen provides an expansive digital page optimized for reading. It‘s powered by a full Android 11 OS, not just basic software.
That gives you the flexibility to install apps, sync files from cloud services like Dropbox, and more. The included Wacom pen enables natural writing and sketching with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.
If you want the maximum screen real estate to showcase full-page documents and sheets, the Note Air2 Plus delivers. You pay a premium for these robust capabilities in a digital note-taking e-reader format.
- Massive 10.3" display
- Fluid writing experience
- Runs full Android OS
- 64GB internal storage
- Not as portable as some models
- Non-optimized Android apps may lag
Bottom Line: With its huge, high-resolution display and responsive pen input powered by Android 11, the BOOX Note Air2 Plus is the best large-screen e-reader available today.
6. Amazon Kindle Kids – Best for Children
- 6” glare-free 167 PPI display
- Parental controls and content filters
- Durable, lightweight construction
- Comes with 1 year of Amazon Kids+ (free books)
- 2-year worry-free guarantee
Designed specifically with young readers in mind, the affordable Kindle Kids makes reading fun and safe for children. It provides tailored parental controls to filter age-appropriate content. A rugged, lightweight build stands up to drops.
Kindle Kids come with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ with over 1,000 free, popular children‘s books. A 2-year worry-free guarantee covers all damage in case of accidents.
With robust and flexible parental guardrails, tons of suitable content, and durable construction, the Kindle Kids a great first e-reader for kids.
- Rugged, kid-friendly design
- Comes loaded with kid content
- Parental controls for safe reading
- Affordable price
- Smaller screen size
- Lower resolution display
- Limited to Amazon‘s ecosystem
Bottom Line: For an affordable, safe, and durable e-reading experience tailored specifically for kids, the Kindle Kids is the top choice.
What To Consider When Buying an E-reader
With an array of great options now on the market, here are some key factors to consider when choosing an e-reader:
Screen Size – Entry-level models tend to have 6" displays, while larger options go up to 10" or more. Consider portability vs. maximum display area for books/documents.
Storage Capacity – More storage allows you to keep thousands of ebooks on your device. Typical options range from 8GB to 64GB.
Display Resolution – Measured in PPI (pixels per inch), higher resolutions provide crisper, print-quality text. Minimum of 300 PPI is recommended.
Waterproofing – For reading poolside or in the bathtub, look for waterproof designs rated IPX7 or IPX8.
Battery Life – Weeks or even months of use per charge, thanks to efficient e-ink displays.
Note-taking – Some models support stylus pens and handwritten notes/annotations for an enhanced reading experience.
Ecosystem – Kindle models integrate seamlessly with Amazon‘s massive ebook store and Audible audiobooks, while Kobo offers more flexibility.
Prices – Ranges from affordable ~$100 options to premium models nearing $500. Determine the right balance of price vs. features for your needs.
The Benefits of Reading on an E-Reader
Beyond convenience and portability, there are some great benefits to choosing a dedicated e-reader over tablets or phones:
E-ink displays are easier on the eyes for extended reading sessions and provide a natural, print-like reading experience.
With an e-reader, you avoid the constant notifications and distractions of apps, emails, and internet browsing – allowing greater focus.
Weeks or months of battery life per charge frees you from having to continually recharge like phones and tablets.
Lightweight designs are ideal for holding comfortably when curled up reading for hours on end.
Having your entire personal library on hand eliminates need to carry multiple books when traveling.
Note-taking abilities and document support on some models enhance productivity and research capabilities.
While print books provide a more tangible, nostalgic experience, e-readers offer unrivaled convenience and portability – making your entire library accessible anywhere with a compact, easy-on-the-eyes device designed expressly for reading immersion.
E-readers have evolved into versatile, feature-packed devices that make digital reading a superior experience to print books in many ways. With crisp e-ink displays, robust internal storage, and premium styling, today‘s e-readers are lightweight and portable – yet powerful enough to act as digital note-taking devices and document readers.
Amazon‘s Kindle line provides seamless integration with their unparalleled ebook store and ecosystem. But alternatives like Kobo offer more flexibility and customizations for those who don‘t want to be locked into one vendor.
Key considerations when choosing an e-reader include screen size and resolution, storage capacity, waterproofing, battery life, and whether features like note-taking integration are priorities for your needs. Prices range from budget-friendly ~$100 options to premium models pushing $500.
While print books provide nostalgia and tangible permanence, modern e-readers match or exceed their reading experience with ultra portability, months of battery life, and instant access to endless libraries. For most book lovers today, keeping an e-reader stocked with the latest page-turners is simply an indispensable joy.