Ever since Amazon announced the first Amazon Kindle ereader, the market has been totally governed by the retailer giant. Competitors have come and gone, and while there are some good ereaders still on the market in 2023 from other manufacturers, Amazon's Kindle range remains the best in class.
Just as Apple sits a-top the best tablet market with its iPad range, Amazon rules the ereader market with its Kindles.
Today’s Kindles are beautifully crisp, offering paper-like screens and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use so that you don’t get that glare when reading on the go. There are a few different editions of the Amazon Kindle with a number of different features, and that can make it difficult to choose which one is right for you, so we’ve broken it down with a list of the best and what they can do at a range of budgets, so you can decide what version suits your needs and preferences.
Students will really benefit from owning a Kindle, particularly those studying English Literature or Language or any kind of degree that requires a lot of reading, investing in a Kindle is a great way to keep the costs down on books you need for studying.
In case you weren’t sure, Kindle ereaders are different to Kindle Fire tablets. Ereaders are designed purely for reading, and they’re known for their exceptionally long battery life and paper-like screens.
But if you think a tablet is what you’re after instead, then we do also have guides for the best tablets and best tablets for kids, for things such as streaming, gaming and more. And if that doesn’t cut it, then our best laptops guide has plenty of options you may also like.
The best Kindle e-readers you can buy in 2023
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The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite costs almost twice as much as the standard Kindle, so why would you upgrade? Because you get some extra features that are actually useful while keeping the same compact 6-inch screen size and getting an even thinner Kindle. More storage, a better front light, waterproofing, and a fetching blue shade. The display is flush with the device's front and runs at a much higher resolution too.
Combined, all these extra features really do flush out the standard Kindle as a device, especially so in terms of future-proofing. For anyone who is serious about getting into reading on an e-reader, then this is the Kindle model to check out first. To see how the Paperwhite stacks up against the standard Kindle then be sure to read T3's Amazon Kindle vs Kindle Paperwhite comparison feature.
The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition takes the winning formula from the standard Paperwhite and makes it even better. It is a fair amount more expensive but you do get a lot for your money, and you won't be plagued with ads.
Thanks to the 6.8inch screen, there's more display to work with which means less page-turning and more reading. You'll also get 32GB of storage, so you'll never run out of space as you might with just 8GB. If you're a serious bookworm who powers through your reading lists then this is probably worth having!
That's not all of the differences though - there are a few extra features here that you don't get on the cheaper model, like wireless charging and an auto-adjusting backlight which will be much easier on the eyes especially when you spend ages deep in a good book. If you don't mind spending the extra cash then the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is certainly worth it!
The Kindle Oasis is Amazon's top-of-the-line e-reader and, as such, it costs. So you know why you would pay extra for the Paperwhite – why would you then pay even more for the Kindle Oasis? Well, once again you get the front-flush design, and the waterproofing, and the extra storage (your choice of 8GB or 32GB, as on the Paperwhite).
At 7 inches, this is the biggest Kindle screen too, which means a more immersive reading experience even if it's a bit more to carry. It's the most premium-looking model in the range too, and you get dedicated page-turning buttons and an auto-adjusting backlight. It really is a joy to use, too, with the 300ppi screen displaying pages as if they were printed on real paper. The Oasis also works with Audible, the audiobook service, so if you like listening to stories as well as reading them, this top-end unit has you covered. To see how this Kindle stacks up against our number one choice, be sure to check out T3's Amazon Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis comparison feature.
The introductory Kindle model is a strong but basic e-reader. It's compact, it's intuitive to use, and it does everything that you'd want a Kindle e-reader to do – though you miss out on some extra features like waterproofing and auto-adjusting sensors for the backlight.
Other Kindles offer more storage, too, but 16GB is more than enough space for thousands of ebooks (and that's really what it is about, right), and what we like most is the low price: go for one of the more expensive models and you'll have to pay at least twice as much. With that in mind, this is our pick for the best Kindle out there if you are shopping on a budget - read more about it in the Kindle 2022 review.
The name really gives away the reason why you would pick this Kindle over all the others – it's the Kindle for your offspring, the one you should get for the children in your life, and it adds a few kid-friendly features on top of all the features from the basic Kindle model.
Those extras include a choice of colourful cover cases, built-in parental controls, and a one-year subscription to the Fire for Kids Unlimited service (usually £1.99 a month) – that includes all the Harry Potters, by the way. The perfect introduction to ebooks for kids. To see if this is the right e-reader buy for your family then check out T3's Amazon Kindle vs Amazon Kindle Kids Edition comparison feature.
Sitting at the very top of Amazon's range of e-readers is the Kindle Scribe, a big-screened slate that doubles up as an e-writer. It comes with a battery-free stylus in the box so you can take notes, draw rough sketches and annotate books - that functionality won't be for absolutely everyone but if you can see yourself making use of it then it adds a whole new dimension to Kindle.
Like some of the other Kindles on offer, it boasts weeks of battery life, 300ppi for crystal clear reading and it has handy extras like auto-adjusting light sensors. You do lose out on some features from elsewhere though, for instance, it's not waterproof and it doesn't have wireless charging. For more, read the full Kindle Scribe review.
How to choose the best Kindle for you or your family
On one level, picking the best Kindle isn't too daunting a task – they all do more or less the same job, letting you buy and read ebooks from Amazon's marketplace, and keeping your ereading synced between devices (including phones and laptops). Whichever Kindle you end up buying, you're unlikely to be disappointed.
There are, however, some differences in these devices that are worth mentioning. It's also important to weigh up these feature lists against how much you're going to spend on your Kindle, whether you're buying it for yourself or someone else as a gift – features like the available storage and waterproofing vary between models.
Screen size and overall size are important to bear in mind as well, as these will make a difference to your reading experience, and how easy it is to carry your Kindle around. The good news is that thanks to their popularity all these Kindles come with a host of accessories (including cases) to pick from.
Is Kindle free with Amazon Prime?
Yes, if you are a Amazon Prime member then you get unlimited reading access from a rotating selection of the most popular and best-selling eBooks for no cost. As such, if you're a big reader and are are thinking of picking up an Amazon Kindle, then you'll likely get a lot of value for money in terms of reading by signing up to Amazon Prime.
The specific service you are given access to with an Amazon Prime membership is called Prime Reading, which lets you choose up to 10 different titles at any one time from more than 1,000 books, magazines and comics. This even includes books with audible narration, too.
However, if you want access to everything that Amazon offers in terms of digital publications and content, then you're going to need to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, which is not included in an Amazon Prime membership. This costs $9.99 per month and grants access to over 1 million books and thousands of audiobooks and magazines.
How we test the best Kindle ereaders
It may sound obvious but we test the best Kindles by actually reading books on them. This is their primary reason to exist, and so it is crucial that we ascertain just what sort of digital reading experience they deliver. This obviously includes judging the screen's quality and how it presents the written word, both inside and outside, but also includes judging the ereader on how easy it is to handle and operate.
We want to tell you just what it feels like to hold the Kindle while sat on a deckchair in the sun for 90 minutes. Or how easy it is to browse your digital library on the Kindle while taking a well-deserved bath.
Following on from judging this core functionality we then move on to any additional features the Kindle may have, such as waterproofing, built-in parental controls, gift subscription services, audiobook playback and protective casing. We then finally judge the Kindle against its nearest competitors in terms of price point and capabilities.
When this is all done we then bestow a star score on the Kindle, with 5 stars the maximum attainable.
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