An Amazon Kindle provides readers with the ability to carry thousands of books, magazines, and comics with them, wherever they go. The fact that a Kindle has a display that can be read in any lighting conditions, outstanding battery life, and the ability to purchase and download books on-the-go is the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, while years of reading will have informed which books you enjoy the most, it won’t have prepared you to pick which Kindle is best. Don’t fret! The bookworms at Reviewed have your back.
We’ve spent years—in and out of the office—testing Amazon’s Kindle e-readers. Right now, the best Kindle is the Kindle Paperwhite (available at Amazon for $139.99) . Redesigned in 2021, the 11th generation version of the device will keep book lovers happy, for years to come. It's waterproof, offers a bright, crisp display, loads of storage, and can be used to read a great book downloaded from the Amazon Kindle Store or, through the use of a Bluetooth speaker or earphones, to listen to one via Amazon’s Audible audiobooks service.
That said, not everyone needs the best of the best. For most people, we recommend the latest version of the Amazon Kindle (available at Amazon
Oh, and if you want an e-reader, but aren't sure whether an Amazon device is right for you, we also have a guide to the best e-readers to help you make an informed buying decision.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (11th Generation)
Screen size: 6.8” e-ink display Storage: 8GB or 16GB (32GB for the pricier Signature Edition) Waterproofing: IPX8 Battery Life: Weeks of battery life File support: Kindle Format (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, PRC natively; HTML DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PMP through conversion; Audible audio format (AAX)
At 6.9 x 4.9 by .32-inches in size, The 2021 (11th generation) Kindle Paperwhite is slightly larger and about an ounce heavier than its predecessor. However, it’s still light enough to hold with one hand, for a good, long reading session.
Thanks to its larger dimensions and thinner screen bezels, the 2021 Paperwhite is able to accommodate a 6.8-inch E Ink display: a significant upgrade over the six-inch display that had been the signature of the product line since 2012. This translates into more words on-screen at a time, making for a more immersive reading experience. Text and grayscale images appear crisp, thanks to the new display’s 300 dots per inch resolution and consistent side lighting, made possible by 17 strategically-placed LEDs.
For the first time, Paperwhite readers have the ability to change the color temperature of the device’s lighting which can help reduce eye strain (in my experience) and help to diminish the amount of blue light that you’re exposed to. All of this extra display real estate and lighting are backed up by a faster processor than the last version. If you own an older Kindle, you’ll find that books load faster on the 2021 Paperwhite and that the transition from page to page is smoother.
Charging has gotten faster, too, thanks to Amazon’s sunsetting of Micro USB in favor of a USB-C charging port. The latest version of the Paperwhite is capable of going up to 10 weeks between charges—although your mileage will vary, depending on your reading habits. Once its battery has been depleted, it can be recharged in five hours, when plugged into a computer or, 2.5 hours—which is a lot faster than older Paperwhites could manage—if it’s plugged into a nine-Watt power supply. Fast charging aside, being able to charge your e-reader with the same cable that powers your headphones, smartphone, and laptop is a significant win.
What hasn’t changed is that 2021 Paperwhite owners still have access to Amazon’s unrivaled collection of e-books, comics, newspapers, and periodicals as well as Audible audiobooks and podcasts. Additionally, it’s still tough enough to survive casual abuse of being knocked around in a book bag and other similar misadventures. And, as with the 2018 edition Paperwhite, the latest iteration has been awarded an IPX8 rating. This means that it will continue to function, even if it’s left in close to seven feet of freshwater, for up to an hour.
At the time this review was written, Amazon offered two different versions of the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite. The premium version of the device called the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (available at Amazon), comes with 32GB of internal storage, a light sensor to automatically change the device’s display brightness to match exterior lighting conditions, and 10-Watt wireless Qi charging. The entry-level Paperwhite comes packing 8GB or 16GB of storage and forgoes the Signature Edition’s light sensor and Qi charging capabilities.
It’s our opinion that most people should invest in the entry-level Paperwhite. While 8GB or 16GB isn’t a lot of storage if you’re using a laptop full of software, it’s more than enough space to store thousands of e-books. Additionally, for a device that can go for weeks between charges, wireless charging isn’t so much a convenience as it is an absurdity. Charging your Kindle’s battery via USB-C is faster and more efficient.
The 11th-Generation Amazon Kindle (2022) is the best e-reader, for most people. The 2022 Kindle offers most of the features of the larger, feature-packed Kindle Paperwhite, for around $100—or less if you can find it during one of Amazon’s numerous annual sales.
At just 6.2 by 4.3 by 0.32 inches in size and 5.6 ounces, the 2022 Kindle is a compact, lightweight joy to use. It’s small enough to slip into the backpack of a pair of jeans and light enough that I was able to read, one-handed with it, for hours at a time.
Amazon has equipped this e-reader with a six-inch, 300 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) display: the same pixel density users of the Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite enjoy. It’s a serious step up from the last-generation, base-model Kindle’s 167 PPI display. Text is crisp and legible, at any of the numerous font sizes the device supports, making it easy to avoid eyestrain. It’s worth noting that the 2022 Kindle employs four LEDs to light its display. During testing, I found the display was bright enough to be able to read, no matter the lighting conditions. However, the lighting is uneven, especially when placed side-by-side with a Kindle Paperwhite, which uses 17 LEDs to illuminate its touchscreen.
No matter whether you prefer to listen to or read a good book, the Amazon Kindle Store remains the best place online to find the content you’re after. The company’s online store offers millions of books, comics, manga, and periodicals. Additionally, Audible, owned by Amazon, ensures that you’ll never be starved for audio content. I tested the 2022 Kindle with 16 GB of storage, which is the option I suggest, for most people. 16GB is enough room to hold thousands of ebooks or, dozens of ebooks to listen to via a pair of Bluetooth earphones.
No matter what media you use the 2022 Kindle to consume, you’ll find the device’s various settings, your library of content, and the e-reader’s portal to the Kindle Store easy to navigate. Menus, options, and most importantly, page turns are all incredibly responsive to the touch. During the two weeks that I tested this e-reader, I noticed no lag.
However, it’s not perfect. If you want a waterproof device for a little poolside reading, look elsewhere. The Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo’s Libra H2O are both great options. I was also disappointed that the 2022 Kindle’s screen lighting can’t change color to help you get as far away from blue spectrum light as possible. However, this was no doubt omitted as a way of keeping the device’s cost low. It’s hard to be angry at that sort of thing.
It's worth noting that this device also comes in a Kindle Kid's Edition—an Amazon Kindle wrapped up in a colorful, abuse-resistant case. If your child manages to break their Kids Edition Kindle—which as the device is neither drop nor waterproof is a realistic possibility—Amazon's two-year Amazon will ship you a new one for free, for up to two years from the date you purchased the original e-reader.
Every Kid's Edition Kindle comes with one year of FreeTime Unlimited, giving your young reader access to over a thousand kid-friendly books, including chapter books and award-winning titles like the full Harry Potter book series, Island of the Blue Dolphins, El Deafo, and Bridge to Terabithia. Kids can also enjoy a selection of Spanish language books or listen to their favorite Audible books via Bluetooth headphones or a speaker. It sounds like a deal that many parents may feel is worth investing in.
With its waterproof, aluminum body, physical page turn buttons, and glass display, the All-New Kindle Oasis’ form and features feel luxurious when compared to the dependable functionality of a Kindle Paperwhite. As with the last two generations of this device, the 2019 Oasis’ wedge-like design and page-turn buttons make one-handed reading super easy.
The latest iteration of the Oasis brings readers a minor reduction in weight and a small increase in battery capacity over previous iterations of the device. These changes are slight enough that users of the last generation of the device likely won't notice.
More significant, is the introduction of front lighting with varying color temperatures on this flagship e-reader. Text read on the Oasis can be lit up with the traditional bright, blue spectrum light that Kindle users have become accustomed to, or with warmer, yellow hues that in testing, proved easier on our eyes. As blue-spectrum light can stymy melatonin production, this upgrade is a huge win for anyone that enjoys reading before they nod off for the night.
Oasis’ 12 LEDs can automatically change illumination thanks to a built-in ambient light sensor, which makes this luxury buy feel all the more decadent. You won’t find better e-reader lighting anywhere. Additionally, if you love listening to podcasts and audiobooks, the Oasis has your back. As with the other Kindles in Amazon’s current lineup, it allows users, via a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a wireless speaker, to listen to content from Audible.
You’ve noticed that we use the word luxury in this review—as you may have guessed, the price of the All-New Kindle Oasis is steep. In fact, it can cost almost twice as much as a current-generation Kindle Paperwhite. Given that the Paperwhite performs almost as well and comes packing many of the same features as the Oasis, it’s hard to recommend this device to anyone but the staunchest of ebook aficionados. And even then it's a tough sell: the Oasis is the last Kindle in Amazon's stable of e-readers that lacks USB-C charging. Its MicroUSB port makes it feel like a dinosaur.
I’m Séamus Bellamy. I’ve always been a voracious reader with a large library. A few years ago, my wife and I decided to invest in a nomadic lifestyle and moved into a 40-foot-long motorhome, with the intention of traveling, full-time. This meant, in the name of space-saving, saying goodbye to scores of the paperback and hardcover books that we collected over the years. To feed our reading habits, we turned to using e-readers.
Over the past few years, I’ve tested and reviewed dozens of e-readers from a wide range of companies. I want to channel my passion for these devices into helping you find the perfect Kindle for the bookworm in your life—especially if that bookworm is you!
There’s only one way to test an e-reader like an Amazon Kindle: you’ve got to read a lot of books.
Over the years, we’ve spent months of quality time with Kindle e-readers, absorbed in good books for hours at a time. We used the products in this guide in direct sunlight, with the lights out in bed, and during the day in well-lit rooms to ensure that the ebooks we were devouring were legible no matter the conditions.
Where waterproofing was claimed, waterproofing was tested: We took waterproof Kindles into hot tubs, pools, and, for the sake of consistency, submerged them in a sink full of water for 45 minutes. Finally, we tested battery life. As everyone’s reading habits and preference for page illumination differ, we don’t feel comfortable quoting you exact figures on how long a Kindle will last between charges. We can tell you, however, that all of the devices in this roundup can go for a week or more before you’ll need to juice its battery up again.
What You Should Know About Kindles
Why Buy a Kindle When I Already Own a Tablet?
Tablets are a great choice for consuming content from services like Facebook, Twitter, and sites like USA Today or Reviewed. By installing Amazon’s free Kindle and Audible apps, you can even download ebooks and audiobooks to your tablet, just like you would on a Kindle. Given that a tablet can also be used to watch movies, stream music, chat with friends via a service like Signal or be used to plow through email and other productivity tasks, investing in a one-trick pony like a Kindle might feel like a waste of money to you. We’d argue, however, that the fact that a Kindle is designed to focus on one task—letting you read or listen to a good book—is what, for bookworms, makes it such a sound investment.
An Amazon Kindle is smaller and lighter than most tablets, making them easier to hold during hours-long reading sessions. As Kindles don’t come packing dozens of apps, designed to fracture your concentration with notifications and updates, you’ll find that using one allows you to become immersed in the books you love, in a way that a tablet simply can’t afford.
A tablet’s beautiful high-resolution display might be gorgeous for streaming Netflix with—provided you’re indoors. If you want to take the show outside, you’ll discover that your display is hard to enjoy in direct sunlight. Not so on a Kindle with its E-Ink display. No matter the lighting conditions, you’ll be able to read without difficulty. That studies have shown that blue spectrum light, like that produced by the display of a tablet or laptop, can disrupt your body’s melatonin production, makes reading on a tablet before bed, less than desirable. Amazon’s most recent Kindle, the All-New Kindle Oasis, features a display with adjustable color temperature; a feature that puts the fear of nighttime reading to bed.
Finally, there’s battery life: even with moderate use, a tablet-like an iPad needs to be charged every couple of days. A Kindle, with its low-powered display and front lighting, and processor, sips power by comparison. Depending on your reading habits, you may be able to go for weeks at a time between charges.
Subscription Options: What is Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited is a relatively new subscription service offered by Amazon that is sort of like the Apple Music of reading material. For a subscription fee, users receive instantaneous access to a huge, ever-expanding library of books, audiobooks, and magazines.
Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited both function in the same basic way: as subscription-based services that offer users access to books and periodicals. That said, it's worth understanding their differences.
Prime Reading is available to anyone with an active Amazon Prime subscription. It's not limited to Amazon Kindles and can be accessed on any device that supports Amazon’s Kindle app. This includes iPhones, Android phones, iPads, and Android tablets. Reading materials can be "checked out" of the Prime Reading library, but users are limited to 10 publications at once. Amazon claims that the Prime Reading library contains over 1,000 books and magazines.
Kindle Unlimited is a little different. It requires a monthly subscription. So, if you have an Amazon Prime account and want to access Kindle Unlimited, you’ll have to fork over an additional monthly fee for the privilege. For voracious readers, it could be a smart investment. While you’re only allowed to have 10 books downloaded from the service at any one time, Kindle Unlimited users have an incredible one million different books to choose from—that’s enough reading material to last a lifetime.
Which Kindles are Waterproof?
Right now, the only Kindles that are waterproof are the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Kindle Oasis and the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite. All three have an IPX8 water resistance rating, which means they can be submerged in up to 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) of freshwater for an hour at a time.
You should know, however, being waterproof doesn’t make your Kindle corrosion-proof. If you plan on using your Kindle in a saltwater pool or at the beach, try to avoid getting it wet as the salt can eat away at the device’s USB port and in the case of the Kindle Oasis, its aluminum body. If your device is exposed to saltwater, don’t panic: rinse it off as soon as you can with fresh water and you’re good to go.
What Does Amazon Mean By 'Special Offers?'
'Special offers' is a nice way of saying that while using your Kindle, you'll be fed occasional bits of advertising. If you opt for a Kindle that comes with special offers, you'll pay a little less than you would for one that ships without them. It is possible to pay Amazon to remove special offer content from your Kindle, down the road.
Séamus Bellamy is a senior editor on Reviewed's Electronics Team. When he's not busy ensuring his team's The Best Right Now roundups are up-to-date, he spends his time reviewing, smartwatches, tablets, fringe tech, and writing how-to guides.
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