The best Kindles in 2024 - top picks for February

The best e-readers are usually Amazon Kindles these days, because the tech giant has sunk lots of money and effort into designing affordable, durable e-readers that last for days.

But finding the right Kindle for you can be tricky, because Amazon now sells not only basic Kindles but the fancier Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Scribe, as well as a kids edition of the Kindle. What once was simple as reading a page-turner is now not so easy.

Luckily, we can help! We've reviewed all the major Kindles and e-readers for years, so we know how the latest models stack up to the competition because we've used them ourselves. No matter your budget, these are the best Kindles on the market.

If you want something to read on your new Kindle, check out our tips for how to get free ebooks. And if you absolutely, positively have to start reading right now (or just want an option to keep reading while your e-reader is charging) we've curated the best e-book reader apps for those who want to read on a smartphone or tablet.

Written by
Alex Wawro
Written by
Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong journalist who's spent over a decade covering tech, games and entertainment. He oversees the computing department at Tom's Guide, which includes managing e-readers coverage and reviewing man himself every year.

The quick list

In a hurry? Here's a brief overview of the tablets on this list, along with quick links that let you jump down the page directly to a review of whichever tablet catches your eye.

The best Kindles you can buy today

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The best Kindle overall

The Kindle Paperwhite 2021tom's guide top pick

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) (Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
The best Kindle overall

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 300
Dimensions (Inches): 6.9 x 4.9 x 0.3
Weight (Ounces): 7.2
Claimed Battery Life: 10 weeks
Physical Page-Turn Buttons: No
Built-In Light: Yes
Water Resistance: Yes, IPX8
Screen Size (Inches): 6.8
Storage: 8GB | 32GB

Reasons to buy

+
Larger screen than base Kindle
+
Nice, even lighting
+
USB-C charging  is nice to have

Reasons to avoid

-
$10 price bump over predecessor
-
No cellular option

Small changes lead to great products staying great, and such is the case with the new Kindle Paperwhite (2021). It's got the same basic look as previous Kindles and Kindle Paperwhite models, a matte black shell and an e-ink screen, but this time it's larger, with a 6.8-inch panel. The bezels are also smaller, so the device didn't have to grow too much to accommodate the growth from a 6-inch panel. 

While it's still a super-sharp 300-ppi display, it's now supported by an array of 17 LED backlights, for incredibly even lighting. And it's still got a great waterproofing (IPX8-rated) protection. 

After the larger display, the big change this year is the move from microUSB charging to USB-C. It's a welcome change if only for the reversible port. Faster charging doesn't appear to be on the table, but the microUSB port has been around for way too long, and is often fragile, so we're happy to see it go.

The Paperwhite costs slightly more than half as much as the $250 Kindle Oasis, coming in at $139 ($10 more than in previous years). That said, it's gained one of the Oasis' once unique features: display warmth. Our testing of the Paperwhite 2021's waterproofing included a 20 minute bath in our sink. It worked just as well as it did before when we took it out. 

Read our full Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review.

The best value

Amazon Kindle (2022) held close to the camera to show the login screenbest value

Amazon Kindle (2019) (Image credit: Future)
Best Kindle for those on a budget

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 300
Dimensions (Inches): 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.32
Weight (Ounces): 5.6
Claimed Battery Life: 6 weeks
Physical Page-Turn Buttons: No
Built-In Light: Yes
Water Resistance: No
Screen Size (Inches): 6
Storage: 16GB

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight, comfortable design
+
Bright, crisp display
+
Killer battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Lacks warm display light options

The Amazon Kindle (2022) is a great e-reader that meets every need by being bright, long-lasting and comfortable to carry on long trips. The fact that you're locked into Amazon’s ecosystem is a drag, but you can’t knock the Kindle itself for Amazon's customer-unfriendly business practices.

That's not to say it's perfect, of course. There's room for improvement, like the fact that it's still not waterproof. This remains the biggest differentiator between it and the more expensive Paperwhite, and it feels like a slightly arbitrary difference intended to justify charging more for the Paperwhite. 

Also, our reviewer missed having the option adjust the warmth of the display light, another minor but meaningful Paperwhite feature — though if you’re fine with using dark mode it’s easy to move past that shortcoming. Admittedly, if Amazon fixed those things there would be no reason to get the Paperwhite, so while we're disappointed, we aren't shocked that the base Kindle doesn't get these useful features.

Ultimately though, the Kindle 2022 is probably the best Kindle for most people. It’s lightweight and comfortable to hold, the display is bright and crisp — a massive improvement over earlier models — and the battery lasts for ages. Unless you really need a waterproof Kindle, it’s tough to advocate spending more than the $100 you'll pay for a new Amazon Kindle (2022).

Read our full Amazon Kindle (2022) review.
 

The best Kindle for kids

The Amazon Kindle Kids Edition, in a purple case, one of our picks for best kindle

(Image credit: Future)
Best Kindle for kids

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 167
Dimensions (Inches): 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.5
Weight (Ounces): 10.2
Claimed Battery Life: 4 weeks
Physical Page-Turn Buttons: No
Built-In Light: Yes
Water Resistance: No
Screen Size (Inches): 6
Storage: 8GB

Reasons to buy

+
No lock-screen ads
+
Thankfully minimal interface (for kids)
+
Valuable warranty, subscription included

Reasons to avoid

-
Distracting interface (in adult mode)
-
So-so text resolution

Amazon's latest Kindle improves on the $90 Kindle by adding what's missing and chipping away at the cruft that fills up a regular Kindle. Kids will like it for the colored cases, while parents will love Amazon's 2-year no-questions-asked warranty. Even better, there are no lock screen ads. In fact, the Kids Edition is so close to our ideal Kindle interface, we wish Amazon would offer it as a mode for adults who just want to read the book, and not dabble in the Goodreads community.

Otherwise, the Kindle Kids Edition is the same tablet as the 2019 Kindle. You get the same 6-inch, 167 ppi display and front lighting, and the display is still inset, not flush with the frame. Oh and it's even got helpful vocabulary building tools and a free year (a $60 value) of Amazon's Amazon Kids+ (fka FreeTime Unlimited), which has thousands of titles. The Kindle Kids Edition was so popular that Amazon's making a Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition, which we will review soon. 

Read our full Amazon Kindle Kids Edition review.
 

Best for wireless charging

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is one of the best Kindles

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
The best Kindle for wireless charging

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 300
Dimensions (Inches): 6.9 x 4.9 x 0.3
Weight (Ounces): 7.3
Claimed Battery Life: 10 weeks
Physical Page-Turn Buttons: No
Built-In Light: Yes (auto-adjusting)
Water Resistance: Yes, IPX8
Screen Size (Inches): 6.8
Storage: 32GB

Reasons to buy

+
Larger screen
+
Even, auto-adjusting lighting
+
USB-C and Qi charging 

Reasons to avoid

-
$50 more than Paperwhite
-
No cellular option

What if you're tired of small, incremental change? Yes, the Kindle Paperwhite (2021) has lighting warmth and USB-C and a slightly larger screen, but for those who think this update's a bit slight, Amazon has the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. It's got the same 6.8-inch, 300-ppi panel as the regular Paperwhite, with smaller bezels and fantastically-even backlighting plus IPX8-rated waterproofing protection. But there's more on top.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition can be charged via Qi-based wireless chargers, plus its backlighting is automatically-adjusting. Plus, 4x as much storage and no on-screen ads. Not all of those features may be huge for everyone, but we're betting at least one is interesting for all. But at $189, it's a pretty pricey tablet. It's sitting right between the normal Paperwhite and the Oasis, and a good option if you have the money.

Read our full Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition review.

Best premium Kindle

The high-end Amazon Kindle Oasis, the best kindle for those with deep pockets

Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) (Image credit: Future)
Best premium Kindle

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 300
Dimensions (Inches): 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13-0.33
Weight (Ounces): 6.6
Claimed Battery Life: 6 weeks
Physical Page Turn Buttons: Yes
Built-In Light: Yes
Water Resistance: Yes, IPX8
Screen Size (Inches): 7
Storage: 8GB | 32GB

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek metallic design
+
Water resistant
+
Sharp, well-lit display

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No charger included

The new Kindle Oasis still offers Amazon's most luxurious reading experience, with its machined aluminum back, larger screen, physical buttons, automatic lighting adjustments and very well-lit screen (using 25 LEDs) — screams "first class." Its Oasis moniker is earned from its IPX8-rated water resistance, which allows it to survive hour-long baths. The device also supports Audible's audiobooks, as long as you've got a Bluetooth device handy.

The Oasis's curved back and physical buttons give you an easier way to get a grip and a way to read your book without tapping the screen. While the Oasis is the best Kindle for those who can splurge, we just wish it didn't cost nearly twice as much as the Kindle Paperwhite. It's the Kindle with more effort put into its design, losing the simple and utilitarian aesthetic of the regular Kindle and the Paperwhite.  

Read our full Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review.

Best Kindle alternative

Nook glowlight 4

(Image credit: Barnes & Noble)
Best Kindle alternative from Barnes and Noble

Specifications

Resolution (Pixels Per Inch): 300
Dimensions (Inches): 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13-0.33
Weight (Ounces): 6
Claimed Battery Life: 4 weeks
Physical Page Turn Buttons: No
Built-In Light: Yes
Water Resistance: No
Screen Size (Inches): 6
Storage: 32GB

Reasons to buy

+
Solid reading experience
+
Sleek, lightweight design
+
Fewer distractions than Kindle

Reasons to avoid

-
Miserable sideloading experience
-
Fewer extra features than competitors

Amazon doesn't run the whole e-reader world, so we occasionally test competitors' e-readers. And while the Nook Glowlight 4 isn't better than any Kindle, it's got minor tweaks and updates that give us reason to give it some attention here. One of its best features is it's no-fuss reading interface, which gets out of your way when it's time to read (Amazon could do this, and we wish it would).

That said, for a $140 e-reader, it's lacking waterproofing, which the Paperwhite offers. Oh, and loading up library books, proved to be a frustrating process. But for the reader who doesn't want to use an Amazon-made device? The Glowlight 4 may be the best Kindle alternative for them. We're looking into testing more competitors to find them a better option.

Read our full Nook GlowLight 4 review.

Battery life claims compared

E-readers are built to go weeks between charges, a clear advantage these pint-sized slates offer over bigger, brighter, more capable tablets like the iPad. Sure, you can read ebooks on any tablet with the right apps, but an e-reader will last a week-long vacation in your bag without needing to be plugged in—can your iPad do that?

In fact, the lengthy battery life of these slates makes them challenging for us to test, because we have to use them for months at a time to see if the battery claims are accurate. We have done that on occasion, and we've found that in general manufacturer claims are pretty close to what we actually see in real-world use.

Since battery life is a key data point that can help some people choose between e-readers, we've compared the advertised battery life of all the tablets on this page below so you can quickly see which last the longest.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Battery life claims
KindleBattery life (tested)
Amazon KindleUp to 6 weeks
Amazon Kindle Kids EditionUp to 5 weeks
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Up to 10 weeks
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature EditionUp to 10 weeks
Amazon Kindle OasisUp to 6 weeks
Nook GlowLight 4Up to 4 weeks

As you can see, the Kindle Paperwhite is the clear leader of the pack with an advertised battery life of up to ten weeks. Note that Amazon typically couches these recommendations with the caveat that it's based on you using the tablet to read for about 30 minutes per day, with the brightness set a few pegs lower than max. If you tend to read more often, you'll likely need to charge more often too.

How to choose the best e-reader for you

Let's start with your budget, as that's the easiest way to make this call. If you're running tight right now, the $90 Kindle is a solid recommendation. Its lighting is good enough for a handful of situations and its battery life is nothing to sneeze at. 

If money is no option, then you're going to be choosing between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis, and this is sort of tough. If you prefer your devices to be built with a harder plastic, that still feels reliable, then you've probably got the Paperwhite in mind. It offers the same water resistance as the Oasis, and is similar in many regards.

But if you're tired of futzing with menus, and changing brightness, you will probably want the Kindle Oasis. Its display automatically adjusts to ambient lighting situations, maybe its best unique feature overall — as its metallic, not-symmetrical design is a bit divisive in our office.

How we tested these e-readers

To start, we read a lot on these Kindles. We don't just do that to see how much battery life is drained in a set of time (and to then compare against the estimations these manufacturers provide), but to discover what we like and don't like about a given Kindle. We then keep reading. At home, on the bus, in the park and anywhere else where the lighting changes. 

In addition to evaluating e-readers' size, weight, claimed battery life and design choices, we test their brightness using our light meter. The experience of reading on the device also plays a huge role in these reviews. For instance, we look at the intuitiveness of the interface, the size of the available library and how well the special features (such as web browsers or dictionaries) work. 

We've also tried alternatives to the Kindle, such as the Kobo Nia. While it's not one of our best picks, its interface is great for those who want to stay focused on books, and isn't as focused on supplementary content as Amazon's Kindles are.

We even drop water-proof Kindles into our makeshift dunk tank, and watch as they survive — the first time it was surprising, and now it's become something we expect. Lastly, we try and see if Amazon's changed anything about how Kindles work with public libraries. It's the one thing we prefer about competitors.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.