Some prefer paper books and some prefer the best tablets, while younger readers may want one of the best tablets for kids, but there are still plenty of people looking for the best eReader out there – these devices offer a much better reading experience than a tablet, and are more convenient and portable than books.
An eReader lets you carry an entire library of books in one tiny device – but which is the best Kindle or the best eReader out there right now? Let T3's best eReader guide show you the finest digital book readers on the market today.
- Only interested in Kindles? Check out our round-up of the best Amazon Kindle deals
- Read our the Amazon Kindle Oasis review
- Or discover what the best Amazon Kindle ereaders are right now
- iPad Pro vs iPad Air: the battle of Apple's premium tablets
Why you should buy an eReader
As they're digital, ebooks have the potential to be cheaper than paper books – though for tax and publisher reasons, this isn't always the case. They're certainly quicker to get hold of, and can be downloaded to a device in seconds.
You can fully customise your reading experience as well: making the font larger (or smaller), highlighting favourite quotes non-destructively, and even looking up words you don't know using the built-in dictionaries.
Kindle by Amazon is the most established eReader platform out there, and by far the top dog when it comes to these sorts of devices. If you want the pick up a device on which you can read all your favourite novels or textbooks, some variety of Amazon Kindle is likely to be the best option.
The Kindle is lightweight and ultra-slim – and thus perfect for travelling – and the range comes with anti-glare screens that make reading ebooks more like looking at the pages of a real book.
Some Kindles also come with a backlight, so you can continue reading while your eReader adapts to your surroundings. Read in pitch black conditions, read out in the sun, or even enjoy a book in the bath – it would appear Amazon's engineers have thought of just about everything.
The Amazon Kindle isn't the only option, however. Tablet style eReaders offer similar options and bring the added benefit of being able to use other apps and browse the internet. Battery life will, of course, not be as long with all the extra features in use or without those power-saving e-ink screens.
So make the right choice for you, and take a look at our top picks for the best eReader of 2020 to suit all lifestyles and budgets.
Our pick of the best ereaders for you
Amazon's Kindle collection is extensive, but the Kindle Oasis is, as far as we're concerned, the best Kindle on the market. It has a large-enough screen, it's brightly lit when it needs to be, and it has built-in Wi-fi for downloading new titles.
The Kindle Oasis, robust and weighty, is even waterproof up to 2 metres, which is a feature that's of questionable value but one we love anyway. We're also fond of that ergonomic design, which pushes the centre of gravity to one side (your choice) in order to make the whole thing easier to hold with one hand. It feels much more like a book than any of its predecessors.
As long as you're happy having a smaller screen to read from, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a great little companion. It's compact enough that it'll slot into any available space in your handbag or backpack, and brilliantly clear.
That name isn't just a marketing gimmick, the screen really is clear and white and oh so readable. Sometimes the light can get a little bright, even on the dimmest brightness, but that's a small niggle with an otherwise excellent e-reader.
The Kindle Kids Edition is an ideal eReader for both beginner and more-experienced readers. The bundle includes a brightly coloured durable cover, one year of Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited (which includes popular series like Harry Potter, Geek Girl, and timeless classics like The Secret Garden) and a 2-year worry-free guarantee.
You can set educational goals for your child, and manage content with easy-to-use parental controls. You can also view your child's reading progress for each book and track reading accomplishments for each day.
Since Kindle Kids Edition is designed only for reading, it does not have access to the Internet or social media. Kindle Kids Edition includes tools to help young readers tackle more challenging books, such a vocabulary Builder: Words looked up in the built-in dictionary are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder and Word Wise.
Once your child has outgrown the Kindle Kids Edition (or if you fancy borrowing it), the device can be turned into a regular Kindle Paperwhite, with access to Kindle's full library of titles.
Highlighting and bookmarking is a common feature on most e-readers, but none does quite the same job as the reMarkable. It's truly an advanced e-reader, on which you can scribble, draw, and sketch to your heart's content using a battery-free pen, and use its massive screen to read all your favourite ebooks.
We have concerns about its battery, which is notably shorter than most because of its more advanced hardware makeup, it's not entirely compatible with all ebook formats (although converting formats is relatively trivial) and it's damn expensive. But the reMarkable so much more than every other e-ink device, we can't help but love it.
For all the upgrades it's undergone over the years, the base-standard Kindle remains a very good e-reader. It might not be the most up-to-date version, but ebooks haven't exactly changed. If you just want a cheap, solid platform for reading ebooks and perhaps purchasing from the Amazon store, this will do the job perfectly.
The only thing it really misses is a backlight behind its anti-glare screen, but since there's rarely a backlight on a paper book we think you'll be able to cope.
Just picking up a device to read books doesn't necessarily mean emptying your wallet on a Kindle Oasis. The Kobo Aura One, at a fraction of the price, is a great alternatice. It's functional, with many similar features to the Kindle, although it tends to jumble up your virtual bookshelf a little more than its rival.
There's a backlight, so you'll be able to get stuck into a novel in bed without waking your significant other, and the screen is on the larger end of the Kobo line. Kobo's friendliness to libraries is also a big plus; if you're racking up a big ebook bill with Amazon, borrowing those books could be a much better option.
Many people pick up an e-reader when travelling, because it's a far lighter and more straightforward way of keeping a big bundle of books with you, and there's no chance of your bookmark getting jostled out of place in a bag. But backpacking or hiking comes with its own risks, and the Kobo Aura H2O can stand up to them.
It's waterproof, so it'll take a dunk in a metre of water, and it'll resist both sand and dust – if you're likely to be reading in extreme conditions, this is the choice for you, and it has plenty of storage so you can absolutely pack it with text.
The Amazon Fire 7 is an affordable tablet that's surprisingly capable once you get into it – and it's a great family tablet, too, with a restricted mode for kids. But it's also the perfect way to access the Kindle store, and all the readable benefits of an Amazon Prime subscription.
Sure, the screen doesn't have quite the serene readability of an e-ink display, and the battery can't match that of a Kindle, but if you're investing anyway, it may suit you better to pick up a device with a host more capabilities on board.