The Amazon Kindle is considered the best eReader money can buy, and with good reason. But with several different Kindle models at different prices, it's not easy to decide which model is right for you. Here, we explain the differences between Kindles so you buy the best one.
The relative affordability (of some models) and easy-to-use nature, coupled with the fact you can carry thousands of books on one device, means eReaders are an attractive purchase for many, though for some people their phone or tablet screen does just as well, and Amazon's Kindle app is available on just about every device.
Today there are now four different Kindles available direct from Amazon. The Kindle Voyage was discontinued and isn't even available refurbished. In this article, we break down the four models, Kindle, Paperwhite, Oasis and explain the differences between them, and why some cost a lot more than others. The latest releases came in 2019 so we're perhaps due a new model of some kind in 2021, possibly with a colour screen.
Note that as well as getting the device on its own, Amazon sells bundles so you can save a bit of money if you're going to want a case and charger.
If the Kindle range doesn't convince you then check out our overall list of the best eReaders to see some alternatives. We've also compared the Kindle Store vs Kobo Store. You might also want to consider an Amazon Fire tablet instead.
Best Kindle 2021
1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) - Best Overall
By updating the Paperwhite for 2018, Amazon has created the best eReader around for anyone wanting a dedicated device for reading.
The Oasis offers a premium metal design and ergonomic wedge shape but adding features like waterproofing and Bluetooth to the Paperwhite means that luxury isn't worth the extra cost for most people.
Add in that the Paperwhite has a refined design including a flush screen and a reduced weight and you've pretty much got the perfect eReader. The small price rise it totally worth it for all these benefits.
Read our full Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) review
2. Amazon Kindle (2019) - Best Value
It's hard to say whether the Paperwhite or the regular Kindle is the better eReader because they're both excellent.
The Kindle 2019 offers better value for money and has all the things most people will look for. However, the Kindle Paperwhite has a more premium design and extra features like more storage, mobile data and waterproofing.
You pay extra for them, of course, so it really depends how much you have to spend and whether those extra things matter to you.
For us, they are both the best eReader you can get, just for different reasons.
Read our full Amazon Kindle (2019) review
3. Amazon Kindle Oasis - Best Premium Features
As you would expect, the Oasis is the best Kindle you can buy in terms of the specs and features it offers. We can't complain at the price staying the same and the eReader now having an adjustable warm light.
However, we'd like some more advancements such as USB-C and even a headphone jack. It's also a shame that Amazon has ditched the magnetic case from the previous Oasis in favour of a full wrap-around design.
This might have the most to offer, but the other Kindles in the range offer far better value for money with the Paperwhite remaining as the best all-rounder.
Read our full Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review
4. Amazon Kindle Kids Edition - Best for Kids
A different kind of tablet for kids, the Kindle removes the distractions of apps, games and other stuff and ensures they can focus on reading.
You get a 12-month subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited / FreeTime Unlimited which includes over 1000 books for kids of various ages. There's also 8GB of storage which is double the cheapest Kindle.
The selection is not the best it could be, but overall this is a decent package for the money. If you're not too fussed about those extras then you can save money by just getting the regular Kindle.
Read our full Amazon Kindle Kids Edition review
Which Kindle should I buy?
Here’s a list of things that are the same on all models of Kindle, no matter which you end up buying:
- Full access to the entire Amazon Kindle Store
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Built-in light
- 6in or 7in touchscreen e-ink display
- Take and share notes within books
- Audible audiobook support
You also have to pay a bit more for the Kindle or the Paperwhite if you don't want lock screen adverts or 'special offers'.
The Kindle is the most basic device in the range but even that now comes with a built-in light. It's just not as fancy in other ways such as screen resolution and the number of LEDs in the light. You're also limited to 4GB of storage and there's no option for cellular connectivity.
Moving up to the Paperwhite gets you a better light and a higher resolution display. It's still 6in but has a flush design with the bezels and the device is also waterproof. Amazon ships this middle Kindle with at least 8GB of storage.
The Oasis is the premium model, with its ergonomic wedge shape design. It's made of aluminium and also has dedicated page turn buttons so you don't have to rely on the touchscreen. The light has five times as many LEDs compared to the Paperwhite and also automatically adjusts. The 2019 model adds a warm light but ditches the option for a magnetic case. Check out our round-up of the best Kindle cases here.
The latest edition is designed for kids and has double the storage of the regular model and comes with a case. It also cuts out games, ads and videos so there are no distractions from reading.
Here's a table outlining the differences between the Kindle range.
|Kindle||Kindle Paperwhite||Kindle Oasis||Kindle Kids Edition|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G/4G||Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 4G||Wi-Fi|
|Screen||6in anti-glare||6in anti-glare||7in anti-glare||6in|
|Auto light adjustment||No||No||Yes||No|
|Auto page rotate||No||No||Yes||No|
|Ergonomic wedge design||No||No||Yes||No|
|Page turn buttons||No||No||Yes||No|