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If you're a book enthusiast, it doesn't take long to accumulate a small library in your home. And while a book collection is visually pleasing and can make you feel accomplished for all the pages you've read over the years, it takes up a substantial amount of space. That's why many bookish individuals have made the switch to eReaders.
Even if you still like to get printed copies now and again, it's nice to have one on hand. You can download any book you want from the comfort of your home or on the go. And beyond novels and nonfiction books, you can read magazines, newspaper articles, and children's books.
To find the best one for your lifestyle, consider the storage and features that each eReader has to offer. For example, if you read outdoors, you might want one that performs well in bright sunlight. If you're using it for professional use, you'll want an eReader that's suitable for large PDFs.
If you're in the market for an e-book device, we've got you covered. Below, find our favorite eReaders of 2021.
Best Overall: Amazon Kindle Oasis
Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13-.33 inches | Storage: 8-32 GB | Battery Life: 6 weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Adjustable lights and shades on screen
Pages turn like a real book
Uses a micro USB to charge and has no headphone jack
Amazon didn't come out with the first-ever eReader, but the Kindle was a groundbreaking product in the book world. There are now several variations, including our overall best pick, the Kindle Oasis. This 7-inch device available in graphite or champagne gold is a flush-front paperwhite display with 300 PPI (pixels per inch).
As an IPX8 waterproof product, the Oasis can survive for up to 60 minutes underwater, so you can read as you please in the bathtub or while lounging by the pool. You can adjust the screen from white to warm amber to minimize eye strain and light stimulation, and the adaptive front light automatically adjusts based on the lighting of your environment. This choice supports many document types including PDFs and DOCX.
Best Budget: Amazon Kindle (2019)
Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches | Storage: 8 GB | Battery Life: Weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Can highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words, and change text size
Small and portable
Some users found the touchscreen to have small glitches
As it turns out, the standard Amazon Kindle is the best budget-friendly option. This 6-inch portable device is the OG of eReaders. Thanks to its high-quality design and versatility, it's remained a top choice among avid readers.
The Kindle has a glare-free display with 167 PPI, so it looks like real paper, even when you're sitting in direct sunlight. You can adjust the front light for comfortable reading at all hours of the day, whether indoors or outside. Unlike regular tablets, the battery charge lasts for weeks instead of hours, and you can sync it to headphones or speakers to listen to your books through Audible.
Best Large Screen : Boox 10.3" Note3 64GB E-Ink Tablet
Dimensions: 9.82 x 7 x 0.27 inches | Storage: 64 GB | Battery Life: Not Listed | Screen Type: E-Ink
For those looking for a larger space to read textbooks or PDFs, especially those with charts or diagrams, should opt for the Boox Note3 with a 10-inch screen. The eReader technology enables you to read in the dark or bright sunlight with a brightness and color temperature control.
The large format and multi-touch screen makes this an optimal option for note taking in margins, open multiple documents at once, add bookmarks, and adjust the size of the text. While expensive, the Boox Note3 also had Android capabilities so third party apps can be used, making this perfect for students looking for an eReader to utilized in an academic setting.
Best for Library Books : Kobo Forma
Dimensions: 3.35 x 6.97 x 6.3 inches | Storage: 8 GB | Battery Life: 2 hours | Screen Type: E-Ink
Accommodates left and right handed readers
Can choose between portrait and landscape mode
Smaller than most books and e-readers
The Kobo Forma is a sleek and lightweight Kindle-alternative. It runs for about the price of the Oasis with similar tech-forward features. With a curved ergonomic design that accommodates both left- and right-handed page-turners, this eReader is made for comfort. You can read books in portrait or landscape mode and set it to automatically adjust the orientation based on how you hold it.
The Forma is also waterproof, so you can read in the tub or out by the pool and has a larger screen than competitors for a bigger display. You can also borrow library books right from your local library with a touch of your fingertips.
Best for Kids: Amazon Kindle Kids Edition
Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches | Storage: 8 GB | Battery Life: 4 weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Comes with a year-long subscription to Amazon Kids+
2 year warranty
Navigation can be difficult
If you're shopping for a child aged 7 and up, your best bet is the Amazon Kindle Kids Edition. It has a 6-inch black and white glare-free screen and comes with a durable magnet cover. The cover is available in bright solid colors or kid-friendly prints.
The Kids Kindle comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, which includes all Harry Potter books and other children's series. Since it's designed strictly for reading books, it doesn't have any games, ads, or videos. However, you can get the tablet/eReader combo if you want a little more versatility.
Best for Bright Sunlight: ONYX BOOX Poke 3
Dimensions: 6.02 × 4.21 × 0.27 inches | Storage: 32 GB | Battery Life: 4 weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Multiple light settings
Includes internet browser
Backlit screens can create glare and be difficult to read in natural outdoor lighting, but the ONYX BOOX Poke 3 solves this dilemma. This impressive eReader has an e-ink display with 300 PPI and both a MOON Light 2 backlight function and a SNOW Field setting. The high contrast and light substrate allow you to read it in bright sunlight, and it's just as easy on the eyes as a paper book. You can also read it in a pitch-dark room.
The Poke 3 runs on an Android operating system, which gives you more settings and access to various reading programs. With a touch screen and a full-fledged internet browser, you can easily browse books and surf the web, all on one device.
Best Waterproof: Barnes And Nobel Nook GlowLight Plus
Dimensions: 8.3 by 5.9 by 0.3 inches | Storage: 8 GB | Battery Life: Weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Fingerprint resistant screen
Low battery life
The NOOK GlowLight Plus from Barnes & Noble has a 7.8-inch high-resolution display with 300 DPI (dots per inch). With e-ink contrast and GlowLight illumination, you can read it in the pitch dark or bright natural sunlight. The ambient display provides evenly dispersed light that's easy on the eyes, indoors or outside, at all hours of the day.
This eReader seamlessly shifts from day-to-night display modes. You can manually adjust the warmth of the screen and dim or brighten it to your liking. Alternatively, you can set it to mimic the natural changes in light throughout the day. The waterproof design allows you to read anywhere—at the beach, out in the rain, in the bathtub, or by the lake.
Best for Eye Health: Kobo Clara HD
Dimensions: 4.33 x 0.33 x 6.28 inches | Storage: 8 GB | Battery Life: Weeks | Screen Type: E-Ink
Can adjust brightness, temperature, and blue light
Can change font size and style
Inconvenient on and off switch
If your eyes are sensitive to screens and artificial lights, you might consider the Kobo Klara HD. With ComfortLight technology, the 6-inch display offers a natural, paper-like reading experience. Also, the front light minimizes blue-light exposure for more comfortable reading at night. Plus, you can adjust the text to suit your vision with various font weights and sharpness settings for a completely personalized reading experience.
Best Tablet for eReading: Apple iPad Mini (2019)
Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.25 x 7.69 inches | Storage: 64-256 GB | Battery Life: 10 hours | Screen Type: LCD
Lots of storage space
Larger screen than alternatives
If you want a multi-purpose device, we recommend the iPad Mini. It has an 8-inch screen and a lightweight design that's smaller and slimmer than most books. While you won't get an e-ink display, the high-resolution screen has True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts to the lighting in your environment.
Aside from reading, you can use it to surf the web, scroll through social media, watch videos, shop, email, work, and access virtually any iOS app. This also allows you to read picture books or textbooks in colors, which sets a tablet apart from other eReaders.
The best overall eReader is the Amazon Kindle Oasis (view at Amazon), due to its nearly unbeatable display and comfortable design. If you're able to spend a bit more or want a Kindle-alternative, the Kobo Forma (view at Kobo Books) boasts similar features and has an accommodating left- or right-handed design.
What to Look for in an eReader
Plenty of eReaders use E Ink, which simulates the appearance of real paper. Other options, like the iPad, have an LCD screen that is more like your cellphone. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it's worth looking into to see which screen gives you more of what you're looking for.
Unfortunately, all eReaders have to be recharged eventually. Some models only last a few hours, while others can have a battery life that goes on for weeks. While other features can determine how much battery life you maintain, it's essential to decide how often you'll be willing (and remember) to charge the device so it's always available to you.
Are you planning on keeping a wide range of books on your device for the long haul, or will you be storing audiobooks, photos, and apps as well? It's a good idea to see how much storage space is available (and how much extra it will cost).
Size and Weight
While most eReaders are portable, their size and weight can certainly affect which model you buy. Do you want something smaller and lighter that is easy to toss in a bag and go? Do you need a bigger screen (and therefore, a bigger device)? It's important to consider what is more important to you.
Where can you buy eReaders?
Electronics stores, online retailers, bookstores, and even places like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy carry various versions of eReaders. Online retailers like Amazon are also a great choice for buying virtually.
Are eReaders better for your eyes than tablets?
When compared to laptops, smartphones, and tablets, most eReaders are designed to be better for your eyes. Most options use e-ink which is a type of paper-like display meant to mimic the pages of a book. E-ink eReaders do not omit blue light like LCD screens, which can be bad for eye health. Of course, always consult your optometrist before making decisions regarding your eye health.
What is the difference between an eReader and an iPad?
Most eReaders have limited capabilities other than reading books. Most also do not come with Wifi. iPads and other similar tablets come with other apps and capabilities including messaging and internet usage. If you are looking for a tablet specifically for reading, most eReaders will be perfect. For a tablet with more features, opt for an iPad or something similar.
Why Trust The Spruce
Theresa Holland has significant experience in researching, reviewing, and writing about tech products and books. She's an avid reader and Kindle owner and is always on the hunt for the most comfortable reading experience. Additional reporting was done by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more.