The Best Ereaders of 2020 – 2021 Top 10 Reviews

Best Budget eReaders 2020-E-readers offer a number of advantages over reading e-books on a tablet or phone. Best eReaders,First, they have screens designed for extended reading that resist the glare of sunlight and therefore cause less eyestrain. Secondly, since they don’t have a lot of the superfluous bells and whistles of a tablet, they are typically much lighter, cheaper and have a much longer battery life (typically lasting weeks). So for the best e-book reading experience today, we’ve compiled a list of the Best eReaders you can buy in 2020

Buy On Amazon Best Seller List Top 50

  1. Best Budget eReader: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
  2. Best Overall eReader: Kindle Oasis for 2020
  3. Best Runner-Up: Amazon Kindle Voyage in 2020
  4. Best Large Screen eReader: Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
  5.  

Best Budget eReader: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

$120

 
 

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite offers a whopping eight-week battery life on normal use and a reading experience that far exceeds that of a tablet. The latest Kindle Paperwhite matches Amazon’s flagship Kindle Voyage at 300ppi. The black and white screen is noticeably crisper than previous iterations, with a more pronounced contrast, and there’s no glare even under direct sunlight. For late-night reads, turn on the four built-in LED lights.

The new system font Bookerly has been designed from the ground up to reduce eyestrain while allowing for faster reading. This is not merely advertising fodder; the font is legitimately crisp, modern and easy to read. The typesetting engine has also received an update, so there are fewer awkward misplaced letters or words that plagued earlier models.

The relatively plain Kindle Paperwhite can’t compete with the more expensive Kindle Voyage’s design. At nearly half a pound, it is a little on the heavy side, and there’s no microSD slot. However, with 4GB of internal storage there’s enough space to store thousands of books.

The Kindle bookstore is arguably the best online bookstore available, with over four million titles on offer. It’s a little slow to navigate on the Paperwhite itself, but you can always browse the store on a laptop and send the e-book wirelessly to your device. The Kindle Paperwhite, at its lowest price point, has the right to show you advertising for unfettered access to the Amazon network via WiFi. While these ads are unobtrusive, they might deter readers in search of a more traditional experience.

 

Best Overall eReader: Kindle Oasis

 
 

The Kindle Oasis is the best Amazon e-reader you can buy – even though the price is a bit steep. Rest assured, it’s the “Rolls Royce” of e-readers, with an all-new ergonomic design, dedicated buttons for turning pages and a backlight for reading in the dark. The tapered design is .13” at its slimmest, but it still manages to feel extra sturdy. It’s perfectly balanced for one-hand reading the 6” 300ppi display that offers laser-quality text. It’s also weighs just 4.6 ounces.

Whether it’s black and white comics or lengthy novels, reading on the display feels far closer to reading a physical book than a smartphone display. It’s that sharp and frankly, that good. Battery life will vary with use, but Amazon claims the Oasis can last up to 8 weeks on just 30 minutes of reading per day. The 4GB of memory will hold thousands of books with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited monthly rate offers one million titles on-the-go, and there are over two million titles priced at $9.99 or less.

 

Best Runner-Up,: Amazon Kindle Voyage

$200

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Although it’s the most expensive option on the list, the Kindle Voyage beats most competitors with a slick screen, lightweight design and impressive battery life (it can last for weeks without needing a recharge).

And there’s a huge difference when reading on a standard tablet screen versus reading on a Kindle Voyage. The Kindle Voyage’s 6” display technology uses E-Ink Carta to achieve the page-like quality that doesn’t hurt your eyes in the same way an LED or LCD does. The 300ppi display makes it feel as if you’re reading right off a paper page, with a level of an authenticity that will impress even the most hesitant of print purists.

Weighing 6.3 ounces, the Kindle Voyage is lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite, and its adaptive brightness automatically adjusts to ambient lighting, which is a feature not found on cheaper Kindles. The built-in lighting system also has six bulbs compared to the Paperwhite’s four. Additionally, a feature called Page Press allows you to turn the page without even lifting a finger.

The Kindle Voyage has 4GB of storage to handle your personal book collection. Being able to tap into Amazon’s Kindle store means you can choose from millions of books, and unlike more inexpensive Kindles, there’s no forced advertising.

 

Best Large Screen: Amazon Fire 7 Tablet

$50

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Amazon’s Fire 7 is so much more than just an e-reader – it’s also a full-fledged tablet equipped with Alexa. While you might not need all of its bells and whistles, there are plenty of features that make this device attractive to avid readers.

First off, its gorgeous seven-inch, 1024 x 600 IPS display has high contrast, vivid colors and sharp text to make reading for hours on end comfortable and enjoyable. Secondly, it boasts eight hours of battery life, so you won’t need to charge up between chapters. Thirdly, the Fire OS has an exclusive Blue Shade feature that automatically optimizes backlight for a better reading experience in dim lighting. And last but not least, Family Library links your Amazon account to that of your relatives to let you conveniently share books.

If you’re an on-the-go reader who doesn’t hesitate to toss your e-reader in your tote, you’ll also love the fact that the Fire 7 is highly durable. (It was rated as twice as durable than the iPad mini 4, not to mention, it’s cheaper, too!) For $30 more you can upgrade to the eight-inch Fire tablet, which will score you a larger reading screen and four more hours of battery life, but we find this seven-incher to be a good balance between function and portability.

Best for Versatility: Kobo Glo HD

$182
 

The Kobo Glo HD has an excellent 6” screen capable of outputting 300ppi, and even manages to squeeze a few more pixels in (1448 x 1072 screen resolution) than the Amazon’s Kindle Voyage. It offers the 4GB of storage space (up to 3,000 books), weighs 12.6 ounces and has a battery life lasting around two months.

Kobo is smart to point out how there’s no advertising on the Kobo Glo HD, unlike the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, which requires the user to occasionally see advertisements. Fourteen file formats are supported, including PDFs, Amazon’s Mobi format and the more open Epub format that isn’t supported on Kindles. The Kobo Glo HD also includes a web browser, and you can even use the Pocket app to read Internet articles on your e-reader.

Kobo’s online marketplace may not be as well presented and easy to navigate as Amazon’s Kindle Store, but it now contains roughly the same number of e-books (and at comparable prices).

The Kobo Glo HD features a pleasant perforated silicon backside that gives the e-reader a little grip, and the design includes a raised bevel that isn’t quite as smooth to hold as the flat-screened Voyage. Also something to consider: It’s not waterproof.

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Runner-Up, Best Large Screen: Kobo Aura H20

$169

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The Kobo Aura H2O is an e-reader that is known for its waterproof (IP67 certified) and dustproof design. The no-glare, 6.8″ screen reads like regular printed paper (thanks to ClarityScreen+), even when the sun shines directly on it. The resolution is, however, slightly poorer than competitors (265ppi to their 300ppi), but the difference is negligible.

With the Kobo Aura H20’s ComfortLight, light is steered away from your eyes and directed onto the screen. If your eyes start to get tired with the font, feel free to choose from 24 font size options. Also, highlight passages or make notes so you don’t miss anything. Don’t know what a word means? That’s OK; simply click on the word and it will be defined.

The Aura H2O has the same 4GB of storage space of the other offerings on this list, and it supports an impressive fourteen file formats including Epub, PDF, Mobi and CBZ. It also offers the longest battery life (up to two months of normal use without requiring a charge).

But the Kobo online store is a downside. Although the range of titles is now comparable to the Kindle Store, the interface feels messy and it can take some time to find the books you really want to read.

The Kobo Aura H20’s market price sits between the more expensive Kindle Voyage and the much cheaper Kindle Paperwhite. The main reasons you may choose the Kobo are to get away from Amazon’s rather restrictive digital rights management, the waterproofing, the better support for more file types and the larger screen.

 

 

  • When an e-reader becomes a tablet

    The popularity of the tablet has not escaped makers of ebook reading devices, and some models are blurring the line between a tablet and an e-reader.

    • Amazon (Kindle) and Kobo attempted to push in on the tablet market with a couple of tablet-style devices to compete with the Apple iPad and other Android tablets. However they didn’t last long and are now no longer available.
    • Tablet features, like touchscreens, with swiping and screen lighting, have been incorporated into many dedicated e-reader models to improve ease of navigation and readability in low-light conditions.
    • Some tablets, like the iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy tab, are smaller and cheaper than full-sized tablets and are seen as more full-featured alternatives to dedicated e-readers. However the issues of reading a backlit glossy screen remain a significant issue for some book lovers.

    Buy an e-reader… if you want to read a stack of books on a device that’s easy on the eyes.

    Buy a tablet… if you primarily want a small computing device so you can email, browse, watch TV and use numerous other apps, with a bit of reading thrown in.

    Five reasons to buy an e-reader

    1. You’re an avid reader

    If you go through a stack of books on a holiday and don’t want to carry a mini library in your bag, an e-reader could be your best friend. Toss it in a bag and you’ll never be short of something to read. And you won’t have to recharge it every day like a tablet.

    2. You don’t want a bookshelf collection

    Let’s face it, not every book is deserving of a hardback special edition. If you don’t want to keep buying bookshelves, then an e-reader is an easy way to get a massive collection of books that don’t need a room of their own in your home.

    3. Read under a tree

    The e-ink screen of an e-reader is easier to see outdoors than a tablet screen. You can take it to the beach or to the park and still read easily without worrying about glare.

    4. Bring your book to life

    If you want to add notes to your book, quickly look up words or change the text size, you can do all of this with an e-reader. Try zooming in on a paperback.

    5. Environmentally friendly

    Electronic devices add to e-waste, but if you hold onto your e-reader long enough and use it regularly, you can rest easy knowing you’ve saved a truckload of paper and all the associated environmental costs of printing and shipping your books.

    Five reasons not to buy an e-reader

    1. You want a tablet

    If you really, really, really want a tablet, then it’s probably worth spending the money rather than facing disappointment. You’ll get a computer as well as an e-reader and the smaller, lighter generation of tablets make it more comfortable to hold it in bed and carry in a handbag to pull out and read at your next doctor’s appointment.

    2. You don’t want two devices

    If you’re short on space and don’t like the idea of carrying two devices, or you don’t want to decide which one you’re going to need on a day out or on holiday, then don’t buy two devices. You might be better off choosing one or the other and accepting the limitations inherent in each.

    3. Not everything can be read on an e-reader

    An e-reader won’t be able to read all types of electronic documents. Most will read ePub files and PDFs, but some of these files have built-in copy protection to prevent sharing files unlawfully and they won’t open on some e-readers. If you have a tablet, you can also get free books from your public library online too.

    4. You don’t want to recharge

    Unlike a paperback, an e-reader will eventually run out of battery life and there’s no more reading if you can’t find a power point. This can be inconvenient and ties you in to taking a charger and/or adapter with you on holiday and needing to recharge when battery life gets low.

    5. You like real books

    So you’re a traditionalist and proud of it. No need to apologise for that. The physical feel of a book can’t be replicated with an ebook, and there’s no point pretending it can. Some people will never accept the idea of an ebook, while others find it liberating to have an almost endless supply of reading material at their fingertips.

    Is an e-reader easy on the eyes?

    All e-readers use electronic ink (e-ink) and a non-reflective display screen that simulates the appearance of a paper book.

    • E-readers don’t require a backlight, unlike other electronic viewing devices, like laptops and tablets. This means less strain on the eyes after prolonged viewing and good readability even in direct sunlight.
    • The e-ink display can keep an image or page of text onscreen without using any power, until the screen is refreshed by turning to the next page. This is especially useful for slow readers.
    • The downside of an e-ink display is that like a paperback, you need an external light source like a bedside lamp or a book light in low-light conditions. However, more and more models are appearing with front lit screens that can be dimmed when not required.

    What files do e-readers use?

    Most e-readers that don’t have Kindle in the name use the ePub (electronic publication) file type. This is a standard format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum and is one of the most commonly available file types.

    • Ebooks can be copyright-protected and in this case will usually include a DRM (digital rights management) code that controls how digital media files can be used and shared.
    • DRM protection is designed to control the unauthorised duplication and illegal distribution of copyrighted digital media.
    • This makes DRM-protected ebooks difficult to share on another ebook reader.

    What to look for

    Accessories

    • Does the reader come with an AC adapter (mains socket charger) or only a USB cable (for plugging into a PC)? An AC adapter provides more flexibility for charging as it can be used with a standard power point. This may be an optional extra. Note that Australian chargers may not be included with an e-reader.
    • Some e-readers without a backlit screen have a built-in or optional external book light device to assist with reading in low-light conditions.

    Controls

    • Whether you decide on a model that uses a touchscreen or buttons – or a combination of both – you need to be able to work your way through the story in an intuitive manner so there are no distractions to your reading enjoyment.
    • Hold the reader as if you were reading a book and see if the buttons are in the right place for you. You don’t want to be fumbling for the control to turn to the next page.
    • Spend some time going through the menus to see how easy it is to access the reader’s advanced features.

    Connectivity

    • Does it have internet connectivity via Wi-Fi, 3G or both?
    • Kindle e-readers with 3G connectivity contain an internal SIM card that allows you to buy books online. This service is provided free by Amazon, but cannot be used for anything other than basic web browsing and buying books on Amazon.

    Cloud access

    • 3G is becoming less of an advantage due to the proliferation of smartphone ownership and reasonable online data plans.
    • If you have a smartphone, you should be able to use your e-reader to access documents online and in the cloud anywhere with a mobile network signal. To do this, enable the personal hotspot feature on your smartphone. This turns it into a mobile internet access point. Then connect the e-reader as you would to your home wireless network. Although mobile network contracts often include an internet data plan, check to see if you have enough data at your disposal before using this feature. Most ebook files are small (usually under 1MB), so you won’t need a large plan to download an ebook.

    Document file formats

    • Not all readers support every ebook format. Check ebook stores to see what format the books you want come in (the most common form is ePub). Also, check if they’re locked with DRM.
    • Compare this with the e-reader’s specifications for compatibility. Some may list a format but only support this format without DRM, so look for a listing of which DRM-locked formats it does support.
    • Another popular ebook format is Adobe PDFs, which are good for keeping the look and style consistent, but resizing an ebook font can be difficult or impossible.
    • Access to a large number of file formats is important, as it increases the chances that the book you want is available, either for purchase or free download.

    E-libraries

    Many local libraries allow patrons to borrow a virtual copy of a book. Simply enter your library card details and download the ebook to your PC or Mac, using an app like Overdrive. You can then transfer the title to your e-reader to enjoy for up to three weeks.

    Screen

    The e-reader screen should be clear to read in normal lighting conditions so it doesn’t cause eyestrain. If you want to read in low-light conditions you’ll need some form of lighting, either built-in back- or side-lighting, or external lighting. Some devices come with an external book light built-in or as an attachment (this may be an optional extra).

    Storage capacity

    Most e-readers have built-in (on-board) memory and some also have microSD memory card slots that allow you to read as many ebooks as the card can store. The on-board memory generally ranges from 512MB to 4GB (1GB will hold about 1000 books).

    Cost

    E-readers range in price from $100 for an Amazon Kindle or $120 for a Kobo, to $399 for a Kindle Voyage or over $400 for the latest Kindle Oasis. In comparison, an e-reader tablet alternative like the iPad Mini is or $299, or $399 for the high-resolution Retina Display model.

    By The Book – What We Found

    Most use technologies such as E Ink that rely on reflected ambient light to illuminate their screen. That gives them a relatively long battery life—thousands of page turns, or upward of a week or so in standby mode. Others, however, including virtually all color models, use the LCD screen technology of laptops and many phones. While such LCD screens generally produce type that’s less crisp, and more difficult to read in bright light, they’re backlit, and so are easier to read in dim light.

    E-book readers offer other capabilities, such as built-in music players, but they’re designed primarily for reading. You select content and turn pages using buttons, bars, or (on touch-screen models) an onscreen swipe.

    Can I Read E-Books on Other Devices?
    You can. The same e-book applications found on readers are also available for many smart phones, PCs, and Mac computers. Some tablet models such as Apple’s iPad have their own e-book apps, too. But multipurpose devices are generally less suited to e-book reading than dedicated readers. Their LCD screens typically display type less crisply than reader screens, they run for hours on a charge rather than days, and they’re more prone to wash out in bright light.

    How Do I Get E-Books Onto My Reader?
    They’re typically downloaded directly from an e-book store maintained by the reader’s manufacturer. Some readers come bundled with unlimited access to a 3G cellular network that allows wireless downloads from those stores wherever you have network coverage—a significant plus. Others allow wireless access via Wi-Fi, which may suffice for many people. A book typically requires a minute or less to download.

    Many readers, like virtually all tablets, connect wirelessly only over a Wi-Fi connection to a home network or hotspot. Other units require you to connect the device to a computer to download content. Downloads using a USB cord and a computer are an option with all units, even wireless ones.

    What Do E-books Cost?
    E-books can be less expensive than printed books. Prices typically range from free to $30 and up. New best-selling titles often cost less as e-books than as hardcovers. Many classic titles that are in the public domain cost only a few dollars or are available free from the Google Books database of more than 500,000 public domain titles. E-book retailers frequently offer free sample chapters.

    The selection of e-books on all the major devices is large and rapidly expanding. That said, not every printed book is available in e-book form and the e-book release is sometimes delayed somewhat, to maximize sales of hardcover editions.

    Is Other Content Available?
    Yes, most readers also allow you to buy magazines and newspapers, either as single issues (typically for prices comparable to buying their printed counterpart) or as subscriptions, which can cost less than subscribing to the printed versions.

    Is an E-Book Reader Right for You?
    E-book readers are much thinner and lighter than a single hardcover book, and can hold thousands of titles. Buying an e-book reader makes the most sense if you’re a voracious reader or someone who often lugs books among several favorite reading locations.

    A reader can also be a fine choice for the visually impaired. Type size can be enlarged, and a few models also allow fonts to be changed. Amazon Kindle models will even read text to you, albeit in a somewhat mechanical voice.

     
    For More Check Our E-Book Reader Ratings

    Bold Types

    Dedicated E-Book Readers
    These devices, including Amazon Kindles and Barnes & Noble Nooks, focus primarily on displaying e-books and are all we include in our Ratings. Many also offer newspaper and magazine subscriptions as secondary capabilities that are compromised somewhat by their monochromatic screens. Many have black-and-white E Ink screens, and so offer decent or better type and long battery life, while others have LCD screens, with shorter battery life and less crisp type but the ability to reproduce color.

    Brands

    E-book readers are portable devices, usually with energy-frugal black-and-white display screens optimized to show the electronic text of digital books. These electronic book readers typically have screens that are 6 inches in size–and thus larger than smart cell phones and smaller than most tablet computers. Tablets with full app stores and e-book apps, Web browsers, and more-robust processors and graphics capabilities typically offer more versatility but have shorter battery life and less readable type than single-purpose e-book readers.

    Amazon
    Amazon’s virtual online store opened in July 1995 and continues to grow. Its first piece of hardware, the Kindle, was released in November 2007. The Kindle now has a variety of e-reader e-ink offerings that include Wi-Fi and/or Wi-Fi and 3G, with or without a light, different sized screens, and with and without “special offers,” which are models that have limited time offers and ads on the screen savers.

    Amazon also makes tablets: the Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire HDX, which are Wi-Fi only and/or Wi-Fi and 4G LCD color devices for music, boks, movies, games, and more, and come in a choice of two screen sizes and more (see tablets).

    Barnes & Noble
    Barnes & Noble’s e-book reader, the Nook, the bookseller’s first electronics device, entered the market in December 2009. Barnes & Noble offers an e-ink Wi-Fi-only version of the Nook, with a light, and two LCD Wi-Fi color devices with different screen sizes (see tablets) that come with software to read books to kids, play games, read e-mail, and more.

    Ectaco
    A company known mostly for its electronic dictionaries and language learning products, Ectaco was among the first of many companies to enter the e-book reader market. It produces a line of jetBook e-book readers and introduced the first color e-ink reader, designed primarily for use in schools.

    Kobo
    A Canadian company that makes a range of e-ink devices that connect to its own e-bookstore, Kobobooks.com. Kobo has also introduced LCD Wi-Fi only tablets for books, social reading, music, movies, and more. When Sony departed from the digital book segment in early 2014, Kobo took over Sony e-reader customers, who continue to have access to their full library using Kobobooks.com.

     
    See Our E-Book Reader Ratings for Top Models

    Shopping Tips

    Consider Screen Size
    Measured diagonally, screens range from about 5 to 10 inches. A 6-inch screen offers a good combination of adequate size and moderate price for most people. It will be small and light enough to slip into a handbag or briefcase.

    Consider Screen Capabilities
    The E Ink screens of most readers are monochromatic, and offer long battery life and fine resistance to glare in bright light. The Barnes & Noble Nook Glowlight and Amazon Kindle Paperwhite have built-in lighting. For nighttime reading on other E Ink devices, you can buy a book light or a cover with a light built in. Some book lights run on batteries; others draw power from the reader itself, shortening its battery life. On many readers, you can use touch capability to help you choose content and turn pages. Other use turn bars or buttons. We prefer models that offer both turning options.

    Consider Connectivity vs. Cost
    A model with wireless 3G access offers the most flexibility for obtaining new content for the reader, but models with Wi-Fi-only access generally cost less. E-readers that must be connected to a computer can be the least convenient to use, but they are likely to be the lowest-priced. You’ll have to choose between cost and convenience. In any case, don’t expect to use 3G or Wi-Fi access to the Internet for much except downloading content from the e-reader’s dedicated store. At best, readers have Web browsers that are very limited, and our testers have found most to be virtually unusable.

    Consider Performance Differences
    Readers vary in the clarity of type on their screens, and in the contrast between the type and the screen background–both important to readability. In addition, some models take noticeably longer to complete these page turns than others. There are also differences in how quickly competing readers are usable. While these devices’ frugality with power means you can leave them on almost for days and even weeks without running the battery down, some models are a few seconds quicker to wake up from sleep mode, or a few minutes faster to boot up from off mode, than their competitors.

    Consider Versatility and Flexibility
    Books ordered from the reader’s dedicated e-book store all come formatted for the device. Some readers, including the Barnes & Noble Nook, can also accept books from other e-book stores natively–that is, without the need to convert their format. Some such models, including the Nooks and Sonys, accept those formats with digital rights management provisions, too, which allows you to borrow e-books from some public libraries. They also typically support documents of other types, such as Word documents. Other readers are more limited in their support. With Kindles, for example, Word documents and photos in jpeg format must be sent to Amazon for conversion before they can be loaded.

    Most readers have the capability to be a basic MP3 player or basic digital photo frame. Virtually every reader brand has other distinctive capabilities. Kindles can read content aloud, in a somewhat mechanical voice. You can lend e-books from Nooks. Some Sonys allow you to handwrite notes or even drawings, using a stylus.

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