Whether you like the company or not, Amazon’s Kindle remains the best ereader. Kindle has been around for over 15 years, and it has already launched a variety of devices that have undergone several iterations. It came all the way from a bulky and awkward keyboard-equipped ereader to a sleek, touchscreen one. Through the years, there were variations released and gone, such as the Kindle DX and Kindle Voyage. As of the moment, Amazon keeps seven major devices in the Kindle line. With a plethora of choices, it can be overwhelming to pick one. So I attempt to shed light to every potential Kindle owner’s question: Which Kindle should I buy?
It depends on your needs and budget, and there’s no right and wrong answer here. The best Kindles are the ones that suit your preferences. But before you decide on your next reading companion, I did a comprehensive Kindle comparison by breaking down the differences of each of the seven Kindle models currently available. There’s the basic Kindle; basic Kindle Kids; the Kindle Paperwhite, which has the standard, signature, and kids edition; and the Oasis. I’ll break it down by price, features, pros, cons, and reviews among other things. Being an ebook connoisseur, I also shared my two cents on Amazon’s latest Kindle device, the Kindle Scribe. The new Kindle, which features a big screen and the ability to put sticky notes on ebooks, was released in 2022.
With various options available, I’m sure that there’s a Kindle that would fit your lifestyle. And with this comprehensive comparison, I’m sure that the ever-proverbial consumer question “which Kindle should I buy?!” won’t be so daunting anymore.
Which Kindle Should I Buy?: What Are All the Different Models of Kindle
Entry-Level Kindle Devices
Basic Kindle: The basic Kindle, which has a 6-inch screen display, encompasses all the standard features of an ereader, except for being waterproof.
Basic Kindle Kids edition: The Kindle Kids edition, designed with children in mind, comes with a child-friendly cover and a 6-inch screen.
With this variation, Amazon introduced the membership service Amazon Kids+ that has audiobooks and ebooks available to children aged 3 to 12. It comes for free in the first year, but the subscription renews at $4.99 USD per month after the subsequent year. This Kindle also has a Parent Dashboard feature that allows parents to see their child’s reading progress, change the age filters, add ebooks from their account to their child’s library, set a device bedtime, and more.
Mid-Range Kindle Devices
Standard Kindle Paperwhite: The Kindle Paperwhite, a step-up from the basic Kindle, features a larger 6.8-inch screen and is waterproof.
Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition: The Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition offers the same features as the standard version, such as a 6.8-inch screen, but also includes additional enhancements like auto-adjusting light, 32GB of storage, and a wireless charging capability. It’s the premium edition of the Kindle Paperwhite.
Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition: The Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition, similar to the basic Kindle Kids edition, features a larger 6.8-inch screen and is waterproof.
High-End Kindle Devices
Kindle Oasis: The Kindle Oasis, a premium ereader, gives off a luxurious feel with its aluminum back cover and comes with side buttons for page navigation. It’s waterproof and equipped with a larger 7-inch screen.
Kindle Scribe: The Kindle Scribe combines all the features of a standard ereader with a whopping 10.2-inch screen, making it ideal for reading, writing, and journaling. This model comes with a basic or premium pen that doesn’t require charging, and it magnetically attaches to the device. The premium pen has an eraser as well as a shortcut button that may be used to quickly move between a pen, highlighter, and other tools.
With this Kindle, readers can import files through Send-to-Kindle from a web browser, the “Share” button of Kindle apps, or directly through Microsoft Word (but a Microsoft 365 membership is required for this). Readers can also add sticky notes to imported Microsoft Word documents or annotate imported PDF files.
In addition, readers can make handwritten sticky notes to most Kindle ebooks. However, this feature is not supported on manga, comics, graphic novels, magazines, or newspapers. It’s important to know that readers can’t directly write on an ebook’s page but that they can make sticky notes on it that they can write on.
Aside from being a notepad and journal, the Kindle Scribe also has templates like lined paper, agendas, to-do lists, and more. Readers can also organize these “notebooks” by folders and subfolders.
All of the aforementioned devices are eligible for Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s flagship ebook and audiobook subscription service.
Prices and Variations of Each Kindle Model
Note: if you choose the option without lockscreen ads on the devices below, the prices go up higher by $20.
The basic Kindle is priced at $99.99 USD and is only available with a storage capacity of 16GB. The basic Kindle Kids edition is priced at $119.99 USD and is only available with a similar storage capacity. Additionally, it comes with three covers.
The Kindle Paperwhite is available in two storage options, priced at $139.99 USD for the 8GB version and $149.99 USD for the 16GB version. It comes in three color options: black, denim, and agave green. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition is priced at $189.99 USD and is available in black, denim, and agave green color options. It offers a storage capacity of 32GB. Meanwhile, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition is priced at $159.99 USD for the 8GB version and $169.99 USD for the 16GB version. In addition to the expanded storage options, it also comes in three cover designs that differ from that of the basic Kindle for kids.
The Kindle Oasis is priced at $249.99 USD for the 8GB version and $279.99 USD for the 32GB version. Meanwhile, the Kindle Scribe is available at a price of $339.99 USD for the 16GB version, $389.99 USD for the 32GB version, and $419.99 USD for the 64GB version. As mentioned, this model offers the choice between a basic pen and a premium pen, with a $30 USD price difference between each. In the 32GB and 64GB versions of this model, the option to choose the basic pen is not available, and only the premium pen is automatically selected.
Pros of Each Kindle Model
The basic Kindle is the most affordable option and provides an adequate reading experience for the majority of readers.
Between the two options in the child-friendly device line, the basic Kindle Kids is the cheaper option, making it a suitable choice for young readers. It has the added benefit of Amazon Kids+ and features a variety of cover designs.
Meanwhile, the Kindle Paperwhite standard edition is waterproof, features a larger screen size, and offers the convenience of an adjustable warm light. On the other hand, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition also has all of that and offers additional features such as wireless charging, 32GB of storage, and an auto-adjusting warm light. For children, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition provides a waterproof design, a larger screen size, appealing cover designs, and Amazon Kids+ subscription.
In the high-end devices, the Kindle Oasis shines with its side buttons, which is designed to facilitate easier reading. Its aluminum back cover provides additional support and durability. With a larger screen size and the ability to automatically rotate, it offers an upgraded reading experience. Meanwhile, the Kindle Scribe is a versatile device suitable for various purposes such as reading, journaling, note-taking, writing, and doodling.
Cons of Each Kindle Model
The basic Kindle isn’t waterproof, has a smaller screen size (though preferences may vary), and lacks the adjustable warm light functionality found in other models. The basic Kindle Kids edition is also not waterproof, and it’s worth noting that the inclusion of covers may not be necessary. There isn’t an option to exclude them prior to purchase.
For Kindle Paperwhite standard edition, it’s important to consider that the storage capacity of 8GB may be limited if you frequently listen to audiobooks. On the other hand, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition comes with a higher price tag, and it’s worth noting that the wireless charging dock is sold separately. For children, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition is priced higher compared to the basic model, and it’s also important to consider that the covers may not be necessary. I honestly find it bulky when reading.
Speaking of bulkiness, the Kindle Oasis is considered a more expensive option, and some readers noted concerns about the weight of the aluminum cover as it may add some bulk to the device. And due to its larger size, it might not fit easily into smaller pockets or bags. There have also been complaints of relatively shorter battery life compared to other Kindle models.
Lastly, for the Kindle Scribe, this device comes with a steep price tag, and it’s important to mention its limitations. The device doesn’t support writing notes on sideloaded EPUBs or PDFs, only on those sent or converted via Send-to-Kindle feature. Additionally, it lacks connectivity to cloud storage services and is not waterproof.
Being a relatively new device, there may still be some bugs, with some users noting issues where their notebooks disappear. This device doesn’t also support sticky notes on manga, comics, graphic novels, magazines, or newspapers.
Amazon Reviews: What People Say about Each Kindle Device
Some reviewers on Amazon expressed complaints about the basic Kindle, citing its smaller size as not ideal for reading manga and noting that it may feel sluggish. In addition, it lacks the feature of a warm light, which may be a drawback for certain readers.
The basic Kindle Kids edition was criticized for having limited Amazon Kids+ content. Some also wrote that certain ebooks may not be suitable for a specific age group, and it may not be the best device for reading picture books due to their image-heavy nature and — since it’s powered by black e-ink — lack of color. Additionally, there were reviews about buggy parental control functionality.
On the contrary, the Kindle Paperwhite standard edition received positive reviews, with many considering it to be the most stable model. The same was also written about the Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition, which garnered predominantly positive reviews. The 32GB storage capacity was praised for its ability to accommodate more audiobook listening. Overall, reviewers recommended this model if you’re undecided between the standard Paperwhite and the Oasis.
Based on certain reviews, however, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition also received negative reviews for offering a limited selection of Amazon Kids+ content. And just like the basic edition, there were concerns about certain titles not being appropriate for certain age groups.
For Kindle Oasis, some readers expressed dissatisfaction about its inability to disable rotation, the faster battery drainage, and the observation that the aluminum body can feel “cold to the touch.”
Based on multiple reviews, the Kindle Scribe also received complaints from many readers who experienced its buggy performance, including the absence of certain features like document syncing. As a relatively new, first generation device, reviewers advised potential buyers to wait until these issues are resolved. But while some described it as “overhyped,” the device was praised for its impressive hardware.
Which Kindle Suits You Best?: The Best Kindles According to Use Case
The basic Kindle is designed for general reading purposes, and it’s not suitable for use at the beach or in the bathtub. Though an entry-level device, it supports playing Audible audiobooks. Meanwhile, the basic Kindle for kids works just fine for children, providing Audible playback and parental controls for supervision.
In the mid-range devices, the Kindle Paperwhite standard edition is perfect for reading on the beach or in the bathtub as it’s waterproof. Additionally, it supports audiobook playback through Audible. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition offers the same features as the standard version but with added features such as increased storage, wireless charging capability, and an adjustable screen light for different reading environments. The Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition has all the features found in the basic Kindle for kids, making it an ideal choice for children who need a slightly larger screen, a water-proof device, or expanded storage for Audible.
In the high-end device line, the Kindle Oasis is for readers who prefer the convenience of physical buttons to navigate pages during reading, need a larger screen for an improved reading experience, and love the luxurious design of a premium device. Lastly, the Kindle Scribe is a versatile device that caters to various activities such as writing, journaling, and drawing, as well as taking notes on ebooks or documents and reading image-heavy ebooks.
Which Kindle Should I Buy?: The Best Kindles According to Your Budget
For the Cost-Conscious ($100 USD to $120 USD)
The basic Kindle is an affordable ereader suitable for general reading purposes. However, it’s not recommended for reading near the beach or water due to its lack of water resistance.
The basic Kindle Kids edition provides a sufficient reading experience for children, making it an excellent choice for parents on a tight budget.
For Those Who Want to Splurge a Little Bit More for Extra Features ($140 USD to $190 USD)
The Kindle Paperwhite standard edition is an ideal choice if you prefer a slightly larger screen and plan to enjoy reading in places such as the bathtub, near the pool, beach, or sauna.
While the Kindle Paperwhite Signature edition offers features that are not significantly different from the standard edition, it has a larger storage for more audiobooks, automatic screen brightness that adjusts based on your surroundings, and the option for wireless charging.
For children, choose the Kindle Paperwhite Kids edition if you want a water-proof device that they can safely take to the pool or beach. Additionally, if you want a larger storage capacity, this model is the perfect fit.
For Those Who Want a Luxury Device ($250 USD to $450 USD)
The Kindle Oasis caters to individuals who prefer not to tap their screens while reading using buttons on the side. It also appeals to those who want a larger screen compared to that of the Paperwhite. And since this model has an aluminum back cover, it adds a premium feel.
The Kindle Scribe, however, is not recommended if you’re only interested in reading fiction or text-based ebooks. It’s great when it comes to image-heavy ebooks such as manga, comics, and graphic novels. It’s also great for students as it enables note-taking on ebooks and other documents. Artists may find it beneficial for doodling and other creative activities as well.
Kindle still stands the best brand when it comes to ereaders. Since Amazon releases tons of devices, iterations, and variations, sometimes, it’s hard to keep track of the differences of each.