5 Best e-Readers for Digital Book Lovers in 2021

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E-readers are a fantastic way to enjoy the pleasure of reading anytime, anywhere. The world’s great books fit neatly into your busy lifestyle, from the latest bestsellers to literary classics. But the best e-readers need to be convenient to use, have excellent battery life, and be comfortable on your eyes. So let’s look at the best e-readers for book lovers in 2021.

Comparison Chart

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Kindle Paperwhite – (previous generation – 2018 release) Waterproof with 2x the Storage – Ad-Supported
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Kindle Oasis – Now with adjustable warm light – Ad-Supported
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Kobo Clara HD
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Kindle Kids, a Kindle designed for kids, with parental controls – Blue Cover
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Likebook E-Reader P10, 10” Eink Carta Screen, Dual Touch, Hand Writing , Built-in Cold/Warm Light, Built-in Audible &Out Speakers, Android 8.1, Support OTG,2GB+64GB

e-Readers for Digital Book Lovers: Reviews

Kindle Paperwhite

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The Kindle Paperwhite is one of the world’s favorite e-readers. It has a 300 PPI glare-free display that reads like genuine ink and is 10% brighter for easier reading in daylight. The latest Paperwhite version also has lighting that can be adjusted to shift from warm to cool light, and you can schedule lighting shifts based on time of day.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is also IPX8 rated waterproof and can withstand being immersed in water for up to an hour, so you can relax and enjoy it by the pool or in the bath. The battery lasts for up to 10 weeks, and it charges faster with a USB-C connection.

Use Bluetooth to pair the Paperwhite with your speakers or headphones and enjoy Audible and other audiobooks from your Kindle. You can seamlessly shift from reading to listening without ever losing your place. 

Kindle Paperwhite Specs

  • Screen size: 6.8 inch
  • Weight: 7.23 ounces/205 grams
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Display: 300 PPI with 16 levels of greyscale
  • Battery life: up to 10 weeks
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C
  • Supported formats: AZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, DOCX, PMP,
  • Audiobooks: Audible AAX audio formats

Pros

  • Brighter display with adjustable light for comfortable reading in all conditions
  • Waterproof
  • Faster charging than earlier Kindle models

Cons

  • Some people strongly prefer page buttons instead of a touchscreen interface
  • It is impossible to turn the light on the new Paperwhite entirely off, which causes a very moderate but unnecessary battery drain

Kindle Oasis

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The Kindle Oasis has an IPX8 waterproof rating, so it can go everywhere from the beach to the bath without worrying about water damage. Not only will it survive the occasional splash or drop into the water, but it can also remain submerged for up to 60 minutes, so you never lose your favorite books.

It has the famous 300 PPI Paperwhite display for clear, comfortable reading and a 7” screen that is light and comfortable for one-hand use. The display has an adaptive light setting that automatically adjusts screen lighting based on your lighting conditions or manually adjust the front light from white to warm amber light for lasting comfort.

It comes in 8GB or 32GB options, in graphite or champagne gold color, and you can choose the ad-supported or ad-free version.

Kindle Oasis Specs

  • Screen size: 7 inches
  • Weight: 6.6 oz/188 g
  • Memory: 8GB or 32 GB, with free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content
  • Display: 300 PPI Paperwhite display with 16 levels grayscale and built-in light
  • Battery life: Up to 21 hours of use per charge
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB
  • Supported formats: AZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, DOCX
  • Audiobooks: Supports Audible AAX audiobooks when paired with a speaker or headphones via Bluetooth

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight for one-handed use
  • Waterproof
  • Customized lighting
  • It can be inverted to place page-turning buttons on either side of the device

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Micro-USB connectivity requires approximately 3 hours to fully charge

Kobo Clara HD

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The Kobo Clara HD has a compact, comfortable 6-inch screen, with ComfortLight PRO blue light reduction that lets you adjust your display’s brightness and color temperature to limit eye strain.

The glare-free touchscreen has a high-definition 300 PPI for natural, print-like reading. This e-reader is Overdrive compatible for easy borrowing from thousands of libraries, and you can also save and read online articles with Pocket. It has 8GB of storage to hold up to 6,000 books. The battery can last for weeks on a single charge.

Kobo Clara HD Specs

  • Screen size: 6-inch touchscreen
  • Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Display: 300 PPI e-ink display
  • Battery life: weeks on a single charge
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Micro-USB
  • Supported formats: EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR
  • Audiobooks: N/A

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Adjustable light for comfortable reading
  • Compatible with Overdrive, Pocket, and a wide range of book formats

Cons

  • No sound options for audiobooks
  • Some people strongly prefer page buttons over touchscreens, but that’s a matter of opinion

Kindle Kids

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Kindle Kids is more of a package of kid-friendly features and parent-friendly options than a specific device. Kindle Kids includes a 10th-generation Kindle e-reader, a colorful rugged cover, a year of unlimited Amazon Kids+ service, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee.

With Kindle Kids, you get an e-reader without ads, games, or video distractions, so it allows kids to focus on reading. Amazon Kids+ gives access to the most popular age-appropriate book titles and series, including Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl, to inspire a reading habit.

It is also compatible with Audible, so kids can use Bluetooth speakers or headphones to listen to their favorite stories. The e-reader holds over a thousand book titles and lasts for weeks on a single charge.

Amazon’s Parent Dashboard allows parents to add age filters, add books to their child’s library, set daily reading goals and view reading progress, and more. Kindle Kids comes with your choice of solid blue, solid pink, rainbow birds, or a colorful space station cover. It is backed by a 2-year worry-free guarantee.

Kindle Kids Specs

  • Screen size: 6 inches
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces/288 grams
  • Memory: 8GB, with free unlimited cloud storage of Amazon content
  • Display: 167 PPI e-paper display with 16 levels of grayscale and built-in light
  • Battery life: up to 14 hours
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0
  • Supported formats: AZW3, AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, DOCX
  • Audiobooks: Supports Audible AAX audiobooks when paired with a speaker or headphones via Bluetooth

Pros

  • Simple, distraction-free e-reader package optimized for kids
  • Parent dashboard can add and filter content, set goals, and more
  • 2-year worry-free warranty

Cons

  • USB 2.0 requires approximately 4 hours to charge to full
  • Amazon Kids+ subscription is included with the device for 1 year and then is $2.99 per month

Likebook E-Reader P10

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The Likebook E-Reader P10 has a luxurious 10 inch Carta touchscreen with 1200×1600 resolution. The A4 size display is perfect for reading documents, newspapers, and other large-format text.

When turned horizontally, the Likebook P10 has handwriting recognition, so you can take notes while reading and refer to them later. In addition, it has 4096 degrees of touch sensitivity, so you can write, draw, and capture your creativity.

The built-in light has warm and cold temperatures for eye comfort in a wide range of reading environments, with built-in eye protection. The open Android operating system is compatible with a wide range of apps, and it supports e-books, audiobooks, and music playback with Google Frame.

With 64GB of internal storage and TF and SD slots for additional storage, this device can store thousands of books, newspapers, and documents, as well as your notes and drawings.

Likebook P10 E-Reader Specs

  • Screen size: 10.1 inches
  • Weight: 458 grams
  • Memory: 64GB, with additional TF and SD card slots up to 256GB
  • Display: 1200×1600 HD touchscreen
  • Battery life: A couple weeks
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB C
  • Supported formats: XT, CHM, FB2, MOBI, HTML, RTF, EPUB, PDF, PDB, PRC, DOC, ASW, PRC, CBR, CBZ
  • Audiobooks: 2 built-in speakers, use USB headphones, or pair with external playback devices via Bluetooth

Pros

  • Large format ideal for newspapers, documents, and note-taking while reading
  • Handwriting recognition and pressure-sensitive screen for writing and drawing
  • Android OS for compatibility with a wide range of apps
  • Generous expandable onboard memory

Cons

  • Does not come with a capacitive stylus, so you will need to use your finger or purchase a stylus separately
  • It can be slow to process when used like a tablet

Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a new e-reader, here are the primary features to consider.

Brand

Unfortunately, your brand of e-reader sometimes determines the book marketplace that is available to you.

While most modern e-books are published in a wide range of formats, available on many devices, the brand of the device still determines the marketplace. For example, if you want the ease and convenience of Kindle Books and Amazon’s cloud storage, it’s best to use a Kindle brand e-reader.

If you prefer the Android marketplace, it is easier to access with an Android reader. If you want to borrow e-books from your local library, check which book formats are available to you and make sure your brand of reader uses OverDrive or compatible book files.

Interface

Some people strongly prefer e-readers with page buttons instead of e-readers with touchscreens. This can be a matter of preference and convenience, and which hand you prefer to hold and control your e-reader with. Some people also find touchscreen interfaces more challenging to navigate and control, with accidental interactions.

Screen Size

While you can easily change the font size on an e-reader for comfortable reading at different magnifications, screen size is still an essential factor. Most people prefer an e-reader about 6 inches or approximately the size of a paperback book page.

However, if you want additional space to take notes and interact with the text, you may want a larger e-reader, approximately the size of a notebook page. 

Connectivity

Connectivity is an important factor in an e-reader. You want to be able to access and read your book anywhere, even offline. And yet, you also need to be able to easily add books to the device and update your library.

Almost all e-readers have a charging cable that can also connect the device to a computer and manually add or remove files. However, Wi-Fi connectivity makes this process faster and easier and allows you to access books more quickly in cloud storage.

If you enjoy audiobooks, look for an e-reader that either has Bluetooth to pair with headphones or speakers or has a jack to connect to audio playback devices.

Size and Weight

Screen size is one of the primary factors that determine the overall size of your e-reader. While a large e-reader may be more comfortable for reading, it can also be more difficult to carry with you on the go.

E-readers with more ports, more memory, and built-in speakers may also be heavier than e-readers with less connectivity and media options. Most people prefer a lightweight e-reader that is easier to carry in a bag or pocket, but balancing features and capabilities with convenience and portability is essential.

Battery Life

E-ink technologies use little power, so most e-readers can last for days or weeks on a single charge. However, using an e-reader with more light and lighting options, downloading and controlling files by Wi-Fi, and reading for very long periods, will all drain the batteries more quickly.

Manufacturers typically estimate battery life based on no-light, offline use for ½ hour a day, so they estimate 6-10 weeks between charges. People who use bright light options or use their e-reader more extensively will need to charge it more often.

Memory

For most casual readers, an 8GB e-reader will hold thousands of books, and they will never need more memory. However, some types of e-books (like graphic novels, textbooks, or children’s books) contain many images and pictures, which require far more storage memory than text.

In addition, many textbook publishers create e-book versions of the book without being mindful of ways to reduce file size, which means that some textbooks can require 1GB or more memory per book.

If you read memory-intensive e-books, look for an e-reader with more built-in memory or with an SD card slot that allows you to expand storage over time.  

FAQ

What Does an e-Reader Do?

An e-reader is a specialized device that displays text and images using “e-ink” instead of the LCD screens on monitors, tablets, and phones. There are two critical differences between an e-reader and another type of digital device like a tablet or a phone:

  • E-ink. Electronic ink (also called electronic paper) works by suspending many tiny, flat plastic plates that are black on one side and white on the other inside the screen.

    An electronic signal rotates all these tiny plates to have either the black or white side up and arranges them on the screen to display text or images. This system mimics the appearance of ink on paper.

    It also uses very little energy since the plates are rotated only once per “page,” and it doesn’t require electricity for them to stay in that position for as long as necessary.
  • Light. A typical phone or tablet screen is backlit, projecting light upward from behind the display. The beams of light are focused on various color combinations that create the images on the screen. This type of display uses electricity the entire time the display is on because light needs to be projected the whole time and aims light into the person’s eyes looking at the screen.

    e-Readers do not have backlights, and some e-readers don’t have light at all. When an e-reader has light, the lights are projected downward, onto the “page,” instead of outward, into the eyes. E-reader lights function like tiny lamps or book lights you might use when reading a traditional book. This reduces glare and eye strain when using an e-reader and creates a more book-like visual experience.

For these reasons, e-readers have an incredibly long battery life compared to other digital devices and are easier on the eyes when reading over long periods.

Which e-Book Reader Supports the Most Formats?

Kobo e-readers support the broadest range of book formats and are compatible with most e-book marketplaces. However, they are not compatible with Amazon’s Kindle marketplace.

If you want to buy a wide range of e-books directly from publishers and other marketplaces, a Kobo is the best choice. However, if you want the convenience of Amazon and Kindle cloud storage, you need to choose a Kindle e-reader.

What’s the Difference Between a Tablet and an e-Reader?

Visually, tablets and e-readers can look very much alike. The difference between the devices is the display, the light, and the capabilities. Here are the key differences between a tablet and an e-reader:

Electronic Paper vs. LCD Screen

As mentioned above, tablets use backlight to project colors that create text and images onto a screen. e-Readers use tiny flat plates to create a physical pattern on the screen.

Backlight vs. Front Light

Many e-readers do not have light, and when light is used, it is projected downward onto the “page.” On the other hand, tablets have backlighting that projects light outward from the screen into the reader’s eyes.

Capabilities

E-readers are really only useful for displaying text and images. They can display a vast range of text and book file types and image file formats (usually in greyscale). They may also have note-taking or drawing functionality or audio playback capabilities.

However, a tablet can do many functions, including reading, drawing, writing, playing games, watching movies, etc. You can also install new and different apps on a tablet, allowing new capabilities and activities. An e-reader has much more limited functionality and far less flexibility (if any) to expand its capabilities.  

How do I Get Books on an E-Book Reader?

There are typically two ways to get books onto an e-reader:

Download Using Wi-Fi

Most e-readers are linked to the e-book marketplace(s) and your user account(s). You can either buy new content from the e-reader itself or purchase new books from your phone or computer, and then the books are downloaded onto the e-reader through Wi-Fi.

Add Them With a USB

If your e-reader is offline or you have your own books to add to the device, you can add them via USB. First, connect your e-reader to your computer or tablet using a USB cable. Then, use your computer to browse the files stored on the e-reader and add or change them manually. 

Does Kindle Paperwhite Have Blue Light?

No, the Kindle Paperwhite does not have blue light. The 17 LED lights of the Paperwhite are cool to warm white in color and are aimed downward at the device rather than upward into your eyes.

Best Overall e-Reader

Our top pick for the best e-reader for 2021 is the Kindle Paperwhite. We love the brighter lights with adjustable color temperature to make for better reading in more places and conditions.

We love that it’s waterproof, so we can finally read at the beach or in the bathtub with less worry and care. And we love that Amazon has finally upgraded the USB port so the Kindle Paperwhite can charge more quickly.

In addition, the Paperwhite has seamless integration with Audible and our favorite audiobooks, Amazon’s cloud storage, and a larger, crisp, beautiful display. The Paperwhite is a great all-around e-reader with a great set of features that make it a good choice for nearly everyone.

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