There are a lot of great ereaders on the market today—including Kindles, Nooks and Kobos—but which one is the best ebook reader for you?
Turns out that’s a trick question. It depends on which bells and whistles you need and which you can live without. For example, do you love to read in the tub? Is adjusting light warmth a priority for you? Or do you just want the ability to carry a thousand books in the palm of your hand at the cheapest price possible?
Whatever your preferences, we’ve got you covered with this guide to the best eReaders in 2020—we’re betting even die-hard paperback lovers will be impressed with some of these features.
The Overall Best eReader
Kindle Oasis 2019
Pros: There are a lot of Kindle readers of various generations, but the Kindle Oasis 2019 is the best—if you’re willing to pay for it. Amazon boasts that the updated Oasis has an adjustable warm light to make you feel as though you’re reading a “real book,” a 7-inch touch screen, plus page turn buttons for one-handed reading. And, perhaps most impressively, it’s waterproof: the new Oasis is protected for up to 60 minutes in up to two meters of freshwater, so no more worrying about poolside splashes or reading in the tub. The Kindle Oasis also holds a charge for ~21 hours and switches easily from reading to listening with an Audible account, though you will need Bluetooth headphones for this option—the device lacks headphone jacks.
Cons: The biggest obvious downside to this eReader is the expense. You’ll shell out a steep $279.99 for the 32 GB option (make that $349.99 if you want to add free cellular connectivity on top of Wi-Fi). And the 8 GB option (with just Wi-Fi) doesn’t come with much of a discount—that model is still $269.99. One more potential con is the charging port—the Kindle Oasis uses a micro-USB, instead of a standard USB-C cable, which may be an annoyance for those who don’t like having separate charging cables for each device. And speaking of chargers, if you don’t have a micro USB power adapter, you’ll need to buy one of those separately, too—this is true for all Kindle eReaders.
The Bottom Line: This is the best eReader that money can buy—but if you don’t need “the best,” it might not be the right option for you.
The Middle-of-the-Road eReader
Kindle Paperwhite 2019
Pros: At just $129.99 for 8 GB of storage (or $159.99 for 32 GB of storage) the Kindle Paperwhite is a far more affordable option than the Oasis. It’s also waterproof and comes with the same glare-free touch screen display and Audible connectivity.
Cons: Unlike the Oasis, the Paperwhite lacks page turn buttons and the adjustable warmth light. It also has a slightly smaller, 6-inch screen.
The Bottom Line: If you don’t mind using your other hand to turn the pages and can live without your pages looking exactly like real paper, the Paperwhite is a much more cost-effective option—and still a great eReader.
The Best Nook eReader
Nook GlowLight Plus
Pros: If you're not a fan of supporting Amazon, the Nook GlowLight is a great alternative to the Kindle Oasis. Both versions are waterproof, have 300ppi resolution and feature adjustable light warmth and page turning buttons. The Nook also has a slightly larger display than the Oasis, at 7.8 inches, and at $199, is a bit more affordable.
Cons: Unlike the Oasis and Paperwhite, you don’t have the option of adding free cellular connectivity to your Nook eReader. The battery life is also slightly shorter, at about 14 hours.
The Bottom Line: If you don’t care about free cellular connectivity and are looking for a slightly larger screen, the Nook GlowLight Plus is an excellent, more affordable alternative to the Kindle Oasis.
The Cheapest eReader
Amazon Kindle 2019
Pros: We get it. You want to save your money to binge-buy actual books. Fear not. The best bargain for dedicated ereaders is the Amazon Kindle 2019, which has a 6-inch screen and comes with a few upgrades from the 2016 version, including a backlight and Audibile connectivity, for just 89.99. And like the Oasis and Paperwhite, new Kindles come with three months of Kindle Unlimited. (See the best Kindle Unlimited books here .)
Cons: The display, while perfectly serviceable at 167ppi, won’t be as crisp as the Paperwhite or Oasis, which are both 300ppi. The basic Kindle also offers just 4GB of storage, though this is hardly a con—you can still hold thousands of books in that space.
The Bottom Line: If all you’re looking for is the ability to carry multiple books in one device, this is the eReader for you. Though if you’re really looking for a bargain, you should also see if there are any refurbished Kindles looking for a good home.
The Most Versatile eReader
Kobo Clara HD
Pros: Featuring a 6-inch touch screen and weighing just 5.85 ounces, the Kobo Clara HD just might be the most versatile eReader on the market—it easily reads multiple kinds of files and syncs easily with apps like Pocket and Overdrive. Like the other high quality eReaders on this list, it also features a 300 ppi resolution, at a reasonable price of $119.99.
Cons: While this eReader does have a backlight, it does not feature an adjustable warmth setting, nor is it waterproof—you’ll have to pay at least another $50 for one of Kobo’s waterproof models.
The Bottom Line: If you’re reading more than just books on your eReader, a Kobo might be the best choice for you because of its ability to read more than a dozen kinds of file formats.
The Best eReader Is the One That Works for You
Whether it's waterproof, has cellular connectivity, can hold thousands of books or just a few hundred, the right eReader is one that works and is full of books you love—preferably at a great price, or even for free. (You might even prefer reading on your iPad—if so, check out the best free and discounted Apple Books.) To stay aware of all the best ebook deals and giveaways, sign up for the Early Bird Books newsletter—we'll send you the incredible deals and free ebooks, every day.
Featured photo: Perfecto Capucine / Unsplash