It's hard to believe but the very first Kindle was released 14 years ago – and it's fair to say eReaders have come a long way since then.
The first models, while something of a revelation at the time, lacked many of the features we now take for granted. They now boast built-in lights, have many customisation options to make reading much more comfortable and have syncing features – and some are even waterproof.
We've taken a look at a selection of the best eReaders available right now in 2021 – so you're bound to find something for you in our list.
Although only a few brands dominate the space these days, it isn’t always easy to find the best eReader for you. That’s why we’ve created this buying guide to help you figure out which eReader will best fit for you and your reading habits.
So, whether you're reading The Dirt on your sofa or delving into Hammer Of The Gods while enjoying the sunshine from the safety of your garden, there will be an option for you.
How to buy the best eReader for you
eReaders are for those who don’t want to carry around hardbacks or paperbacks, and would like to keep hundreds or even thousands of books on one handy device that fits snuggly into your bag or backpack.
While we still love those traditional formats, eReaders also give you instant access to a massive library – making your next favourite read just a couple of clicks away – and they also take away the conundrum of finding adequate shelf space if you live in a small flat.
Most modern eReaders come with a huge variety of features, and there are likely plenty of benefits that you might not have thought of. For example, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite comes with a light for reading in the dark. What’s more, the Amazon Kindle Oasis is waterproof, which means you can read it safely in the bath, without worrying about knocks and spills.
With so many products and features, however, it can be tricky to find the right eReader for you. Luckily, there are only a few major brands to choose from.
The first step is to figure out what you can afford. For example, you may have to stick with the Amazon Kindle rather than the features-rich Amazon Kindle Oasis, because it’s more expensive.
Next up in the buying process, we recommend you take a good look at the features and decide which are most important to you. What’s bound to matter to some people won't to others. For example, you don’t need to spend extra on waterproofing if you don't plan on reading the next chapter of your current book in the tub.
Armed with these considerations, it’s time to take a look at the best eReaders for turning your reading, research and relaxation time fully electronic.
The best eReaders you can buy today
One of the most popular eReaders of all time, the Kindle Paperwhite is a small and compact device from Amazon. It has a built-in backlight, which can be adjusted depending on whether you’re reading indoors or outdoors, providing the perfect reading experience if you’re in the living room or reading in bed at night.
The Paperwhite is also waterproof, with an IPX8 rating, which means it can be immersed in water for up to 60 minutes. This should be more than enough peace of mind for reading in the bath.
Amazon also makes a range of specially designed form-fitting covers, which make this Kindle even more stylish and durable.
If you don’t mind opting for a non-Amazon device, then the Kobo Forma is one of our favourites. It has a very simple look, which maximises your reading experience. However, it’s also built for comfort, with an ergonomic design so you can enjoy reading for hours.
We like its versatility, with a landscape or portrait reading mode, as well as the fact that it’s waterproof.
It may not have Amazon features, like Audible or WhisperSync, but it does have OverDrive, an eBook lending service.
The recently redesigned Amazon Kindle Oasis is one of the best eReaders your money can buy right now. It has a seven-inch Paperwhite Kindle display, which makes reading anything a dream, especially with added optimised font technology for crisp and clear lettering.
It has a built-in light, which can be adjusted for brightness and warmth, making it ideal for easing you into sleep. Not only does it have a simple design, it’s also built with ergonomics in mind, making it comfortable to hold for hours.
Because it’s an Amazon eReader, it also has Audible integration, which means you can easily switch between reading and listening.
Behind the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kobo Libra H2O is one of our most recommended eReaders, because it ticks many of the boxes when it comes to eReading. It’s affordable, has a built-in light with adjustable colour temperature for reading at different times of the day, as well as landscape and portrait reading modes.
It comes in black or white, but Kobo also makes a range of colourful accessories, so you can mix up your eReader whenever you fancy. Like many of the other eReaders in our list, the Libra H2O is waterproof, which gives you peace of mind wherever you’re catching up on some reading time.
One of the cheapest options from Kobo, the Clara HD may be budget-friendly but it still has plenty of features – making it an ideal option if you want to try out eReading for the first time, or if you're looking for a gift for a relative.
It has 8GB of storage, which should be enough space for more than 6000 books, as well as Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO, which will find the optimal lighting for the conditions you’re reading in.
The original Kindle but refreshed year upon year, the Kindle is now one of the cheaper eReaders on the market – yet it still boasts a number of handy features, like a built-in light, a thin and light design, as well as Audible integration.
It’s perfect for reading on the go, as you can use it with one hand. It also has a light to help you read wherever you are. It may lack the storage and features of more advanced Kindles, including adjustable lights and waterproofing, but if you’re looking for a budget option this one is perfect for you.
It may be different to every other device on the list, but if you enjoy reading digital comics and graphic novels, then it might be worth investing in an iPad instead. The Apple iPad has a fantastic 10.2-inch display with a 2160 x 1620 pixel resolution and 500 nits of brightness to really make colours really pop.
Buying an iPad for reading only really makes sense if you have a large budget, love comics or you want to use the Apple tablet for more than just reading, whether that’s work emails, drawing apps, games or social media.