The Best Kindle in 2024

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Amazon’s Kindle lineup has led the e-reading space for years. In terms of design, performance, and convenience, they’re nearly unrivaled by other brands. Right now, buyers can choose between four main Kindle models, and I put them all to the test to find the best Kindle for most readers.

My top pick, the Kindle Paperwhite, presents the ideal balance between performance and price. It has a larger screen than the base Kindle and is one of the cheapest waterproof e-readers you can get. But if you’re on a tight budget, the less expensive Kindle (11th Generation) is also a great buy. It isn’t waterproof but delivers the same core features that Kindles are known for without breaking the bank. 

After dozens of hours of reading, page-flipping, and book browsing, here’s how all the best Kindle models stack up and why certain ones are better suited for specific buyers.

Our top picks for the best Kindle

Best overall: Kindle Paperwhite – See at Amazon

Best budget: Kindle (11th Generation) – See at Amazon

Best premium: Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition – See at Amazon

Best for notetakers: Kindle Scribe – See at Amazon

Best overall

The Kindle Paperwhite offers everything a reader could want from a book replacement, balancing simplicity, capability, performance, and price. More than just the best Kindle, it’s also our pick for the best e-reader you can buy right now. 

The Paperwhite is designed with all of the Kindle essentials, including a beautiful paper-like display with adjustable lighting, font size settings, and a dark mode. It’s also got a sharp screen with 300 pixels per inch (PPI) and Bluetooth support for Audible listening. But you can expect as much from any of our picks in this guide. 

a hand holding the kindle paperwhite in front of a striped orange background.

Put simply, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader for most people.

Sarah Saril/Insider

What sets the Paperwhite apart from the rest of the Kindle lineup is its perfect set of features for the money. Waterproof with a flush-front design and USB-C charging, the Paperwhite already looks and feels modern from its exterior. After unlocking the device, you’ll find the snappiest performance of all the Kindles with little to no ghosting (after-images left on the screen). Its lighting temperature is also adjustable, and it has a larger 6.8-inch screen versus the standard Kindle’s 6-inch display. 

Starting at $140, it’s reasonably priced and the cheapest waterproof Kindle available. Even better, it’s often on sale for as low as $100 — which is the regular starting price of our budget pick. Whether discounted or not, the Paperwhite delivers the best Kindle value for most people. 

However, if you’re up to paying a little bit more, you may want to consider the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. It offers all of the same pros of the Paperwhite, with the addition of an auto-adjusting light. It’s also the only Kindle that you can charge wirelessly. 

Check out our Kindle Paperwhite review.

Best budget

Amazon Kindle (2022)

Whether you’re trying to save money or just steer clear of extra bells and whistles, Amazon’s base Kindle won’t disappoint.

Amazon’s base Kindle got an upgrade in 2022, making this model one of the newest of the bunch. That means, despite being the cheapest option, the 11th-generation Kindle now has the benefit of a modern user interface with a 300 ppi resolution. 

This model forgoes many extra features in exchange for a lower price point, but it still comes with a glare-free display, adjustable backlight, and customizable settings. With a 6-inch screen, it’s the smallest Kindle in the lineup, but it feels great in hand. In my review, I found it to be ideal for users who just want to read and don’t want to pay for all of the bells and whistles of its pricier siblings. 

sarah holding the 11th generation kindle 2022 in front of succulents, displaying the first page of "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow"

The Kindle is easy to hold with one hand.

Sarah Saril/Insider

However, if a waterproof design is important to you, you’ll have to pay more for a Paperwhite. You can’t read in the rain or the tub with a regular Kindle, and that’s its main drawback. It also lacks a few other extra features you might be willing to pay more for on another model, like lighting temperature settings, automatic adjustments, and page turn buttons. 

In the end, my advice is this: if the Paperwhite is on sale for the same price, opt for that, but when the regular Kindle costs less money, it’s an excellent budget e-reader. 

Check out our Kindle review.

Best premium

Designed with all of the normal Paperwhite’s splendor and more, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature offers additional features if you’re willing to pay a little extra. It’s a convenient size with a beautiful display and snappy performance that keeps the user immersed in their books, and not focused on the e-reader itself. 

Just like the regular version, the Paperwhite Signature Edition has a 300 pixels per inch (PPI) resolution with a 17-LED backlight. That translates to crisp page fonts that are easy on the eyes with lighting powerful enough for reading books in the sun. It’s also waterproof and powered by a speedy processor for quick page turns with little to no ghosting (after images left on the screen). 

It gets its premium title by being the only Kindle to charge wirelessly, and it’s the only model you can get with automatic light adjustment aside from the $340 Kindle Scribe. Where the normal Paperwhite maxes out at 16GB of storage, the Signature Edition comes with a whopping 32GB for building a massive library of titles and storing tons of audiobooks. 

Our former pick in this category, the Kindle Oasis, offered even more cool features but had some outdated design elements and is now unavailable to purchase. I wish the Paperwhite Signature Edition had the Oasis’ page turn buttons and automatic page orientation flipping, but for $60 less, missing these features isn’t a dealbreaker. 

Best for notetakers

Amazon Kindle Scribe with Basic Pen (16GB)

The Scribe is Amazon’s first Kindle to support handwritten notes using the included pen. The 10.2-inch screen makes it the largest Kindle yet, but its big and thin build can make it awkward to use as an e-reader.

Most readers don’t need the Kindle Scribe, an e-reader you can write on, but it is a very nice device. Starting from $340, it offers an incredible sketching and note-taking experience on the same device where you can read all of your books. 

The Scribe comes with the usual Kindle glare-free display, adjustable brightness, and customizable settings, with the added bonus of automatic page orientation flips and lighting adjustments. With its paper-like feel and responsive e-ink display, writing on this device is a joy that feels leaps and bounds better than writing on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. It’s also well organized with notebooks you can format and file away into folders.

For an extra $30, you can upgrade the included stylus to the Premium Pen. After testing it, I found it to be a nice improvement over the Basic Pen — it adds a dedicated eraser and a shortcut button to the base design. Both can attach magnetically to the Scribe. 

The Amazon Kindle Scribe with a hand holding the stylus and a notebook page open.

The Kindle Scribe is Amazon’s first e-reader with a surface you can write on.

Sarah Saril/Insider

But despite just how fun it is to use, it’s tough to justify the Scribe’s high price. As noted in my full review, it’s uncomfortably thin, making a case a necessary investment for commuters and students to prevent any potential bending. One of the Scribe’s main selling points is its annotation functionality, but you can’t even write on pages without using a clunky sticky note feature, nor can you use the highlighter directly on text. Did I mention it isn’t waterproof?

If you have $340 to spare, the Scribe really is a fun device, but if you fall into the category of “most readers,” I recommend opting for a cheaper Kindle model.

Check out our Kindle Scribe review.

How we test Kindles

a hand holding the kindle paperwhite over the kindle oasis, kindle 11th generation, and kindle scribe in front of a striped orange background.

Each Kindle was evaluated using the same parameters.

Sarah Saril/Insider

I used several key evaluation points to judge each of the Kindles in Amazon’s e-reader lineup to arrive at their final ranking, including display, responsiveness/speed, price, and lighting customization. Here’s how those aspects were considered during testing for our reviews. 

Display: Though all Kindles share the same 300 ppi resolution, every model has a different size that makes a big difference when used. In testing, I found the Kindle (11th Generation) could be too small for some readers and the Scribe too large for others. Luckily, the sharp resolution was easy on the eyes across all of the models, even during long reading sessions. 

Responsiveness/speed: You don’t need to be a speed reader to notice when an e-reader is slow. Page turns will take a second to stutter into view, previous screens will leave an after image, and images will load in slowly. I evaluated this by loading each device with 100 titles from my ebook library before testing. The fastest model is the Kindle Paperwhite, and the Oasis is the slowest, but this difference is small. 

Price: Of course, price plays a big part in judging a Kindle’s value, and that’s part of what brings the Paperwhite above the rest. I compared pricing between Kindle models and comparable e-readers from Kobo and Nook to see what the industry is like overall. None of the Kindles are a waste of money, but the Scribe is definitely the least cost-efficient.

Lighting customization: You won’t always be reading in the same room, under the same conditions, every time, and that’s where lighting customization comes in. The ability to toggle the brightness based on your current environment is a godsend for eye comfort, especially for long reads. All of the Kindles offer adjustable brightness, but the base Kindle doesn’t offer temperature adjustment, and only the Oasis and Scribe offer automatic lighting changes.

What to look for in a Kindle

The new Kindle Scribe with the Kindle 2022, Kindle Paperwhite 2018, and Kindle Keyboard 2010

The Kindle Keyboard (2010), Kindle Paperwhite (2018), Kindle (2022), and Kindle Scribe (2022).

Sarah Saril/Insider

Every reader is different, but there are a handful of features that all buyers should look for when it comes to committing to a Kindle. 

If you ever plan to read in the bathtub or in the rain, waterproofing is a must — that eliminates the 11th-generation Kindle and the Scribe from the running. Readers who like to get in a few chapters before bed can also benefit from lighting temperature adjustment to warm the screen and ease your eyes into bedtime, which is something the base Kindle doesn’t offer. Personally, as someone who likes to read while lying down, I love the automatic orientation adjustment and page turn buttons of the Oasis since they can accommodate whichever way I flop around. 

Ultimately, the best Kindle for you is whichever one covers your needs the most without breaking the bank. That’s why I recommend the Paperwhite because it manages to balance both of those things for most people.

Kindle FAQs

An Amazon Kindle Scribe being written on with the stylus on a wooden surface.

Writing on a Kindle Scribe is smooth with no latency.

Sarah Saril/Insider

Are Kindle books free?

E-books typically cost money just like physical books do, but you can score titles for free in a handful of ways.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s e-reading subscription service. For $12 a month, it includes access to over four million books, thousands of audiobooks, magazine subscriptions, and Kindle Books you can borrow. 

Can the Kindle read to me?

Your Kindle can read most content to you by using Text-to-Speech, an option available in your Kindle’s menu. If you prefer a human voice reading to you, you can also buy and download Audible Audiobooks of your favorite titles to have a narrator read to you from your e-reader.

Do I need a case for my Kindle?

While most Kindles are designed with a solid build, a case is still a good idea for protecting your device from drops or scratches. The Kindle Scribe, in particular, has a very thin design, which makes it feel flimsy without a case. You should also consider buying a case if you bring your Kindle with you outside your home during trips and commutes.

Cases can also help by providing a better grip on these otherwise flat devices. For less bulk, you may even want to consider attaching an adhesive phone grip, like a popsocket, to your e-reader.

For recommendations, check our picks for the best Kindle Paperwhite case.

When is the best time to buy a Kindle?

Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are the best times of year to buy just about anything, including Kindles. During these major sales events, Kindles drop to their all-time lowest prices, making it easier than ever to make the leap and buy one. 

Historically, we’ve seen the Kindle Paperwhite on sale for as low as $95 and the Kindle (11th Generation) on sale for as low as $65. Deals can be short-lived and low in stock, so we highly recommend acting fast if you come across a great deal.