Which Kindle should I buy?

Ebook readers

Which Kindle should I buy?

by Mike Plant
Kindle ebook reader or Kindle Fire tablet? 3G or wi-fi? Our expert guide will help you pick the best Kindle for you.

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Amazon's Kindle is the leading name in ebook readers, and there are several Kindle models and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets available at a range of prices. Our expert, independent advice will help you choose the right device for you.

All of Amazon's ebook readers and tablets can be used to read ebooks and most can be used to browse the web, but beyond that, there's a world of difference between the devices, from screen sizes and internal storage to online features.

In the table below, we explain the key differences between each of the main Kindle and Kindle Fire releases. As a Which? member, you can log in to see our full verdicts and test scores to find out which is the best Kindle for you.

To see which ebook readers we recommend, take a look at our ebook reader Best Buys page.

Which Kindle should I buy?

Typical price £270.00
Which? score 89%
Tested May 2016
Best Buy
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This ebook reader is the best model to pass through our test lab. It’s perfectly designed for one-handed use and has a unique, eye-catching design. It has enough internal storage to hold thousands of books.

Today's best price £109.00
Which? score 88%
Tested Aug 2015
Best Buy
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This ebook reader has a great screen and is lighter than a paperback novel. Whether you're reading outside on a summer's day or during the dead of night, its display is always easy to read.

Today's best price £169.95
Which? score 73%
Tested Feb 2015
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This is a great ebook reader that's comfortable to read in a variety of light conditions. It may have a responsive touchscreen, but how did it fare in our unique drop test when compared to its rivals?

Kindle ebook readers

Kindle ebook readers use e-ink screens designed to closely imitate the look of printed text in a paperback.

E-ink requires very little battery power to display text, which means that the average battery life of an ebook reader is much longer than a tablet. Some ebook readers can run for weeks at a time. The best ebook readers we've tested are easy to read in any light, while many have a light so that you can read in the dark, too.

Most ebook readers are limited to black and white, though, so illustrations won’t display in colour – and nor will websites if the device is capable of displaying them. E-ink screens don’t support video either, meaning that a Kindle ebook reader only excels at displaying the printed word.

Amazon recently announced its new Singles Classics service, making iconic articles and essays from well-known authors available in digital form, many for the first time. Singles Classics are exclusive to Kindle and can also be read on Fire tablets. The free Kindle app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets will display the new content too. Singles Classics are available in the UK Kindle Store and to English speakers worldwide.

Find out more on Amazon's Kindle range over on our Kindle reviews page.

Which Amazon Fire tablet should I buy?

Today's best price £139.95
Which? score 70%
Tested Nov 2015
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This tablet has an impressive, sharp screen that’s great for watching TV and movies on. It runs a modified version of Android and has access to Amazon’s helpful Mayday instant advice.

Today's best price £129.99
Which? score 70%
Tested Nov 2015
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A solid and well-built tablet with a crisp and punchy display. Battery life is reasonable, offering over ten hours of video playback or web browsing over wi-fi.

Typical price £50.00
Which? score 62%
Tested Oct 2015
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This tablet has a respectable screen and is quick enough to cope with most apps. Compromises have been made when it comes to battery life, but it’s still a capable device.

Amazon Fire tablets

Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets use full-colour, high-resolution LCD touchscreens. This means you can watch videos, play games, send emails and browse websites exactly as you would on an iOS-powered iPad or Android tablet. The downside is that LCD screens aren’t as comfortable to use for reading as an ebook reader’s e-ink display, especially for longer periods. Reading on a sunny day might be particularly difficult because of on-screen glare.

Battery life can be another issue, with tablets requiring a recharge long before ebook readers. Ultimately, it’s a trade-off, with Kindle Fire tablets offering many more functions, but being slightly harder to read from.

Head over to our Amazon Fire tablets reviews page for more information on picking the perfect tablet for you.

Do I need a 3G Kindle?

Some Kindle ebook readers, including the Paperwhite, Voyage and new Kindle Oasis, are available in two different versions: a wi-fi-only model or a variation with access to wi-fi and 3G internet. The latter is usually around £60 more expensive, but prices vary.

Grabbing an ebook reader with 3G access will allow you to download books wherever you are, and there’s no additional monthly cost as Amazon pays for its own 3G connection. 3G connectivity is only truly worth it if you know you'll buy lots of books when you’re on the move, or if you don't have wi-fi in your home.

Can I listen to music or audio books on a Kindle?

While older Kindle ebook readers used to support MP3 files, the newer models don’t. If you want to listen to music or audio books on an Amazon device you'll need to buy an Amazon Fire tablet.

Alternatively, you could of course listen to music on a smartphone or tablet - you can even listen to any content native to Amazon by downloading the Kindle app.

Can I just get an app for my phone or tablet instead?

With smartphones and tablets becoming ever more popular, and most offering a variety of ebook reader apps, you might be tempted to opt for an ebook app rather than forking out for a separate device.

Though tablets and smartphones aren't as suited to long periods of reading as an ebook reader’s e-ink screen, they should still be fine for shorter stints. Apps from a variety of ebook stores, including Amazon, are usually available free of charge and will often offer free books, too – usually classics that are out of copyright.

Read our Best ebook stores for price advice guide to find out which ebook stores give best value for money.