Woman reading Amazon Kindle

Ebook readers: Which Kindle should I buy?

  • Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle ebook readers explained
  • Should I buy a Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet?
  • Do I need a 3G or wi-fi only model?

Amazon's Kindle is the leading name in ebook readers, but there are several Kindle models and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets at a range of prices. Read on to find out which Kindle is best for you.

At present, five different models of Amazon Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are available. All can be used to read ebooks and most can be used to browse the web, but beyond that there is a world of difference between the devices.

In the table below, we explain the key differences between each of the main Kindle and Fire products. 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. Or, if you just want to see the ones we recommend, check out our ebook readers Best Buys

Take a Which? trial for £1 or, if you're a member, simply log-in to unlock the table.

 

Which Kindle should I buy?
What it
looks like
KindleDevice typeScreen ratingPerformanceEase of useOverall score

Kindle-Paperwhite blur

Subscriber only contentEbook reader84%
  • An ebook reader with great a screen and impressive durability.
  • Find out if this Kindle has any drawbacks compared to other leading ebook readers on the market.
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

Kindle-Voyage blur

Subscriber only contentEbook reader73%
  • A great ebook reader that’s clear and comfortable to read in a variety of light conditions.
  • This ebook reader passed our scratch test, but how did it fare in our unique drop test compared to its rivals? 
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

Kindle blur

Subscriber only contentEbook reader71%
  • A good ebook reader with access to huge number of books, including free titles.
  • This ebook reader ranked highly for durability, meaning its screen could survive being knocked off a coffee table, or even a sun lounger.
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

 

Which Amazon Fire tablet should I buy?
What it
looks like
KindleDevice typeScreen ratingPerformanceEase of useOverall score

Fire-HDX-8.9 blur

Subscriber only contentTablet79%
  • 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. 
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

Fire-HDX blur

Subscriber only contentTablet72%
  • A great device for watching videos, reading ebooks and browsing the internet.
  • This tablet can also be used to read ebooks, but how does it compare to dedicated ebook readers?
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

Fire-HD-6 blur

Subscriber only contentTablet72%
  • A reasonably priced tablet that offers good battery life and a clear, sharp screen.
  • The sound produced by this tablet was not of the highest quality, so it could be worth playing music through a wireless speaker.
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

Fire-HD-7 blur

Subscriber only contentTablet72%
  • A solid and well-built tablet with a crisp and punchy display.
  • Battery life is reasonable, you’ll get over seven hours of video playback or web browsing over wi-fi. 
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits of Which? with a £1 trial

 

Should I buy a Kindle ebook reader or Amazon Fire tablet?

Tablets and e-readers both let you read digital books, but they are built around very different screen and interface technologies. For this reason, the Amazon Fire tablets and the Kindle ebook readers offer contrasting advantages and disadvantages.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite close up

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, meaning that the average battery life of an ebook reader is much longer than a tablet and runs to days and even weeks. A good e-reader will also be easy to read in any light, while many feature a light so that you can read them in the dark, too.

Most ebook readers are limited to black and white though, so that 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 the printed word.

Best Buy ebook readers - the ebook readers recommended by Which?

Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX range

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 iPad or Android tablet.

The downside is that the LCD screen of a tablet isn’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 glare on the screen.

Battery life can be another issue, with tablets requiring a recharge long before ebook readers. Essentially it’s a trade-off, with Kindle Fire tablets offering many more functions, but being slightly less adept at displaying text in an easily digestible way.

Best Buy tablets - the tablets worth buying right now

Amazon Kindle Keyboard

Do I need a 3G Kindle?

Some Kindle ebook readers, including the Paperwhite and Voyage, 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.

The 3G access will allow you to download books wherever you are over mobile data, and there’s no additional monthly cost as Amazon pays for its own 3G connection.

The 3G connectivity is only really worth it if you know you'll buy lots of books when you’re on the move or 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 modern models don’t. If you want to listen to music or audio books on a Kindle, you'll need to buy an older Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard.

Alternatively, you could listen to music on a smartphone, tablet or old-fashioned personal music player, which are often smaller and easier to slip in your pocket than a Kindle. 

Amazon Kindle app icon collection

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.

Ebook stores - the leading ebook repositories rated 

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