Woman reading Amazon Kindle

Ebook readers: Which Kindle should I buy?

  • Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle ebook readers explained
  • Should I buy a Kindle ebook reader or 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 at  a range of prices. Read on to find out which Kindle is best for you.

At present, four different models of the Kindle are available, and these are split between ebook readers and tablets. They may all share a brand name, but there is a world of difference between the devices.

In the table below, we explain the key differences between each of the main Kindle 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.

Just want to see the Best Buys? Then check out our ebook readers Best Buy page

To see the scores and verdicts in the table below, try Which? for £1. If you're already member, go to the log-in page and unlock the table.

Which Kindle should I buy?
KindleClick for full reviewStarting priceScore

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle (basic)£69Subscriber only content
  • The latest basic Amazon Kindle is a bargain at just £69, but with more modern ebook readers available, is it a sensible buy?
  • The Kindle basic doesn't have the glowing touchscreen of the Kindle Paperwhite range. We test its screen to see if its display quality still makes it a great ebook reader.
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits with a £1 trial Which? subscription.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite£109Subscriber only content
  • Choose the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite over the basic Kindle and you'll get the new-look touchscreen with a built-in light. Log in to read our full review how easy to read the new screen is.
  • You can save yourself £60 by going for the wi-fi only version of the Kindle Paperwhite, though this limits how you can access the Kindle store.
  • Is this the Kindle for you? Try Which? for £1 to find out

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G£159Subscriber only content
  • The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3G is an ebook reader with all the bells and whistles - a touchscreen, glow light and 3G internet. But is it worth the significant price mark-up?
  • We test to see how the Paperwhite 3G's touchscreen compares to the traditional button navigation of the cheaper Kindle. Does the more expensive model prove to be the easier to use?
  • Discover the benefits of Which? by taking out a £1 trial subscription

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch£119Subscriber only content
  • The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is a mid-range mini tablet designed to compete with the likes of the Tesco Hudl and Samsung Galaxy Note Tab.
  • We test the Kindle Fire's screen to see how easy it is to read ebooks on it for prolonged periods.
  • Read the full review and discover the benefits with a £1 trial Which? subscription

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch£179Subscriber only content
  • The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is built to show off Amazon's digital content to its best. We assess how well HD video and MP3s play on the tablet.
  • The Kindle Fire HD runs a modified version of the Android operating system meaning you don't get full access to all the usual Android apps. We explain what this means for day-to-day use.
  • For full reviews of Kindle alternatives try a £1 trial subscription to Which?

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch£199Subscriber only content
  • The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is Amazon's flagship mini tablet. We compare it with its nearest rivals, such as the iPad mini with Retina display and Google Nexus 7.
  • We assess how well HD video, photographs and websites display on the Kindle Fire HDX's screen.
  • Read our full review of the 7-inch Fire HDX with a £1 Which? subscription

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 inch

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch£329Subscriber only content
  • The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX is Amazon's most expensive tablet, we test it to see whether its performance justifies the price.
  • The HDX features Amazon's new Mayday button which lets you talk to a technical assistant if you get stuck. We see just how helpful Amazon's helpdesk really is.
  • Find out how the 8.9-inch Fire HDX compares to the iPad Air with a £1 trial subscription to Which?

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

Tablets and ebook readers both let you read digital books, but they are built around very different screen technologies. For this reason, the Kindle 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.

This means that they don't reflect sunlight the way the LCD screen of a tablet might, and they typically use no power when a page is displayed – only requiring power to change text as you move from page to page, or when you download new ebooks over wi-fi.

E-ink screens are easy on the eye and perfect for reading over long periods. However, they are limited to black-and-white, meaning that illustrations won’t display in colour. E-ink screens don’t support video either, meaning that a Kindle ebook reader only excels at the printed word.

Read our Best Buy ebook reader reviews

Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX range

Kindle 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, just as you would on an iPad or Android tablet.

The downside is that LCD screens aren’t as comfortable to use for reading, especially over long periods. Reading on a sunny day might be particularly difficult because of reflections and glare on the screen.

Battery life can be another issue, with tablets traditionally running out of juice long before ebook readers on a single charge. Essentially it’s a trade-off, with Kindle Fire tablets offering many more functions, but being less adept at displaying text in an easily digestible way.

Read our reviews of the best tablets

Do I need a 3G Kindle?

Kindle ebook readers, including the Paperwhite range, are available as wi-fi only models, or models with wi-fi and 3G internet.

3G means you can download books wherever you are using mobile data, and you won't have to pay each time. Instead, you pay more for the initial cost of the ebook reader itself.

The £60 extra for 3G is only really worth it if you know you'll buy lots of books when you’re on the move, or if the recipient - if you’re giving the Kindle as a gift - doesn't have wi-fi in their home.

Amazon Kindle Keyboard

Do I need a keyboard or touchscreen?

All of the models in Amazon's latest line-up have a touchscreen, with the exception of the basic Kindle.

A touchscreen makes it easy to type in the name of the book or author on the on-screen keyboard. Changing pages with a touchscreen also feels more natural than pressing buttons, and it's easy to select words or passages to look up definitions.

The basic Kindle still has these functions, but you’ll need to navigate its on-screen keyboard using cursor keys. Amazon has discontinued the basic Kindle that had a full set of keyboard keys - you may still be able to find it online, but we’d suggest the Paperwhite is better alternative if you want a keyboard that’s simple to use. 

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 e-ink screen, they should still be fine for short journeys. Apps from a variety of ebook stores, including Amazon, are usually available free of charge and will often offer free books, too – mostly classics that are out of copyright.

Ebook stores - the leading ebook repositories rated 

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