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It’s safe to say that nothing can replace the simple joy of reading a physical book. That being said, it’s undeniably easier to travel with a compact eReader with millions of ebooks and audiobooks at your fingertips than it is to lug around heavy hardcopies. Whether passing time while commuting or kicking back in the sand on a tropical vacation, investing in an eReader is a game changer.
From easy-to-use Kindles to splurge-worthy Boox devices, we put together this comprehensive list of the best eReaders to fit everyone’s needs. If you’re on the fence about trying an eReader (been there), we recommend options for getting the best bang-for-your-buck device, or the eReader that makes it easiest to rent library books. There are even picks that are packed full of technical features for students and professionals, too.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Why We Love It: This lightweight Kindle has helpful features like adjustable warm lighting and a 10-week battery life, plus it’s made with recycled materials.
What to Consider: The biggest storage capacity is 16 gigabytes.
We think the Kindle Paperwhite has the perfect balance of helpful features and straightforward navigation, making it the best choice for all types of adventurers. With a 6.8-inch display screen, the Paperwhite is slightly bigger than Amazon’s first Kindle but it has key functions like adjustable warm lighting to help with reading in the dark and an impressive 10-week battery life on a single charge. Readers will appreciate the glare-free touchscreen that puts Amazon’s massive library of ebooks at their disposal, too.
The device also has the option to pair with Bluetooth headphones so you can listen to an audiobook when you want to give your eyes a break. If you’re reading by a pool or on the beach, the water-resistant material will ward off damage in up to 2 meters of freshwater for 60 minutes or for 3 minutes in 0.25 meters of saltwater. The Paperwhite comes in two different storage capacities — 8 and 16 gigabytes — with the choice to get rid of the ad-supported lockscreen for an extra fee.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x 0.32 inches | Display size: 6.8 inches | Weight: 7.23 ounces | Storage capacity: 8 GB or 16 GB | Waterproof: Yes
Amazon All-new Kindle (2022 release)
Why We Love It: The no-frills design is perfect for the traveler looking to bring multiple books on a trip without lugging around hard copies.
What to Consider: The display screen is only 6 inches and may be too small for some readers.
If you’re on the fence about getting an eReader, Amazon’s basic Kindle released in 2022 is your best bet. Ringing in at just $100, the simple design and instant access to thousands of ebooks make it well worth the investment, even if you only use it while traveling. The glare-free display is a hair smaller than the Paperwhite, but readers can easily adjust the font size and light settings with its touchscreen, or listen to audiobooks via Bluetooth headphones. With up to six weeks of battery life, this Kindle model is the perfect compact and lightweight eReader for a beach vacation so you can easily pick up where you left off when it comes to reading your favorite novel.
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.32 inches | Display size: 6 inches | Weight: 5.56 ounces | Storage: 16 GB | Waterproof: No
Boox Note Air2 Plus
Why We Love It: This Boox eReader is packed full of premium features for annotating, sketching, and more.
What to Consider: Its size makes it closer in weight to an iPad or other tablet.
The Boox Note Air2 Plus is a great option for professionals, as it can be used for much more than reading ebooks on the go. With 64 gigabytes of storage, this Boox model can download large files to be read and annotated with the use of a stylus pen on the touchscreen display, and you can access podcasts, articles, books, and news through the PushRead app downloaded onto the device.
The ability to use the dual-screen function is a game changer for multitasking on the large 10.3-inch screen. You can also easily take screenshots or screen recordings and access a variety of shortcuts to various settings using the drop-down Control Center. Because of the larger size of this eReader, it weighs over 2 pounds which might be a little heavy to be on some business travelers’ packing list, but worth it for those looking for an eReader with a variety of premium features.
Price at time of publish: $480
Dimensions: 10.28 x 9.06 x 1.54 inches | Display size: 10.3 inches | Weight: 2.25 pounds | Storage: 64 GB | Waterproof: No
Kobo Libra 2 eReader
Why We Love It: The device can be submerged in water for up to 60 minutes, which is ideal for pool or beachside reading.
What to Consider: The Kobo ebook library isn’t as robust as Amazon’s.
The Kobo Libra 2 is an excellent Kindle alternative that boasts key waterproofing features so you can read while lounging by the pool or ocean without worrying about water damage. With an IPX 8 rating, the eReader can be submerged for up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of fresh water before risking damage to the battery or side buttons. We like that the device is incredibly lightweight and has an impressive battery life for 21 hours of reading time.
While the Kobo ebook library is smaller than Amazon’s, readers can easily access OverDrive’s Libby app to download library and audiobooks, making the 32-gigabyte storage capacity extremely useful. The 7-inch touchscreen Ink Carta display has adjustable brightness, a glare-free finish, and Dark Mode settings for switching between a white background with black text and vice versa so you can read comfortably on the airplane or at the beach.
Price at time of publish: $190
Dimensions: 7.01 x 7.64 x 1.18 inches | Display size: 7 inches | Weight: .013 ounces | Storage: 32 GB | Waterproof: Yes
Best for Students
Amazon Kindle Scribe
Why We Love It: The eReader comes with a handy stylus to take notes and annotate text.
What to Consider: It’s much larger than other eReaders.
For students looking to take notes or annotate a book, the Kindle Scribe is the best option. The large 10.2-inch display is quite a bit bigger than the typical compact eReader design, but it’s perfect for reading dense textbooks and writing sticky notes. The included pen means you can write directly on the screen that can rotate vertically or horizontally depending on the text being read. Students can take notes, create lists, or write sentences using the templates built-in to the Kindle (and you can even email yourself the notes to transfer them to a laptop or phone). In addition, this upgraded eReader has adjustable white and amber light levels to cater to your eyes no matter the time of day. Thanks to Amazon’s massive library of ebooks and audiobooks, readers can access thousands of titles on the storefront or use the Libby app to access library books as well.
Price at time of publish: $390
Dimensions: 7.7 x 9.0 x 0.22 inches | Display size: 10.2 inches | Weight: 15.3 ounces | Storage capacity: 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB | Waterproof: No
Best for Reading in Color
PocketBook Color E-Book Reader
Why We Love It: The Ink Kaleido HD touchscreen can display over 4,000 colors.
What to Consider: There is no specific app for buying ebooks from PocketBook.
There aren’t many eReaders on the market that can depict images or text in color, so we recommend the Pocketbook Color for readers looking for more than just black and white text options. This ultra-compact eReader has a 6-inch Ink Kaleido HD touchscreen display that can show pictures and text in thousands of hues, making it the ideal eReader for comic and picture books. If you want to give your eyes a rest, the device supports Bluetooth headphones or speakers to play audiobooks or use the text-to-speech setting. Readers can access books through a variety of ebook websites, or download the file from a library Libby account, but there isn’t a PocketBook-specific app like with Kindle or Kobo. Keep in mind the 16-gigabyte storage capacity, so you may need to delete files to add more if you read often.
Price at time of publish: $229
Dimensions: 0.31 x 4.25 x 6.35 inches | Display size: 6 inches | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Storage: 16 GB | Waterproof: Not listed
Best for Kids
Amazon All-new Kindle Kids
Why We Love It: It gives access to thousands of titles for ages 3 to 12 years old.
What to Consider: The display will be in black or white only without options for color.
Designed with little ones top of mind, the all-new Kindle Kids makes it easy for children to access ebooks for ages 3 to 12 years old. Kid-friendly features include the ability to use Vocabulary Finder and Word Wise, as well as the option to read books in the OpenDyslexic font for kids with dyslexia. While the eReader is geared toward kids, parents will appreciate the option to use the Parental Dashboard to add age filters and track reading goals with their children. Plus, the device has up to six weeks of battery life and comes with a durable case and a choice of three nautical and magical prints for the cover.
If you’re not already sold on this compact and lightweight eReader, it also comes with a one-year Amazon Kids+ subscription so you’re avid readers can enjoy unlimited access to titles from the likes of National Geographic Kids and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series.
Price at time of publish: $120
Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.53 inches | Display size: 6 inches | Weight: 9.03 ounces | Storage: 16 GB | Waterproof: No
Best for Library Books
Kobo Clara 2E eReader
Why We Love It: The eReader has the Libby app built-in for accessing ebooks from your local library.
What to Consider: The battery life is smaller compared to other eReaders.
For instant access to renting ebooks from a public library, the Kobo Clara 2E makes the process a breeze. The eReader comes with the OverDrive Libby app so all you have to do is search for your local library and you can start downloading ebooks and audiobooks after you input your library card number. If the library doesn’t have the ebook you’re looking for, Kobo has its own online library for purchasing ebooks as another option, too.
Besides the ability to rent library books at your fingertips, the Kobo Clara 2E boasts a compact design for excellent portability, and the device is an IPX 8 certification for waterproofness. We love that there are options to adjust the brightness and shade for blue light reduction and the glare-proof screen is perfect for reading in bright sunlight. We wish the battery life was longer than three hours, but we think the eReader is still worth it for hassle-free access to library books while traveling.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 6.26 x 4.41 x 0.33 inches | Display size: 6 inches | Weight: 6.03 ounces | Storage: 16 GB | Waterproof: Yes
Tips for Buying an eReader
Consider where you’ll be reading
For travelers that often read on a tropical vacation, consider getting an eReader with an IPX8 rating to give you peace of mind when reading by a body of water. IPX8 certification means that the device can be submerged in water for up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water before any permanent damage happens. For air travel or commuting, a device with a long battery life may be more important than one with waterproofness.
Decide where you’ll get your books
Some eReaders have their own storefront for buying ebooks like Amazon and Kobo, but some brands like Boox and PocketBook will have you buy or rent from a website and download them onto the device. For avid library book renters, be sure to get an eReader that is compatible with OverDrive’s Libby app to connect you to your local library for seamless access to book rentals. If you’re looking for a subscription to unlimited books, Amazon has an excellent Kindle Unlimited subscription for instantly downloading thousands of books to your Kindle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between reading on an eReader versus a tablet or smartphone?
In general, an eReader is designed for one main purpose: reading books. Tablets and smartphones are a great option for reading on the go, but an eReader device mimics a paperback book with a matte screen that has adjustable settings to reduce strain on the eyes. While eReaders are usually bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a tablet, the devices are also designed to be lightweight and thin for portability. Not to mention the battery life on an eReader will most often outlive a tablet or smartphone.
How do I get books on an eReader?
It depends on the type of eReader you purchase but ebooks can be accessed in a variety of ways including a storefront built into the device or by downloading ebooks from websites or apps like the Libby app from libraries.
Can I listen to audiobooks on an eReader?
You’ll want to double-check the device specs, but most eReaders have the ability to connect to headphones or speakers via Bluetooth. Some devices have built-in speakers as well, but most will prompt you to connect a Bluetooth device for a better listening experience.
Can I access the web on an eReader?
Most eReaders let you access the web on the device as long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi. That way, readers can access websites or apps and buy or rent ebooks to load right on the device.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure Commerce Writer, Anna Popp, is an avid reader who began using an eReader in college and now she doesn’t leave the house without it. Anna used her knowledge as a travel writer and eReader user to compile this thoroughly researched list of the best eReaders for your next trip.
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