Which Kindle Device Should You Buy? A Comparison Guide
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If you’re skeptical about whether or not you need a Kindle, take a moment to read our piece on why every ebook fan needs a Kindle. In short: they’re easier on the eyes, they read more like paper than phones do, they can carry thousands of books, and they have incredible battery life.

Convinced? Good. Now, there are several Kindle models you can choose between. Here’s how you pick the right kind of Kindle for your particular needs without wasting any money.

Note: This article focuses on the e-reader versions of the Kindle. To learn more about the tablet versions of the Kindle, check out our guide to LCD Kindles. The two are different. Don’t accidentally get the wrong kind!

The Kindle Oasis

The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s greatest offering in the Kindle line of e-readers. Think of it as the luxury model—packed with a lot of interesting and extravagant features that you’ll probably never need, but is ultimately the most comfortable to use.

Ergonomically speaking, the Kindle Oasis is the thinnest and lightest Kindle device ever made. It comes with a one-side hand grip that tapers out to just 0.13 inches at its thinnest point. The hand grip is perfect for one-handed reading, but at 0.425 pounds, this device might tire out your wrists.

The physical build is also more robust than other Kindle models, made out of electroplated plastic that’s stronger yet lighter than regular plastic.

amazon-kindle-model-oasis-2

amazon-kindle-model-oasis-1

The biggest feature of the Kindle Oasis? Its battery-recharging leather cover. Not only is the leather cover fancy and grand, but when combined with theKindle Oasis’s new hibernation mode, you can get months of battery life on one charge. Yes, it’s removable. It comes in black, merlot, and walnut colors.

Other notable features include a high-resolution 300 PPI 7-inch display, waterproof design rated at IPX8, Bluetooth pairing with audio devices, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and a built-in system of LED lights for page-viewing consistency when needed.

Kindle Oasis: The Bottom Line

Only get the Kindle Oasis if you have money to burn. The recharging leather cover is nifty, but ultimately unnecessary unless you expect to find yourself stranded on an island for weeks. The hand grip is its most practical feature, but is it worth such a bump in price? Only you can decide.

Kindle Oasis E-reader - Graphite, 7" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi), Waterproof, Built-In Audible, 8 GB, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Kindle Oasis E-reader - Graphite, 7" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi), Waterproof, Built-In Audible, 8 GB, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Buy Now At Amazon $249.99

The Kindle Voyage

The Kindle Voyage was Amazon’s top-shelf Kindle model up until the Kindle Oasis was released in early 2016—and now that the Kindle Oasis is here, it almost feels as if the Kindle Voyage doesn’t have a reason to exist anymore. It’s no longer the luxury option, yet still too expensive for casual readers.

It’s technically the second thinnest and lightest Kindle thanks to its thickness of 0.30 inches and its weight of 0.41 pounds, and while those specs aren’t bad by any means, it’s hard to justify the price difference between the Kindle Voyage and the next model down.

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Like the Kindle Oasis, the Kindle Voyage comes with a touchscreen, high-resolution 300 PPI 6-inch display, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and a built-in system of LED lights for dark reading (although fewer bulbs than the Kindle Oasis). Its battery life is measured in weeks. It lacks Bluetooth connectivity for audio.

The Kindle Voyage is the only model with PagePress technology, which lets you rest your thumb on the edge and lightly press when you want to turn the page. It’s a worthwhile quality-of-life enhancement over lesser models that many Kindle Voyage users rave about.

Kindle Voyage: The Bottom Line

You’re basically paying $80 over the next model down for three things: half-inch less thickness, a negligible amount of weight reduction, and PagePress technology. Personally, I can live without those features, and if you can afford the Kindle Voyage, you might as well save up for the Kindle Oasis.

Kindle Voyage E-reader, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Kindle Voyage E-reader, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Buy Now At Amazon

The Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is without a doubt the most popular Kindle model. It’s better than the most basic model in every single way, yet only costs marginally more. If you ask me, the Kindle Paperwhite should be Amazon’s lowest offered model because there’s really no reason to go below it.

It weighs in at 0.48 pounds with a thickness of 0.36 inches, making it the heaviest of all Kindle models—but the actual difference between this one and, say, the Kindle Oasis isn’t all that noticeable for everyday reading.

amazon-kindle-model-paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite comes with a touchscreen, and it’s the lowest model that still has a high-resolution 300 PPI 6-inch display, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and a built-in system of LED lights for dark reading (even fewer bulbs than the Kindle Voyage). Its battery life is measured in weeks.

The only thing the Kindle Paperwhite lacks is Bluetooth connectivity for audio.

Kindle Paperwhite: The Bottom Line

Thinking of buying your first Kindle? You can’t go wrong with the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s good for portability and long-term reading, doesn’t skimp on any fundamental features, and only costs $40 more than the Kindle Basic. This is the everyman’s Kindle at an excellent price.

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 7th) Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 7th) Buy Now At Amazon $119.99

The Kindle Basic

The Kindle Basic is a disappointment. It’s obviously meant as an entry-level device for those who want to try e-ink technology without investing too much, but the Kindle Basic’s feature set is gimped and offers very little value for what you pay.

This thing weighs in at 0.35 pounds with a thickness of 0.36 inches, which makes it the lightest of all Kindle devices and the best for longer reading sessions where your arms are prone to wearing out.

amazon-kindle-model-basic

But really, the Kindle Basic is inferior to the Kindle Paperwhite in almost every other way. It has a touchscreen, but no high-resolution display (only 167 PPI). Its battery life is measured in weeks, but there aren’t any built-in LED lights for dark reading, which is bad news for night-time readers.

The Kindle Basic comes with Bluetooth connectivity for audio, and Wi-Fi connectivity but no option for 3G. This is fine though because you can always get around the lack of 3G by creating your own Wi-Fi hotspots, whether by tethering a smartphone or reverse-tethering a laptop.

The Bottom Line

We don’t recommend the Kindle Basic. If you do buy one and end up loving it, you’re just going to upgrade to a Kindle Paperwhite at some point anyway, so you might as well start off with one. Only go with the Kindle Basic if you’re really itching for an e-reader but absolutely can’t spare the dollars.

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Is an Amazon Kindle Right for You?

Have you decided on which model you want to get? If so, awesome! But before you dive in and order one from Amazon, take a moment to consider whether you need a Kindle right now.

There are valid reasons why you might want to wait before buying an e-reader this year. It’s also smart to wait a few weeks before making gadget purchases How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets Just because you're being frugal doesn't mean you can't enjoy tech! Here are some tips on how to not break the bank with tech purchases. Read More to help you curb impulse spending habits. But if that’s not an issue for you, go ahead and start reading ebooks on that beautiful e-ink screen. Your eyes and your mind will both thank you profusely.

Explore more about: Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Buying Tips, Ebooks.

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  1. Isaac
    October 9, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Curious how the Voyager has a half-inch less thickness than the next model down when the Paperwhite is 0.36 inches thick.

  2. simon12
    May 10, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I Use Vox player. It lets listening music on YouTube and SoundCloud , he has stylish design, can adjust the sound quality and the price is acceptable. And that's cool, you can share your favourite tracks and has Loop, where I keep my music.

  3. simon12
    May 10, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I Use Vox player. It lets listening music on YouTube and SoundCloud , he has stylish design, can adjust the sound quality and the price is acceptable. And that's cool, you can share your favourite tracks and has Loop, where I keep my music. Vox best player)

  4. Dr. Kemény Róbert
    February 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Oasis!

    I enjoy the lightweight and the supple leather cover... and it's SOOOOOO SLIM... I LOVE IT.. ?

  5. EM
    May 9, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    The LED's on the Paperwhite aren't just for "dark reading". On the contrary, the more light there is around you, the brighter you should adjust the lights to be. The lighting is what makes the page appear white rather than, as in the basic models, grey. The clue is right there in the name, yet so many reviews (like, I'm sorry to say, this one) don't seem to have grasped that rather basic feature.

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      Yes, you're right, EM! I should've mentioned that. And to be honest, I never knew that's how the Paperwhite got its name, haha. (This is also true for computer monitors: the brighter the environment, the brighter the monitor, or the darker the environment, the darker the monitor!)

  6. lobstercowboy
    May 8, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Amazon has the Fire on sale for $39 until 5.9.2016.
    Bought 4

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Whoa! What are you going to do with 4 Amazon Fires?

      • lobstercowboy
        May 17, 2016 at 11:29 pm

        It will take an 128 Gb SD card, One for me, one fror wife. One for car just for playing MP3s, one as a gift
        How much is an iPod?????

  7. barstep
    May 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I held off for years to buying a Kindle - and then I bought a Paperwhite and it goes everywhere with me.
    I was convinced my iPhone and iPad combination covered all e-reading eventualities, but when I used them to read long form material I became distracted by notifications from email, social media and news flashes. I rarely finished what I wanted to read.
    Now, with my Paperwhite, I am reading more, my arm doesn't ache when I do and the act of reading is a again a pleasure.
    So for short form reading I use my iOS devices and for books I use Kindle. No regrets.

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      Oh yeah, that's a great point, barstep! The lack of social connectivity and distractions is another big bonus to using something like a Kindle over a regular phone or tablet. Glad to hear that your Kindle experience is a positive one. Thanks for sharing. :)