Gone are the days of carrying around a number of books in your backpack if you’re an avid, on the go reader, due to increasingly popular eReader devices that can house thousands of books without a struggle. Because of this popularity, there are a number of manufacturers that are challenging Amazon’s dominance in the field, creating a variety of eReader options.
How We Picked
When we looked at the eReader market to try and narrow down the best eReader of 2020 we quickly saw that while there are a plethora of new entries into the industry, they are lacking in some features that the more established manufacturers have managed to pack in. Therefore, with the three options listed below, there are only two companies – Amazon and Kobo as we believe these two are at the top of the game and create the best overall eReaders. To choose the best of their lines, we focused on screen size, storage, and lighting as we believe that these are the main aspects that people look for in an eReader, making their lives much easier in terms of the number of books that are at their disposal and how easy it is to actually read said books.
Best eReader 2020 & 2021
Crisp reading experience
Can come with special offers if you choose that route
As you’re reading this, we’re sure you’re not surprised an Amazon Kindle makes it on the list of best eReader 2020. The variant we think offers the best overall reading experience is the Kindle Paperwhite for a number of reasons including the backlight, its storage capacity, and waterproof capabilities.
Looking initially at the screen, it features the signature 300 ppi, glare-free Paperwhite display with printed-quality text allowing you to have almost a tangible book-like experience that you just don’t get from the majority of other eReaders on the market. Moreover, with the built-in light, you’ll be able to read long into the night without having to switch on an additional light source.
This option provides you with 8GB of storage which is enough to house thousands of books, potentially more than you could even read in a lifetime. You can increase this storage up to 32GB if you want to pay a little extra but if you’re a casual reader, 8GB is more than enough.
The durability and battery life mirror the aforementioned stellar qualities having an IPX8 rating as well as lasting up to six weeks on a single charge. The IPX8 rating will protect it against accidental immersion in up to two metres of freshwater for up to 60 minutes, handy for those who are on holiday by the pool. The six-week battery life is similarly brilliant, allowing you to ditch that micro USB cable for some time before having to find it again.
All in all, you can’t really go wrong with a Kindle but with this Paperwhite variation, you’re not only getting the guarantee that you’re getting a great reading experience but also a number of impressive features that have quality of life improvements. The inclusion of the backlight and a paper-like display definitely set it apart from the rest and why we chose it over the other Kindle options out there.
Crisp reading experience
Lots of file formats accepted
OS is sometimes glitchy
Like Amazon, Kobo is another top manufacturer of eReaders that detail a number lines that have great specs. The one we’ve opted for here is the Kobo Clara HD as in our eyes, offers very similar pros to that of the Kindle Paperwhite while offering slightly more file formats for those who need it.
The 6″ Carta E Ink touchscreen is a brilliant first thing to mention, it has exceptional clarity allowing for easy reading that won’t damage your eyes in addition to its glare-free capabilities for viewing in the daylight. The reason we say it’s very similar to the Paperwhite is the inclusion of the screen light. This will enable easy reading in low light scenarios without having to illuminate the room with an external light source, simplifying the whole process.
Moving to the storage, again, like the Paperwhite it has 8GB of storage which allows thousands of books and documents to be kept on the device with no issues. However, where it differs is the file formats it supports. With the Paperwhite, you’re limited to HTML, MOBI, PDF, and TXT while the Clara HD allows HTML, PDF, TXT, CBR, CBZ, EPUB, and RTF formats opening up the possibilities for a bunch of other document reading as well as the traditional eBooks.
For the battery life, you’ll be getting weeks of use even with the screen light on which is great for travelling individuals and those constantly on the go. When looking at durability, it is made from similar materials to that of the Paperwhite but it’s lacking in its waterproof nature which could be seen as a downside but how often are you really planning on getting your eReader wet?
Overall, the Kobo Clara HD is definitely of the same ilk as the Kindle Paperwhite and details a solid reading experience. If you want to get out of the Amazon ecosystem just don’t want to dip your toe in it in the first place, this could be the way to go.
Crisp reading experience
Lots of file formats accepted
Buttons (if you hate them)
The second eReader from Kobo to make the cut for the best eReader is the Libra H2O. This eReader offers a slightly different approach with a change in aesthetic and the inclusion of buttons. Coupled with these changes is the addition of an increased screen size coming in at 7 inches, a helpful inclusion for those seeking this kind of eReader. Thankfully, like Clara HD they’ve also managed to include a light in this thing which makes night reading far more accessible. The battery is also similar to the Clara HD lasting for weeks on end with a single charge, another excellent choice for Kobo to keep.
As mentioned earlier, the addition of buttons slightly changes the functionality of this eReader and opens it up to those who simply don’t want to get involved in the sole touchscreen approach, potentially making it easier to transition between pages and creating a smoother reading experience.
Summing up, the Libra H2O is like the Clara HD in many ways. It has great built quality, reading features, and the inclusion of that backlight for night reading. The one big way it differs is that introduction of buttons. This is potentially a big turn off for some but for others, who want a more tangible page turn feel, might be attracted to this eReader because of that aspect making it more than worthy of its place on the list of best eReaders.
Things To Consider
So, with the average book coming in around A5 size, you’re going to want an eReader that mimics these dimensions for familiarity and ease of reading. Thankfully, manufacturers already thought of that, making eReaders of a similar ilk to A5 with the added addition of text size adjustments. However, there are some variations in screen sizes that could impact your overall reading experience so naturally, you’re probably wanting the largest screen possible. Normally, you’re looking at a 6-inch screen size, but with other players entering the market, you can actually secure an eReader with an 8-inch screen if that is more up your street.
As eBooks are usually low in file size, you’re able to fit thousands of these things onto eReaders before even thinking about getting to maximum storage capacity. However, of course you’re going to want the largest storage capacity just in case you pack it full of other media like PDFs, or if you’re sharing it with a significant other. With these factors in mind, the lowest storage size you’re probably going to want is a 4GB but obviously you’re not going to be able to get the same amount of books a 32GB variant, so if you’re a speedy reader or like to have a number of page-turners on the go at the same time, the latter is the better option.
Thankfully, the best eReaders come with glare-free screens enabling you to read your books even with the sun beaming down. However, when it comes to night time, a lot suffer from the light of a front or backlight for screen illumination rendering them almost useless for night owls. Therefore, those with screens that have lighting stand out from the rest and really provide a better overall experience. You will be paying a premium but definitely worth considering even if you are on a budget.
To sum up the best eReader to buy in 2020, we still think that the way to go is the Amazon route. The Kindle Paperwhite has all the top features and some that are simply not included by copycat products. It also comes in at a very reasonable price point so there is little to deter you from choosing this over others. On the other hand, as mentioned in our Kobo picks, if you want to avoid the Amazon ecosystem, the Clara and Libra are fantastic alternatives and potentially even have some plusses over the Kindle.