Amazon sells 4 different Kindles—here’s how to pick the right one for you

Kindle, Paperwhite, Voyage, and Oasis. What's the difference?

Credit: Amazon
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When I first moved out of my childhood home and into my own apartment I wasn't worried about furniture, cooking utensils, or anything else like that. Instead, it all came down to how I was going to bring all of my books with me. I'm an avid reader and I had already filled three bookshelves with hardcovers and paperbacks of all shapes and sizes. What was I going to do?

These days, it's not so much of a problem; most of the time if I'm reading a new book it's on my Kindle. Sure, I love the smell of old books and turning real pages, but a Kindle is just more practical.

The problem? If you're looking to get your first Kindle or upgrade from an older e-reader, it's a bit confusing. There are four models these days, with prices from $80 up to $300 (!!). Here are the key differences and what you need to know to pick the right one for you:

Spoiler Alert: I ended up getting the Kindle Paperwhite because it had the best features at the most reasonable price.

Kindle - $79.99


The most basic and affordable of all of Amazon's e-readers, the Kindle is great for anyone that doesn't need nor want the fancier features of one of the higher-end models. It displays your books and magazines on an e-ink screen that won't strain your eyes. If you use your phone to read books with the impression of "it's not that bad," cut it out and buy this Kindle. Your eyes will thank me later.

Key specs:

  • 6" glare-free touchscreen
  • 167 PPI (pixels per inch) resolution display
  • Battery that will last for weeks
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Weighs 5.7 oz

Kindle Paperwhite - $119.99


My personal favorite and recommended pick, the Paperwhite has just enough features at the right price that it should appeal to the vast majority of people. Unlike the basic Kindle, the Paperwhite comes with a backlit display that won't strain your eyes. That way, you can fool yourself into thinking you're going to bed soon when instead you'll just read one more chapter. Okay seriously, just one more. Wait, it just got good, one more.

Key Specs:
* 6" glare-free touchscreen with a 4 LED built-in light
* 300 PPI (pixels per inch) resolution display
* Battery that will last for weeks
* Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free 3G
* Weighs 7.2-7.6 oz

Kindle Voyage - $199.99


The next step up in the line of Kindles, the Voyage takes the Paperwhite and adds some slight quality of life improvements. Like the built-in adaptive light sensor that will adjust the backlight to suit your surroundings or the haptic feedback PagePress buttons built into the bezel. It's also significantly lighter and slimmer than the Paperwhite, but in my experience, you'll only notice that if you're doing a side-by-side comparison.

Key Specs:
* 6" glare-free touchscreen with a 6 LED built-in light and an adaptive light sensor
* PagePress (lets you turn the page by pressing on the bezel)
* 300 PPI (pixels per inch) resolution display
* Battery that will last for weeks
* Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free 3G
* Weighs 6.3-6.6 oz

Kindle Oasis - $289.99


The top-of-the-line. The cream of the crop. The best of the best. For $300 you can get an absolute beast of a handheld device to read your books on. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that might sound. But hear me out. The Oasis is impeccably engineered to be the thinnest, lightest, and most ergonomic Kindle there is. This is the Porsche of e-readers. If you simply must have the best, get your credit card ready.

Key Specs:
* 6" glare-free touchscreen with a 10 LED built-in light
* Dedicated page turn buttons that rotate for right or left handed
* 300 PPI (pixels per inch) resolution display
* Battery that will last for weeks or months with the included leather charging cover
* Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free 3G
* Weighs 4.6-4.7 oz (without cover)


Oh, and what happened to all of my books you ask? Well, I brought two large boxes full of my favorites with me and left the rest behind. Nothing to worry about, though. Every time I go home for the holidays I make sure to leave extra room in my bag to smuggle more books back to Boston with me. And in the meantime, I make sure to only buy paper copies of my absolute favorite books and find the rest on the Kindle Store.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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