A Kindle is a great way to read, and eReaders have many advantages over paper books. However, there’s not just one Kindle to choose from. From Paperwhite to Oasis to Kids Editions, we’ll help you find the right one.
There have been a lot of different Kindle eReaders over the years. Originally, there was just the Kindle. Amazon soon started adding more models—some of which have been discontinued. At the time of writing in July 2022, Amazon offers six Kindle models:
- Kindle Paperwhite
- Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
- Kindle Oasis
- Kindle Kids
- Kindle Paperwhite Kids
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What Do They Have in Common?
Let’s start by talking about what you’ll get from any Kindle eReader. There are a few features that come standard across all the different models. Things you don’t have to worry about when considering which one to buy.
First, all Kindle eReaders have touch input. The days of using a physical keyboard and d-pad to navigate the Kindle interface are over. The only model that still has some physical buttons is the Kindle Oasis (page turn buttons.)
Second, all Kindle eReaders have backlights. This feature used to be reserved for only the Paperwhite and the other more “high-end” models, but now you can read in the dark on them all. The only difference is the number of LEDs. The standard Kindle and Kindle Kids don’t get as bright as the others.
The last thing is storage options. The base storage across the board for all the Kindle models is 8GB. If 8GB isn’t enough, the Paperwhite and Oasis models also have 32GB options.
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Screen Size Matters
Screen size and resolution is one of the most noticeable differentiators between the Kindle models. The standard Kindle and Kindle Kids modes come in with a 6-inch display at 167 ppi (pixels per inch). That’s the smallest and lowest definition screen of the bunch.
A step up from that is the Paperwhite models. All three of them have 6.8-inch displays at 300 ppi. That’s the highest definition you can currently get on a Kindle eReader. But if you’d like an ever so slightly bigger display, the Oasis comes in at an even 7-inches.
Kindles are not like smartphones, there’s not much need for yearly upgrades. People typically will use the same one for several years. If you can afford the extra cost, it’s usually worth going with the higher resolution display for longevity.
Where the Kindle models really differentiate themselves is with extra bonus features. These things can really help you dial in which Kindle is right for you.
Do you like reading in the tub or at the pool? Waterproofing may be something important to you. All three Paperwhite models and the Oasis have an IPX8 rating. The standard Kindle models don’t have any waterproofing.
While all models have backlights, they aren’t all the same. In addition to the aforementioned brightness differences, the Paperwhite and Oasis models can adjust the color temperature of the light. The light can get warmer, which can be easier on the eyes. Also, the Signature Edition and Oasis have auto-brightness.
On the design front, there’s one major difference between the standard Kindle models and the Paperwhite and Oasis models. The display on the Kindle models is recessed below the bezels. However, on the Paperwhite and Oasis models, it is flush, more like a smartphone display.
Lastly, the Paperwhite Signature Edition is the only model with wireless charging (though technically you can add wireless charging to any Kindle). The Paperwhite models are also the only ones with USB-C for charging, while the others still use microUSB. The Oasis is the only model with page turn buttons.
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What About the Kids Editions?
As you may have noticed, the Kids Editions have the same features as their non-Kids counterparts. So what makes them Kids Editions?
There are two things that differentiate the Kids Editions. First, they have a slightly bulkier design and they come with your choice of protective case in a number of colors and designs. Kids are a bit rougher with devices, hence the included durability improvements.
On top of the more rugged physical design, the Kids Editions also have one extra year of warranty. This is another way to ensure your kids don’t immediately make you regret buying an eReader for them. More peace of mind.
Other than that, the Kids Editions are really the same as the standard models. They simply have more durable designs and extra colors.
Which One Is For You?
The question now is which one should you buy? We think the Kindle Paperwhite series is the best for most people. You’re getting most of the high-end features, but the base Paperwhite is only $50 more than the barebones Kindle, coming in at $140.
If you want to really future-proof your Kindle, the Signature Edition is a nice step up. It has the color temperature adjustable display, wireless charging for added convenience, and a base storage of 32GB. It’s another $50 more than the standard Paperwhite.
For readers who absolutely devour books and want the best of everything, the Kindle Oasis starts at $250 and has everything the Signature Edition has, plus a bigger screen and page turn buttons. The Oasis goes all the way up to $300 for 32GB without ads.
The Kindle Kids is probably the best option for most kids. It’s only $50, so it’s a nice entry point into the world of eReaders. If you’re really concerned about them damaging the Kindle with water, you’ll want to spend the extra $100 on the Kindle Paperwhite Kids.
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