Man hiker solo on the mountain during golden hour reading ebook

The Best Kindle for Travel—Plus More E-Readers and Tablets We Love

The easiest way to lighten up your carry-on? Swap heavy books for an e-reader.

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Returning to air travel and longer commutes offers an ideal reading opportunity, with plenty of time to dig into the book you’ve been meaning to finish. But books take up valuable space—not to mention weight—in carry-ons and backpacks. When you need to pack light, Kindles and e-readers are the answer, especially since they are smaller, more lightweight, and more powerful than ever, holding thousands of books in a device as light as six ounces.

If you’re in the market for a Kindle, e-reader, or other reading-friendly tablet—and intend to make it a regular travel companion—you’ll want to consider size, storage, and functionality, in addition to price. Do you prefer a larger screen or a more lightweight device? Do you want a device designed exclusively for reading, or do you want to be able to browse, work, and watch movies as well? We’ve done the research to determine the best Kindles for travel, along with a few other e-readers and portable tablets worth considering.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

The best Kindles for travel

Kindle Paperwhite

  • 6.8” display
  • 7.23 ounces
  • 8 GB (standard), 32 GB (Signature)
  • USB charging compatibility
  • Waterproof

Undoubtedly the top Kindle available today, Amazon’s best-selling, waterproof Kindle Paperwhite recently got an 11th-generation upgrade—and now comes in three new versions. There’s a standard ($140), Signature edition ($190), and Paperwhite Kids ($160). Each of the three includes a larger 6.8-inch display, adjustable warm white lighting that emulates actual book pages, and a brighter maximum lighting. The standard Paperwhite and kids version offer 8 GB of storage (which can hold more than 2,000 e-books), while the Signature holds 32 GB. 

Most notable of this generation—aside from the clearly crisper display—is the impressive software update that allows you to scroll your library, toggle from menu to reading, and turn pages quickly without the lagging of previous editions. The USB-C charger is a huge plus, too, making for convenient charging (after the 10-week battery dies, that is). For most, the standard model will exceed previous e-reader experiences, but the Signature includes wireless charging (via a charging dock, sold separately), a front light that auto-adjusts, and extra storage—for those interested. 


  • 6” screen
  • 6.1 ounces
  • 8 GB

For a more affordable Amazon option, opt for the classic Kindle—a device that offers a simpler, but comparable reading experience (sans some of the bells and whistles of the Paperwhite). Like the standard Paperwhite, it has 8 GB of storage—and the capacity to hold thousands of titles. This model is also now made with a built-in adjustable front light, for easy reading inside and outdoors. At 6.3 inches, it’s a tad smaller than the Paperwhite (which for some, may be a plus) with a lower resolution display and dimmer front light. If you’re okay with skipping waterproof capability, this 2019 release is a good option for straightforward e-reader needs. (Worth noting: You can use an app called Libby to send library books to any Amazon Kindle device.)

Kindle Oasis

  • 7” display
  • 6.6 ounces
  • 8 GB or 32 GB
  • USB charging compatibility
  • Waterproof

For those seeking a top-of-the-line e-reading experience (and who are willing to spend the extra money), the Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s most luxurious and advanced e-reader. The appeal? Its latest and greatest e-ink technology gives the effect of reading from real paper—not to mention the crisp resolution on the largest screen of any Kindle (and one of the most lightweight). Page turn buttons add to the “reading a physical book” feel, while the reader itself has a sleek aluminum body. Like the Paperwhite, up to an hour of waterproof capability allows you to read in places physical books don’t fare well—such as the pool, bath, or beach.

Other top e-readers

Kobo Libra 2

Another brand to consider on your e-reader journey: Kobo. Kobo Libra 2 is just $10 more than the popular Kobo Libra H2O model—with four times the storage (32 GB), Bluetooth wireless technology, and the same waterproof capability. At 7.58 ounces, it’s a tad heavier than the Amazon Paperwhite, but that might be thanks to the page-turning buttons (which add a nice tactile element to the reading experience). The key difference with Kobo’s products, though, is the reading material itself: Kobo uses Overdrive, a company that connects you to e-books from your public library (meaning you can download books free of charge, though you may have to wait for them to become available). The updated Kobo Libra model also allows you to shop e-books and audiobooks from the device, as well.

Kobo Clara HD

This Kobo model presents a similar e-reader experience to the Amazon Paperwhite—making it a nice option if you’d like a brand beyond Amazon. At $120, it skews at a lower price point for e-readers and offers a competitive 8 GB of storage with a six-inch HD screen. An interesting feature: Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO lighting, which gradually reduces blue light as the day goes on. You can manually adjust the brightness and color temperature to reduce the eye-straining light before bedtime, as well. If you prefer to borrow versus buy books, the Kobo Clara is an ideal pick. With Overdrive preloaded, choosing library e-books is quick and convenient (and comes at no cost).

BOOX Nova Air 7.8

Android fans who want a slightly larger-than-average screen with more overall customization can shell out for the BOOX Nova Air. Key features include dual-touch functionality (use it with your fingers or a stylus included with purchase); a 7.8-inch glare-free, high-resolution screen; and the ability to sync marked-up documents and notes across your devices. This e-reader (borderline tablet) option appeals to students or professionals—you can annotate directly onto PDF documents and books. It comes equipped with an Android-based system which allows you to explore multiple book ecosystems—meaning you can simply add your Amazon Kindle or Kobo app to the BOOX device if you so choose.

Reading-friendly tablets

Apple iPad Mini (with Wi-Fi)

If you want a device for more than just reading books, you may as well opt for the latest iPad Mini. It has a few inches of screen on a Kindle Paperwhite, but it’s still small enough to fit in a medium-sized crossbody (or any backpack). The obvious benefit to Apple products, of course, is access to millions of iOS apps, from Libby to Goodreads to Netflix. On an iPad, you can flip between a novel and an in-flight entertainment app with ease. The more advanced Mini can be used with Wi-Fi or cellular data, and even more conveniently, you can activate cellular on the device in settings without having Wi-Fi (or having to go into a store), handy for international trips. For Apple devotees that prefer to pack light and still want the browsing power of a laptop, the iPad Mini checks out.

Amazon Fire HD 10

This tablet is an affordable, well-rounded option at a fraction of the cost of others on the market. For just $150, you get 32 GB and a 12-hour battery life to work with—so you can easily occupy the duration of a long flight with downloaded Netflix content, your favorite Spotify playlists, and your Kindle library. When it comes time to recharge, you can conveniently re-up via the USB-C port. The tablet has a 10.1-inch full HD display and comes with Amazon Alexa compatibility for hands-free control. It’s family-friendly, too—Amazon Kids is free on every Fire tablet, and you can create a profile for your little one to limit screen time, set educational goals, and oversee usage via parental controls.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

If you’re an avid Android user, this tablet is a no-brainer for seamless compatibility across your devices. The Galaxy Tab is perhaps best for those looking for a stand-in for a PC—the brand advertises this one as such, with an optional keyboard attachment. The tablet also comes with a redesigned stylus pen that attaches to the side of the device and can be used to toggle through slides, write notes, or capture photos. The edge-to-edge display, vibrant colors, and advanced surround sound on the S7 upgrade any entertainment experience, including reading via your app of choice, streaming movies, or gaming. The Galaxy tab is an ideal tablet for vacations when you know you’ll need to check in with work—just grab your stylus and keyboard attachment and you’ve got a makeshift office setup.

Apple iPad (9th generation)

Apple loyalists, this one's for you. The Apple iPad has long been the emblematic tablet, and the 9th generation classic iPad holds up—landing at a price point considerably more reasonable than other new iPad models. For those who prefer a larger screen and viewing experience, the 10.2-inch retina display is ideal for reading, watching movies, or working on projects. You can also use multiple apps at once—so you can pull up the book recommendation a friend texted you while perusing your book app of choice. The 9th generation model is also newly equipped with Center Stage, an ultra-wide front camera that automatically centers you while you’re on a video call. Starting at 64 GB of storage, you can fill the tablet with enough of everything—from books to photos.