What’s the Best eBook Reader Model of All Time?


I’ve tested and used dozens of ebook readers over the past 8 years since launching The-eBook-Reader.com, and sometimes people ask me what’s the best ebook reader of them all if I had to choose only one.

That’s a good question but it’s doesn’t come with an easy answer, and it often changes with each passing year as new models get released.

Some of the older ereaders were really nice but newer models have more advanced software and better screens with frontlights.

Yet there are a number of people that still prefer older models.

Since I review so many ereaders I usually have several on hand at once, so I’m used to using more than one at a time.

If I had to choose only one to use moving forward at this point in time it would be the Kobo Aura One, but only with the stipulation of being able to use KOReader for PDFs.

Since I mostly read at home I like the larger screen size of the Aura One, but what I like most is the direct Overdrive integration. It makes it easy to download free library ebooks. Unless I really, really like a book and want to read it several times (which rarely happens) I don’t care about owning it so library lending works great for me.

Most ereaders support library books but the process is easiest on the Aura One because it doesn’t require using a second device.

It’s hard not to choose a Kindle (the Kindle Oasis with its page buttons and lightweight design if I had to choose one specific model) because I like the added software features, such as the quick page scan feature, X-Ray, and annotations export. I also like the convenience of being able to wirelessly send ebooks and PDFs to Kindles, but ultimately the smaller screen size and limited font choices has me leaning to the Kobo Aura One by the slightest margin.

What about you? If you had to choose only one ebook reader to use for the rest of your days, which model would it be?

51 Responses to “What’s the Best eBook Reader Model of All Time?”

  1. Hanlin V3, no doubt

    • The brand is discontinued.
      I have one too, it was very cheap, very compatible, but suffers of a small screen size.

    • I just bought the PocketBook ‘Touch HD 2’ in January, because this model has an SD card, unlike his successor the Touch HD 3 (but therefore it’s waterproof).
      Alternate I was thinking to get the PocketBook Inkpad 3, but I don’t need a 7.9″ screen.

      Great is the Smartlight. So reading at night is no longer damage my eyes and my sleeping cycle. The orange/yellow is fine to adjust.
      And you can feed almost every imaginable format: epub, mobi, FB2, doc, docx, txt, html, htm, pdf, DJVU, PRC, ACSM, RTF and some more. I will hopefully never have to convert with calibre any more 🙂
      The screen is crisp sharp with 300 dpi. Just great; and it’s fast responding.
      Another goodie: it has an audio jack; so I can read and listen to music. The library is very easy to sort: author, title, genre, … and even series!
      Another great thing is: send to PocketBook by a chosen email address and that works terrific.
      My former PB Ultra from 2016 was nice and fine but the Touch HD 2 is my reading dream coming to life.
      One thing I’ve not tried yet, but I think you can use more than a 32 GB SD card; my former PB Ultra worked perfectly with a 64 GB card (music, audio books) – I just found out later, that officially 32 GB should be the maximum.

  2. Kobo Aura One hands down. For screen size and waterproofing.

  3. kindle Oasis, love it.

  4. Kobo Aura One… until they come out with one that’s a tad bigger…

  5. Sony PRS-T1. Size, MP3, although the wifi died😄

    • … and microSD card support. Been 6 years and counting. My Sony PRS-T1 is still running fine, with some reduced battery life. When the battery eventually dies I’m going to get a new battery for it. 🙂

  6. I know this is a joke, because you know it’s the Sony PRS-950.

    Then Sony dropped wireless support. Typical of them.

  7. Kindle paperwhite. Software is much better than kobo

  8. Onyx-Boox Kepler Pro — sleek, slim and solid hardware; Android so choice of whatever reading software floats your boat.

  9. I don’t think there is a best reader, even with all the options we have now.
    Example, I love the hardware, size and customization options of the Aura One, and I appreciate the comfort light and Overdrive integration but the software isn’t as polished and smooth sailing as a Kindle. Let’s not forget the lack of being able to send annotations to PC and I still struggle with highlights and menu navigation.
    As for Kindles, they have smooth polished software but hardly any flexibility and control with minumim customization ability and no size options and horrific fonts aside from Bookerly.
    So you see there really isn’t a standard, a go to device that solves it all that you can count on for all your needs which is why I have to use both platforms.
    If Kobo where to find a way for you to be able to send all your annotations to your PC directly from device I’d give them the upper hand and call it the better eReader. However, eco-system is such a crucial component to the eReader and the synchronization across devices, price and larger selection of books Amazon provides is unparalleled. I mean sure you can strip the DRM and side load books to your kobo but you lose cloud functionality and synchronization across devices which is extremely convenient.

  10. Kobo Aura One most definitely because of screen size and ability to customize fonts.

  11. I really liked the Nook Simple Touch, compact, with buttons and touch screen, and rooting it to access android readers was a plus, a pity that Calibre Companion didn’t work with its Android version. I’ve moved on to Kobo, but I’m still keeping a eye on those Android readers. The problem with most of them is they aren’t as compact as Kobo readers, which is an important feature when you take your reader everywhere, I’m using a Kobo Aura (no surname) on the go, and maintaining a Kobo Aura HD for bed. The Aura One is tempting, but I can’t justify buying it while the Aura HD holds on.
    That Sony is been hacked with an Android 6.0 OS, maybe next Android readers generation will go up to that version?

  12. Kobo Aura One. The only two things it lacks are page-change buttons and the ability to change paragraph spacing.

  13. The Destination, the upcoming 7.8″ Kindle. Essentially a scaled-up Oasis with a better battery, the device will be released in late 2017.

    • Please provide a Source?

      • No source. Just making stuff up, especially the name. But I can’t help but see this is where trends are going. Size is really the only direction in which the e-ink Kindle can improve.

        • It can improve in PDF handling capability.

        • I like the name and the concept! I’ve been waiting over a year since the Oasis came out for a super lightweight kindle e-reader with a 7.8” HD Carta E Ink touchscreen like the Kobo Aura ONE now offers. Built-in OverDrive for library books would be nice too – but I don’t see that in Amazon’s “wheelhouse”. Hopefully a larger format would allow for a much improved battery that would address the hundreds of complaints voiced in the Oasis’ online reviews. Personally, I can’t see pulling the trigger on the Oasis until Amazon catches up with Kobo’s latest innovations. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy reading on my Paperwhite and iPad.

  14. For Build Quality Sony PRS-650\PRS-900 with Sony Case (2010).
    (Lovely Leica Type Build 2 memory cards and Audio Books)
    Kobo Aura One.

  15. I prefer my Nook glowlight plus but lately, it seems to be having a life of its own. I like the fonts much better than the Kindle Paperwhite and is much easier to read. I have been trying to gradually move over the Kindle but I find the Kindle software to be messy and it is not as easy to simply bookmark a page. If there is even a page number. I just want to read a book and be left alone. The Nook is more like a book while the Kindle is more like a social network, prying into my reading habits, wanting to know how I felt about what I read and what I should read next.

  16. Pocketbook Inkpad (with Koreader installed). 8inch screen, fast, good frontlight.

  17. Onyx Boox Max 13.3″only,Period!

  18. The original Kobo Aura HD that I am using now. It has its share of faults but I use it hard and it doesn’t let me down. Pocket integration is a must have for me. I read a dozen or more articles a day on the HD that I have saved to Pocket. Not happy with Kobo right now. I need Overdrive integration but the Aura One form factor is not for me. I would buy an H2O with Overdrive in a hot minute if it was available. Sorry Kobo, you are not getting any more money from me unless you expand availability of Overdrive Integration. Is it a pure marketing decision?

    My all time favorite is my original Rocket eBook Reader, granddaddy of all to follow. Great features for a first-of-kind device. I still fire it up from time to time.

  19. You say you tested and used dozens of e-readers, but you don’t seem to write much about Pocketbooks. Your review videos are among the most competent in the e-ink world, so I would surely like you to do reviews of Pocketbooks.

    As far as I can see, one would pick an e-reader based on the type of files one deals with, also based on size/portability of the device, and then perhaps based on some other features. For example, if one lends/buys e-books, then one would go for the device where it’s easy to do.

    As for myself, I bought an e-reader only after years of accumulating a personal library of pdfs (and a docs and html files) that I was trying to read on computer screens and mobile phones. I tend to like multi-functional devices, so I was holding back on buying an e-reader, knowing that it would only have one single function: Display pdf files. Eventually I bought an e-reader and I don’t regret it.

    All my e-readers up to now (three overall) have been Pocketbooks. Currently I have Touch HD and Inkpad 2. I recommend them unreservedly to anyone who has too many pdf’s and ebooks queued up for reading. But I don’t recommend any other Pocketbooks besides Touch HD and Inkpad 2, because they have too little RAM. Pdf files require at least 512 MB RAM for comfortable use. My next purchase in a year or two will likely be Onyx Boox Max Carta.

    • I reviewed a couple of Pocketbooks a long time ago and I liked them but they were among the least viewed reviews I ever posted, and then US distributors all dried up so I stopped covering them when there was nowhere left to buy them from. A few of the older models are sold on Amazon and eBay but consumer interest is so low in the US and other English-language countries that they just aren’t​ worth the time and money to review unfortunately.

  20. Understood regarding the review situation for Pocketbooks. For similar reasons, given where I am, I have no interest for Kindles. They are available here, but it does not make sense to have one. I never buy stuff from Amazon (in fact I am yet to buy an ebook at all; in my area of interest there are tons of technical and scanned pdf files for me to read). Kindles don’t support epubs, they don’t (easily) allow installing extra reading apps, their cheaper devices display ads (so I have heard). Those are enough reasons for me to pick, and recommend to others, anything but Kindle.

    • A reading device that you’ve paid good money for DISPLAYS ADS? That is pure greed plain and simple. One of the many reasons I stay away from Amazon products.

  21. Just realized that:

    Amazon released the Kindle, its first e-reader, on November 19, 2007, for US$399.

    Could it be that the X anniversary will be released on the same date? Makes sense right? I certainly hope so.

    • That’s one thing I can guarantee won’t happen considering November 19th falls on a Sunday. 😀

      • You’re right but perhaps the prior week just in time for black Friday and the holiday shopping season. Makes sense and falls in line with the release date of the first Kindle.
        I honestly see this happening, I mean Apple is making a big deal of the 10th anniversary iPhone so why not Amazon and it’s Kindle?!
        And it would be a shame to celebrate the x anniversary with another 6″ model, I don’t see that happening..

  22. kindle touch. i can listen while i read but the battery died. i need a replacement. who do you recommend getting batteries from?

  23. My absolute favorite is Kindle Voyage! Have had it since its release and absolutely love it. It’s slim, light, the screen quality is great, and it somewhat has buttons to turn pages. I hope they’ll keep making it so that I can get it again when mine dies.
    I’ve also owned a kindle 4 with buttons and that’s my second favorite- gave it to my boyfriend who loves it, still works great after many years. I had an older gray Kindle Touch that I didn’t like that much for how bulky it was mostly and prefer kindle touch with buttons over it. Have also had a Sony PRS T1 for a little while, liked it the same as the kindle touch. Have lived with a Kobo owner a few years back, it didn’t look as good as the Kindles.

  24. So what’s the best eBook Reader of all time that has (or can be made to have) access to the Google Play store? It may sound petty but I have little patience for an ereader that won’t sync with Moon+ on my phone.

  25. I really like my Kindle Keyboard 3rd generation because the screen looks like real paper and you can listen to the screen narrator read the book out loud as an option. To me the Kindle keyboard is still good and I especially like how it’s very light weight. I own a Kindle Voyage and I really like how crisp the the screen is and it’s light weight as well. I usually use both of them, I read some books on the Kindle Keyboard and others on the Voyage.

  26. The best reader of all time would be the one that has a glow screen, expandable memory, the ability to manage content through calibre, screensaver that shows the cover of the current book, and has buttons. MP3 player is nice, but not entirely necessary.

    Kindles, no matter the model, are nice, but limited. They have no sd card slot, horrible screensavers, and if connected to wifi they push ads and suggestions through their store. Just because it’s a popular and well-known brand name doesn’t make it good when you sacrifice function for form and advertisement. You can’t even create collections for kindles on your computer without some serious tweakings of Calibre or the Kindle itself.

    Kobos are nicer. Some still sport that SD card slots, and the current models have waterproofing, glow screens, and caliber management for collections. Only problem with those is that they bog down if you load them with too many books.

    Nook Glowlights-Dedicated memory for just nook books, and they removed the SD card slot. Side-loading out. Enough said.

    Sony PRS T3 was my almost favorite ereader. It had the buttons. It had the caliber management aspect, and a screen that rivaled the oasis in clarity. It also had the memory card slot that I really like. I could load as many books as I wanted into the device and it had almost no slow down. Sony just thought that not giving it a glow screen was the best way to compete with Kindle. Next thing you know they’re pulling out, and the only way to score a T3 is ebay at elevated price. Mine got stolen, and so I went looking for a replacement.

    That was when I found my favorite reader so far which is from Pocketbook. I currently own a Touch Lux 3, and am saving up for an Inkpad 2. Granted, you gotta get one shipped from overseas, but it was worth the wait. Pocketbook satisfies what I mentioned above in what I wanted in an Ereader.

  27. I really want to love my Nook GLP, but it’s not great. The software is… lacking, frustrating, and buggy. The hardware is sluggish at times, including refreshing the e-ink display.

    I own it strictly so I could root it (offloading books I purchased from the B&N store, installing fonts), and because it supports EPUB.

    I’ll never own a Kindle, due to its 1984 fiasco some 10 years back (ironic, isn’t it?), it’s DRM-encumbered ebook format, the always-on ads, the lack of root, the lack of EPUB support, the inability to sideload books, and so many other proprietary, Big Brother problems. The Amazon Kindle is defective by design.

    I keep an eye on this blog for other devices. If I can have root and it supports EPUB, I’m down. Right now, that’s the Nook GLP, although the Kobo Aura is a strong contender. I’m game for trying other devices, even if the software is less feature-packed and the hardware is a big sluggish.

    • Many of these issues have long been removed.
      Most of my books can be converted to Mobi format, which my kindle reads just fine.
      I upload them via the USB cable.

      You CAN root a kindle, but it’s not easy, and why would you want to do that, and risk losing future updates?

      Not all Amazon ebooks have DRM. Most paid ones do, but the Kindles do read DRM free ebooks as well.
      The amazon kindle (oasis, paperwhite) have many good feats that I wished others had too (like sync the library, etc…).

  28. I love the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, my previous e-reader was an iPad Pro that I had for school, but it was difficult to focus on reading over writing emails, and the constant notifications. Also, the screen was gigantic and although the quality was great I don’t miss it at all. How much better is the Kindle Oasis though?

  29. For me, small size readers (6″) are off the list.
    6.x” or greater.
    Resolutions of 800×600 are also off the list.
    I absolutely love the reflective LCD ereaders. They last forever; but the battery doesn’t.
    So E-ink it must be!
    I don’t like when the backlight can’t be fully turned off.
    Though the newer Kindle Oasis has a nice bump in screen estate, the backlight and price, definitely is a killer!
    You’ll be paying several ebooks worth with this device. The H2O is much cheaper.