You see a lot of used Kindles for sale, and there a lot of people buying them because they’re cheaper than buying new in most cases, but there are some important things to consider when buying a used Kindle.
There aren’t any specific Kindle models that were lemons that should be avoided, but there are some limitations and quirks with some older Kindle models that you should know about before buying.
First and foremost, Kindles can be blacklisted if they are lost or stolen so there’s always a risk of getting a blacklisted Kindle that can’t be registered, so make sure to test the Kindle first or buy from somewhere that accepts returns in such cases.
Another thing to watch out for is dead batteries. I would recommend against buying a used Kindle if it shows the battery discharge warning on the screen. It might still be fine but if a Kindle’s battery is left discharged for too long it can damage the battery and then it will no longer hold a charge.
Another thing to note, all the older non-touchscreen Kindles no longer support shopping from the Kindle store directly on the device so you have to use something else to make purchases, but these devices are getting so old at this point they should probably be avoided altogether unless you’re good at cracking devices open and replacing batteries that aren’t meant to be user-replaceable.
Amazon has stopped updating all Kindles older than the 10th generation Kindle Paperwhite (also known as the Paperwhite 4) from 2018, so anything older than that likely won’t be getting any newer features or bug fixes.
The Kindle Voyage is the oldest Kindle I would go for personally at this point. It’s a really nice Kindle and I still use mine, but the Voyage was released in 2014 so the batteries are getting pretty old and might need to be replaced soon. The Paperwhite 3 is still a decent buy too if you can get one with a good battery for really cheap.
One thing to note about the 1st gen Oasis from 2017, it came with a special charging cover that’s now virtually impossible to find, so unless you can get one with a cover it’s only going to get a few hours of battery life without it.
Personally, I would avoid most of the entry-level Kindles because of the low resolution screens, and they lacked a frontlight until the 10th gen model from 2019. The current entry-level Kindle from 2022 finally got a high resolution 300 ppi screen, so it would be a good option to buy used.
Keep in mind, Amazon usually puts Kindles on sale a few times a year, and sometimes the Paperwhite is under $100 and the entry-level model goes for as little as $65 sometimes, so it might be worth waiting for a sale than buying used.
Another good option for buying Kindles on the cheap is getting them from Woot when they have their semi-frequent Kindle sales. Sometimes you can get an older model for about $30. Amazon also sells certified refurbished Kindles that come with the same 1-year warranty as new Kindles, so they’re a bit safer than buying used, but the prices usually aren’t great unless they’re on sale.