What's The Best eReader? iPad vs Kindle vs Nook

ebook reader and a book

 Carolyn Hebbard / Getty Images

The market for ebook reading devices is dominated by three companies: Amazon, with its Kindle product line; Barnes & Noble, with its NOOK series; Apple, with the iPad. While technically they're not the only eReaders on the market, they're by far the most popular and are the ones most people consider when making a purchase.

If you're thinking about buying a device to read ebooks, it's important to understand what you really want and what each product offers. Do you want a thin, lightweight device dedicated to reading even in difficult environments like the dark or direct sun? Or do you want a more full-featured tablet that offers ebook reading as just one feature along with web browsing, streaming video, and gaming?

You can get all of these options — and more — from the Kindle, NOOK, or iPad. But versatility doesn't necessarily make for a better product. Devices that do one thing really well can also be appealing — depending on your needs and preferences.

To help you figure out what device is best for you, we've compared some of the key features of the popular models of these eReaders in the chart below. The chart doesn't compare things like book selection or price, but does try to give a sense of what options each device offers. This information can help you make a smart buying decision.

eReader Comparison: iPad vs Kindle vs nook

iPad iPad
mini 4
Kindle Kindle
Paper
white
NOOK
Glow
Light
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
screen (inches)

resolution
9.7

2048
x 1536
7.9

2048 x
1536
6 6 6 7

1024
x 600
color screen yes yes no no no yes
backlight
(read in dark)
yes yes no yes yes yes
Anti-glare
screen
(read in
bright light)
no no yes yes yes no
touchscreen yes yes yes yes no yes
storage 32 GB
128 GB
128 GB 4 GB 8 GB
32 GB
8 GB 16 GB
128 GB
networking Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
ebook
format
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
TXT
ePub
PDF
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
web
browser
yes yes no no no yes
streams
music
yes yes no no no yes
streams
video
yes yes no no no yes
games yes yes no no no yes
apps yes yes no no no yes
voice
assistant
Siri Siri no no no Google
Assistant
bluetooth yes yes yes yes no no
camera front & back front & back no no no front & back
video
calling
yes yes no no no yes
stylus

Apple Pencil

no no no no no
waterproof

no

no no yes no no
size (in.) 9.4
x 6.6
x 0.29
8
x 5.3
x 0.24
6.3
x 4.5
x 0.36
6.6
x 4.6
x 0.32
6.93
x 5.0
x 0.38
7.4
x 4.2
x 0.39
weight (lb.) 1.03 -
1.05
0.65 -
0.67
0.36 0.4 -
0.43
0.42 0.55
price $329 -
$559
$399 -
$529

$80 -
$100

$130 -
$180
$120 $50

Beyond the eReader Features

When you deciding what eReader to buy, you may want to consider more than just specs and price, of course. You need to consider the full experience of each device. After all, a device that does more of what you want and costs just a bit more is a better option. When considering e-readers, there are three things not listed in the chart below that we think are important to keep in mind:

  • Tablet: Do you already have a tablet and just want a small, lightweight device devoted exclusively to reading? If so, a Kindle or NOOK probably makes sense. But, if you want a full-featured tablet experience, with games, streaming media, and the internet, an iPad a much better option.
  • Gaming: Everyone wants a break from reading from time to time, and games can be a nice option — if your e-reader supports them, that is. Traditional eReaders don't have games, but tablet-style devices do.
  • Streaming Media: If you want to be able to watch a video or listen to music on your device, you'll need a tablet more than an eReader. The iPad or NOOK Tablet (or Amazon's Fire Tablet, which isn't included here) are your only options since they can run apps and have color screens.
  • App StoreExpanding the functionality of your device beyond just reading is key to finding long-term enjoyment and value. Perhaps the best way to do this is to a device that can run apps to do things beyond reading.