The best ereaders for students and teachers are a superb way to go paper-free while also giving access to a whole world of written media, from books and periodicals to magazines and comics.
While the Amazon Kindle and the Kobo or Barnes & Noble offerings are the main ereaders available, you do have a choice with varying features to serve your school needs specifically. By the time you're done here you should have the perfect ereader for your school.
Some features to think about, both for teachers and students, are backlights, waterproofing, physical buttons, and WiFi or data connectivity. Also the size of the ereader itself may be a factor, as can the brand to denote what content libraries you have access too.
If you need super high resolution and color -- perhaps to read magazines, comics and text books -- then you will be better served with a one of the best tablets. But if simply words and lots of battery life are your needs then read on to find the right ereader to help.
Best Ereaders For Students and Teachers
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1. Kindle Paperwhite: Best Ereader Overall
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is the model of ereader from a lineage that put these E Ink devices into the limelight. Not only did the Kindle start off the paperless reading revolution, but it's been improving constantly with new releases that result in the current model, which is by far the best yet. Despite all the improvements, this manages to remain one of the most affordable ereader options out there, too.
Despite being the thinnest and lightest Paperwhite yet, this manages to offer a crisp 6-inch, 300ppi backlit display with super fast refresh rates for near instant page turns. There's a lot of storage space, at up to 32GB, so you won't need to worry about filling this up. Packing in both WiFi and cellular connections, you can be connected to new reading material anywhere, be it in the class or outside.
Crucially, this model comes with IPX8 waterproofing, making it a rugged device that can withstand living in a school bag on the move and even being read in the rain. Or take this into the bath and you won't have to worry about it getting wet.
Battery life isn't the best, compared to the older model, but that's still superb so you get days, or even a week, of plentiful use before needing a charge.
2. Onyx Boox Note Air: Best big screen ereader
The Onyx Boox Note Air is a huge tablet of a device that remains lightweight and svelte thanks to a gorgeous design. That does mean it isn't cheap but you get a lot for your money.
The centerpiece is that 10.3-inch backlit display that offers 226ppi for a relatively high resolution and clear, crisp text. This also works for images as this device can be used with an included stylus pen to draw, annotate, and edit documents – all ideal for teacher use. With PDF support and a selection of backlight colors, from warm yellow to vibrant blue, this is a great way to read and edit documents on the move or in class.
This ereader has access to the Google Play Store, so a lot of apps are available, but with that monochrome screen you are a little limited. That said, this is far more expensive than many other ereaders out there, competing more against tablets – which helps to justify the price.
3. Kobo Clara HD: Best for library reading
The Kobo Clara HD is the company's answer to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, only this one doesn't come with waterproofing – but it has a trade off. Instead, it is built to give you access to the U.S. public library book selection wherever Overdrive is used. That makes this an ideal ereader for students and teachers who want access to digital tons of reading materials.
But that's not all -- you also get that 300ppi and 6-inch display, plus this device comes with a color-changing backlight. You can read a textbook in bright blue light, or settle down at bed into a fiction novel with a warm, yellow sepia color.
This is a compact unit that's light, easy to hold one-handed, works quickly with a clear display, and offers extensive battery life that goes for weeks on a single charge. Plus, it'll open all sorts of file formats, unlike a Kindle, meaning access to EPUB, PDF, RTF, and even CMZ and JPEG for comic books and images. Add in the fact this is affordably priced – plus you can rent rather than buy books – and this is a serious contender.
4. Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3: Best for physical buttons
The Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3 offers a throwback design feature that many ereaders have done away with: physical buttons. So if you're a fan of having a button to press when flicking through pages, then this is the one for you. You still get a super clear 6-inch and 300ppi display, only flanked with buttons. The Kindle Oasis also offers buttons but at a real premium.
The downside here is that you have a smaller library of books available to you when compared to the likes of Amazon's Kindle. What this does have is a color-changing backlight and an easy way to access ePub books, especially if you enjoy side-loading these.
5. Kindle Oasis: Best premium ereader
The Kindle Oasis could be at the top of this list if it wasn't for the price. Yet it does justify that amount as it is superbly designed for the most premium reading experience. That includes an ergonomic design, with a side ridge for easy and comfortable one-handed reading. It also has a larger-than-most 7-inch display and IPX8 waterproofing.
The side ridge features buttons for easy one-handed page turning and it can be turned upside down making it work for both left- and right-handed reading. The adjustable backlight can work automatically based on time of day, offering bright blue light in the day and warm yellow in the evening.
Expect a battery life of up to six weeks, optional 4G connectivity, and up to 32GB of storage, all making this one of the most powerful ereaders available. The fact it gives you access to the mighty library of books Amazon offers is a bonus.
6. Kindle Paperwhite Kids: Best for middle graders
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids is designed for students between age 7 and 12 primarily, with lots of material catered for that group. But, of course it can also be used by younger and older children as needed. This device comes with a case, long two-year warranty, and is waterproof -- making it ideal for the level of care a child is expected to give.
You do get a subscription included for all the Kids+ content that Amazon offers, which is plentiful. The downside is that lasts just a year before you'll have to start paying. You can go without, however, there is a lot there and it'll be tough to use this device quite the same without that subscription.
The 6-inch anti-glare screen is high-res at 300ppi and it features LED backlighting, making this a read-anywhere device. All that backed by a battery that can last months and this really justifies that relatively low price.