Best eBook Readers
Below is my list of the 5 best ebook readers for 2014. It includes ereaders with monochrome E Ink screens only. Refer to this separate article for a list of the Best Tablets for eReading.
Ranking ebook readers by number is a lot harder than it sounds because each has unique features that suit certain folks better than others, so instead of ranking them by number, all of these are quality ebook readers and are on this list for different reasons. Please do check the reviews for the complete details.
Kindle Paperwhite 2 - Best Overall eBook Reader
The 2nd generation Kindle Paperwhite is the best overall ebook reader because it has the latest screen from E Ink and the best, most evenly lit frontlight of any ebook reader.
The Kindle Paperwhite also offers a number of features that competitors lack, such as fast page scanning, X-Ray, Wikipedia look-up, web search, Kindle panel view for comics, screenshots, Send to Kindle apps, translations, Goodread's integration, etc.
You can borrow ebooks from libraries and read them on the Kindle Paperwhite, get a free ebook per month with Amazon Prime, and there's access to Kindle games and Kindle apps.
Price: $119-$209 at Amazon
Kobo Aura HD - Best Kobo eBook Reader
The Kobo Aura HD is the best Kobo ebook reader because it has the nicest screen with the highest pixel density of any ebook reader at 265 ppi. Text looks super clear and sharp on it's 6.8-inch E Ink screen, which is slightly larger than most other ebook readers that use 6-inch screens.
It also has a solid set of features aside from the 1440 x 1080 screen, including a frontlight, a microSD card slot, support for ePub, custom fonts, the ability to set font weight and sharpness, and the Kobo Aura HD ties in with Facebook for sharing what you're reading with friends and family. It also has a web browser, notes and highlights, dictionary, reading awards and stats, and translation dictionaries.
$69 Kindle - Best Value eBook Reader
Starting at $69, the basic non-touchscreen Kindle is the best value for an ebook reader because of the combination of features, low price, ebook selection, and Amazon's customer service.
The Kindle Paperwhite is the upgraded model. It starts at $50 more and comes with a capacitive touchscreen and a frontlight for reading at night. The Kindle Paperwhite is a good value too, but it's hard to argue with $69.
While it doesn't have a touchscreen or a light, all the usual Kindle features are included with the $69 Kindle, including notes, highlights, bookmarks, the ability to email ebooks and documents directly to it, you can borrow ebooks from libraries, get free ebooks with Amazon Prime, and there's access to Kindle games and Kindle apps.
Price: $69/$89 at Amazon
Nook Glow - Best Hackable eBook Reader
The GlowLight Nook Touch was released in early 2012 and was the first frontlight ebook reader to jump onto the scene.
Like the Nook Touch before it, the GlowLight Nook runs Android and can be hacked to turn into an ebook reader/tablet hybrid. It can run most ereading apps like Kindle, Aldiko, Kobo, and a number of news and RSS apps, making it the ultimate ebook reader overall. It can also run note apps, PDF apps, a few games, web browsers, and a lot of other apps—all this on top of the Nook's regular functionality.
The Nook Glow doesn't have a high-res screen like some of the newer frontlight ebook readers, and some people are put off by the loss in contrast. In that case, the Nook Touch is still a solid choice for a hackable ereader, and is really cheap refurbished.
Price: $119 at B&N
Icarus Excel - The Best PDF eBook Reader
For those looking for a hardcore PDF reader that you can use every day, the Icarus Excel is the best option in terms of features and price.
Tablets are still a better overall value, but when it comes to an E Ink reader with a high resolution screen that's readable even in bright light, the Icarus Excel/Onyx M92 is the device to get.
It has a 9.7-inch Pearl screen and has a Wacom touchscreen. The larger screen size gives it a major edge in regards to reading PDFs than the 6-inch screens typically used on most other ebook readers.
Price: $340 at Amazon