For those of you that are hanging on to your paperback books on the beach, more power to you! I have always been a die-hard book vs. e-reader person, so packing a few titles is something I often did on a beach vacation. Now I have a Kobo Touch filled with books that I can lug around always.
Best eReaders for the Beach
For those of you researching which e-readers are the best ones for a beach vacation, here are some details on the latest models out there and which bells and whistles you may not want to pay the extra cost for.
As a Canadian, my pick for the best E-readers for the beach is the new Kobo Forma. The main reason is that as of the time of publishing this post, Kindle did not have access to Canadian Libraries through Overdrive. The newer Kobo devices make it very easy to borrow books form libraries and download them straight to your device by syncing with Overdrive.
What are the Best e-readers for the Beach?
Choosing Between Kindle vs. Kobo Best Beach-Friendly Models
To make this easier, here is a handy chart comparing the best for the beach Kindle with Kobo models; if you would like to see details on each companies model, then scroll down.
Best Kindle for Reading Outside
|Best Ereader for the Beach for Canadians!|
|Kindle Oasis||Kobo Forma|
|Best for Amazon Book Buyers||Best for access to Canadian Libraries and people who get books from multiple sources|
Best E-reader For Outdoor Reading 2020 Descriptions
Here I outline all the current models of e-readers best for outdoor reading. I will start by comparing the best Kindle for beach reading. If you would like to jump down to Kobo models click here.
2020 Kindle Ereader Options
I have a library of epub books, so researching a Kindle is not the best option as it’s e-reader doesn’t read epub files easily. But if you are looking for the best Kindle for reading outside, there a few models of e-readers all at various price points. If you are a die-hard Amazon shopper then consider these models:
|Affordable Kindle for reading in the sun.||Best Affordable Kindle for reading at the beach.||Best Highend Kindle for the beach!|
|Model||Kindle||Kindle Paperwhite||Kindle Oasis|
|Weight||174 g (6 oz)||182 g (6.4 oz)||188 g (6.6 oz)|
Yes with adaptive light sensor
|Storage Capacity||4 GB||8 or 32 GB||8 or 32 GB|
Supported Formats: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion. NOTE DOES NOT SUPPORT EPUB!!
Kindle (basic model)
The latest generation basic Kindle has added a few improvements, which include it is lighter weight and has the addition of a front light for low light reading. It will store thousands of books, and when wifi is off, the battery will last about four weeks. This model is also the most affordable Kindle readers.
Kindle Paperwhite (mid-range model)
The latest generation Kindle Paperwhite is the mid-range model of Kindle also stores 1000 books. However, it has a bit better resolution and front light for reading in the dark. New in 2020, the Kindle Paperwhite is now waterproof. So for those looking to take it with you on a beach vacation, this is a great will also run eight weeks when WiFi is turned off. The Paperwhite is an affordable option for an outdoor e-reader at the beach.
Kindle Oasis (waterproof, high-range model)
If you are an avid reader and looking for more advanced features and you have a budget of over $300 for an e-reader, then you can consider the Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis models. These eReaders have ergonomic handgrips that move the centre of gravity to your palm, making them more comfortable to hold. They are ideal for one-hand reading, and you can turn the page with either a touch display or using the turn buttons located on the handgrip. The difference between the two models are in their led lights, and the Oasis comes with a leather charging case
If you invest in a Kindle eReader, here are some favourite accessories to consider. I would recommend a good case to protect your investment. They range in style from plastic smart covers to high-end leather covers. These also make great gifts for travel lovers.
2020 Kobo E-reader Options
I think Kobo has edged out Kindle to produce the most models at different price points. Also, their Kobo Forma and Kobo Libra are super lightweight, waterproof and have rotating screens making it hands down the best eReader on the market.
|Not Waterproof but affordable ereader for sunlight||Not Waterproof but Great e-reader for outside and low light||BEST FOR THE BEACH!||New in 2020||BEST FOR THE BEACH High-end Model!|
|Kobo ClaraHD||Kobo AuraH2O||Kobo Libra||Kobo Forma|
Carta E Ink300 PPI
Carta E Ink
Carta E Ink
|Weight||180 g||166 g||207 g||192 g||197 g|
|Back Light||Comfort Light||ComfortLight PRO||ComfortLight PRO||ComfortLight PRO||ComfortLight PRO|
|Storage Capacity||4 GB||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB – 32 GB|
Kobo e-readers can process a variety of ebook formats:
- eBooks: EPUB, PDF, and MOBI
- Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF.
- Text: TXT, HTML, XHTML, and RTF.
- Comic Books: CBZ and CBR.
Note Re: Kobo Model Battery Life
An interesting note about Kobo’s e-readers is they no longer have detailed descriptions on battery life. They all say “weeks of battery life” now with a disclaimer that states “depends on individual usage.” My older model did not have a great battery life, but these newer models, which include backlighting and other bells and whistles, will drain depending on if you keep the wi-fi on, use the backlight a lot etc. Kobo Discount List.
KOBO AURA (Basic Model)
This is the most basic Kobo model on the market. The Kobo Aura has a more advanced 6 inch Carta e-ink touchscreen. The Aura does come with a backlight and has 4GB of storage. The product also has excellent discounts, which put it closer to the price point of the Kobo Touch.
Kobo Clara HD
Added to the Kobo lineup late in 2018, is the compact baseline model the Kobo Clara HD. It is just an upgrade to the Kobo Aura baseline model. This model is smaller, with a 6″ screen and more lightweight at 166g. This is a more affordable option and includes the ComfortLightPro for more comfortable reading in the dark.
I now own this model and take it with me for all my travels. It is compact and lightweight, and while it is not waterproof, it is an excellent ereader for sunlight and outdoor reading. You can also use the Overdrive app directly with the reader, which means you can now download library books directly to your ereader without having to download and sync like older models.
KOBO AURA H20 Waterproof
The second edition waterproof model. This model is the newer Kobo model. Kobo Aura One, however, comes with a much higher price tag than the Kobo Aura H2O. This model is a 6.8″ Carta E Ink screen with 265dpi and 8GB of storage. We have all been waiting for a waterproof e-reader; this model takes it to the next level! The claim is waterproof for 30 minutes in 1M of water, so unless you are reading underwater. I think this is going to be perfect for the beach, pool or tub!
This year Kobo introduces the Libra a lower-end model to the desired Kobo Forma. This new model comes with a lot of the bells and whistles of the Forma but with a much more affordable price.
The Kobo Forma promises to be the most comfortable eReader in their lineup. It has an ergonomic curved design and the option to read in both portrait and landscape modes. If you prefer holding the device in your left or right hand – well switch it around, and the pages will adjust accordingly.
The new Kobo Forma also integrates with Overdrive to help borrow books from your local library directly from your Kobo – this is a big deal and massive improvement for those of us who have to download the books from the library and then upload them to our Kobo devices.
Add in the fact that this eReader is also waterproof and includes the ComfortLight PRO, which adjusts to colour temperature based on the lighting, and you can see why this is now our pick for the best eReader for the beach.
Tips for Buying an EReader for the Beach
What you Need to Know about ereaders for reading in the sun.
Lightweight Store Loads of Books
The pros for packing an e-reader is simple. They are small and thin, and they store hundreds of books. So if you are like me and don’t know which books to take from your collection and sometimes go through more than one book on a vacation, then an e-reader is a great option. It takes up no room in your suitcase, and you will never run out of reading material or lug around books that you don’t get to read.
Easy Access to More Books and Easy Technology
On the beach, you only need one hand and a tap of a finger to turn the page, leaving your other hand available for a drink! If you have a 3G or data-enabled reader, then you can download a new book right off the beach (the con of which would be the roaming charges you will incur). Most e-readers come with wi-fi, so you can download books using that connection.
Check if your e-reader model has access to Overdrive and the Libraries in your Country. The newer Kobo models now have a direct connection with your Overdrive account, which allows you to connect to your public library without having to use a desktop. Simply link your account and books you check out from the library will automatically sync with your Kobo.
Canadians should note that the current Kindle models (at the time of this publication) did not have access to Canadian libraries.
Don’t Worry if you get it Wet
There are now waterproof e-reader models on the market which make them the obvious choice for beach reading! So you can take your ebook with you into the tub or pool! If you have an old e-reader, the solution to this problem is covering it with a waterproof case or zip-lock bag, but if you travel to water often like me and love taking your e-reader with you, then you may want to upgrade.
Beware the glossy colour tablet
My only advice here is the obvious one does not buy an LCD tablet or e-reader, thinking it is going to be ideal for the beach. Sure the tablets and LCD e-readers are great as they have internet access, store music, and some games which make them great for vacations, but on the beach or out in the sun, they fail miserably.
Glossy tables are back for reading in the sun.
Here are a few models you should take off your list if you are considering an e-reader for outdoor reading. Kindle Fire, Nook Color Tablet, Samsung Galaxy, Kobo Arc, iPad or smartphones like iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
What You Need to Consider When Buying an E-reader for Outdoor Reading at the Beach
Make Sure it has E-ink Technology
The best ereader for the beach starts with the right technology. If you are planning on reading outdoors (on the train, in the car, in the backyard or by the pool or beach), the first and most important thing on your list should be, does the e-reader have e-ink technology?
What is e-ink technology? Well, the simple explanation is that it is a digital format of a paper. It displays words on the screen, but it looks like words typed on paper. Since these screens don’t have a glare and are matte finish, they are easy to read under many different shades of light. This technology is excellent at mimicking your book, and once you start to appreciate the added benefits of an e-reader, the die-hards who say they like to hold a book or read from paper will be swayed.
Also, I recommend the newer models of e-ink technology, which offer a “glow” or backlight. Backlit readers allow you to read in the dark or when you have limited lighting. When the power goes out, or you are in a dimly lit room, you just turn on the glow and read on!
Know which E-book Formats it can read
If you are a die-hard Amazon shopper, then obviously the Kindle is for you. The catch is that if you want to buy or borrow e-books from your library, you may run into problems.
Amazon has its format for e-books known as the azw or the Mobi format, while other e-readers use epub as their format. You want an e-reader that can read multiple formats so you can get material from other sources other than the store you bought the e-reader from.
For the average user, this means it should read epub, pdf, HTML, jpg, and png. If you get a Kindle, it doesn’t read epub the most standard book format, and if you get a different model of e-reader, it likely won’t read Mobi files, and we all know that Amazon has the best prices on books. Hopefully, this will change in the future, and e-readers will eventually have a standard format that wins out.
Review its Battery Life
Your next concern should be the unit’s battery life. With most e-ink readers, this is not a problem, your battery will likely last up to a month on one charge. Since they don’t display colour or play music, their batteries last much longer. Unlike your tablet, you can take your reader to the beach and not be concerned with the charger or run out of power mid-day.
Looking for a gift for your travel lover – check out our article Best Gift Ideas for Travel Lovers.
Do you have a favourite e-reader that you take with you on your travels? Let us know what you recommend in the comments below.