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Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle (2022): Which One Should You Read With?

For those who swear that they will never trade in their books for an e-reader, a Kindle might change your mind. They’re much easier to carry around, you can have multiple books with you at a time, and they even make reading in the dark possible. If you think they’re too expensive, there are Kindles out there that are actually pretty easy on the wallet. The Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite are two examples of this, both of which are basic models that get the job done. If you need help choosing between the two, here’s an in-depth comparison that covers their design, display, specs, and features.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Comparison Chart

ModelKindle Paperwhite Kindle
 Kindle Paperwhite chartKindle chart
PriceCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
Display Size6 inches6 inches
Display Resolution300 ppi167 ppi
Anti-Glare DisplayYesYes
Backlight5 LEDs4 LEDs
Water-ResistanceIPX8 ratingNone
Storage Options8GB and 32GB4GB
Smart LookupYesYes
Battery Life6 weeks4 weeks
Charging PortMicro USBMicro USB
Dimensions167 x 116 x 8.2mm160 x 113 x 8.7mm


The Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite have similar looks but the latter is more durable.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle design
The Kindle Paperwhite (right) has an IPX8 rating while the Kindle (left) is not waterproof.

It’s pretty hard to tell the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite apart because they share very similar looks. If anything, the only difference lies in their color, the Kindle available in black and white while the Paperwhite is offered only in the former. Other than that, they have the same simple plastic body and chunky bezels that frame their displays. The Kindle Paperwhite has a sleeker and more premium look to it though because its bezels are flush against the screen.

Size and weight are other ways to differentiate the two, the Kindle measuring in at 160 x 113 x 8.7mm (174g) and the Paperwhite at 167 x 116 x 8.2mm (182g). The Paperwhite is slightly wider, taller, and heavier but the Kindle is a bit thicker. It’s worth noting as well that the Paperwhite is the more durable model of the two. Equipped with an IPX8 rating, it will come out unscathed if you dunk it in two meters of water for an entire hour. Unfortunately, the Kindle won’t survive such an ordeal.


The Kindle Paperwhite’s screen provides a better reading experience than the Kindle’s.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle display
Both the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite have anti-glare displays.

Once again, the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite share identical-looking screens, both measuring in at 6 inches with an anti-glare design. But once you turn these models on, it becomes obvious very quickly that one has a better display than the other. While the Kindle’s screen only has a pixel density of 167 ppi, the Paperwhite’s is double at 300 ppi. This means that with the Paperwhite, you get to enjoy reading text that’s much sharper and looks closer to printed material. If you’re into comics, the difference in quality is even more apparent.

If you have the habit of reading late at night, that’s not a problem because both the Kindle and the Paperwhite are equipped with a backlight. However, the Paperwhite can go much brighter thanks to its five LEDs. The Kindle only has four so don’t expect it to light up the room. In addition, the Paperwhite will automatically adjust the brightness for you, a feature that’s missing on the Kindle. Unfortunately, neither of them has a blue light filter so be careful not to strain your eyes during your nightly reading sessions.

Software and Features

The Kindle Paperwhite has more storage than the Kindle but both models are similar in features otherwise.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle features
Both the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite have Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream audiobooks on a speaker.

The Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite aren’t just similar on the outside–their softwares are practically identical too. They both have handy features like Smart Lookup which gives you access to definitions of unfamiliar words, as well as X-Ray which lets you find out more information about the page you’re currently reading. You can also access Goodreads straight from these devices whenever you want to find book recommendations. As for software updates, it’s safe to assume that both models will get them at the same time.

As for storage, the Paperwhite has a clear advantage as it’s available in 8GB and 32GB options. There’s a lot less room on the Kindle which only comes in 4GB. Nonetheless, you should be able to fit thousands of books on each device, plus you get free cloud storage for Amazon books anyway. If you’re into audiobooks, the Kindle and the Paperwhite both have Bluetooth connectivity so that you can stream on an external speaker or wireless headphones.

Performance and Battery

Both the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite are responsive but the latter has a longer battery life.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle battery
The Kindle Paperwhite can last up to 6 weeks while the Kindle can go for 4 weeks.

Amazon doesn’t like to disclose what kind of processors they use for their e-readers as well as how much RAM they have. But it doesn’t seem like there’s too much of a difference between the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite performance-wise. They’re both very responsive and do a good job of turning pages quickly which should come as good news for the fast readers out there. Do note, however, that their screens kind of flicker as text and images fade out but it shouldn’t be too distracting.

Amazon doesn’t divulge the battery sizes of their e-readers either but the battery lives of their e-readers are impressive to say the least. The Kindle can last up to four weeks on a single charge while the Paperwhite can go for six whole weeks. That’s way more juice than any iPad model will give you. As for charging times, the Kindle needs around four hours to reach full capacity while the Paperwhite only needs three. Unfortunately, both models still use a Micro USB port to charge.


The Kindle Paperwhite is the better option versus the Kindle.

If you’re spending for an e-reader, you might as well go for one that will give you a great reading experience. And in this case, that’s the Kindle Paperwhite. It may be slightly more expensive than the Kindle but the additional $40 or so is worth it considering that you get a more durable design, a sharper and brighter screen, more storage space, and a longer battery life. The Kindle is still a good e-reader though, able to get the job done while saving you a bit more money which you can spend on more e-books.


๐Ÿ“ŒIs the Kindle Paperwhite worth it?

Yes. The Kindle Paperwhite may be slightly more expensive than the Kindle but the additional $40 or so is worth it considering that you get a more durable design, a sharper and brighter screen, more storage space, and a longer battery life.

๐Ÿ“ŒIs a Kindle or a Nook better?

The Amazon Kindle wins against the Nook for having a faster performance and a design that’s easier to use. The Kindle gives you access to a much larger e-book store as well.

๐Ÿ“ŒIs the Kindle Paperwhite better than the regular Kindle?

The Kindle Paperwhite is the better option versus the Kindle as it’s more durable and has a sharper display, longer battery life, and more storage.

๐Ÿ“ŒIs the iPad or Kindle better for reading?

The Kindle is a better e-reader than the iPad because it’s more comfortable to use plus it has a much longer battery life. It’s easier to bring around as well because of its compact design.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.