Which Kindle Should You Buy? (Amazon 2016: Fire vs. Paperwhite vs. Voyage)

Kindle Devices

Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, and Kindle Fire for Kids.


Are you thinking about buying a new Kindle ereader, but aren’t sure which one to get?

(Now might be a good time to check them out. When this post was written, Amazon had some good deals. If you’re too late, keep an eye on the prices. They go on sale periodically.)

I own and use several Kindle devices, including three different Fires, a Paperwhite, and a regular Kindle.

I’ve compared different versions of the Fire, Paperwhite, and the Voyage several times—whenever I buy a new one.

My two favorites are:

  • The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (it’s a generation removed, but I love it)
  • The Kindle Paperwhite

It depends on what you’re looking for.


If you want color images, or if you want the features of a tablet, the Kindle Fire is the obvious choice.

I read books on my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and reading is very nice on that, too (but see below). However, the largest screen HD and HDX models are pricey.

I have a couple of the less expensive Fires, and don’t like them as much. But no doubt that’s because I have the really nice one to compare them to.

The first Kindle I ever bought was a basic Kindle Fire. Before I discovered the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, I was very happy with it.

I read about 4+ novels per month, usually on my Kindle Paperwhite. Although I own the very nice Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and enjoy reading on it, I still prefer to read most of my novels with the Kindle Paperwhite. I’d be very happy reading either way. But if I could only buy one device, and wanted it for reading, I’d opt for the Kindle Paperwhite.

Now that the Kindle Paperwhite is 300 PPI like the Kindle Voyage, it’s hard to justify the price of the Kindle Voyage. The Kindle Voyage has an adaptive lightscreen, for example, but it’s a huge jump in price. The Kindle Paperwhite is an awesome value right now, if you’re looking mostly to read.

You can save a bit with the basic Kindle 6″, if the Kindle Paperwhite is more than you’re looking to spend. All of the Kindles are touchscreen these days. The basic Kindle 6″ is 167 PPI, compared to the 300 PPI of the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage.


Looking for a particular resolution in pixels?

One thing that drives me crazy when I shop for Kindle ereaders is that the comparison chart for Kindle Fire lists the display size in pixels, but the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Voyage list the PPI and make it difficult to figure out what the pixel count is. It’s also frustrating as an author or publisher, since you want to determine the display sizes when creating your images.

So I did some research and math to make the following chart. The following table shows the current Kindle ereader screen sizes in pixels.

Comparison of Kindle display sizes for Fire, Paperwhite, and Voyage.

Comparison of Kindle display sizes for Fire, Paperwhite, and Voyage.

The Kindle Fire HDX comes in at the top when it comes to the pixel count of the display size.

For reading, the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage are high resolution (now with 300 PPI).


For price, you have to go with the new Kindle Fire 7″ (not HD).

The price is incredible, and it’s a Kindle Fire. It’s more affordable than the basic Kindle 6″.

Though whether you would go with the basic Kindle Fire or the basic Kindle 6″ also depends on whether you’re looking mainly to read text (Kindle 6″ has a glare free screen), or whether you might either want to use the tablet feature or read books with color images (Kindle Fire).


The Kindle Fire Kids Edition:

  • comes with a kid-proof case (choose from blue, green, purple, pink, or red)
  • comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee (even if your kids break it)
  • includes free 1-year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (no, it’s not Kindle Unlimited; it’s 10,000 books, shows, movies, educational apps, and games hand-picked to please both parents and kids)
  • lets parents limit screen time and manage what kids can access
  • is a full-featured tablet

The Kindle for Kids bundle:

  • is a good alternative if you don’t want a tablet
  • comes with a cover (choose from black, dark blue, green, pink, or purple)
  • includes 2-year accident protection
  • helps kids focus since it’s just for reading (no distractions, unlike the tablet)


All of the new Kindles have a great battery life (7+ hours), so it’s become less of an issue.

It hasn’t been a problem for me on any of the recent Kindles that I’ve purchased.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

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15 comments on “Which Kindle Should You Buy? (Amazon 2016: Fire vs. Paperwhite vs. Voyage)

  1. I have a Kindle Fire (7″) and an HDX (8.9″) and agree with what you say Chris.
    The main reason I set them aside wasp purely because I needed to be able to run the blog more effectively when away from my Mac and so I got an iPad (not knowing that a 10″ HDX was coming out – AAAARRRGGGHHH😀 )

  2. The one thing you didn’t mention – and the primary reason I use a Paperwhite – is the ability to read outside in bright sunlight. I find the traditional tablets make that difficult, as well as providing (at least to me) too much eyestrain indoors in low light.

  3. Pingback: What Books Have the X-Factor? | Digital Book World

  4. I had to go search for what kindle I actually had – a Fire HD 7 (4th generation). I use it mainly for reading and was torn between that and the paper white when I purchased it. I do love having the Internet option though. I may still get a paper white when the price is right. I guess I should go investigate after this great post! Thanks for all the info Chris! ~Elle

  5. Fire is great, but I can’t stand the thought of staring at yet another screen! My Paperwhite is as easy on my eyes as any book (even more so, thanks to its gentle backlighting), so it wins hands-down when it comes to reading.

    Of course, a man also needs his cat videos, so I’ve also got a tablet…🙂

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