Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition: Which should you buy?

When it comes to kids and screen time, it's an ongoing battle. While you might want to consider getting your child one of the best Android tablets for kids, of which the Amazon Fire Kids tablets are at the top of the list. But if the goal is to promote reading, you might want to opt for an e-reader instead. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition are both specifically geared toward young readers. And they are an excellent alternative to traditional "screen time" since they are limited to just books and Audiobooks: no distracting apps, videos, or games.

They both have great features, but the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids launched in 2021, and some of the improvements that came to it have made their way to the new Kindle Kids Edition (2022). So what are they, and why choose it over the standard model? Here's a breakdown of the core features. 

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Header Cell - Column 0 Amazon Kindle Paperwhite KidsAmazon Kindle Kids (2022)
Screen6.8-inch black & white, anti-glare, 300ppi6-inch, black & white, anti-glare, 167ppi
ConnectivityWi-Fi, BluetoothWi-Fi, Bluetooth
Storage8GB or 16GB16GB
Battery lifeUp to 10 WeeksUp to 6 Weeks
Water resistanceIPX8 ratingNo
Amazon Kids+ trialYesYes
2-Year worry-free guaranteeYesYes
Case colorsEmerald Forest, Robot Dreams, BlackSpace Whale, Ocean Explorer, Unicorn Valley
Audible supportYesYes
Parental controlsYesYes
Dimensions5.1 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches6.3 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches
Weight321 grams256 grams

There are some noticeable upgrades to both models that separate them and some similarities as well. During our testing of the Amazon Kindle Kids Edition, we can see the improvements to the display and overall device quality that brings it closer to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids than previous models have. During our review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids, Amazon had yet to update the standard model, and the delta between the options was much more than just in prices. But now that the new model is available let's look at whether it's worth the extra bucks based on your needs and your child's and whichever you choose you'll be getting one of the best e-readers on the market.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition: Size, resolution, and design

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids held in hand

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

When first looking at them, the most noticeable difference between these two Kindles is the size: the Kindle Paperwhite Kids has a much larger 6.8-inch screen than the Kindle Kids Edition's 6-inches. This is a good thing for those who want something bigger and for kids who require a larger font to get more words per line, whether because it's easier for them to learn words or related to vision problems. 

However, this might not be ideal if the Kindle is for a younger child who might find the size unwieldy (though realistically, 6.8 inches is about the size of a traditional paperback anyway). Note that because the Paperwhite Kids is slightly larger, it is also slightly heavier, though the difference is negligible.

With 17 LEDs in the Paperwhite versus just four in the Kindle Kids, along with an adjustable warm light, you'll get much more personalization with the Paperwhite.

It isn't just about the size, though. While both offer text in black & white E ink to mimic the look of an actual paperback book, the resolution is critical because you'll want to ensure the text is as clear as possible so your child doesn't strain their eyes while reading. Thankfully, the new Amazon Kindle Kids picked up an improved display that has the same 300ppi resolution as the more expensive Paperwhite. 

Both are glare-free, so you can read easily in direct sunlight during the day or while cuddled up in bed at night. But with 17 LEDs in the Paperwhite versus just four in the Kindle Kids, along with an adjustable warm light, you'll get much more personalization with the Paperwhite. If your child tends to read at night before bed after dimming the lights, the Paperwhite's adjustable warm light will be worth going that route alone.

Amazon Kindle Kids (2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Both come with a durable, kid-friendly case that protects them from bumps, drops, and scratches. It has a magnetic snap closure that will wake the device when you open it and put it to sleep when you close it to conserve battery life. The designs are very different, though. 

The Kindle Kids (2022) case picked up some new cases with Space Whale, Ocean Explorer, and Unicorn Valley. The Paperwhite Kids offers Emerald Forest, Robot Dreams, and a basic Black. Both cases are very nice and won't add too much bulk to the thin devices. But still, provide plenty of protection while packing the reader in a bag or drops.

The Paperwhite Kids has a front flush design while the Kindle Kids does not, adding a slightly nicer elegance. It's also waterproof, rated for submersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes or 0.25 meters of seawater for up to three minutes. This means you can more confidently take the Paperwhite with you virtually everywhere, allowing kids to use it by the pool or at the beach, for example. You also don't have to worry about accidental spills if they knock a glass of water over on it.

Speaking of which, both come with Amazon's two-year worry-free guarantee, which means Amazon will replace the Kindle should it break any time within the first two years of purchase.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition: What can you do with them?

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Looking at the core functionality, they both operate similarly to one another. For instance, both come with a one-year trial to Amazon Kids+, which provides access to thousands of books and Audible books kids can listen to using a pair of Bluetooth headphones or speakers. (There's no Immersion Reading support with either, which would allow for following along with the highlighted text as you listen, so the kids just need to lie back and enjoy). 

Once the year is over, the subscription will auto-renew at a rate of $4.99/month. Amazon Kids+ has some amazing titles kids will love, like the entire Harry Potter series and Lost Cities, as well as classics like Bridge to Teribithia. Additionally, you can buy and download books from the Kindle store for reading.

Both come with an 8GB storage capacity, holding up to 1,000 books — more than any child could possibly ever read. There's also free cloud storage for all Amazon content, so kids can rotate the selection of books stored locally on the device as desired.

Amazon Kindle Kids (2022)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Like any other eReader, both offer weeks of operation via a single charge of the battery, but there's a significant difference in battery life. Assuming your child reads for about a half-hour each day, with Wi-Fi turned off and the light no higher than 13. In this case, you'll get a solid 10 weeks of battery life with the Kindle Paperwhite Kids. 

In comparison, the Kindle Kids will only last about four weeks under the same conditions. Keep in mind that if the kids use Audible and keep Wi-Fi on, the battery will deplete much faster. The Paperwhite Kids can recharge in about 2.5 hours using a 9W USB adapter, but you need to buy one separately. Otherwise, it recharges using the included USB-C cable connected to a computer in about five hours. 

Meanwhile, the Kindle Kids takes about four hours to fully recharge using a 5W adapter (also not included) or the same time using the included USB 2.0 cable. The inclusion of USB-C allows for the quick charge time of the Kindle Paperwhite Kids, considering all of its upgraded features and higher-res screen.

Both also include features like Vocabulary Builder, which keeps a log of all words the child looked up in a text and creates flashcards with them. And Word Wise, which displays simple-to-understand definitions of difficult words in select titles. Kids can adjust these hints using a slider if they prefer more or less.

Both also allow for adjusting font size and space, line spacing (great for kids who like to run their finger along the text as they read), and margins. However, the Kindle Paperwhite adds a neat font called OpenDyslexic, which is preferred by kids with dyslexia. So if your child has dyslexia, this feature alone could sway you towards the Kindle Paperwhite Kids.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition: Parental controls

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids parental controls

(Image credit: Amazon)

Again, these Kindles are identical regarding the core parental controls, which can be accessed from the Parent Dashboard. Parents or caregivers can also set educational goals for their kids, such as reading a new book every week or 30 minutes per day. Parents can even manage their kids' access to certain content, including adjusting age filters, adding books to their account (maybe as a reward for doing chores), and also see the child's reading progress.

A feature coming soon to the Kindle Paperwhite Kids is the ability for parents to set a specific bedtime for each child's profile (multiple can be managed through the Parent Dashboard). As a parent to a son who loves to sneak books under his bed and read late at night, this feature is a godsend for parents with bookworm kids.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition: Which one should you get for your kids?

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

My nine-year-old son is a huge bookworm: He would stay up all night reading a book to finish it if we'd let him. What's more, his affinity for the written word has resulted in an overflowing bookshelf with a variety of series he's collecting, from Harry Potter to Wings of Fire and Geronimo Stilton

A Kindle is a great way to encourage a voracious reading habit without adding tons of clutter to the home, nor handing your child a tablet that can distract them with apps, games, and the internet. Not to mention the brighter screen that can be harsher on the eyes.

When it comes to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition, it's no contest: go with the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids. When you're considering a device that's solely for staring at for hours at a time, you want the best resolution possible – even if it* is* just black and white E ink text. 

Plus, you also want the most comfortable reading experience, and with the built-in adjustable warm lighting, your kids won't be straining their eyes to read in the dark or finding it too bright while they try to read outside in the sunlight. If your child has dyslexia, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids OpenDyslexia font option is a huge bonus. And the battery life that's 2.5 times that of the Kindle Kids Edition, any device you have to recharge less often is welcome.

When it comes to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids vs. Kindle Kids Edition, it's no contest: go with the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids.

The only reason to go for the older-model Kindle Kids Edition is if you are looking for something for a younger child (note that it's rated for kids 7+) who might find the Kindle Paperwhite Kids slightly too big. But considering most kids these days are used to using a tablet with an 8-inch or larger screen anyway, and the traditional paperback book is even about the same size as the Paperwhite's 6.8 inches, size shouldn't be an issue.

Beyond these upgrades, along with the faster USB-C charging and the different cover designs, they both function much the same and come with the exact offers, like the two-year worry-free guarantee and Amazon Kids+ trial. But the features of the Paperwhite Kids and the price, which isn't much more than the Kindle Kids Edition, mean it's the better choice between the two.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.

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