Best iPad for Reading 2022

Ipad Mini 6 Review Books Reading
Ipad Mini 6 Review Books Reading (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

Lory sitting in a chair using iPad Air 4

Lory sitting in a chair using iPad Air 4 (Image credit: iMore)

No matter the iPad version, you can read the same awesome content from Apple's Books app, Amazon's Kindle app, or anywhere else that offers digital written content. And yet, some tablets present that text better than others. The compact iPad mini 6 is our pick for the best iPad for reading thanks to its portable form factor, pixel-dense display, and surprising power. Of course, there are several other iPad models worth considering, so read on for more.

Best Overall: iPad mini 6 (2021)

Why you can trust iMore Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Launched in late 2021, the iPad mini 6 took a lot of folks by surprise. It is the most significant update to the iPad mini line since the first-generation model with a total design overhaul, larger display, huge power boost, and more. Better yet, it packs all of the great new stuff into a form factor that is overall a tiny bit smaller than the fifth-generation model it replaced.

For keen readers, there are a few reasons why it features as our top pick. Firstly, and most obviously, is its size. With an 8.3-inch display, it's the most compact iPad Apple sells and the easiest to hold for long periods of time. It's a similar size to a paperback, and to other popular e-readers, so it will feel instantly familiar to those making the switch to an iPad.

Less obvious, but arguably as important, is the fact that the iPad mini 6 has the most pixel-dense display of any current iPad model. With a 2266x1488 resolution, it offers 326 pixels per inch. By comparison, other iPad models all offer 264 pixels per inch. That means everything, but particularly text, looks super clear and sharp on-screen, making for a more pleasant reading experience.

The iPad mini's display is also fully laminated, so content appears to be right on the surface and features an anti-reflective coating, both of which are a boon to readers. iPad mini 6 has True Tone, allowing the display to remain easy on the eyes, regardless of the time. P3 wide color, though less important for purely text-based tasks, is also on board and will be a huge bonus for those that want to read graphic novels and comics.

Having an A15 Bionic chip inside the iPad mini 6 is likely overkill for those purely using it for reading, but it does mean that the device is very powerful and can be used for all manner of tasks when not being used as an e-reader. These include gaming, watching TV and movies, drawing with Apple Pencil, editing photos, and more.

iPad mini 6 (2021)

Pocket powerhouse

Reasons to buy

+
Small and lightweight
+
Pixel-dense display
+
True Tone
+
Screen with anti-reflective coating

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey compared to the iPad (2021)

Apple's smallest iPad is no slouch and makes the perfect multi-functional device to replace your e-reader with.

Best Budget Choice: iPad (2021)

Space Gray iPad (2021) with Apple Pencil

Space Gray iPad (2021) with Apple Pencil (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Apple's adjective-less iPad (2021) occupies the entry-level spot in its lineup. While it's certainly not aimed at pros, it offers a solid option for those wanting to spend as little as possible on an iPad-as-e-reader solution with a starting price over $100 off that of our top pick: iPad mini 6.

The iPad offers a 10.2-inch display which is still on the smaller end of Apple's offerings, compared to the 10.9-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch models offered in the Air and Pro lines, meaning this is still a more portable option. It's noticeably heavier than the iPad mini 6, though, at 1.07 pounds to the mini's 0.65 pounds so it won't be as comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

That 10.2-inch display does offer True Tone, so it will automatically adjust to ambient light to help your eyes out, which is ideal for readers. The display isn't as sharp as the iPad mini's and isn't fully laminated, meaning that there's an apparent air gap between the display's glass and the content on display. It also lacks the anti-reflective coating and P3 wide color, so bear that in mind.

The A13 Bionic chip inside the iPad (2021) is certainly powerful enough for digital reading and plenty of other tasks, making the 10.2-inch tablet a solid all-rounder with an attractive price.

iPad (2021)

Save cash with this selection

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent price
+
Decent size
+
True Tone display

Reasons to avoid

-
Slower A13 Bionic chip
-
Display not fully laminated
-
No anti-reflective coating

When bells and whistles aren't necessary and money is tight, you can't go wrong with this model.

Larger Alternative: iPad Air 5 (2022)

IPad Air 5 Picture-In-Picture

IPad Air 5 Picture-In-Picture (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Apple's most recent iPad release, the iPad Air 5 is probably its most versatile tablet which is why it takes the top spot on our overall best iPad list. It offers a mid-range size and plenty of power, though it may be too much both in terms of power and price if you only intend to use it as an e-reader.

The 2022 iPad Air offers a 10.9-inch display, though it actually weighs slightly less than the 10.2-inch iPad (1.02 pounds versus 1.07 pounds) despite having a larger canvas. That display offers all of the same benefits of our top pick, the iPad mini 6, like full lamination, an anti-reflective coating, True Tone, and P3 wide color. It's not as pixel-dense as the smaller model, though, at 264 pixels per inch versus the mini's 326 pixels per inch.

In 2022, Apple brought the desktop-class M1 chip to the iPad Air line for the first time with it having previously been limited to just the Pro models. That means the 2022 iPad Air is super-powerful, though you're not going to benefit from the extra power if you're solely using it to read digital books.

iPad Air 5 (2022)

The mid-range one

Reasons to buy

+
Larger display
+
True Tone
+
Screen with anti-reflective coating
+
Super-fast M1 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
May be overkill for reading use cases

If you want a larger display and added power, the iPad Air 5 is the one to get.

Best Premium Option: 11-inch iPad Pro (2021)

iPad Pro (2020) Magic Keyboard

iPad Pro (2020) Magic Keyboard (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

We're not including the 12.9-inch iPad Pro on this list since its huge display makes it more cumbersome to carry around or hold for long periods of time — things you might want to be able to do with your reading-focused iPad — but the 11-inch variant is worth a mention.

It's basically the same shape and size as the iPad Air, but the main differentiator of note for reading use cases is the ProMotion technology of the display which allows for a higher refresh rate. Whether you're flicking through pages or scrolling the web, you'll notice that everything you do on the display is buttery smooth.

You can also upgrade the storage on the iPad Pro beyond the 256GB limit of Apple's other iPad models. For text-only book files, you'd need to have a pretty sizeable library to reach that threshold but if you plan to read graphic novels, comics, magazines, or other image-heavy documents then you might appreciate the extra space.

Of course, with the iPad Pro, you are also paying for a bunch of added extras that may not justify the $200 premium over the iPad Air beyond the display. Those include better speakers, Face ID, a Thunderbolt port, AR-ready cameras, and more. While these won't improve your reading experience, you would be getting top-of-the-range hardware for other iPad-based tasks you may want to complete.

11-inch iPad Pro (2021)

Fancy features

Reasons to buy

+
Brighter display
+
ProMotion
+
True Tone
+
Increased storage options
+
M1 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Overkill if only for reading

Still portable, the 11-inch iPad Pro offers an upgraded ProMotion display plus better speakers, cameras, and increased storage.

E-books and more

There's a wide variety of iPad models to choose from these days but the best among them for reading is the iPad mini 6. Though it's not the cheapest, it offers the most portable form factor and is light enough to hold for hours at a time making it the right device to dive into your next page-turner on.

It's also got the most pixel-dense display of any iPad that Apple sells meaning that text will look super-crisp and features an anti-reflective coating and True Tone that make it even easier on the eyes. Being roughly the size of your average paperback and most dedicated e-readers, it will feel instantly familiar while still having plenty of power under the hood for when you want to use it for other tasks, too.