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10 Best Tablets for Reading PDF files [Buyers Guide]

10 Best Tablets for Reading PDF files [Buyers Guide]

If you are looking for the best tablets for reading PDF files, you should definitely opt for a large display, solid performance, and good battery life. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the right tablet for pdf e-reading.

Opening PDF files is not much of a challenge in terms of performance. Therefore, you should definitely consider opting in for a tablet with a high-quality screen.

Since choosing the best tablet for reading PDF files is not always easy, we have compiled a top selection of the best tablets for this purpose.

In this post, we will examine each selection individually and analyze all the features related to reading PDF documents and ebooks.

From inexpensive tablets for reading pdf files to the highest-end ones, nothing has been left out of our review. Let us dive in.

What Is the Best Tablet for Reading PDF Documents?

Getting the correct tablet for reading pdf files is important, here’s a few key feature in a tablet to keep in mind when determining the best tablet for reading PDF files:

  • Storage space: Storage should not be neglected, especially if you like to read and store eBooks and large PDF files.
  • Battery: For those who need pdf for work related tasks or read on the go, battery lifespan should not be overlooked.
  • Operating system: compatibility with your other required apps based on your need

Processor and RAM are not particularly important if you don’t plan on utilizing the tablet for advanced, CPU-intensive tasks and applications. If you plan to also use the tablet for anything beyond e-reading, be sure to aim for 2GB RAM or higher.

Here are our top picks for the best PDF reading tablet:

  1. Kindle Paperwhite: Best Tablet for PDF Reading
  2. Lenovo Yoga C740: Best Tablet for Reading, Editing and Annotating PDFs
  3. Kobra Libra 3: Best 2-in-1 E-reader & PDF reader
  4. Kindle Oasis: Best Tablet for Reading PDF Journal Articles
  5. iPad Air: Best Tablet for Reading & editing PDF (Taking Notes)
  6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Touchscreen Tablet for Reading PDF Textbooks
  7. Amazon Fire Tablet HD 10: Best Sized Tablet for Reading PDF
  8. Microsoft Surface Go 3: Best Tablet for Viewing PDF Files
  9. iPad Pro: Best Sized Tablet Screen for Reading PDF
  10. iPad: Best Tablet for Reading PDF Magazines

Best Tablet for reading PDF files & books

Below you’ll find the top tablets we determined work best for downloading, uploading, and utilizing PDF documents and books.

During our hands-on testing, we ranked the following tablets based on price point, size, storage, compatibility with PDF, display, and battery life.

1. Kindle Paperwhite: Best Tablet for PDF Reading

Kindle Paperwhite Best Tablet for PDF Reading

When it comes to tablets for reading PDF files and e-books, there’s nothing better than the Kindle Paperwhite. There are many reasons why the Paperwhite is at the top of our picks.

It’s affordable, designed specifically for reading, and offers top-notch battery life.

Let us start with the device’s display: Amazon has included a 6.8”, 300PPI anti-glare display. During our testing, we really enjoyed using this tablet for reading e-books and PDF documents.

Related: Kindle (Ads vs No Ads) Is Without Ads Worth It?

The display performs really well and reading on the Paperwhite feels like reading a real book.

Another unique feature of the Paperwhite is the battery. If you’re going with a fire Hd, then see our post on the Best Amazon Fire HD tablets for reading e-books.

In fact, this Kindle device can be used continuously for up to 10 weeks! Finally, the 32GB of internal memory is more than enough to store all your PDF files and e-books.

The only downside to the Paperwhite is that it can not be used for anything other than reading. That means it’s not a good choice for those of you looking for an all-around tablet. However, if you need a premium reading experience, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best tablet for you.

Related: Kindle (Ads vs No Ads) Is Without Ads Worth It?

2. Lenovo Yoga C740: Best Tablet for Reading, Editing and Annotating PDFs

Lenovo Yoga C Best Tablet for Reading, Editing and Annotating PDFs

Unlike the Kindle Paperwhite, Lenovo’s Yoga is much more than just a tablet for reading PDFs and e-books. In fact, Lenovo has created one of our most popular 2-in-1 tablets.

The latest Yoga C740 is fully flexible, very powerful, and has a great price. It truly is ideal for reading pdfs on a tablet because it works well with a Lenovo active stylus pen and is extremely portable.

In terms of performance, Lenovo has included a 10th generation i5 CPU and 8GB of Ram. Since this equipment is combined with a 256 GB SSD, the Yoga has no problems with advanced multitasking and most creative apps.

Apart from that, the Yoga C740 has a 14” FHD display, which is one of the largest in this list. Of course, this display is not specifically for reading like the Paperwhite’s. We had absolutely no problems reading PDF files with this tablet.

The Lenovo Yoga is also great tablet for textbooks and magazines. So whether you’re a college student who needs to download a textbook or a millennial who loves cosmo magazine, then this laptop will certainly suit your requirements.

Related: 15 Best Tablets for Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat)

Finally, the tablet has exceptional battery life (13 hours) considering its specs. All in all, the Yoga C740 is an amazing tablet for anyone who needs a tablet with great performance and a large display for reading PDFs.

3. Kobra Libra 3: Best 2-in-1 E-reader & PDF reader

iPad Pro 12.9 Best Drawing tablet with a screen built in iOS based 2

We compared this side by side with the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis. My tech team found that the Kobra Libra 2 was much more straightforward to use for PDF reading than the Kindle models, which focus on e-books.

The Kobra Libra 2 did match up quite well with its top competitor (Kindle) in regards to performance, beating it in some areas such as ease of use and navigation. It also works well for reading PDF textbooks, but functionality will vary based on the format you prefer.

For example, if you wanted to read a book like dune, then the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader tablets felt more intuitive and easier to read.

Related: Fire HD vs Kindle Paperwhite: Which is Better for Reading?

However, if you wanted to read a PDF on a tablet (such as a PDF from adobe acrobat), then the Kobra Libra 2 was favored in regards to smooth navigation and UI.


  • Sizing and font adjustment options
  • Price point that beats many of it’s competitors
  • Drag & Drop features for PDF readubg were a big plus on this tablet
  • Blue tooth technology
  • E-ink display
  • 32 GB storage built-in
  • Works great as a tablet to travel with


  • Black and white only
  • Good storage, but Audiobooks may take up some room.
  • Doesn’t synergize the exact same way the way Kindle does with e-books

If you’re looking for a tablet to write with rather than simply annotate on a PDF, then it is advised to view the best tablets for writers (Professional Writing)

I found that you can use the Kobo Libra 2 for Audiobooks, which many were curious about and asked me shortly my option on this feature after I first tried it out. I really found the lack of glare useful when it came to display, particularly because that was the issue on older model PDF readers I used to own.

Unlike the Amazon fire tablets, streaming movies or shows is not the primary focus of its design. For that you’ll want to see the best tablets for Netflix.

4. Kindle Oasis: Best Tablet for Reading PDF Journal Articles

Kindle Oasis Best Tablet for Reading PDF Journal Articles

In a few words, the well-known Kindle Oasis is a powerful version of the Paperwhite described above. But what is the difference between them when it comes to features. And is the Oasis worth the extra money you have to spend to buy it? Let us find out.

First of all, as of October 2021,the Kindle Oasis is priced exactly twice as much as the Paperwhite. We can safely say that this price difference is reasonable for many reasons.

Excluding the iPad, the Lenovo yoga is one of the few devices you can use as a pdf markup tablet, because it comes with the lenovo active pen.

First of all, the Oasis is more powerful (2 GB RAM and a more powerful chip) than its cheaper model, the Paperwhite.

Related: Best Tablets for Reading & Web Browsing (Reading Pads)

The 7-inch display is wider and brighter than the Paperwhite’s and most importantly it allows you to listen to music through Audible. These are the biggest differences between the two Kindle devices.

Other than that, the Oasis (like the Paperwhite) is waterproof, so you can read a book by the pool or in the bathtub. As for storage and battery, the two Kindle devices have the exact same hardware (32GB of storage and up to 10 weeks of battery autonomy).

Related: 14 Best Tablets for Watching Youtube & Videos

In a few words, we’d say this is a higher-end alternative to the Paperwhite. If you really like to combine listening and reading books and magazine articles, the Oasis is the best choice for you.

5. iPad Air: Best Tablet for Reading & editing PDF (Taking Notes)

iPad Air Best Tablet for Reading & editing PDF (Taking Notes)

As one of the most powerful and popular tablets on the market, the iPad Air needs no introduction.

Apple is simply unbeatable when it comes to combining great design with top-notch performance and reliability.

When it comes to performance, the iPad Air has no problem opening PDF files of any kind. It also handles multitasking, creative apps like Photoshop, and much more with ease.

There’s nothing quite like reading an eBook on a Retina display. When we tested the Air for the purposes of this article, we had an amazing reading experience. The tablet has an impressive 10.9-inch display with True Tone and P3 wide color.

Related: 7 Best iPad Air Stylus for Drawing and Note Taking (Top Pens)

Unlike Kindle devices, the iPad Air’s battery lasts up to 10 hours. So if a top-notch battery and reading books are your only needs, the Paperwhite and Oasis may be a better choice.

That being said, the iPad Air is a very powerful tablet and a good choice for reading PDF files.

6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Touchscreen Tablet for Reading PDF Textbooks

Microsoft Surface Pro Best Touchscreen Tablet for Reading PDF Textbooks

If you enjoyed the advanced features of the iPad Air reviewed above, but feel more comfortable with Windows devices, then the Surface Pro 7 is the best choice for you. As a well-known Microsoft flagship, the Pro 7 promises an amazing experience to its users.

Whether you need a tablet for reading PDF files, drawing, or browsing the web, the Surface Pro 7 has you covered.

See our post on: Touch Screen Cleaning: How to safely clean a laptop screen

The i5 CPU is framed by 8GB RAM and a super-fast 256GB SSD. This is one of the most powerful hardware setups when it comes to tablets.

  • The 12.3” display is simply stunning, and crystal clear
  • The screen resolution is 2736 x 1824 and performs at 267 PPI. So, the Pro 7 is a great choice for reading e-books or PDF documents.
  • The battery life is similar to that of the iPad Air (about 10.5 hours).

In summary, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a brilliant choice for professionals and creatives looking for a powerful Windows device that can handle all tasks, including reading or annotating PDFs (with its premium active pen).

Related: 10 Best Tablets for Work & Productivity (Professionals)

7. Amazon Fire Tablet HD 10: Best Sized Tablet for Reading PDF

Amazon Fire Tablet HD Best Sized Tablet for Reading PDF

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a brilliant tablet for those of you who are looking for an affordable tablet that can easily handle multiple tasks.

It has a 10” large, bright screen, a solid hardware setup, and excellent battery life. Best of all, it’s available at an absolutely reasonable price.

With 3GB RAM and a solid quad-core CPU, the HD 10 has no problem with light multitasking, browsing, or reading PDFs. We can not say that the 10” full HD display is the best on our list, but you can definitely use this tablet for reading ebooks and PDF documents.

  • The Fire series is widely known for its great batteries and HD 10 is no exception.
  • The battery lasts up to 12 hours of continuous use.

A common question I get is if the Fire HD tablets can read pdfs, the answer is that yes they can.

That being said, the Fire HD 10 is the perfect all-rounder for those on a budget.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy, the Fire Tablet functions a a great alternative for those on a budget, although trunks on FireOS. See our post: Amazon Fire HD vs Samsung Tablet

8. Microsoft Surface Go 3: Best Tablet for Viewing PDF Files

Microsoft Surface Go Best Tablet for Viewing PDF Files

Although the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a top-notch tablet, it’s also quite expensive. That’s why Microsoft recently introduced a cheaper alternative, the Microsoft Surface Go 3.

When it comes to reading PDFs on a tablet, the Go 3 has everything you need and more.

As for performance, the Surface Go3 comes with a solid Intel Platinum Gold CPU and 4 GB RAM. The 64GB eMMC hard drive is more than enough to store eBooks, PDF documents, and numerous applications. So the Go 3 is perfect for both casual users and advanced users.

It’s interesting to note that a primary advantage of using a 2-in-1 windows like Microsoft Surface Go 3 is that you can also read EPUB files, rich text formats, and other document file formats such as XML.

Related: Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro for Drawing & Art (Compared)

During our test, we thoroughly enjoyed reading on the 10.5-inch screen. It has the perfect size, bright colors and deep blacks. Add in the fact that the battery lasts up to 11 hours, and this tablet lacks for nothing.

In a few words, the Surface Go 3 is the perfect (affordable) alternative to all the flagships out there and is one of the best devices to read pdfs because it uses the windows operating system and allows additional formats to be read such as EPUB, XML, and rich text.

9. iPad Pro: Best Sized Tablet Screen for Reading PDF

iPad Pro Best Sized Tablet Screen for Reading PDF

Suppose you need a powerful pocket-sized device that can handle any application, PDF file, creative software, etc. Then the latest iPad Pro is the best tablet for you. As one of the best-selling tablets of all time, iPad Pro needs no further introduction.

Apple has managed to create a popular tablet, so powerful that it easily outperforms most entry-level and mid-range laptops. That means the iPad Pro has no trouble accessing, reading, and annotating PDF documents.

What really wowed us about the iPad Pro is the display. The 12.9” Liquid Retina XDR display offers an ultimately premium experience. Although the screen is quite large for reading on the go, the iPad Pro feels great in the hand thanks to its tiny bacilli.

It becomes clear that the iPad Pro is by far the best tablet on this list. If you need a premium tablet with a stunning display, this is the one for you.

10. iPad: Best Tablet for Reading PDF Magazines

iPad Best Tablet for Reading PDF Magazines

Our final consideration is the Apple iPad (standard), one of our favorite tablets on the market. The latest iPad has so many advantages: It’s affordable, powerful, reliable, and has a perfectly sized screen for reading PDF documents like magazines.

The A12 Bionic chip makes the iPad very powerful considering its price. Apart from that, we had no problems browsing and multitasking with it. Of course, the iPad 2020 can also open and annotate PDFs without any problems.

If you are reading at work or traveling and reading pdf’s, you may want to consider travel tablets for abroad and plane rides. If you are strictly writing, see our post on the 10 Best Tablets for Writers (Professional Writing)

Another advantage of this device is the display. The 10.2” Retina display is perfect for reading on the go. So, if you need a compact and affordable Apple tablet for reading PDFs, iPad is simply the best solution.

What Type of Tablet is Best for Reading PDF Textbooks

In our top picks, we looked at two types of tablets: eReaders and multifunction tablets. Each choice has its pros and cons. For example, eReaders like the Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis are designed specifically for reading.

For this reason, they offer a great reading experience. However, by purchasing these devices, you are only limiting yourself to reading PDFs and e-books.

On the other hand, multifunctional tablets can help you with more than one task. If you choose a tablet like the iPad Pro or the Lenovo Yoga, you can also watch movies, access apps, etc.

So it all depends on your personal needs. If you need a tablet just for reading, you should buy an eReader. If you are looking for an all-round device, you should go for a multifunctional tablet. These tablets are also capable of reading textbooks, magazines, and much more.

Keep in mind that you may not be able to merge and combine pdf files on a tablet that is e-reader only, such as a kindle of Kobra Libra 2. A good Tablet for PDF reading is one that can save pdf files, and open the quickly. You should never have an issue with pdf files not opening on a good tablet.

Keep in mind a standard tablet will use significantly more battery because it is designed to power stronger applications and works with several different uses in mind.

What is the best way to read PDF books

There are numerous apps on the market that can help you access a PDF book. The most popular PDF applications for tablets are:

  1. SwifDoo PDF (Windows Only)
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows, Android, iPadOS)
  3. Xodo PDF Reader (Windows, Android, iPadOS)
  4. All PDF (Android)
  5. Foxit PDF Reader (Windows, Android, iPadOS)
  6. Xodo PDF (Windows, Android, iPadOS)

Once you install one of those apps to your tablet, you are only one step away from reading your PDF books. All you have to do is open the app, find your book and open it!

Update: We’ve added SwifDoo as a resource in the above list, as they are a budget option that allows for PDF conversion, merging and other tasks – this will work with the microsoft surface pro (2-in-1) and go tablets.. Compared to Adobe, which is a premium product and has a higher price tag – a lot of download requirements that make it a less seamless process – still a great option none the less.

Keep in mind, you can also open pdf files on android tablet such as the Samsung Galaxy because these smartphones and tablets also have a stylus and the operating system to support PDF annotation.

There are also additional apps that allow you to edit the PDF, fill out forms and scribble notes.

What type of tablet is Best for RPG pdfs?

Most roleplaying games on the market have an expanded rulebook that you can read on a iPad, Tablet or laptop. If you need to access such a file through a tablet device, you should know which device is best for you.

Fortunately, both eReaders and multifunctional tablets support PDF files. However, most rulebooks are quite memory intensive. So, if you are a fan of role-playing games, you should go for a tablet with at least 32 GB RAM and solid performance.

What is the best PDF reader for Windows

Although there are numerous PDF readers for Windows devices, the most popular is Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is a very reliable application that can be installed on any Windows device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone).

If you do not want to install Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can also check out some reliable alternatives like Foxit PDF and Xodo PDF. These apps may be more suitable for entry-level devices as they are relatively lighter than Adobe Acrobat. Another option are big Android tablets if windows does not suit your liking.

What are the best sites for buying PDF books

There are numerous websites that sell PDF books. However, you have to be careful as not all of them are equally reliable and some are extremely pricey. That said, you should examine different marketplaces before you conclude the best one for you. The best sites for buying PDF books are:

  1. Bookyards
  2. Digi Libraries
  3. Bookboon
  4. Feedbooks
  5. Kindle Store by Amazon
  6. Google Books

Is there any free PDF reader in which I can highlight text and add notes

Fortunately, there are numerous PDF readers that allow you to highlight text and add notes for free. Our personal favorite is Acrobat Reader DC. The app is completely free and has many advanced features for highlighting and note taking.

Related: 6 Best Apps to Convert Handwriting to Text on iPad and iPhone.

If you are looking for an easy-to-use free PDF reader, you can also try Wondershare PDFelement. It is available for pretty much any OS and has all the important annotation features. Xodo PDF is also a very reliable choice when it comes to highlighting text and adding notes to PDF files.

What is a Tablet?

A tablet is a device that can perform many of the functions of a personal computer or laptop. It’s typically more thin than a laptop and has an intended sleek design with a touch screen dismay.

Tablets are used for entertainment and also for work applications like email, word processing and video chat (video conferencing). Navigation is commonly used with fingers or a stylus pen, though tablet often have bluetooth connectivity for additional miscellaneous accessories, like keyboards and mouse.

Related: 7 Best Tablets for FaceTime, Video calls, and Skype

What does it mean to annotate a PDF?

Annotating a PDF means you’ll be able to directly draw a layer of texts, shapes, or scribbling over an already formatted/created PDF file. These are typically added objects or lines that make an addition to the document or pdf file. 

When annotating a PDF, you’ll find that its common for editing a document with annotations because you’re adding additional notes or mentions on the current text displayed.

Here are some additional annotation on a pdf that you can utilize on a tablet with a stylus:

  • Annotations are very useful for clarifying the content of a PDF file.
  • They can be used to add new information to an existing document.
  • Annotations can also be used to highlight specific parts of a document.

How to choose the Best Tablet for PDF reading and annotation

Choosing the best tablet pdf reading & annotation means choosing a tablet with a stylus compatibility, long battery lifespan, quick battery charging length, and an operating software that meets your requirements for additional softwares and applications.

The features should a tablet have for reading and editing a PDF file include a bright, clear display is ideal, and having the ability to adjust brightness will help for long hours editing or annotating a pdf file using your tablet.

The top tablets for pdf usage will be smooth, sleek, slim, and have a longer battery length than required by most. A great alternative to the Kindle devices for reading pdf is the Kobo Clara and it works well in direct, bright sunlight.

Keep in mind that there are also e-ink devices like the Kindle Scribe which primarily work to take notes and annotate on text documents.

However, if you are directly drawing in procreate on a tablet, then you’ll want an iPad rather than another type of tablet for pdf reading. IPad can do both, annotate and draw with the Apple Pencil. See the best iPad Air and Pro for procreate here.

How we rated our top picks for the best PDF Reading Tablet

We rated tablets with a good, high resolution display higher. Those that had a bright display with adjustable brightness were also considered in our picks.

The tablets that were inexpensive, cheap, and also provided a consistent pdf file experience without lag were rated higher in terms of budget picks. Tablets that had good connectivity to bluetooth devices were also considered.

A tablet with the operating system windows are more compatible with additional softwares and were mentioned where applicable in the guide. Tablet’s that can also have stylus connectivity were considered in case the reader wanted to annotate over the PDF document. PDF files are becoming very important amongst extraction of information in different formats (source).

What device is best for reading PDF files

The best pdf e readers for Reading PDF files on a tablet or e-reader are those that last long and are compatible with many different formats.

A device like this can be a great way to read pdf in bed without the light from the TV disturbing your partner.

It also saves time since you don’t have to collect multiple forms of media, such as an e-reader, phone and laptop. You can just use one device for your reading needs instead of swapping between your work laptop, desktop, tablet, and e-reader.

How to write on a PDF with a stylus pen

How to write on a pdf with a stylus pen

There’s a few ways to write on a PDF with a stylus pen. You will need a device that allows you to write directly on the display such as a iPad with an Apple Pencil, a two in one touchscreen laptop, or a laptop that has a graphics tablet or a pen tablet attached to it via a HDMI or Bluetooth technology.

Here’s the steps to take to write on a PDF with a stylus pen

  1. Choose your device and ensure a stylus is compatible. Using a graphics tablet or a pen tablets connected to a laptop is also an option.
  2. Open up Adobe acrobat or software of choice and test the stylus to confirm it is working.
  3. Select Annotate, located at the top right of the menu bar
  4. Select Draw, highlight, erase, and begin annotating and writing on your PDF with a stylus pen
  5. Congratulations, you can now draw and write on a PDF with a stylus pen!

You’ll need to open up the PDF file that you want to annotate, markup, or draw/write on. A common software that allows for this is Adobe Acrobat. There are also a number of online solutions that let you do this for free, but they are not as robust as a dedicated software like Adobe.

Side Note: You can also use an iPad for Note taking along with a top note taking app to annotate over a PDF.

Be sure to look for and tap the ‘Annotate’ option on the software of your choice. This may also appear as ‘draw’ or ‘scribble’.

For example in Mac OS you are able to do this by locating preview, then tapping the pencil symbol from the main menu toolbar above the PDF. You can also do this from other apps that a chromebook may allow.

What is a PDF file?

The pdf is an acronym for Portable Document Format. Pdf files provide a means for creating and sharing documents across the internet. It’s a markup language-based file format which uses markup language to specify how text and images should be displayed on screen or printed on paper

PDFs are created using software such as Adobe Acrobat (which can also be used to create and print pdf files) and Windows Compatible PDF (Windows-PDF).

How are pdfs used on a tablet?

PDF’s are used by many different industries including the medical industry. Medical sources claim that pdf’s are more convenient than paper copies of medical records because they can be printed or archived on a computer with little or no alteration to the original document.


The Best tablets for reading pdf files are those with a long battery lifespan, battery capacity, bright display, and compatibility amongst additional apps you plan to use. 

You would not want your tablet to “die” while you are reading an important PDF document and a report or meeting is due, there fore battery life is important when choosing a tablet for reading pdf files and documents on adobe acrobat or a similar application. Whether your using Android, iOS, or Windows, you’ll want a tablet that is compatible with the other apps you may use besides your pdf e reader.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ