Tips to Extend Battery Life on Kindles and Other eBook Readers

Kobo Aura One Battery Drain Issue

I’ve been doing some battery life tests with the new Kindle Oasis lately and it’s really surprising how big of a difference there is when just doing a few things to conserve battery life.

You can literally quadruple or even quintuple battery life by simply turning off the frontlight—and that’s not an exaggeration when using full brightness.

Frontlights are the best thing to happen to E Ink ebook readers in the past 10 years but they have a dramatic effect on overall battery life, especially the new Kindle Oasis with its 25 LEDs.

So here’s a list of eight different ways to help extend the battery life on your Kindle or other E Ink ebook reader.

Most of these tips are really obvious but you’d be surprised by how much longer a battery can last when utilizing these tips.

Longer Battery Life Tips

1. Turn off Wi-Fi; use airplane mode. Having Wi-Fi on is helpful for looking up stuff on Wikipedia and syncing, but wireless features drain the battery a ton.

2. Turn frontlight off, minimize brightness. It sounds pretty obvious to turn off the frontlight to save battery life, but most don’t realize just how much extra power using the frontlight requires, especially at higher brightness levels. Try to keep the light as low as possible to maximize battery life, and turn it off when ambient lighting is bright.

3. Turn off auto brightness. Some ebook readers have an auto brightness feature that automatically adjusts the frontlight based on current lighting conditions. The problem with this is it turns the light up when lighting is bright, which drains the battery the most. However, Kindles will learn to use lower levels if you manually lower the brightness of the light.

4. Smaller font sizes, less spacing. The more words that you can fit on the screen at one time means you have to turn pages less, which translates to longer battery life because E Ink displays only require power when changing the screen.

5. Power saver mode. Some ereaders have a power saving mode to help extend battery life, like Onyx’s devices and the Kindle Paperwhite has an option to turn power saver on and off in settings (with power saver off it wakes up faster).

6. Page refresh settings. Some devices have manual page refresh settings, like Kobo’s ereaders, where you can specify how many pages before the screen fully refreshes. Fully refreshing the screen with every page is going to use more power than partially refreshing the screen.

7. Disable touchscreen. Some devices like the Kindle Oasis and Kindle Paperwhite have the option to disable the capacitive touchscreen to avoid accidental presses. I’m not sure how much of an effect this has on battery life, but it probably plays a very minor role.

8. Power off. If you use your ereader infrequently, you may see a slight increase in battery life if powering it off instead of using sleep mode. But over the years I’ve come to the conclusion the difference is so minimal that it isn’t worth the trouble if you use your device on a regular basis. In fact Kindles don’t even have an option to power them off—it’s a pointless feature on an ebook reader when you think about it.


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