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Best Electronic Dictionaries

Updated August 2023
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Best of the Best
Tomshine Translation Pen
Translation Pen
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Perfect for Students
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This pen is perfect for students with dyslexia or who are learning other languages.


It uses a WiFi connection to access text translations of 55 languages and phonetic translations of 112 languages, plus when offline it can support 3 languages for translation. Its touchscreen is 3.46 inches.


It takes 2 hours to charge and can only be used for up to 3 hours.

Best Bang for the Buck
IF Electronic Dictionary Bookmark
Electronic Dictionary Bookmark
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Award-winning Design
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Purposefully designed to provide a unique appearance and dual functionality.


Slim and narrow style has dual use as a bookmark and dictionary. Contains over 35,000 words. Only requires batteries so customers can use it without internet or WiFi access. Arrow buttons adjust the brightness to multiple settings.


Some users complain that it does not have a large enough vocabulary.

YOUDAO Dictionary Mobile Scanning Pen Translator
Dictionary Mobile Scanning Pen Translator
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Superior Scanning
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A scanning electronic dictionary the size of a large pen. Has both an English and Chinese interface.


A web-enabled electronic dictionary that can define any word simply by running the scanner over it. Also capable of providing fluent translations between traditional and simplified Chinese and English texts, and vice versa. Easily fits into a pen case.


Definition and translation accuracy drop when not connected to the internet.

IF Children's Electronic Dictionary
Children's Electronic Dictionary
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Best for Kids
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The interface is simple to use and fun in this electronic dictionary designed for children still learning to read.


Fun and informative at the same time. As children encounter unfamiliar words, this dictionary will give them the proper spelling and meaning of the words. With a familiar QWERTY layout and screen that is easy to read, the device is simple to use.


Because it's intended for children learning to read, some users may find the database too small for their purposes.

Franklin DMQ221 Collins English Dictionary with Thesaurus
DMQ221 Collins English Dictionary with Thesaurus
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Traditional Favorite
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A classic and versatile option that contains educational definitions without the risk of external distractions.


Supports over 118,000 words and definitions from Collins Express Dictionary to aid with spelling and synonyms. Games have 4 levels of difficulty for a variety of users. Includes metric converter and calculator, as well as a phonetic spell correction.


Print is relatively small and can be hard to see in a darker environment.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best electronic dictionaries

In the age of the smartphone, electronic dictionaries may seem like an obsolete relic from a bygone technological era, but nothing could be further from the truth. These handy machines provide easy access to a dictionary, thesaurus, and more. They’re simple to use for young and old and can be used offline at any time. Try that when you’re traveling or stuck in a network dead zone.

Whether you’re in the market for a tool to help with homework or crossword puzzles or you just want a quick way to find a definition, the correct spelling, or the pronunciation of a word, an electronic dictionary has you covered. Much like smartphones, however, electronic dictionaries are packed with features and specifications that vary greatly from model to model.

If your electronic dictionary includes a crossword puzzle solver, you can use it to find words of various lengths that you have some letters for.

Key considerations


These devices are designed to be held easily in the hand, and as such are fairly compact, making them easy to fit into a pocket and take with you. The size does vary a bit, though. If you have larger hands, you might want to choose a slightly larger option, because more compact ones may be difficult to use.

Plastic housings are standard here, but the case should be rugged enough to withstand the occasional mishap that plagues items like these. (How often do you drop your phone?) The housing may also have a cover to protect the keyboard. If it does, be sure that any hinges or clasps are durable and hold the lid securely closed.


Most of these are powered by batteries, though some also have ports for an AC adapter. AAA batteries are common, while some use slightly more exotic ones, such as CR-2032 batteries.  With any electronic dictionary you consider, you should not only know how it’s powered but also whether you need to supply your own batteries upon purchase. It’s also helpful to know how long you can use the device before having to swap out the batteries for fresh ones. Some of these devices are known to drain batteries fairly quickly.


Most of these devices also include other content and functions, making them more of a complete reference source than just a dictionary. Any device you purchase should be set up so you can easily and smoothly switch between its various functions. Note that some of these are geared toward adults, while others offer fewer words and features and a simpler interface better suited to younger users. Know which one you’re buying.

Encyclopedia: While generally fairly limited, an encyclopedia can provide you with the ability to research a variety of topics even when you don’t have an Internet connection. Check the number of entries in the encyclopedia before deciding if this is something you need.

Thesaurus: This is a standard feature on most electronic dictionaries. With a thesaurus, you gain easy access to both synonyms and antonyms for many of the words in the dictionary.

Translation: This isn’t as common, but some electronic dictionaries can also translate commonly used words or phrases. If you want a device with this capability, be sure it supports the languages you want to use with it. A text-to-speech ability is also helpful to have here.

Other: Some manufacturers load other content and functions onto their electronic dictionaries. Depending on the device, some common functions you may find include a calculator, currency or measurement converter, quotation dictionary, anagram solver, world clock, spelling games, and name/address organizer. A crossword solver is also a function that’s available on most of these.

If your electronic dictionary’s LCD screen isn’t backlit, it may be difficult to use in low-light situations.




One of the primary ways that these devices differ from each other is in the number of words they contain in the dictionary database. We’ve seen electronic dictionaries with 60,000 words up to almost 300,000, so there is quite a range from model to model. A device with fewer words may be more geared toward homework and younger users. You also want to compare the entries for other content, such as an encyclopedia or thesaurus.


Standard in electronic dictionaries, a spellchecker can help you to find words that you’re unsure of by offering suggestions as you type.


Text-to-speech, or voice, is pretty rare in devices of this type, but it does exist. You’ll be more likely to find voice capabilities in a device that includes a translation function. If this is a feature you desire, verify that the voice is clear and easy to understand.


Screen: The right LCD screen is one that’s easy to read in all light conditions and large enough that even those with poor eyesight can use the device. Check the number of lines in the display and whether you’re able to adjust the font size on the screen.

Keyboard: Most electronic dictionaries use some minimal form of a QWERTY keyboard for input. The keys should be large enough so you can easily type. If you have larger hands, this is one area where you’ll want to pay particular attention to.

Electronic dictionary prices

Inexpensive: Electronic dictionaries start at around $20. At this price, you’ll largely find kids’ models or those with limited words or features.

Mid-range: The average here is around $100. At this price, you can find devices with a large word database and a variety of features.

Expensive: Electronic dictionaries can cost $300 or more for top-end models. These devices offer extensive word databases and a large number of functions, in addition to some with text-to-speech capabilities.

Other: An ongoing cost is batteries, which can be an issue for some of these devices. An electronic dictionary with a variety of additional features and modes, such as a built-in encyclopedia or a large LCD screen is useful to have, but the trade-off is that you may find yourself going through batteries more frequently. Also check with the manufacturer to find out what, if any, warranty is offered with the device you’re considering.

An Autocomplete feature offers suggestions for words as you’re typing them.



  • Know what you’re buying. Some of these devices are less a dictionary and more a spellchecker that doesn’t include definitions.
  • Pick a Scrabble-friendly model. Love to play Scrabble? Search for a dictionary with an anagram solver, which offers real word suggestions for a jumble of letters that you enter.
  • Make sure the device has the features you need. If your dictionary comes with a voice feature, be sure that it also includes some way to plug earbuds or headphones into it. If you’d like the ability to upgrade your device, search for one that includes a card slot. This will give you access to additional games, added features, and reference books. And while some of these devices work with AC adapters, they don’t necessarily ship with one. If this is an important accessory for you, be sure that your dictionary includes an adapter or that you can easily order one.
  • Choose an electronic dictionary to help with schoolwork. Most of these devices offer some form of “confusables” feature, which alerts you if one word sounds like and/or is confused with another. And some electronic dictionaries allow you to create your own customizable word lists, which can help with word study.
Because of memory limitations, some electronic dictionaries that include a translation feature may include several languages but only allow you to load and use one language on the device at a time.


Q. Can these devices be used online?

A. These largely do not have any online element built into them and are completely self-contained reference devices.

Q. Are word games an important feature that I should consider with these?

A. Don’t discount the word games! Most of these devices incorporate several different types of word games, such as Hangman and Word Builder. They can not only be entertaining and help you to kill time but also help build your vocabulary and improve your spelling.

Q. In addition to definitions, what other information about a word do these dictionaries tell you?

A. While this varies depending on the device, other information that these dictionaries can provide includes parts of speech, the word’s use in a sentence, phonetics (how the word sounds), and even the word’s etymology/origin.

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