The Best Anatomy Textbooks of 2021

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Are you looking for the best anatomy book to get you through medical school?  Are you struggling in class and in need of a supplemental text to help you stay on track?  Regardless of your intent, you have come to the right place. This list will provide you with some of the best anatomy books for medical school students and beyond.

If you have wondered what the best textbook for anatomy is, this article will answer it.  These books come heavily recommended by a host of students, nurses, and medical professionals.  The individuals who use these texts are the people we trust to take care of us on a regular basis.  Imagine you had not stumbled across this, you would be stuck sifting through pages of comments and reviews struggling to piece all the information together.  Luckily, we have done that for you, all you have to do is keep reading.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for the best Anatomy textbook here.

Our Top Favorite
Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access
Our Top Runner Up
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)
Our Top Value Pick
Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
Book Title
Gray's Anatomy for Students
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas
Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science)
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access
Book Title
Gray's Anatomy for Students
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)
Book Title
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
Book Title
Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Our Favorites for Best Anatomy Textbooks

Gray's Anatomy for Students by Richard Drake

Gray’s Anatomy is highly recommended by nurses and medical students alike. Many are fans of the vibrant illustrations and the book’s structure.  Gray’s Anatomy for students is aimed at appealing to a younger audience while still providing mass amounts of information

What Makes It Unique:

  • The text is excellent at explaining and delivering descriptions of how the body works. Though it does not go in-depth on bodily functions.  This book is a superb refresher in preparing for college anatomy classes.
  • Gray’s Anatomy for Students also comes with online material which includes self-assessments, clinical information, and various tools to aid you in retaining information.
  • With the purchase of the text, students will also receive an eBook version of the book, which can be accessed on a variety of devices.
  • Even without previous knowledge, the text provides easy to follow explanations.
  • The book is organized by regions of the body. Each chapter is divided further into a conceptual overview, regional anatomy, and surface anatomy.  The theoretical summary provides information on key features and functions, whereas the regional and surface anatomy provide further details.  Surface anatomy is specifically helpful for medical students.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • This text is excellent if you are a visual learner. Gray’s Anatomy comes filled with diagnostic images, illustrations, and charts which aid readers in grasping the material.
  • If you are on the beginning end of anatomy, this is a great book to get you started. Though the information is not essential, it is described in a way that is not difficult to understand.
  • If you are looking for an anatomy book with neuroanatomy, this may not be the book for you as it is not covered within this text.
  • The student consult area of the book contains extra knowledge and information which would be useful in your medical studies.

On Sale
Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access
  • Drake PhD FAAA, Richard L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1180 Pages - 03/08/2019 (Publication Date) - Elsevier (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Atlas of Human Anatomy (Netter Basic Science) by Frank H. Netter MD

The Atlas of Human Anatomy is highly recommended and is the best anatomy book for mbbs.  This book is extremely popular and used by many doctors and nurses in the industry.

What Makes It Unique:

  • With the purchase of the book, you will also get access to the companion website. This site provides interactive dissections, tools for self-testing, information on the most outstanding images from the book, and practice questions.
  • The charts within the text are easy to read and comprehend. The book provides information on core concepts and is excellent for improving vocabulary.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy gives readers the big picture and is perfect for visual learners.
  • The Atlas of Human Anatomy is held as the gold standard of anatomy books. However, if you are looking for anatomy from a clinical aspect, this is not the book for you.  Netter’s clinical anatomy book would be more suitable.
  • This can be a great reference book for classes even after your anatomy class has been completed. This is a great book to study from with excellent illustrations and labels.
  • The images in this book are incredibly detailed and thorough.

On Sale
Atlas of Human Anatomy (Netter Basic Science)
  • Netter MD, Frank H. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 640 Pages - 03/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Elsevier (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Atlas of Anatomy by Anne M Gilroy, Brian R MacPherson, Michael Schuenke, Erik Schulte & Udo Schumacher

The Atlas of Anatomy is available in several formats and is extremely popular in the medical world.  However, this text is more than merely an atlas of imagery. The book also contains summary tables which can be easily referenced, Sectional and Radiographic Anatomy for each body region and even Radiologic images.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The Atlas of Anatomy provides full-color illustrations with accurate labeling and informative captions. There are more than 2000 full-color illustrations.  Many users describe them as clean and straightforward and less overwhelming than other textbooks.
  • The book comes with a year-long subscription to WinkingSkull.com. Winking skull provides information and tools for further understanding anatomy.
  • Aside from providing high images, the book also includes muscle roundup charts which are great for the user.
  • Many readers described this book as the most useful textbook they have ever had.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • Many readers rave about the structure of the book and how well it flows together.
  • The book provides explicit, lifelike imagery with clear labeling and detailed charts.

On Sale
Atlas of Anatomy
  • Gilroy, Anne M (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 760 Pages - 04/08/2016 (Publication Date) - Thieme (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Runner Ups for Best Anatomy Textbooks

Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas by Johannes W. Rohen, Elke Lütjen-Drecoll, & Chichiro Yokochi

Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas is the perfect text if you are looking for a companion guide or merely looking for more realistic images of the human body.  It comes highly recommended by medical students and professionals who say that the level of detail within the photos are invaluable.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas uses photographs instead of drawings to aid readers in learning about anatomy. The pictures provide a better visual representation of the actual structure, which will help students prepare for the cadaver lab.
  • This book does not contain any supplemental learning material. There are no chapter quizzes or study guides within the text.  However, there is some bonus content available online to provide quizzes and other tools.
  • The book provides cadaver photographs from a multitude of angels. It even includes neuro vasculature diagrams as well.
  • The book is segmented by areas of the body from head to feet. Each photograph is clearly labeled with a number, line and its correct name.
  • The book is set up in a way which makes the body center stage. Each body part is labeled with only a line and a number.  Students are then able to read from a shortlist of names the number which their item corresponds to.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • This book comes highly recommended, and students heavily suggest using it for lab dissection. Many medical students also say it is a must for Gross Anatomy class.
  • Other medical school students highly recommend using this book from the start of your medical schooling as drawings and created images do not provide the same level of detail and variance as actual photographs.
  • This would undoubtedly be considered a supplemental resource as it does not provide the content-based extras that a typical textbook would. This would be a great companion guide to books like Gray’s Anatomy.

On Sale
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)
  • Rohen MD, Johannes W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 02/12/2015 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Clinically Oriented Anatomy 8th Edition by Keith L. Moore

Clinically Oriented Anatomy is a bestseller and perfect for first-year medical students.  It offers several amenities to students outside of the text and is extremely informational.  Many students rave that it is worth every penny paid for it.  Though it can be heavy to carry, the quality of information is unmatched.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book includes descriptions which are understandable and concise. The text also includes blue clinical boxes which provide clinical correlation information and are classified by the type of information they contain.
  • The text also includes a plethora of information regarding diagnosis and treatment.
  • The book is extremely dense with information and may not be suitable for readers who are looking for something a little more casual.
  • The clinical sections of the text aid in understanding common issues with body systems and organs. The text also provides information on fractures, stab wounds, and muscles.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • This text has even been recommended by physicians, who after being in practice 30 plus years, still come back to the guide to review parts of the human anatomy when treating patients. The book provides relevant, real-world information.
  • This is an excellent aid for Gross Anatomy or a medically driven anatomy course. The book is comprehensive and understandably explains complex terminology and information.

On Sale
Clinically Oriented Anatomy
  • Moore MSc PhD Hon. DSc FIAC, Keith L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1168 Pages - 09/13/2017 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Value Picks for Best Anatomy Textbooks

Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science) by Erin Odya

Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies offers an engaging and fun way to learn about anatomy. This is an excellent book for not only aspiring medical professionals or nurses but for individuals who are interested in learning more about the body, its anatomy, and functions. The book also explains the various systems in the body and how they work together to keep each of us alive. The For Dummies series does an excellent job of ensuring that complex subjects are explained in terms that professionals and ordinary people can understand.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies is an excellent book for not only learning terminology and nomenclature but for obtaining information on the body’s functions as well.
  • Depending on your learning style, this can be the best anatomy and physiology book for nurses. Many nurses recommend this book as a supplement for their Anatomy & Physiology course as it explains the material in a way which can be better interpreted.  This would also be a great book to review before your class begins.
  • This book contains information on four different anatomy types. These types include gross, histologic, developmental, and comparative anatomy.
  • The book also comes with online bonus content as well as the option to purchase a companion workbook.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • If you are looking for a concise version of an anatomy course, this book is the perfect option.
  • This is the perfect introductory text for students in beginner courses. This book, as a companion to your traditional classroom instruction, will ensure that you have all the information needed to pass your class.
  • This For Dummies book has personality and even humor which keeps readers interested and intrigued.

On Sale
Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
  • FOR DUMMIES
  • Odya, Erin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit & Lawrence Elson

The Anatomy Coloring Book provides a different way to approach anatomy. It is excellent for students who are more visual or use motion and action to retain information.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book is filled with over 150 to page spreads of imagery and anatomy terminology. The book is divided into several subject matters, and each page of imagery is also met with a sheet of informational text.  Coloring notes are provided on all images to aid you in coloring correctly.
  • The book allows you to not only learn about the human body but to interact with it. This is a great way to memorize parts of the body in preparation for exams and tests.
  • The Anatomy Coloring Book is excellent for internal and external organs, bones structure, and muscle systems.

Why Choose this Anatomy Textbook:

  • This book is excellent for use as a supplement to your in-class learning and any anatomy books for medical students. It allows you to not only refresh what you may have covered in a classroom lecture but also to reinforce it.
  • This text is loved by nursing and premed students who are kinesthetic learners. Many students agree that anatomy is best learned by being hands-on, which is something that this text allows you to do.
  • If you are someone who has suffered from reading through large amounts of text and require a change, this is the book for you.

On Sale
The Anatomy Coloring Book
  • Perfect for Human Anatomy class!
  • Wynn Kapit (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


How to Choose the Best Anatomy Textbook for You

  1. What is your intended purpose?
    If you’re looking to obtain an anatomy book, there is most likely a reason behind your decision.  This can be that you are looking for one for class, you need a reference text, or you’re simply interested in learning about human anatomy.  Whatever reason you may have, make sure you are sure of it as it will influence your options.  If you’re a casual learner, you won’t need the medical jargon or extremely detailed information that medical anatomy books offer.  On the flip side, you also wouldn’t want a book that glazed over specific topics with simple descriptions of you are a nursing or premed student.
  2. Is this a supplemental text?
    This is an important question to ask yourself when searching for an anatomy textbook.  You may be looking for something that your primary book or coursebook does not offer.  If so, you will want to tailor your search around those qualities and specifics which you need but don’t currently have.
  3. Does your professor require a specific text?
    In many courses some textbooks are optional, or some professors provide lists of potential books which can be used.  This list contains some of the top resources suggested by professors and students alike.  It’s essential to run through your given list and determine what items are best for you.
  4. What is your preferred learning style?
    Lastly, you should also take into account what your learning style you are to pick a text that will be beneficial to you.  Visual learners would be more apt to choose books which include several large colorful images, illustrations, diagrams, and various other visual elements.  Verbal learners should look for books which have audio components and even an audiobook option to learn anatomy from hearing words.  Physical learners learn by doing practical activities.  These would-be users who benefit from the anatomy coloring books or other extended activities to aid them in learning.

Summary of the Best Anatomy Textbooks

Wrapping everything up, here are the anatomy textbooks we went over today:

Our Top Favorite
Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access
Our Top Runner Up
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)
Our Top Value Pick
Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
Book Title
Gray's Anatomy for Students
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas
Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science)
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
Gray's Anatomy for Students: With Student Consult Online Access
Book Title
Gray's Anatomy for Students
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas (Color Atlas of Anatomy a Photographic Study of the Human Body)
Book Title
Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Anatomy & Physiology For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
Book Title
Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Math & Science)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

There are several books on this list that will aid you in your journey with anatomy.  These books cover a variety of learning styles and types.

If you are a visual learner or looking for a text to reinforce the information you are currently learning The Anatomy Coloring Book and the Anatomy: A Photographic Atlas are two excellent options. These would be two of the best anatomy books for medical school students to reinforce their education.

If you are more of a casual learner who is looking to gather more information about anatomy and the human body, Anatomy, and Physiology For Dummies is the perfect text. It provides you with descriptions and overviews of body parts and functions.  If you are looking for the best anatomy book for MBBS, your best bet would be utilizing Gray's Anatomy for Students or even Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy.

Nonetheless of which book you choose, both are great options.  This book is full of helpful guides and information to have you prepared to pass any of your anatomy class.  Regardless of what book you choose, you’ll be in good hands.  Use the tips listed above to aid you in picking on that is perfect for you.

If you found this post helpful, check out our other comprehensive textbook reviews.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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