HP Instant Ink Review 2019 – Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

This post was most recently updated on June 5th, 2019

It’s been a few years since I first signed up for HP Instant Ink. And it’s been over a year since my last HP Instant Ink Review. So I figured it’s time to take another look at things, and decide is HP Instant Ink worth it.

HP Instant Ink

Our Rating:
4.5/5

The Good

  • Cost Savings
  • Convenient
  • Rollover Pages

The Bad

  • Special Cartridges
  • Poor Customer Service
  • Mandatory Network Connection

Background Info

What is HP Instant Ink?

HP Instant Ink is a subscription service for your ink. You pay a monthly fee based on how many pages you print each month. When your printer is running low on ink, HP automatically ships you new cartridges. There’s no more need to run to the store in the middle of a print job.

Who is this HP Instant Ink Review for?

HP Instant ink is primarily designed for home users who print on a semi consistent basis. If you print once every three months, Instant Ink might still have a plan for you (more on that later.) If you print a lot some months and not much other months, then HP Instant Ink isn’t for you. Also, if you print more than 300 pages per month, you also don’t want HP Instant Ink.

This HP Instant Ink review is for users who print less than 300 pages per month, print a similar amount each month, and want to save money on their ink costs. You should also be familiar with subscription services.

Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

  • I’ll start out this review with a tentative Yes. HP Instant Ink is worth it. However, if you read other reviews online, there are some drawbacks, and some misconceptions.
  • HP Instant Ink is a subscription service for the act of printing. Not a mail order cartridge service like Amazon Dash. I’ll get into what that means, but basically, like any other service, when you cancel you lose the service.

HP Instant Ink Review: Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

HP Instant Ink 5 dollar Prepaid Card, use to enroll in 50, 100, or 300 page plan

The Good

Ink Cost Savings

This is the biggest advantage to HP Instant Ink; you save money on ink. The rest of the service doesn’t matter if you don’t save money. And, to save money, you need to meet a few criteria.

If your printing is very inconsistent, HP Instant Ink likely won’t save you money. This is because you’ll be paying a subscription fee even when you don’t use it. Think of this like Netflix. Even if you don’t watch it, you still get charged. Well, with HP Instant Ink, even if you don’t print, you’ll get charged.

Also, if you print more than 300 pages per month, you don’t want HP Instant Ink. The top teir package is for a maximum of 300 pages per month. If you want to print more than that, you’ll have to approve additional pages at an extra cost. This extra cost takes away from the savings you are getting. If you are printing that much, you’d probably be better off with a laser printer anyway.

With all that said, HP Instant Ink is designed for home users. If you are a semi-consistent home user, HP has an Instant Ink package for you. Here’s the different Instant Ink packages HP Offers

Free Printing Plan - FREE!

For their lower-end printers (less than a $99 MSRP) HP offers their Free Printing Plan. This plan allows you to print up to 15 pages per month for free. You keep getting ink cartridges without spending a dime. Just keep in mind that every pack of 10 extra pages is $1, so overages add up fast.

Also, with the HP Instant Ink Free Printing Plan, pages don’t rollover from month to month. You get 15 pages of free printing – don’t get greedy!

Occasional Printing - $2.99 for 50 Pages/Month

This is the plan most of my customers choose when they first sign up for HP Instant Ink. You can print up to 50 pages per month of whatever you want, photos or documents, for just $2.99. That’s a substantial savings for most low yield printers.

With this plan, you can also rollover up to 100 pages. For most everyday users, that will add up quickly and give you a nice buffer.

Moderate Printing Plan - $4.99 for 100 Pages/Month

I don’t know many customers who use the Moderate Printing Plan, because they either go for the lower or higher teir. However, it never hurts to have options. With this plan you can print up to 100 pages per month, and rollover up to 200 unused pages.

Frequent Printing Plan - $9.99 for 300 Pages/Month

This is the plan I use, and it’s the best value plan HP Instant Ink offers. You get 300 pages per month for ten bucks, and up to 600 pages keep rolling over until you need them. This is an awesome deal for home offices, students, or even a small business. If you want to save the most money possible, this is the teir you’ll want to enroll in.

Change Your Plan to Fit Your Needs

Sometimes your needs change, and your HP Instant Ink subscription can change with them. If you use the Occasional Printing Plan, but you are getting married, you can upgrade to the Frequent Printing Plan to run off those invites. Then change back when you no longer need that many pages.

No More Trips to the Store

Another advantage the HP Instant Ink program is that you no longer need to go to the store to buy cartridges.

Be honest, you never have spare cartridges on hand. Nobody does. I know because I work at the store that sells them. You only buy cartridges when you run out of ink. And you only run out of ink in the middle of the job.

This is why HP Instant Ink was created. With HP Instant Ink, you don’t have to go to the store or worry about ink levels. Your printer orders ink when it starts to run low. It’s like the ink takes care of itself.

Unused Pages Rollover (to an Extent)

What if you don’t print all your pages in a month? Those unused pages will rollover to the following month. However, there is a cap.

The Free Printing plan doesn’t offer page rollovers. The other plans will now rollover up to two months of unused pages. These pages will rollover until you use them. However, you can’t rollover more than two months, so don’t save up too much.

Connect and Forget

This is the great thing about HP Instant Ink. As long as your printer is connected to the internet, you don’t have to worry about it. There’s no management involved. You just keep printing and insert your cartridges when they arrive in the mail.

Cheapest Photo Printing Available

Whenever customers ask me for the best photo printer, I usually recommend they buy an HP. This is because photo printing at home is crazy expensive and inefficient. However, HP Instant Ink solves that problem.

With HP Instant Ink, you can get photo prints for less than any print shop. By printing two photos on a letter size page, you can save even more. You’ll just need to trim the photos.

With the Frequent Printing Plan, this brings your photo prints down to a possible 1.7 cents per print using this method. No other photo printer or print shop will match that price, I promise.

That’s all the upsides of HP Instant Ink, let’s take a look at the downsides.

HP Instant Ink 5 dollar Prepaid Card, use to enroll in 50, 100, or 300 page plan

The Bad

Stuck with Their Cartridges

When you are subscribed to HP Instant Ink, you can only use HP Instant Ink cartridges. This is because of the technology to automatically order new ink, but it can become inconvinient.

I moved last month, and my black cartridge for my HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 got damaged. Because of that, I was without a printer until I got a replacement cartridge. I had to connect to HP support and ask them to manually send me a new cartridge. More on that in a moment.

Must Stay Connected

The biggest complaint my customers have about HP Instant Ink is that your printer always needs to be connected to the internet so you can print. And, if you’ve had a WIFI connected printer in the past couple of years, sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Printers drop WIFI a lot. It’s a problem across all manufactures. HP has attempted to fix this with self-healing WIFI in their HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 and HP OfficeJet Pro 9025, but many other printers still have this issue. I recommend hardwiring to a network whenever possible.

I know this is annoying, but it makes sense when you think about it. HP Instant Ink is completely structured around how many pages you print. Your printer needs to be connected to the internet so they can monitor how many pages you print.

Long Support Process

Earlier I mentioned how my black cartridge broke while I was moving. Because of this, I needed to contact HP’s Customer Support team to get a new one sent to me. What followed was the typical tech support runaround.

Tech support made me run different tests, resets, connections, and cleanings. It took me an hour to finally get them to send me a new cartridge. Sam from HP Support was very polite and understanding. However, even when I told him I know printers very well and just needed a new cartridge, his hands are tied, and he must go through the steps.

Ultimately, with all the money I’ve saved over the years with HP Instant Ink, it’s very worth an hour of headaches to keep up the great service. Even if it’s a momentary bad taste I still love the service.

Cartridges Stop Working when You Cancel

This is the other complaint I get all the time, and it stems from a misunderstanding.

When you cancel HP Instant Ink, your HP Instant Ink cartridges will no longer work in your printer. You’ll need to replace them with normal ink cartridges from the store.

A lot of customers view this as straight up robbery. They think HP is remotely stealing their ink cartridges. Those customers are wrong.

With HP Instant Ink, you are not buying the cartridges. You are buying the ability to print. As long as you keep paying the subscription fee, you retain the ability to print. Once you cancel, you won’t be able to print using the provided cartridges anymore.

To use the same example as above, it’s like Netflix for your ink. Once you cancel Netflix, you can’t watch The Office anymore, even if you downloaded it. HP Instant Ink is the same way.

I hope that clears up this issue. It’s tricky to explain, especially with how emotional some customers are about it.

HP Instant Ink 5 dollar Prepaid Card, use to enroll in 50, 100, or 300 page plan

The Bottom Line - Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

The bottom line is HP Instant Ink is worth it for most home use customers. If you print a lot or a varying amount, it might not be worth it for you. However, HP Instant Ink is so convinient you might decide to sign up anyway.

Which Printers take HP Instant Ink?

Our Favorite Printers with HP Instant Ink:

The Good

  • Borderless Photos
  • Seperate Photo Tray
  • All-in-one Functionality

The Bad

  • Slow
  • Low-Yield Ink
  • Low Monthly Page Yield

The Good

  • Fast
  • Efficient Cartridges
  • Small Footprint

The Bad

  • Early Software Issues
  • Slow Duplex Scanning
  • High-Priced Ink

The Good

  • Fast Printing
  • Self-Healing WIFI
  • Extra Paper Storage

The Bad

  • Noisy
  • Working Out Some Kinks
  • List Item #3

HP Instant Ink Review 2019 Result: Is HP Instant Ink Worth It? 4.5/5 Stars

HP Instant Ink is a convinient way to offset your ink purchases and save money on your ink costs. It has similar drawbacks to most subscription services, but most customers will find the savings outweighs any potential downsides.

I still highly recommend HP Instant Ink, and I think HP Instant Ink is worth it for sure.

You can sign up for HP Instant Ink on their website, or by purchasing an Instant Ink Eligible Printer.

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22 thoughts on “HP Instant Ink Review 2019 – Is HP Instant Ink Worth It?”

  1. I thought it was a great idea to just be able to use a certain amount of limited printing since we hardly use the printer. Signed up for the minimum $2.99/month for 50 pages. 3 month free trial period, I was loving it. I was still with the ink that came with the printer, so it was fine. We were printing and maybe exceeded the 50 pages since we are still in trial period. One day my daughter printed 10 pages, never came out, and no indication as to why, the queue said it printed, so it counted the 10 pages. Daughter re-printed the same 10 pages, and again, nothing came out, only said printed 10 pages. So I check the printer and it said no ink. I replace it with the HP Instant Ink I received from HP which I though was cool, and voila the 10 pages comes out. I called Customer Service to inform them that there is a glitch in your software regarding counting the pages even though the printer has no ink. The software should mention that it has no ink and therefore could not print. Instead it loves counting printed pages even though there no pages being printed. Customer service said “there is no glitch in our software, so did you want to be credited for the pages?” I answered “there is a glitch in the software, and it does not matter because we are still in the trial period”… Customer service said “so what do you want me to do ? ..” I said “I think you need to inform the developers regarding the software glitch”.. Customer service “there is no glitch in the software”… I said “OK… goodbye” and today I am cancelling my participation in this program. The standard ink that came with the printer may not be compatible with the Instant Ink program, but I am not sure because the printer did not indicate through their software that there is no ink in the printer.

  2. I just got screwed. I signed up for instantink with the 100 page setup. On a rare occasion I went over. The problem was that they sent sets of cartridges faster than I needed them. I ended up with two (2) complete sets of cartridges and almost full cartridges in the printer. So I decided that I wasn’t needing cartridges that fast and being on board to retire I could forgo this convenience, so I cancelled the subscription only to learn that not only did the cartridges in hand wouldn’t work but the ones I already had loaded in the print no longer worked. Don’t fall for this misleading hype.

    • Hey Wesley. You didn’t get screwed, I think you just misunderstood what you were paying for. You weren’t paying for the cartridges, you were paying for the ability to print. Since you canceled the subscription, you lost the ability to print. You can still print using normal cartridges from the store. Hope that clears that up!

  3. Wondering if you had any insight to this, I saw on another review that once you select a paid option that you can no longer go back down to the free (15 page per month) program? And if I were to use the prepaid enrollment card, would that still count as a paid option and no longer allow me to go to the 15 pages only? Thanks for your help!

  4. “Once you cancel, you won’t be able to print using the provided cartridges anymore.”

    Yes, anyone can cancel anytime, there’s no cancellation fee. The Instant Ink cartridges will still work until the last day of the current billing cycle – to give customers a chance to buy cartridges from the store. Instant Ink cartridges should be replaced with store-bought cartridges after the last bill is generated and charged to the customers billing info (credit card, paypal account or prepaid balance). The account is effectively closed after that.

    “The top tier package is for a maximum of 300 pages per month.”

    500 pages per month = $14.99 per month
    maximum roll over pages = 1,000 pages

    700 pages per month = $19.99 per month
    maximum rollover pages = 1,400 pages

    Upgrades effective any day within the current billing cycle so if you exceed your monthly page plan, you don’t need to get billed with the overages. Downgrades will only be effective on the next billing cycle – you will get billed for the cost of your current page plan for the last time, after the last day of your billing cycle before the downgrade kicks in. All this can be done in the customer’s online dashboard.

    Instant Ink Online Dashboard (instantink.com)
    – download invoices from previous billing cycles / know how many pages got printed – what got you billed.
    – know when the next cartridges are gonna be ordered
    – track incoming cartridge shipments / find out if there are lost shipments!
    – edit or keep contact and billing information updated.

    Lost shipments are a constant cause of customer aggravation. If a customer moves to a different address – the printers does not have a built-in GPS nor HP employ elves with 6th sense, to tell the systems that the customer is printing from a different zip code or location. Shipping address must be updated on the customer’s Instant Ink online account. Cartridges are automatically ordered and shipped – if shipment is missing, printer will run out of ink – customer will get mad.

    Email address is very important – keep it current or updated. If customers lost their credit card, the credit card expired or cancelled – and the system wont be able to charge. Suspension of the account happens after the last day of the billing cycle. If the charge is declined due to insufficient funds, there is a 14-day grace period. The system will send notifications thru email. If the email address is wrong, the printer stops working because cartridges are disabled – customer has no clue except the message on the printer screen “visit HP Instant Ink website” to stare at and get mad. All notifications are sent to email including cartridge shipments, upgrade/downgrade confirmations, and billing issues.

    Customer should be sensible enough to keep shipping address, billing information, and email address current as possible. Ink shipment tracking is also a clickable link from the dashboard ink shipment history.

    • Thanks, Paul, this is all great information. The two top tiers weren’t offered when I originally wrote this review, I’ll be updating it sometime in the future.

  5. How much do you actually save on ink? The Easy Replenish says you save 10%, which I can do at my local Office Depot store. The Instant Ink said up to 50% savings. The guy in BestBuy talked like the only thing I would pay is the monthly cost of the subscription, but I know that can’t be right. I don’t print very often, so I don’t know if the Instant Ink is worth it. Thanks.

    • How much you save on ink depends on which printer you buy and how often you print and what you print. Typical savings are between %30 and %50.

  6. I own a HP 8610. I love the printer. I’ve spent over $130 across the 4 years I’ve been with the program and done an ink change once. I’m not particularly complaining about the cost so far, but what’s ended up happening and what it means. I’m now getting an error that my printer can’t connect to the internet to contact HP Instant Ink, although the printer is connected enough to be able to use HP apps and print wirelessly. Every single time I print, I get an error dialog on my PC as well as have to get up to touch the printer so printing can continue. I’ve tried connecting it with a wire (ethernet), changed the IP, turned off IPv6, checked firmware (most current version), checked drivers (most current drivers), rebooted my router, power cycled my router, opened the printer IP through the router, just in case, I mean, the little blue light is solid and the printer connects fine to HP apps, that alone means everything. It just won’t work. The printer just will no longer connect to HP Instant Ink. I don’t know if something changed on HPs end but HP is of no use because the printer is out of warranty, anyway, so I can’t even find out. If you doubt that I’ve done practically everything I could possibly do, I’ve even tried factory resetting the printer. I’ve been depending on the community chat but that hasn’t worked. Suffice it to say, it definitely has not been worth it for me. Now I have a box of unused HP Instant Ink I won’t be able to use and that I’ll have to send back. It’s def. soured me on the HP or any type of subscription ink service like this.

  7. I replaced a black cartridge and dislodged then reinserted the colour cartridge at the same time. The printer then stopped working because there was a faulty or failed colour cartridge. All attempts to print, even in black and white, now failed. I contacted HP who agreed to send replacement cartridges, to arrive by the next Monday at latest . By the Thursday after they had still not arrived. They were on the way, but unable to print for a week now I requested HP send spare cartridges for me to have in reserve to prevent a repeat of this breakdown of the promised service. I got agreement to this and an email confirming they would send these, and to say I should await a further email with tracking number. Neither this nor cartridges arrived. A second contact apparently produced the same result. (I had asked to be put on to a manager during this contact, and this almost worked, but I was cut off while trying to type my explanation of the issues.) But, to my surprise after all this, I have several days later received an email with tracking number, but, just as recall from the last tracking check, Royal Mail only say the sender is preparing the item for despatch, it took several days after this, last time, before delivery.
    Good luck if you make the mistake of signing up for stress like this. I don’t need it.
    Back to Canon for my next printer.

  8. HP had a glitch with the 8610 printers. I spent hours over the phone with their techs trying to fix it, to no avail. They are working on it and hope to have a solution soon, (maybe by Friday, Sept. 20?).

  9. The HP instant ink subscription plan does offer a 500 page for $14.99, and a 700 page for $19.99. That’s the one I am on a free trial for. I don’t know why they don’t advertise these 2 price points.

  10. Heads up… There’s been a 500 and 700 page plan for quite a while. And then there’s the 7000 pages (or 2 years) ojpro premier. Also the ojpro 8035 (8 months or 2400 pages)… So many options.

  11. I just bought an HP OfficeJet Pro 8210 from Best Buy, and am going to sign up for Instant Ink. This info was very helpful. Wish I’d seen this site when I was shopping lol!

    Joe, I’d disagree with one thing: “Be honest, you never have spare cartridges on hand. Nobody does.” I have always kept spare cartridges on hand. I’m like that. So when my 5-year-old OfficeJet Pro 8100 quit working with a printhead error (probably because I’d put a remanufactured cartridge in it and it leaked), and of course very few current printers use the same cartridges … my foresightedness has left me stuck with $70 bucks or so worth of unused cartridges. At least Instant Ink should save me from this!

  12. My experience with Instant Ink has been only positive, I never have to think about buying ink and have had found the customer service to be excellent. I am happily recommending this service to my family and friends, as well as my code BBvGm for an extra month of free ink! You can always cancel your subscription and change back to normal cartridges, but with the improvements I’ve experienced, I don’t plan to anytime soon!

  13. This has been by far the most useful ink program. The ink is instantly shipped once the printer senses it’s getting low! Nothing but great things to say about this program

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