This post was most recently updated on July 12th, 2020
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
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?
Ink Cost Savings
The best home printers are the ones that save you the most money on your ink costs. 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 printers, 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.
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.
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:
- HP DeskJet 3755
- HP DeskJet 2655
- HP ENVY 5055
- HP ENVY Photo 6255
- HP ENVY Photo 7155 <— Check Out Our Full Review!
- HP ENVY Photo 7855 <— Check Out Our Full Review!
- HP OfficeJet 3830
- HP OfficeJet 5255
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8210
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8025
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8035
- HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 <— Check Out Our Full Review!
- HP OfficeJet Pro 9025 <— Check Out Our Full Review!
- HP OfficeJet Pro Premier
- HP Tango
- HP Tango X <— Check Out Our Full Review!
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.