This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2019
So you may be wondering, what is HP Instant Ink? Well, Instant Ink is HP’s ink subscription service. With Instant Ink, you pay monthly based on how many pages your print, not how much ink you use. They have three different plan tiers based on your printing needs. So, if you print 300 pages per month, you can sign up for their frequent printing plan. Then, for ten dollars per month, HP will simply send you new cartridges whenever yours are getting low.
So exactly what is HP Instant Ink? HP advertises that with Instant Ink, you can save up to 50% on your ink costs. But how much do you actually save? Well, that depends on a few factors, which we will discuss below.
How does Instant Ink Work?
Now that we’ve answered, “what is HP Instant Ink,”let’s discuss how it works.
First, you need to pick an instant ink plan. Which plan you choose is based upon how many pages you print per month. If you aren’t sure, try to determine how quickly you go through a ream of paper. A ream is 500 sheets, so if you go through one ream every four months, then you print 125 pages per month. (500 pages /4 Months = 125 Pages/ Month.)
HP has three different instant ink plan tiers. With the intro tier, the Occasional Printing Plan, you can print up to fifty pages per month for three dollars. The second tier, the Moderate Printing Plan, gets you 100 pages for five dollars. And, as mentioned above, the top tier gets you 300 pages per month for ten dollars.
Recently, HP added a fourth, less-known tier. If you print fifteen pages or less per month, you can get instant ink for free. That’s right. Free ink.
With the paid tiers, if you don’t use all of your pages in any given month, those pages will roll over. Up to a month’s amount of pages will continue to roll-over month-to-month until you use them. If you find you are really not using all of your pages, you can change to a cheaper plan at any time.
But what if you run out of pages? Well, once you hit your allotted balance, HP will send an email to the email on your Instant Ink account. The email will ask if you’d like to purchase additional pages for one dollar. The amount of pages varies based upon your plan, from ten pages with the Free Printing Plan to twenty-five pages with the Frequent Printing Plan.
So how do I get my ink? This is an important part of instant ink that many customers don’t understand up front. Your printer must be connected to the internet to print. If you have Instant Ink cartridges in your printer, you have to have your printer online. That is how HP monitors how many pages you print, as well as your ink levels.
With your printer connected to the internet, your cartridges send HP a signal when they are about 25% full. HP then automatically sends your new cartridges to the address listed on your Instant Ink account. It really is that easy.
Now I’m sure you are wondering how much money you will save? Is HP Instant Ink worth it? Well, let’s break down the cost by plan, based on each of the HP Instant ink cartridge numbers.
That’s right. Assuming you print the max amount of pages every month, you can save up to $925 per year by signing up with instant ink. Even with their Occasional Printing plan, you save on every compatible cartridge model. That includes the HP OfficeJet Pro 8700 series, which takes the super-efficient 952 cartridge series.
The pros of HP Instant ink are pretty obvious. If you print the maximum amount each month, you will save a ton of money each year on your ink.
Another pro of HP Instant ink is how it offsets the cost of your ink. I have the HP Officejet Pro 8720, and I use the frequent printing plan. Even if I don’t use the printer very much one month, I still offset the cost of replacing all of my cartridges. So, while I might not be saving as much, I am paying ten dollars per month, instead of one hundred dollars at once. For me, it is much easier to pay a small amount each month than to buy all of my cartridges at once in the store.
Lastly, Instant Ink doesn’t care what type of print you are making. Everything only counts as one page. This means you can print photos for the same price as documents. Whereas photos typically take up to ten times as much ink, and so they cost ten times as much. With Instant Ink, you can set up two 5”x7” photos on letter size photo paper, and get a price of one cent per print. You won’t find any photo printer that can match that price, I promise.
When my customers ask me what is HP Instant Ink, the biggest complaint they have about instant ink is that their printer has to be connected to the internet to print. While most people have their printer connected to WIFI all of the time anyway, customers with unreliable internet or no internet will obviously have problems.
The other problem with internet pertains to large printing jobs. What if I suddenly have to print out 200 flyers, and my cartridges go from full to empty in one day? I’ll have to wait a few days for my cartridges to arrive before I can continue printing.
The only other complaint I’ve heard is that people don’t like subscriptions. Which, if this is you, obviously means you won’t like Instant Ink.
Is instant ink right for me?
We’ve discussed what is HP Instant Ink, but only you can decide if Instant Ink is right for you. If you print photos at home, it is one of the only methods of printing photos that actually saves you money (another is Epson’s Ecotank printers).
Also, if you are a student, Instant Ink can be a great option, depending on your needs. I use it for printing slides and notes from class, and it works great.
If you are a small business owner with a lot of printing needs, this is probably a bad idea for you. The max plan only allows for 300 pages, and once you go over you stop saving money. If you print more than this per month, I would recommend a multifunction laser or HP Pagewide printer.
Verdict: Is HP Instant Ink worth it?
We’ve answered your question of what is HP Instant Ink, and now we can say, yes, HP Instant Ink is worth it. You save money, which is the entire point of the service. It also offsets the cost of your ink so it more manageable. The drawbacks are few, and the savings over the lifetime of your printer can be significant. If you own an eligible HP Instant Ink printer, I’d highly recommend you check it out.
Here’s a list of printers that work with HP Instant Ink (Updated 10/9/2018)
- HP Deskjet 2600 Series
- HP Deskjet 3630 Series
- HP Deskjet 3720 Series
- HP Deskjet 3750 Series
- HP ENVY 4500 Series
- HP ENVY 4510 Series
- HP ENVY 4520 Series
- HP ENVY 5050 Series
- HP ENVY 5530 Series
- HP ENVY 5540 Series
- HP ENVY 5640 Series
- HP ENVY 5660 Series
- HP ENVY 7640 Series
- HP ENVY Photo 6250 Series
- HP ENVY Photo 7150 Series
- HP ENVY Photo 7160 Series
- HP ENVY Photo7850 Series
- HP ENVY Photo 7860 Series
- HP OfficeJet 3830 Series
- HP OfficeJet 4630 Series
- HP OfficeJet 4650 Series
- HP OfficeJet 5250 Series
- HP OfficeJet 5260 Series
- HP OfficeJet 5740 Series
- HP OfficeJet 6810 Series
- HP OfficeJet 6820 Series
- HP OfficeJet 8040 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6950 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6960 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 6970 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8210 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8610 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8630 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 Series
- HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 Series
- HP Amp