HP Instant Ink Review 2018: What is HP Instant Ink, and is HP Instant Ink Worth It?

This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2019

What is HP Instant Ink Is hp instant ink worth it is hp instant ink a scamHP OfficeJet Pro 8710 Review Joes Printer Buying Guide Best printer reviews and ratings 2019 best printer reviews 2019What is HP Instant Ink?

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:

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.

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The CONS:

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

If you want to sign up for instant ink, you can do so on HP’s website.

What is HP Instant Ink Is hp instant ink worth it is hp instant ink a scam HP Instant Ink Review What is HP Instant Ink Is HP Instant Ink Worth It Is HP Instant Ink a Scam Joes Printer Buying Guide Best Printer Reviews 2019 Best Printer Reviews and Ratings 2019

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27 thoughts on “HP Instant Ink Review 2018: What is HP Instant Ink, and is HP Instant Ink Worth It?”

    • Take your pick, but if you want one – what’s the penultimate model of OfficeJet?
      I’m curious about the “cost-efficiency” of any of these if I don’t want to use Instant Ink… can I even do that? My FIL won’t print that much

  1. Kind of a rip off.
    Seldom do people print a precise, consistent amount of pages each month; therefore HP wins big with this subscription. Typically people use a printer for work or school projects that require a larger number of pages to be printed at inconsistent time intervals. And you can bet HP has research on this!
    What’s even worse is I have a pile of new ink cartridges that I can’t use without incurring horrendous overage charges on pages. Now that I’m looking into cancelling the service, HP warns that none of these cartridges will NOT work with my printer once the billing cycle ends.

    • Again, Instant Ink isn’t for everybody. There are a lot of people who print more consistent amounts each month, for example, realtors or scrapbookers. If you print less consistently, but still at least a couple of pages each month, I’d recommend you check out our Epson EcoTank Review for another way to save money on your prints.

  2. I just cancelled my subscription and was shocked to learn that you lose the ability to use the ink once service is cancelled. So, the ink I have paid for can now not be used. What a terrible waste and terrible way to treat customers.

    • Thanks for your comment Rachel, this is definitely something people may want to consider before subscribing. I believe it is in the fine print, but nobody reads that. Thanks again for the comment, I’m sure people will find it helpful

    • I am getting ready to buy a new HP printer (and considering Instant Ink) and this caught my attention as well. As I thought it through, you’re not paying for the ink, you’re paying for the pages you print. Also, you get the first month free, which kind of covers the ink you lose when you cancel. If I go with Instant Ink I plan on saving the cartridges that came with my printer for if/when I cancel Instant Ink so I don’t have to then run out and buy cartridges.

    • Hi, Linda, thanks for your comment. Instant Ink is a great idea for an occasional user, but it’s better if you print closer to 50 pages per month. Get the Occasional printing plan, and any pages you don’t print each month will roll over(up to 50 pages will keep rolling over until you use them)! Best of luck! – Joe

  3. This is a really good deal for our home use. We both have office jobs where we print the bulk of our docs and photos, but occasionally we need to print a few things at home (shipping labels, recipes we really like, legal agreements requiring handwritten signatures, etc.). I signed us up for the FREE 15 pages per month program and have been really happy with it! We just don’t need to print things very often at home, but in that rare moment when we do need to print something without going to the office, the ink is full and the printer is ready to perform. This service is very convenient for us.
    I don’t think it would be a good idea for someone who doesn’t have access to a “free” printer for big jobs, but it’s great as a convenient home supplement for the small, random print job.

  4. First, sorry for my English.
    I have the HP Envy 6230 in order. After receipt I want to connect the printer via a USB cable, and not via WiFi. I only print via my Desktop. I sometimes do not print days, and then my printer is turned off. So I do not have my printer connected to HP continuously. The connection from printer to HP Instant-Ink is only made a few times a week and then via the cable because my Desktop is on.
    Can I join the Instant-Ink program in such a way? Or the Instant Ink program requires a continuous connection to the internet.

  5. One MAJOR reason why Instant Ink is a good idea:

    My last printer broke right after I spent $90 for new cartridges. Guess what?: there were NO NEW PRINTERS that used those cartridges (likely by design).

    Instant Ink eliminates that risk.

    Plus, not having to worry about printing every page in full colour if you like is a plus.

  6. I have just bought an HP ENVY 6250 series. It comes with 7 months free trial at 300 pages per month. The printer was half price with cash back (only about £30). It’s all a bit of a no-brainer, and the best bit is that I no longer have to ask my kids to keep pictures / photos etc in their school work to a minimum to save on the colour cartridges. You can swap in some ‘paid for’ cartridges if you have a sudden big print job which doesn’t impact you subscription service (Instan Ink doesn’t count pages with separate cartridges installed).

  7. We save a few hundred dollars a year using instant ink! Even if we suddenly print a batch of 70 nearly solid color posters, we have never run out of ink.

    In the past, our publicity designer’s idea of a good image was: it needs to be mostly white, because ink is so expensive. But, for the past 3 years, because we pay by the page and not for the ink itself, our posters are mostly full-color. Note that you still get some issues with the paper curling if a large section is really dark.

    Occasionally, there are some glitches, such as when we moved a printer to a different location, and something went wrong (my fault?) and we had to re-sign up at the new location thus losing some carry-over pages from the previous month. We don’t really care that much, though, because we only pay $10 a month for ink instead of $50! Also, in one location, we’re on the 15 pages free plan, and that’s nice for us there. I think sometimes we have to pay a dollar or two when we print more there.

  8. I have just seen my apparent ink usage and I think it is very high as today I have apparently printed 8 pages when no one has been home to use the printer and this month I have printed 291 pages which I don’t believe I have and I cannot find a telephone number to contact anyone

  9. One of my thoughts as I consider an HP and instant ink service is pricing based on pages not ink use. It was explained to me that when a printer is not being used we should leave it on as the heads are maintained by running ink through them. Where it goes I don’t know. We typically head south for several months over winter and when printer was off things dried out and had to get new cartridges and then do alignment et al several times to get printing back to normal. This program sounds like a win win for occasional useage and months of non use as they send new ones at 25%. At cost of cartridges ranging $15 – $25, $36 per year is well worth it, if we understand the program. Thanks for you reviews and any comments you may have.

  10. I had nothing but trouble with HP Instant Ink. I finally cancelled it and can no longer use my printer without going out to buy a new ink cartridge even though the one I have is almost brand new. What a sham and wasteful

    • Hi Sheryl, I’m sorry you had a bad experience. That’s an unfortunate drawback to subscription services; you can’t use the product after canceling. I hope you find an alternative that works better for you. -Joe

  11. That’s all fine and well, but I want to know what about those who don’t want to subscribe – is this still a good printer?
    Cost aside (it will very by usage, as you say), can I still use the printer? Would I want to get it, anyway?
    The idea (and some horror stories), make me think that I really want to avoid HP in general, if I don’t want to get hooked into a subscription –
    the intended use is for my mother- and father-in-law, FWIW.

    • Hi Greg, I’m confused by your question. You ask if this is a good printer, but you don’t specify which model.

      I’m assuming you’re asking is HP is a good printer brand. Like all printer manufacturers, they have good and bad models, but overall HP is a good brand.

      I’d recommend looking at their laser printers, especially if your inlaws print infrequently and mostly in black and white.

      I hope that helps!

      -Joe

      • Sorry for the slow response – I thought I’d posted, but either didn’t or my comment was moderated 🙁

        I don’t care which printer — take your pick, but choose your favorite, more recent Office Jet/Pro: if I don’t subscribe to Instant Ink, what happens? what’s the recurring charge? can I still even use the printer??

  12. HP used to be a reputable company. Not so any more. I subscibed to the instant ink program for about 3 -4 years. To the best of my recollection I received 2 cartridge packs. I was on the 50ppm plan, and though HP advised me that my average use was less than 30ppm, they extra billed me for the month that I went over 50ppm. I cancelled subscription several months ago.They have now shut down my printer so I can not use the remainder of my current cartridge. Rather than be subject to their blackmail I will garbage this printer (4500 series) and purchase another.

    • Hi Stan, sorry Instant Ink didn’t work out for you. If you haven’t tossed your printer, you can still use it by replacing the cartridge. The Instant Ink cartridges stop working when you cancel your subscription, unfortunately.

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