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How Does HP Instant Ink Work?

How Does HP Instant Ink Work?

Dwight Pavlovic
Reading time: 6 minutes
Whether you’re a long-time HP printer user or you’re in the market for a new printer, you’ve probably seen HP Instant Ink mentioned in printer product descriptions.
HP Instant Ink addresses the biggest printing headaches, including cartridge level monitoring, recycling and replacement, and even the cost of color prints.
“But how does the HP ink program work?” you may ask. In this article, we’ll describe the basics of HP’s ink subscription program and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how it works. We’ll also explain how HP Instant Ink helps subscribers save money.

1. Never run out of ink again

Woman Picking Up Instant Ink Box From Doorstep
The cornerstone of every HP Instant Ink subscription is built-in cartridge monitoring. Your printer automatically keeps tabs on how much ink is left in your cartridge. So, instead of merely warning you about low levels, your printer takes the next logical step and orders a replacement cartridge for you.
While shipping times vary depending on your location, the program actually factors that into your replacement order. That way you won’t be left in the lurch when your ink gets low. You will have a replacement cartridge ready to swap for the empty one.
You won’t have to do any more desperate last-minute trips to find a replacement, only to find that the store is out of what you need. HP Instant Ink removes the hassle associated with buying cartridges or planning for heavy print times throughout the year, and streamlines workflows to free you up to do what’s important.

2. Compatible with most HP WiFi-enabled printers

HP Instant Ink is based on HP Original ink, so it’s only available for HP printers. It also requires a printer that connects to the internet.
Almost all of HP’s WiFi-enabled printers are compatible with this ink subscription program. If you see “Instant Ink ready” or “Instant Ink enabled” in a printer’s features or specs list, that means you can enroll as soon as you set up the printer. Most printers 5 years old or less are HP Instant Ink eligible.
You can also shop HP Instant Ink-ready printers. As an added bonus, certain printers have trial offers available that range from 4 months to 6 months of free Instant Ink service.

3. Pay for the pages you print – not the ink

HP Instant Ink is a departure from traditional print supply routines offers a lot of cost-saving potential. The pricing is based on the number of pages you print each month, and not on how much ink you use. Busy routines and heavy ink users will most likely see an immediate lowering of their monthly ink costs. And even people who don’t print a lot can save with plans starting at $1.49 a month.

4. Same cost per page for color vs black and white

HP Instant Ink subscribers don’t pay for their monthly ink usage, which means the program provides a massive benefit for color printers. With your subscription, the cost of printing black-and-white pages versus color pages is exactly the same.
This is particularly useful for businesses where employees want to add eye-catching color graphics to reports, sales materials, or internal documents. Or families who print everything from recipes (now with delicious-looking photos) to school work to photos.
For most users, this means you can say goodbye to print budgeting. You can also forget about switching to economy settings when you need to print a densely-packed page or lots of color.

5. Select the printing plan that fits your printing needs

Instant Ink Box next to HP Printer
HP Instant Ink offers 5 different print volumes and subscription levels, or tiers. They range from low-volume plans designed to support less active print routines, up to high-volume plans designed for busy homes and small businesses.

How much do I pay for ink plans?

The 100-page plan is the most popular ink subscription level. Here are all 5 available tiers:
  • 10 pages per month at $1.49
  • 50 pages per month at $4.99
  • 100 pages per month at $6.99
  • 300 pages per month at $13.99
  • 700 pages per month at $27.99

6. Easily recycle used cartridges

Instant Ink Box
HP Instant Ink features a built-in solution for recycling your cartridges. Whenever you receive a replacement cartridge, it will include prepaid shipping materials to send spent units back for recycling. Just pack the empty cartridges up and drop them in your mailbox for pickup.
This reduces the environmental impact of any print routine in a variety of ways. First, it helps to reduce waste in the manufacturing process by keeping existing products and materials in use. That means fewer new cartridges need to enter into circulation. But it also cuts out the energy costs of driving around to refill or recycle your old cartridge.

7. Fewer replacements with high-volume cartridges

In addition to automatically ordering new cartridges before you need them, HP Instant Ink also stretches the amount of time between those replacements. HP Original Ink cartridges are high-yield, delivering up to twice the usual number of prints per unit.
These cartridges are another way for you to reduce your environmental impact, because you’ll be using less plastic materials by using larger cartridges. And with fewer shipments, you’ll reduce your use of packing materials and reduce transportation costs, too.

8. How to enroll in HP Instant Ink

As you set up your compatible HP printer, you may be prompted to check out HP Instant Ink plans or to try a free trial. Sign up for a trial at any plan level. You can cancel if you aren’t completely satisfied. But if you’re happy, just keep on printing and the service will automatically continue at your selected plan level.
Want to know how to activate HP Instant Ink on a compatible printer you already own? If you bought it in the last 5 years, chances are your printer is compatible with the program. Just sign up at your preferred plan level.
Remember, you won’t begin to be billed until you install your first HP Instant Ink cartridge. If you have any unused cartridges, you can use them until you run out, then install the HP Instant Ink cartridge to start your plan.

9. How do I change my plan?

Subscribers can change their plan type at any time from their HP Instant Ink account page. Click here to sign in and see options. If you’re upgrading to a higher volume plan, you can choose whether to have the change take effect during your current billing cycle or during the next billing cycle. When downgrading your plan, changes will take effect at the end of your current billing cycle.

10. Where is HP Instant Ink supported?

HP Instant Ink is available in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii. Outside of the U.S., print users in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most European countries can also subscribe to your preferred HP Instant Ink plan.

11. The comprehensive print solution

HP Instant Ink addresses each stage of your printing routine, making it the ideal comprehensive print solution. Simply pair a compatible printer with this service and your home or office is prepared for just about any print-related eventuality.
Still have questions? Check out the FAQ at the bottom of the HP Instant Ink homepage for additional information. You can also shop from compatible printers in the HP Store or log in to your account page.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.
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