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HP Instant Ink Review: Everything You Need to Know

HP Instant Ink Review: Everything You Need to Know

Dwight Pavlovic
Reading time: 16 minutes
For many homes and offices, printing is an important part of your routine, but you don’t want to spend your time worrying about it. 
At the same time, you don’t want to run out of ink at the wrong moment, pay too much for ink cartridges, or invest time and energy to recycle your spent cartridges.
HP Instant Ink is designed as a comprehensive solution to all those printing worries. Our smart ink subscription system delivers ink the moment you need it, so you don’t need to think about your ink cartridges. It also provides support across the life of your printer.
In this HP Instant Ink review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make your home or office workflow easier, save money, and reduce your environmental impact.
You have the flexibility to print whatever you want, when you need it, for one flat monthly fee. The HP Instant Ink program works with most HP printers, as long as you have a WiFi connection.

How does HP Instant Ink work?

With a compatible HP printer and an active HP Instant Ink subscription, you’ll never have to worry about ink levels again.
Your printer automatically monitors how much ink is left in each cartridge. Then, before ink levels get too low, HP ships a new replacement ink cartridge.
Kids doing projects with HP Instant Ink
You’ll also receive pre-paid shipping materials so you can return your empty ink cartridges. That can cut back on a number of headaches. You’ll save time you’d spend monitoring ink levels, chasing refills or replacements, and finding a convenient solution for recycling.
Even better, HP Instant Ink subscriptions are priced based on how many pages you print each month – and not your total ink usage. That means color and black-and-white prints cost the same, which offers tons of potential savings to families, photographers, and professionals who print photos or other colorful projects.
Not sure how many pages you print in a month? No problem. HP recommends plans for families and small businesses based on your typical usage. If the plan you pick is not right for you it’s easy to switch plans to scale up or down, depending on your usage from month to month. Changes to your plan take effect at the beginning of the next billing period.
And if you need more pages? Just add more pages to your account during any busy month. There are no contracts so you can change or cancel your plan at the end of any billing cycle.

Getting started with HP Instant Ink

Womans hand placing cartridge in HP OfficeJet Printer.jpeg
Installing HP Instant Ink cartridges is simple. HP Instant Ink-enabled cartridges work the same way that standard HP Original Ink cartridges do, minus the hassle of sourcing and recycling your spent ink cartridges.
Once you sign up for HP Instant Ink, you'll receive a Welcome Kit in the mail. Your plan begins once you install the included Welcome Kit cartridge. You can use up any ink cartridges you have before installing the Welcome Kit cartridge, because even though you have registered for HP Instant Ink, you will not be billed until 30 days after you insert the Welcome Kit cartridge into your printer.
  • After installing your first HP Instant Ink cartridge, your HP Instant Ink Program subscription is live.
  • When each new cartridge arrives at your door, just install your cartridge as usual and start printing.
  • When you're running low on ink, both your replacement cartridges and the recycling materials shipped to you automatically. Slip the used cartridge into the recycling envelope and drop it in the mail.

HP Instant Ink Plan pricing

HP Instant Ink start up package
For compatible ink-based printers, HP Instant Ink offers five subscription plans to choose from with differing page counts. They start with a low-cost plan for low-volume users and go all the way up to a business-class subscription service for offices that really churn through prints.
Let’s take a look at all your options, for ink users, and the number of pages in each plan.

Plans for inkjet printers

No matter what your monthly printing volume, you can find the perfect plan for your compatible HP InkJet printer, the industry standard for excellence in ink-based printing.

1. $1.49 for up to 10 pages per month

The most basic print routine needs just a few pages printed each month. You can print up to 10 pages per month for under $1.49 when you subscribe to HP Instant Ink’s base subscription plan. If you need to print beyond that, it’s only $1 for each additional set of 10 pages.
If you only use your device to print forms or photos occasionally throughout the year, this is a great place to get started. This printing plan is also an easy way to experience the HP Instant Ink program directly at a low cost, particularly if you’ve recently purchased a new eligible printer or just aren’t sure exactly which subscription service level will be right for you.

2. $4.99 for up to 50 pages per month

HP Instant Ink cartiridges in box held by professional man
If you’re an occasional printer, the next plan ups your monthly pages to 50 pages for just $4.99 per month. You can still add extra prints in 10-page sets for only $1.
This plan is great for individuals and households that are trying out the HP Instant Ink plan to see how it can simplify your print routine. It delivers enough capacity to keep up with weekly printing and provides visible yearly savings, plus all the extended benefits of HP Instant Ink. If you’ve used the lower plan for a while and are starting to use extra pages, this is your next logical step.

3. $6.99 for 100 pages per month

Our intermediate plan is the plan we recommend for most homes. This level of prints-per-month offers families a great deal on a big jump in capacity. It doubles your output to 100 pages per month for only $6.99. Even if you do run out of pages, it’s only $1 for an additional 10 pages each month.
This plan level offers versatility to small offices and households with bigger capacity to account for bigger needs. Whether you have a family of artists or a growing business with an administrative workflow, this will let you print what you need when you need it.

4. $13.99 for 300 pages per month

The next level opens things up even further. It offers a bigger scale for large households and small but busy offices. With this frequent printing plan, you pay only $13.99 and get 300 pages per month.
If you have a consistent flow of clerical work for your home or you need to prepare handouts for school or work on a regular basis, the frequent printing plan is a great option. As a backup, you can still easily add more pages when the need arises, with $1 now getting you an additional 10 pages.

5. $27.99 for 700 pages per month

For the biggest print volumes, consider the business printing plan. At this level, you’ll enjoy 700 pages per month for just $27.99.
If you have a hectic print routine and need to keep a tight schedule, the small business printing plan is your best option. If your print volume syncs up, chances are there’s no better way to maximize support and savings for your enterprise. Pair your plan with the right HP Instant Ink-enabled printer to get the workflow you need.

Does HP Instant Ink save money?

HP Instant Ink package on front door mat with blue sneakers
The convenience and consistency of HP Instant Ink are big selling points, but does it actually save you any money? The short answer is yes, but there are layers as to why.
For starters, traditional print routines involve shopping and pre-planning, with a constant worry about ink levels. HP Instant Ink removes all of that anxiety by addressing the root causes of high printing expenses and printer-related stress.
Even when you have everything planned out in advance, you can still run into plenty of unforeseen problems between random traffic, stores out of stock on your printer cartridges, or limited hours at your local print shop. Most of us have horror stories about running out of ink at the worst possible moment, which often comes with a bigger bill at checkout or less-than-ideal solutions made under stress.
To illustrate exactly how Instant Ink reduces expenses, we’ve laid out the key features behind its cost-saving potential. A few of these topics may apply more to specific situations or for particular users, but they all add up to an easier printing experience with lower costs.

1. Save as much as 50% on ink1

HP ink cartridges and toner cartridges
Based on shipping data for new HP InkJet cartridges and the cost of color vs. black-and-white printed pages, the overall savings from HP Instant Ink can be as high as 50% for ink1. Financial savings may be highest for busy households, offices, and small businesses, but the advantages don’t only apply to users operating at a large scale.
Since the inconvenience and costs are often harder to account for in small households and for individual users, HP Instant Ink is an opportunity to expand your household budget. Instead of passing over a printer because the economics don’t make sense, HP Instant Ink is designed to help you create a lower-cost printing flow that adds convenience to your home or business.

2. No more extra shopping for refills or replacements

Student sitting on floor cramming with HP Instant Ink cartridges
The uncertainty of typical print routines can mean a last-minute trip to the store or settling for second-best options. Running out of ink after hours is a particularly big hurdle. For example, you may have a tough deadline the next morning, a school paper that needs to be in on time, or you need multiple signatures on an important document. Though some paperwork is becoming more accessible via document signing apps, there are times you need an original hard copy.
HP Instant Ink addresses that by simplifying the most common and important aspects of your print routine into a single, streamlined workflow. Each aspect of the process is centered around you and your space, as well as your print needs.
  • Ink levels are monitored in real-time
  • Replacements are shipped automatically
  • Spent HP Instant Ink cartridges can be recycled from home
For most users, that means more time, energy, and money for other work and activities.

3. Save on color and photo prints

Child with color prints and an HP Instant Ink box
One of the biggest advantages of HP Instant Ink is the low cost of color prints. With traditional printing, color prints are an expensive luxury, one that users often have to monitor and minimize in their routine.
Since the monthly cost of HP Instant Ink is based on printed pages and not on how much ink you use, color and photo prints cost the same as black-and-white text documents. That can be a major boon to both homes and offices, since you never need to ration color prints again.
Consider the benefits for businesses who want to liven up their presentations and families who can now print everything from homework assignments to tonight’s dinner recipe in color.  Amateur photographers and artists, or professionals at almost any stage of their career can bring their creations to life in frameable prints.
With tiered pricing, large-scale color print routines stand to save even more money per printed page. Though the biggest gain may be for users with existing color print needs, it also reduces the cost of access for casual printers who may want to print in color more.

4. Print additional pages during busy months

Female office worker with large stack of binders
Although making changes to your HP Instant Ink subscription is easy via HP Connected, you can also automatically print extra pages beyond your regular plan. Plans offer an additional 10, 15, 20, and 50 printed pages per month at $1 per set, depending on the plan you choose.
Extra sets are automatically added to your account after exceeding that month’s prints, so you don’t have to worry about jumping through hoops during unexpectedly busy periods. You’ll also get email notifications alerting you to your monthly status, so you always know in advance when you are approaching the end of your plan’s regular allotment.
But what if your printing needs are growing at a regular pace? You can save by upgrading your plan. Just click through to HP Instant Ink via your HP Connected account to make changes or contact HP Instant Ink support. Bear in mind, changes to your plan (like downgrading to a lower monthly print volume) will take effect after the last day of your current billing cycle.

6. Recycling used cartridges is free

HP Instant Ink recycling ink cartridge into bag
Sustainability is one of the core values at HP, so it makes sense that recycling is another pillar of the HP Instant Ink service. In addition to your regular plan features, you can also take advantage of free recycling. Whenever you receive a new ink cartridge, HP Instant Ink will ship it with a prepaid recycling envelope to use with your spent ink cartridges.
Though peace of mind and minimizing environmental impact are the priority here, a built-in recycling solution can also cut out hassle on your end. Recycling empty ink cartridges is often as big a chore as replacing one, requiring special trips to a designated drop-off or hunting for refills at specialty cartridge and print stores. This cuts out travel expenses, but also potentially reduces the risk of issues from overusing a refilled cartridge too many times.

7. Billing doesn’t start until 30 days after Welcome Kit cartridge install

When you subscribe to an HP Instant Ink plan, you won’t be billed until 30 days after your first compatible printer cartridge is installed; regardless of your intended plan level. That’s useful if you’ve already stocked up on an existing cartridge supply you don’t want to waste.
Use up your old supply at your own speed, without rushing to meet an activation deadline or sync with a particular pay period. If you’ve discovered HP Instant Ink today and want to be ready when your current supply runs out, you can sign up now, but there’s no pressure to get started or make your first payment until you’re actually ready to use your first Instant Ink cartridge.

8. Easily delegate print supply management

Woman handing papers to colleague in meeting
For business users and busy households, one of the advantages of HP Instant Ink’s simplified workflow is the ease of use. The print routine of your home or a small business is more streamlined with HP Instant Ink, making it simple to delegate the entire process.
That means you stay focused on your family, business, or clients while your printer automatically orders ink when you need it. You eliminate the risk of running out of ink. All you need to worry about is installing a new cartridge when it arrives and shipping the old one back to HP for recycling.

9. No obligation after the first month

Man walking past printer in office
If you have a compatible HP printer and want to try out HP Instant Ink, but aren’t sure about your print needs or anticipate a major routine change, there aren’t many obstacles. Billing doesn’t start until your first install, but there’s also no obligation after the first month of your plan ends.
If you decide to cancel your HP Instant Ink subscription, all you have to do is visit your account page at HP Connected to make the change. If you know your print load is about to drop dramatically or you’re planning on a long break from the office, just cancel your plan and reactivate it when your routine is back to normal.

HP Instant Ink compatible printers

The range of HP Instant Ink-compatible printers is constantly growing, with most WiFi-enabled printers compatible with the HP Instant Ink program. If you’re not sure, simply check the printer product page and read through its specs.
If you do not have an HP printer today, here are several popular HP Instant Ink-eligible printers with standout features across varying price points.

1. HP DeskJet All-In-One printers

HP DeskJet All-In-One printers
If you want an affordable multifunction printer that gets the most out of your HP Instant Ink plan, an HP DeskJet All-in-One printer is a great choice. These well-priced and wonderfully designed printers allow for easy mobile printing, and offer print speeds of up to 8 pages per minute (ppm) in black-and-white and 5 ppm in color. 
HP DeskJets are also compact and give you great AiO functionality that allows you to print, copy, and scan all from the same device. It even comes in several colors, which is great for a college dorm room, the family room at home, or a design-minded small business.

2. HP OfficeJet All-In-One printers

HP OfficeJet All-In-One printers
The HP OfficeJet All-in-One printer is a flexible option that pairs well with HP Instant Ink plans such as the frequent or business printing plans. They’re also well-priced for their class and specifications, and provide print speeds of up to 24 ppm in black-and-white and 20 ppm in color.
The HP OfficeJet is a full multifunction printer as well, offering you the ability to print, copy, and scan. Some models even offer fax as well. And many are certified by ENERGY STAR, ensuring low energy consumption and potential savings on your electric bill. If you’re looking for a versatile device with fast printing speeds to pair with HP Instant Ink, this may be the right choice for you.

3. HP ENVY All-in-One printers

HP ENVY All-in-One printers
If your routine includes printing photos, the HP ENVY All-in-One printers offer some of our most well-rounded multifunction features and the advantage of HP Instant Ink eligibility. The addition of lab-quality photo printing makes it one of the most versatile home and small business AiO printers you’ll find.
When it comes to standard prints, expect strong speeds of up to 14 ppm in black-and-white and 9 ppm in color. You’ll also have great mobile support and the added bonus of high-yield cartridge compatibility. 

For a complete list of HP Instant Ink-compatible printers, click here.

Positive environmental impact of HP Instant Ink

Recycling symbol in trees with yellow plane flying through clouds
In addition to saving time, hassle, and money on your print routine, the HP Instant Ink program is a much more environmentally friendly solution compared to traditional routines. With a streamlined system, this initiative plan reduces impact by addressing a spectrum of needs.
It cuts down substantially on energy use from travel and shopping. Instead of driving to your local office supply store for an ink replacement or refill, you can have yours delivered. Then you can ship your empty printer ink cartridges the same way using a prepaid envelope.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the program reduces different levels of waste associated with printing: [1]
  • Materials consumption reduced by 57%
  • Water consumption reduced by 89%
  • Energy consumption reduced by 86%
While those are all great numbers, you can do even more on the individual level by pairing your plan with an energy-efficient printer. Just look for ENERGY STAR-certified models to reduce your footprint to more sustainable levels.

Is HP Instant Ink worth it for you?

Professional woman at round table with Instant Ink package and laptop
HP Instant Ink is a streamlined way to simplify everything about how you handle print supplies. Not only will you save time shopping for your printer ink, either in the store or online, you’ll also reduce ink-level monitoring and the advance planning that goes into making sure you have ink when you need it. In addition, you’ll save money on prints, especially if you print in color or large volumes. 
With no long-term contracts and easy adjustments in print volume each month, the risk is minimal and rewards substantial.
Don’t you owe it to your company, team, or family to sign up today? We hope this HP Instant Ink review helps you realize that no matter which plan you choose, HP Instant Ink is a great way to get the most out of your HP printer while reducing both spending and hassle. Is HP Instant Ink worth it? Absolutely!
1Based on monthly subscription cost of HP Instant Ink 700-page plan without purchase of additional sets of pages compared to cost per page (CPP) to print ISO/IEC 24711 pages on most HP, A4 color inkjet cartridge printers and MFPs. Comparative printers are priced at or below the most expensive HP Instant-Ink eligible printer in each country using local currency, annually. Sale prices not considered for this study. Average CPP per country used to determine percent savings versus CPP for HP Instant Ink. HP Ink Advantage printers, printers sold through contract, and other printers which only use XL cartridges excluded due to non-standard hardware & supplies model. Keypoint Intelligence annual study commissioned by HP. Printers selected by market share in IDC Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals. www.keypointintelligence.com/HPInstantInk.
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.

[1] HP 2016 Sustainability Report 

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