HP Instant Ink is a subscription service for your printer cartridges. Instead of paying for new cartridges as and when you need them, you pay a monthly amount and can print a specified amount of pages depending on the plan you choose.
When your cartridge starts to get low HP mail you another cartridge, whilst also giving ways to return your used cartridge for recycling. If you print more than your subscription you pay an extra amount extra per page.
Here, we look at the upsides and downsides of HP Instant Ink to help you make a decision on whether it's right for you.
Upsides of HP Instant Ink
- Convenience - when you run low on ink HP will know and will send you more, without the need to place an order.
- Cheaper ink (if you only buy originals) - original ink can be expensive but you can spend less with an Instant Ink subscription, which is designed to keep you using HP original ink, not cheaper alternatives.
- Recycling option - you can send your used cartridges back to HP with a pre-paid recycling service.
- Roll-over unprinted pages - if you don't print all of the pages in your monthly allowance, these are automatically added to the following month's allocation.
Downsides of HP Instant Ink
- No choice on ink - you are only able to use HP's own original ink so cheaper compatible or remanufactured ink will not work in your printer.
- You pay by page - your plan is calculated based on how many pages you print, not how much ink is on the page. Print a few words on a page, or print a draft page for example, and that would count as a whole page of your subscription. A short line of text will cost you the same as an A4 colour photo.
- You may still run out - if you have a large batch of printing to do HP obviously don't know that. If you order ink the conventional way you'd simply order more before you need it. Instant Ink is designed for lower volumes of printing in predictable volumes.
- Overuns can be expensive - the cost per page over your subscription limit is very high. Any unexpected prints you produce could be costly.
- If you cancel you won't be able to use unused ink - any unused ink cartridges you've paid for will stop working at the end of that billing cycle, meaning you have ink cartridges you've paid for that won't work in your printer.
- You need a reliable internet connection - you have to be connected to the internet to be able to print. If you web connection drops out you can't access the ink you've paid for until it's back on.
Is Instant Ink Worth It?
HP Instant Ink is designed mainly for those who print small, predictable volumes and who are happy to use HP original inks. It's fundamentally a loyalty scheme but can be convenient if you don't want to have to order ink.
If you want choice in the ink you use and print fluctuating volumes, ordering ink when you need it, in the conventional way may be the better option.
Of course, the choice is yours but it's always worth checking review websites like TrustPilot to get the views of customers who've used the service.