HP Instant Ink review of printer benefits

By Matt Tran - Jan 16, 2014

The most frustrating problem for all printer owners is probably when the last ink cartridge runs out during the middle of a project. Luckily not long ago a new service called HP Instant Ink was started and we are going to take a look at this, and review the benefits it will bring to you.

For those who are not aware, Instant Ink is an ink replacement service which aims to save you money on ink costs. HP offer 3 different packages on monthly payment plans, the tariff is based on the amount of pages you print opposed to the amount of cartridges you consume. Included in the subscription cost are the new ink cartridges, recycling and shipping.

HP will monitor your printing usage and will quickly ship you out new ink when you are getting low. If you do not use all of your allocated pages each month you can roll the remainder over and use them on the next month. If you print more pages than allocated, the extras will be charged to your subscription at HP’s normal rate, which seems better than having service stop until your next monthly allocation.


We will quickly run through the 3 different tariffs now which start at $2.99 per month and allows 50 printed pages. You can roll over up to the same amount if you do not use them and an extra fee of $1 is charged for 15 additional pages. Tariff 2 costs $4.99 to print 100 pages all of which can be rolled over and with a $1 extra allowing for 20 extra pages.

The largest package is priced at $9.99 giving 300 pages to print or roll over with the extra $1 yielding 25 extra pages. The Instant Ink service does not charge any annual fee and you can cancel or swap subscriptions free of charge. The cartridges HP send you however will only work in the printer that you have enrolled on to the service.

As we look back now we can see some very advantageous benefits here for HP printer owners. You will never get caught without ink with the convenient home shipping, the price plan is very affordable and is cheaper than the cost of most cartridges you would buy from the store, you can use as much ink as you want and not worry as the price is based on printed pages not ink usage, the list goes on.

It is also worth noting that the charge for colored ink, black and white or even printing a photo is all the same. All you have to worry about is how many pages you are printing! We would recommend this service to any of our readers who work a lot from the office or at home and get through a lot of printing and ink, in the long run it appears that a lot of money will be saved and makes the whole process very easy.

What are your thoughts on HP’s Instant Ink service? If you have subscribed then leave us a comment telling us how you have found it so far.

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Also See: HP 15-BA015WM laptop review and specs mystery for 2017

  • kathy

    I love this program. If you use it right, it saves a lot money. I use this program solely for printing heavy color prints. I put together four 48-page 4×6 picture albums of my grandson every year. I print anything that uses a lot of color ink such as 4×6, or 5×7 or 8×10 prints and other items that are not photos. (I experimented one time and used my own ink to print out pictures for the albums. The cartridges ran out so fast I couldn’t believe it and they cost $78!).

    I buy the photo paper on sale when Staples or Office Depot have it on sale for buy-one-get-one free or on sale for half price. This keeps cost below what it would cost to have them printed, plus I can make adjustments in the print after I see what it looks like printed out. The edit is usually minor and no one seems to care how “perfect” the print is so I use that print and then print three more for the albums.

    I have another inexpensive printer that I use to print out black and white pages or pages with relatively little color. I haven’t bought ink for this printer for at least a year. Most of the time the I use the monochrome draft mode to save on ink and you can’t even tell it is draft. If I don’t need quality I also print in color using the draft mode. Most of the time there is relatively little difference in the color.

    I do have to be sure to select the correct printer for the my project. Thank goodness for the little red cancel X button on the printers. If you can cancel it in time it doesn’t count.

    The only disadvantages are you get dinged for two clicks if you have to print again because

    • you accidentally put the photo paper incorrectly. This can be avoided by simply checking how you have the paper loaded BEFORE you print!

    • two pages get stuck together so only half prints on each page. This can be avoided by keeping your printer roller clean!

  • Nina Plaushin

    The instant ink program is a rip off unless you are printing very frequently and predictable (consistent) amounts. If you have a home office and can arbitrage on the small amount of saving per page due to economies of scale maybe it makes sense. Consider this – you can only put HP ink into an HP printer. So – why would there be any incentive for HP to give a price discount through this program? There isn’t one. The primary benefit of the program is convenience. You are paying between $5-10 a month for them to monitor your ink use so you never run out unexpectedly. I might suggest, you could keep a set of extra cartridges to avoid that problem. Or you could use Amazon Prime and get your cartridges in 1-2 business days with free shipping (rather than paying a monthly charge). In addition, if you exceed your page limit per month – you pay even more. (Think cell phone data plan). So the month your kid has a big project due expect it to cost you. HP says you shoud upgrade to a larger plan to avoid this problem. Translation – you can pay more per month when you are not printing much at all – thereby losing any economic benefit to being in the program to begin with.
    The best part of the program is you can discontiue at any time BUT HP remotely prevents you from printing (with the cartridges you aleady paid for) and you have to pay to mail them back to HP. Support you local economy, buy your own ink, avoid the scam.

  • Debbie Ryan

    I have had this for a couple of years and just love it. I have never run out off ink, even when I am doing a large project in fact one time I thought I ran out and contacted them, they sent me out a new cartridge immediately as soon as I received it I found that I did have one after all. They didn’t give me any trouble even though I was wrong as to running out of ink. I recommend this to any one who prints out a lot of picture for scrap[ booking or anything. just love!!!

  • Calandra

    How about spending effort making their printers better – or at least as good as the last generation – instead of adding new features to squeeze money out of us?

  • cbolly

    Cancelled the service after about 9 months. Like stated, ink you’ve “already bought” is rendered useless, your printer is blocked from use until replaced. My argument was ink is purchased with my monthly charge, but disagreed indicating it was theirs & my fee pays for the “service”. What service do you provide besides supplying ink?? No one came over & cleaned my house or loaded my paper…therefore, ink was PURCHASED by ME in my monthly cost. Better to charge an extra fee if monthly fee is short after cancellation rather than LOCK my printer up. Also, even after replacing ink, instant ink “service” is like a virus I can’t get off my printer…keeps requiring response to reconnect to them. NEVER use this again!!

  • Mary J

    This program is a total rip off. Even if you don’t print (my computer was broken and needed to be replaced) they charge you for ink. Then, when you cancel, the print cartridges won’t print because as per the customer service rep “you don’t own the ink”. I am angry with Best Buy for letting suck a crappy program be sold in their store.

  • Theodore Cunningham

    I have been using HP Instant Ink on an HP Envy 4500 for over a year. $5.33/mo including tax for 100 prints. Only once was I charged an additional $1 for going over my limit. It would be $52 for 1-black and 1-color cartridge. $64/year covers a never ending supply of ink delivered to my mailbox! They even include a prepaid envelope to recycle the old cartridge. HP Instant Ink works well for my limited printing. I will tell you what is a SCAM. If you refill a standard ink cartridge the chip inside will stop it from working with the printer. Allegedly this was done to discourage theft of printer cartridges.

  • ckar

    Total scam and ripoff….. HP Instantink charged me for printing pages when NO ONE was even at my location to do any printing. Furthermore, when I canceled the service, they upcharged me on my final bill calling it “previous months printing for exceeded pages printed” There are enough ink sales out there that will always offset any benefit of a company just using another ploy to earn money. DON’T DO IT!!!

  • r

    HP Instant ink is a ripoff.Do NOT subscribe to it. The printer will not print…it says “problem with your account”. Just buy the regular ink cartridges. Or better still dont buy HP.

  • jennifer

    Horrible service in every way ! And they can control your printer so you cannot copy or print….

  • I have had to remove the black cartridge, using single cartridge. black cartridge is defective so it’s Mother’s Day and using single cartridge which means i’ll run out sooner than later and unable to complete my cards.

  • Frank

    This is a huge scam. Based on HP’s evaluation, they send you ink and then bill us $55 for going over page allotment even though we have 2 unused ink cartridges. Then when we cancel, we find out that the ink cartridges are ‘coded’ and we can’t use them unless we are in the program. Biggest SCAM ever.

  • hydrannt

    What a scam…. I’ve just printed over 2000 pages for a course I am teaching. With their “frequent use” plan, I would get 300 pages for $10 and then pay $1 for every additional 25 pages. In my case, that would be another $68. I’ve done all this printing and still have a ton of ink in my cartridges purchased from Costco…

    Note the fine print… the savings are based on the cost of other printers’ ink, not HP’s already efficient cartridges. SCAM SCAM SCAM. It does not cost $720 to print 3600 pages on my printer

    • Lyndsey G

      Can I ask what type of printer you have and what did you print? I am looking to buy a printer because the current Canon I have is supposed to print around 500 black/white pages or 300 color for the $60.00 cost of ink, although I get slightly less yields.

  • Thomrob

    I am on my first month of the service and I am considering whether or not to stay on the program. The issue I’ve run into is that I have received a large number of incomplete prints which still count towards your number of pages printed. It’s almost as if the printer turns itself off mid print. Not sure if it has to do with the “connected” issue that was described below. It is extremely frustrating.

    • ckar

      Mine did that as well. Didn’t have any problem with using regular ink prior to putting in the HP Instantink cartridges. Just part of their scam in charging you for pages you didn’t print.

    • Mary J

      Get off, get off, get off. Run if you can.

  • BD

    The cartridges last a lot longer than what I buy in the store. We spend about $70 every other month on ink at the store. With this service the savings is quite impressive.

    • cbolly

      Buy from HP direct instead…much cheaper & free overnight delivery

  • FMR

    I was thinking of getting this and could not figure out how HP would know number of pages I Print. So…having a printer in a central location for all family to use may not be as convenient as I think since, if I understand correctly, the printers that have this program have a “connect” button that must be hit before printing. So we have to be at the printer to print, if I understand correctly. that means the print of the go feature is useless with this program. Bummer..if it sounds too good to be true…

    • Adam

      I got some information from my local store. Your printer would need to stay connect to a wireless internet at all times. Once you are running LOW on ink, the system triggers an alert to HP and sends out the ink as needed and will arrive via UPS before you are completely out of ink. Currently, you can only use this service on one of 5 printers that are currently on the market and specially equipped to handle this program.

      • BD

        I do not pres any button when I print. The information automatically uploads to HP. I have a wireless always on Internet connection.

    • BD

      You do not need to press any button. It is automatic once you enroll the printer.

  • frustrated printer

    I bought a wireless printer so I wouldn’t have to go to my printer every time I print. But with the service I have to push the “connect” button each and every time I print something. I can’t figure out how to get rid of this service. I am about to buy another printer and I would never ever ever sign up for this program if I could do it over. It is so irritating to have to connect with every document I print!

    • Adam

      What type of printer do you have?

  • hat

    rip off!