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HP Instant Ink Price Graph

Let me start by saying this is not a sponsored post, just in case anybody was thinking it was.

Background - Printers Suck

I hated printers. I felt like the whole business was a massive scam, and that the ink was way overpriced, and printers had built-in obsolescence, to try and waste ink as much as possible such as by:

  • wasting ink whenever you turned on the computer
  • forcing you to calibrate it and print test pages frequently.
  • selling you an ink cartridge that was half-empty or less.
  • reporting an ink cartridge was empty when there was still plenty left.

This all came about because printer companies would use the razor and blades business model whereby they would try to sell you a printer as cheap as possible (making zero profit, or even a loss), just so they can make a lot of profit off of selling you the ink to fill it. Consumers would then try to buy cheaper "alternative" ink that wasn't from the manufacturer, and then the manufacturers started putting in technology to detect "unofficial" ink cartridges and screw you in some way.

The (Possible) Solution - Instant Ink

I found out a while ago that HP was offering an "instant ink service" whereby you don't have to pay for ink for the first couple of pages you print every month.

This is perfect for me because I need to have a working printer, but rarely use it. I find that I only ever need a printer when I need to print off an Amazon return postage label etc.

  • You pay a subscription, instead of for the ink
    • The first tier in the plan is 15 pages a month for free and every 10 pages after that is £1.
  • HP send you all the replacement ink you ever need for free.
  • Printing test pages and calibration pages (through the printers interface) don't count against your subscription!

This means that:

  • You only pay for how many pages you actually want to print.
  • No more unofficial ink.
  • No more feeling like the printer is trying to cheat you.

Pricing Graph

Now I am pretty sure I only ever need the "free" plan, but I wanted to know at what points I would be saving money (and how much) if I started using my printer a lot more. Hence I built this interactive chart you can use to see for yourself. It definitely made me realize that one would want to err on the side of a smaller plan than I had thought.

I hope it proves useful to you too.

Last updated: 30th June 2021
First published: 31st May 2020