End of 2021, HP informed its customers of its decision to end its popular “free ink for life” plan which allowed its customers to print up to 15 pages per month.
Now, like a double whammy, HP printer owners who have adopted instant ink subscription service have been notified that their subscription price will increase (potentially by up to 50% in some cases) in March 2022.
The changes are twofold; First, the smaller plan sees a 33% reduction in its allocation (15 to 10), while its price remains the same (essentially a stealth increase from 6.67 p/c to 9.9 p/c) while moderate and frequent plans (50 and 100 pages) see a fixed increase of £1 or $1 (depending on where you are) to £2.99/$2.99 and £4.49/4.49 $, an increase of 50% and 29% respectively.
The remaining plans, which are likely to be less popular, have yet to see a price increase. Pricing for additional page sets (usually £/$0.1 each in sets of 10) and unused page rollover remained the same. At $/£0.03, the most expensive plan also has the cheapest price per page.
What is the best alternative to HP Instant Ink?
The changes appear to be global and have been criticized on HP Customer Forums. “So overall I’m disgusted with HP, even before our relationship kicked off.” one member wrote, summarizing how most users feel.
As with all subscription services, print as a service (or PAAS) has grown in popularity, with HP being the innovator and main driver, particularly in the home printer market.
Instant Ink has been a big hit, with HP revealing in October 2021 that it had 10 million users, generated $500 million in revenue per year, and annual revenue and subscriber growth of 30%. These are the most popular print subscription services by far.
The best alternative to subscription services like HP Instant Ink are so-called CIS (continuous ink system) printers and we have a list of the best ink tank printers at your fingertips. Popular with hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers around the turn of the century, major printer vendors adopted them as competition for compatible ink cartridges grew more intense.
Most major brands (HP, Epson, Brother, Canon) have at least one of these Supertank printer models: INKvestment, Ecotank, Megatank, Smart Tank. They all share the same philosophy: large refillable ink tanks, a high (but perfectly acceptable) purchase price and a large footprint.