Data Doctors: Pros and cons of HP’s All-In printer plan

Q: Is HP’s All-In printer plan worth considering or should I buy something else?

A: There are so many options in the printer universe from many well-known brands, which can make choosing one a little confusing.

Each brand tries to differentiate itself from the rest of the crowd by creating unique features, and in HP’s case, the subscription model is its latest offering.

Instead of purchasing the printer, you lease it along with automatically delivered ink as an added convenience.

HP is offering to eliminate the upfront cost of buying a printer by getting you to commit to a 2-year subscription for the device and the associated ink.

The plan also provides expedited tech support, next-business-day replacement in the event it fails, and the ability to upgrade every two years.

Whether this makes sense for you or not would primarily be based on how much and how often you print.

The basic plans

There are three printers/plans to choose from, starting with the Envy at $6.99 per month, Envy Inspire at $8.99 per month or the OfficeJet Pro for $12.99 per month.

The price only includes 20 pages of printing per month before additional fees are applied. Printing in color or black and white counts the same, which is another very important consideration.

HP does offer higher page volume plans (50, 100, 300, etc.) that you can upgrade to for an additional $2 a month per tier.

The calculus

HP Envy printers can be purchased outright for $99, while the 2-year subscription will end up being $167.76. Your calculus starts with how much ink you’re likely to need in two years.

The replacement ink sells for $35 (black and tri-color) with an estimated yield of 120 pages in black and 100 pages in color.

If you primarily print in black ink only, you’re better off buying everything as you need it, especially if your printing volume fluctuates wildly from month to month.

HP does provide a rollover for unused pages, so it isn’t a use-it or lose-it subscription.

Connected printer

These printers must be connected to the internet to monitor your ink usage for automatic refills and without a connection, may have limited functionality.

If you cancel before the two-year subscription ends, the printer will stop printing at the end of your current billing cycle and you’ll be charged a termination fee.

The termination fee can range from $60 to $270 depending on the printer model and whether you are in the first or second year of your subscription.

Is it for you?

If the convenience HP is offering is more important than the higher total cost of ownership over multiple years, it may be something to try.

For most consumers and small businesses, it’s probably not the best deal, since printers tend to last much longer than two years.

There are also options such as Epson’s EcoTank series that have a larger upfront cost but the ink can cost as little as $5 per year.

Consumer Reports has an evaluation of the cheapest printers for ink costs.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or X.

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