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Is it time to subscribe to a printer service from HP?

Ever since my dad brought home an HP LaserJet printer (version 3, if memory serves), I have been printing with an HP.

Over the years I’ve occasionally ended up using an inkjet printer – I’m sure there was an Epson in the back catalogue at some point too.

Generally speaking though, my priority has always been HP and currently, I own two multi-function colour LaserJets.

Like most, I don’t print that much. Indeed, most of my business demands are limited to printing and then signing and scanning NDAs or various contracts. Although increasingly that is all moving to some kind of DocuSign service nowadays.

From a personal standpoint, the children still end up using the printer a lot. Our youngest likes to print out colouring-in sheets and we routinely print stuff for the older children’s school work. Oh, and there are a surprising amount of older children’s activities that require a waiver to be printed out at home prior to arrival at the various locations.

So even in today’s hyper-connected always-on world, we still need a printer (and scanner).

I think we’ll need a printer for quite a while yet.

But it’s an inconvenient experience owning and managing the whole process, isn’t it?

Let’s take a look at the current reality:

There is, right now, an HP LaserJet Multifunction Printer available on the HP website — which is normally a reasonably good place to buy (from a price standpoint) — at £329.

The printer comes with the toner when you buy it. But… soon, you’ll need to buy more.

The toner cartridges are about £70 each and you’ll need four of them. Let us, for argument’s sake, assume that you need new toner cartridges every 18 months — you aren’t printing every single day.

Across 3 years, the total cost of ownership of the printer — excluding electricity — is:

Purchase price: £329

Toner cartridges: £70 x 4 = £280, every 18 months

That works out at £15.55 per month or £186 a year.

Total cost for 3 years: £889

Let’s divide this by 36 months (3 years) and we get a monthly equivalent cost of £24.69.

Over 10 years, that’s going to cost £2,195 in total, assuming you keep the printer for the whole time and replace the toners every 18 months. £2,195 divided by 120 months is £18.30 per month.

There is a risk that I’ve got my assumptions wildly incorrect. Let’s assume I need to replace the toners every 3 years instead. That 3 year monthly cost? It’s now £609 or £16.91 per month. Over 10 years that’s £1,262 or £10.51 per month.


Let’s talk about HP’s new subscription offering – “the All In plan”.

A few points:

  • It’s only available in the US at the moment
  • There are only inkjets in the plan right now
  • There are no upfront costs
  • You can upgrade to a new printer every 2 years
  • You can cancel at any time, but if you do cancel, there are some charges to consider (basically, the cost of the printer, it seems)
  • HP monitors the ink levels and sends you replacement ink ahead of time.
  • Prices start at $6.99 a month

All my calculations above were on the basis of a laser experience… which is a little annoying. I was hoping they’d have a laser in the line up for proper comparisons.

Let’s have a look though.

There are three printers available in the subscription at the moment:

The HP Envy – a standard inkjet that does print/scan/copy at $6.99 a month.

The HP Envy Inspire – a more capable version of the base Envy, also with print/scan/copy capability. That’s two dollars more at $8.99.

The HP OfficeJet – your ‘home office workhorse’, also multi-function offering print/scan/copy. This is $12.99 a month.

These prices include ‘light’ printing. That is defined as about 20 pages of printing per month.

If you think you’re going to do more than this, then you should upgrade. So that $8.99 for the HP Envy Inspire will move to $12.99 if you select ‘moderate printing’ (100 pages of printing per month) or $18.99 a month (300 pages a month).

I am less aware of the cost of ink cartridges as I’ve not owned an Inkjet for an ages. But I would imagine this is a pretty good deal when you include the cost of the printer too.

Now then, let’s talk commitments.

There’s a 30 day return offering. But after this period, you will have to stump up cancellation charges if you cancel within 2 years. So there’s no actual commitment. You can cancel. It’s just you’ll need to pay off the cost of the printer along these lines:

So keep it for 2 years and the ‘cost’ of the printer is paid off. You can then upgrade to the latest printer, if you choose.

I like it.

I like the convenience.

I like the fact you can recycle the ink cartridges too.

I like the fact there’s no upfront cost.

Yeah, I think I’d do this.

I would prefer if it was Laser, though. At a push, I’d consider the OfficeJet.

Nice thinking HP.

I think this should be the new way I buy my printing needs ongoing.

So, if you could bring this to the UK, that would be great — and if you could add in a laser option, that would be even better, HP!


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