High ink prices have always been a pain point for consumers. Today many printer brands now offer monthly ink subscriptions to offset that cost. Epson® ReadyPrint® is one of the newest subscription plans and includes unlimited printing for a low monthly charge, which is very compelling on the surface. However, when you examine the conditions that come with the program, it may not be for everyone. Here, we explain what Epson ReadyPrint is and break down the disclaimers you should know about so you can make an informed decision before signing up.
Let’s start with the most frequently asked questions about Epson ReadyPrint.
What is Epson ReadyPrint?
Epson ReadyPrint is a subscription-based printing service that lets you print an unlimited number of pages for a low monthly cost. When you sign up, Epson will ship you a printer and ink. You can print whatever you want and when your ink is low, Epson automatically sends you new ink. By enrolling to the program, you may be locked in to using the service for a specific length of time¹, and you may be charged an early termination fee if you want to end the service early2.
Who may want to use Epson ReadyPrint?
Epson ReadyPrint is designed for consumers that print a lot and would rather pay a low monthly fee than pay for a conventional printer that uses ink cartridges.
How does Epson ReadyPrint work?
Instead of buying a printer and ink outright and printing when needed, ReadyPrint lets you pay a monthly fee to print an unlimited number of pages with an Epson Ecotank® printer. The program is offered at four different price points1 based on your printing habits, ranging from home use, office use, and two different tiers of business use. The higher the tier, the more features you get with the printer. Replacement ink gets sent to you as soon as your ink starts to run low. There may be up to a two-year commitment when you sign up and if you decide to cancel before the contract is up, you may be charged a cancellation fee2. If your printing needs ever change, you can always upgrade or downgrade your plan.
Epson ReadyPrint uses EcoTank printers. If you aren’t familiar with the Epson EcoTank, make sure you understand how they work before signing up for the service. EcoTank printers are ink tank printers that use ink bottles instead of ink cartridges to power your printer. Similar to filling up your car with gas, when your ink is running low, you insert the ink bottle into the tank and fill it up to continue printing. Printing with an ink tank printer is much more cost effective than a conventional inkjet printer because the ink bottles contain lots of ink – enough to print thousands of pages –and are a great way to lower printing costs.
Epson ReadyPrint is offered at four tiers1
The Home Plan is priced at $29.99/month and includes the ET2850U Printer.
The Office Plan is priced at $32.99 and includes the Epson ET3850U Printer.
The Business Plan is priced at $69.99 /month and includes the Epson ET-5850U Printer.
The Business Wide Plan is priced at $79.99 /month and includes the Epson ET-5850U Printer.
Epson ReadyPrint Pros & Cons
Now that you know the basics of the program, how do you know if it’s right for you? We’ve broken down the pros and cons of the service below so you can decide if it makes sense for you.
Low Starting Costs. When you sign up for the program, Epson ships you an Ecotank printer and the ink you need to get started. If you want to avoid paying for an Ecotank printer upfront, this service is one way you can do that. However, by signing up, you are committing to leasing that printer for two years and Epson may not let you keep the printer after the contract ends2.
Including a printer as part of the service is an interesting business model. A basic Ecotank costs around $300 and the pricier business-ready printers can range from $750 up to $1,000+, depending on the features. If you were to sign up for the cheapest service at $29.99 a month and spread that out across two years that adds up to around $720. By that time you could have used the money spent in monthly service fees to buy an Ecotank that you actually own instead of lease, so it’s really up to the individual consumer to decide how they want to allocate their printing budget. If a fixed, monthly unlimited printing cost outweighs paying for the printer upfront, then this subscription may meet your needs.
Unlimited printing1. With printer cartridges, you have to worry about when your ink might run out. With the HP® Instant Ink® subscription service, you have to worry about potential overage fees if you go over your allotted monthly page count. Epson’s PrintReady service appears to be the only consumer targeted printing option that offers unlimited printing, which is a godsend for printer users that are tired of tracking ink levels or monthly prints. Keep in mind though, EcoTank printers have a recommended monthly print volume. When you are deciding on a ReadyPrint plan, choose a plan with a printer that can handle your predicted monthly print volume. The higher the subscription tier, the more features you get with the printer Epson provides, including a higher monthly print volume. You can find a comparison of the plans and printers specs on the Epson ReadyPrint site.
The Home Plan’s Epson ET-2850U EcoTank printer has a recommended page volume of 1,250 pages / month.
The Office Plan’s Epson ET3850U EcoTank printer has a recommended page volume of 2,100 pages / month.
The Business Plan’s Epson ET-5850U EcoTank printer has a recommended page volume of 8,300 pages / month.
The Business Wide Plan’s Epson ET-16650U EcoTank printer has a recommended page volume of 8,300 pages / month.
Flexible monthly plans. If you decide you need a better printer at some point during your two year contract, you can upgrade or downgrade your plan2. This great for those users that may not be happy with the printer they initially signed up for and all you have to do is contact Epson to adjust their plan.
Ink automatically gets shipped to you when you are running low. Epson ReadyPrint must remain connected to the internet to monitor your ink usage2. This helps the printer predict when you will run out of ink so it can ship a new set to you in advance. For anyone that has been burned by a cartridge unexpectedly running out, having a service that automatically sends you that next set of ink before you need it is a huge win.
You don’t own the printer. Epson ReadyPrint is a leasing subscription service. You are agreeing to lease the printer for a two year period, and once the lease is up you can either cancel, change your contract to monthly, or opt for a new printer and sign up for another two year period. Epson does not let you buy the printer and when you end the contract, you need to ship the printer back (they will provide you with a pre-paid return label). If the printer is not in good condition when it’s shipped back to Epson, you may be responsible for additional fees2.
Want to cancel your service? You’ll be charged an early termination fee. If you decide the service isn’t right for you and wish to cancel before your two year contract is up, Epson may charge you an early termination fee. You may need to take certain steps to effectively cancel the service that may include giving Epson advanced notice and paying any outstanding fees².
Epson is always monitoring your prints. Another trade-off is the data that Epson collects when you are signed up for the service. To use ReadyPrint, Epson checks your ink levels daily so it knows when it’s time to send you new ink4.
You constantly have to be connected to Wi-Fi to use the service.The printer will still print if you are having trouble with your Wi-Fi connection but if you power the printer off, it may need to re-check the connection in order to print again4. Internet issues or troubleshooting printer issues may possibly affect printing.
You are charged every month for the service, even if you don’t use it. This is a given for subscription services but with a service like printing, where there may be long periods where you may not need to print, it can seem silly to pay for something you aren’t using. Once you commit to the two year contract, you are locked in and need to pay your monthly subscription fee, even if you haven’t printed anything in the last month.
Epson ReadyPrint Alternatives
Epson ReadyPrint vs. Epson EcoTank Printers
Epson chose to use Ecotank printers for their subscription model because they are an affordable way to print. The ink bottles that EcoTank uses are inexpensive and can print for thousands of pages, making them far more cost effective than printing with a standard Epson inkjet. For example, the Epson 502 black ink bottle prints up to 6,000 pages (and isn’t tied to a subscription contract). If ReadyPrint uses an EcoTank printer, you might be wondering…why not just buy an EcoTank printer and skip the subscription service all together? We were wondering that too and honestly, it may be a better option for some consumers. The biggest barrier to entry with EcoTanks is their high sticker price. Printer prices range anywhere from $300 for basic home models to $1,000+ for the heavy duty office machines, which is asking a lot if you are on budget. But if you can afford those upfront costs, it may make more sense to go with the Ecotank over ReadyPrint. With EcoTank, you can control how you want to print without worrying about the complicated conditions of a subscription and still save a lot on printing costs.
Epson ReadyPrint vs. HP® Instant Ink®
HP Instant Ink was one of the first printing subscription services to hit the market and it shares a lot in common with Epson ReadyPrint. Just like Epson, you pay a monthly fee to have ink delivered to your door and can save a lot of money compared to buying a conventional cartridge. However, there are a few big differences.
- HP Instant Ink doesn’t offer unlimited printing. Instead, its subscription tiers are tied to a predetermined monthly page allotment5. Any page you print is counted towards that monthly total, whether it’s a single line of text or full page color photo, so you need to be mindful about what you print.
- HP makes you buy the printer upfront. Generally this isn’t as expensive as buying an Epson EcoTank since the service is available for a majority of HP’s low end inkjet printers, so that barrier to entry that we talked about with the EcoTanks earlier is a non-issue.
- HP Instant Ink uses ink cartridges instead of ink bottles, which is great for consumers that are unsure about ink tank printing. EcoTank printers are still unfamiliar to most printer users and not everyone is comfortable with them. With Instant Ink, you get to print with regular ink cartridges and don’t have to worry about learning how to use a new kind of printer.
- The monthly service fee is a lot cheaper than ReadyPrint. Plans start at .99 cents a month and go up from there5.
- HP Instant Ink has no long term contract, just a month to month commitment5.
Whether HP Instant Ink is a better option than ReadyPrint is up to the user and their printing habits but the service has been around for a few years now and the reviews remain mixed. Check out our in-depth HP Instant Ink article to learn more about the service and read honest feedback from subscribers.
How else can you save on printing costs?
If you are on the fence about signing up for an ink subscription service but still want to save money, there are other ways to save. Epson’s Ecotank printer is one option. Another option is printing with low cost compatible printer cartridges from LD Products. We offer affordable compatible cartridges for almost every printer model on the market and back every cartridge with a lifetime guarantee. If you are happy with your current printer and don’t want deal with paying a monthly fee to use it, you can print freely with LD-brand ink! We even offer compatible ink bottles for Epson Ecotank printers.
The Final Verdict
Epson ReadyPrint can save you money on ink if you are accepting of all the terms that come along with it. But for most, a subscription service commitment is a lot to ask upfront, especially for a service that may not be used regularly. Do your research on other low cost ink options first and then decide which one works best for your needs.
Have you tried Epson’s PrintReady service yet? What do you think of it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
|Thank you for reading this post! This article is written by a team of ink experts at LD Products - a Long Beach, California-based company that specializes in compatible ink and toner. With over 20 years of printing expertise, we’re committed to helping you save money on printer ink without sacrificing quality. If you found this content helpful, we’d be grateful if you supported us by visiting LDProducts.com for all of your ink and toner needs. We appreciate your support!
1 “Epson Subscription Portal.” Epson.com, https://readyprint.epson.com/home. Accessed 20 November 2020.
2 “ReadyPrint Terms and Conditions.” Epson.com, https://epson.com/readyprint-terms. Accessed 20 November 2020.
3 “HP Instant Ink Terms of Service.” HP.com. https://instantink.hpconnected.com/us/en/terms. Accessed 20 November 2020., v.08.13.2018.
4 “Epson ReadyPrint Service.” Epson.com, https://epson.com/Support/Printers/Printer-Options/Epson-ReadyPrint-Service/s/SPT_READYPRINT#faq-8796159060044. Accessed 20 November 2020.
5 “How It Works.” HP.com, https://instantink.hpconnected.com/us/en?jumpID=va_nxc3gze76w. Accessed 20 November 2020.
*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices and printer brand (OEM) cartridge prices effective as of April 20, 2023 on www.LDProducts.com. All products are reviewed independently. OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.