HP Smart Tank Plus 551 Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8.1
Reviewed Jun 10, 2020 at 08:47 am
HP Smart Tank Plus 551 Picture
7.6
Family
5.6
Small/Home Office
8.2
Student
6.9
Black & White
7.3
Casual Photo
Type All in One
Technology Inkjet
Wireless Yes
Color Yes
SuperTank
Yes

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is a compact supertank printer. Thanks to its refillable ink tank design, you can get a high page yield with black and color ink before they need to be refilled. This printer also has an extremely low cost-per-print ratio for all ink. However, it takes a long time to print both black-text and color documents, which isn't ideal if you have a lot of pages that need processing. This printer also lacks a sheetfed scanner, which can make it fairly limited for work purposes. That being said, it has a low running cost and its simple features should be enough for casual use.

Our Verdict

7.6 Family

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is good as a family printer. This printer can help you save valuable family photos, whether you're printing them off to put in a frame or scanning to put online. However, the photo printing quality is okay and in some places, the photo may look a little grainy. Still, you can easily save film photos or other fragile items with their flatbed scanner, which is nice. The cost-per-print ratio of this printer is also exceptionally low for both black and color ink, making it an affordable choice for long-term use.

Pros
  • Extremely low cost-per-print for black and color printing.
  • High page yield for black and color ink bottles.
  • Compact size.
Cons
  • Very slow print speed for black-text and color documents as well as photos.
  • Scanner lid can't extend to support larger items like books.
5.6 Small/Home Office

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is disappointing for home office use. This printer can print off a lot of pages with its black ink tank at an affordable rate. The color ink tanks also perform exceptionally, so you can print off a lot of color flyers or reports before needing to refill them. On the downside, printing black-text documents takes a long time to complete, especially if you have a lot of pages. The output tray also only holds 35 pages so if you're printing off multi-page documents, you need to remove them to continue printing. This printer also doesn't have a sheetfed scanner, and more ordinary tasks like processing double-sided forms can take longer to process. It also lacks an integrated fax feature.

Pros
  • Extremely low cost-per-print for black and color printing.
  • High page yield for black and color ink bottles.
  • Compact size.
Cons
  • Very slow print speed for black-text documents.
  • No sheetfed scanner.
  • No duplex scanning.
  • Scanner lid can't extend to support larger items like books.
8.2 Student

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is very good for student use. It's very affordable to print off essays and assignments with this printer and it can yield a lot of pages before the tanks need to be refilled. However, it takes its time to print black-text documents, which isn't ideal if you're already late for class. Some students may also find the flatbed scanner limiting as the lid's hinges can't extend to support larger items like books.

Pros
  • Extremely low cost-per-print for black and color printing.
  • High page yield for black and color ink bottles.
  • Compact size.
Cons
  • Very slow print speed for black-text and color documents as well as photos.
6.9 Black & White

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is okay for black and white printing. While it can print off a lot of black-text documents before its tank needs to be refilled, it's very slow to print off these documents. Still, its cost-per-print is exceptionally low, which is nice if you're always printing documents out.

Pros
  • Extremely low cost-per-print for black and color printing.
  • High page yield for black and color ink bottles.
  • Compact size.
Cons
  • Very slow print speed for black-text documents.
  • No sheetfed scanner.
7.3 Casual Photo

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is decent for casual photos. When using photo paper, its photo printing quality is okay. Some parts of your image can look a bit grainy, and there's also banding and color present in gray areas. It's quite affordable to print photos, though, as it has a very low cost-per-print. If you're printing photos on plain white paper, it also has surprisingly great color accuracy.

Pros
  • Extremely low cost-per-print for black and color printing.
  • High page yield for black and color ink bottles.
  • Compact size.
  • Great color accuracy.
Cons
  • Photo printing quality is only okay.
  • Can't print 2" x 3" photos.
  • 7.6 Family
  • 5.6 Small/Home Office
  • 8.2 Student
  • 6.9 Black & White
  • 7.3 Casual Photo
  1. Update 6/16/2020: Added a "Casual Photo" usage and removed "Mixed Usage".
  2. Update 6/10/2020: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.1.

Check Price

White HP Smart Tank Plus 551
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
6.0
Design
Build & Design Quality

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a mediocre design. It has a sturdy plastic build with visible ink level windows, so you can see how much ink you have left as you print. This printer also has removable printheads that can be replaced if damaged or clogged, which can extend the lifespan of your printer. If you need to remove the printheads or you're dealing with a paper jam, the front display opens so you can easily reach them. However, when you open this display, there isn't a lot of room for your fingers around the printheads, which can be a pain if you need to replace them or remove paper jams. There's no rear access for paper jams, though, and you won't be able to scan larger items with its flatbed either, as its lid hinges can't extend to accommodate them.

Design
Dimensions
Height 6.3" (15.9 cm)
Width 17.6" (44.7 cm)
Depth 14.7" (37.3 cm)
Weight
11.2 lbs (5.1 kg)

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is a lightweight and compact supertank printer. It isn't very tall and shouldn't take up too much room on your office or dorm desk.

3.0
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
2.0" (5.0 cm)
Touchscreen No

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a bad display screen. It uses a very limited display, which can't show anything other than individual ink levels and an exclamation mark if something is wrong. The light on top of the screen will also blink red if there's a problem. There are also seven physical buttons located around the screen. Unfortunately, the screen can't tilt or swivel for better viewing angles. However, it's still easy to see whether you're seated or standing and even if you're looking at it from the side, you can still see the screen.

Design
In The Box

  • User manual
  • HP Smart Tank Plus 551 ink bottles
    • 1x 31 Cyan
    • 1x 31 Magenta
    • 1x 31 Yellow
    • 1x 32XL Black
  • 1x Black printhead
  • 1x Color printhead
  • Power cable

9.5
Design
Cartridge
Photo Cartridge
No
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
HP 32XL Black
Tested Black Page Yield
235.00 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
4465 prints
Color Cartridge Model
HP 31 C/M/Y
Tested Color Page Yield
381.93 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
8320 prints
Third Party Cartridge
No
High Yield Cartridge
No Cartridge
Drum Unit
No Drum Unit

The Smart Tank Plus 551 has an excellent supertank system. It uses four ink tanks that you refill yourself and it yields an incredibly high amount of both black and color pages before any of the tanks need to be refilled again. It also has removable ink heads that can be replaced if damaged or clogged, which can extend the lifespan of your printer.

While it's technically possible to fill the supertank with any third-party ink, we didn't try it and don't recommend doing so as low-quality ink could damage the print heads and you may need to replace them. Using third-party ink could also void your warranty.

6.2
Design
Scanner
Scanner
Yes
Scan Flatbed
Yes
Scan Sheetfed
No
Automatic Document Feeder
No
Duplex Scanning
No
Scan Resolution
1200 DPI
Scan Color Depth
24 bit
Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Fax
No
Copy
Yes

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551's scanning features are mediocre. It only has a flatbed scanner if you have a lot of pages to scan, each page needs to be done one by one. This printer also lacks a fax feature. If you need an Automatic Document Feeder to scan large projects, check out the Epson EcoTank ET-4700.

Printing
10
Printing
Cost Per Print
Black Cartridge Price
16.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
44.97 US$
Black Only Printing
0.004 US$/print
Color Printing
0.005 US$/print
Photo Printing
0.014 US$/print
Ink Subscription
No

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has an exceptional cost-per-print ratio. Black, color, and photo printing are extremely cost-effective. However, each of the bottles can only be purchased separately as HP doesn't offer any combo packs at the moment.

4.5
Printing
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
5 PPM
Color Document
3 PPM
Photo Printing Time
70.0 sec
First Page Out Time (Black Only)
13.0 sec
Duplex Printing
Manual
Input Tray Capacity
100 pages

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has a poor printing speed. It takes a while to print off the first page of a black-text document and subsequent pages aren't that much quicker. Color documents are incredibly slow, too, which can be a pain if you're trying to print out slides for class. This printer also takes over a minute to fully finish printing 4" x 6" photos.

8.2
Printing
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
8.61

Update 16/06/2020: With the 0.8.1 test bench update, this printer's color accuracy score has increased.

This printer has great color accuracy. While it should be more than enough for home use, it still may not be the best choice for those who need more accurate color reproduction from their printer.

6.9
Printing
Photo Printing Quality
Borderless Printing
Yes

The Smart Tank Plus 551's photo printing quality is okay. The colors are well-defined and greens especially have a nice tone to them. However, there's banding and color present on the grayscale and some areas of the photo are slightly grainy.

These results are based on the actual physical photo, not the scanned image provided for reference above, which may not be representative of the printer's photo print quality.

Printing
Printing Size
Letter (8.5" x 11") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) No
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Photo (2" x 3") No
Photo (4" x 6") Yes
Photo (5" x 7") Yes

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 can support most paper sizes and its rear input tray has a width slider.

Mobile App and Connectivity
7.0
Mobile App and Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
No
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 has alright connectivity features. You can wirelessly connect to it by using Wi-Fi via your router or by using Wi-Fi Direct. You can also print, copy, and scan things directly from your mobile phone if you have Apple AirPrint or Mopria Print Service. On the downside, there's no Bluetooth support, and you can't use an ethernet cable or print directly from an external storage device like a USB key.

7.0
Mobile App and Connectivity
Mobile App Print
Mobile App Yes
App Name HP Smart
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Yes
PDF
Yes
Microsoft Office Files
No
Text Files (TXT)
No
Webpages (HTML)
No

The HP Smart app is decent. You can print, copy, and scan directly from the app and you can even scan documents using your phone's camera. There's also a mobile fax feature so that you can send documents or images from your phone.

Compared to other printers

Epson EcoTank ET-4700
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Epson EcoTank ET-4700 is a slightly better printer than the HP Smart Tank Plus 551. They both have excellent cost-per-prints and high yields for black and color documents like most supertanks. The Epson has a better display screen and the scanner has an Automatic Document Feeder.

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