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The Best POS System To Buy In 2023

See our editorial picks for the best POS systems to shop for this year, and find a POS that has the right feature set for your industry.

    Nicolette Kier
  • UPDATED

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

The best POS system helps you take payments, manage inventory, generate financial reports, and streamline everyday operations so you can focus more on engaging customers. It also offers industry-specific features, has plenty of hardware options, and comes at the right price for your business size.

We evaluated over 20 POS systems based on pricing, ease of use, feature set, POS hardware options, and contract requirements to help you find the best POS system for your business.

Here are our best point of sale systems for your small business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Lightspeed Retail POS

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  • Best for in-person retail and rental businesses
  • Excellent inventory management, multi-store support, great loyalty program, 70 third-party integrations
  • $89-$269/month ($69-$199/month billed annually)
  • Best for in-person retail and rental businesses
  • Excellent inventory management, multi-store support, great loyalty program, 70 third-party integrations
  • $89-$269/month ($69-$199/month billed annually)

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Square POS

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  • Best for new businesses
  • Completely free in-person and online sales features, easy to use, flexible and affordable POS hardware
  • $0-$60/month/location
  • Best for new businesses
  • Completely free in-person and online sales features, easy to use, flexible and affordable POS hardware
  • $0-$60/month/location

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Clover POS

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  • Best all-in-one POS option
  • Lots of POS hardware choices, easy to use, great mobile POS hardware for service providers
  • $14.95+/month
  • Best all-in-one POS option
  • Lots of POS hardware choices, easy to use, great mobile POS hardware for service providers
  • $14.95+/month

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Revel POS Systems

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  • Best for complex business needs
  • Highly customizable, retail and hospitality in one plan, multi-location management, several third-party integrations
  • Custom pricing available
  • Best for complex business needs
  • Highly customizable, retail and hospitality in one plan, multi-location management, several third-party integrations
  • Custom pricing available

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Shopify POS

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  • Best for multichannel sales
  • Excellent online store builder, great pickup and shipping options, lots of third-party apps
  • $39-$399/month ($29-$299/month with annual billing)
  • Best for multichannel sales
  • Excellent online store builder, great pickup and shipping options, lots of third-party apps
  • $39-$399/month ($29-$299/month with annual billing)

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Toast POS

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  • Best for midsize/large and multilocation restaurants
  • Great POS hardware, excellent kitchen display system functions, custom loyalty program, thorough multi-location management
  • Custom pricing
  • Best for midsize/large and multilocation restaurants
  • Great POS hardware, excellent kitchen display system functions, custom loyalty program, thorough multi-location management
  • Custom pricing

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Helcim

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  • Best for B2B services and subscription sales
  • Completely free POS, works on all devices, customer card vault, completely custom invoice, web page, and checkout creation
  • $0
  • Best for B2B services and subscription sales
  • Completely free POS, works on all devices, customer card vault, completely custom invoice, web page, and checkout creation
  • $0

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TouchBistro

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  • Best for full-service restaurants and catering
  • Great loyalty program, VIP customer management, catering order and delivery quotes, full-service workflows
  • $69+/month
  • Best for full-service restaurants and catering
  • Great loyalty program, VIP customer management, catering order and delivery quotes, full-service workflows
  • $69+/month

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Lightspeed Restaurant POS

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  • Best for quick-serve restaurants and hotels
  • Quick-serve POS interface, third-party integrations, branded online ordering app, delivery platform integrations
  • $90-$519/month ($69-$399/month with annual billing)
  • Best for quick-serve restaurants and hotels
  • Quick-serve POS interface, third-party integrations, branded online ordering app, delivery platform integrations
  • $90-$519/month ($69-$399/month with annual billing)

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KORONA POS

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  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • Integrates with high-risk payment processors, loss prevention tools, high-risk industry integrations, franchise tools
  • $59-$89/month (one month free with annual billing)
  • Best for high-risk businesses
  • Integrates with high-risk payment processors, loss prevention tools, high-risk industry integrations, franchise tools
  • $59-$89/month (one month free with annual billing)

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Show Fewer Options

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Best POS Systems Comparison Chart

Online Ordering Loyalty Program Gift Card Sales Best Industries Served Free Trial
Lightspeed Retail Add-on Add-on Retail, rental 14 days
Square Free Add-on eGift cards Retail, restaurant, service businesses Free with no contracts; 30 days on paid plans
Clover Retail, restaurant, service businesses
Revel Add-on Add-on Add-on All business types
Shopify Add-on Retail, online ordering, subscriptions Three days
Toast Add-on Add-on Add-on Restaurant
Helcim Free Sell as products B2B sales, subscriptions, service businesses Free with no contracts
TouchBistro Add-on Add-on Restaurant
Lightspeed Restaurant Add-on Add-on Restaurant, hotels
KORONA High-risk businesses Unlimited

10 Best POS Systems

The Best POS System: Reviews & Highlights

The best POS system is affordable, easy to use, and can grow with your business. It has industry-specific features, a customer relationship manager, and many POS hardware options. The best POS systems help businesses streamline operations and generate reports that help guide their financial decisions.

1. Lightspeed Retail: Best For In-Person Retail

Lightspeed Retail POS


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Limited time offer. Sign up to Lightspeed by March 31st and get up to $1,500 in complimentary hardware. Claim this offer today.

Pros

  • Extensive inventory management
  • Customizable loyalty program
  • Temporary and permanent location management
  • Lots of third-party integrations

Cons

  • Early termination fee
  • Add-ons can get costly
lightspeed best pos system

Lightspeed Retail best POS system.

Why Lightspeed Retail Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Lightspeed Retail offers such a scalable POS system with extensive inventory management capabilities, eCommerce functionality, and a comprehensive loyalty program. Plus, if Lightspeed’s built-in feature set isn’t enough for your retail or business, there are about 70 integrations available for you to create the retail or rental POS you need for success.

Lightspeed Retail is one of the best retail POS systems due to its unique inventory organization and ordering capabilities, plus its multi-store creation features that allow you to sell in permanent and temporary locations for things like popup events or kiosks. It’s also one of the best rental POS systems because of its dedicated rental integrations, online quoting/reservation system, and built-in item hold/layaway management.

Note: Lightspeed Retail offers a 14-day free trial, no credit card required.

Lightspeed Retail POS Pricing

Lightspeed Retail offers the following retail plans:

  • Lean: $89/month ($69/month billed annually); best for majority in-person sales and includes third-party integrations
  • Standard: $149/month ($119/month billed annually); best for in-person and eCommerce sales and includes accounting integrations
  • Advanced: $269/month ($199/month billed annually); best for adding excellent loyalty program to your business

All plans include multi-store support.

The above pricing is only for merchant who use Lightspeed’s in-house payment processor, Lightspeed Payments. You’ll pay an extra $50/month if you choose to integrate an outside payment processor instead of using Lightspeed Payments.

Additional registers cost $59/register/month.

Lightspeed Retail POS System Features

Some of Lightspeed Retail’s most unique retail inventory management features include:

  • Inventory matrixing with single, bundled, and composite items
  • Multi-store master purchase ordering and stock transfers
  • Vendor catalogs to make generating purchase orders fast and easy
  • Stock reordering levels and desired stock levels
  • Rental and service order inventory management (such as bike rentals and repairs)
Lightspeed Retail best POS system inventory

Lightspeed Retail POS purchase ordering.

Lightspeed’s loyalty program is highly customizable with different customer groups, reward types, and the ability to set recurring/one-time rewards. It’s an excellent way to re-engage customers, get information on your most important customers, and determine what reward types are the most lucrative for your business.

Lightspeed Retail best POS system loyalty program

Lightspeed Retail loyalty program customer group settings.

We also have to mention Lightspeed’s entire marketplace of integrations, which includes apps for store security and shrinkage management, rental shop management, warehouse management, and a quoting system for people who want to start a custom order.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Lightspeed Retail software runs on iPads. You may use your own or purchase one from Lightspeed.

Lightspeed also offers cash drawers, Bluetooth scanners, card readers, label printers, and iPad stands as individual accessories or as hardware bundles. Alternatively, you can purchase your own accessories from Lightspeed’s list of supported hardware.

Payment Processing

Lightspeed Retail offers an in-house payment processor, Lightspeed Payments, which charges an in-person payment processing rate of 2.6% plus $0.10 and 2.9% plus $0.30 per online payment.

If you choose to use a third-party payment processor like 2ACCEPT, TSYS, or Vantiv, you’ll pay an extra $50/month. Depending on your sales volumes, it might be worth it to pay the extra monthly fee.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Lightspeed Retail offers the best pricing on annual contracts. However, Lightspeed does charge an early termination fee if you cancel early, so take advantage of your free trial and consider signing up for a monthly plan before a long-term one.

Also, you must confirm that you have received any hardware from Lightspeed within five business days of receiving it, or your equipment won’t be covered by the company’s warranty (14 days for Apple products and 30 days for other products).

When To Choose Lightspeed Retail For Your POS System

You should use Lightspeed Retail for a retail or rental business that focuses strongly on in-person sales.

While it takes some effort in the beginning to import vendors and set up inventory rules. it’s worth it, especially since that initial setup will make it easy to train employees. Individuals looking to use a third-party payment processor, customer engagement tools, or tools like accounting software will find what they’re looking for with this POS system.

The company also offers a variety of subscription plans and add-ons so that single-location and multi-location businesses can get everything they need at the right price for them. As your business grows, you can easily add locations and sync your operations to control your business from one online source.

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail POS

Read our in-depth review

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2. Square: Best For New Businesses

Square POS


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Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • Free POS system
  • Affordable POS hardware
  • Free online store builder
  • Retail, restaurant, and service business plans

Cons

  • Basic inventory management
  • Can only use Square for payment processing

Square best POS system hardware

Why Square Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Square software offers so many features for free, along with affordable hardware options and transparent monthly fees and payment processing rates. This is why Square is one of our best free POS systems.

There are subscription options for retail, restaurant, and service-based business types with just about all the tools new businesses need to succeed. On free Square plans, you can add Square POS software on an unlimited number of smartphones, iPads, Android devices, and browsers. Since you don’t need any additional equipment except a card reader, the barrier to entry is even lower.

Square POS Pricing

Square offers three distinct software plans: Square For Retail, Square For Restaurants, and Square Appointments.

Each type of software includes a free plan, which can be installed on unlimited devices.

Paid Square For Retail and Square For Restaurants cost $60/month/location, while paid Square Appointments plans cost $29-$69/month/location.

Square POS System Features

All Square users have access to these features for free, which is very uncommon among POS providers:

  • Free retail and takeout/delivery ordering website
  • Free Square checkout links to take invoice payments and make sales without a website
  • Free appointment scheduling link for new service-based business owners
  • Unlimited POS devices so businesses can take payments in several ways

Square For Retail users can sell products in person, on their website, on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram, and list products on Google so users can discover them. Products are synced across all sales platforms, so inventory is always updated.

Square For Restaurants (one of our best free restaurant POS systems) allows you to take orders quickly with conversational modifiers, accept tips, manage orders from multiple ordering platforms, take online orders through a personalized ordering site, and Order with Google. Using Order with Google, people searching for restaurants near them will discover your restaurant and order from your Google business profile.

Square best point of sale system ordering

Square POS Order With Google integration.

Square Appointments users can allow people to book appointments on their own website, Instagram, Google, and through a button embedded into emails and other webpages. You can also send automated appointment reminders, set up time tracking to bill by the hour, and team management capabilities, all on the free Square Appointments plan.

Square best point of sale appointments

Square POS appointment booking channels.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

To take payments, you only need the $49 Square Bluetooth card reader.

The Square Stand is a $149 iPad stand with a built-in card reader so you can take orders on an iPad and swivel it around for customers to review their order and pay. The Square Terminal is a $299 handheld POS terminal so servers and mobile-first businesses to take payments on the go.

Square offers even more hardware kits and accessories. Read our guide to Square hardware to help you decide what hardware your business may need.

Payment Processing

Square’s payment processing rates are 2.6% plus $0.10 for in-person payments and 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments.

You can’t use any payment processor other than Square.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Square has highly flexible month-to-month plans with no penalties for cancelling early. The company also has a generous hardware warranty.

When To Choose Square For Your POS System

New business owners of all types, including retail, restaurants, and service-based businesses, can benefit from Square’s low-commitment POS solution. Square allows businesses with very low budgets to start selling on many platforms almost immediately. The system is easy to set up, use, and change whenever you like.

Plus, at some point your business may outgrow Square’s flat-rate payment processing fees. With Square’s month-to-month contracts, you can easily sign up for a dedicated merchant with interchange-plus payment processing.

Get Started With Square POS

Read our in-depth review

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3. Clover: Best All-In-One POS System

Clover POS


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Pros

  • Excellent mobile POS hardware
  • Retail, restaurant, and service software plans
  • App marketplace available
  • Good invoicing features

Cons

  • Potential for scams
  • High upfront costs

 

clover flex

Why Clover Is Our Best POS System Pick

We appreciate that Clover provides a self-contained POS solution where your software, hardware, add-ons, and payment processing all come in one package. This makes Clover one of the easiest POS systems to work with.

However, while Clover is easy to use, it’s still a flexible, scalable solution. You can choose from lots of POS hardware and industry-specific software plans, and (unlike Square) you can purchase Clover hardware from one of many Clover resellers and get your own custom payment processing rates.

This is a huge advantage for businesses looking for the best payment processing rates possible.

While Clover works for many business types, we believe Clover is an exceptional option for sellers on the go, especially those that provide personal, professional, and home/field services. This is because Clover’s handheld terminal allows you to send invoices, take payments, print receipts, manage inventory, and accept client feedback.

If your base Clover plan doesn’t have everything you need built into it, there’s an entire app market with software add-ons that are as easy to install as smartphone apps. You can find apps to engage customers, streamline operations, and add specific industry-specific features like age verification or kitchen display systems.

Clover POS Pricing

If you purchase your Clover hardware upfront from Clover.com, you’ll pay between $14.95/month and $94.85/month.

However, you can purchase your Clover POS system from a number of Clover-authorized sellers, so prices will vary. Read our Clover pricing guide to understand more about how much you may pay for your Clover hardware, software, and payment processing fees.

Clover POS System Features

Clover offers retail, restaurant, and service-based business software plans. All Clover users will appreciate the provider’s free loyalty program, online ordering page, and access to Clover’s vast app market. The app market offers everything from form builders to employee management apps to appointment schedulers.

Personal, professional, and home/field services business owners will appreciate these service-specific features:

  • Invoice by email with status order updates on invoice payments
  • Customer database with loyalty program setup and private feedback
  • Inventory tracking, stock takes, and itemized order creation through Clover Flex
  • Recurring payments with card on file
Clover best POS system

Clover POS invoice status monitoring.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Clover offers a handheld terminal, the Clover Flex, which costs $599 if you purchase it from Clover.com. This is great for mobile sellers, especially professional and field service providers like mobile hairdressers and landscapers.

The Clover Mini is a small countertop terminal ($799 on Clover.com) and includes a built-in receipt printer. The Clover Station is a full countertop solution with a cash drawer, receipt printer, and card reader. On Clover.com, the Clover Station costs $1,699.

It’s important to note that Clover hardware costs will vary depending on Clover hardware providers.

Payment Processing

Clover payment processing rates vary depending on where you get your Clover hardware and accompanying merchant services from.

If you get your POS from Clover.com, you’ll pay 2.3% plus $0.10 for card-present transactions and 3.5% plus $0.10 for all card-not-present transactions, which includes invoice payments and online ordering website payments.

Small businesses can get flat-rate payment processing. Larger businesses can seek a merchant services provider that offers an interchange-plus payment processing model, the most cost-effective model for processing large sales volumes.

Read our post on the best Clover resellers to find a Clover-authorized merchant services provider with the best payment processing rates and contract terms for your business.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Since Clover is sold by a number of merchant services providers, there are several different types of contracts you’ll encounter. Read our post on Clover scams so you can avoid the bad companies (and find the good ones).

When To Choose Clover For Your POS System

Businesses that want an all-in-one POS solution with the freedom to choose from a line of proprietary POS hardware and integrate their own payment processor should choose Clover for their POS system. We also recommend Clover for individuals who want a POS that’s easy to set up, train employees on, and modify whenever they want.

Services providers who are out on the field should strongly consider the Clover Flex POS system, which allows you to take payments, scan barcodes, send and monitor invoices, and print receipts all from one handheld device.

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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4. Revel: Best For Complex Business Needs

Revel POS Systems


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Pros

  • Retail, restaurant, and service features on all plans
  • Comprehensive feature set and customization options
  • Several third-party integrations
  • Extensive multi-location management

Cons

  • Pricing not transparent
  • Early termination fee

revel pos on iPad with stand

Why Revel Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Revel is an extremely customizable POS solution with built-in features for niche business types.

Unlike many other POS systems, you don’t have to choose between retail, restaurant, and service business software plans. This is great for hybrid businesses that serve food and retail items, retail products and appointments, and more. Revel also offers several proprietary add-ons, business reports, and third-party integrations for business owners to streamline operations and thoughtfully expand their offerings.

This POS is also a great option for businesses with multiple stores and wanting to franchise. Revel has excellent multi-establishment hierarchy settings that help you manage brands, individual establishment permissions, royalty payments, product settings, and more. There are also lots of product transfer settings that help you monitor the location of any product at any given time.

We also appreciate that Revel is consistently updating its product offering based on feedback from customers, so you can rest assured knowing that your POS will continually remain one of the most well-designed systems.

Revel POS Pricing

Revel advertises a monthly fee of $99/terminal/month, but it requires a two-terminal minimum, three-year contract, and you must agree to use Revel Advantage, Revel’s in-house payment processing solution.

However, most businesses will want to add on Revel products such as its delivery software, online ordering platform, highly customizable loyalty program, and multi-location management functions. A Revel representative will give you a custom quote for all these software add-ons.

Revel POS System Features

Revel offers one of the most comprehensive feature sets of any POS software on this list, mainly because you have access to both retail and restaurant management features.

No matter what type of business you run, you’ll appreciate these unique Revel features:

  • Loyalty Program: Includes custom rewards point setup, gift options, and automated loyalty points marketing for customers who haven’t stopped by in a while
  • Online Ordering: Online ordering for local delivery with real-time driver monitoring and shipping with auto-generated third-party shipping rate calculations; third-party delivery platform integrations
  • Purchase Ordering: Purchase order generation with set par levels, vendor management, and partial/full order receiving
  • Employee Management: Includes scheduling, time clocks, employee roles, and payroll, all within Revel dashboard
  • Multi-Establishment Management: Create different parent and child establishments, unique brands, charge royalty fees, and push changes across single, multiple, or all establishments
  • Inventory: Revel offers inventory matrixing, custom attributes, stock unit conversions, waste management, loss reports, and automated perishable food/liquid inventory tracking
Revel best POS system

Revel POS inventory item setup.

Full-service restaurants will appreciate Revel’s table monitoring system, which allows servers to transfer customer orders to different sections (such as moving from the bar to a table), change a customer’s seat at the table, monitor table turnaround, order sharing and splitting, and charge items to house accounts.

You can also set up catering, charge service fees based on party size, and set up waitlists/reservations.

Revel best POS systems

Revel POS full-service table monitoring.

Quick-service restaurants will enjoy self-serve kiosks, customer display screens so customers can confirm their orders, digital menu integrations, omnichannel order management, and even drive-through capabilities.

In fact, Revel is one of the best drive-through POS systems on the market.

Revel best point of sale

Revel POS kitchen display screen.

Any business that provides services such as catering, rentals, or repairs will appreciate Revel’s built-in appointment booking system and predefined service charges. Revel also has an open-ended item feature that allows you to charge a custom fee depending on how long you spent on a service, how long a person rented an item or venue, or any other cost parameter.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Revel offers POS hardware and accessories for Revel users, which you’ll get a custom quote for.

Alternatively, with Revel’s written permission, you may purchase Revel-compatible hardware on your own. The company asks for written permission to ensure that you are definitely spending your money on hardware that will work and can avoid having to return any equipment to third-party providers.

Payment Processing

Revel offers its own in-house payment processing solution, Revel Advantage, which you will get a custom quote on. The company advertises flat-rate payment processing.

You will most likely be required to pay an additional monthly fee to integrate with compatible outside payment processors such as First Data, Heartland, TSYS, Chase Paymentech, Worldpay, and Elavon.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Revel’s standard contract is three years, with a substantial early termination fee depending on how far you’re into your contract before canceling.

While you’ll get the best prices with a longer contract, we recommend making extensive use of your demo, asking lots of questions to your Revel account representative, and even signing up for a month-to-month plan until you’re sure that Revel is the right fit for your growing business.

Revel typically offers a discount for users who bundle their software, hardware, and payment processing into one bill. We recommend that you get an estimate on hardware and payment processing rates from outside companies and bring that estimate to Revel to see if they’ll match it.

When To Choose Revel For Your POS System

Revel is best for midsize to large single-location and multi-location businesses, especially hybrid ones with restaurant and retail/service offerings. We recommend Revel for all businesses that require niche features and highly customizable POS systems.

Business owners interested in integrating their POS software with an outside hardware provider or payment processor should also consider Revel software since Revel integrates with more third-party providers than most POS systems on this list.

Get Started With Revel POS Systems

Read our in-depth review

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5. Shopify: Best For Multichannel Sales

Shopify POS


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Pros

  • Excellent online store builder
  • Social media and marketplace sales capabilities
  • Free and paid add-on apps
  • Affordable POS hardware

Cons

  • Advanced POS features require paid POS plan
  • Must use Shopify Payments to avoid transaction fee

shopify pos on smartphone and tablet

Why Shopify Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Shopify has expanded its eCommerce offering to provide a POS system that syncs perfectly with business owners’ online sales channels. You can sell anywhere using Shopify, whether that’s in person at a store or mobile event, or online through your own website or marketplace like Etsy.

Shopify also has excellent online ordering for in-store pickup, local delivery, regional shipping, and international shipping. You can also create custom offers, sales, and gift/layaway orders.

You can set up a completely customizable sales solution with a Shopify website and the Shopify app market, which has over 8,000 apps available. Start a loyalty program, create a large item catalog, start a subscription service, create quote-based orders, sell collections, and more using easy-to-install Shopify apps.

Note: Shopify offers a three-day free trial, no credit card required.

Shopify POS Pricing

Shopify offers these pricing plans:

  • Basic: $39/month ($29/month with annual billing); best for setting up an eCommerce site and in-person sales
  • Shopify: $105/month ($79/month with annual billing); best for advanced domestic shipping settings
  • Advanced: $399/month ($299/month with annual billing); best for large and international businesses

All plans come with the free POS Lite app. There is a POS Pro app you may add onto one of the above plans for an extra $89/month/location. This app comes with more employee permissions, better inventory reporting, and in-person workflow automations.

Shopify POS System Features

Shopify’s free in-person sales features include everything you need to make sales at a retail store or mobile business, while the paid Shopify Pro POS app adds functions like exchanges, purchase ordering, and stock transfers between locations.

On all Shopify plans, shoppers can buy items online for in-store pickup. They can also purchase items in person for local delivery. This is great for instances when you don’t have enough items in-store to fulfill a customer’s order, but you do have them at a warehouse or another location.

Shopify best point of sale system

Shopify POS order for in-store pickup.

Shopify’s eCommerce features are what sets this software apart. These features include:

  • Custom online store builder with item sales for in-store pickup, delivery, and layaway
  • Sales on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Product listings and sales on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart Marketplace
  • Suite of shipping tools to streamline item shipping and give accurate tracking updates to customers
  • Abandoned cart recovery emails to recapture the interest of potential customers
Shopify best POS system

Shopify online store with in-store pickup.

Shopify also has the largest app store out of all the providers on this list, with over 8,000 apps available for users to add any functionality to their POS and online store that they want. With this much customization available, Shopify can be tailored to suit the needs of any retail, small restaurant, and service-based business.

For example, Shopify’s appointment scheduler app, designed for service businesses like spas and nail salons, makes Shopify one of the best salon POS software options. Its catalog builder apps with customer logins also allow Shopify users to create a B2B online storefront in addition to a B2C store.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

To start selling, you need at least the $49 Shopify card reader as well as a smartphone or iPad. You can also purchase a retail kit for $219 as well as accessories like barcode scanners ($229), cash drawers ($139), and label printers (starting at $299) from Shopify.

In October 2022, Shopify released a new handheld mobile POS system, the Shopify POS Go, for $429. It has an integrated card reader that is supposed to rival the Clover Flex, Square’s mobile restaurant POS, and the Toast Go 2 (which we’ll discuss later.)

Payment Processing

Shopify offers its own in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments, that charges a payments processing fee between 2.4% and 2.7% for in-person orders, while online orders have a processing fee between 2.4% and 2.9%, plus a $0.30 flat fee.

The higher your monthly Shopify subscription, the lower your payment processing fees will be. We recommend that as companies increase revenue, they should move to a higher plan to save money on fees.

You may also integrate Shopify with a variety of third-party payment processors, although you will pay a transaction fee between 0.5% and 2% if you do so. Companies that want interchange-plus payment processing or those that do not qualify for Shopify Payments will end up paying this fee.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Shopify has month-to-month and annual contracts. Annual contracts have better pricing, but Shopify does not issue refunds. Consider this as you’re purchasing your subscription plan, and make extensive use of your free trial before committing.

Most Shopify POS users get a one-year warranty on POS hardware. Those who sign up for a POS Pro plan get an extended two-year warranty.

When To Choose Shopify For Your POS System

Businesses that want to sell on multiple platforms, or focus more on eCommerce than in-person sales, should strongly consider using Shopify. This POS software is best for retail item sales but is customizable enough for most business types to use, so you can sell anything from groceries to luxury subscription boxes to tickets for a cooking class at your bakery.

Shopify is also recommended for businesses that want to sell on a national or international level since Shopify has excellent shipping features and Shopify websites can be automatically translated into different languages and currencies.

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

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6. Toast: Best For Midsize & Multilocation Restaurants

Toast POS


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Pros

  • Durable proprietary hardware
  • Easy-to-implement loyalty program
  • Great kitchen display system management
  • Complete employee management platform

Cons

  • Can get expensive
  • Multi-year contact with early termination fee

Toast best POS system

Why Toast Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Toast provides every restaurant feature a restaurant owner could need, packaged into separate products, so you purchase only what you need.

We believe that Toast has some of the best kitchen display systems, self-serve kiosks, and tableside ordering capabilities from any restaurant POS provider. Plus, the company has developed an excellent loyalty program, multilocation management features, and an in-house delivery system builder.

We also appreciate Toast’s Android-based hardware line.

Toast’s countertop and handheld POS hardware are extremely durable, and able to withstand drops and spills without needing to be replaced.

Toast POS Pricing

Toast offers the Starter plan, a pay-as-you-go plan that costs $0 upfront for hardware, and you’ll pay no monthly fees. However, you are limited to 1-2 POS terminals, and you get charged higher processing fees to “make up for” the lack of monthly fees. Restaurants planning to start small and scale fast may consider starting with this plan and upgrading as soon as possible.

Toast’s Standard plan starts at $69/month and comes with core POS functions plus QR code tableside ordering.

The New Restaurants plan includes core POS functions plus employee management software like scheduling and payroll. This plan costs $110/month plus $4/employee.

The Essentials plan costs $165/month and includes online ordering and delivery.

Most of Toast’s best features, such as its loyalty program, kitchen displays, multilocation, and third-party delivery integrations, come as paid add-ons. You’ll get a custom quote for these add-ons and usually a bulk discount if you sign up for several at once.

Toast POS System Features

One of Toast’s most unique features is its extensive loyalty program, which automatically:

  • Prompts customers to sign up on customer-facing displays, receipts, self-serve kiosks, and online orders before or after they finish ordering
  • Automatically connects a loyalty account to a credit card so customers can automatically earn points just by using their card
  • Allows customers to sign up with a phone number or email and send a welcome gift or loyalty points
  • Generates a loyalty account portal that customers can log into to see their points and add new payment methods/contact information
  • Notifies servers and customers when they have loyalty points available to use (also applies for self-serve and online orders)
Toast restaurant POS loyalty program

Toast restaurant POS loyalty program signup prompt.

Toast also offers many ways for customers to order, which is excellent for midsize restaurants that are short on servers. With Toast’s newest product, Toast Mobile Order & Pay, customers may order and pay using a QR code. Most QR code ordering systems still require customers to pay upfront, but Toast removes that extra step for a more seamless customer ordering experience.

Customers can also order online or call the store for in-store or curbside pickup through all major third-party delivery platforms, and you can develop your in-house delivery system.

With Toast Delivery, you can assign drivers to orders, add custom delivery fees, send customers order updates in real-time, and set tipping rules for delivery orders.

Toast’s highly customizable pickup and delivery options are what make Toast one of the best pizza shop POS systems.

Toast best point of sale system

Toast POS in-house delivery system.

Servers taking orders can prioritize certain orders, hold and fire items, and send items to specific kitchen stations, all from a state-of-the-art handheld POS. You can also force certain items to be sent to specific stations when setting up your menu.

Toast’s special multilocation management includes varying menus (and pricing) by location, custom tax settings for each location, and customers can collect/redeem loyalty points at any location. In addition, franchisees and location managers that are allowed to change menus may easily do so without disrupting the setup of any other location.

Toast also has a complete employee payroll, 401(k) management, and employee scheduling product, whereas most other restaurant POS systems require third-party integrations to get all these features.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Toast offers highly durable POS equipment, including the Toast Go 2 handheld POS with integrated payments and receipt printing, the Toast countertop POS terminal, self-serve kiosks, and kitchen display systems. All are proprietary Toast products, and you cannot use any outside hardware with Toast software.

On the Starter plan, you can choose a starter kit that includes 1-2 POS terminals and pay $0 upfront, but you will pay higher payment processing fees that will quickly add up to the cost of a POS system.

On the Standard plan, you may also choose a starter kit but must pay for your equipment upfront ($609 for the Toast Go 2, $799 for the countertop POS). Alternatively, you can sign up for the Standard plan and get a custom quote if you want to use several POS systems.

Midsize single-location and multilocation businesses will need to get a custom quote on a specialized POS hardware package.

Payment Processing

Toast offers flat-rate payment processing for individuals on the Starter plan, and those on the Standard plan who opt into the starter kit. Payment processing ranges from 2.49% plus $0.15 to 3.49% plus $0.15 per order.

Any plan with a custom hardware quote will also have a custom payment processing fee.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Toast’s standard contracts are two years, require Toast payment processing, and come with a large early termination fee. Consider signing up for a short-term plan before committing for the long run.

When To Choose Toast For Your POS System

You should choose Toast if you have a restaurant with more than a few employees, more than one location, and/or want to offer several ways for customers to order. Also, quick-serve restaurants that want to generate repeat business through a strong loyalty program should definitely use Toast.

Toast is also a great option for restaurants that require menu rotations, offer special items, and create custom menus. If you have multiple sections in your restaurant, such as a main area and a bar, you can use Toast to create custom menus for each section. Managers at different locations can also set their own custom menu settings.

If you do not want to use an iPad as POS hardware or want more durable handheld and countertop POS equipment, then Toast is the best option for you.

Get Started With Toast POS

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7. Helcim: Best For B2B Services & Subscription Sales

Helcim


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Pros

  • Completely free POS
  • Works on any system (smartphone, tablet, computer)
  • Interchange-plus payment processing
  • Excellent invoicing and subscription management

Cons

  • No built-in loyalty program
  • Very few third-party integrations

Helcim best POS system

Why Helcim Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Helcim offers completely free POS software and transparent interchange-plus payment processing fees to all business owners. With this POS model, many business owners (especially ones with higher average transaction sizes) will save money and understand exactly what they’re paying for.

While the company’s in-person POS system is adequate for many small retail and countertop restaurant businesses, its invoicing, card storage vault, and custom online checkout designer are Helcim’s most outstanding features. These features are most beneficial for B2B businesses, businesses that provide services such as veterinarian offices and carpet cleaners, and businesses selling subscriptions.

Helcim POS Pricing

Helcim’s POS software is completely free to use. You only pay Helcim’s payment processing fees.

Helcim POS System Features

Helcim’s free POS system offers all standard POS functions, and it’s easy for employees to add products, discounts, tips, and customer accounts during transactions. You can also sell individual items and sell to businesses using customer portals and large catalogs.

Helcim’s invoicing and recurring payments features are what really sets Helcim apart from the other providers in this list. Helcim’s invoicing features include:

  • Custom drag-and-drop invoice creation and payment settings
  • Set full and partial invoice due dates
  • Send reminders to customers about upcoming and overdue invoice payments
  • Set recurring invoice payments with card or account on file
  • Create automated and manual tax settings for invoices
Helcim best point of sale

Helcim POS invoice theme designer.

Helcim’s subscription management includes prorated billing, so you only charge customers for the days they use their subscription, metered billing. With this billing method, you charge based on monthly usage data and the ability to add one-time fees and add-ons. Customers will get an automated reminder when their card is about to expire.

You can also create free trials for customers, and if a customer cancels their subscription, you can get feedback that will help you understand why they canceled to optimize your subscription business.

Helcim’s POS and web pages (including checkout carts, subscription signup, approvals, and client portals) can be built with a drag-and-drop builder, so your pages will have only the information you want, and they will all be custom-branded. This is useful for businesses that only need certain information fields, like those selling services, as you can remove fields like the shipping address.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Helcim’s card reader costs $109. It is compatible with just about all smartphone, tablet, and desktop devices.

There are also a few compatible receipt printers available.

Payment Processing

Helcim offers interchange-plus payment processing for all businesses, small or large. There are no minimum sales volumes or transaction numbers. This is highly uncommon among POS providers.

The company offers a sample “find your custom rate” tool on its website. As an example, if a professional services business makes less than $25,000 per month and has an average transaction size is $250, the business can expect to pay a processing fee of 1.95% plus $0.08 for in-person payments and 2.40% plus $0.25 for online transactions.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Helcim offers very flexible month-to-month contracts with no early termination fees, much like Square does.

When To Choose Helcim For Your POS System

Businesses with larger transaction sizes, as well as businesses that invoice customers frequently, want to sell subscriptions, charge for services, want to use their own device as a POS system, want transparent payment processing or want great customer service, should consider using Helcim.

If you want to accept international payments, Helcim is also a great option.

Those interested in using specific third-party software (besides QuickBooks, Xero, or WooCommerce) or honing in on a loyalty program should avoid Helcim for now. The company has been rapidly developing its POS offering, so at some point, it probably will offer these features.

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8. TouchBistro: Best For Full-Service Restaurants & Catering

TouchBistro


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Pros

  • Excellent loyalty app and online ordering platform
  • Great upselling features
  • Built-in waitlist and reservations
  • Custom catering orders and delivery

Cons

  • Add-ons are expensive
  • Early termination fee

TouchBistro restaurant handheld POS system

Why TouchBistro Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that TouchBistro has created a POS system that focuses on server and customer experience. Servers get detailed information on dishes and item pairing suggestions in real-time so that they can provide diners with an excellent sit-down experience. They can set hold and fire times to ensure every dish comes out at the right time and temperature. TouchBistro software can also capture customer information while customers order in person or online and add them to a custom loyalty program.

The system offers excellent features for full-service restaurants and catering businesses. For example, TouchBistro offers a built-in waitlist/reservation system, an online ordering page that can be customized for taking catering orders, and house account management for VIP customers and customers who frequently make catering orders with you.

In general, we chose TouchBistro because it is a well-thought experience-focused restaurant POS system with a strong customer management platform.

TouchBistro POS Pricing

TouchBistro starts at $69/month for one terminal. However, the company asks you to get a quote first, which usually means you’ll end up paying more than the advertised starting rate.

There are also add-ons available at the following prices:

  • Online Ordering: $50/month
  • Loyalty Program: $99/month
  • Marketing: $99/month
  • Gift Cards: $25/month
  • Reservations: $229/month

While the reservation and loyalty apps seems expensive, you won’t be charged any per-transaction fees for either. This makes TouchBistro a great alternative to third-party apps, especially ones that charge a subscription fee and commissions.

TouchBistro POS System Features

TouchBistro’s most unique features for full-service restaurants are its upselling features, reservation system, and catering functions.

As servers take orders, they get upselling suggestions in real-time, plus comprehensive item information to describe dishes. Patrons who order online also get automated upselling suggestions that update in real-time as they add and remove items from their order.

We believe that TouchBistro is best for full-service restaurants because it has developed these excellent features:

  • Reservation System: Customers can make reservations from your web app, your Google Business Profile, or phone call. Send reminder emails/phone messages about upcoming reservations to reduce no-shows. Create floor plans specifically for managing reservations.
  • Waitlist: Allow customers to add themselves to the waitlist online when your restaurant is currently full. Send customers SMS notifications about their waitlist status and enforce waitlist cutoff times.
  • Liquid Inventory Management: Track liquid sales and wastage at your bar or events featuring alcohol with TouchBistro’s Bevchek or Freepour integrations.
  • Customer Accounts: Allow billing to customers’ house accounts with saved payment types. Take partial or full balance payoffs. Allow customers to preload credits to an account.
  • Customer Dining Preferences: You can ask for dining preferences/allergies when taking reservations. VIP diners are noted in customer reports, and their preferences can be saved for future orders to create a personalized dining experience.
TouchBistro restaurant POS system

TouchBistro Restaurant POS waitlist/reservation settings.

Catering companies will appreciate these features:

  • Taking Catering Orders: Caterers can create a quote and take notes for a future order, require a deposit for future orders, and choose how far in advance someone can order. You can also set concrete event start and end times.
  • Delivery Customization: Caterers can set different delivery zones and increase fees depending on delivery zone. Set minimum order amounts per delivery zone. If a customer inputs an address outside your delivery zone, an automated message will ask the customer to contact you to discuss a custom order.
  • On-Location Sales: TouchBistro is a unique hybrid system that allows for fully online and offline sales. You can bring items that are on your catering menu with you and sell them on location.
TouchBistro best POS system

TouchBistro POS system catering delivery parameters.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

TouchBistro is an iPad-based POS system, so you can use iPads as registers and kitchen display systems. You can purchase a TouchBistro POS kit, but you have to contact the company for a quote.

Payment Processing

TouchBistro has its own in-house payment processing solution powered by Chase that you can use, or you can integrate TouchBistro with a number of payment processors, including Moneris, Square, TSYS, and Worldpay.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

TouchBistro offers month-to-month and long-term contracts. Like most POS providers, you’ll get better pricing with longer contracts. However, TouchBistro will charge an early termination fee for canceled accounts, so consider getting a short-term contract before committing to anything in the long run.

When To Choose TouchBistro For Your POS System

Full-service restaurants, especially ones that provide catering services, should strongly consider choosing TouchBistro as their POS system. The system offers a great offline mode, is server-friendly, has catering and customer house account management features, and works hard to help you create a VIP customer experience.

Whether your restaurant is a family-style sit-down restaurant or a fine-dining establishment, you’ll find what you need with TouchBistro.

Get Started With TouchBistro

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9. Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Quick-Serve Restaurants & Hotels

Lightspeed Restaurant POS


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Limited time offer. Sign up to Lightspeed by March 31st and get up to $1,500 in complimentary hardware. Claim this offer today.

Pros

  • Niche third-party integrations
  • Excellent perishable inventory management
  • User-friendly POS interface
  • Multilocation management

Cons

  • Expensive for smaller businesses
  • Early termination fee
lightspeed restaurant ipad register with customer display

Lightspeed Restaurant countertop POS with customer display

Why Lightspeed Restaurant Is Our Best POS System Pick

We love that Lightspeed Restaurant has created such a user-friendly system for servers, kitchen staff, and managers. The system has excellent inventorying and reordering features for restaurants and comes at a slightly more transparent price compared to other feature-rich restaurant POS systems on this list.

Lightspeed Restaurant also has lots of third-party integrations available, including several liquid inventory management integrations and hotel management integrations. This POS system offers speed, flexibility, and is easy to use.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant offers these pricing plans:

  • Essentials: $89/month ($69/month with annual billing)
  • Plus: $246/month ($189/month with annual billing)
  • Pro: $519/month ($399/month with annual billing)

We recommend the Essentials plan for single-location restaurant owners looking to use Lightspeed’s customizable POS interface, menu manager, and offer takeout/delivery services.

Plus is best for single and multi-location restaurants that are interested in tableside ordering (great for when you’re short-staffed), floor planning, selling alcohol, and starting a loyalty program.

Pro is for those looking to offer QR code ordering and a branded online ordering and delivery web-based app.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS System Features

Lightspeed’s best quick-serve and fast-casual restaurant features include:

  • Separate quick-serve and full-service modes
  • Order holds, which allows servers to take the next people in line if someone forgets their wallet or needs to wait to pay
  • Custom self-ordering menus so that customers can’t order items like alcohol or miss modifiers
  • Set items as a composite of individual ingredients, which is great for fast-casual restaurants serving mainly buildable items like grain bowls or burritos
  • Automated inventory tracking with auto-86ing on POS screens so that servers can’t accidentally sell what they don’t have

Lightspeed Restaurant POS menu management.

Lightspeed offers several integrations for liquid inventory and waste management, plus ID verifications, making Lightspeed one of the best POS systems for bars. Hotels and inns can also find unique hotel management integrations with Lightspeed that charge items to a customer’s room, manage reservations for hotels and hotel restaurants, and manage several restaurant locations within one hotel ecosystem.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

Lightspeed Restaurant software is iPad-based, so you can run countertop, mobile, self-serve, and kitchen display screens on iPads.

Lightspeed Restaurant has iPad bundles and a wide variety of hardware for purchase through its website. The website doesn’t list prices, so you’ll need to call the company for a quote.

You may purchase your own Lightspeed-compatible hardware. Lightspeed has a list of compatible hardware on its support page.

Payment Processing

Lightspeed has its own processing program, Lightspeed Payments. Its fees are 2.6% + $0.10 for card-present transactions or 2.6% + $0.30 for card-not-present transactions for business owners on the Essentials and Plus plans.

Users on the Pro plan will get a custom lower payment processing rate.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

Lightspeed has month-to-month contracts, but they are much more expensive than annual ones.

However, Lightspeed charges an early termination fee if you decide to cancel your subscription early, and hardware return windows are short, so consider starting out on a monthly plan until you’re sure Lightspeed is the POS for your restaurant.

When To Choose Lightspeed Restaurant For Your POS System

Lightspeed Restaurant is best for quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants that need extensive inventory management features, a server interface that’s easy to use but still customizable, and want to offer a strong loyalty program.

It’s also an excellent choice for restaurants that require niche features such as hotel management and extensive liquid inventory management, as Lightspeed offers several third-party integrations.

Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant POS

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10. KORONA POS: Best For High-Risk Businesses

KORONA POS


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Pros

  • Integrates with high-risk payment processors
  • ID verification tools
  • Loss prevention and employee monitoring
  • Multi-location and franchise features

Cons

  • Slightly dated
  • Limited number of third-party integrations

korona pos hardware

Why KORONA Is Our Best POS System Pick

We like that KORONA offers flexible monthly plans and allows you to choose your own payment processing service provider, which is great for high-risk businesses that don’t qualify for providers like Square or Shopify. You can also integrate KORONA software with POS hardware from several different providers, giving business owners even more flexibility.

KORONA also offers great loss prevention features like forced till counts, and blind stock takes, plus highly custom employee and manager restrictions so only certain people can change prices, void items, make returns, and change anything in your back office setup.

We also appreciate how affordable KORONA plans are in general. Business owners using KORONA get eCommerce capabilities on all plans, very affordable multilocation capabilities, and employee time tracking on lower-level plans. You also get open API access on all plans, which means you can create custom connections between KORONA and third-party software.

Note: KORONA offers an unlimited free trial, no credit card required. You sign up for a paid plan once you’re ready to accept customer payments.

KORONA POS Pricing

KORONA POS pricing is as follows:

  • Core: $59/month/terminal; best for small stores looking for core checkout functions, employee and manager restrictions, and eCommerce capabilities
  • Advanced: $69/month/terminal; best for small/medium stores that need inventory management and employee time tracking
  • Plus: $89/month/terminal; best for multilocation businesses, franchises, and stores looking for better inventory features
  • Custom: Quote-based; best for businesses looking for ticket/event management, pre-built KORONA integrations, and a dedicated account manager

Sine KORONA pricing is per terminal, we recommend that you consider how many terminals you really need in your stores before you sign on with KORONA. You can always add more terminals later.

KORONA POS System Features

KORONA’s most unique POS features are its loss prevention features, affordable inventory management, and franchise capabilities.

You’ll get these loss prevention features with KORONA:

  • Forced drawer closing, blind till counts, and restricting cash drawer access to open only when they make a sale
  • Require manager approval for item voids, price changes, item returns, and inventory changes
  • Run cash drawer reports at any time, at the end of shifts, and set maximum allowed balance differences
  • Cashier balance and time tracking reports
  • Restrict which cashiers can grant permissions to other cashiers (used for managers who need to be able to use registers but will also need to create new cashiers and associated cashier permissions)
KORONA best POS system

KORONA POS system cashier permissions.

KORONA offers great inventory management capabilities for its price point, and even general businesses can appreciate these features:

  • Set reordering levels with preferred vendor/warehouse reordering sources
  • Pack to single item conversion (great for selling items like cigarettes and liquor bottles)
  • Product performance reports, including slow sellers, product movement, and reorder optimization level recommendations
  • Stock difference lists and product discrepancy reports
  • Inventory app so you can send purchase orders, receive items, and scan barcodes from your phone (Plus plan and higher only)
KORONA best point of sale

KORONA POS system set reordering levels.

Franchise owners will appreciate the ability to create portals for franchisees with restricted user permissions. You’ll also get franchise revenue reports and a royalty collection setup.

POS Hardware Options & Cost

KORONA does not list pricing online but is compatible with hardware from Epson, PartnerTech, PAX, Genius, Dejavoo, Econduit, Aures, Honeywell, and more.

Payment Processing

KORONA does not offer in-house payment processing but instead integrates with several payment processors, including Merchant Warehouse and Merchant Payment Systems.

You can also integrate KORONA with several merchant service providers through PAX and Dejavoo payment devices.

POS System Contract Requirements & Warnings

KORONA offers month-to-month contracts with no early termination fees. You can pay for an annual contract and get one month free.

The provider also offers an unlimited free trial so you can try out the software for as long as you need to before committing to it.

You do have to be careful about your merchant agreement and make sure the terms are fair for your business. High-risk business owners should expect to pay a little more for payment processing than other lower-risk business owners.

When To Choose KORONA For Your POS System

Business owners that want the freedom to choose their own payment processor, hardware, and software integrations should consider KORONA. High-risk business owners sometimes have a difficult time getting approved by payment services providers and more popular merchant services providers, so we especially recommend KORONA for these business types.

KORONA is also extremely affordable in general, especially for multi-location businesses and franchises. Plus, KORONA’s high-risk industry third-party integrations make KORONA a great option for businesses such as convenience stores and liquor stores. In fact, KORONA easily made it onto our list of the best liquor store POS systems.

Get Started With KORONA POS

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What To Look For In The Best POS System

The best POS system for your business will depend on your particular needs and budget. The following are features that all the best POS systems have. While you don’t need all of these important features, some of them, like a clear contract and system security, are non-negotiable.

Industry-Specific Features

Whether it is mandated by law or required to run your business, there are industry-specific features you’ll need to consider when purchasing POS software.

For example, grocery stores need to take EBT payment types with a POS that complies with state and federal laws. Clover has a built-in EBT payments app that separates EBT-eligible and non-eligible items in accordance with the law while employees are scanning items, which is why Clover is one of our best grocery store POS systems.

Golf courses require several POS features, from tee time management to membership accounts. Lightspeed has an entire golf course POS solution that provides all these features and more, which is why Lightspeed is our best golf course POS system.

Clear Contracts With No Red Flags

You should get a clear contract from your POS provider that spells out all the fees you can expect, and customer service representatives should be able to talk you through any questions you may have.

The best POS systems come with no long-term contracts or early termination fees. Some larger systems, like Revel and Toast, have a multi-year contract and early termination fee attached, but you may be able to negotiate a merchant agreement for a shorter time frame and no cancellation fees.

Multilocation Management

Not all businesses intend to have multiple or even a single physical location. Brick-and-mortar businesses, and businesses with several small locations, such as kiosks or catering spots, should make sure their POS can accommodate expansion.

Good multilocation management includes stock transfers across locations as well as master purchase orders, so you can order for several locations all at once. The best multilocation management tools also include a loyalty program that syncs across all locations, custom pricing depending on your location, and detailing reporting by location so you can gain insight into what’s working for one location but not another.

Lightspeed Retail and Revel Systems both have excellent multilocation management for retail locations, while Toast (and Revel) have excellent multilocation restaurant capabilities.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is crucial for all businesses. Without accurate inventory management, you may not know how much you’re paying for items, whether you’re losing any items, and how profitable your business is.

The best POS systems sync inventory across all sales channels so that you never sell something you don’t have. They also make purchase ordering and receiving simple but accurate.

Perishable inventory management is very important for restaurants. Without that kind of inventory monitoring, restaurant owners could end up ordering and throwing away way more than they intend to. The best restaurant POS systems, which include Lightspeed Restaurant and TouchBistro, have excellent perishable inventory management.

Payment Processing

Your payment processing rates should be reasonable for the number of transactions you complete and the average transaction value you process every month.

Smaller businesses will most likely benefit from flat-rate payment processing, which they can get from providers like Square, Clover, Shopify, and Lightspeed.

Midsize and larger businesses should definitely look into custom payment processing options, especially interchange-plus payment processing. POS providers like Revel, TouchBistro, and KORONA allow you to integrate your POS system with third-party payment processors that will give you a custom payment processing rate.

Helcim is a payment processing platform with a POS offering, much like Square, except Helcim uses the interchange-plus payment processing model.

Solid Security

Any POS system you choose should be able to securely store customer cardholder data and meet other PCI compliance criteria.

All POS providers on this list have a proven track record of keeping merchant and cardholder data safe and are constantly updating their software to maintain high levels of security.

For those looking to save cardholder data (which is useful for recurring billing businesses or charging to a customer account), Helcim has an excellent card vault that stores customer information.

Hardware Options

Most popular POS software was built to work on iPads, with other providers, such as Clover and Toast, have developed their own proprietary POS hardware. These are more expensive than iPad-based systems but are arguably more durable.

Consider whether you want to use countertop or mobile POS systems, plus how much you want to pay for your POS hardware when deciding which POS system you want to use.

Toast and Square offer some of the best mobile POS systems for restaurants, while Shopify and Clover offer great general mobile POS systems.

Online Sales

Online sales are a necessity for many business types today, whether that’s an online ordering platform for restaurants, an appointment booking site for service-based businesses, or an online retail store.

Shopify, one of the best retail POS systems, offers an excellent eCommerce platform for retailers. TouchBistro and Toast have great online ordering features.

Helcim offers a great virtual terminal for B2B, service-based businesses to invoice customers, and a custom checkout cart builder for selling retail items, services, and subscriptions.

Usability For Everyone

If everyone within your business can’t use the POS system in their role, you will have problems in your day-to-day operations. For example, if it’s difficult to receive purchase orders, someone will make a mistake, inventory will be off, and you’d either sell something you don’t have in stock or have an excess amount of items that won’t fit on shelves.

Square, Helcim, and Clover are POS systems with very straightforward administrative setups and simple front-end POS functionalities.

Of course, the more complex your business is, the more complex your back office setup will be. The best POS systems allow you to complete a very specific setup on the backend that translates to a simple setup on the front end. Then, you should be able to restrict user access so that employees in entry-level roles only have to work with part of the POS software.

POS systems like Revel, Toast, and Lightspeed allow business owners to create a specific setup but make transactions very straightforward for employees.

Loyalty Program

While creating a loyalty program is not an absolute necessity, it is an easy way for most businesses, especially retail shops and restaurants, to convert one-time buyers into lifelong customers. A loyalty program should be easy for customers to enroll in and easy for you to manage.

Toast and TouchBistro each have excellent restaurant loyalty programs, while Lightspeed Retail and Clover have great retail ones.

Integrations

Third-party integrations, especially ones to accounting software and third-party delivery apps, are extremely useful for businesses, give a core POS system added functionality, and even industry-specific features that you can’t find in standard POS software. POS systems like Square, Clover, and Shopify have many third-party integrations available.

Next Steps To Find The Best POS System

To find the best POS system, consider what your business offers and what it may offer in the future. Also, think about how many POS devices you need, how many employees you have, and whether you’d like to sell online or on any other sales platforms.

Read our post on the best POS systems for small businesses to find a POS system that fits your sales volumes, industry needs, and budget.

FAQs: Best POS System

What is a POS system?

A POS system (point of sale system) is hardware and software that, when combined, allows you to take cash, digital payments, and monitor sales data.

What is the best POS system?

The best POS system depends on your business needs. For small businesses, the best POS systems are Square, Clover, and TouchBistro. Lightspeed, Revel, Toast, and Helcim are among the best POS systems for midsize and larger businesses.

How much is a POS system a month?

A POS system costs around $0 and $500 a month or more depending on the number of POS devices, locations,  employees, and special features you need to run your business. You’ll also generally pay less per month if you sign up for an annual or multi-year plan.

Read our post on how much a POS system costs for more information on how much you can expect to spend on your POS system.

What is the cheapest POS system?

The cheapest POS system is Square. Square’s starter POS plan costs $0, includes an unlimited number of POS devices, and you only need the $49 Square card reader to take payments.

Is there a free POS system?

Square is a free POS system for small business. Helcim is also a free POS system, but payment processing rates can be higher with Helcim for lower volume business.

What POS system is the easiest to train employees?

The easiest POS systems to train employees on are Square and Clover. Both systems are straightforward to set up and use daily.

Methodology

To find the best POS systems available, we at Merchant Maverick reviewed over 20 POS systems based on monthly pricing, hardware costs, feature set, user-friendliness, and third-party integrations available. We considered whether software providers offered a free trial, if there were several pricing plans for different-sized businesses, and whether a business could use its POS software even if it expanded.

We read through the fine print of POS software plans and merchant agreements to find what features and hardware cost extra, how long contracts are, whether there are any early termination fees and whether there are POS hardware warranties.

We have also read current user reviews written by non-incentivized customers on review platforms such as G2, Capterra, and Software Advice to bring business owners the most up-to-date descriptions of real user experience.

Learn more about how we rate POS systems at Merchant Maverick.

In Summary: The Best POS System: Reviews & Highlights

  1. Lightspeed Retail POS:
    • Best for in-person retail and rental businesses
    • Excellent inventory management, multi-store support, great loyalty program, 70 third-party integrations
    • $89-$269/month ($69-$199/month billed annually)
  2. Square POS:
    • Best for new businesses
    • Completely free in-person and online sales features, easy to use, flexible and affordable POS hardware
    • $0-$60/month/location
  3. Clover POS:
    • Best all-in-one POS option
    • Lots of POS hardware choices, easy to use, great mobile POS hardware for service providers
    • $14.95+/month
  4. Revel POS Systems:
    • Best for complex business needs
    • Highly customizable, retail and hospitality in one plan, multi-location management, several third-party integrations
    • Custom pricing available
  5. Shopify POS:
    • Best for multichannel sales
    • Excellent online store builder, great pickup and shipping options, lots of third-party apps
    • $39-$399/month ($29-$299/month with annual billing)
  6. Toast POS:
    • Best for midsize/large and multilocation restaurants
    • Great POS hardware, excellent kitchen display system functions, custom loyalty program, thorough multi-location management
    • Custom pricing
  7. Helcim:
    • Best for B2B services and subscription sales
    • Completely free POS, works on all devices, customer card vault, completely custom invoice, web page, and checkout creation
    • $0
  8. TouchBistro:
    • Best for full-service restaurants and catering
    • Great loyalty program, VIP customer management, catering order and delivery quotes, full-service workflows
    • $69+/month
  9. Lightspeed Restaurant POS:
    • Best for quick-serve restaurants and hotels
    • Quick-serve POS interface, third-party integrations, branded online ordering app, delivery platform integrations
    • $90-$519/month ($69-$399/month with annual billing)
  10. KORONA POS:
    • Best for high-risk businesses
    • Integrates with high-risk payment processors, loss prevention tools, high-risk industry integrations, franchise tools
    • $59-$89/month (one month free with annual billing)
Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
As a small business owner, contributing writer Nicolette Kier has been sharing her knowledge on all things related to freelancing and eCommerce since 2019. She earned a BS in Physics and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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