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7 Best Handheld POS Systems For Restaurants In 2022

From Toast to Lightspeed, our seven best handheld point of sale systems for restaurants are all lightweight, easy to use, and help streamline systems from the front of the house to the back.

    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.

Handheld POS systems for restaurants should be lightweight, durable, and help servers quickly manage orders. The best restaurant handheld POS system will also simplify communication between the front of house and the kitchen, and offer contactless ordering options. Keep reading to find the best handheld POS system for your restaurant.

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CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Toast POS

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  • Best overall hardware and software
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$165/month
  • Processing fee: 2.49% + $0.15 or 2.99% + $0.15
  • Best overall hardware and software
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$165/month
  • Processing fee: 2.49% + $0.15 or 2.99% + $0.15

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Square For Restaurants POS

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  • Best free restaurant POS
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$60/month/location
  • Processing fee: 2.5% + $0.10 and up
  • Best free restaurant POS
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$60/month/location
  • Processing fee: 2.5% + $0.10 and up

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TouchBistro

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  • Best server features and offline mode
  • Monthly fee: Starts at $69/month
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  • Best server features and offline mode
  • Monthly fee: Starts at $69/month
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor

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Revel POS Systems

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  • Best for large and multilocation restaurants
  • Monthly fee: Starts at $198/month
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  • Best for large and multilocation restaurants
  • Monthly fee: Starts at $198/month
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor

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talech POS

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  • Best affordable option for dine-in and online orders
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$99/month for one terminal
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  • Best affordable option for dine-in and online orders
  • Monthly fee: $0/month-$99/month for one terminal
  • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor

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Clover POS

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  • Best customization options
  • Monthly fee: $44.95/month-$94.85/month
  • Processing fee: 2.6% + $0.10 and up
  • Best customization options
  • Monthly fee: $44.95/month-$94.85/month
  • Processing fee: 2.6% + $0.10 and up

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Lightspeed Restaurant POS

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  • Best for quick-serve restaurants
  • Monthly fee: $39/month-$289/month
  • Payment processing starts at 2.6% + $0.10
  • Best for quick-serve restaurants
  • Monthly fee: $39/month-$289/month
  • Payment processing starts at 2.6% + $0.10

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

7 Best Restaurant Handheld POS Systems To Put On Your Shortlist

The best mobile restaurant POS systems use lightweight and durable hardware. They also have an intuitive UI, connect to kitchen order displays and online ordering platforms, help you create custom menus, and have contactless ordering features. A built-in loyalty/gift card program is a big plus.

1. Toast: Best Overall

Toast POS



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Pros

  • Excellent hardware offering
  • Free “pay-as-you-go” plan available
  • Extensive restaurant features

Cons

  • Long-term commitment
  • Add-ons are expensive
  • Early termination fees

toast go

Toast Handheld POS System Features

Toast has just about everything a successful restaurant needs to operate efficiently, but the following features are what really sets Toast apart from other restaurant POS systems:

  • Tableside QR code ordering
  • Highly custom check splitting and tipping
  • Hold and fire kitchen commands from Toast Go handheld POS
  • Quick inventory updates from Toast Go handheld POS
  • Card pre-authorization to start tabs or charge service fees
  • Scheduled ordering (great for catering orders)
  • Custom in-house and third-party delivery program setup
  • Menu item visibility/customization features across devices, platforms, and locations
  • Intuitive kitchen display system (KDS) and kitchen workflow rules
  • Ingredient-level inventory tracking
  • Automated inventory updates
  • Menu item performance tracking
  • Invoicing (great for charging event hosting/catering deposits)
  • Floor planning (using templates or from scratch)
  • Employee clock-in/clock-out on Toast POS devices
  • Employee scheduling and performance reports
  • HR and payroll integrations (paid add-on)
  • Loyalty program (paid add-on)
  • Gift card program (paid add-on)
  • Self-ordering restaurant kiosks

Toast Monthly Software Pricing

Toast’s monthly subscription pricing plans include:

  • Starter: $0/month
  • Standard: $69/month
  • Essentials: $165/month
  • Custom: Must call for a quote

Note: The Standard plan has the same features as the Starter plan. The difference between the plans is that the Starter plan has no upfront hardware costs and higher payment processing fees.

Hardware Cost

Toast offers a Starter Kit only for business owners who sign up for the Starter or Standard plan. You must get custom hardware pricing on a higher software subscription.

The Starter Kit includes the Toast Go handheld POS, WiFi access point, router, POS software, and installation support.

On the Starter plan, you’ll pay $0 for your Starter Kit hardware and pay higher payment processing fees on every transaction. On the Standard plan, you’ll pay a $609 upfront fee for your Toast hardware and a $69/month software subscription fee.

There are also optional Starter Kit hardware add-ons, including:

  • Extra Handheld POS: $409 plus $50/month
  • Outdoor WiFi Access Point: $104
  • Kitchen Printer: $209
  • Cash Drawer: $119
  • KDS: $499 plus $25/month
  • Kiosk Terminal: $769 plus $90/month

Payment Processing

Toast offers an in-house restaurant credit card processing system at the following payment processing rates, which are dependent on your subscription plan:

  • Starter Plan: 2.99% plus $0.15 per card-present or card-not-present transaction
  • Standard Plan: 2.49% plus $0.15 per card-present transaction; 3.50% plus $0.15 per card-not-present transaction
  • Essentials/Custom Plan: Quote-based

It’s important to note that while you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee on the Starter plan, the higher processing fees you end up paying on card-present transactions can easily exceed the $69/month Standard plan subscription fee.

Translation: If you can pay for your POS hardware upfront, you should choose the Standard plan or higher to get lower payment processing fees.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Toast subscriptions are typically long-term commitments ranging from 1-3 years, with automated renewals. If you cancel your contract, you may have to pay early termination fees. There are no refunds if you cancel your software subscription.

You may return your Toast hardware for up to 90 days after purchase. Toast also offers a limited lifetime warranty for up to three years on qualifying Toast products.

Where Toast Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

Toast offers some of the most granular feature customizations out of all restaurant POS systems on the market, at a reasonable price point for most midsize and larger restaurant owners. Whether your business operates in one location or many, has its own delivery system, relies on third-party delivery services, hosts events, caters on-location or anything in between, Toast software is equipped to help you do it all.

Also, Toast hardware, especially the Toast Go handheld POS, is arguably the most durable, sleek, and lightweight hardware out of all restaurant POS devices. That’s because Toast software was built specifically to run on Android devices. Servers can take orders, send them back to the kitchen, and take payments all from one single device, so customers can get their meal and get out the door faster.

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2. Square For Restaurants: Best Free Option

Square For Restaurants 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

  • Feature-packed free plan available
  • Affordable hardware options
  • Free tableside and online ordering
  • Extensive delivery customizations

Cons

  • No built-in ingredient tracking
  • Not the best choice for multilocation business owners

Square Handheld POS System Features

Square for Restaurants is a highly accessible restaurant POS system, specifically because of its low barrier to entry. Despite the simplicity and low cost, Square has a lot to offer, including the following standout features:

  • Conversational modifiers while taking orders
  • Receipt printing from the handheld POS
  • Auto-86 menu items directly within the handheld POS
  • Custom tipping rules
  • Modify menu item availability and pricing based on location and ordering platform
  • Barcode creation/scanner (great for selling retail items)
  • Integrated scale (great for delis,  frozen yogurt shops, cafes, etc.)
  • Free online gift card generator
  • Free QR menu and payment code generator
  • Free Square online ordering platform with online order cutoff times
  • In-house delivery system or Square On-Demand delivery fulfillment service setup
  • Delivery fee parameters
  • Square KDS
  • Customer-facing displays
  • Integrations for Caviar, Doordash, and Postmates
  • Square invoicing (great for catering)
  • Scheduled takeout/delivery orders
  • Free appointment scheduler, which can act as a free reservation system
  • Google Ordering integration
  • Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok integrations
  • Employee scheduling and permissions
  • Employee clock-in/clock-out through the handheld POS
  • Square Marketing (paid add-on)
  • Square Loyalty (paid add-on)
  • Payroll integration (paid add-on)
  • Multilocation management (paid add-on)

Square Monthly Software Pricing

  • Free: $0/month, unlimited devices in one location
  • Plus: $60/month/location, includes one device; extra devices cost $40/month/device
  • Premium: Custom pricing for businesses that process over $250,000/year
  • Square Loyalty: $45/month
  • Square Marketing: $15/month-$425/month (dependent on number of email contacts)

Hardware Cost

In addition to its range of software features for different business types and sizes, there is an entire suite of Square hardware options (read our guide to hardware and POS bundles). You can also configure your own iPads as registers, KDS, customer-facing displays, and self-ordering terminals.

Square’s handheld POS options include the Square Terminal ($299) and the Square mobile POS kit (also $299.) The Square mobile POS kit is a new hardware offering and is designed to rival the Toast Go 2.

Both handheld POS systems come with an integrated card reader. You can also combine the $49 Square Contactless Card + Chip Reader and a smartphone to take payments on the go (at a farmer’s market, popup event, etc.) without needing to purchase as many full-fledged POS systems.

Square offers equipment financing, often at 0% interest, for merchants who cannot afford to buy equipment outright.

Payment Processing

Square has an in-house payment processor, which every merchant must use. On the free plan, you will be charged the following payment processing fees:

  • Card-Present Payments: 2.6% plus $0.10
  • Card-Not-Present Payments: 3.5% plus $0.15
  • Online Order Payments: 2.9% plus $0.30

On the Plus plan ($60/location/month), your payment processing rates are:

  • Card-Present Payments: 2.5% plus $0.10
  • Card-Not-Present Payments: 3.5% plus $0.15
  • Online Order Payments: 2.6% plus $0.30

If you have higher sales volumes, consider enrolling in the Plus plan. The reduced payment processing fees may cover the paid subscription fee and then some.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square’s contracts are month-to-month with no cancellation penalties. Square also offers a generous hardware warranty, which even covers any devices you purchase from a third-party seller.

Where Square Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

Square’s numerous free features and its ease of use make this POS provider an excellent choice for single-location restaurant businesses. On the free plan, you can use an unlimited number of Square handheld restaurant POS systems, which is not common among POS providers. You can also build an online ordering site for free, with free takeout and delivery functionalities.

Square’s new mobile POS kit is close to the Toast Go 2. It’s even built for Android devices, which are typically stronger than iOS devices. While Square doesn’t have as many features as Toast, for the price point (read: free), most small to midsize single-location restaurant owners will be incredibly satisfied with what Square has to offer.

Get Started With Square For Restaurants POS

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3. TouchBistro: Best Server Features

TouchBistro



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Pros

  • Made by and for restaurant servers
  • Excellent offline mode
  • In-house reservation system
  • Features for several types of restaurants

Cons

  • Add-ons can get expensive
  • Self-serve kiosk has been discontinued

TouchBistro restaurant handheld POS system

TouchBistro Handheld POS System Features

TouchBistro is a POS system built with both servers and restaurant owners in mind, which is why it includes the following standout features:

  • Offline mode, so you can take orders and payments without WiFi (great for food trucks, off-premises events, etc.)
  • Highly customizable POS user interface
  • Quick serve POS modes
  • Menu item information (e.g. chef’s notes, allergens) available on the handheld POS
  • Easy table transfers via handheld POS
  • Upsell and combination suggestions popups on POS
  • Order printing from POS
  • POS auto-86s items and sends out low-stock alert
  • Create/edit menus for different events, seasons, sales platforms, times of day, physical locations, and more
  • Tableside ordering via QR code ordering generator
  • Extensive customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Integrated barcode scanner
  • Floor planning
  • Sell by weight
  • Card pre-authorizations
  • Track and bill meals by party or by seat
  • Large party/catering charges
  • In-house and third-party delivery options
  • Automated and manual discounts based on customer, time of day, and more
  • Track inventory, food cost, and menu item performance with handheld POS
  • Customizable KDS for meal coursing
  • Orders automatically sent to KDS/kitchen printers from POS
  • Employee clock-in/clock-out via POS
  • Table tracking (party size, course, time spent at table)
  • Online ordering platform (paid add-on)
  • Reservations platform (paid add-on)
  • Loyalty program (paid add-on)
  • Gift cards (paid add-on)

TouchBistro Monthly Software Pricing

TouchBistro charges a base subscription of $69/month for one register. If you need more registers, then you must contact TouchBistro for a quote.

The following add-on features are available:

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

While the add-ons seem expensive (especially Online Ordering and Reservations), you are not charged any cover fees, commissions, or service charges for orders or reservations placed through TouchBistro.

Hardware Cost

TouchBistro runs on iPads and iPad Minis, which you may source yourself or purchase from TouchBistro. TouchBistro supports hardware from third-party suppliers such as Chase Payments Solutions (formerly Chase Merchant Services), Square, Star Micronics, Verifone, and Epson.

Check with TouchBistro before purchasing any hardware to make sure the hardware models are compatible with TouchBistro software. Alternatively, you can contact TouchBistro for a quote on hardware and make your purchases through the POS company.

Payment Processing

TouchBistro offers its own in-house payment processing solution, TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase), which uses an interchange-plus pricing model. You have to contact TouchBistro for a custom quote.

Interchange-plus pricing can help you get the lowest payment processing rates, depending on your business size, model, and merchant account terms.

You may use third-party payment processors such as Square, TSYS, Worldpay (which we don’t typically recommend), Barclaycard, or Chase to process payments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Contracts are month-to-month. However, some customers have complained of being roped into longer contracts, so be sure to read any contracts – especially merchant account contracts – before signing up for your POS software subscription.

Also, shop around for some better deals before approaching TouchBistro for a quote. You can almost always negotiate a contract for quote-based subscriptions.

Where TouchBistro Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

TouchBistro is a fantastic handheld POS system for both everyday server use and for expanding your restaurant business. With a highly customizable user interface and niche restaurant features, TouchBistro has everything any food service business needs for success.

Admittedly, TouchBistro’s add-ons, such as online ordering and reservations, seem expensive. However, considering that other POS providers such as Square and Toast currently charge extra monthly fees or rely on third-party software subscriptions such as OpenTable (which charges a monthly subscription fee and per-order fees) to meet restaurant owners’ needs, TouchBistro can end up being comparable in price to other restaurant POS providers.

TouchBistro’s offline mode also makes it one of the best food truck POS systems.

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4. Revel: Best For Large & Multilocation Restaurants

Revel POS Systems



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Pros

  • Strong offline mode
  • Excellent multilocation management
  • In-depth inventory and reporting features
  • Advanced online ordering, reservation, and delivery functions

Cons

  • Expensive one-time implementation fee
  • Early termination fee
  • Lots of contract requirements

Revel handheld POS for restaurants

Revel Handheld POS System Features

Revel is a powerhouse of a POS system built for midsize and larger restaurants, multi-location businesses, catering companies, and a number of other restaurant types, which is why Revel includes the following features in addition to basic restaurant POS features:

  • Offline ordering and payments mode
  • QR code ordering and payment
  • Extensive floor planning via POS
  • Catering planning and reporting
  • Built-in reservations and waitlist via handheld POS
  • Customer order/waitlist update texts via Twilio integration
  • Card pre-authorizations
  • Built-in age verification (great for wineries, nightclubs, etc.)
  • Auto-86 menu items across all ordering platforms
  • Integrated barcode scanner
  • Integrated weight scale
  • Self-serve kiosks
  • Online ordering site (paid add-on)
  • Custom loyalty and gift card programs
  • Custom menus based on location, ordering platform, dining type, time of day, season, self-serve ordering, etc.
  • Pre-planned and real-time discounts
  • Item timing specifications from handheld POS
  • KDS customization
  • Purchase order creation and monitoring
  • Automated item reordering based on custom low-stock levels
  • Custom delivery settings and optimized driver delivery routes
  • Integration with third-party delivery services
  • Shift scheduling, with automated email schedule updates for employees
  • Enterprise Management System (EMS) for managing several establishments in one centralized online place

Revel Monthly Software Pricing

Revel only lists the following pricing information online:

  • $99/month/terminal, with a two-terminal minimum requirement, meaning that the minimum monthly payment is $198/month
  • $674 one-time implementation fee

You may contact Revel about a different pricing plan, but Revel pushes this plan as the best option, pricing-wise.

Hardware Cost

Revel runs on iPads and iPad Minis. Revel does sell iPad stands.

You may use hardware from providers such as Ingenico, Honeywell,  Infinite Peripherals, Epson, Linksys, Brecknell, and Zebra to meet your card reader, barcode scanner, cash drawer, ID card swiper, scale, and router needs.

You can source this third-party hardware yourself or contact Revel for a quote on equipment.

Payment Processing

Revel provides its own in-house payment processing solution, Revel Advantage, which is powered by Worldpay. You must fill out a merchant account application and sign a three-year minimum merchant agreement to get the above monthly subscription pricing.

You may also use third-party payment processors such as First Data (now known as Fiserv), Heartland, TSYS, Elavon, and Chase to process payments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Revel has a two-terminal and three-year minimum contract requirement. You will be charged an early termination fee if you decide to cancel your contract.

You are billed annually for your subscription. Consider negotiating with Revel for a short-term monthly contract to try out the software before signing onto a lengthy contract.

Revel covers hardware for the first year of the manufacturer’s warranty. After that, you must contact the manufacturer to find out about equipment replacement options.

Where Revel Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

Revel is one of the best handheld POS systems for restaurants that are midsize and larger, as well as restaurant businesses with several physical establishments. This is because Revel’s diverse feature set and EMS setup provide everything larger business owners need to take their restaurants to the next level at a price point they can afford.

Plus, Revel’s intuitive bar-to-dining seating flow, automated/manual discounts, strong offline mode, and built-in age verification make Revel one of the best POS systems for bars and nightclubs.

Get Started With Revel POS Systems

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5. talech: Best Affordable Option

talech POS



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Pros

  • Affordable online ordering, gift card, and loyalty program
  • Choice of payment processor
  • Good inventory features
  • Customer profile building for marketing purposes

Cons

  • No direct third-party delivery service integration
  • Limited offline functionality

talech handheld POS system for restaurants

talech Handheld POS System Features

talech is a hidden gem of a POS system for restaurants that want an affordable handheld POS solution with almost every restaurant operations feature needed to run an establishment built into the software. talech offers your standard restaurant POS functions, plus these great features:

  • QR codes for menus and contactless ordering
  • Order holds within handheld POS
  • Order transfers to another coworker
  • Item bundling (great for selling meal kits, combos, prepackaged goods, etc.)
  • Wholesale item breakdowns (great for breaking down cases of beer and wine for individual sale)
  • Sell by weight
  • Automated meal coursing
  • Manager and employee ID swipe cards, with varying permission levels
  • Branded, mobile-responsive online ordering website
  • Menu syncing across locations and online ordering platform
  • Online scheduling (can be used for events/reservations)
  • Automated discounts based on product tags
  • Automated customer profile generation when customer orders
  • Built-in loyalty and gift card program
  • Table mapping
  • Self-serve kiosks
  • Inventory tracking by category (menu ingredients, retail sales, catering, etc.)
  • Purchase order and invoice generator
  • Employees clock-in/clock-out with handheld POS
  • Add inventory items and complete stocktakes with POS
  • Multilocation inventory, supplier, and purchase order management

talech Monthly Software Pricing

talech subscriptions range from $0/month to $99/month for one device. Additional devices cost $29/month.

Small cafe owners may find most of the features they need with the $69/month Standard plan, or even the $29/month Starter plan.

However, most restaurant owners will find the $99/month Premium plan is worth the money. The Premium plan includes a branded website, loyalty program, and digital/physical gift card program at no extra cost.

Hardware Cost

talech runs on the iPad and Android platforms. You may use an iPad, iPad Mini, Ingenio, or Poynt device for your POS.

You may use Ingenio or Magtek card readers. Epson, Socket, and Brecknell provide compatible printers, scanners, cash drawers, and weight scales.

You can either contact talech for a hardware quote or find compatible equipment on your own.

Payment Processing

You may use payment processors such as Elavon, Global Payments, Bank of America Merchant Services, Deejavoo with Worldpay (formally known as Vantiv), and Chase to fulfill your payment processing needs.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

talech contracts are month-to-month or annual, and there are no refunds. You may upgrade or downgrade your plan with no penalties.

You are required to pay a $15 late payment fee if your payment is late or talech cannot process a subscription payment. The company will continue charging a late fee every month until you pay your balance in full.

If you deactivate your account, then decide to reactivate it, you will be charged a reactivation fee.

Try talech out for a month or so before deciding to commit to the software.

Where talech Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

talech is an affordable mobile POS system for restaurants that want an online ordering platform, delivery functions, and retail features for one flat rate. talech’s customer history tracking and profile building are great tools for building targeted marketing campaigns, especially considering that a loyalty program and gift card functions come at a low price or are included for free depending on your subscription plan level.

talech has blended together POS system features from the retail, restaurant, and service industries, so you get the best of three worlds for one relatively low monthly price.

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6. Clover: Best For Easy Customization

Clover POS



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Pros

  • Lots of third-party integrations
  • Easy setup
  • Online ordering platform included on all plans

Cons

  • Locked into Fiserv payment processor
  • Must use Clover hardware
  • Clover resellers have scammed merchants

clover flex

Clover Handheld POS System Features

Clover is a very customizable, add-what-you-want POS system. Most of the following features are available through third-party apps, all of which you can find on Clover’s extensive app market:

  • Monitor changing numbers of guests at a table
  • Transfer orders to other sections (e.g. bar to table)
  • Online ordering platform (built by Clover)
  • Scan-to-order and scan-to-pay QR codes
  • Online reservation scheduler
  • Waitlist and reservation management from the POS
  • Reservation/waitlist update texts
  • Integrations with Ubereats, Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, and more
  • Age/club membership verification
  • Custom loyalty and gift card program
  • Automated stock reordering
  • Integrated scale and barcode scanner
  • Self-service kiosks
  • Membership and subscription functions (great for monthly food subscription boxes, members-only pricing deals, etc.)
  • Card pre-authorizations
  • Custom floor planning
  • Ingredient, menu item, retail product, and alcohol inventory tracking
  • Employee scheduling and timeclock

Clover Monthly Software Pricing

Clover sells subscriptions for quick-serve restaurants and full-service restaurants. You may also purchase your Clover hardware and software subscription from a Clover reseller (more on this later.)

These are Clover’s subscription prices as listed on the company website:

  • Starter: $44.95/month (quick-serve); $74.95/month (full-service)
  • Standard: $44.95/month (quick-serve); $84.90/month (full-service)
  • Advanced: $54.90/month (quick-serve); $94.85/month (full-service)

Hardware Cost

Your Clover hardware and software subscription are linked, which means that the company you get your Clover hardware from is the same company that you get your Clover software subscription and payment processing from. Read our Clover POS pricing guide for an in-depth explanation of why Clover hardware and software are bundled.

If you buy directly from Clover, you will get the above monthly pricing. The Clover Flex ($499) is the most compact handheld POS that the company offers. The Clover Mini ($799) is a little bigger but is more feature-rich than the Clover Flex.

Payment Processing

If you purchase your Clover hardware directly from Clover, you will pay a payment processing rate of 2.3% plus $0.10 per card-present transaction, and 3.5% plus $0.10 per card-not-present transaction.

If you purchase your Clover hardware from a reseller, you will get a custom payment processing rate. Many resellers use an interchange-plus pricing model, so you may get a better payment processing deal if you buy from one of these best Clover POS resellers.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Clover’s payment processor, Fiserv, is not a highly rated merchant services provider, namely because of lengthy contracts and hidden fees. To avoid this, find a reputable Clover reseller and work with them.

Also, you must use Clover hardware no matter who you sign a merchant agreement with. You cannot bring any of your own hardware or repurpose Clover equipment in any way.

Make sure you really like Clover devices and software before signing any merchant agreement, since it can be really hard to switch later on.

Where Clover Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

Clover is a great wireless POS system for restaurants because of its simplistic setup and extensive app market. Clover hardware is sturdy and easy to learn, which restaurant owners with high employee turnover rates will appreciate. Since Clover was made to operate like a smartphone, just about anyone can get the hang of it.

Related: Here are 10 ways to reduce restaurant turnover rates so your servers can spend less time training and more time taking care of guests.

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7. Lightspeed: Best For Quick-Serve Restaurants

Lightspeed Restaurant POS



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Pros

  • Several customizable third-party delivery integrations
  • eCommerce integration
  • Loyalty program that includes text/email marketing
  • Simple user interface for servers

Cons

  • No offline mode
  • Early termination fees

Lightspeed Restaurant wireless restaurant POS.

Lightspeed Restaurant Handheld POS System Features

Lightspeed Restaurant is a powerhouse of a POS system for restaurants of all sizes. These are some of Lightspeed’s best features:

  • Quick service mode to reduce order processing time
  • Table service mode with coursing and table monitoring
  • Tableside QR code ordering
  • Floor planning from handheld POS
  • Customer self-ordering kiosks
  • Customer-facing displays
  • Raw ingredient tracking
  • Low-stock alerts
  • Auto-86 out-of-stock menu items
  • Customizable branded online ordering platform
  • Automated synced third-party delivery app order dashboard, so you can see orders from all dine-in, takeout, and delivery ordering channels at once on your POS and KDS (paid add-on)
  • Custom settings for different in-house and third-party delivery apps
  • Extensive loyalty program with targeted campaigns (paid add-on for some Lightspeed users)
  • Text and emailing marketing within the loyalty app
  • Timed discounts and meal deals
  • KDS allows for order prioritization, tracking prep time, and sorting orders
  • Integration with Homebase employee management system

Lightspeed Restaurant Monthly Software Pricing

Lightspeed lists the following subscription pricing online:

  • Essentials: $39/month
  • Plus: $119/month
  • Pro: $289/month

All plans come with one register. Extra registers cost $39/month/register.

Note: Lightspeed lists these plans online, but you must get a custom quote to find out how much you’ll be paying in fees and whether you’ll pay on a monthly or annual basis.

Depending on your plan, you may have to pay extra for Lightspeed’s loyalty program, gift cards, advanced inventory functions, and advanced reporting.

Lightspeed Delivery, an online portal that automatically syncs all your in-house and third-party app orders within your POS, is available as an add-on purchase.

Hardware Cost

Lightspeed software can run on iPads and iPhones. Choose an iOS device that is large enough for servers and customers to read from.

You must purchase a Verifone or Lightspeed Mobile Tap card reader (which is similar in design to the Square Contactless Chip + Card reader) directly from Lightspeed if you want to use Lightspeed Payments for payment processing.

Lightspeed POS is also compatible with Ingenio, Verifone, and BBPOS card readers if you decide against Lightspeed’s payment processor.

You may use Honeywell, Zebra, Vasario, Star Micronics, and Epson hardware for scanners, cash drawers, and receipt printers. You may source these hardware accessories yourself or contact Lightspeed for a quote.

Payment Processing

Lightspeed has its own in-house payment processor, Lightspeed Payments, and charges the following payment processing fee:

  • Card-Present Payments: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Card-Not-Present Payments: 2.6% + $0.30
  • AMEX Card Payments: 3.5% + $0.10

You may also use a third-party payment processor such as Deejavoo with Worldpay (formally known as Vantiv), Cayan, or Bridgepay.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Lightspeed lists monthly pricing, but you must get a custom quote and sign a service contract. Your service contract will tell you whether you’re expected to pay monthly or annually. If you do not pay your fees on time, Lightspeed will charge a late fee. There are no returns on software subscriptions.

If you purchase your hardware from Lightspeed, you must verify that your hardware purchase is accurate. Lightspeed’s 30-day limited warranty will not apply to your purchase if you don’t. There is a restocking fee if you decide to return a Lightspeed hardware purchase.

If you cancel your Lightspeed account, Lightspeed will charge an early termination fee, which can get pretty steep depending on the length of your contract and whether you got any discounts on your initial purchase.

Our advice: Start off with a month-to-month subscription before committing to Lightspeed for the long term.

Where Lightspeed Restaurant Really Shines As A Mobile POS System For Restaurants

Lightspeed Restaurant is one of the best delivery POS systems. You can integrate your POS system with a number of third-party delivery services and completely customize how your customers can interact with your restaurant within those third-party apps.

It’s also one of the best quick-serve restaurant POS systems because of its single-screen quick-service user interface setting, fast menu editing, intuitive customer self-order kiosks, and color-coded KDS that syncs with all order types/platforms.

Lightspeed also offers an excellent loyalty program that customers are automatically signed up for when they order from your branded online ordering platform.

Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant POS

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Jump back to comparison chart

Why We Don't Recommend These Handheld POS Restaurant Systems

Shopify

While Shopify is one of the best mobile POS systems in general, the standard POS system lacks many basic built-in restaurant POS systems. While you can find apps to piece together your own restaurant POS solution, you’re looking at extra work and extra monthly subscription fees. Shopify also doesn’t have ready-made apps for many essential restaurant features, such as third-party delivery services.

If you’re opening a retail store, definitely look into Shopify. Otherwise, one of the above restaurant POS systems will give you the inventory and eCommerce features that Shopify is known for, as well as tailor-made restaurant features.

Hike

Hike is another great retail POS system on the market, with strong retail inventory and eCommerce features. However, Hike software lacks basic restaurant POS features such as check splitting, ingredient tracking, deep menu customization, and online ordering integrations. The company doesn’t have an extensive app market like Shopify does, so it would be even more difficult to build a scalable restaurant POS system with Hike.

Which Restaurant Handheld POS System Is Right For Your Business?

Your perfect handheld restaurant POS will depend on your business’s size, budget, and dining style.

If you have a midsize or large restaurant, Revel and Toast are great options. If you have a smaller budget, Square and talech are low-cost, big-impact wireless POS systems for restaurants.

TouchBistro has a strong offline mode and a variety of niche server functions. So, if you own any sort of niche foodservice business, or want to take your business on the road, TouchBistro is along for the ride.

Lightspeed Restaurant and Clover are built for fast ordering. They both have great delivery functions, plus a strong loyalty program. If you run a quick-serve restaurant, consider either of these two options.

If you’re looking for more than a handheld restaurant POS, read our post on the best restaurant POS systems to get a holistic view of what’s available.

FAQs: Handheld POS Systems For Restaurants

How much is a handheld restaurant POS system?

A handheld restaurant POS system costs from $0 to hundreds of dollars per month, depending on the number of systems you need, how many locations you own, and any additional features like reservation systems or online ordering.

Read our post on restaurant POS system costs to get a better idea of how much you’ll spend on restaurant POS hardware and software.

What is the best restaurant handheld POS system?

The best restaurant handheld POS system depends on your restaurant’s size, budget, and dining style.

If you have a small budget, Square and talech offer free and relatively low-cost plans.

Toast and Revel are excellent mobile restaurant POS providers for large business owners.

TouchBistro is an excellent midtier POS solution for many niche restaurant types and works especially well offline.

Clover is a highly customizable POS system for small/midsize restaurants, while Lightspeed Restaurant works for quick-serve restaurants of all sizes.

What restaurant wireless POS is easiest to use?

The restaurant wireless POS systems that are easiest to use are from Square, Clover, and TouchBistro.

Square is popular and easy to get the hang of, and you can bring your own hardware.

Clover is built to work like a smartphone, so it’s easy to set up.

TouchBistro is intuitive for servers and restaurant managers, with several recognizable server-focused features.

In Summary: 7 Best Restaurant Handheld POS Systems To Put On Your Shortlist

  1. Toast POS:
    • Best overall hardware and software
    • Monthly fee: $0/month-$165/month
    • Processing fee: 2.49% + $0.15 or 2.99% + $0.15
  2. Square For Restaurants POS:
    • Best free restaurant POS
    • Monthly fee: $0/month-$60/month/location
    • Processing fee: 2.5% + $0.10 and up
  3. TouchBistro:
    • Best server features and offline mode
    • Monthly fee: Starts at $69/month
    • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  4. Revel POS Systems:
    • Best for large and multilocation restaurants
    • Monthly fee: Starts at $198/month
    • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  5. talech POS:
    • Best affordable option for dine-in and online orders
    • Monthly fee: $0/month-$99/month for one terminal
    • Processing fee: Dependent on payment processor
  6. Clover POS:
    • Best customization options
    • Monthly fee: $44.95/month-$94.85/month
    • Processing fee: 2.6% + $0.10 and up
  7. Lightspeed Restaurant POS:
    • Best for quick-serve restaurants
    • Monthly fee: $39/month-$289/month
    • Payment processing starts at 2.6% + $0.10
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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