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7 Best Tablet POS Systems

Looking for an Android or Apple tablet POS system? Check out our guide to find out the top seven picks for the best tablet POS systems.

    Nicolette Kier
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

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 tablet system is affordable, easy to use, offers industry-specific features for your business, offers countertop and mobile solutions, and has advanced features like a customer loyalty program or more thorough employee management.

We reviewed 16 different Apple and Android tablet POS systems based on pricing, ease of use, feature set, and POS hardware options to help you find the best POS system for your business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square POS

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  • Best free option
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no early cancellation fees
  • Best free option
  • $0-$60+/location/month
  • Monthly contracts, no early cancellation fees

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Revel POS

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  • Best for large niche businesses and franchises
  • $198+/month
  • Standard three-year contract, early termination fee
  • Best for large niche businesses and franchises
  • $198+/month
  • Standard three-year contract, early termination fee

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TouchBistro

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  • Best for food trucks and catering
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for food trucks and catering
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts, early termination fee

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Lightspeed Retail

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  • Best for midsize and large retail locations
  • $89-$239+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee
  • Best for midsize and large retail locations
  • $89-$239+/month
  • Monthly/custom contracts, early termination fee

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Shopify POS

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  • Best for omnichannel retail sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts
  • Best for omnichannel retail sales
  • $29-$399+/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts

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Helcim POS

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  • Best for B2B sales and subscriptions
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no early termination fees
  • Best for B2B sales and subscriptions
  • $0
  • Monthly contracts, no early termination fees

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Lightspeed Restaurant

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  • Best restaurant and hospitality POS
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Custom contract length, early termination fees
  • Best restaurant and hospitality POS
  • $69-$399+/month
  • Custom contract length, early termination fees

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

What Is A Tablet POS System?

A tablet POS system is a handheld point of sale system that allows you to take payments on an iPad or Android tablet. You can use tablet POS systems to take payments at events, tables, and mobile locations like food trucks. Tablet POS software is affordable and easy to use, which is why they are so popular.

7 Best Tablet POS Systems

The best tablet POS is lightweight, easy to use, and customizable enough for your business. It also has industry-specific features your business needs and lots of compatible POS hardware.

Our top choices include:

Pricing Device Compatibility Hardware Cost Payment Processing Fee Free Trial
Square $0-$60+/location/month Apple, Android $49-$1,189 2.5%-2.9%
Revel $198+/month Apple Custom Custom
TouchBistro $69-$399+/month Apple Custom Custom
Lightspeed Retail $89-$239+/month Apple Custom 2.6%-2.9%
Shopify $29-$399+/month Apple, Android $49-$459 2.4%-2.9%
Helcim $0 Apple, Android $99-$349 Custom interchange-plus
Lightspeed Restaurant $69-$399+/month Apple Custom 2.6%-2.9%

Square POS: Best Free Option

Total Rating 4.9
Pricing4.9

Ease Of Use5.0

Features4.8

Customer Service4.7

User Reviews4.8

Pricing

$0/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$49-$799

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

Pros

  • Completely free POS software plans
  • Free online store builder
  • Retail, restaurant, and service business software plans
  • Affordable card readers and tablet stands

Cons

  • Must use Square for payment processing
  • Average inventory management

Square tablet POS system

Square tablet POS system installed on iPad.

Why We Chose Square POS As The Best Free Option

We love that Square has created such a low barrier to entry for new business owners, offering free POS software, a free website builder, and a low-cost card reader that's compatible with all tablets. Additionally, Square offers several tablet apps besides its base POS app, including kitchen display system (KDS) software, an appointment booking app, and self-checkout software.

This provider also offers a low-cost stand accessory to turn your basic tablet into a countertop register with an integrated card reader, as well as a mount so you can use your tablet on the wall as a KDS, tilted as a self-checkout screen, or tilted on the counter so employees can shift tablets to better angles.

Note: Square offers a completely free plan that you can sign up for today and a 30-day free trial on paid plans.

Square POS Pricing

Square POS Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0/month If you have basic POS and processing needs
Square Appointments $0-$69/month If you are a business with extensive scheduling needs
Square For Retail $0-$89/month If you are a retail business with needs for advanced features
Square For Restaurants $0-$60/month If you are in the foodservice industry and need restaurant-specific features
Square Online Store $0/month depending on plan If you have eCommerce needs

The Square For Retail Plus plan includes inventory management features like vendor management, inventory counts, automated purchase ordering, and barcode printing. You can also accept cross-location returns and exchanges on the Plus plan.

The Square For Restaurants Plus plan includes an unlimited number of Square KDS software licenses that you can install on tablets, full-service restaurant features like seat and course management, plus operations management features like menu reports, section reports, and the ability to duplicate one tablet’s settings across all devices.

Square also offers an appointment booking software for service businesses, called Square Appointments.

Note: All free plans apply to single-location businesses only. If you open up multiple locations, you must upgrade to a Plus plan.

Popular add-ons include Square Loyalty ($45+/month), Square Payroll ($35+/month), and Square Marketing ($15+/month).

Square POS Features

Square POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management With Square for Restaurants
Delivery Management Add on
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Square has software features for retail, restaurant, and service businesses, but no matter which industry plan you choose, you get these free features:

  • Square Online: Free Square online store builder that allows you to sell retail items, take restaurant orders, and/or schedule appointments
  • Square Invoices: Free invoice builder to send estimates, charge deposits, and charge cards on file for things like catering orders, multi-stage home improvement projects, or B2B retail orders
  • Unlimited Devices: On the free plan, you can use an unlimited number of tablets at your location
  • Square Checkout Links: Accept payments via QR code, hyperlink, email, text, social media profile, or buy button embedded in a website
  • Square Dashboard: Manage your inventory, reports, online store, appointments, customer profiles, and your team from anywhere on one tablet dashboard

Square Online store

Square Online free online store builder.

Retail establishments will appreciate the Square social media integrations so you can sell on Instagram or make TikTok sales, the Google product listing integration, and features like product reviews and saved carts.

Restaurants will appreciate that Square offers delivery solutions for restaurants that have delivery staff as well as those who need to call on Square’s DoorDash delivery partners. You can also integrate Square with all major third-party delivery platforms, embed your Square ordering site on your Google business profile, and route all orders from all ordering sources to your kitchen display screens.

Service businesses such as salons or home repair businesses will appreciate the Google appointment booking integration, customer confirmation notifications and automated reminders, retail sales capabilities, and the ability to manage resources like manpower, in-store product usage, and tools.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

Square pos hardware

Square POS software on tablet, tablet in Square Stand, and on mobile device, with Square contactless card reader.

Square is compatible with just about any tablet, Apple or Android, as well as desktops and smartphones.  You’ll need at least the $49 Square contactless card reader to take payments in person.

The Square Stand costs $149 and includes a sleek stand with an integrated card reader, turning a basic tablet into a sleek countertop POS solution.

Payment Processing Costs

You may only use Square for payment processing, and the provider charges these payment processing fees for these payment types:

  • Card-Present: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Online: $2.9 + $0.30
  • Invoice: 3.3% + $0.30
  • Manually-Keyed Card: 3.5% + $0.15

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square offers month-to-month contracts with no early cancellation fees, plus an excellent POS hardware warranty if you decide to buy any Square hardware.

Get Started With Square POS

Read our in-depth review

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Revel POS: Best For Large Niche Businesses & Franchises

Total Rating 3.9
Pricing3.6

Ease Of Use3.9

Features4.3

Customer Service4.2

User Reviews3.8

Pricing

Quote-based

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Retail, restaurant, service, and B2B feature in one software plan
  • Highly customizable
  • Lots of third-party software integrations
  • Several Revel tablet apps

Cons

  • Long-term contract
  • Early termination fee
  • Can get expensive

Revel tablet POS

Revel tablet POS system delivery driver management.

Why We Chose Revel POS For Large Niche Businesses & Franchises

We love that Revel is such a versatile tablet POS system, offering a single software plan with retail, restaurant, service, and niche features that are equipped for single and multi-location businesses. We also like that the tablets can be used for a variety of functions and that Revel offers many compatible hardware accessories like weight scales and customer-order monitor screens that sync up to kitchen display screens.

This tablet POS also integrates with several third-party software providers for anything from drive-through management to liquid inventory management to security camera monitoring.

No matter what kind of large, complex, or niche needs your business has, there's a custom Revel solution out there for you.

Revel POS Pricing

Revel POS Plans Price  When To Use
Revel plan Quote-based: three-year commitment for cheapest plan Use if you are committed to the product and have a need for high-end features.

Revel’s only advertised software plan applies to business owners who sign up for Revel’s standard three-year contract, agree to use Revel’s in-house payment processor and use a minimum of two POS terminals.

Most businesses will need a custom quote since many add-ons, like online ordering or the holistic driver delivery solution, cost an extra monthly fee.

Revel POS Features

Revel POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Revel uniquely offers one tablet POS software plan that includes retail, restaurant, and service features, so business owners won’t have to choose one type of software and try to make it work for several different things. This is great for businesses like restaurants that also want to schedule private events, grocery stores that want to start a hot food area or businesses that want to sell B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer).

All Revel users can make use of Revel’s online ordering for pickup, local delivery, or shipping, as well as the customer loyalty program and thorough business report generator. Inventory management is incredibly flexible with Revel, and includes purchase ordering, vendor management, and stock exchanges between multiple locations.

Revel’s most unique restaurant features include:

  • Delivery Management: Revel offers an excellent custom online ordering and delivery management solution that allows you to create an app that functions like DoorDash, with customer order updates and driver tracking, without having to pay per-order fees.
  • Drive-Through Ordering: Revel is one of the best drive-through POS systems because it integrates with Delphi Systems, a drive-through hardware provider, to equip your drive-through with headsets, order timers, digital signage, and more to create a seamless drive-through ordering experience. You can also use a tablet as an expo screen so drive-through attendants can check orders before handing them through the window.
  • Customer Order Ready Screen: Revel offers an order-ready screen that allows customers to monitor the status of their order, which is a common feature of quick-serve establishments like boba tea shops and hot food areas of gas stations.

Revel’s in-house delivery solution is why it’s one of the best POS systems for pizza shops.

Revel KDS systems

Revel customer-facing order status screen.

If you offer services, custom-made items, or have a rental business, you can use Revel’s open-pricing tool to create custom packages. If you work with other businesses, you can create B2B catalogs, customer house accounts, and volume pricing.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

Revel POS hardware

Revel POS iPad POS register, iPad stand, and customer-facing display.

Most Revel software runs exclusively on iPads, which you can use as cash registers, customer-facing displays, self-serve kiosks, tableside ordering screens, and kitchen display systems.

Revel kitchen display system software can work on Android devices, and the company’s customer order-ready monitors only work with Android TVs.

You may purchase your POS hardware directly from Revel or, with the company’s express written permission, source your POS hardware on your own.

Payment Processing Costs

Revel offers an in-house payment processing system, Revel Advantage. Each business gets a custom payment processing quote.

Alternatively, you may work with a third-party payment processor such as Heartland, TSYS, Elavon, or Chase Paymentech for an additional monthly fee.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Revel’s standard contract lasts three years and comes with substantial early termination fees. We recommend making extensive use of demos and possibly negotiating a shorter contract length until you’re sure Revel is the right tablet POS system for you.

Get Started With Revel POS

Read our in-depth review

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TouchBistro: Best For Food Trucks & Catering

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.6

Features4.9

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$69/month

Online Ordering

Add-on

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • Catering delivery settings
  • Completely offline POS solution
  • Online ordering platform lists locations
  • Custom loyalty program available

Cons

  • Early termination fee
  • No self-serve kiosks

TouchBistro restaurant handheld POS system
Why We Chose TouchBistro POS For Food Trucks & Catering

We love TouchBistro's server-centric POS and kitchen display system setup that helps both full-service and quick-serve restaurants run efficiently. We also appreciate TouchBistro's hybrid online/offline tablet POS setup that allows you to take orders and payments on the go, with no WiFi needed. This feature makes TouchBistro an excellent POS system for food trucks and catering companies.

TouchBistro Tablet POS Pricing

TouchBistro Plans Price  When To Use
TouchBistro Plan $69+/month If you have basic restaurant needs and are interested in purchasing add-ons

If you don’t use any integrations or add-ons, TouchBistro is $69/month for one register, billed annually. The Dual plan includes two user licenses and costs $129/month. The Team plan includes five user licenses at $249/month, and the Unlimited plan includes unlimited user licenses at $399/month.

The company also charges a nonrefundable setup fee that starts at $200 and includes your hardware setup plus software walkthrough.

Optional add-ons that could be beneficial for food trucks and catering companies include:

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

TouchBistro’s loyalty program is a great feature for food trucks and restaurants to turn one-time visitors into repeat customers.

TouchBistro Tablet POS System Features

TouchBistro Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards Add-on
Customer Loyalty Add-on
Marketing Tools Add-on
Online Ordering Add-on
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

TouchBistro’s most unique features for food trucks and caterers include the system’s offline mode, online ordering platform, and catering functions.

Food truck owners can use TouchBistro’s online ordering platform to create a unified online presence that includes all the locations where people can find their trucks, online ordering for pickup using their preferred location, and an estimated wait time. Plus, TouchBistro offers a highly customizable loyalty program and patrons can redeem points at your restaurant, food truck, and popup events.

Food trucks, quick-serve, and full-service restaurants will have no problem with offering catering since TouchBistro offers both restaurant and catering features rolled into one solution.

With TouchBistro, caterers can:

  • Set custom delivery zones and fees depending on how far the delivery location is
  • Require a minimum catering order amount
  • Set an automated “contact us” message for people who try to place an order outside your designated delivery zone (depending on the occasion and order size, it could be worth it to drive a little farther out than usual)
  • Create catering order settings and notes on your kitchen display systems to prep staff for a large order
  • Sell on-site if you’re catering at an event and not dropping off an order ahead of the event
  • Create customer house accounts for repeat customers if you frequently cater to businesses, schools, community organizations, etc.

TouchBistro best POS system

TouchBistro POS system delivery parameters.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

TouchBistro hardware

TouchBistro hardware for large venues.

TouchBistro is an iPad-based system, and you may use several models as POS registers, customer-facing displays, and kitchen display systems. You can purchase iPad cases from TouchBistro or use your own.

You may purchase hardware kits from TouchBistro, which can include one or several iPads, a router, cash drawers, kitchen/receipt printers, card readers, a desktop setup, and a Mac mini server. Alternatively, you may purchase several of these items on your own.

You’ll get a custom quote for any hardware you purchase from TouchBistro.

Payment Processing Costs

You can use TouchBistro Payments, the company’s in-house payment processing (powered by Chase), or you can choose from several third-party processors, including Square.

TouchBistro Payments uses an interchange-plus pricing model, which is an excellent pricing model for midsize/large restaurants looking to save money, and TouchBistro will give you a custom payment processing rate quote.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

TouchBistro offers monthly and annual contracts, with the best per-month pricing on annual contracts. TouchBistro will charge an early termination fee for canceled accounts, though, so consider a short-term contract before committing to anything in the long run.

Get Started With TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Retail: Best For Midsize & Large Retail Locations

Lightspeed Retail

Total Rating 4.1
Pricing3.7

Ease Of Use4.4

Features4.3

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.0

Pricing

$109-$289/month ($89-$239/month billed annually)

Contract

Monthly, annual, and custom

Equipment Cost

$199-$329

Pros

  • Excellent inventory management
  • Several niche integrations available
  • Customizable loyalty program
  • Free barcode scanner app

Cons

  • Early termination fee
  • Add-ons get expensive

Lightspeed Retail tablet POS system

Lightspeed Retail loyalty program.

Why We Chose Lightspeed Retail POS For Midsize & Large Retail Locations

We believe that Lightspeed Retail is an excellent solution for retail stores that may also sell services, digital goods, subscriptions, and other commodities. This is because Lightspeed's inventory management settings allow for all product types, as well as composite items such as boxes and bundles, and custom purchase ordering features.

The POS also has a strong loyalty program, built-in Lightspeed eCommerce integration, and lots of software integrations, so you can do anything from selling rental items to managing warehouses to creating email marketing campaigns. All Lightspeed integrations are made with Lightspeed's tablet POS software in mind, so there are rarely any problems with them.

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

Lightspeed Retail POS Pricing

Lightspeed Retail Plans Price  When To Use
Basic Plan $109/month ($89/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail business looking for strong inventory management and a customizable POS interface
Core Plan $179/month ($149/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for eCommerce and accounting features
Plus Plan $289/month ($239/month billed annually) For single/multi-location retail businesses looking for a strong loyalty program and advanced business reporting

If you want Lightspeed’s customizable loyalty program builder but don’t need the highest-level plan, you can get a lower-level plan and talk to Lightspeed about a Lightspeed Loyalty add-on.

Note: With each new location, you get another register. For example, if you have two locations, you’ll get two registers, one in each location, but will only pay the added location fee. If you purchase a third register license, you’ll pay the added location fee and an additional $59/month.

Lightspeed offers several proprietary add-ons such as Lightspeed Subscriptions and Lightspeed Workflows. The company also offers third-party integrations like Booxi appointment scheduling software and Hubtiger rental software.

Lightspeed Retail POS Features

Lightspeed Retail Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling Standard plan and up
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty Advanced plan
Marketing Tools Standard plan and up
Online Ordering Standard plan and up
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Lightspeed Retail’s most unique features are its extensive inventory management, loyalty program setup, and several third-party integrations that add niche functions your business may need to succeed. The provider’s eCommerce integration also pairs nicely with the entire Lightspeed ecosystem.

When it comes to inventory management, you can:

  • Open multiple locations and temporary locations and monitor/transfer stock between them all
  • Set automated reordering points for individual products and product groups, with preferred reordering vendors and purchase order settings
  • Create product catalogs for B2C and B2B customers, with customer portals to restrict wholesale/custom pricing to only registered clients
  • Mark inventory as used in store (e.g. shampoo used at a hair salon), stolen, or spoiled and generate usage/wastage reports
  • Manage rentals, services, digital goods, and work orders as inventory

Lightspeed tablet POS

Lightspeed tablet POS purchase order.

One of Lightspeed’s best integrations includes quoting software, which you can use to convert quotes to estimates to invoices. There’s also a warehouse management integration, property management software, a rental shop manager, and customer service integrations. Plus, you can choose from several marketing platform integrations and employee management software if needed.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

Lightspeed Retail POS hardware

Lightspeed Retail POS register, Bluetooth barcode scanner, and online storefront.

Lightspeed products run exclusively on iPads, and you can use tablets as POS registers, customer-facing displays, and POS dashboards.

You can purchase a Lightspeed Payments-compatible WisePOS E-card reader for $299 and an iPad for $329.

Lightspeed offers accessories such as an iPad stand for $199, a cash drawer for $129, a barcode scanner for $199, a label printer for $124, and a receipt printer for $399.

Payment Processing Costs

Lightspeed has its own processing solution, Lightspeed Payments, which qualified business owners are required to use (this includes pretty much everyone in the US and Canada.)

Lightspeed Payments charges 2.6% + $0.10 for card-present transactions and 2.9% + $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. We suggest that high-volume restaurants invest in the Pro plan for these lower rates.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Lightspeed requires you to fill out an order form, which will show your custom pricing. You will pay one-time fees upfront and you may (depending on your billing cycle) pay for your software subscription monthly or upfront (in the case of annual or long-term plans.)

In general, the longer your POS subscription is, the less you’ll pay per month. However, Lightspeed charges an early termination fee if you decide to cancel your subscription early, and hardware return windows are short, so consider starting on a monthly plan until you’re sure Lightspeed is the POS for your store.

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail

Read our in-depth review

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Shopify POS: Best For Omnichannel Retail Sales

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.9

Features4.4

Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.4

Pricing

Starts at $29/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$0-$500+

Pros

  • Free POS Lite app on all online store plans
  • Buy online for in-store pickup
  • Affordable POS tablet hardware
  • Very customizable sales solution

Cons

  • Best omnichannel sales features requires paid add-on
  • Added fees for using a third-party processor

Shopify POS tablet

Shopify online store with in-store pickup available.

Why We Chose Shopify POS For Omnichannel Retail Sales

We appreciate that Shopify has rolled out a retail-centric in-person POS app that blends well with the company's excellent eCommerce platform. Shopify offers the "light" version of the POS app for free with all Shopify online store owners and an advanced "pro" version of the app at a reasonable price. Shopify also has the most free and paid add-on apps out of all the tablet POS providers on this list, so you can customize your online and on-site business management features.

Shopify works on most tablets (on both Apple and Android OS) and offers affordable tablet hardware kits. You can also sell on the go with a tablet and the highly affordable Shopify card reader.

The affordable price point and easy setup make Shopify a great choice for business owners who want to sell retail items, subscriptions, event tickets, services, and/or other nonperishables both online and in person.

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

Shopify POS Pricing

Shopify POS Plans Price  When To Use
Basic $39/month ($29/month billed annually) If you have a growing eCommerce business with occasional in-person sales
Shopify $105/month ($79/month billed annually) If you want additional reporting and reduced payment processing fees
Advanced $399/month ($299/month billed annually) If you want advanced reporting and additional discounts on processing fees
Shopify Plus $2,000+/month If your high-volume or large business needs an enterprise-level solution

The best omnichannel sales features come with the $89/month/location POS Pro app, which you can add to one of these pricing plans. These features include things like in-store returns/exchanges on online purchases, local delivery order fulfillment, and shipping in-store purchases to a customer’s preferred location.

Shopify POS Features

Shopify POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support Supports multiple inventory locations
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Shopify’s unique features come in the form of its synced online/in-person sales features, which (depending on your version of the POS app) include:

  • An elegant yet easy-to-use eCommerce store builder with in-store pickup, local delivery, and lots of shipping options
  • Exchanges and returns on online items at any of your retail locations
  • In-app social media sales through TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more, so customers can buy products without having to leave their feed
  • Integrations with online marketplaces such as Etsy, Walmart, Amazon, and Wish so you can get more sales and more exposure online
  • Inventory syncing between all online and offline sales platforms

Shopify tablet POS

Return online sale on Shopify tablet POS.

Additionally, Shopify’s app market of over 8,000 add-on apps (both free and paid) for your online store and your tablet POS system. These apps allow you to add functions like event ticket sales, subscription sales, a catalog builder, customer accounts, a loyalty program, an appointment booking calendar, gift registry and wish list signups, and more. There are very few limitations with Shopify for both online and in-person sellers.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

Shopify POS hardware

Shopify POS register stand with a card reader.

You need at least the $49 Shopify card reader as well as a tablet (or smartphone.) While Shopify works on Apple and Android tablets, Shopify supposedly has more features available on the iOS version of the app.

You can purchase a retail kit for $459, which includes a tablet stand for Apple or Android devices, a card reader, and a dock for the card reader. You can also purchase accessories like barcode scanners ($229), cash drawers ($139), and label printers (starting at $299) from the Shopify website.

Read our Shopify POS hardware guide to learn more about what types of hardware your business may need to run efficiently.

Payment Processing Costs

Shopify offers its own in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments, in many countries. To avoid transaction fees that range from 0.5% to 2% per transaction, qualified business owners must use Shopify Payments.

Shopify Payments 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. As companies increase their sales volumes, they should move to a higher plan to save money on fees. At some point, it may be worth it for larger businesses to switch to a third-party payment services provider that offers better payment processing rates and just pay the transaction fees.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Shopify has monthly and annual contracts. Annual contracts have better pricing, and Shopify doesn’t charge early termination fees. However, you won’t get a refund on any plan, so consider this as you’re purchasing your subscription plan. As always, make extensive use of your free trial before committing.

Most Shopify POS users get a one-year warranty on Shopify POS hardware. If you sign up for the POS Pro plan, you’ll get an extended two-year warranty.

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

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Helcim POS: Best For B2B Sales & Subscriptions

Total Rating 4.2
Pricing4.1

Ease Of Use4.8

Features3.9

Customer Service4.5

User Reviews4.0

Pricing

$0

Contract

Monthly

Equipment Cost

$99 - $329

Pros

  • Custom invoice builder
  • Take deposits and partial invoice payments at the POS
  • Sign customers up for subscriptions at the POS
  • Custom POS and eCommerce cart designer

Cons

  • Average inventory management
  • No built-in loyalty program manager

Helcim free POS system

Helcim POS system advanced pricing for wholesale customers.

Why We Chose Helcim POS For B2B Sales & Subscriptions

We love that Helcim offers a completely free POS solution with custom interchange-plus payment processing rates (which can lead to lower fees) to all businesses. It's a flexible enough free POS for basic retail and food sales, but we believe that Helcim is best for companies that provide services and/or subscriptions to other businesses, government organizations, and/or retail consumers. This could be in addition to one-off sales (e.g. your spa sells clients at-home facial serums on a one-time or subscription basis.)

This is because Helcim has a secure card/bank vault to safely store customer and organization payment information, so you can charge an account on file for an invoice or a recurring subscription payment automatically without any worry about data breaches.

Service-based businesses will appreciate Helcim's custom invoice builder that you can use to send quotes, estimates, invoices, and receipts. There are also custom invoice payment settings. If someone pays part of an invoice at the register, you can attach the payment to that invoice at the time of checkout.

Subscription-based businesses can create custom subscription rules and tiers, and get feedback on any canceled accounts. You can also add customers to a subscription at the register, provide free trials, and sell add-ons (online or in person).

Note: You can create a Helcim account today with no credit card or banking information required until you start taking payments.

Helcim POS Pricing

Helcim POS Plans Price  When To Use
Free Plan $0 If you need free in-person POS software, an online store builder, subscription manager, and/or customer account manager

Helcim started as a merchant services provider and, from there, built free tablet POS software, so you only pay your payment processing fees (which you have to pay no matter which POS system you use).

Helcim POS Features

Helcim POS Features Availability
Multi-Store Support
Contactless Payments
Multi-Channel Selling
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

With all checkouts, whether online or in person, customers will be automatically added to a customer registry. You can sign customers up for subscriptions, take deposits and partial payments, and send invoices, in addition to quickly adding custom products and services, all at the tablet POS register.

Helcim’s unique subscription settings include the ability to create free trials, and customer portals so they can manage their subscriptions, bill on a prorated or metered basis, add one-time fees and add-ons, and send automated reminders to customers when their card is about to expire. If a customer cancels a subscription, you can also get feedback about why they canceled to improve your offering.

Helcim tablet POS

Helcim adds a customer to a subscription at tablet POS.

Service-based businesses will appreciate the system’s drag-and-drop template builder that allows you to customize information fields. You can build quotes, estimates, and invoices with custom recurring payment schedules. With customer cards/accounts on file, you can bill automatically so customers won’t miss deadlines. You can also send reminders about upcoming and overdue invoice payments.

Helcim best point of sale

Helcim POS custom invoice theme designer.

Finally, with Helcim’s higher levels of payment processing security, you can accept B2B and B2G (business to government) payments and get lower payment processing fees.

POS Hardware Cost & Options

Helcim tablet POS hardware

Helcim POS on smartphone, tablet, and desktop, plus Helcim card reader.

The Helcim app is compatible with just about all smartphone, tablet, and desktop devices. To take credit and debit card payments in person with lower card-present payment processing rates, you’ll need at least the $99 Helcim card reader.

Since our last update, Helcim has released a new mobile POS system. The all-in-one Helcim Smart Terminal handheld POS system, which includes a built-in POS register, card reader, and terminal receipt printer costs $349. It allows you to create orders and invoices, and add retail items to an order on the spot. It’s also similar to the Square Terminal and Clover Flex in terms of shape and functionality.

There are also a few compatible receipt printers available.

Payment Processing Costs

All business owners, no matter their size or industry, will get their own custom interchange-plus payment processing rate. For many business owners, interchange-plus processing is much more cost-effective than flat-rate processing provided by companies such as Square and Shopify.

The company offers a calculator on its website to give you an idea of how much you may pay per transaction based on your industry, total monthly sales volumes, average transaction size, payment method mix (online or in-person), and card mix (e.g. Visa, Discover, etc.)

The more money your company makes, and the higher the average transaction size, the better your payment processing rates will be.

Note: Helcim allows you to capture Level 3 transaction data, which translates to less risk on the part of credit card companies, volume payment processing discounts, and a lower payment processing rate for your business. With a Level 3 PCI compliance level, you can also accept corporate cards and government spending account payments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Helcim offers flexible month-to-month contracts and charges no early termination fees, making Helcim a low-risk POS provider for you to try out.

Get Started With Helcim POS

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Restaurant: Best Restaurant & Hospitality POS

Lightspeed Restaurant

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing3.1

Ease Of Use3.8

Features5.0

Customer Service4.3

User Reviews4.7

Pricing

$69-$399+/month

Online Ordering

Essential plan and up

Equipment Cost

$129-$519

Pros

  • Loyalty program on all plans
  • Niche software integrations
  • Quick-serve and full-service features
  • Excellent menu and inventory management

Cons

  • Early termination fees
  • Can get expensive

Lightspeed Restaurant POS tablet

Lightspeed Restaurant tablet POS user interface.

Why We Chose Lightspeed Restaurant POS As The Best Restaurant & Hospitality POS

We love how customizable Lightspeed Restaurant is, from its inventory management capabilities to its numerous tablet POS integrations. The provider has recently changed its plans to include full-service restaurant management features and a loyalty program on every plan, which makes Lightspeed Restaurant one of the best tablet POS systems for restaurants, including quick-serve, full-service, and niche hospitality businesses such as hotel bars.

If Lightspeed's core offering is lacking something (e.g. a reservation system), numerous affordable third-party software options integrate very well with Lightspeed tablet POS systems.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant Plans Price  When To Use
Starter $69/month Single-location restaurants looking to start a loyalty program
Essential $189/month Restaurants with one or more locations looking for online ordering capabilities
Premium $399/month Larger restaurants & hotels looking for custom payment processing rates

Add-ons such as third-party software and Lightspeed Kitchen Display cost an extra monthly fee.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Features

Lightspeed Restaurant Features Availability
Multi-Store Support Essential plan and up
Contactless Payments Essential plan and up
Multi-Channel Selling Online and third-party delivery platform orders
Gift Cards
Customer Loyalty
Marketing Tools
Online Ordering Essential plan and up
Inventory Management
Reporting
Menu Management
Delivery Management Paid add-on
EBT Acceptance
Employee Management
Text Messaging

Lightspeed’s most unique restaurant features include a loyalty program that’s available on all plans, excellent inventory and menu management, and numerous third-party integrations available for you to create your own custom tablet POS solution.

The loyalty program allows you to:

  • Create certain loyalty groups and rewards that apply to those groups only (e.g. student and senior discounts)
  • Allow customers to accumulate and redeem different amounts of points for different items (e.g. apply points towards any coffee order)
  • Create custom time-based rewards (e.g. double the points on all entrees on Tuesdays)
  • Allow customers to redeem points on all dining types (in-person, online, QR code, self-serve kiosk)
  • Create SMS and email campaigns for your most loyal customers, for those who haven’t been to your establishment in a while, and any other group
  • Offer digital loyalty programs and physical loyalty cards

Lightspeed Restaurant tablet POS

Lightspeed Restaurant loyalty program customer group discounts.

Lightspeed’s thorough inventory and menu management settings make it easy for restaurants, especially fast-casual restaurants selling buildable foods, to create orders out of composite items, flag out-of-stock items, and generate purchase orders when inventory dips below a set stock number. You can create custom menus for different ordering methods and restrict menus to certain tablet POS registers or self-serve kiosks, and of course, you can duplicate these settings across all locations.

Additionally, Lightspeed has one of the best KDS systems because of the ability to restrict menu items to certain prep station tablets, create a custom expo station, and funnel all orders from all platforms (including third-party delivery platforms) into one unified screen.

Lightspeed’s most useful integrations are its waitlist and reservations apps, property management system apps, liquid inventory management apps, and employee/payroll software. The hotel bar management capabilities are what makes Lightspeed one of the best bar POS systems.

Lightspeed restaurant POS system

Lightspeed Restaurant POS system hotel management integration.

Hardware Cost & Options

lightspeed restaurant hardware bundle

Lightspeed Restaurant iPad stand, receipt printer, kitchen printer, and cash drawer.

Lightspeed Restaurant software runs exclusively on iPads, which you may use as tablet POS registers, customer-facing displays, kitchen display screens, self-serve kiosks, and delivery managers.

You may contact the company for a quote on iPad bundles as well as iPad stands, cash drawers, and other POS accessories.

Alternatively, you may purchase your own Lightspeed-compatible hardware. You can view compatible hardware on Lightspeed’s support page or ask a Lightspeed representative.

Payment Processing Costs

Lightspeed has its own processing program, Lightspeed Payments, which all eligible restaurant owners in the US and Canada are required to use. Its fees are 2.6% + $0.10 for card-present transactions and 2.9% + $0.30 for card-not-present transactions for business owners on the Essentials and Plus plans.

Restaurant owners on the Pro plan will get a custom lower payment processing rate for their tablet POS system package.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Lightspeed requires you to fill out a custom order form, which will detail your contract length.

While longer contracts cost less in the long run, Lightspeed does charge an early termination fee if you decide to cancel your subscription early, and hardware return windows are short, so consider starting on a monthly plan until you’re sure Lightspeed is the POS for your restaurant.

Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant

Read our in-depth review

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Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.

80+

Vendors evaluated

65+

Attributes assessed per vendor

20+

Features weighed

30+

Combined years of experience


How To Choose A Tablet POS

To choose a tablet POS, consider the following software and hardware features.

Apple POS VS Android POS

Tablet POS software can run on Apple and Android devices, and you have a few things to consider when choosing a tablet POS:

  • Availability: Some POS software providers offer their products exclusively on one operating system or the other. If you really like one software, that may influence whether you get an iPad POS or Android POS.
  • Affordability: Apple devices are generally more expensive than Android devices. If you’re only buying one or two devices, the difference may not matter so much. If you’re buying multiple systems, then you may want to purchase Android devices.
  • Durability: While most Apple and Android tablets are built with the same materials, some POS software companies offer proprietary Apple or Android POS hardware that is more durable than regular tablets. At the very least, you should get a tablet case, preferably one with a hand strap, if you’re going to be carrying it around everywhere.
  • Customization: Android tablets, built on an open-source architecture, are more customizable and flexible in general. Android tablets are also made by a variety of companies, such as Samsung and Lenovo. If you’re more interested in variety and customization, then consider Android-based POS software.
  • Security: Since Apple devices are closed source, you can only install apps that are approved by Apple. Android devices, on the other hand, allow you to install apps from unverified developers, which may leave you more susceptible to security issues. Be mindful of what kinds of apps you install on an Android tablet, and you should be fine.

Ultimately, your choice comes down to POS software compatibility, what kind of hardware you want and how much you want to pay for it, the user experience, and how customizable you need your system to be.

Research your options, read reviews of different devices, and make sure your preferred POS software will be compatible with your hardware before making any purchases.

Mobile POS VS Countertop POS

Depending on your business type, it may make more sense to get a mobile POS system instead of a traditional countertop POS register setup.

If you have a physical location with one centralized customer service area, such as a retail location with a register or a salon with a check-in desk, then a countertop tablet POS system will make more sense.

If you conduct most sales on the go, then a mobile POS is probably the best option. For example, if you’re an artist who sells mostly online but also sells at events or trade shows, a mobile POS solution makes more sense.

If you want to take sales around the store at a physical location to cut down on lines, consider adding a mobile POS tablet system to your countertop POS.

Hardware Options

When purchasing a tablet POS system, you’re not just purchasing a tablet. You’ll need at least a card reader to take payments, and it’s preferable to print receipts for customers in most instances.

Consider whether you want to purchase a separate card reader or a tablet POS with a case that has a built-in card reader.

We also recommend that if you’re purchasing a POS tablet for mobile sales, you should purchase a case that has a strap on the back to reduce the chance of dropping your tablet.

Connectivity

While just about all tablet POS systems work on the cloud, some offer a strong offline mode. Offline mode allows you to take payments without needing to connect to the cloud.

Businesses such as food trucks or event caterers could benefit from POS systems with an offline mode so they can still take orders, run inventory, and accept payments. One of the best food truck POS systems, TouchBistro, has a hybrid cloud-based and on-location installation function that allows your tablets to work completely offline.

User Experience

Always consider how easy a tablet is to see and use when shopping around. Your tablet should have a high enough resolution and touchscreen sensitivity to navigate quickly. Mobile POS systems shouldn’t be too heavy, while countertop POS systems should be large enough to see without leaning in too far.

You may also want to consider POS software that allows you to customize the user interface so that staff can take sales faster. This is especially important for servers in quick-serve restaurants who are trying to get people in and out as fast as possible.

Industry-Specific Features

You’ll need to find POS software that offers any niche industry features you need before purchasing any tablets.

For example, if you run a golf course, the best golf course POS system for you needs to have tee time management either built into the software or available as a third-party integration on a compatible device.

The best POS systems for wineries should include a wine club subscription manager, while the best POS systems for liquor stores should have ID verification capabilities either baked into the software or as an add-on feature.

Which Tablet POS Is Right For Your Business?

The best tablet POS system for your business is affordable, easy to use, runs on the operating system you like, and offers software features that your specific business needs to function well. The best tablet POS providers offer reasonable contracts and allow you to negotiate a good merchant agreement.

FAQs: Best Tablet POS System

How much do tablet POS systems cost?

A tablet POS system costs $0-$400+/month in recurring software fees and $49-$1,189+ on POS hardware.

Can I use my phone as a POS system?

You can use any smartphone as a POS system by downloading a POS app such as Square or Shopify from the Apple or Google Play Store and pairing your phone with a Bluetooth card reader.

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Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Senior Staff Writer
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
View Nicolette Kier's professional experience on LinkedIn.