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The Best iPad POS Software For Small Businesses

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

iPads: “They’re not just a way for tourists to awkwardly take photos anymore!”

(That is just one of the hundreds of rejected slogans I’ve pitched to Apple over the years, but I’m still optimistic. One of these days, I’ll hit the sweet spot and retire on the marketing royalties.)

In all seriousness, the iPad has been an enormous technological breakthrough across multiple platforms and, when it comes to the world of point of sale software, the iPad completely changed the game. Now entire businesses can be run using just a portable, cost-effective tablet and an iPad stand. It’s really no surprise that so many POS companies have developed apps either specifically designed to run on the iPad or that are at least compatible with iOS.

While Apple will always have its critics, the iPad’s appeal to business owners and customers alike is undeniable. But in a landscape where mobile payments solutions like Square POS dominate the market and new iPad POS software proliferate, it’s tough to figure out the best option to meet your needs. Fortunately, evaluating small business software is what we do best here at Merchant Maverick. Read on for a look at some of the best iPad point of sale systems.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Lightspeed POS

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Best for retail stores and restaurants of any size looking for a powerful and adaptable system.
Best for retail stores and restaurants of any size looking for a powerful and adaptable system.

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Revel POS Systems

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Best for mid-sized to larger foodservice businesses, though it can be adapted to smaller restaurants as well.
Best for mid-sized to larger foodservice businesses, though it can be adapted to smaller restaurants as well.

Visit Site

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Square POS

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Small to mid-sized businesses looking for ease of use and a strong built-in payment processor.
Small to mid-sized businesses looking for ease of use and a strong built-in payment processor.

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TouchBistro

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Best for small to mid-sized food industries as well as full-service restaurants.
Best for small to mid-sized food industries as well as full-service restaurants.

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Vend by Lightspeed

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Best for large and small retail establishments, particularly those that are looking to utilize features like eCommerce and loyalty.
Best for large and small retail establishments, particularly those that are looking to utilize features like eCommerce and loyalty.

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Other Featured Options:

  • talech POS: Best for almost any type of foodservice establishment.
  • Lavu POS: Best for quick service or full-service restaurants or basic retailers looking for good employee management.

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

4 Reasons To Choose An iPad POS System

While legacy, locally-installed point of sale systems aren’t entirely extinct yet and still have their merits in certain capacities, it’s hard to argue against the ease of switching to a cloud-based tablet system. And, when it comes to tablets, iPads still reign supreme in a number of ways. Here are a few reasons why iPads are so popular in the point of sale industry:

  • Compatibility: One of the main reasons people are so enamored with iPads and Apple in general is that the company likes to keep things simple. The best iPad POS systems are easy to sync with both hardware and third-party integrations. The iOS platform is known for playing well with others and its interface is almost always user-friendly.
  • Cost Simplicity: Speaking of simple…while iPads aren’t always necessarily going to be your cheapest option for tablets, you can come to expect easy and straightforward pricing, making it so you don’t have to hunt around to make sure you have the best price. And many of the software options for POS that run on iPads operate with similar upfront monthly or yearly fees.
  • The Cloud: If you’re going with cloud-based point of sale software, you might as well go with the company that arguably utilizes the cloud better than anyone. While there were initial concerns about things like security when the iCloud first debuted, it was proven to be a remarkably safe and useful way to run your business. Using the cloud allows you to operate your business and check on things from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.
  • Mobility: Everything in the POS industry is trending toward giving employees mobility in their jobs. Whether giving retail employees the ability to move around the store and show customers options on a tablet, or enabling a server to take and send orders from a table, iPads are portable and durable pieces of hardware that make nearly all aspects of a job easier.

The 7 Best POS Systems For iPad

Good iPad point of sale systems like Square, Vend, Revel, Lightspeed, talech, Lavu, and TouchBistro, all have certain features in common. Each offers robust tools like reporting, inventory management, and integration options, plus a low price point and easy-to-use software. Read on for more details about the best iPad POS systems.

1. Lightspeed: Best For Advanced Use

Lightspeed POS



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Best for… Retail stores and restaurants of any size looking for a powerful and adaptable system

Lightspeed has separate offering for both retail businesses and both quick-serve and full-service restaurants. They are equally strong POS sale systems that run on iPads and start at $69 a month with multiple tiers for business owners who may need more advanced features. Lightspeed has very few weaknesses and is known for its attention to detail in both the retail and restaurant industries. Both feature robust reporting options and an excellent eCommerce platform and they can be tailored for pretty much any size of business.

On the retail side, Lightspeed has strong inventory and purchase order management and there is a loyalty program that can help you track customer spending habits and set up marketing campaigns. Lightspeed also makes it easy to transfer and track inventory across multiple stores. Specifically for restaurants, Lightspeed’s employee management is excellent, giving managers easy access to scheduling and permissions. It also makes menu creation a snap and allows for complex designs.

Lightspeed comes with its own credit card processing system with competitive rates and it has a wide variety of integrations for things like accounting and marketing. Its customer service is also highly rated, featuring 24/7 phone support and helpful articles on its website. While some of its functions can be a little complex, Lightspeed is an excellent option for both retail stores and restaurants.

Pros

  • Scaleable pricing tiers
  • Excellent reporting
  • Strong eCommerce platform

Cons

  • Backend features a little complex
  • Occasional outages

Get Started with Lightspeed POS

Read our in-depth review

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2. Revel: Best For Larger Restaurants

Revel POS Systems



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Best For… Mid-sized to larger food service businesses, though it can be adapted to smaller restaurants as well.

Revel packs a ton into its relatively unassuming software. The company, which functions best as an iPad based restaurant POS, has also expanded to suit certain retail establishments as well. Revel is a fully functional POS and is robust enough to suit large, multi-store restaurant chains. However, as long as you’re not overwhelmed by its wealth of back-end features and an interface that is slightly less intuitive than average, Revel is flexible enough to work with smaller retailers as well. It features a flexible pricing structure to suit multiple needs.

As you would expect, Revel offers real-time inventory management with a convenient matrix for importing mass items and tracking them across multiple locations. Revel also has a fantastic Kiosk option for iPads which allows customers to order and pay on their own with a number of different methods. The Kitchen Display System for cooks is a strong feature, helping to cut down on ticket times and increase communication between the front- and backend of a restaurant.

Where Revel really separates itself is reporting. Its comprehensive suite features a convenient layout and runs nearly any report you could think of. Combine that with a great QuickBooks integration, and Revel makes some of the minutiae and tedium of backend features simple. Revel is a powerhouse of a POS that can handle large-scale restaurant establishments. Though it comes with a slightly higher learning curve than some systems, Revel’s wealth of integrations gives it a big edge in a very competitive market.

Pros

  • Multiple integrations
  • Deep reporting
  • Good hardware options

Cons

  • Somewhat complex interface
  • Higher price point

Get Started with Revel POS Systems

Read our in-depth review

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3. Square: Best For Ease Of Use

Square POS



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Best For… Small to mid-sized retail stores or restaurants that value simplicity and are looking for a strong built-in payment processor.

Square has become a giant in both the processing and the point of sale industry for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is its commitment to keeping things simple for its customers. While Square has one of the best free apps around, it’s also highly scalable; its Square for Retail and Square for Restaurants options each start at $60 a month and have the features to suit small businesses and up to full-service restaurants.

Square’s interface is exceptionally easy to use and the company prides itself on customers being able to get their products up and running and ready to sell in a matter of minutes. Included with Square is its own payment processor which has simple and competitive rates. Square also has its own app store, giving you access to all sorts of potential goodies to download that sync perfectly with Square’s software that can help your business.

Square Equipment Reviews

With numerous hardware options as well, it’s tough to think of a small business venture where Square wouldn’t be helpful. Square is built for mobility and has great integrations for online ordering as well as eCommerce. While its reporting and inventory packages aren’t extremely deep, they are more than suitable for most standard companies. Square’s customer service is also stellar, although you do have to have one of its paid services for 24/7 access.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Access to app store
  • Simple processing

Cons

  • Occasional fund holds
  • Upgrade for 24/7 customer service

Get Started with Square POS

Read our in-depth review

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4. TouchBistro: Best For Smaller Restaurants

TouchBistro



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Best for… Small to mid-sized food industries as well as full-service restaurants.

TouchBistro was designed with restaurant owners and their employees in mind. It’s a highly intuitive point of sale system for iPads that starts with a $69 a month price point. Touchbistro’s strength lies in how simple it is for servers and restaurant employees to navigate, making things like splitting checks, walking through modifiers, and handling voids exceptionally easy. It also has a great kiosk mode and a strong kitchen display system to keep your restaurant running smoothly.

Its employee management system also stands out, allowing you to set permissions for employees and establish security measures while also handling scheduling. TouchBistro’s software is constantly updating to make sure you have the latest features. Services like loyalty, online ordering, and reservations are also available for a monthly add-on fee.

TouchBistro integrates with numerous card processors, allowing you to get the best rate possible. It gives you other integrations for things like accounting or advanced inventory management. TouchBistro has been one of the top-selling point of sale apps in the Apple store for a number of years and features 24/7 customer service. At its price point, it’s one of the more robust iPad restaurant POS systems available.

Pros

  • Simple interface
  • Low upfront cost
  • Multiple integrations

Cons

  • Slow response with customer service
  • Starts with basic inventory

Get Started with TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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5. Vend: Best For Retail

Vend by Lightspeed



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Best For… Basically any sized retail establishment, particularly those that are looking to utilize features like eCommerce and loyalty.

Vend is a terrific option for anyone looking for a tablet POS system. The company offers iPad bundles, which feature Vend’s easy-to-use software and fairly robust feature set. If you’re a retailer looking to keep costs down while not missing out on any top-tier functions, Vend is worth a closer look. Paid plans start at $99 a month.

Vend does a nice job catering to its specialty: small to mid-sized retailers. There is some basic foodservice functionality that makes Vend perfectly acceptable for small vendors like cafes or food carts, but retail shops will get the most bang for their buck (or lack of buck if you take advantage of Vend’s limited but still generous free version). Although the software is geared to smaller, more independent retailers, Vend is more than capable of handling a multi-store operation. Its eCommerce platform (available in the Advanced and Multi-Store versions) is easy to set up and navigate.

Vend thrives in the area of customer management. It offers a built-in and comprehensive loyalty function and makes it easy to take and store customer information for future promotions. The inventory management tool offers everything a small business would need, with the ability to import via a CSV file and an option for creating purchase orders. Vend integrates with loads of other software apps and has strong customer service, although it charges extra for its premium support.

Pros

  • Excellent inventory management
  • Multi-store functionality
  • Strong loyalty program

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Charge for premium customer service

Get Started with Vend by Lightspeed

Read our in-depth review

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6. talech: Best For Foodservice Of Any Size

talech POS



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Best For… Almost any type of foodservice establishment.

There are many nice things about talech but what I really appreciate is that, depending on your size of business, you can really get what you pay for. The Standard package starts at $69 a month and gives you everything you would need for a small retail store or quick-serve restaurant, while the Premium package expands its features to serve larger retailers and full-service restaurants, meaning you’re generally not going to be paying for features you’re not using.

talech does plenty of things well, starting with a strong and functional inventory management system. You can generate your own barcodes and print them from any device, track product history and performance across multiple stores, and create complex inventory bundles. Employee management is another strength; talech makes it easy to track an individual’s sales and actions. There is also a function that makes it so that managers, via swipe cards, are the only ones allowed to make voids.

talech review

talech is constantly updating and adapting to stay on top of current trends. One of the most recent changes is to its online ordering system, which is an add-on that can dramatically increase a business’s sales output. talech integrates with a handful of major companies, including QuickBooks, Xero, Shopify, and Magento. It also offers highly regarded customer service.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Low starting price point
  • Excellent loyalty

Cons

  • Limited integrations
  • Basic reporting

Read our in-depth review

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7. Lavu: Best For Employee Management

Lavu POS



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Best For… Quick service or full-service restaurants or basic retailers looking for good employee management.

Designed specifically for iPads, Lavu is an impressive POS that can fill the needs of most mid-sized food industry businesses (either quick-service or full-service) and some light retail establishments. It starts at $69 a month. The interface is sleek and modern and designed with servers in mind. Order taking is simple and table and menu layouts are all intuitive and customizable. Lavu has a very convenient system for creating and executing modifiers as well.

Keeping with its employee-friendly theme, employee management is one of Lavu’s strong suits. Servers can log in with a key code and their hours and overtime are easily tracked; permissions can be assigned with a simple click. The company has also recently bolstered its inventory management feature, allowing for bulk importing and automatic alerts when products run low. If you are operating multiple stores, inventory can quickly be transferred from one location to another.

Lavu’s gift card and loyalty plans are both available as add-ons, which isn’t ideal. However, once you’ve purchased these add-ons, they integrated seamlessly with the software. Lavu has some other nice integrations, including an impressive customizable kitchen display system and customer-friendly features for online ordering and pick-up. Lavu integrates with a wide range of processing companies as well, giving you flexibility.

Pros

  • Affordable monthly fees
  • Feature-rich
  • Excellent integrations

Cons

  • Occasional bugs
  • Slightly complex UI

Read our in-depth review

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5 Must-Have Features For A POS System For iPad

If you’re shopping for an iPad POS system, you probably have a few things on your wish list you know you’ll need to run at peak efficiency. But here are a few features that strong point-of-sale systems should offer:

  • Cloud-Based Reporting: If you’re using a cloud-based point of sale system, utilizing cloud-based reporting can be a major benefit. This is both cheaper and easier than physically installing software and gives you access to how your business is doing from just about anywhere. These days, it’s possible to run most aspects of your business remotely; having important analytics stored in the cloud and easily accessible is a huge perk.
  • Real-Time Inventory: If you’re working in a retail shop where items are routinely flying off the shelves, or in a restaurant with a wide variety of ingredients, saying on top of your inventory is essential. Having an inventory monitor that gives you accurate, up-to-the-second information can eliminate potential missed opportunities for profit. It can also take some time-consuming tasks out of your hands if you implement alerts for low stock and automatic purchasing.
  • Customer Management: Most point of sale systems will come with some form of customer management, but one that stores customer information and even records spending histories will help drive repeat traffic, tailor marketing blasts, and personalize your business. Many systems will also come with some form of loyalty (often as an add-on) to further help incentivize your loyal shoppers.
  • Sleek Interface: These days, with so much competition in the point of sale industry, there really isn’t an excuse to be using an iPad point of sale system that you struggle to navigate. Most modern systems feature a design that is so intuitive, employees can pick it up with minimal training. The backend should also be simple to use for your managers.
  • Multiple Payment Options: This is pretty much a no-brainer, but customers are wanting to use a wider variety of payment methods than ever before so it’s vitally important that your point of sale system can accommodate those needs. More and more people are also expecting contactless options and POS companies have been rapidly adapting to our changing world. Whatever system you choose should provide payment flexibility.

Which iPad POS System Is Right For Me?

iPad users are notoriously loyal to their devices. If you fall into this category and are hunting for an Apple POS system, you’re in luck. Many of the best tablet point of sale systems were specifically designed to run on iOS — there’s almost certainly an option that will meet your needs.

Most of the vendors above offer good rates on both iPad point-of-sale software and hardware packages, so if you’re looking for an iPad POS stand, a cash register, a receipt printer, or a cash drawer, they’ve got you covered as well. (There are downfalls to using proprietary hardware, however, which we explore in this article about choosing hardware for your POS system. For more information, read our article about getting the most for your money when selecting iPad POS hardware.)

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means. For the full scoop on all the best POS systems for iPad, be sure to check out our iPad POS software reviews. 

In Summary: The 7 Best POS Systems For iPad

  1. Lightspeed POS: Best for retail stores and restaurants of any size looking for a powerful and adaptable system.
  2. Revel POS Systems: Best for mid-sized to larger foodservice businesses, though it can be adapted to smaller restaurants as well.
  3. Square POS: Small to mid-sized businesses looking for ease of use and a strong built-in payment processor.
  4. TouchBistro: Best for small to mid-sized food industries as well as full-service restaurants.
  5. Vend by Lightspeed: Best for large and small retail establishments, particularly those that are looking to utilize features like eCommerce and loyalty.
  6. talech POS: Best for almost any type of foodservice establishment.
  7. Lavu POS: Best for quick service or full-service restaurants or basic retailers looking for good employee management.
Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
A former sports editor and journalist, Matt Sherman has been writing about and researching small business software since 2015, with a special emphasis on retail and restaurant sales. Matt's expert opinions are cited in various industry publications, including Fox Business. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Matt Sherman
View Matt Sherman's professional experience on LinkedIn.
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We recommend Square POS for most UK businesses 🏆

Square POS is an intuitive and simple point of sale platform. It offers customizable tools and a variety of add-ons to fit your business needs and reach your goals.

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We Recommend Square POS For Your Business 🏆

Square POS is an intuitive and simple point of sale platform. It offers customizable tools and a variety of add-ons to fit your business needs and reach your goals.

Get Started

No credit card required

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

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