iPad POS Systems Review
How to Choose the Best iPad POS System
The top performers in our review are Revel Systems, the Gold Award winner; Lightspeed, the Silver Award winner; and NCR Silver, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing an iPad POS system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the 10 applications in our lineup.
What Can an iPad POS System Do for My Business?
Cloud-based technologies, high-speed internet access and improved wireless speeds make the iPad usable as a full point-of-sale (POS) system. You can use an iPad POS app to enter inventory information and other details either on your company's iPads or through a web browser, and the information is stored in the cloud so you can access it easily from anywhere. iPads can process sales transactions seamlessly and back up your information online. Most devices with internet access have access to back-office tools, which means you do not need an onsite backup device or back-office computer.
We tested and reviewed popular iPad POS systems that offer compatible POS hardware. We found that some options, like iPayment, PayPal and Square, include payment processing as part of their service agreement. Some POS systems, like Shopify, can help you manage inventory between your online and brick-and-mortar store. If you are looking for a POS solution for your restaurant, you'll want to read our iPad POS restaurant solutions review.
How Do I Find the Best iPad POS System for My Business?
The best iPad POS System for you depends on different aspects of your business, including your budget and the POS features you require. Revel Systems, our Gold Award winner, has a wide range of features and continuously adds new technologies to its system. For instance, Revel was one of the first POS systems to process bitcoin payments. Lightspeed, our Silver Award winner, has preorder, special order and commission features that make it especially suited for retail. NCR Silver's system is manufactured by NCR Corporation, which first began manufacturing cash registers in 1884. NCR Silver, our Bronze Award winner, offers dependable POS solutions with marketing tools, such as email marketing and loyalty tools.
The first step to finding the best system for your business is to find a POS system that specifically supports your type of business, whether you own or work in a retail establishment, a restaurant or another type of business. For example, if you own a flower shop or a pizzeria and need to make deliveries, you'll want a POS system with delivery features integrated into its program. If you need to manage employees, a POS solution that tracks time and employee profiles may be worth investigating further. If you own a salon or other business where you schedule and manage appointments, a POS system with an integrated appointment manager could save you a lot of time and stress. If you manage a complex inventory, you should look for a POS system with advanced inventory modules. Full-service restaurants could benefit from systems with table managers and order modifiers. Use our side-by-side review to help you find the POS solution best suited for your business.
If you're unsure about which type of system works best for your business, or if you want more information about what POS solutions are capable of, you'll benefit from reading our educational articles about POS systems. However, first we recommend that you begin with our "Where to Start" article, which reviews the questions you need to ask yourself as you gather your POS feature requirements.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an iPad POS System?
There are several advantages and disadvantages to choosing an iPad POS system rather than a typical PC or full-size touchscreen system. Here are some of those pros and cons:
- Your employees can process payments on the sales floor or tableside
- You can send restaurant orders to the kitchens directly from the tables
- Startup costs are minimal
- Customers can enjoy iOS technology they're already familiar with
- Menu descriptions and product information are always accessible
- Online data backup is included in all POS systems
- iPad POS systems require reliable 4G or Wi-Fi access
- Some clerks may consider the iPad screen too small
- Some worry that employees may use the iPads for other purposes
- It can be difficult to enter long inventory lists
- Compatible POS hardware may seem limited
- Some users state that iPads are not as durable as other terminals
Do Customers Enjoy the iPad POS Experience?
Many iPad POS services state that businesses benefit from an improved customer experience by using the Apple tablet device, so we researched this claim to evaluate its merit. We found many advantages for customers, including:
- A cleaner, less-cluttered sales counter
- Touchscreen receipt signing
- Accurate and fast tableside ordering
- Automated tip calculations
- SMS or email receipts
- Fast access to menu or product descriptions
- Shorter wait times
- Faster transactions
- Customers feel confident that your business is using up-to-date technology
What Are the Starting Costs for Implementing an iPad POS System?
First, depending on the size of your business, you're going to need to purchase one or a few iPads and an AirPort Extreme, a wireless router that will allow you to connect all of your devices (iPads, printers, etc.) together. If you already have an iPad and are starting your business out small, you may be able to start with just a credit card reader so you can process debit and credit card payments. Additionally, you will also need reliable internet access.
If you own a retail store or a restaurant, you may want to invest in a cash drawer, receipt printer and an iPad stand. You may also want to purchase an EMV card reader and a barcode reader. Most of these services cost extra, $30 to $70 a month per register. You may receive a lower rate if you pay a year in advance, though in most cases, there is no long-term contract required. For more information about additional expenses with iPad POS systems, read our "Additional Expenses to Consider: Everything May Not Be Included" article.
If you're looking to update your POS system or you're just starting out, you may decide that an affordable iPad POS solution is best for you. If you have limited inventory or limited funds, you may want to look into mobile payment processors. If you'd prefer instead to start with a PC you already own, read more about what online POS services can offer you. For more information on what credit card processing might cost you, see our credit card processing reviews.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
The best iPad POS systems have a range of convenient features, including useful inventory, customer-tracking, and employee-tracking features, not to mention flexible payment processing options. Keep in mind, though, that the best iPad POS system is ultimately the one that will work the best for your business. We recommend searching our iPad POS ratings and reviews to find three or four solutions that look the best to you and then contacting the POS service to see how they can meet your needs. Last, if you're unsure whether an iPad solution is truly the best one for you, check out Top Ten Reviews' other POS ratings and reviews on our website.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the products in our comparison using free demo accounts or by accessing a login directly from the provider. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. The results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.