Best POS Systems 2019

Nate Drake ·
Updated
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A Point of sale (POS) system lets you take payment at whatever time and place a retail transaction is completed. There are two general types of systems available, on-premise and cloud-based. Because each type of business has different needs, each POS system offers varying features depending on whether it’s designed for use in retail, hospitality, or other industries.

In this guide, we recommend the best POS systems available that are most suitable for e-commerce, small business, restaurants and more.

Editor's note: Looking for pricing information on POS Systems? Answer the questions below, and our vendor partners will contact you with a free quote: 

Best for E-Commerce

Shopify

Based in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify has offered a retail POS system with excellent e-commerce integrations since 2013. Its hardware and software products are marketed as “easy to use and ready to go straight out of the box.” Hardware options include components such as a barcode printer, scanner, iPad stand, physical gift cards and a credit card reader. With Shopify, you can set up your own branded online store, marketplace and social media accounts. Shopify also offers inventory management, and your customers can buy online and pick up their purchases in the store. You can also offer store credit in lieu of refunds. The dashboard is simply laid out and displays all sales, orders and website traffic. The system also includes sales and product reports. Shopify POS pricing starts at $29 per month for a basic plan. This includes an online store, unlimited products, two staff accounts, 24/7 support, Shopify POS app and hardware peripheral support. For credit cards, online rates are 2.9%, in-person rates are 2.7%, and there’s a rate of 2% for payment providers other than Shopify. More expensive plans offer more staff accounts, gift cards and professional reports. The most expensive tier has lower online and in-person credit card rates. There is a 14-day trial available that very simple to set up.
Pros
  • 14-day free trial
  • 24/7 support
Cons
  • Relatively expensive premium plans
Get QuoteShopify
Best for Small Business

Square POS

Square POS is free to start off and has a huge number of features that are easy to use. It is an ideal point-of-sale solution for small business. It tracks a customer’s purchase history automatically and sends a digital receipt through its customer directory. This keeps all your contacts in one location, syncs with other Square products and sorts customers by their spending habits. The dashboard can be accessed from any device through its mobile app. It displays insights and advanced reports, and it lets you view transactions and deposits easily. Square Inventory allows you to adjust an item’s size, description and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). Every account comes with a free magstripe reader, and chargeback protection is also included. A Square terminal can be purchased for $399 (or $37 over 12 months). App management, marketplace, sales and analytics reporting are included for all users. If you’re looking for a more in-depth system, Square can build an integrated bundle to suit your needs. Custom pricing plans can be created for businesses which process more than $250,000 in card sales with an average ticket size of over $15.
Pros
  • Free account setup
  • Huge variety of features
Cons
  • Limited inventory management
Get QuoteSquare POS
Best for Inventory Management

Lightspeed

Lightspeed offers two distinct POS systems: one for restaurants and one for retail. The retail POS system really shines when it comes to inventory management, which is divided into four subsections. These include Items & Inventory, Order Transfer & Shipping, Inventory Maintenance and Settings. Purchases can be centralized and efficiently ordered through integrated catalogs. You can also sell bundled, serialized or unique items, all of which are managed through the Lightspeed dashboard. And you can directly import products from over 3,000 integrated catalogs. Note, however, that the dashboard can be a bit overwhelming initially due to the sheer volume of options. Users can also track costs and receive inventory data and low stock alerts from any device. Pricing starts at $99 per month, which includes one register, up to five employee accesses, personalized onboarding, 24/7 support, free updates, secure cloud back and basic reporting. Lightspeed offers a 14-day free trial along with a demo. You can request a quote for more pricing plans which can be tailored to suit your needs.
Pros
  • 14-day free trial
  • Cloud-based
Cons
  • Slight learning curve
Get QuoteLightspeed
Best Integrated Accounting

Intuit QuickBooks POS

QuickBooks is an accounting software package with its own POS system. It is developed by Intuit. As QuickBooks POS works with its own accounting software, it is the ideal choice if you’re looking for an integrated accounting package. This POS system can accept payments from Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and debit cards, along with cash and credit cards. And any payments, sales or inventory updates can be automatically synced with your QuickBooks accounting software. You can view a customer’s history, such as overdue payments, current balances, credit available, loyalty program status and special offers, across the top of your screen each time you process a transaction. Users can make sales with an optional barcode scanner or manually, and the system is now optimized for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which can also be used as a barcode scanner. There are three pricing plans available with QuickBooks POS. All hardware is sold separately, and all plans offer a 30-day free trial. The Basic plan starts at $1,200 as a one-time fee. This includes sales, payments, basic reporting, integration with QuickBooks financial software, and inventory and customer data tracking. The Pro plan weighs in at $1,700, also a one-time fee, and it includes all the Basic plan has to offer plus payroll, layaway, gift cards, advanced reporting, rewards and loyalty program. The Multi-Store package starts at $1,900 as a one-time fee, which includes everything the other two plans do, along with multiple store management, advanced inventory management, and advanced sales and inventory reporting between stores.
Pros
  • Financial software integration
  • 30-day free trial
Cons
  • No mobile application
Get QuoteIntuit QuickBooks POS
Best Value

ShopKeep

ShopKeep is a cloud-based iPad point of sale system. The user interface is very easy to navigate, and your inventory can be tracked by dividing it into categories that can be accessed through tabs along the screen. The navigation pane on the left-hand side of the screen displays transactions, checks and general selections. Users can access customer history from here also. Users can also create custom discounts, tip amounts, perform refunds, accept multiple payments and partial payments. There is a specific section for managers which allows senior employees to monitor shifts, access reports and authorize certain transactions. ShopKeep does not publish prices online. However, we contacted the sales team and they confirmed prices start at $69 per month for the first register. This can be reduced to $59 per month with a one-year commitment. This includes unlimited inventory items, transactions and number of employees. There are add-ons available for an extra charge, and there is no free trial period. You can also get a free quote at ShopKeep’s website for a system that can be tailored to your needs.
Pros
  • Huge variety of features
  • Add-ons
Cons
  • No free trial
Get QuoteShopKeep
Best for Restaurants

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is an iPad-based point-of-sale (POS) system designed for use in the restaurant business. Employees can bring the POS terminal to the table of customers and take care of the bill right there. The system can split checks for parties of all sizes, and you can also text receipts or have them emailed to your customers. TouchBistro also helps you keep track of recipes against menu products and determine costs; You can determine profit margins to help you decide which items to keep on the menu. The system alerts you when stocks are low so both employers and employees are aware of inventory levels. The Solo pricing plan starts at $69 per month which is billed annually. This includes one license and is recommended for quick-service venues who only need one terminal. The Dual package starts at $129 per month billed annually. This is recommended for quick-service venues and small restaurants that want the flexibility of two terminals. The Team plan is $249 per month billed annually and consists of five licenses. This is suitable for midsize restaurants and bars. The Unlimited package is $399 per month billed annually. There is no limit on the number of licenses, and it’s suitable for high-volume businesses that want to scale their POS system as their business grows. All include 24/7 chat and email support.
Pros
  • Built with restaurants in mind
  • 24/7 support
Cons
  • No free trial
Get QuoteTouchBistro
Best for Salesforce

SuitePOS from SuiteRetail

SuitePOS, from SuiteRetail, is designed to fully integrate with Salesforce. SuiteRetail is managed completely in the cloud as part of one integrated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) suite. SuitePOS is one of the only Apple-based POS systems built natively on the Oracle and Salesforce networks. As a result, any business using Salesforce can view all sales, marketing, ecommerce, finance, inventory and CRM in one place. Customer and product information move easily between Salesforce and SuitePOS. Any transactions and payments made in Salesforce can be seen in SuitePOS. And nearly any payment type you can think of is supported: card swipe, contactless, Apple Pay, Google Pay, cash, gift cards, etc. The system works offline, so you can continue selling safe in the knowledge that all transactions will be processed once you are back online. SuiteRetail doesn't put pricing plans on their website. Instead, you’ll need to contact the sales team for an in-depth quote for the features that fit your business needs.
Pros
  • Works seamlessly with Salesforce
  • Enhanced for Apple products
Cons
  • Prices not available on the website
Get QuoteSuiteRetail
Best Customer Support

Toast

Toast is a highly customizable POS system built for Android, and like TouchBistro, it is aimed entirely at restaurants. The user interface is intuitive and has little to no learning curve. Users can manage operations, deploy customer loyalty cards and track inventory. The system also offers online ordering, real-time sales reports, end-to-end encryption, CRM, mobile POS and guest database management. The easy-to-use Android systems can be scaled as your company grows. Mobile terminals allow users to take orders at tables, as well as accept payments and dispense receipts. The company thrives on customer feedback and does its best to incorporate customer suggestions into the system. This can be seen through its constant updates and bug fixes. Updates are released every 30 days, and these include additions suggested by customers. Users can contact the Sales team for a customized quote. Software prices begin at $79 per terminal. You can also pay for expert installation, remote or on-site, with costs beginning at $499.
Pros
  • User-friendly interface
  • Suitable for Android
  • Excellent customer support
Cons
  • Additional cost for add-ons
Get QuoteToast
What Does a POS System Do?

You may think a point-of-sale (POS) system is just a cash register, but the best ones do much more than facilitate sales with your customers. The best POS systems can function as a hub for your entire business. 

Typical POS systems have hardware that lets you ring up orders, including a barcode scanner, credit card reader, cash register and receipt printer. Modern POS systems include much more, though. For example, they include tools for inventory tracking, sales tracking, employee management and customer management. You can purchase each of these tools individually, but you save money by bundling them into a POS system.

What Kind of POS System Should I Get?

Choosing a POS system for your business is a serious decision. The best kind for you depends on what type of business you have, how busy you are, and whether you need it to track inventory, sales and other data. For example, restaurants need systems to assign tables and track orders, while businesses that work trade shows or farmers markets need portable systems.

Cloud POS systems are becoming the norm. To use cloud POS software, you pay a monthly fee, which tends to be cheaper in the long run than buying a costly software license and paying to have a server onsite. There are also no annual upgrade costs associated with cloud systems. 

What to Look for in a POS System?

A POS system can be as complex or as simple as you choose – you can ring up customers on a tablet or have an elaborate checkout kiosk with lots of advanced features. A lot depends on the type of business you have and what you need to keep it running smoothly. As such, before you even start shopping around, take stock of your business. Ask yourself if there are any tools you could use to improve your business, and consult with your employees to see if there’s anything that could help them. This will give you some direction as you navigate all the complexities of buying a POS system. 

You should also take stock of what equipment you have. If you’re upgrading to new POS software, check to see if your existing equipment is compatible with what you’re looking for. Itemize all the equipment you already own and see if you have enough. 

Another part of choosing a POS system is finding a payment processor. Some POS systems come bundled with their own processing, which can save you the headache of finding your own processor. However, if you run a larger business with a lot of sales, you may be better off finding a separate processor. Read our reviews of credit card processors to find out which is best for your business.
What Are the Costs?

As a business owner, your biggest concerns are likely the upfront and ongoing costs. You can get all the equipment you need for anywhere between $500 and $2,000. The software may cost extra, depending on whether it's bundled with the equipment or not. You can pay another $1,000 or so for a software license or $50 a month to use cloud software. The advantage of a cloud program is you don’t have to pay annual upgrade fees.

The price also goes up as you add features. Often, POS systems are sold at different service levels, and the features you want may bump you up to a higher pricing tier. 

One of the biggest ongoing costs is payment processing. Many POS companies offer payment processing, but not all do. And even if you find one that does, you may get a better price on the service elsewhere. Often, it's better to look at payment processing as a completely separate cost, especially if you run a large business.