14 Best Point of Sale Systems for Small Businesses

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A point-of-sale system is one of the best tools for small businesses looking to accept payments. Point-of-sale systems enable business owners to be more agile with their payment processing and forego using the cash drawer. The best POS system allows you to accept multiple types of payments and additional features for financial insight and performance. We’ll look at some of the top POS solutions currently available for this article.

What Is a Point of Sale POS System?

A point of sale (POS) system is used to accept payments, like a cash register. The system has built-in payment processing so you can ring up customers and take payments, including credit card and debit card payments. While cash registers served as an early type of POS, they have since evolved to include cloud-based POS systems and mobile POS systems.

point of sale systems


Our Methodology to Pick the Best Point of Sale Systems

For small businesses, the point of sale (POS) system is more than just a means to transact; it’s the operational hub where sales, inventory, and customer management converge.

When evaluating the best point of sale systems, we at Small Business Trends used a detailed approach. Our scale, where 10 signifies the highest importance and 1 the lowest, guided our assessment process.

  1. Ease of Use and User Interface (Importance: 9/10)
    • We prioritized POS systems with intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Ease of use is critical for quick adoption and efficient operation.
  2. Integration Capabilities (Importance: 8/10)
    • Systems that seamlessly integrate with existing software (like inventory management and accounting) scored higher for their ability to streamline business processes.
  3. Customizability (Importance: 8/10)
    • The ability to customize the system to fit specific business needs was a key factor in our evaluation.
  4. Payment Processing Options (Importance: 9/10)
    • We looked for POS systems offering a wide range of payment processing options, including credit/debit cards, mobile payments, and online transactions.
  5. Reporting and Analytics (Importance: 7/10)
    • Systems with robust reporting and analytics tools were preferred for their role in informed decision-making and business growth.
  6. Hardware Compatibility (Importance: 7/10)
    • We considered whether the POS system is compatible with a variety of hardware or requires proprietary equipment.
  7. Customer Support and Training (Importance: 6/10)
    • Access to reliable customer support and adequate training resources was a significant consideration.
  8. Cost and Value for Money (Importance: 8/10)
    • We evaluated the cost relative to the features and value provided, mindful of the budget constraints typical for small businesses.
  9. Security Features (Importance: 9/10)
    • The security of transaction data and customer information was a top priority, given its critical importance in today’s digital landscape.
  10. Scalability (Importance: 6/10)
    • The ability of the POS system to grow with the business was an important consideration, ensuring long-term viability.

These features collectively ensure that a POS system can not only manage day-to-day sales but also serve as a comprehensive tool for business management and growth.

Best Overall Point of Sale Systems

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of our list, here’s a concise table showcasing the best POS systems and their distinctive features. This table is an easy-to-use reference to help you pinpoint the system that best suits your business-specific requirements.

No.POS SystemBest forKey Features
1.SquareSmall businesses, Restaurants, Retail, and HospitalityComes with card reader, Offers payroll, inventory management tools, sales data, etc.
2.Brilliant POSSmall business across different settingsFull-service solution, Includes POS terminal, receipt printer, barcode scanners
3.PayPal ZettleSmall businessesIncludes payment processing, sales data, inventory management, No monthly fees
4.VendRetail storesEasy to use, In-store transactions, Multichannel inventory management, Customer loyalty programs
5.SumUpSmall retail businessesMinimal processing fees, Fast in-store payments, POS records for customer insights
6.eHopperBudget-conscious small businessesUses reliable payment processors, Includes customer relationship management, loyalty management, Mobile POS system
7.ToastRestaurants24/7 service, Manages in-person sales and online deliveries, Employee management
8.LightspeedRestaurantsEfficient, Enables online ordering, Manages third-party food delivery, Advanced accounting features
9.RevelRestaurantsCloud-based software and hardware solution, Advanced features and integrations
10.TouchBistroRestaurantsIncrease operational efficiency, More accurate ordering, Offers additional data and insights
11.ShopifyE-commerce businessesIntegrates with online store, Offers inventory management, low-stock alerts
12.CloverE-commerce and Brick-and-mortar storesCloud-based POS, Harnesses customer data, Offers custom dashboard with financial insights
13.Shopkeep by LightspeedRetail stores, specifically for inventory managementOffers POS hardware, payment processing, inventory management
14.LiveposRetail stores, specifically for inventory managementOffers inventory and employee management features, Powerful data integrations and dashboards

The right POS system will differ based on your business and needs. There are many different kinds of POS systems available; some are general, while others are industry-specific. Some of the best overall point-of-sale systems include:

1. Square

Square is one of the best POS systems for small businesses because it is easy to use and can be used in a variety of settings. Square is mainly used for restaurant POS systems and retail and hospitality businesses. However, it has become a favorite POS for small business owners. It comes with its own card reader and offers additional features such as payroll, inventory management tools, sales data, and more.

2. Brilliant POS

The Brilliant POS system is one of the top small business pos systems. Brilliant is a full-service POS solution and includes a POS terminal, receipt printer, and barcode scanners, so there’s tons of value for your money. It can be used in many different settings, such as brick-and-mortar stores and hospitality, restaurants and other establishments.

3. PayPal Settle

PayPal has released its own sales POS system for small businesses, Zettle. Paypal Zettle includes various key POS features, including payment processing, sales data, inventory management, and more. There are no monthly fees with Zettle, and it has the backing of a strong payment processor like Paypal.


POS Systems for Retail

retail point of sale system

Retail pos systems are crucial for providing a friction-free customer experience. For ease, traditional POS systems for retail include POS terminals, card readers, and a barcode scanner. Some of the best POS systems for retail include:

4. Vend

Vend is one of the easiest retail POS system solutions out there, with many features to make retail a better experience for customers. For retailers, Vend can process in-store transactions and includes multichannel inventory management.

Retail stores can also use Vend for stock-taking and to track inventory. Vend also includes features for customer management and customer loyalty programs as well. Plus, Vend also has a mobile POS option and is one of the top modern POS systems currently on the market.

5. SumUp

SumUp is a complete service payment solution with minimal processing fees. With SumUp, retail stores can process payments faster in-store, and it can be used in multiple locations. It’s one of the best point-of-sale options for small businesses since it also offers POS system records and analytics for added customer insight.

6. eHopper

For small businesses on a budget, the eHopper POS system can work great for a retail store. With eHopper, you have a payment solution that uses reliable payment processors and more. eHopper includes a customer relationship management option, loyalty management, as well as a mobile POS system.


POS Systems for Restaurants

restaurant pos

A restaurant pos system needs specific types of features, including easy online ordering and table management. Some of the top restaurant sales pos systems are:

7. Toast

Toast is one of the leading POS systems for restaurants, with 24/7 customer service and many powerful features. With Toast, restaurants can manage in-person sales and online deliveries and use POS data to grow their business. In addition, staff can process payments faster with Toast, and there are options for employee management, such as schedules and shifts. So it’s one of the easiest user interfaces for this type of business.

8. Lightspeed

Lightspeed has become increasingly popular in the hospitality field and has steadily grown its customer base. Lightspeed’s popularity is primarily based on its efficiency since it’s fast and reliable with minimal processing fees. With Lightspeed, restaurants can enable online ordering for customers and manage third parties for food delivery. Additionally, Lightspeed also has advanced features for restaurant accounting and other customer management initiatives to help restaurants grow their business.

9. Revel

Used by leading businesses, Revel is a cloud-based POS software and hardware solution with inventory management features. Revel is an iPad-based POS system that offers advanced features and integrations for restaurant owners. Revel’s key features include tools for managing inventory, third-party management for delivery partners, real-time ordering tracking, and additional kitchen management tools.

10. TouchBistro

TouchBistro has a strong name for itself in the restaurant industry for its powerful and intuitive user interface. With Touchbistro, restaurants can increase operational efficiency, including turning tables faster, more accurate ordering, and a better customer experience overall. TouchBistro also offers additional data and insights to improve operations and gain more financial oversight.


POS Systems for E-Commerce

ecommerce Point of sales system

E-commerce requires a very specific set of features to make online ordering easy. With an e-commerce POS system, you can sell online with ease. Some of the best POS system options include:

11. Shopify

For a powerful POS software solution, Shopify should be a top consideration. Shopify is used by merchants worldwide because of its easy functionality and intuitive features. Shopify integrates with your online store for easy payment processing and includes features such as inventory management, low-stock alerts, and other crucial tools for online business owners.

12. Clover

Depending on needs, Clover has many payment solutions for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, including simple card readers or larger payment terminals. Clover enables business owners to take payments with its cloud-based POS. It also includes features to harness customer data, such as a custom dashboard with financial insights and other customer management tools.

POS Systems for Inventory Management

inventory management point of sales system

Many POS providers offer solutions for inventory management to make running a retail business easy and manage stock and inventory. Leading POS systems for inventory management include:

13. Shopkeep by Lightspeed

Shopkeep by Lightspeed is a POS system specifically designed for retailers and offers a lot of value for small business owners. With Shopkeep, retailers can access the powerful features Lightspeed already offers with its POS solutions, including POS hardware, payment processing, and inventory management.

14. Livepos

For powerful inventory management capabilities alongside payment processing, Livepos should be on your radar. It includes inventory and employee management features across multiple locations to make retail store operations efficient and easy. It also has powerful data integrations and dashboards for additional insight into customer data and accounting.

Why Should You Use POS Software?

Having a modern and advanced POS system can enable businesses to run operations faster and more efficiently. Some of the benefits of using POS software has the following benefits:

  1. Speed: You can process payments much faster, giving customers a better experience.
  2. Easy access to data: With so much access to customer data and financial insight, there is more opportunity to grow the business and craft targeted marketing strategies.
  3. Simplicity: Rather than trying to manage multiple payment solutions, you can consolidate finances and have one seamless solution to manage and track payments.
  4. Additional features: Beyond payment processing, POS software offers many other features to help businesses run more efficiently, such as inventory management, customer loyalty programs, online ordering, and more.
  5. Industry-specific features: Depending on the type of business, many POS systems offer features designed specifically for industries such as restaurants and retailers to ensure the software delivers value beyond payments.

How Much Does a POS System Cost?

point of sale system - cost

When planning to invest in a POS system, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential costs involved. You can reference Bankrate’s 2022 data they gleaned from popular POS providers like Square, Shopify, Clover, Toast, and others to get an idea of the typical price ranges you can expect to encounter:

1. Software Costs: The cost of POS software typically falls between $29 and $300 per month. The price often depends on the complexity and range of features the software provides.

2. Hardware Costs: The cost of the physical components of the POS system can range from $0 to $2,000. This includes items like terminals, card readers, cash drawers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners. The cost depends on the quality and quantity of the hardware you need.

3. Installation Costs: Some providers may offer free installation, while others might charge up to $700. This cost often depends on the complexity of the system and whether any custom integrations are required.

4. Payment Processing Fees: Most POS providers will charge a fee per transaction. This typically ranges between 1.5% to 3.5% per credit card transaction.

5. Add-Ons and Integrations: The cost of additional features or integrations with other software (like accounting or inventory management systems) can vary significantly. These add-ons can offer valuable functionality, but it’s important to assess whether each one provides enough value to justify its cost.

Keep in mind that while costs are an important consideration, it’s also crucial to choose a POS system that best fits the specific needs and operations of your business. An investment in a system that can scale with your business may offer better value over time, even if the initial cost is higher.

How Do POS Systems Work?

Most POS systems operate in a similar manner with software and hardware component. A POS provider will include a frontend point-of-sale system software that processes and records payments. The backend of the POS system will have data on the transactions and granular insight such as transaction fees, inventory levels, and other vital functions in retail operations. The hardware is the physical device that collects the payment (e.g., a card reader) and sends it to the software for processing. Once the payment is processed, the money is deposited into relevant accounts.

Sale POS systems may also have additional functionality, including payroll, employee management, and customer tools such as loyalty programs. POS systems also offer finance and accounting data, such as custom dashboards, for greater oversight of business performance.

Relatedly, you might want to check out this informative video, ‘4 Best iPad POS Systems for Small Business’ by Women in Small Business. The video provides a practical and insightful look into iPad-based POS systems, making it a valuable companion resource as you navigate your search for the perfect POS solution for your business.

Image: Depositphotos

Myra Nizami Myra Nizami is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and researcher with a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's from Kings College London.