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Updated Feb 15, 2024

The 9 Best POS Systems for Small Businesses: Our Top Picks for 2024

Jamie Johnson,Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Verfified CheckEditor Reviewed
Best for Overall Value
  • Excellent hardware options
  • Easy-to-use system
  • Ability to manage all aspects of your business
Visit Site
Links to Clover POS
  • Excellent hardware options
  • Easy-to-use system
  • Ability to manage all aspects of your business
Best POS for Retail
  • Many retail-specific features
  • Hundreds of app integrations
  • Free one-on-one onboarding
Visit Site
Links to Lightspeed
  • Many retail-specific features
  • Hundreds of app integrations
  • Free one-on-one onboarding
Best POS for Hardware
  • Extremely durable hardware
  • Inconspicuous design
  • Contactless payments
Visit Site
Links to Toast
  • Extremely durable hardware
  • Inconspicuous design
  • Contactless payments
Best for Omnichannel Businesses
  • Variety of ordering and pickup options
  • Free trial
  • Pricing starting at $29 monthly
Visit Site
Links to Shopify
  • Variety of ordering and pickup options
  • Free trial
  • Pricing starting at $29 monthly
Best for Customer Experience
  • Easy self-checkout options
  • Online ordering
  • QR code payments
Visit Site
Links to CAKE
  • Easy self-checkout options
  • Online ordering
  • QR code payments

Table of Contents

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What is a POS system?

A point-of-sale (POS) system allows businesses to accept customer payments and manage operations. For example, the right POS system can help restaurants manage their menus, accept online orders and handle customer loyalty programs. A retail-specific POS can help businesses accept in-person and online payments, book appointments, manage employees and more.

POS systems include the hardware and software business owners need to operate their establishments. The software is often cloud-based and accessible from anywhere. The hardware often includes a register, barcode scanner, card reader, cash drawer and receipt printer.

  • The right POS system helps small businesses accept online and in-person payments.
  • POS systems provide the hardware and software that retailers, restaurants and other companies need to run their businesses.
  • POS systems help business owners gather customer information and monitor staff.
  • This best picks page is for small business owners and merchants who are looking for the right POS system.

A POS system is a must for many businesses, including retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, and other merchants. However, choosing the right POS system can be challenging. With so many POS systems on the market, selecting the best option for your business can be confusing. To make it easier, we’ve done the research for you. Browse our top picks to find the best POS systems in 2024.

Find the Right POS System for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.

Compare Our Best Picks

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Clover POS
Lightspeed
Shopify
TouchBistro
Square POS
GoDaddy POS
Epos Now
Rating8.9/109.4/109.3/108.6/108.9/109.4/109.3/108.7/109.2/10
Best use case

Overall value

Retail

Hardware

Omnichannel businesses

Customer experience

Restaurants

Small businesses

Tracking sales

Ease of use

Industries served

Restaurants, retail, service-based businesses and e-commerce

Retail and restaurants

Restaurants

E-commerce and retail

Restaurants

Restaurants

Brick-and-mortar businesses

E-commerce

Hospitality and retail

Free trial

30 days

14 days

None

3 days

No

None

30 days

30 days

30 days

Starting price

$14.95 per month

$69 per month

Free plan available

$39 per month

$69 per month

$69 per month

Free plan available

$6.99 per month

$39 per month

Third-party integrations

Yes (100+)

Yes (200+)

Yes (65+)

Yes

Yes

Yes (20+)

Yes (200+)

Yes

Yes (100+)

Third-party payment processor compatibility

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Customer service

Phone and email

Phone and email

Phone, email and live chat

Phone, email and live chat

Phone, text, email and live chat

Phone and email

Phone, email, social media and live chat

Phone and live chat

Phone, email and live chat

Review Link
Scroll Table

Reviews

Clover POS: Best POS for Overall Value

  • Clover is an excellent choice because of its wide variety of POS hardware and software options.
  • Clover is an all-in-one POS solution, though it’s well-known for its payment options.
  • The pricing structure described on Clover’s website can be challenging to understand.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
Visit Site

Clover is an excellent POS option for many businesses, particularly those seeking a wide selection of POS hardware and a good overall value. If your hardware needs are minimal, you can start with the Clover Go card reader and upgrade to its full POS station as your needs expand.

One of the advantages of Clover hardware is how easy it is to set up and begin using the system. The hardware is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box, and everything syncs seamlessly with the Clover dashboard.

Clover is an all-in-one POS solution that allows you to manage your business from anywhere. You can use the Clover Go app to create orders, accept payments and text receipts to customers. At the end of the business day, you can see a complete history of your transactions.

Lightspeed: Best POS System for Retail

  • Lightspeed offers many retail-specific features, such as inventory and customer relationship management.
  • Its focus on retail extends to e-commerce, with Lightspeed eCom and ShopKeep facilitating online transactions.
  • Lightspeed supports relatively few third-party payment processors.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

Lightspeed is a leading POS provider for businesses in the retail and restaurant industries. We chose it as the best POS for retail because it has an impressive set of features geared toward retailers, including advanced loyalty and inventory management tools.

In 2020, Lightspeed acquired the e-commerce platform ShopKeep, which allows retailers to start selling online. The company continues to expand its e-commerce presence with Lightspeed eCom. This platform helps business owners set up an online shop, sell their products on social media and run multiple stores under one dashboard.

Toast: Best POS System for Hardware

  • Toast provides POS software and hardware for restaurants of all sizes.
  • The hardware is durable and designed to withstand a busy restaurant environment.
  • You must agree to a long-term contract.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10
Visit Site

Toast is an all-in-one POS system with durable restaurant-grade hardware options and accessories. It can help busy restaurant owners accept payments and track sales. The software has everything you need to manage your restaurant’s sales, including front-of-house, back-of-house and guest-facing technology. Toast serves restaurants of all sizes, including upscale restaurants, casual dining establishments, bars, nightclubs, food trucks and cafes.

You can use Toast to process credit and debit card transactions and accept contactless payments. The system includes features for marketing, employee scheduling and online ordering. You can also integrate the software with multiple third-party apps, allowing you to create a customized solution for your business. Toast’s hardware offerings include the handheld Toast Go, the Toast Flex register and the Toast Kiosk. A variety of other card readers and other peripheral devices are also available, making Toast a prime destination for hardware-minded business owners.

One of Toast’s standout features is its wide variety of online ordering plans. As a Toast customer, you can choose from multiple online ordering and delivery options based on the features you need.

Shopify: Best POS for Omnichannel Businesses

  • Shopify is the best POS for omnichannel businesses.
  • The software comes with various ordering and pickup options.
  • Shopify’s free trial lasts only three days.

 

Editor's Rating: 8.6/10
Visit Site

Shopify is best known for its e-commerce platform, but the company also offers a comprehensive POS system. The POS system is an excellent option for businesses that want to unify their online and in-person sales.

Shopify can work for all types of businesses, but it’s best for e-commerce and retail-focused companies. In particular, the software is a good option for anyone looking to take advantage of omnichannel features. For example, customers can place an order online and pick it up at the store.

CAKE: Best POS for Customer Experience

  • Cake’s software is easy to set up and intuitive to use.
  • The hardware is durable and designed to last in a busy restaurant environment.
  • The POS system comes with a two-year contract.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
Visit Site

In 2020, Mad Mobile acquired Cake, a restaurant-focused POS system that provides the hardware and software you need to successfully run your restaurant. You can use Cake to accept customer payments, update your menu and access detailed analytics about your business. 

Cake is our pick for the best POS system for customer experience, thanks to the wide variety of features the company offers. The guest management features allow you to accept online reservations, set up a waitlist, and provide real-time status updates to waiting guests. You can improve the speed of service by offering table-side ordering. 

TouchBistro: Best POS System for Restaurants

  • TouchBistro offers a full suite of restaurant-focused software features.
  • It supports third-party POS hardware, such as barcode scanners and cash drawers.
  • TouchBistro does not offer a retail version of its POS system.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

TouchBistro is our pick for the best POS system for restaurants. The company offers a wide variety of tools, including inventory management features, mobile ordering, table-side ordering and self-service ordering for your customers.

You can create an iPad POS system by running this mobile-friendly POS solution on an iPad, iPad mini or iPad Pro. TouchBistro also supports third-party POS hardware, like barcode scanners, cash drawers and receipt printers. This helps keep your add-on costs down, though you’ll have to contact the company to see if TouchBistro is compatible with your current hardware.

The system makes it easy to track your inventory levels and table turnover and to create customer accounts. If you run out of a certain food item, you can use the software to communicate recipe changes to cooks and servers.

Square POS: Best POS System for Small Businesses

Square POS
Square company logo
  • Square offers affordable chip readers and features for brick-and-mortar businesses.
  • Square is one of the few POS providers that offer a free payment plan and one of the most affordable payment processors.
  • Square isn’t compatible with third-party payment processors.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10

Square offers POS software and hardware solutions so businesses can accept customer payments. Its POS plans are geared toward restaurants and retailers, but it’s also a good option for service-based businesses.

Square is the best option for small businesses thanks to its free POS plan. To take advantage of this option, you must process payments through Square’s in-house platform. Square’s pricing model consists of interchange-plus pricing. The company also charges a monthly subscription, although a free version of the software is available. Square offers free mobile readers for new customers, so you can get started right away with little upfront investment. Well-regarded POS devices such as the Square Register, and Terminal are also available for purchase.

Square recently launched its second-generation reader. This cutting-edge product pairs with smartphones to accept chip cards and contactless payments. Additionally, Square recently introduced several new AI tools. The AI-powered features include a menu generator and realistic AI-generated images for websites.

GoDaddy POS: Best POS System for Tracking Sales

GoDaddy POS
GoDaddy company logo
  • GoDaddy makes it easy to accept payments online and in person.
  • You can track sales with the comprehensive dashboard.
  • The company doesn’t allow third-party payment processing.
Editor's Rating: 8.7/10

GoDaddy is our pick for the best POS system for tracking online and in-person sales. It’s a great option for retail businesses that want to set up a website and accept customer payments.

GoDaddy is known for offering custom domains and websites, and it integrates these features with its POS plans. Every plan includes a website builder, custom domain, and detailed website and marketing analytics.

If you purchase one of the advanced plans, you can also access gift cards, discounted shipping and promotional features. However, the system doesn’t integrate with third-party payment processors, so you’ll have to use GoDaddy Payments.

Epos Now: Best POS System for Ease of Use

Epos Now
eposnow company logo
  • Epos Now is intuitive; it takes less than 15 minutes for staff to learn the system.
  • It offers a flexible and customizable solution for an affordable price.
  • You have to contact the company for pricing details.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

Epos Now is the best POS system for ease of use. The software is intuitive; it should take your staff less than 15 minutes to learn the system, meaning you’ll save on employee training costs. Plus, you’ll receive one-on-one onboarding when getting started.

Epos Now offers excellent hardware options, including a touchscreen POS system, a handheld POS option, receipt printers and cash drawers. You can add the hardware you need to create a custom solution for your business. Epos Now also integrates with various third-party products, giving you many options for the system’s functionality.

POS Systems Costs

When you invest in a POS system, you’ll typically incur three primary costs: a one-time hardware fee, a monthly or annual software fee, and a payment processing fee. Here’s an overview of what you can expect to pay for each:

  • Hardware: The average cost for POS hardware is $799, but you could spend up to $1,500. The exact price depends on how many registers and accessories you need. If you already own hardware, you could save money by choosing a POS provider that allows third-party hardware integrations.
  • Software: Software plan costs range from free to $150 per month. You may have to pay for a higher-priced plan if you have many employees, need to track a lot of inventory, or want multiple add-ons.
  • Payment processing: The payment processing fees range from 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent per transaction. The fees often vary slightly based on whether the transaction is in person or is a card-not-present transaction, such as an online payment.

POS System Features

The right POS features will make it easier to run your business and streamline your processes. Here are some features you should look for in a POS system.

Payment Processing

Most businesses begin looking for a POS system because they need a way to complete customer transactions. Many POS providers go beyond accepting credit cards and debit cards, allowing you to take online and contactless payments. In the process, you’ll receive detailed insights about your daily sales, so you’ll always know how your business is performing.

Inventory Management

Basic POS systems may support only a product catalog, while others have POS inventory management features that allow you to track inventory at the component or ingredient level. Some plans include purchase ordering and vendor management features to simplify your reordering process. Consider whether standard inventory tools will be sufficient or if you will need advanced features to keep your business well stocked.

Customer Management

Customer management features vary among POS systems. Some allow you to capture basic information, such as your customers’ email addresses, so you can build an email marketing contact list. Other POS systems are CRM-enabled, with features that let you generate CRM metrics and create customer profiles, including contact information, purchase histories, preferences, birthdays and notes.

TipTip
If you prefer more extensive customer relationship management than you can find in a POS system, read our reviews of the best CRM software to find a solution.

Loyalty Programs

To ensure a loyal customer base, you must reward your best customers. A POS system enables that with built-in loyalty software. The top POS systems can track information on your customers’ shopping and dining preferences and help you design customer loyalty programs and rewards programs around that data. You can customize rewards based on how frequently customers shop at your store and the products or services they purchase.

Did You Know?Did you know
Many POS systems allow you to run a gift card program, which can strengthen your brand and boost customer loyalty.

Employee Management

You can usually add your employees to the POS system and manage their access to various features and information. Some systems have role-based access controls, while others let you customize the controls for each employee.

Some have built-in time clocks, which let your employees use the POS system to clock in and out. Others can track individual employees’ sales or manage tips.

FYIDid you know
Employee management with access-control features can be crucial because poor access management can lead to data breaches.

Reporting

All POS systems can generate POS reports. However, some systems have only basic report functionality, with preconfigured reports and limited customization. Others are advanced, with dozens of reporting options and filters to help you analyze data for your sales, inventory, customers and staff.

The best POS systems have real-time reports that you can access from any device with a browser or mobile app. Before you purchase a POS system, ensure that it offers the specific reports you need to run your business efficiently.

Add-ons and Integrations

POS systems often have many features, but they may not be enough for your small business. That’s where add-ons and third-party integrations can help.

For example, you may want to integrate your POS system with the best credit card processors, the best accounting software and top marketing platforms. Or you may want to use a specific email marketing platform or offer a customer loyalty program from a specific provider. The best POS systems give you many integration and add-on choices so you won’t be limited as your business grows.

FYIDid you know
If your business uses QuickBooks for accounting, look for a POS system with QuickBooks POS integration to easily sync sales data and save time.

Customer Support

You should be able to contact your POS provider around the clock to receive help with the system when you need it, even if your business keeps irregular hours or you’re working on the weekend.

Look for a POS provider you can easily reach via your preferred communication mode, whether by phone, email, live chat or social media. The best companies even offer 24/7 support.

Choosing a POS System

The best POS system for your business will depend on your business type and the specific features you need. Here are three steps to take when you’re evaluating POS systems.

1. Conduct market research.

The first step is to research the products that are currently available on the market. You can use online guides like this one to compare and contrast different options. It’s also a good idea to browse user reviews and customer comments on third-party review sites and the Better Business Bureau website.

2. Contact vendors for demos.

Once you’ve done your initial research and narrowed your search to a few companies, reach out to each company to ask for a product demo. You should also sign up for any free trials to test the software. Ensure that the POS system setup process is straightforward.

Remember to consider the unique circumstances of your business when completing each demo. The best POS system for restaurants will offer different features than the best POS system for retail, for example, so do your best to think through how this software will impact your team’s day-to-day workflow.

3. Evaluate pricing.

Once you’ve done the demo and explained to each company what you’re looking for, you’ll receive quotes from each vendor. Compare and contrast what each package includes and which product gives you the most bang for your buck.

Advantages of POS Systems

  • All-in-one system: A POS system allows you to manage various aspects of your business from a single location. You can track sales, inventory, customers and reports from your POS app.
  • Cloud-based software: Most POS systems are hosted in the cloud, which means you can access your data from anywhere and complete customer transactions on the go. Cloud-hosted systems also bring more reliability and efficiency.
  • Advanced features: Many POS systems have advanced features, like inventory management, e-commerce functionality and customer loyalty programs. These features allow you to provide better and more personalized service for your customers.
  • Mobile payments: The most advanced POS systems offer mobile compatibility through apps that can be installed on tablets and smartphones, converting them into portable POS terminals. Retailers can utilize these mobile checkout devices to process customer transactions from any location within the store, and restaurants can use them to take orders and process payments at the table.
  • Reporting features: The data your POS system collects will give you details on how your business is performing. Along with your general sales data, you can see detailed information about your customers’ buying habits and identify your best-performing employees.
FYIDid you know
>Three POS reports you should run regularly are sales summaries, sales per product, and sales per customer. Learn how to interpret your POS sales reports, and use that info to boost your business.

POS System Trends in 2024

POS systems have come a long way since the early days of retail. No longer is a POS system just a register, cash drawer and credit card scanner. In 2024, POS systems will likely offer advanced features and provide POS system benefits that help businesses track inventory and gain data about their customers.

As POS systems change, we expect to see the increased use of automation in POS systems. Most systems now offer features that can help with inventory management, payroll, reservations, orders and payments, thus allowing your staff to focus on other areas that may require more attention. Automation can be an effective solution for streamlining and optimizing operations.

We’re also noticing that more POS systems offer self-service options for customers, especially restaurants. Customers can order online and pick them up without ever leaving their vehicles. They can also use self-serve kiosks to order and pay, and even pay their bill right from their mobile device.

POS systems that cater to e-commerce businesses are offering more ways for businesses to sell their products on social media, and this trend will continue in 2024 and beyond.

We also expect artificial intelligence (AI) to play an increasingly important role in POS software. Over the last several years, consumer-facing AI products have rapidly entered the mainstream in a variety of ways. When it comes to POS, predictive AI can perform functions such as flagging suspicious transactions and recommending products to stock.

Frequently Asked Questions About POS Systems

A point-of-sale (POS) system allows businesses to accept customer payments. It also includes features that make it easier for merchants to manage sales data, inventory, customers and employees.

Virtually every business needs some way to accept and process customer payments, and POS systems help them do that. Brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants typically require POS hardware, such as handheld terminals and cash registers. Online and e-commerce businesses usually need little more than a virtual terminal to accept payments.

As soon as you begin selling goods or services in person, your business needs a POS system, no matter how small your operation is. A POS system makes the checkout experience easier for you and your customers, thereby reducing errors and the time it takes to ring up a sale.

A POS system also helps with inventory management by tracking the items you have in stock; some can even generate purchase orders. POS systems with advanced inventory management tools can track sales from your e-commerce platform or physical retail store in real time or across multiple business locations.

One of the biggest benefits of using a POS system is the ability to manage your employees. You can use the software to create schedules and give employees a way to clock in and out, as well as monitor which employees are performing the best.

For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
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