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The Top 10 Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Lightspeed Logo


Best for retailers

4.5 4.5 Stars
  • Industry-specific platforms for retail, restaurants, and e-commerce
  • Automated inventory with advanced insights
  • 14-day free trial
This is another cloud-based POS for almost any independent, established business — particularly multichannel and specialty retailers and restaurants. Lightspeed’s robust inventory management, exceptional e-commerce tools, and user-friendly analytics platform give your store an edge over the competition.

  • Starting price: $69 or pay-as-you-go pricing per month

  • Niche functions: Automated inventory module, Advanced Insights with automated analytics, niche-specific tools for retail, e-commerce, and restaurants.

  • Customer support: Phone, live chat, Twitter support

In my evaluation of the best POS systems, Lightspeed has great overall value for retailers and restaurant business owners.

I chose it as the best POS for retailers because of its robust inventory planning and management tool. Retail businesses know which items to stock at the right time and avoid stocking discrepancies and shrinkage. I also liked its impressive set of sophisticated analytics and advanced loyalty management tools — which set it apart from other POS providers — and quick support, particularly the live chat option.

Though Lightspeed is costlier than other POS options and its interface has a learning curve, it offers great value, particularly for growing businesses, thanks to its order and vendor management, integrated payments, e-commerce platform, and detailed checkout flow.

It’s excellent at providing detailed (and custom) reports with valuable insights, suggestions, instructions, tips, and graphs on interpreting the data for specific inventory categories.

Lightspeed’s main dashboard displays an overview of your statistics and key metrics, such as revenues, margins, profits, sales, refunds, and discounts. 

It was easy to see why it’s a leader in the retail POS space. Built on iPads, it can run from a desktop computer and has many built-in features business owners will appreciate.

Lightspeed allows you to bring your own hardware (if compatible) or buy through the company at custom-quoted prices, compared to other POS providers like Toast, which only works with its proprietary hardware.

To help you run your business at full capacity, Lightspeed syncs with POS data and provides more than 50 professional e-commerce themes, customer relationship management (CRM), search engine optimization (SEO), e-commerce marketing, shipping, and order management tools.

Lightspeed allows your sales team to view daily sales without access to reports or manual calculations.

Who is Lightspeed best for?

I recommend Lightspeed for well-established retailers and restaurants with large inventories and multichannel sales. Choose from different platforms: R-Series for retailers, K-Series and L-Series for restaurants, and the C-Series for e-commerce businesses.

Lightspeed lets you manage retail and e-commerce stores from the same place and automatically sync your retail categories with your online store.

Recent upgrades to Lightspeed

To improve its POS performance, Lightspeed makes regular upgrades to the system. Some recent updates include:

  • Integration partnership with OpenTable to help drive improved efficiencies for restaurant customers

  • Adding Lightspeed Payments for Golf with new hardware and ideal, integrated payments technology

  • Launching a B2B network that connects retailers and brands so merchants can instantly order and sell seamlessly on any channel

  • Launching Lightspeed Retail, an e-commerce platform that unites e-commerce, advanced POS, and payments into a powerful and cohesive solution that helps business owners elevate their strategy

Lightspeed pricing

Lightspeed has four monthly, pay-as-you-go plans: Lean, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise. You’ll get unique features depending on the plan. Lightspeed doesn’t have a free plan, but you get a 14-day free trial to test the platform before committing to a paid plan.

Pros and cons of Lightspeed


  • Can run on any device — mobile or desktop
  • No startup costs
  • No long-term contract
  • You can choose your payment processor


  • Can be pricey for startups and small businesses with tight budgets
  • No free plan
  • Works best for businesses with large inventories


    • Pricing
      • $69 or pay-as-you-go pricing per month
    • Niche functions
      Automated inventory module, Advanced Insights with automated analytics, niche-specific tools for retail, e-commerce, and restaurants
    • Customer support
      Phone, live chat, Twitter support
    • Industry-specific platforms for retail, restaurants, and e-commerce
    • Automated inventory with advanced insights
    • 14-day free trial
    Square Logo


    Best for small businesses

    4.5 4.5 Stars
    • Advanced industry-specific tools
    • Free plan
    • Integrated payment processor
    Square is a free POS system ideal for new and small businesses or solopreneurs looking to sell via multichannel options. Thanks to its easy-to-use software, affordable price points, short setup time, online ordering, and integrated payment processing, it offers unbeatable value.

    • Starting price: $0 to $29 per month plus processing fees

    • Niche functions: Payroll, employee management, customizable interface, digital gift cards, product modifiers, integration with delivery systems

    • Customer support: Phone, in-app messaging, and chat

    Square is an all-in-one POS solution designed for new and small businesses or solopreneurs with an easy-to-use interface, affordable price points, and industry-specific features.

    I like Square POS’s instant setup using the free e-commerce website or online store and software, and the ability to add functionality through the free or paid add-ons to tailor the service to your business needs.

    Another benefit is its self-installable system, which offers features specifically for retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses. I gave Square more points because its free plan allows anyone to get started without paying expensive monthly software fees and setup costs, and still get basic features like unlimited products and sales.

    Square doesn't support businesses that sell age-restricted or high-risk items, such as tobacco and liquor, or subscription-based products — in which case you can consider PaymentCloud. Plus, you can’t use Square with a third-party payment processor, because it has a built-in processor.

    You can create or edit items in the Square platform, and even get product category, description, price, and other suggestions to apply to an item.

    Once you create a Square account, you can process your first sale right away and accept card payments. This short setup time gives Square an advantage over other POS solutions, along with its online ordering, comprehensive checkout, and integrated payment gateway.

    You can accept multiple forms of payment, including digital wallets, major debit and credit cards, cash, checks, e-gift cards, and invoice and online payments.

    Square’s Quick Create feature reduces the steps you need to create items with names and prices and edit their details anytime from your online Dashboard.

    Who is Square best for?

    I found Square works best for new, independent and small businesses in the retail, restaurant, or appointment-based and professional service realm with its user-friendly platform, zero setup, installation, and monthly software fees. Also, it has month-to-month compared to long-term contracts with POS providers like Clover.

    Square’s checkout experience includes adjustable options that enhance online shopping and ordering for your customers. However, you can’t customize the checkout page style separately as everything matches your store’s design.

    Recent upgrades to Square

    Square recently added new features, including a Square Photo Studio app for iOS users, which lets you take photos for selling online and connect images to existing or new items in your catalog.

    You can also accept Afterpay’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment option in-person and online, and sync your payments, accounts, and cash flow with Square Banking. Plus, you can accept card and mobile payments using iPhone 11 or newer models (with iOS 15.5 or later) without a card reader.

    Square pricing

    Square offers a transparent pricing structure with flat-rate payment processing fees of 2.6% plus 10 cents to 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction. You won’t pay for setup, installation, or monthly software like with other POS providers like Clover or Shopify.

    And it doesn’t lock you into long-term contracts or agreements; you can cancel anytime at no cost. While Square is free, you’ll still pay for using its hardware devices.

    Pros and cons of Square


    • Easy and quick setup
    • No termination fees
    • No monthly software or setup and installation fees
    • Free online store and software


    • You must use Square’s built-in payment processing 
    • Not suitable for businesses with high-volume sales and transactions or those needing more advanced features


      • Pricing
        • $0 to $29 per month plus processing fees
      • Niche functions
        Payroll, employee management, customizable interface, digital gift cards, product modifiers, integration with delivery systems
      • Customer support
        Phone, in-app messaging, and chat
      • Advanced industry-specific tools
      • Free plan
      • Integrated payment processor
      Toast Logo


      Best for restaurants

      4.2 4.2 Stars
      • Toast Partner Connect
      • Full offline mode
      • Robust integrated online ordering and delivery tools
      Toast is an all-in-one, cloud-based POS designed to help restaurant business owners control inventory, track sales, accept and process payments, and manage their employees. The software has a free starter POS plan, which small business owners use with no upfront cost and upgrade as their businesses grow.

      • Starting price: $0 per month (Starter kit) and pay-as-you-go plans

      • Niche functions: Integrated online ordering, inventory control, marketing, delivery management, employee payroll and scheduling, multi-location tools, full-offline mode, Toast Payments

      • Customer support: 24/7 support via phone, email, in-app chat

      Toast’s cloud-based POS offers a wide range of features geared specifically toward restaurants or establishments in the hospitality industry. It was easy and quick to set up and it offers a free plan, making it ideal for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

      Its niche functions make it stand out over competitors like Square and Clover, such as the Toast Mobile Order & Pay, 24/7/year-round support, full offline mode, screen designer, and fraud reports.

      Yet Toast POS falls short in some aspects. You can’t bring your own hardware as it runs on its proprietary terminals and tablets, and has only one payment processor — the built-in Toast Payments — and it locks you into a two-year contract.

      I also liked its robust and durable hardware, the Toast Now feature that lets you accept online ordering without purchasing more equipment, multiple online ordering and delivery options, and its extensive partner network with access to numerous third-party apps.

      Toast’s Offline Mode minimizes the impact of internet or network connection disruptions while using the platform. You can keep working and your customers won’t even notice.

      Toast operates only on its proprietary POS tablets and terminals, which can increase costs and affect businesses that have other hardware. However, this comes with added benefits as the hardware can withstand high-volume use and function in busy establishments that operate at lower or higher temperatures.

      You also get the essential tools to operate your business, like online ordering, QR code ordering and payments, employee scheduling, in-POS messaging that sends alerts, and tip pool management.

      Other standout features include comprehensive customizable reports, real-time inventory tracking, access to business-specific HR documents like local regulations or handbook templates, and more.

      Toast’s full-fledged reports account for individual employee activities and sales, making managing labor and payroll easier.

      Who is Toast best for?

      From my testing, I found Toast is great for businesses in the hospitality industry — particularly quick- and full-service restaurants. They benefit from Toast POS’s sheer scope of tools like order management and employee scheduling.

      Toast Invoicing helps you seamlessly manage your orders alongside your takeout, in-person, and delivery business.

      Recent upgrades to Toast

      Toast recently updated its platform with features such as Order with Google — a free but limited-release integration that lets your customers order via Google Search and Maps without commissions.

      The all-in-one digital platform also launched the Toast Invoicing tool that helps restaurants manage wholesale and catering orders alongside other business (takeout, delivery, and in-person) for free. You can streamline your operations and simplify payments for events and orders without using multiple systems to manage your revenue sources.

      Toast pricing

      Toast POS offers four pricing tiers: Starter Kit, Point of Sale, Essentials, and Custom. You’ll purchase the hardware separately through Toast but the upfront costs vary based on your specific hardware package and installation needs. The Starter Package also comes with a pay-as-you-go plan, which helps you save on upfront costs through an all-in-one platform rate.

      Toast is costlier than competitors like Clover and Square, which give you more with their free or most affordable options.

      Pros and cons of Toast


      • Free starter kit
      • Simple and fast setup
      • 24/7/year-round support
      • Full Offline Mode


      • Comes with a standard two-year contract
      • Locks you into using its built-in payment processing service
      • Toast only works with its proprietary, custom-built hardware


        • Pricing
          • $0 per month (Starter kit) and pay-as-you-go plans
        • Niche functions
          Integrated online ordering, inventory control, marketing, delivery management, employee payroll and scheduling, multi-location tools, full-offline mode, Toast Payments
        • Customer support
          24/7 support via phone, email, in-app chat
        • Toast Partner Connect
        • Full offline mode
        • Robust integrated online ordering and delivery tools
        Clover Logo


        Best for integrations

        4.2 4.2 Stars
        • Mobile POS
        • Employee management
        • Clover App Market
        Clover — a mobile POS (mPOS) provider owned by Fiserv — is ideal for retail, service, and restaurant businesses. It provides various proprietary hardware options you can configure to accept payments and upgrade as your needs expand.

        • Starting price: $0 for professional and home and field businesses, and from $50 per month for restaurants and retail businesses

        • Niche functions: Seamless integrations, ready-to-use hardware,

        • Customer support: Phone, email

        Clover offers easy-to-use, versatile software and hardware. What I found unique about this POS is you can purchase it from your preferred merchant account. Clover’s hardware is ready to use right out of the box and syncs everything with its dashboard.

        I also like that you can manage your business from anywhere with this all-in-one mPOS solution to create orders and invoices, accept payments, and send receipts via text to your customers. At the close of business, you’ll get a complete history of all your transactions for the day.

        While Clover stands out as a popular POS, it lacks in some areas, particularly its pricing, contract variability, and limited functionality and inventory management needs. Another downside is you can lease or purchase its hardware from other entities, but can’t use them with other payment processors.

        The Clover Dashboard includes your existing third-party apps and apps available on the Clover App Market, which you can download to grow your business. It also displays billing information and service plans. 

        With Clover’s Inventory app you can create and manage inventory items — merchandise, menu items, and services — with Clover’s POS devices and the merchant dashboard.

        Through the Clover Dashboard, you can get a view of all your business’s information in one place, in real time. The Dashboard organizes your sales, inventory, employees’ performance, apps, and business goals in a single central location.

        You can edit the time range of the reports in your Clover Dashboard, and view sales by devices and order types. Also, you can control filters for each report and display only what you want to view from Product Code to Items Sold, and more.

        Who is Clover best for?

        I found that Clover works best for small businesses in the retail, restaurant, and professional services industries — looking for an all-in-one solution and multiple integrations with other business apps.

        Clover’s Account and Setup section lets you add or edit business details including employees, service rates, taxes, and more. You can also view your statements, business metrics, and monthly software plan details.

        Recent upgrades to Clover

        Some of the latest updates include an improved App Market layout, sorting and filtering options, and new top navigation for better app displays and more merchant engagement.

        The company also reorganized App Market categories to target the most relevant merchant businesses. In the App Market, you can also see the apps you’ve already installed.

        Other new changes include new graphic enhancements for the Clover Flex 3 and Mini 3 devices’ Payments screen and expanded region-based availability for Clover App Market ratings and reviews.

        Clover pricing

        Pricing varies based on the type of business or service you provide, with specific price points for restaurants (full and quick service), retail shops, and professional or personal services. The prices range from $50 to $290 depending on your type of business, and you can pay monthly or in full. Free plans are only available for businesses offering professional and home and field services, but you can use the free 30-day trial to see if it’s a good fit for your business.

        Pros and cons of Clover


        • You can extend its functionality with Clover App Market integrations
        • 30-day free trial available
        • Easy to set up and use
        • Syncs everything seamlessly with the Clover Dashboard


        • No free plan
        • Upfront costs may be expensive for startups or small businesses
        • Locks you into contracts
        • May include hidden fees


          • Pricing
            • $0 for professional and home and field businesses
            • and from $50 per month for restaurants and retail businesses
          • Niche functions
            Seamless integrations, ready-to-use hardware
          • Customer support
            Phone, email
          • Mobile POS
          • Employee management
          • Clover App Market
          Shopify Logo


          Best for e-commerce businesses

          4.0 4.0 Stars
          • Smart inventory management
          • Shopify Payments
          • Omnichannel selling tools
          Shopify POS helps you sell products almost anywhere, including in-person and online. The app is built on the Shopify e-commerce platform and syncs with your account to track inventory and orders across your online store, retail locations, and other active sales channels, for easier management.

          • Starting price: $0 per month for the POS, but you pay for a Shopify e-commerce plan from $24 per month

          • Niche functions: Omnichannel selling tools, smart inventory management, employee management, checkout, customer management, Shopify Payments

          • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat, help center

          Shopify POS is a user-friendly iPad app that allows you to make sales in-person or online. You can also sync it with your Shopify store to track and manage all your orders under one roof.

          I evaluated Shopify POS based on costs, features, integrations, and support. I found the POS easy to set up because I only had to download the app from the App Store and complete a quick setup process.

          The main drawback is that Shopify POS requires an e-commerce subscription to operate your business, which attracts monthly subscription costs. I also couldn’t use Shopify POS without an internet connection, while Toast offers an Offline Mode option.

          Plus, many of the Shopify POS’s best features like the smart inventory control and advanced reporting tools aren’t available without upgrading to Shopify Plus or the Shopify POS Pro plan for an extra $89 per month, per location.

          Shopify POS allows you to give POS roles to your employees to use the system and determine how much permission each staff has for different tasks required to run the store. 

          You can give your staff specific POS roles or permissions or assign the same permission set to multiple staff along with a four-digit login PIN. Creating and managing roles is easy to do from the POS channel in your Shopify admin dashboard. Each role must have a unique name, with the default one being Associate; you can also add or remove staff as the store owner.

          Shopify POS Smart Grid display allows you to tap any tile to complete an action. You can customize actions that best suit your workflows to improve efficiency and serve customers faster.

          Who is Shopify best for?

          From my testing, Shopify POS is ideal for e-commerce, multichannel retail, and online businesses at any stage of growth. You can link your in-store and online sales and simplify inventory management, control your cash flow, and engage your visitors (in-store and online) with marketing campaigns. The intuitive POS also eases the checkout experience so you can help your customers whether you’re in-store or on the go.

          Shopify POS’s register and checkout features include the ability to add customers to each purchase and view their profiles: name, total orders, total spent to date, and how long they’ve been your customer.

          Recent upgrades to Shopify

          Shopify upgraded its POS with a smoother omnichannel sales process, and apps are easier to leverage. A simpler, more customizable solution helps you manage your business better. It also offers opportunities for app developers to build new integrations and technical solutions.

          Shopify pricing

          Shopify POS offers two pricing plans: POS Lite and POS Pro. The Lite plan comes free with each Shopify e-commerce plan, letting you sell in-person or on the go, manage products, take payments, and build relationships with customers.

          Pros and cons of Shopify


          • Smart inventory management
          • Integrated payment processor
          • Free plan
          • Integrates with social media platforms for social commerce


          • You must have an e-commerce plan
          • Monthly costs can add up, which makes it costly for new or small businesses
          • You pay additional fees for using third-party payment processors


            • Pricing
              • $0 per month for the POS
              • but you pay for a Shopify e-commerce plan from $24 per month
            • Niche functions
              Omnichannel selling tools, smart inventory management, employee management, checkout, customer management, Shopify Payments
            • Customer support
              Phone, email, live chat, help center
            • Smart inventory management
            • Shopify Payments
            • Omnichannel selling tools
            TouchBistro Logo


            Best for small restaurants

            4.3 4.3 Stars
            • In-house restaurant management technology
            • Integrated payment processor powered by Chase
            • Variety of restaurant-specific add-ons
            Since 2011, TouchBistro POS has been helping restaurants worldwide grow. The company focuses on features that help restaurants and their customers in ever-changing markets enjoy the dining culture they love. The POS streamlines and simplifies all aspects of the restaurant business — order taking, menu management, payment processing, accounting, inventory control, reporting, marketing, staff scheduling, and more.

            • Starting price: $69 per month

            • Niche functions: Integrated payment processor, and in-house restaurant management technology.

            • Customer support: 24/7 phone, chat, and email

            TouchBistro is an award-winning iPad POS built for independent restaurants. It’s used in more than 100 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Mexico.

            What I like about TouchBistro is its distinguishing features, which make up its biggest strengths, such as the hybrid architecture, compared to mostly cloud-based competitors. TouchBistro offers a hard-wired, local connection, meaning it can run even if your internet connection goes down.

            Plus, its core features and add-ons are built to meet the unique demands of restaurants, including order-taking and processing, and menu engineering. So, you get an all-around solution with all the POS features needed to run your restaurant, big or small.

            But TouchBistro lacks in specific areas, like its limited integration with specific apps and few enterprise-level capabilities than other POS providers, making it less suitable for multi-unit restaurant chains.

            TouchBistro’s sales dashboard gives you a snapshot look at your sales data — net sales, average spend, customers, and more — for a specific reporting range.

            TouchBistro helps you improve your operational efficiency, make sound business decisions, and drive revenue growth. Its predictive data insights and Cloud dashboard give you all the information you need, including sales and weekly targets information, to see your performance and derive data-driven strategies to grow your business.

            You can use TouchBistro’s Menu Categories to create tasting or prix fixe menus and control order times and course items, then use the List View to organize all your menu items.

            Who is TouchBistro best for?

            I recommend TouchBistro for big and small restaurants because of its in-house technology, like online ordering, integrated reservations and payments, marketing, customer loyalty, and more.

            It’s easy to add staff to your TouchBistro POS dashboard by tapping Add on the Staff List section and entering the staff details in the New Staff screen.

            Recent upgrades to TouchBistro

            In a bid to meet the evolving needs of its customers, TouchBistro is looking to expand its restaurant offerings, core services, and strategic acquisitions at a time when more than 50% of restaurants depend on digital channels — at least moderately — to generate revenue.

            TouchBistro pricing

            TouchBistro offers transparent pricing, starting at $69 per month for its POS solution. For more features, you can purchase add-ons, such as online ordering, loyalty, marketing, gift cards, and reservations to suit your needs.

            Pros and cons of TouchBistro


            • Dedicated onboarding manager to help with setup and installation
            • Can work offline when there’s no internet connection
            • Real-time insight into your business’s performance, anywhere, anytime, across any device
            • Offers over 50 built-in restaurant-centric reports and more in the Cloud portal


            • Built exclusively for restaurants
            • Lacks some enterprise-level capabilities in other POS solutions
            • No extensive network of third-party integration partners
            • Add-ons available at extra costs


              • Pricing
                • $69 per month
              • Niche functions
                Integrated payment processor, and in-house restaurant management technology
              • Customer support
                24/7 phone, chat, and email
              • In-house restaurant management technology
              • Integrated payment processor powered by Chase
              • Variety of restaurant-specific add-ons
              Helcim Logo


              Best for higher-volume businesses

              3.8 3.8 Stars
              • Helcim Card Reader
              • Free cloud-based POS software
              • Helcim app
              Helcim is an all-in-one POS platform that offers a simple but competitive pricing structure for small businesses. You can sign up easily and quickly to use the POS without getting locked into contracts or commitments.

              • Starting price: $0 per month

              • Niche functions: Cloud-based software, multiple payment methods, automatic discounts on higher volumes

              • Customer support: Phone, email, live chat/support assistant

              Helcim POS is a cloud-based software that lets you take in-person payments from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. You can get the POS on the Helcim app and use the Helcim Card Reader to accept payments, making it easy to select products for a sale or enter purchase amounts.

              What I like about Helcim POS is that you can use it with any device you own, and access the service wherever you are, at any time. It doesn’t limit you to a checkout counter or to own a card reader. Plus, its virtual terminal allows you to process payments online, at the lowest rates possible compared to other payment processing services.

              With a free Helcim account, you can start using the POS on your mobile or desktop device (Windows and Mac).

              Helcim is free, offers competitive interchange rates, and has no monthly costs, hidden fees, or contracts. But I found it unsuitable for seasonal and high-risk businesses, expensive for new and small businesses with low-volume transactions (under $25,000), and it offers very limited business management tool integrations. I also found its customer support slow and unresponsive.

              All these drawbacks prevented Helcim from scoring higher in my evaluation of its POS features.

              That said, it’s free, quick, and easy to set up and use. You can accept payments in-person or online through methods like debit and credit cards, international payments, automated clearing house (ACH) bank transfer in the U.S., and electronic funds transfer (EFT)/pre-authorized debit (PAD) in Canada. And you can move data from Helcim to popular accounting tools to eliminate manual data entry, streamline your business processes, and get more done.

              Helcim merged the payment and POS sections into a single view, which you can toggle between the number and table icon at the top left. You can use the views interchangeably or individually without affecting the contents of the cart.

              It’s easy to customize the POS experience for your business needs using Helcim’s manual mode or grid mode. When using manual mode, you’ll key in the purchase amount and select Process Payment. Grid mode lets you use the POS with items saved in your account and include them in the sale.

              You can easily toggle between manual and grid views, and use the menu options to configure how products are sorted by categories, collections, or brands.

              Helcim POS works with any mobile (smartphone or tablet) or desktop device. Just download the app, sync it with the Helcim card reader, and start accepting payments. 

              Who is Helcim best for?

              I found its ideal for fast-growing and higher-volume businesses. It’s free to use and has no monthly costs, hidden fees, and contracts, making it ideal for new and small businesses that don’t have the budget for monthly plans or POS hardware.

              Helcim POS makes it easy for you to select the payment method and click the tile associated with your customer’s payment method to process payments.

              Recent upgrades to Helcim

              Helcim constantly updates its POS features, making it simpler for you to use. One of the recent upgrades is on its checkout page. It’s now easier to navigate so you can add items to your cart and serve your customers even faster.

              Helcim pricing

              Helcim POS is free and doesn’t charge you monthly fees or lock you into any contracts or commitments. The software and card reader are included once you sign up for your free Helcim account. This makes it one of the easiest POS providers to set up and install over others like Toast, which work with specific (expensive) hardware.

              You’ll only pay a one-time cost of $109 for the card reader, and start processing payments once you download and sync the Helcim app to the card reader.

              You can process in-person and online payments at low rates, especially if you process high-volume transactions. Also, you can access all Helcim merchant tools and customer support.

              There are no hidden, setup, termination, payment card industry (PCI), customer service, quarterly, or bank deposit fees, making Helcim cheaper than other POS providers. As for processing rates, I found that Helcim’s Interchange Plus pricing is transparent and gives you greater savings as the margin automatically decreases the more you process.

              There’s no free trial or paywall because the POS software is already free.

              Pros and cons of Helcim


              • Works on any device
              • No monthly costs, hidden fees, or contracts
              • Interchange Plus margin automatically decreases the more you process


              • Favors higher-volume businesses
              • Not suitable for seasonal or high-risk businesses
              • Limited integrations with business management tools


                • Pricing
                  • $0 per month
                • Niche functions
                  Cloud-based software, multiple payment methods, automatic discounts on higher volumes
                • Customer support
                  Phone, email, live chat/support assistant
                • Helcim Card Reader
                • Free cloud-based POS software
                • Helcim app
                QuickBooks POS Logo

                QuickBooks POS

                Best for QuickBooks users

                4.0 4.0 Stars
                • Inventory management
                • Free integration with QuickBooks
                • Contactless payments
                QuickBooks is known for its accounting software that helps businesses with flawless accounting and reporting. The company created the QuickBooks POS for businesses running in-store and online operations, adding helpful features that help you stay on top of your inventory, accept contactless payments, and seamlessly integrate with e-commerce tools.

                • Starting price: $0 per month; one-time cost for the POS

                • Niche functions: Integration with e-commerce tools and QuickBooks for accounting and reporting, inventory management, and contactless payments

                • Customer support: Phone

                QuickBooks POS is a desktop program built for retailers and other businesses that accept contactless as well as credit and debit card payments. One thing I like about this POS is its deep integration with QuickBooks accounting software, making your accounting and reporting processes a lot easier, especially if you already use QuickBooks.

                And, the POS offers a wide range of hardware, including barcode scanners, tablet stands, PIN pads, and cash drawers, though these are an added cost to your business.

                But it doesn’t integrate seamlessly with third-party apps as it does with its own tools and though you don’t pay monthly fees to use it, the one-time and upfront costs are steep, especially for new and small businesses.

                Plus, it’s a PC-based program and works best with its own QuickBooks Payments processor, which offers monthly and pay-as-you-go plans.

                QuickBooks POS allows you to view your sales history for in-store, e-commerce, and mobile transactions, along with names of the cashier, number of items sold, payment type, and total sales per transaction. 

                From inventory management to account integration and reporting, QuickBooks POS offers lots of features and functionality. I loved the possibilities these features bring, whether you’re selling in-store or online, making the POS a one-stop shop business management solution. I also liked the contactless payments and the mobile payments features, which help seasonal businesses accept payments on their mobile devices during trade shows, at curbside pickups, or street fairs.

                Unfortunately, QuickBooks POS is locally installed — which may be a plus for in-store operations — but it doesn’t integrate directly with QuickBooks Online for on-the-go accounting. So, you’re limited to using QuickBooks Desktop to manage your accounts.

                With QuickBooks POS mobile payments, you can sell on the go and accept payments on your mobile device.

                Who is QuickBooks POS best for?

                From my testing and evaluation, I recommend QuickBooks POS for businesses already invested in the QuickBooks ecosystem and midsize retailers with brick-and-mortar stores that prefer a desktop program over cloud-based.

                QuickBooks POS offers hardware built to help you manage your whole store in a compact system that takes up less space. You can choose between designs, colors, and compatibility suited for your business.

                Recent upgrades to QuickBooks POS

                New features include accepting contactless payments, e-commerce integration for in-store and online management, integration with top marketplaces and shopping carts (Shopify, Amazon, and more), expanded tablet compatibility, and a save and email receipts function. The company also has new hardware that allows you to do more in less space.

                QuickBooks POS pricing

                QuickBooks POS is free with a one-time fee payment for the plan that fits your business needs and budget. Each of the three plans (POS Basic, POS Pro, and POS Multi-Store) comes with QuickBooks Desktop financial software integration, reporting, e-commerce integration, contactless payments, ring sales, and inventory tracking and management.

                Pros and cons of QuickBooks POS


                • 30-day free trial available
                • Familiar interface for QuickBooks users
                • No monthly costs
                • Free integration with QuickBooks products


                • Higher upfront costs
                • Basic plan offers limited business management features compared to other POS providers
                • Stand-alone software — no cloud-based option
                • PC-run program


                  QuickBooks POS Logo

                  QuickBooks POS

                  • Pricing
                    • $0 per month; one-time cost for the POS
                  • Niche functions
                    Integration with e-commerce tools and QuickBooks for accounting and reporting, inventory management, and contactless payments
                  • Customer support
                  • Inventory management
                  • Free integration with QuickBooks
                  • Contactless payments
                  Revel Logo


                  Best enterprise-level capabilities

                  3.5 3.5 Stars
                  • Customer loyalty program
                  • Employee management and scheduling tools
                  • Offline mode
                  Revel is a cloud-native POS best known for robust features, extreme customizability, customer loyalty programs, and enterprise-level capabilities. The POS system is used across North America, Asia, and several European countries, but is particularly popular among multi-unit chains in the U.S. Use it to diversify your revenue streams, deliver a better customer experience, and scale your business with ease.

                  • Starting price: $99 per terminal per month

                  • Niche functions: Inventory management, employee and customer management, offline mode, reports

                  • Customer support: Phone, email, web support, contact page

                  Revel POS offers a robust list of enterprise-level features, such as its bespoke menu management and advanced reporting, which can handle most aspects of restaurant management, particularly multi-unit chains.

                  One of my favorite things about Revel is it lets you compare data and insights from different venues and locations. Plus, it runs on iOS, using iPads as its terminals. This is a major plus for many restaurants because of the seamless integration between iOS apps and iPads, and the automatic updates rolled out across devices, which ensure your device is up-to-date. And the user-friendliness of iPads can speed up your employee training process.

                  That said, more features aren't always better for some restaurants. For smaller restaurants, Revel’s complex and extensive features make the POS overwhelming and tough for new employees to navigate.

                  Revel POS has a simple customer display system with split or full-screen modes, which display the product image and order details. 

                  Revel offers a wealth of insightful features lacking in other cloud-based systems, such as customizable reports, smartphone apps for reporting, delivery drivers, and more. These help extend the POS’s functionality. I particularly liked its Customer Display System (CDS) 1.0, which shows customers their orders in real-time, displays their data like rewards and loyalty points, and saves information for the CRM, advertising, and branding materials.

                  Revel’s offline mode feature allows you to process sales and payments when your POS loses connection with your Revel network.

                  Who is Revel best for?

                  I found Revel POS works best for restaurants, particularly multi-unit quick service chains, thanks to its robust and customizable features. You also get enterprise-level tools like its extensive third-party network, consultative services, open API, and standardized hardware bundles.

                  Revel provides insightful reports, including sales summary reports, which can be filtered by customer date or time range. You can also push these reports from Revel to QuickBooks Online daily.

                  Recent upgrades to Revel

                  Revel improves its features, integrations, and solutions for businesses. The company has announced several partnerships with leading companies, including DoorDash Drive, which involves using its white-label fulfillment platform so Revel customers can offer delivery without spending money on their own fleet of delivery vehicles.

                  Revel also works with Voxie, a conversational texting and automation platform, to drive additional revenue for Revel’s restaurant and retail customers. It added a new integrated loyalty solution to its POS.

                  Revel pricing

                  Revel POS’s monthly fees cost $99 per terminal, per month, higher than many other iPad-POS programs for restaurants. But you get some value for your money as all its plans offer robust POS features, personalized onboarding and setup/installation support, reporting, and analytics.

                  Pros and cons of Revel


                  • Hybrid POS that works offline
                  • Robust enterprise-level capabilities
                  • Runs on iOS and Apple hardware accessible to most businesses


                  • High fees for integrated payment processing
                  • Not ideal for new and small businesses or restaurants


                    • Pricing
                      • $99 per terminal per month
                    • Niche functions
                      Inventory management, employee and customer management, offline mode, reports
                    • Customer support
                      Phone, email, web support, contact page
                    • Customer loyalty program
                    • Employee management and scheduling tools
                    • Offline mode
                    Epos Now Logo

                    Epos Now

                    Best stand-alone system

                    3.9 3.9 Stars
                    • Cloud-based software
                    • Works with Android, iOS, and Windows
                    • Compatible with Safari and Google Chrome
                    Epos Now is another cloud-based POS software built for businesses in the retail and hospitality industry. While it’s based in the U.K., the company spread its roots to New Zealand, Australia, and North America. It offers numerous hardware options, rich features, and integration with third-party apps and credit card processing services.

                    • Starting price: From $49 per month

                    • Niche functions: Inventory, customer, and employee management, integrated payment processing API

                    • Customer support: Phone, live chat

                    Unlike other POS providers, Epos Now can run on Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. Its own iPad app makes it easy to use your iPad as the POS terminal for your back-office activities.

                    I also like that Epos Now is compatible with major web browsers like Safari and Google Chrome on any device. The flexibility that it gives is extremely beneficial for businesses because you can choose the hardware and OS that works best for your budget and needs.

                    Support is swift via live chat; I spoke to a human agent, but you can access further support via a phone call or ask a question in the Epos Now Community Hub.

                    Being a strictly cloud-based POS, you’ll need a strong and stable internet connection to operate it. Otherwise, you’ll lose all essential functions instantly, which leads to interruptions, a poor customer experience, and lost revenue.

                    Epos Now offers an extensive suite of helpful tools that seamlessly integrate with your POS system.

                    You can use the Epos Now API to build custom payment integrations or opt for third-party payment processing partners that offer the best rate for your business. However, you’ll have to conduct credit card transactions separately if a partner doesn’t integrate with Epos Now, and enter the amounts manually into the POS. This can be tedious and time-consuming for high-volume businesses and attract costly errors during data entry.

                    Epos Now works with most Android tablets, Macs, iPads, and PCs.

                    Who is Epos Now best for?

                    I recommend Epos Now for growing businesses that need flexible hardware options and a POS that covers all the basics without complex features and pricey add-ons like TouchBistro POS. Its simple interface and features make it easy to use when training new hires.

                    You can generate many reports using Epos Now’s built-in reporting features, and get actionable insights to better understand and evaluate your business, and make more informed decisions.

                    Recent upgrades to Epos Now

                    Epos Now announced the launch of Epos Now Capital, a solution powered by YouLend, which helps owners access working capital quickly and easily to grow their businesses.

                    Epos Now pricing

                    Epos Now is a bare-bones POS with plans starting from $49 per month, offering basic hardware, competitive inventory, employee and customer management features, and third-party integrations.

                    Pros and cons of Epos Now


                    • Works with major browsers and operating systems
                    • Numerous hardware options
                    • Competitive inventory, customer, and employee management tools
                    • Multiple payment methods including card, digital wallets, and crypto


                    • No offline mode
                    • Technical support purchased separately
                    • Lacks in-house add-ons
                    • Hidden fees and other charges increase monthly costs


                      • Pricing
                        • From $49 per month
                      • Niche functions
                        Inventory, customer, and employee management, integrated payment processing API
                      • Customer support
                        Phone, live chat
                      • Cloud-based software
                      • Works with Android, iOS, and Windows
                      • Compatible with Safari and Google Chrome

                      How I Tested the Best Point of Sale Systems

                      I test each system by signing up for a plan (using a free plan, if available) to check out what each provider offers new users and how easy it is to navigate around its dashboard. Also, I pay a great deal of attention to the support provided.

                      I weigh the details and rank each POS system provider based on the quality of its features and how transparent the company is regarding its product. 

                      It's crucial to pick a POS company you can scale with and trust, so I focus on whether each provider presents its products honestly, clearly, and transparently. In my tests, this is easy to pick up on as I compare the list of features each company claims it offers to what I have access to once I begin using the service.

                      Lastly, I base my POS usage tests on a provider's free or cheapest pricing plan.

                      I then upload basic items, which act as my test products to see how easy it is to use the POS platform, the features available for different types of businesses and functions, and integrations with popular business apps. This test gives me a general indication of the service you will likely experience when you finally decide on the best POS system for you.

                      Each POS system provider has been selected based on its being at the top of its game for one aspect of service or another.