Best POS (Point of Sale) Systems in 2021

A Detailed Analysis of the Best POS Solutions

The best POS systems will enable your business to accept payments quickly from customers in your brick-and-mortar store. There are many different solutions available and we have put together the 7 best.

We have looked at the pros and cons of each, what features they offer that set them apart and what sort of business suits each software.

At the end of the article, we pick a winner, a highly commended and runner-up. Are there any we haven't mentioned? Leave it in the comments below.

What is a POS system?

Before we get into the best POS systems, let's define what it actually is.

POS stands for point of sale system. When you enter a brick-and-mortar store and purchase some goods, this will be done through the point of sale software.

Essentially, a POS system is a combination of software and hardware that enables stores to carry out transactions with their customers.

POS software has seen a real gear shift through the years with retail stores adopting cloud-based POS systems, rather than the traditional cash register approach.

It's big business with the value of cloud-based POS software looking to exceed $3 billion by 2023.

How to choose a POS system

Before choosing which POS software you will be using, it's worth considering the following factors.

Click the + for more info
  • Integrations – the POS system should integrate with any third-party apps that you already use. Important ones are accounting and inventory management software
  • Ease of Use – all of your staff will be using the POS system, so you don't want to waste your time training them on a complicated system
  • Payment Processor – you want to give your customers as many payment options as possible, so ensure your POS is flexible
  • Inventory Management – if you sell online as well, ensure your POS can update your stock when items are sold in store
  • Customer Relationship Management – you want to be able to create customer profiles. That way you can reward VIP customers and identify lapsed customers. A good POS system will be able to do this
  • Employee management – tracking the performance of your employees is critical to your success. Find POS software that provides permissions control, task scheduling, time clocks, and employee analytics
  • Cost – there are 3 main costs to consider which are POS hardware, subscription, and payment processor fees. Fees for offline purchases can differ from online
  • Ecommerce – your POS software shouldn't be seen as different from your ecommerce store, but as an extension of it. Find one that links with your ecommerce platform
  • Customer Support – if something goes wrong this can hurt your wallet. Make sure your POS provider offers great customer support and has a quick response time
No time to read? Here's our no.1 pick when it comes to the best overall POS system in the market:

💰 Our pick:

Square is the best point of sale system for retailers.

It offers fantastic POS features including inventory tracking, a great team management module, and very affordable hardware. In addition, there is no setup fee and you are only charged when you take a payment.

Square also gives you the option to begin selling online as well. It covers every aspect of your business needs.

Overall rating: 10/10

🏁 Also great:

shopify pos system

It's no disgrace to lose out to Square. Shopify is slightly different, but by all means, is still one of the best POS systems.

Shopify is ideal if you already have an ecommerce store and you are looking to branch out to bricks and mortar, or perhaps just to sell at trade events or via a pop-up. Shopify payments mean you can get set up in an instant and their CRM system is brilliant for keeping information on your customers.

Overall rating: 9/10

👍 Best Runner Up:

LightSpeed is a magnificent beast for retailers. It's more suited to Enterprise level customers and Lightspeed's superb support team will aid you with onboarding which can otherwise be quite complicated.

The analytics package is what really sets them apart from their competitors. 50 built-in retail reports are available in real-time on desktop and mobile devices.

Overall rating: 9/10

What is a POS System?

Remember the last time you bought something from a brick-and-mortar store? The place where you finally proceeded to pay for your shopping is a POS, or a point of sale in full.

In simple terms, therefore, a POS system is a combination of hardware and software that form the central checkout point, from where customers complete their in-store transactions.

Click the + for more info

Traditionally, we’ve been using conventional cash registers for that. But, that has been changing progressively as businesses continue to adopt cloud-based POS system.

💡 In the U.S. 🇺🇸, for instance, cloud POS solutions have already overtaken standard POS software in terms of adoption. The former accounted for more than 60% of the new systems in 2018.

Now, if we consider the global market, it turns out the value of cloud POS system software is expected to increase from $1.34 billion in 2018 to $3.73 billion by 2023. So, of course, it’s not just the United States. Retailers worldwide are seemingly excited about the prospects of this revolutionary approach.

As a result, modern point of sale counters basically have PCs and mobile devices running cloud-based programs, which are then connected to local retail hardware like card readers and bar code scanners.

💡 The subsequent efficacy of your entire POS system depends on several critical elements. And they, in turn, happen to be the most important factors to consider when choosing the best POS system.

What to Look For When Choosing a POS System

Admittedly, choosing a POS system can be a nightmare, especially if you’re looking for the best possible fit. There are numerous potential solutions, each with its own unique range of features. That’s why, as a matter of fact, 56% of retail businesses take about 2-6 weeks of searching to make a decision.

All things considered, however, it’s possible to identify the best POS system for your retail business in a relatively shorter period of time. The secret is using a structured selection process.

Click the + for more info

Start off by consulting your fellow retailers, particularly the ones who’ve already joined the POS software bandwagon. Find out the type of POS systems they are using, their individual functionalities, plus, of course, the corresponding advantages and disadvantages. Then subsequently, consider the findings along with your business needs to establish the range of POS system features you should prioritize on.

👉 While you’re at it, here are some of the critical factors you should pay keen attention to:

  • Integrations: The POS system should integrate not only with your current business software, but also related third-party apps that you might consider leveraging in the future.
  • Ease of Use: Your POS system software should not require advanced technical skills. Even novice users should be able to install and operate without any difficulties.
  • Payment Processing: The best POS software systems are capable of supporting a wide range of payment options and payment processors.
  • Inventory Management- Your POS system should accommodate your type of products, plus facilitate real-time tracking of all the relevant stock parameters.
  • Customer Relationship Management: A solid POS system should help you manage your customer data accordingly, as well as boost sales through promotions. A few of the basic features you should look out for include customer profiles, gift cards, email marketing, discounts, etc.
  • Employee management: In addition to multi-user access, your POS software should come with functionalities for managing your employees and tracking their performances. Choose a POS system that, at the very least, provides permissions control, task scheduling, time clocks, and employee analytics.
  • Cost: Establish the total cost of each prospective POS software by combining the initial acquisition price with the projected running costs. That means considering the subscription charges along with the corresponding payment processing fees, plus of course, the cost of acquiring supplementary hardware.
  • Ecommerce: Although the principal focus here is in-store selling, the best POS software systems are also capable of supporting parallel selling. This allows you to expand your business beyond its brick-and-mortar boundaries to take advantage of the expansive community of online buyers.
  • Customer Support: Focus on POS software providers with solid customer support framework, comprising of responsive agents who can be accessed via multiple channels.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Expect the number of consideration factors to increase as you dive deeper into a specific retail niche. All in all, the entire POS system selection process should fundamentally be guided by your business needs.

That said, we’ve managed to compile a list of the 13 best POS systems, based on the typical retail business environment.

👉 And so, without further ado, here’s the big reveal in no specific order:

Picking the Best POS System: Table of Contents

  1. Square POS
  2. Shopify POS
  3. Lightspeed POS
  4. Quickbooks POS
  5. Vend POS
  6. Bindo POS
  7. iZettle
  8. FAQ

7 POS System Software for Small Business in 2021

Here’s our list of the best POS system options in 2021 (in no particular order).

Best POS Systems: Square POS

square pos homepage - best pos systems

Arguably the biggest player in the game, Square POS supports 2 million businesses worldwide. Over time 340 million customers have used their credit and debit cards to make a purchase via Square.

Features

  • Inventory Management – managing your stock from one centralized place reduces the risk of people placing orders of items that are out of stock. Square allows you to sell in person, online via your store, and on social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook.
  • Team Management – track your employee's hours, if they've taken over time, and when their breaks are. You can also allow or restrict access to certain levels of staff and reward staff based on their performance. This ensures your back-office is all in check
  • Customer Profiling – understand your customer's behavior by tracking their previous purchases. To improve customer loyalty you can offer gift cards to them in-store or online
  • Reporting – Square's dashboard is so clean. See which payment processing types are the most popular, which products are selling well, and data on how often customers return

All of these reports can be viewed from Square's app, to ensure you can stay in touch with your business whilst on the go.

square reporting

Hardware

Square offers a wide range of hardware, from a simple credit card reader at £16, to the Square Register at £599.

They are offering £120 off Square Register with the code REGISTER120.

Sell online

If you have a brick-and-mortar store and you're looking to branch out online then you can set up a store via Square.

This can be set up for free, where you only pay when you have made a sale. The credit card processing rate is 1.9% for a European card and 2.9% for a non-European card.

Square for Restaurants

Square has recently launched a restaurant pos. You can take orders in person, over the phone, or online ordering. You can also manage all third-party orders from Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats

👉 Read our Square POS for Restaurants review.

Pricing 💰

Square is free to use, there are no setup or monthly fees and you only pay when you take payments.

You will pay 1.75% for chip and pin and contactless payments. If you create purchase orders or invoices and send it to a customer you will pay 2.5%.

Square has custom pricing available if you are an enterprise business and take more than £200k in sales annually.

Pros 👍

  • Intuitive – Square's dashboard is so clean and easy to use. The reporting functionality is unmatched and gives you a great overview of your business
  • Pricing – not only does Square offer a free plan but there is no commitment in the contract
  • Mobile POS – Square's app is available on both Android and iOS. It is superb and also works offline

Cons 👎

  • Enterprise – if you are a large company the rates for more orders isn't brilliant and you will find yourself paying high processing fees
  • Support – customer support can be quite slow and there is no support available on weekends, which is likely to be your busiest period

Who is it best for?

Square's POS is built for small businesses. If your business is predominately offline but you do sell online, or are planning to, then Square is a great fit. Their inventory management is industry-leading and helps track stock across all your channels.

» Try Square POS «

Best Point of Sale Systems: Shopify POS

shopify pos - best pos systems

The ecommerce giant also has its own POS software and it's trusted by over 1 million businesses. Shopify reports that businesses see a 30% year-on-year growth in revenue if they use POS to unify their offline and online sales.

👉Read the full Shopify POS review.

Features

  • Shopify Payments – skip the lengthy process of activating third-party payment processing and begin to process payments with one click
  • Marketing Campaigns – Shopify POS allows you to collect emails at the checkout so that you can reengage with customers. You can also ingrate with your social media channels to push customers to your store
  • Google Ads – when you choose Shopify you are given a Google Ads credit to get you started on promoting your business

Hardware

Shopify has fewer hardware options than Square and they are pricier. Their card reader is £49 + VAT. Their retail system bundle offers an iPad POS at a very reasonable £149.

shopify hardware

Additional items such as barcode scanners, receipt printers, and a cash drawer can be purchased. All items have a 30 day free returns policy.

Pricing 💰

In order to take advantage of Shopify POS, you need to be using an ecommerce plan first. The prices are as follows:

  • Shopify Lite – $9 /mo
  • Basic Shopify – $29 /mo
  • Shopify – $79 /mo
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 /mo

Transaction fees are charged at 2.2% on the first two plans, 1.9% on Shopify, and 1.6% on Advanced.

👉 Read our full Shopify review.

Pros 👍

  • CRM – leave notes on customers, access their lifetime spend, and check past orders. The marketing integration means you can create effective campaigns to target their interest
  • Support – 24/7 and 365 days a year, what more can you say
  • Payments – Shopify's built-in payment system can be set up in just one click

Cons 👎

  • Flexibility – you need to have an ecommerce plan with Shopify to use their POS

Who is it best for?

If you're running a restaurant or a coffee shop then a different solution is best for you. However, if you already operate online with Shopify and want a fantastic POS system with great marketing integrations then it's ideal.

» Try Shopify POS «

Best POS Systems: Lightspeed POS

lightspeed pos - best pos systems

Lightspeed POS has generated over $33 billion and employs over 1,000 employees. Since launching in 2012 they have specialized in ePOS systems for retail businesses, ecommerce, restaurants, and golf.

Features

  • Ecommerce – Lightspeed offers the ability to start an online store alongside your POS system. They also offer some fantastic guides on how to start an ecommerce business.
  • Local inventory ads – sync your inventory with Google ads and create ads directly through Lightspeed
  • Appointments – if you offer repairs or personal shopping experiences then you can book appointments straight through the POS software

👉 Read the full Lightspeed Retail POS review.

Hardware

Lightspeed offers both an iPad and desktop hardware kit, these both include a scanner, printer, and cash drawer. All of these can be purchased individually as well. No prices are listed on the website though and you need to contact sales.

One really nice touch is the branded gift cards. These can really help you stand out and are great for brand recognition.

gift cards

Pricing 💰

All of Lightspeed's pricing plans below are if you take out an annual plan, as opposed to monthly.

  • Basic – $69 /mo
  • Standard – $99 /mo
  • Advanced – $169 /mo
  • Pro – $229 /mo

If you want to incorporate ecommerce then you will need to subscribe to the Standard plan. All plans are available with a free trial.

Pros 👍

  • Support – as well offering free one-on-one onboarding sessions, customer support is available 24/7
  • Analytics – Lightspeed has introduced a new solution called “Analytics Core” which is great for cutting through the noise and producing very simple reports which update in real-time and will streamline your whole business

Cons 👎

  • Pricing – Lightspeed is expensive. In order to use the customer loyalty programs or analytics features you need to be on at least the Advanced plan
  • Operating System – the system can only be run on Mac software

Who is it best for?

Firstly it's preferable for people who use a Mac. More importantly though it's clearly built for Enterprise customers. Lightspeed is expertly set up for managing multiple shops with its centralized purchasing and master orders

» Try Lightspeed POS «

Best POS Systems: Quickbooks POS

quickbooks pos - best pos systems

Quickbooks are predominately known for offering simple and smart accounting software. Their retail POS system's integration with accounting is ideal if you are already a Quickbooks customer.

Features

  • Sync with Quickbooks – their POS links effortlessly with their accounting software meaning you can save time on processing taxes
  • Email marketing – send digital records of purchases to your customers. This reduces the risk of fraud and also simplifies the returns and exchanges process
  • Payments – Quickbooks accepts every possible payment, including Paypal, Samsung, Google, and Apple Pay. All of their payment plans are contract-free as well

Hardware

Quickbooks offers a fantastic range of hardware. Including mPOP's, pin pads, cash drawers, barcode scanners, and receipt printers. All of these are offered in various bundles and available in black and white.

Prices range from $109 for a cash drawer to $900 for a hardware bundle.

Quickbooks hardware is also locally installed rather than cloud-based. This means you'll need to maintain and upgrade your hardware. This isn't incredibly difficult but can be quite time-consuming. This also means that you will need an internet connection at all times in order to receive payments.

Pricing 💰

Quickbooks is an anomaly from the other POS solutions in this list as their pricing plans are offered as a one-off payment.

  • Basic – $1,200 – small business owners
  • Pro – $1,700 – bigger company with multi-locations
  • Multi-store – $1,900 – enterprise businesses

At the time of writing, Quickbooks is offering a 20% off deal from the above prices.

Pros 👍

  • Loyalty Program – you can add coupons to receipts after a customer has ordered. Quickbooks “Constant Contact” marketing tool makes it easy to send timely offers in just one click
  • Gift Cards – customizable gift cards can be created to match your brand. There are also no fees if customers purchase your gift cards

Cons 👎

  • Pricing – one-off payments are an interesting tactic. If you are a start-up business the smallest price tag of $1,200 may be off-putting
  • Flexibility – The POS is Windows-only and will only run on a desktop or tablet that runs Windows 10

Who is it best for?

It's a good solution if you already have Quickbooks accounting. It probably is more suitable for bigger businesses as the initial one-off payments may scare off people just starting up.

» Try Quickbooks POS «

Best POS Systems: Vend POS

vend pos - best pos systems

When it launched as a cloud-based POS system in 2010, Vend was seen as quite a revolutionary system. Their eye for new features hasn't let up since and its why they are regarded as one of the best POS systems.

Features

  • Mac & PC – unlike other POS systems. Vend is available on both Mac & PC, it also works online and offline via an Android and iOS app
  • Quick keys – to speed up the process of checking out, you can create custom buttons for popular products. This is a really helpful feature for your staff to provide a quick service
  • Custom receipts – you have the ability to add your logo and company branding to your receipts. You can create various templates and can also print or email receipts in various languages

Hardware

Vend doesn't sell hardware directly through their website. Vend link off to Storekit where you can purchase suitable card readers, printers, and cash drawers.

They also have a list of compatible hardware that can be used with their system.

vend hardware

Pricing 💰

All Vend plans are month to month and can be cancelled at any time. All plans also come with a 14-day free trial. All prices below are if you take out an annual package.

  • Lite – $99 /mo
  • Pro – $129 /mo
  • Enterprise – Quote

Vend also offers several add-ons, for example, if you want to add an ecommerce store that you already have this will cost $29 extra a month on top.

👉Read the full Vend POS review.

Pros 👍

  • Support – unlike others in this list phone support is offered across all the plans. On the Enterprise plan as well you can also have a dedicated support manager
  • Usability – the quick keys option, product search, and sales notes are very clean and incredibly user-friendly

Cons 👎

  • Reporting – compared to others, Vend's reporting is quite basic. The customer display section for example is not available on desktop, but only on iPad
  • Card Payments – payment options are not that varied outside of the US. If you're in the States you can take advantage of 13 payment options, whereas the UK only has 6

Who is best for?

Vend is incredibly easy to use and is probably most suitable for small to medium-sized business owners. The reporting functionality is quite limited, so it probably wouldn't suit an enterprise business.

» Try Vend POS «

Best POS Systems: Bindo POS

bindo pos - best pos systems

Bindo is arguably one of the lesser know POS solutions, so you may be surprised to hear that over 10,000 customers now use Bindo. When you dig a bit deeper you can see that they were set up in 2014, so where have they been are they any good?

Features

  • Smart Register – in fairness has one of the best Registers on this list. If you scan a product it will give you like-minded products which currently have a promotion, so you can upsell to customers
  • Advanced Purchase Orders – Bindo offers a lot of advanced payment and billing options, with the ability to “pay now, bill later” and to create a credit account for a customer
  • CRM – understanding your customer's insights is very easy with the help of rating forms. You can quickly send a one-click review survey out of 5 to see how your customers rate you

Hardware

All of Bindo's hardware comes with free shipping within the US, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and tech support to help you get set up.

Bindo has a fantastic range of hardware, including different models of credit card readers, varying iPad sizes, and even a self-serve kiosk.

bindo hardware

Pricing 💰

There is no pricing available for the hardware or any obvious subscription plans.

Having dug around we can see that pricing is based on the amount of SKU numbers you have, however, nothing is set in stone. Essentially each plan is custom-built for each business.

👉Read the full Bindo POS review.

Pros 👍

  • Hardware – a great selection and the only business on this list to offer kiosks
  • Ecommerce – Bindo have their own ecommerce platform, but they can also integrate third-party ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento

Cons 👎

  • Pricing – hard to say it's a definite disadvantage but the fact it isn't visible on the website is a bit suspect. Reading around there appears to be a quite hefty activation fee of $150 for any plan
  • Leases – hardware contracts can be quite confusing. Customers have complained that not only are the leases of equipment too long but they didn't realize they had agreed to that length of time

Who is best for?

It's hard to say. One thing for certain is that the register is very intuitive so if you want to limit the time training takes for your staff and want to speed up purchasing it's a good fit. However, there are far too many questions over Bindo for us to be recommending them.

» Try Bindo POS «

Best POS Systems: Zettle POS

zettle pos - best pos systems

In February 2021 iZettle rebranded to Zettle by Paypal after it was bought out by the payment giant in 2018. Zettle is arguably the Square equivalent of Europe and that's where its main customer base is settled.

Features

  • PayPal payments – if you select PayPal when a customer orders then a QR code will appear. The customer will just have to scan the code to pay
  • Text payments – if you're taking an order over the phone, you can create the order and then send a text link to your customer. They just need to press that and pay
  • Gratuity – not just handy for restaurants but also retail. Customers can add gratuity payments and these will then appear in your sales reports. This can show you then which staff have received what

Hardware

Zettle has a great array of hardware that's arranged into popular products and categories such as till systems, card terminals, and POS hardware.

Zettle also offers a social distancing screen to keep your customers safe. You can also build out a custom-made store kit. Card terminals start from $59, however, after signing up you can get this for $29.

zettle hardware

Pricing 💰

Similar to Square, Zettle's pricing is free and there is no cancellation fee.

The benefit of PayPal buying out Zettle is that payment fee are just 1%. The other fees are exactly the same as Square.

  • Card transactions – 1.75%
  • Invoice transactions – 2.5%
  • Payment link transactions – 2.5%
  • PayPal QR transactions – 1%

Zettle offers a custom plan for companies that take over $10,000 per month. You will just need to contact the sales team.

👉Read the full Zettle POS review.

Pros 👍

  • Payments – there so many options for customers. Not only that but the cheap fees for PayPal are superb, plus the flexibility of text messaging payments
  • Free – their POS solution called Zettle Go is free to use and it integrates with many apps. Customer support is available on the free plan as well and is available 9am-5pm
  • Hardware – the amount of hardware available is superb and it's fairly inexpensive. Whether you are retail or a restaurant there are a number of products, all of which come with free shipping and an express replacement service

Cons 👎

  • Offline – the restaurant app is available offline, but Zettle Go for retail isn't available offline
  • Ecommerce – there isn't an ecommerce integration available, Zettle suggest you integrate with Seltz which isn't a top pick in regards to ecommerce platforms

Who is best for?

Similar to Square it's ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. The fact that setup is free, there is no cancellation, and hardware is decently priced is a big benefit if you aren't cash-rich.

The lack of an ecommerce integration is an issue if you decide you want to begin selling online in the future.

 

» Try Zettle POS «

Best POS Systems: FAQ

What Is A POS or ePOS System?

An EPOS, or Electronic Point of Sale, is a specialized in-store management system that combines hardware and software resources to dynamically process transactional data.

EPOS systems go above and beyond the capabilities of traditional registers. While the latter essentially recorded sales, EPOS systems are designed to not only record, but also process and save the sales data automatically. Then subsequently, the information is analyzed to generate critical business insights.

That said, most EPOS systems now rely on cloud-based software plus locally-available hardware.

How Do POS Systems Work?

A POS system is not a single element or machine. It’s a combination of multiple hardware and software components, which collectively process your in-store transactions, as well as enhance your overall business management capabilities.

Previously, point of sale systems were pretty basic. In essence, the product prices were entered manually to complete a sale.

Then came the era of EPOS plus cloud-based POS systems, and everything changed. Today, POS systems work by leveraging the power of computer hardware and software.

The software itself is built with two access points. The backend (also known as dashboard or back-office), for starters, handles management and reporting.

Then the frontend, on the other hand, serves are the principal input interface. Transactional data is fed into the system and processed based on parameters set through the backend.

How Much Does an POS System Cost on Average?

An entry-level EPOS system, for starters, will cost you about $1,000 to set up. This caters for software installation and training, plus hardware such as card readers, a receipt printer, and an Apple iPad device.

A mid-level POS system, on the other hand, has a setup cost of about $1,500. This pays for additional hardware across multiple locations.

Then, to put up an advanced EPOS system, you may have to spend about $3,000. This provides specialized large scale resources for facilitating extensive retail enterprises.

Beyond that, cloud service subscription costs are pretty diverse. Some of the POS software options offer basic functionalities for free, while others might charge you between $20 and $70 for standard features. Mid-level capabilities are costlier, and could stretch to hundreds of dollars per month.

All in all, the amount you end up paying depends on numerous factors: your business size, package features, retail needs, types of products, location, software capabilities, etc.

Best POS Systems: Conclusion

Deciding which solution is best for you is dependent on many factors. If you are strictly just going to open a brick and mortar store and not venture into the world of ecommerce then Zettle is a great fit.

For small to medium-sized businesses you should look no further than Square and Vend. If you are expecting big sales initially or know the company will scale then Lightspeed seems a great fit.

If you already have a Shopify store and want to sell at events, tradeshows, or a pop-up event then for continuity Shopify POS will be a great fit as it can be tagged on at no extra cost.

Have you tried any of the above? Are there any POS systems missing from our list? Leave a comment below.

Best POS Systems
Rating: 5.0 - Review by

Richard Protheroe

Content Marketer at Veeqo. Veeqo allows you to link your Amazon Seller Central account with your other sales channels to better manage your inventory and shipping.