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The Top 10 Best Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems & Software of 2023

Top10.com Staff
Header Image POS main charticle

Simply put, POS stands for point of sale. It is the system where you ring up a customer, receive money for the transaction, and sales taxes become payable. 

POS can be used to be no more sophisticated than a standard cash register, but oh, have the times changed. Today, your typical POS system comes fully loaded with all kinds of features and gadgets, including inventory tracking and reordering, customer retention programs, and employee management tools. 

To save you the trouble, we’ve compiled this guide to help you find the perfect, reliable and feature-rich POS system for your business.

Our experts tested loads of POS systems and ranked the Top 10 for quality, efficiency, speed, price, and other important features.

After all the research done, we can say what is the best POS system of 2022: Lightspeed is the best all-inclusive POS provider today, suitable for all business types.

Compare The Best Point of Sales (POS) Systems

POS systems have been advancing together with the technology offered by POS providers. Of course, every POS brand fits a different business need. 

We’ve done the research and narrowed the Top 10 best point of sale systems for both small business owners and expansive enterprises.

Keep reading to get the lowdown on outstanding brands. You’ll be able to get the basics on monthly software fees, contract lengths, integrations, and more. 

Then, take a look at our comparison chart to help you make the best choice possible. 

In the end, you’ll learn more about the ins and outs of POS systems, and optimize your customer and payment processing experiences. 

The Best POS Systems & Software in 2023:

  • Clover - Best POS system overall
  • Lightspeed - Best all-around POS system with pro features
  • Toast - Best for all-in-one restaurant management
  • Flagship - Best for affordability
  • Lavu - Best for restaurant/food industry services
  • TouchBistro - Best restaurant reports and analytics features
  • Revel - Best iPad POS solution
  • Shopify - Best for its powerful POS app
  • Square - Best for flat pricing fees
  • Oracle Netsuite - Best for large businesses and retailers
Compare the Top10 POS Systems
1
Clover
2
Lightspeed
3
Toast
4
Flagship
5
TouchBistro
6
Revel
7
Shopify
8
Square Online Store
9
Oracle Netsuite
Reviews73 reviews142 reviews113 reviews58 reviews65 reviewsWrite ReviewWrite Review45 reviews65 reviews
Best for
Expanding businesses in any retail or service
Retail and restaurants, all-inclusive
Food industry services of every size
Payment processing
Designed for all food industry businesses
SMBs and enterprise retail and food services
Businesses looking to integrate their online and physical retail systems
SMBs that experience low-volume sales monthly
Mid-sized and large retailers
Price range
Starting at $14
$99-$289
per month
From $0.00 - $165.00 per month
Custom rates
Bundles from $105
Starting from $99
From $9 per month for POS only + hardware costs.
Starting at 2.5%
Starts from $999 per license + $99 per user per month + separate price per module
Mobile Compatibility
Proprietary hardware, not compatible with iOS
iPad, mobile extensions
Android-based mobile compatibility
Yes, Android and iOS
iPhone, iPad, web-based
iPad compatible, mobile compatible
iPhone, iPad, and Android
Fully compatible with iPad and mobile devices
Cloud-based or on-premises
Cloud-based with offline mode
Cloud-based and mobile
Both
Cloud-based
Both
Cloud-based
Cloud-based
Both
Cloud
Compatible Credit Card Processors
Any

A Closer Look at the Top 10 POS Systems

  • 1
    Clover

    Clover

    • Price rangeStarting at $14
    • Best forExpanding businesses in any retail or service
    • Mobile CompatibilityProprietary hardware, not compatible with iOS

    If you've had any experience with POS systems in the past, then Clover will be a familiar name. That's because this hardware is even used by other POS software providers, and that should tell you something about the system. Clover POS has all of the features you'd expect from a POS system, including built-in payment processing, order management, and customer management system. There are even marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, and birthday promotions to help grow your customer base. Clover offers other tools like shift management, scheduling, and register activity logs, as well.

    Clover provides both stationary and portable hardware devices, so you can select the type of hardware that works best for your business needs and layout. Clover POS is also totally customizable with scalable plans, add-ons, and accessories that help you expand your reach as your business grows. Of course, if you want to go all out, Clover has some interesting features like customer feedback, guest management, and gift card generator.

    Installation fee: Between $0 to $1,349

    Contract length: No contract required

    Pros
    • Tons of integrations to expand your functionality
    • Easy-to-use software and hardware
    • Many features included in the basic plan
    Cons
    • Android OS isn’t as sleek as iOS
    • Can’t use your own payment processor
  • 2
    Lightspeed

    Lightspeed

    • Price range$99-$289
    • Best forRetail and restaurants, all-inclusive
    • Mobile CompatibilityiPad, mobile extensions

    Lightspeed takes all the frills of TouchBistro and upgrades them for both retail and restaurant usage. So, you get neat features like food management systems and interactive menus for the food industry. Lightspeed's menu functionality is particularly sleek, providing HD photos, descriptions, and pricing for every menu item. You can also create loyalty programs to reward frequent customers and a full-fledged CRM, so you can really keep track of who's coming and going.

    Meanwhile, for retailers, Lightspeed offers plenty of hardware options to improve your efficiency and sales, like scanners, printers, and electronic cash drawers. The POS system also comes with sales reporting, merchant services, and an Ecommerce platform. What's more, Lightspeed's inventory management is in real-time, so you can tell customers on the spot whether or not you have a particular item left in stock.

    Installation fee: N/A

    Contract length: 14 months

    Pros
    • Lots of extra hardware options
    • Advanced features come with basic plan
    • Easy to use and train visual interface
    Cons
    • Can be confusing to figure out profit margins
    • No confirmation received when sending email orders
  • 3
    Toast
    • Price rangeFrom $0.00 - $165.00 per month
    • Best forFood industry services of every size
    • Mobile CompatibilityAndroid-based mobile compatibility

    Toast is a cloud-based restaurant-geared POS system provider with all the bells and whistles you could ask for. From the online ordering system to a loyalty rewards program, gift card generator, and detailed inventory management system, Toast has thought of it all. Splitting checks, simple order voiding, and closeout day functionality only sweeten the pot.

    Unlike most POS systems, Toast runs on the Android operating system. What this means for a business owner is that the hardware is significantly cheaper to purchase and more versatile in terms of integration. Toast Go, the mobile hardware option, allows wait staff to manage their tables, orders, payments, and tabs tableside for faster and more efficient ordering. In general, Toast is a sleeker, smoother, easier POS system to use than most.

    Installation fee: From $0 to $799

    Contract length: No contract required

    Pros
    • Excellent restaurant-specific features
    • Neat Go hardware for tableside management
    • Top-of-the-line customer support
    Cons
    • Have to pay more to get the cool features
    • Installation fee
  • 4
    Flagship

    Flagship

    • Price rangeCustom rates
    • Best forPayment processing
    • Mobile CompatibilityYes, Android and iOS

    Flagship is a leading merchant services provider, known for its advanced custom payment processing solutions. It offers solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes, including online stores. In addition, it’s easy to use and is trusted by more than 25,000 small business customers. 

    On the downside, Flagship’s native POS offerings are very basic. However, it is a certified reseller of the Clover POS system, which is one of the best options we’ve used. Customer support is limited to phone and online contact form, but the team is responsive and available 24/7 to provide assistance.

    Installation fee: Starting at $0 

    Contract length: Flexible

    Pros
    • Custom pricing tailored to your business
    • Reputation as a leading payment processing service provider
    • Partnered with Clover POS
    Cons
    • Limited native POS features
    • No live chat support
  • 5
    Lavu
    • Price rangeFrom $69/mo
    • Best forFast-paced restaurants and coffee shops
    • Mobile CompatibilityYes

    Lavu is designed for use in restaurants and other food service businesses. Its POS system provides a comprehensive feature set including menu management, inventory tracking, and financial reporting. The software can display menus, receipts and other information in multiple languages, which can be helpful for businesses that serve a diverse customer base. Mobile ordering features bring purchasing to the next level: Customers can place orders via their mobile device, either through the business's website or a branded app. Even more so, businesses can access the system from any device with internet access, which enables real-time data syncing across multiple locations.

    Installation fee: N/A

    Contract length: From 1 year

    Pros
    • Integrations with diverse hardware options
    • Suitable for businesses of all sizes
    • Responsive customer support
    Cons
    • Possible stability and reliability issues
    • Expensive compared to other POS
  • 6
    TouchBistro

    TouchBistro

    • Price rangeBundles from $105
    • Best forDesigned for all food industry businesses
    • Mobile CompatibilityiPhone, iPad, web-based

    TouchBistro is another good choice for businesses of every size in the food industry. Whether you own a food truck or run a full-service restaurant, brewery, or nightclub, TouchBistro is the POS software that was specifically designed for your industry. That means it comes with features that cater to your needs, pressure points, and clientele. Food managers will appreciate details like self-ordering for faster service, a kitchen display system for faster and better communication between wait and kitchen staff, and a digital menu board for instant menu updates.

    In addition to the usual perks, like reporting, analytics, and inventory management, these POS systems come fully loaded with features like tableside ordering, restaurant table management, and menu management. Managers will also appreciate the scheduling features included with TouchBistro hardware because it makes staff management so much simpler.

    Installation fee: Starting at $0 

    Contract length: Month-to-month

    Pros
    • Transparent pricing and fees
    • Specifically designed for food industry needs
    • $0 commission online ordering, loyalty, reservations, and more
    Cons
    • Not as relevant for retail or clothing markets
    • Partially network-based
  • 7
    Revel
    • Price rangeStarting from $99
    • Best forSMBs and enterprise retail and food services
    • Mobile CompatibilityiPad compatible, mobile compatible

    Revel incorporates all aspects of a reliable and efficient POS system into one. When it comes to retail stores or the food industry, Revel delivers a true omnichannel platform that lets you handle every aspect of your business, including Ecommerce, mobile sales, custom branded apps, and of course, in-store purchases. 

    Revel also has incredible inventory management. You can automate your orders, so the system automatically reorders items when you're running low, and Revel excels at keeping track of inventory in real-time. In fact, you can even drill-down to ingredient inventory management. 

    Something else that makes Revel stand out is its userbase. While most POS system brands cater to SMBs, Revel has both a small business option and an enterprise-level one. So, no matter what the size of your business currently or in the future, this POS system can cover all the bases.

    Installation fee: Starts at $674

    Contract length: 3 years

    Pros
    • In-depth inventory management
    • Neat back-office tools for better efficiency
    • SMB and enterprise-level solutions
    Cons
    • Confusing pricing structure
    • API access only available for a price
  • 8
    Shopify
    • Price rangeFrom $9 per month for POS only + hardware costs.
    • Best forBusinesses looking to integrate their online and physical retail systems
    • Mobile CompatibilityiPhone, iPad, and Android

    Shopify is one of the leading online retail platforms. They’ve taken that expertise and created an easy-to-use retail POS system. If you’re already using Shopify for your online store, then their POS system is a great choice for providing a smooth shopping experience for your customers, both in-person and online. With an established Ecommerce platform, Shopify’s dashboard allows you to manage all the products you sell across all locations, linking in-store and online sales.

    The Shopify POS app works on both iPad and Android. You’ll have to purchase the card reader plus any barcode scanners, printers and cash drawers you might need, but this does help keep the monthly costs down as leased hardware costs are not incorporated into your monthly bill. If you’re not looking to sell online, the Lite package presents a cost-effective way of accepting card payments. If you want to unlock all the features on offer, the monthly subscriptions can get expensive, but for larger businesses, the smart inventory management and omnichannel tools are worth the investment.

    Installation fee: $49 

    Contract length: Month-to-month or yearly, two-year, or three-year plans 

    Pros
    • User-friendly, modern UI
    • Integrates with your online Shopify store
    • Detailed analytics and reporting
    Cons
    • Higher tier plans are expensive
    • Additional hardware costs
  • 9
    Square Online Store

    Square Online Store

    • Price rangeStarting at 2.5%
    • Best forSMBs that experience low-volume sales monthly
    • Mobile CompatibilityFully compatible with iPad and mobile devices

    Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, you are already more than familiar with Square. It's unquestionably the most well-recognized POS system on the market today, and that's not surprising. Offering no monthly fees and impressively low rates, Square is a favorite for low-volume businesses looking to save money. You can pay a flat rate of 2.6%+$.10 for swiped transactions and 3.5%+$.15 per keyed transactions. In case you aren't in the know, those are really good rates.

    Square isn't just a cheap meal ticket, either. The iPad POS system is fully loaded with features like an Ecommerce platform, inventory management, and virtual payment terminals. Square is also mobile-friendly, comes with an API for developers, and tons of third-party integrations. While it's not a good option for high-risk industries, Square is ideal for just about any other type of business, including at-home services, food industries, and retailers. 

    Installation fee: From $29

    Contract length: None, pay as you charge

    Pros
    • Huge reputation for quality and affordability
    • Easy, flat-rate pricing structure
    • No monthly fees and free chip readers
    Cons
    • Not great for high volume merchants
    • Doesn’t work with high-risk industries
  • 10
    Oracle Netsuite

    Oracle Netsuite

    • Price rangeStarts from $999 per license + $99 per user per month + separate price per module
    • Best forMid-sized and large retailers
    • Mobile CompatibilityYes

    Oracle NetSuite is a unified business management platform comprising a suite of ‘modules’ including SuiteCommerce InStore, a point-of-sale solution. SuiteCommerce InStore provides your salespeople with all the tools they need to help them assist and engage shoppers. It includes enhanced customer profiles, order and inventory management, and dynamic merchandising–allowing you to fulfill customer preferences at the point of contact.

    SuiteCommerce InStore ties your POS system seamlessly to all your operational business systems, eliminating the need for integrations between separate systems. Its touch-tablet user interface and responsive design deliver user-friendly digital tools across any device.

    Installation fee: N/A

    Contract length: Starts at 1 year

    Pros
    • Suite of tools to help sales associates assist and engage shoppers
    • Natively connects to your business systems, eliminating integrations
    • Accessible via cloud, lowering your software costs
    Cons
    • POS is only available with complete package
    • No free trial
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a point-of-sale system?
-
+
A point of sale system is where you can ring up customers, receive payment for transactions, and make taxes payable. Point of sale systems are usually made up of special software to collect payment and customer information, as well as hardware to use in physical location. There are also point of sale systems that exist via cloud technology.
What types of businesses use POS systems?
-
+
There are tons of businesses that use POS systems. You can find point of sale technology at retail businesses like clothing or electronics stores, restaurants, consumer services like beauty salons or spas, the hospitality industry (coffee shops, drivers, travel agencies, hotels), and more.
When does your business need a POS system?
-
+
Your business needs a POS system when you notice that business is growing rapidly and you need help to track your inventory, customer activity, create in-depth reports, and accept payments quicker and with more ease. As your business grows and attracts more customers, a POS system will help reduce mistakes, save you time, and make your operations more organized.
How much does a POS system cost?
-
+
POS systems can be either free or paid. When you sign up for a paid POS system, expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $100+ per month for monthly software fees. Some brands also require an up-front, one-time fee for hardware and installation. Free POS systems usually require minimal hardware fees and instead of monthly payments, they charge per transaction.
What is the difference between a POS system and a payment processor?
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Payment processors transfer payments from one account to another, serving as the communicator between the merchant and customer. POS systems do this and much more; point of sale systems use both software and hardware to not only collect payments but also settle taxes paid by merchants for transactions, create receipts, track activity, and more.
Is hardware included in the point of sale subscription?
-
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Point of sale subscriptions usually come with a few different pieces of hardware like card readers, monitors, receipt printers, cash drawers, barcode scanners, and more. Many POS sale companies also let you use your own iPads and simply integrate their software into the existing technology.
Which free POS software is best?
-
+
Toast has been rated the #1 POS for iPads on the iOS app store and earned plenty of positive reviews for its flexibility, features, and prices.
What should I look for in a POS system?
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Simply put, a good POS system is one that can accommodate your business' needs. It should be scalable, able to accommodate the size and diversity of products or services your business offers, and should have strong customer service support.
What is the best POS system for retail?
-
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LightSpeed is a favorite POS system for retail businesses. It offers a solid eCommerce platform as well as hardware options such as scanners and electronic cash drawers that are particularly useful for retailers.

Our Methodology: How We Evaluated POS Systems

When comparing the Top10 POS systems, we make sure to investigate major featurespricescontract lengthmobile devices compatibilitycloud-based or on-premises capabilities, and compatible credit card or gift card processing. Even more so, we check what is the POS systems’ forte and what type of businesses they are best for. 

Our review process is extensive and involves POS experts. POS experts and writers sign up for different services through the brands’ sites or trusted 3rd party sites to access all dimensions of information possible. They go through service sites and sample contracts, contact sales teams, and pay close attention to customer reviews. Ratings from independent agencies like the BBB and journalistic publications play an important role in rating fairly and accurately. Our experts also try to access any kind of free trial available to better the review process. 

The Types of POS Software

There are 4 main types of POS software:

Mobile POS software 

This software is cloud-based and comes as an app on your smartphone or tablet. It’s usually compatible with a receipt printer and a credit card swiper, but not as powerful as a full terminal POS system. It’s ideal for sole traders such as plumbers or mobile food cart owners.

Tablet POS software 

The tablet version is similar to mobile POS software, but offers more features and capabilities. You could use tablet POS software to manage a large and complex retail businesses with multiple locations, including inventory tracking, employee time tracking, payroll, and accounting. They are compatible with many POS hardware solutions to form a complete POS system for any situation.

Terminal POS software 

This is a fixed POS software with full back-office capabilities. It can be cloud-based or on-premise. Terminal POS software is best suited to large retail or online stores, spas, malls, and other brick and mortar businesses.

Self-service or unattended POS software 

This is designed to be used in kiosks and outdoor units where it's not practical to post an employee. It is often integrated with another POS system nearby, like to provide an extra sales point in busy grocery stores, coffee shops, or food trucks. It can be cloud-based or on-premise since it's not used with a mobile system.

You’ll also find POS software designed for the unique needs of specific industries, such as restaurant and hospitality businesses, apparel retail, financial services, academia and education, and pharmaceuticals POS software.

The costs of your POS software will vary depending on the type of software you choose. Mobile POS software, such as a smartphone app, can begin at $50 per month, while more complex software can reach several hundred dollars monthly. When you buy POS software, you’ll usually need to pay an upfront purchase price, plus an ongoing monthly or yearly payment processing fees.

Other factors that may affect the cost of your POS software plans include:

  • How many features you add
  • Any hardware included
  • Number of integrations
  • Your operating system

POS Systems Costs

Point of Sale systems vary greatly in price depending on the type and size of business you’re looking to equip. There are two costs to consider when looking for a POS system: monthly software fees and an installation fee. 

Monthly software costs go anywhere from $0 to $100+ a month. Most paid POS programs will cost you between $15 and $30/month. Installation fees usually include software installation, as well as the hardware itself. Paid POS systems don’t always have user caps, meaning that an unlimited number of workers can use the program to make transactions.

There are, of course, “free” POS systems. This means that the hardware and monthly plans start at $0 but they charge businesses per transition. For example, a POS provider can charge anywhere from 2 to 4% plus a few cents per card-based transactions or manual keyed-in sales. 

Getting the Right POS Hardware 

POS hardware is the indispensable other half of your POS system. You’ll need to get the right hardware to match the actions and transactions you want to carry out using your POS system. A basic set of POS hardware consists of:

  • Printer to offer hard copies of receipts (retail stores, restaurants, and other brick and mortar businesses are likely to need this)
  • A POS terminal, or iPad or Android tablet to run your POS software
  • Credit card reader
  • A cash register to keep cash transactions secure and logged into your system

Depending on your business, you might also need:

  • Extra tablets so wait staff can process payments at the table in restaurants
  • A router to strengthen your internet for cloud-based POS systems
  • A local server to host your on-premise POS software
  • Weight scales for food retailers
  • Barcode scanners
  • Networking cables to connect all of your hardware
  • An extra kitchen printer
  • Self-serve checkout kiosks

The Benefits of a POS System for Your Business 

With a POS system, your business can retain more customers through a better, targeted loyalty program and you can also track inventory so that you never run out of stock unexpectedly. A POS system can help you run complex discount offers when appropriate. 

With the right POS system, you can also analyze sales history to discover seasonal buying trends and correlations, which can come in useful when you want to increase sales. You can also remove manual error by using barcode scanners and automatic synchronization, as well as combat absenteeism with a more reliable employee tracking system.

Other major benefits include improving payment security as well as the ability to make more sales thanks to your ability to accept payments across the market.

Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise POS Systems

A cloud-based POS system stores data on remote servers and can be accessed online, whereas a traditional or on-premise POS system stores data on a local server and can be accessed through an internal network. Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between a cloud-based POS and an on-premise POS:

Cloud-Based POS Systems
On-Premise POS Systems
Relatively low-cost to buy and setup, but have higher ongoing costs
Expensive to setup and install, but carries very low ongoing costs
Always accessible from wherever you are, even if you’re out of the country
Comprehensive and extensive. On-premise POS systems can be used for very large and complex retail situations
Highly scalable
Not easily flexible or scalable
Easy to carry around, making it ideal for mobile types of businesses
Not easily portable, making it a poor choice for mobile businesses
Dependent on a good internet connection
Not reliant on the internet, so your POS system is always up and running even if the internet is down
Able to keep your data backed up on the cloud so that you won’t lose anything if the system crashes
At risk of losing all of your data if the server crashes
Easy to integrate with other business apps
Operated on a local server with all of your data and apps in your own network

If you have long-term business plans and if your requirements are likely to continue to evolve as your business grows, then a cloud-based POS system is probably the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you have fixed needs or a small budget, you might be best served by choosing a traditional POS system. 

How to Choose a POS System Provider

Choosing a POS system provider depends on what kind of business you’re running, how long you’ve been operating, and the scale of your operation. Finding the perfect system provider, though, takes some more research.   

Here are some questions, organized by category, that can help you choose the right POS system provider:

Hardware and Features

  • What features do I need?

  • What devices are needed to process payments? 

  • What hardware do I need? If you need a lot of items, a provider that bundles hardware options together with the software is a better bet, but if you're going to be using your existing iPad, you’ll need something different.

  • What kind of receipts are generated?

POS Setup

  • Does the POS system integrate well with my existing business apps?

  • Is it easy to set up and use? If it’s more complex, does it offer training?

  • How good is customer service?

Costs

  • Do I want to save money upfront or keep my monthly costs down?

  • How does payment processing work? What kind of hardware is offered by the POS company? Some POS companies offer technology unique to the brand, while others simply offer iPad rentals. 

  • Is the pricing plan transparent?

  • Are the payment processes cloud-based or more suitable for in-person transactions? 

Scalability

  • What analytics does it offer and what metrics can it check? Make sure that the ones that are most important to you are included in the package.

  • Does this POS system provide assistance for inventory management? If yes, it’s valuable to see whether there is help with product visibility, inventory, purchasing and replenishing, storage, analyzing inventory and orders, or multichannel tracking. 

  • Does this POS system have integrations for eCommerce, email marketing, or social media? A POS system can provide real time information to better customer experience. 

  • Is it simple to scale up as your business grows?

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors and writers with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.