The 5 Best POS Systems for Small Businesses in Canada | 2023

people being served in a restaurant
Zara Chechi

With a score of 4.8/5, Square is our highest rated POS provider in our research. We recommend it to small businesses  as it offers free POS software, affordable hardware, and comprehensive features.

Our independent research team has compared 12 different POS systems to find the best providers. Each provider was scored against a range of areas including business development, price, and customer support.

If you’re short on time, you can get quotes from trusted POS companies directly through our free quote-comparison tool. Simply answer a few questions, and we’ll match you with the most suitable company, who’ll offer tailored, no-obligation quotes. Easy.

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Square

Lightspeed

Shopify POS

TouchBistro

4.8
4.3
4.1
4.0
4.2
Price

From $0/month

Price

From $89/month

Price
  • Basic – $29/month
  • Shopify – $79/month
  • Advanced – $299/month

Shopify POS:

  • Lite: $0
  • Pro: $89/month/location
Price

From $89/month

Price
  • Starter – $0/month
  • Restaurant Basics – $110/month
  • Essentials – $165/month
  • Custom – bespoke
Best For

Overall

Best For

Larger or scaling businesses

Best For

Retailers with an online store

Best For

Restaurants

Best For

hospitality industry

Square: Best Overall

Pricing: Software price plans range from $0 per month to $79 per month

Square
4.8
Quick overview

Square scores a 4.8/5 overall in our research, taking the number one spot. Square scores a 5/5 for pricing because of its free POS app. The free software is especially suitable for startups or small businesses that have a limited budget. Square does have a paid version for retail ($79 per month) that features more advanced features such as the ability to accept cross-location returns. It also offers a paid version for the hospitality industry, priced a little lower at $60 per month.

Square scores well in the business and stock management areas with a solid 5/5. This is thanks to its high number of features such as online ordering, an ecommerce platform, and third party integrations. You will, however, need to pay an additional monthly cost starting from $45 for a loyalty program. If this is important to you then you might prefer a system with a built-in program such as Lightspeed. Although, Lightspeed is much pricier than Square, these comprehensive features are suitable for larger or multi-location restaurants. Square also scores a 5/5 for its customer service as it offers email, live chat, and phone support.

Strengths

Software is free to use with no setup or monthly fees

Scalable software

Retail and restaurant-specific packages

Weaknesses

Slightly higher transaction fees than most competitors

Pricing
Software Hardware
Free $0 Card reader $59
Plus $60

Key Features

  • Free to install
  • Customized email receipts
  • Integrated payment processor
  • Access to third-party integrations
  • Industry-specific packages

Lightspeed: Best for Retail

Pricing: Software price plans range from $69 per month to $289 per month

lightspeed logo
Lightspeed
4.3
Quick overview

Lightspeed score a 4.3/5 overall and offer two different POS systems: restaurant and retail. The split means you can choose the system that's right for your business' needs. Lightspeed doesn't do very well in the pricing area scoring a 3.2/5. Starting from 89 CAD per month, the 'Lean' package is a stripped down plan and doesn't include features such as advanced reporting or omnichannel reporting. For this you'll need to opt for the 'Standard' package, priced at 159 CAD per month. If this isn't within your budget, you might be better suited to Square or Zettle which offer free POS software.

While Lightspeed are pricey, it offers features such as the most comprehensive inventory tools out of all the providers in our research. It also offers an integrated loyalty program whereas most other providers in our research only provide this via third party integration or as paid add-on. For small retailers, Lightspeed is a great way to scale quickly as it comes equipped with retail (or restaurant) focused tools and features.

The loyalty program is fairly extensive with customer insights, omnichannel loyalty tools, and custom one-time deals. Lightspeed scores a 4/5 for its customer score, offering live chat, email, and phone support.

Strengths

Offers lots of customizable features

24/7 customer support

Best option for retail stores

Weaknesses

Relatively expensive compared to other POS systems on our list

Pricing
Lean 89 CAD /month
Standard 159 CAD /month
Advanced 229 CAD /month

Key Features

  • Customizable gift cards
  • Automatically pause ads when products sell out
  • Tiered rewards program

Shopify: Best for Ecommerce Integration

Pricing: Software price plans range from $38 CAD per month to $389 CAD per month

Shopify
4.1
Quick overview

Shopify scores a 4.1/5 overall in our research and is best for businesses looking for ecommerce integration. This is because Shopify's ecommerce platform is popular and widely used but you also cannot use Shopify's POS system without signing up to an ecommerce plan. If you're looking solely for a POS system for now something like Lightspeed for higher budgets or Zettle for a tighter budget would work well. If you're not quite sure if you want a an ecommerce platform yet but you may want one in the future, Square could be a better fit as you can then integrate Square's ecommerce platform, which is free.

Shopify scores a 4.3/5 for business management, missing out on a perfect score as it lacks an offline mode. This can be problematic if you have spotty reception or you're out on the road. A better option might be Square if this is the case. Shopify scores a 4/5 for business development, as it includes a CRM and a loyalty program which comes with an additional charge. For an integrated loyalty program, Lightspeed is a better option, however, you'll need third-party integration to access an ecommerce platform.

 

Strengths

Powerful platform suitable for any sized online store

Affordable hardware options

Easy to use

Weaknesses

Works best when selling through your own Shopify store, not alternative ecommerce platforms

Pricing
Shopify plan Shopify POS subscription
Basic $38 CAD/month POS LITE $0 USD/month
Shopify $99 CAD/month POS PRO $89 USD/month per location
Advanced $389 CAD/month

Key Features

  • Profit margin calculator
  • Discounted shipping rates from DHL Express and UPS
  • Refund and invoice generators

TouchBistro: Best for Restaurants

Pricing: Software plans start from $69 per month

TouchBistro
4
Quick overview

Scoring a 4/5 overall in our research, TouchBistro is best for restaurants as it has been designed by industry experts. Some of these restaurant-specific features include tableside ordering, floor plan and table management, and menu management. TouchBistro has unlimited payment partners so it's great for businesses that want to be able to offer customers an array of ways to pay.

Its inventory capabilities are fairly extensive with the ability to log recipes, access reports on real-time stock level, and set up customizable pop-up alerts to inform to let servers know when an item is running low. Despite having comprehensive features it scores a 3/5 for business development as it lacks inter-store transactions. If this is important to you an alternative provider is Square which doesn't have as many restaurant-focused features but still has tools to manage and run a restaurant including menu management and floor plans.

TouchBistro does well in the customer service department scoring a 5/5 as it offers live chat, email, and phone support.

 

 

 

Strengths

Detailed spending reports to help you plan budgets

24/7 phone and email support

Designed specifically for restaurants

Weaknesses

Some customer reviews complain about small glitches

Not the cheapest option on our list

Key Features

  • Online ordering
  • Loyalty programs
  • Customer-facing displays

Toast: Best for Android

Pricing: Software plans range from $0 per month to $165 per month

Toast
3.6
Quick overview

Toast scores a 4.2/5 overall in our research for small business POS systems. Toast runs on Android, making it a great fit for current or wannabe Android users. Its free plan makes it suitable for small businesses, which can be found in other providers such as Square but, in comparison, Toast's system offers restaurant-specific features. If your business isn't in the restaurant industry, then Square could be a better option.

Toasts specialized features include menu engineering, tableside service, and detailed reports. One of its unique features not found in the other providers in this list is that Toast's hardware has been made built to withstand heat, grease, and spills. Making it suitable for a busy hospitality environment. Other restaurant-hardware options include Toast Go, a handheld POS system, self-ordering kiosks, and a kitchen display.

Toast scores a 5/5 for stock management as it offers several tools, in the form of xtraCHEF by Toast, an integrated solution for automating accounting and inventory management. Its customer support is lacking, however, scoring a 1/5 in our research. While it offers phone, email, and live chat support, many users have reported that the customer support is slow and unreliable.

Strengths

Designed for the hospitality industry

Solid stock management tools

Easy to use

Weaknesses

CRM functionalities only available via a third party app

Poor customer support

Pricing
Starter Kit $0/month
Restaurant Basics $110/month
Essentials $165/month
Custom Custom

Key Features

  • Online ordering
  • Cash discounts
  • Integrates with QuickBooks
Verdict

Scoring a 4.8/5, Square is our highest performing provider. It’s affordable, scalable, and offers a generous range of features – everything your small business needs to grow.

However, you might have more specific needs such as ecommerce integration, which is best done by Shopify. If you want restaurant-focused features, TouchBistro would be a good fit.

Remember, we can put you in touch with trusted POS companies quickly and easily. Simply use our free comparison tool and tell us what you need, then we’ll match you up with suitable companies who’ll offer more information and no-obligation quotes. Our service couldn’t be easier.


FAQs

What is a point of sale system?
Point of Sale (POS) systems combine software and hardware in order to help you manage your business more efficiently. The best systems offer features designed to help you with everything from processing transactions to creating email marketing campaigns that’ll encourage repeat purchases.
How much does a POS system cost for a small business?
For small businesses, software plans for some POS systems, including Square and eHopper, start at $0 per month, with just the hardware costs and transaction fees to worry about. However, most POS systems have pricing plans, starting from $60+ per month. The majority of POS hardware can be bought for around $1,500
What is the cheapest POS system?
The cheapest POS system is provided by Square. While eHopper offers a free plan, too, Square’s plan is better value for money thanks to its impressive features. With Square’s software, you can manage and grow your small business easily, at no monthly cost.
Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara Chechi Business Services Expert

Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.