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Top 5 Cash Registers for Small Businesses

Keep your cash safe and secure with one of these top cash registers for small businesses


There's a wide range of cash registers on the market designed to meet the needs of small businesses. Many are specifically designed for use in certain industries, such as catering, or for retailers selling bar-coded items.

The best one for you depends on the nature of your particular business and your budget. Here we look at five of the best cash registers for restaurants and small businesses.

cash register for restaurant

Best Five Cash Registers for Restaurants and Small Businesses

We reviewed, rated and compared the leading cash registers for restaurants and small businesses.

The top five systems are Sam4s ER 940, Casio SE-C3500, Sharp XEA207, Casio TE4500 and Sam4s ER-380.

The best cash registers for small businesses:

  1. Best for Restaurants: Sam4s ER 940
  2. Best for Fast Food: Casio SE-C3500
  3. Best for Bars and Cafes: Sharp XE-A207
  4. Best for Small Retail: Casio TE-4500
  5. Best Budget Buy: Sam4s ER 380
Best Five Cash Registers for Restaurants and Small Businesses
1Sam4s ER 940Best for restaurants
2Casio SE-C3500Best for fast food
3Sharp XE-A207Best for bars and cafes
4Casio TE-4500Best for small retail
5Sam4s ER 380Best budget buy

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Sam4s ER 940

Best for: Restaurants

Sam4s ER 940 cash register

This heavy-duty cash register fits the bill and settles it

Fast and accurate transactions are the name of the game with this register. It features a large, spill-proof keyboard with 150 keys to deal with any menu combination you can imagine, and there’s even support for up to 20,000 PLUs with an added SD card. You can also export sales and product reports to your PC (although you can’t save them to the SD card). Fit the top unit snugly on your counter, stash the cash box safely underneath and out of sight, and you're good to go.

Overall Rating:

Price: $300

Pros:

  • Spill-proof keyboard
  • Lots of storage space
  • Exportable sales reports

X Cons:

  • Underdeveloped SD card support

Casio SE-C3500

Best for: Fast Food

Casio SE-C3500 cash register

Casio’s SE-C3500 is an excellent option for the fast food space

This Casio’s SE-C3500 excels at quick service in fast food, concession and take-out operations. We love the compact 2x2 rear-facing LCD display that lets customers know when their order is up. Its 10-line LCD screen displays up to five items at a time, which makes it easy to track customers’ orders. Spill-resistant keys are soft drink-proof, and two RS232 connection ports let you hook up a receipt printer and credit card reader/barcode scanner depending on your needs. It’s also great for retail outlets, although consider adding an SD card to boost the default 3,000 PLU barcode storage capacity.

Overall Rating:

Price: $350

Pros:

  • Bright LCD displays
  • Tactile buttons
  • Simple to set up

X Cons:

  • Low PLU capacity
  • Not as customizable as other CRM systems

Sharp XE-A207

Best for: Bars and Cafes

Sharp XE-A207 cash register

Staff punch in the numbers while your customers pull the pints

The Sharp XE-A207 is packed with useful features rarely found in other similarly-priced models. The register stores identification details for up to 25 clerks, while the 2,500 PLU storage should be more than enough to cover all of your barcoded goods.

Best-in-field for bars, the Sharp XE-A207 has excellent credit card reader support. There's also a nifty Quickbooks Pro link feature to make accounting easy for you, but Sharp doesn’t provide any tech support with setting it up. If you’re confident doing online troubleshooting (there are lots of support materials available), there’s no better option.

Overall Rating:

Price: $350

Pros:

  • Advanced clerk identification
  • Ample online support materials
  • Quickbooks Pro link

X Cons:

  • Sharp not reknowned for their phone support

Casio TE-4500

Best for: Small Retail

Casio TE-4500 cash register

The ideal system for fast and easy access to items in your inventory

The Casio TE-4500 cash register comes with a standard memory capacity of up to 25,000 PLUs (barcodes) - in other words, it’s perfect for businesses carrying several stock lines. Intuitive keyboard controls make it easy to look up prices in seconds. Other features available in this model include; a 16 character LCD display, a tilt operator display for easy viewing, a thermal printer with drop and load paper, a large ten compartment cash drawer, three ports for connection to other devices such as PCs, register-to-register communication capability and optional memory cassette back up. It also ships with an integrated barcode scanner.

Overall Rating:

Price: $560

Pros:

  • Huge memory (25,000 PLUs)
  • Intuitive to use
  • Ships with an integrated barcode scanner

X Cons:

  • Pricier than some POS systems

Sam4s ER 380

Best Budget Buy

Sam4s ER 380 cash register

The ideal system for fast and easy access to items in your inventory

If you’re a small business looking for a basic entry level till, you can’t go far wrong with the ER 380. It comes with useful features that you'll be hard pressed to find in other budget models; 12 departments, financial reports, 200 PLUs, cash-in-drawer reports, a 5 bill/5 coin cash register drawer and four tax tables.

Overall Rating:

Price: $300

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Non-existent learning curve

X Cons:

  • Lacks many useful features
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Next Steps

We often underappreciate the tools we rely on the most in our day-to-day lives. Top-line cash registers work harder for small businesses than almost any other asset of similar value. Upkeep costs are non-existent, and the upside is huge - you’ll take better care of your money, and your customers. That starts with choosing the right cash register for your business, which you should be in a better position to do now that you’ve read this article.

One thing to bear in mind is whether you could benefit from closer point of sale integration with your reporting and marketing platforms. Some cash registers for small business do let you export raw sales data to your PC, but that still leaves you to extract intelligible insights from it. And, even if you already share news with customers on social media or email, you’re missing a trick by not linking those channels to your in-store point of sale machine.

Modern POS solutions make these and many more integrations possible. For many small retailers and service industry startups, they’re the most sensible option. Believe it or not, POS systems can also be more cost effective, paying for themselves in as little as four months. So before you commit to a cash register, we recommend you explore POS systems for small businesses too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use a cash register instead of a modern point-of-sale (POS) system?

Every store needs to be able to process sales. Thankfully, the best cash registers for small business more than hold their own in modern retail and hospitality settings.

While modern POS systems offer many advantages, there are still reasons to opt for a traditional cash register.

Cash registers are more affordable. You can pick up a basic Casio or Sam4S register for $100. Compare that with the $400 you’d spend on entry-level POS hardware, and it’s easy to see why some businesses still haven’t upgraded.

POS solutions use a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model, which means you pay your supplier a monthly fee to be able to actually use the system. When you add up hardware and subscription fees, you end up paying more for a POS system over ten years than you do for a cash register.

Electronic cash registers have longer lifespans than POS systems, though the gap has shrunk in recent years. The best cash registers for small business will give you at least 15 years of good service, whereas POS hardware tends to need replacing after 10 years. That said, software from top POS suppliers does outlive the hardware it’s deployed on, so you're assured of good value for money with either option.

What are the advantages of a modern point-of-sale (POS) system?

Modern POS systems offer more than just a safe place to store cash. There are several reasons why a POS system might be a smarter choice.

Targeted customer marketing is a big one. POS systems and customer relationship management (CRM) go hand in hand. For one thing, POS software makes it easy to collect customer email addresses. Why not show off your business’s green credentials by offering customers e-receipts instead of paper ones at checkout? With their opt in, you can also send them targeted messages based on their recent purchases. It’s a low-effort yet sophisticated approach that’ll win you lots of repeat business. Needless to say, it’s not possible with a cash register.

Inventory management used to be the most manual (and boring) part of your job, but modern POS software can actually do most of the work for you. You can set your system up to send low-stock alerts to your phone when supplies of a particular ingredient or product line are running low.

Another useful feature of some POS systems is staff management. Using built-in time tracking software, employees can clock in and out directly through terminals, which means they spend less time on admin and more time doing what they do best. High-end systems even let you run individual performance reports so you can make informed decisions about staff training and task allocation.

The ability to share information with other systems through software integrations is what really separates computerized POS from cash registers. For example, some systems can automate the process of plugging daily sales data into accounting software. The NCR Silver shares staff hours tracking data with HR software like Paychex to streamline payroll processing. The minutes you shave off these routine tasks can save you thousands of dollars a month.

Which is best for me; a POS system or a cash register?

Cash Registers vs POS Systems: Which is Best for Me?
SolutionBest forPriced from
Cash RegisterSmall businesses that just need to store takings, run receipts and accept cash, check and credit card payments.$90+
POS SystemRetailers that want to manage a wide range of business functions, and manage sales and payments with one streamlined system.$99/month+