The Top 5 Cash Registers for Small Businesses in 2021

small business cash register

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: October 8 2021

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. Strapped for time? We've got a handy cost comparison service so you can find out what's best for you. Fancy some extra research? Here we look at five of the best cash registers for restaurants and small businesses.

Best Five Cash Registers for Restaurants and Small Businesses

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

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 SR-C4500Best for small retail
5Casio PCR-T280Best budget buy

Sam4s ER 940

Best for: Restaurants

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.

Price: $659.95


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

X Cons:

  • Underdeveloped SD card support
  • Relatively expensive

Finding a POS system for the right price can be a time consuming process, but our comparison service does all the hard work for you. To get started, all you need to do is tell us a bit about your business, then POS suppliers that match your requirements will be in touch with bespoke, non-obligation quotes. It’s as easy as that!

Casio SE-C3500

Best for: Fast Food

This Casio’s SE-C3500 excels at quick service in fast food, concession and take-out operations. We love the compact 2×2 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.

Price: $350


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

X Cons:

  • Low PLU capacity

Sharp XE-A207

Best for: Bars and Cafes

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, ideal for running a busy bar with lots of staff, 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.

Price: $350


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

X Cons:

  • Online reviews mention the customer service could be improved

Casio SR-C4500

Best for: Small Retail

The sleek SR-C4500 will fit nicely in your small retail store, packing plenty of great features into a reasonably priced system. It comes with 72 programmable keys to speed up your sales, and the ability to add up to 50 clerks. You can also connect a serial scanner which can handle up to 3,000 scannable items.

To give you greater flexibility, you can connect your smartphone to the cash register via Bluetooth, and gain access to hourly sales information via the Casio smartphone app.

Price: $499


  • Comes with free mobile app
  • Track up to 50 clerks
  • Ships with an integrated barcode scanner

X Cons:

  • Pricier than some POS systems
  • No tax-exempt key

Casio PCR-T280

Best Budget Buy

Costing under $100, the Casio PCR-T280 is the cost-conscious business owner’s best friend. Small in size, this cash register packs plenty of useful features including a rear customer display, manually-entered discounts, and the ability to add up to 1,200 products. It’s the most basic cash register on our list, but you can’t argue with the price.

Price: $99


  • Excellent value for money

X Cons:

  • No integrated card payment processing
  • No tab or tip functions

Next Steps

By investing in the best cash registers for small business, you’ll take better care of your money, and your customers. Thanks to this article, you now know exactly which cash register is right for your business, too.

However, the long-term effects from the COVID-19 pandemic might mean your business requires greater flexibility when it comes to taking payments. That’s why you should also consider investing in a modern Point of Sale (POS) System, allowing you to take payments on the road or from your pop-up store.

If you’d like to receive free quotes from leading cash register and POS suppliers, then all you need to do is tell us what you’d need on our free comparison tool (it only takes a minute) and we’ll match your business with suppliers that best suit your requirements. They’ll then be in touch with non-obligation quotes for you to compare.

Save money on your next POS system or cash register by comparing quotes Get Free Quotes

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. The overall cost of your POS system, of course, will depend on the number of features and hardware you need.

Do I need 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+

Finding a POS system for the right price can be a time consuming process, but our comparison service does all the hard work for you. Simply tell us a bit about your business on our free comparison tool, then POS suppliers that match your requirements will be in touch. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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