There are 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 barcoded 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 small businesses.
What’s On This Page?
Top Five Cash Registers for Small Businesses
|Best cash register for|
Sam4s ER 940
|Bars and Cafes:|
|Small Retail: |
|Display||2-line LCD||10-line LCD||3.7” LCD||5.2” LCD||10 character LCD|
|Data input||Keyboard, 78 hotkeys||Keyboard, 72 hotkeys||Keyboard, 16 hotkeys||Keyboard, 106 hotkeys||Keyboard, 12 hotkeys|
|Cash drawer||5 bill/5 coin slots||5 bill/5 coin slots||4 bill/5 coin slots||Sold separately||5 bill/5 coin slots|
|Receipt printing||22 lines/sec||14 lines/sec||12 lines/sec||14 lines/sec||3.2 lines/sec|
|Barcode scanning||Up to 10,000 PLUs||Up to 3,000 PLUs||Up to 2,500 PLUs||Up to 25,000 PLUs||Up to 500 PLUs|
|Clerk identification||Yes (max 50)||Yes (max 50)||Yes (max 25)||Yes (max 200)||Yes (max 10)|
|SD Card slot||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (CF slot)||No|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year|
Best Cash Register for Restaurants
Sam4s ER 940
Designed for restaurants, cafes and bars, this heavy-duty cash register fits the bill and settles it. Fit the top unit snugly on your countertop and stash the secure cash box safely underneath and out of sight.
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).
Prices for the Sam4s ER 940 start from $300.
Best Cash Register for Fast Food
This register 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.
Casio’s SE-C3500 is an excellent option for the fast food space. 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.
There’s no recommended retail price for the Casio SE-C3500, but you can purchase it online for $350.
Best Cash Register for Bars and Cafes
Best-in-field for bars, this register has excellent credit card reader support. Staff punch in the numbers while your customers pull the pints.
The Sharp XE-A207 is packed with useful features that are rarely found combined 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.
It includes 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.
The Sharp XE-A207 cash register retails for around $350.
Best Cash Register for Small Retail
The ideal system for fast and easy access to items in your inventory. Intuitive keyboard controls make it easy to look up prices in seconds.
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.
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.
Prices for the TE-3000 SS start from around $560.
Best Budget Cash Register
Sam4s ER 380
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 rarely find in other budget models.
Available for under $300, the Samsung ER-380 offers 12 departments, financial reports, 200 PLUs, cash in drawer reports, a 5 bill/5 coin cash register drawer and four tax tables.
Cash Register or POS: Which is Better?
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.
A cash register is a one-time purchase. 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 lives 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.
That said, modern POS systems offer more than just a safe place to store cash. Here are the reasons why a POS system might be a smarter choice.
Targeted Customer Marketing
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.
Tracking inventory used to be the most manual (and boring) part of your job. 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 feature of some POS systems is employee time tracking software. Staff 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 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.
|Cash Registers vs POS Systems: Which is Best for Me?|
|Solution||Best for||Priced from|
|Cash Register||Small businesses that just need to store takings, run receipts and accept cash, check and credit card payments.||$90+|
|POS System||Retailers that want to manage a wide range of business functions, and manage sales and payments with one streamlined system.||$99/month+|
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’re hopefully 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.