The Best POS Systems 2021

best pos systems

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 18 January 2021

There was a time when finding the best POS system for your business was hard. Then we wrote this review…


Investing in the right POS system is like finding the perfect business partner. They help streamline your operations, maximise your profits, and just make your working life a whole lot easier.

But how do you find the best POS system for your business? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve conducted extensive research into the world of POS, and selected the five best options available today.

Spoiler alert: Square and Shopify POS are the top choices, but read on to see our full shortlist. Or, if really you’re tight on time, simply tell us what you’re looking for via our form to get bespoke POS quotes today.

Supplier

Best for

Software starting price (billed annually)

Square

Best overall

$0/month

Shopify POS

Best for retail stores

$29.99/month

TouchBistro

Best for restaurants

$69/month

ShopKeep

Best for inventory management

$49/month

Lightspeed

Best for bars

$69/month

Square

Best Overall POS System

Pricing: Software price plans range from $0 per month to $35 per month

In 2020, there were over 340 million customers’ cards that had been used to make purchases through Square. That tells you all you need to know about this robust POS supplier.

Suitable for both restaurant and retail businesses, it offers comprehensive inventory management, customer loyalty, payment protection, and tableside ordering features.

With software pricing starting from $0, hardware costs ranging from $169 to $799, and a 30-day free trial, Square is powerful and affordable – which is why we rated it the best POS system available today.

Pros:

  • Powerful analytics and real-time reports
  • Customizable and scalable
  • Free to get started and simple to use

X Cons:

  • No live chat support

Shopify POS

Best for Retail Stores

Pricing: Software price plans range from $29.99 per month to $299.99 per month

Voted the #1 most innovative retail company in 2020 by Fast Company, Shopify needs little introduction when it comes to discussing ecommerce.

If you already run a Shopify online store, then Shopify POS will work like a dream. If you’re using another platform, you won’t find the integration as seamless.

That said, it does offer generous in-person credit card rates of just 1.5% + 0 cents. Plus, its software starts at $29.99 per month, which is more expensive than Square. However, it does offer cheaper hardware options, with pricing starting from just $49 as a one-off fee.

Pros:

  • Zero setup fees
  • Powerful platform ideal for any-sized retail store
  • Affordable hardware options

X Cons:

  • Works best when selling through your own Shopify store, not other ecommerce platforms
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TouchBistro

Best for Restaurants

Pricing: Software price plans range from $69 per month to $499 per month

The best POS system for restaurants, TouchBistro was designed by actual restaurateurs, and won the ‘Best Restaurant ICX’ (Integrated Customer Experience) award at the 2020 Elevate Awards.

We love the fact that you can integrate your TouchBistro POS with an unlimited number of payment processors, so you can take even more payments than your competitors. It also offers superb restaurant-specific features, including ingredient-level stock and floor plan management.

However, TouchBistro lost points in our value for money research. Unlike most other suppliers, TouchBistro requires you to purchase your own hardware separately, and its software pricing ranges from $69 per month to $499 per month.

Pros:

  • Excellent restaurant-specific features to help increase sales and keep customers happy
  • Fantastic 24/7 support

X Cons:

  • More expensive software than Shopify and Square

ShopKeep

Best for Mobile App Users

Pricing: Software price plans range from $49 per month to $179 per month

ShopKeep is easy to use and provides powerful inventory management reports, alongside an excellent iPad app to help you run your store on the go. In other words, it’s a keeper.

In terms of POS features, ShopKeep accepts all types of payments, including contactless and mobile payments. It also provides excellent inventory management features to help you keep track of your stock.

Its software pricing starts at $49 per month, so it’s not quite as cheap as Shopify POS’ starting price. However, its most expensive plan costs only $179 per month, compared to Shopify’s $299 per month.

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Comes with a free credit card reader
  • Awesome mobile app

X Cons:

  • Not the best value for money option on our list
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Lightspeed

Best for Bars

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

Ever worked at a busy bar? Then you’ll understand the importance of a lightning quick POS system. Lightspeed is just that.

Lightspeed’s POS enables you to open tabs and create combos for your most popular items, to help speed up the queue at the bar. It also comes with a self-order menu option and tableside ordering features for your seated customers.

Its reporting features could be stronger – there's no previous year comparison on the dashboard, for example – but that’s about all we didn’t like about Lightspeed.

There is a 14-day free trial period, and the software pricing starts at $69 per month, which is about the average for the best POS systems.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use and ideal for busy bars or restaurants
  • Powerful and scalable solution

X Cons:

  • No live chat support

Next Steps

We’ve shown you the best POS systems available in the United States. Having compared their features, pricing, customer support, and ease of use, you now know which one is best for you.

That said, most POS suppliers provide bespoke pricing, which can make it hard for you to plan your budget. But worry not – the easiest way to get crystal clear pricing is by comparing free quotes, which is where we can help you.

Simply tell us what you need from your next POS system using our quick form, and we’ll match your business with the best POS suppliers for your unique needs. They’ll then be in touch, offering non-obligation quotes for you to compare. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.

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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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