HomeFinancePOS Hardware: The Top Options for Small Businesses

POS Hardware: The Top Options for Small Businesses

You’re in all probability already acquainted with POS {hardware}, even when you don’t notice it. The money register at your native comfort retailer is POS {hardware}, as is the iPad-mounted cellular card reader at your favourite restaurant.

When it comes to buying POS {hardware}, most companies will want a POS terminal, bank card reader and possibly a money drawer, a barcode scanner and a receipt printer — all of which might add as much as a big enterprise funding. And as a result of so many choices can be found, it is typically difficult for small-business homeowners to determine which merchandise are actually worth. Here’s what it is advisable know to make your best option for your enterprise.

When buying for POS {hardware}, there are a number of things to bear in mind to make sure you get one thing that is sensible for your enterprise.


POS {hardware} works at the side of POS software program to permit your enterprise to run transactions. But POS {hardware} doesn’t work with all POS software program. Typically, POS firms make software program that’s solely appropriate with sure forms of {hardware}. Lightspeed, for instance, can solely work on iOS gadgets. When buying round for {hardware}, be sure to study the type of software program it will probably combine with. Your POS supplier will usually promote all of the {hardware} that’s appropriate with their POS software program, however when you resolve to purchase from third-party distributors, it’s possible you’ll run into some points.


Depending on what your enterprise wants, you’ll be able to purchase your POS {hardware} for no price in any respect or pay as a lot as a number of thousand {dollars}. For instance, a service provider that desires to promote merchandise off their e-commerce web site at a stay occasion can enroll for Square and obtain a free cellular card reader. Conversely, a service provider who owns a brick-and-mortar clothes retailer will doubtless want to purchase a countertop terminal, barcode scanner, receipt printer and money drawer — all of which might price some huge cash relying on the supplier.

Another factor to bear in mind when shopping for POS {hardware} is the associated fee you’ll pay for a {hardware} bundle. For instance, the aforementioned brick-and-mortar clothes retailer proprietor could possibly purchase a retail POS system from their POS supplier at a reduced worth than what they’d have paid to buy every product individually. On the opposite hand, generally it’s cheaper to purchase your POS {hardware} from a third-party vendor — so long as it’s appropriate together with your software program. The solely method to discover the perfect deal on POS {hardware} is to do your analysis. See what {hardware} your POS supplier presents after which see if yow will discover different appropriate {hardware} for cheaper on Amazon or eBay.

Some POS suppliers provide their very own proprietary {hardware} specifically designed for their software program (as is the case with Clover and StoreKeep). Others have offers with POS {hardware} manufacturers to resell their merchandise. POS {hardware} suppliers additionally generally provide distinctive pricing fashions for their merchandise. Square, for instance, means that you can finance your POS {hardware} over 24 months. Restaurant POS supplier TouchBistro will work the price of your POS {hardware} into the month-to-month charges you pay to make use of their service.


You’re going to be utilizing your POS {hardware} so much, so it is advisable discover one thing that’s straightforward to make use of and aware of the wants of your enterprise. For instance, when you promote your wares primarily from occasions, pop-up retailers or conventions, it’d make sense to make use of a POS system that’s cloud-based so that you by no means danger dropping your knowledge. Other issues to think about are if the POS system can function offline, the type of Wi-Fi router the POS software program must function and the sturdiness of the {hardware} (make certain your {hardware} comes with a guaranty).

Many POS suppliers provide a money-back assure on their POS {hardware} merchandise — so you must really feel empowered to check out their {hardware} risk-free. Also test to see what degree of assist they provide (ideally you need free 24/7 assist). Some POS suppliers additionally provide on-site set up and coaching on methods to use their merchandise.

Lastly — and this will appear apparent — however make certain the POS {hardware} fulfills the wants of your enterprise. For instance, when you function a restaurant, you want a kitchen printer. Make positive your POS supplier both presents one or integrates with common kitchen printer manufacturers.

The POS {hardware} merchandise you’ll need depend upon the character of your enterprise. While not each enterprise requires all these {hardware} choices, most companies will want no less than a few of these merchandise:

Credit card reader

Also referred to as a bank card terminal, this machine is what you’ll use to simply accept credit score and debit card funds. There are three other ways a bank card terminal can take fee: by studying the bank card’s magstripe through swipe, by studying the cardboard’s chip through an EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) reader or through the use of near-field communication (NFC) to simply accept funds from a digital pockets like Apple Pay.

Consider how your prospects wish to pay when choosing a bank card reader. Most folks have a card with a magstripe, however some might want the safer EMV fee methodology. Others don’t carry a bank card in any respect and use solely a digital pockets to pay for merchandise.

There are different options to think about when selecting out your bank card reader, comparable to the power to print or e-mail receipts, recommend tip quantities or pay with a digital terminal (punch in bank card info on the bank card reader’s pin pad). You may desire a bank card reader that works at the side of your cellular machine with a purpose to settle for funds on the go.

All of those merchandise can be found available on the market — it’s only a matter of selecting those that fulfill your enterprise’s wants. Some POS suppliers promote their very own proprietary bank card readers (comparable to Square and PayPal), whereas others require you to purchase one out of your fee processor. Credit card reader manufacturers to think about when doing all your search are Square, Verifone and Ingenico.

POS terminal

A degree-of-sale terminal can be generally used to check with a bank card reader, but it surely’s actually the computerized machine that the POS software program runs on (for old-school POS techniques, the money register is the POS terminal). Typically, your point-of-sale terminal can have an interface that the service provider makes use of to handle transactions. Some retailers use a desktop laptop as their POS terminal, however it’s rather more frequent these days for an iPad or pill for use because the POS terminal. These are sometimes paired with a stand to show them right into a countertop machine. Keep in thoughts that some POS suppliers construct their very own proprietary POS terminals, such because the Square Register and Clover Station.

The POS terminal is usually one of the costly parts of a POS {hardware} package. You’ll both need to pay the worth of an iPad or pill or the costlier price ticket on a proprietary terminal. Proprietary POS terminals are sometimes extra highly effective than your typical iPad or pill. Many include a greater processor and built-in bank card reader, saving you the price of shopping for your bank card reader individually. On the opposite hand, when you use a cellular card reader, your POS terminal turns into your iPhone, with the POS app as your software program. This is usually the most cost effective POS terminal possibility.

Cash drawer

Most companies nonetheless want to simply accept money funds, which suggests most companies want a money drawer. The fundamental factor to think about with a money drawer is the locking mechanism, as you’ll need one thing that may’t be damaged into. You’ll additionally need to discover a money drawer that’s appropriate together with your POS software program, because it ought to open each time you full a money transaction through a USB or Bluetooth connection. Other issues are the dimensions of the money drawer and the variety of slots and coin trays. Most POS suppliers promote money drawers.

Barcode scanner

Businesses that carry numerous stock want a barcode scanner to assist them preserve observe of inventory and expedite the checkout course of. Similar to money drawers, you’ll be able to have a USB-enabled barcode scanner or a Bluetooth barcode scanner — simply make certain it’s appropriate together with your POS software program. Most POS suppliers additionally promote barcode scanners. Popular barcode scanner manufacturers embody Zebra, Motorola and Socket Mobile.

Receipt printers

While many POS suppliers now provide software program that may ship a textual content or e-mail receipt to prospects, it’s nonetheless obligatory to supply a printed receipt possibility. Like barcode scanners and money drawers, receipt printers could be related to appropriate POS software program through USB or Bluetooth. Most receipt printers use thermal or ink printing. If you use a food-service enterprise, you may additionally need to put money into a kitchen printer, which syncs together with your POS software program to print tickets within the kitchen each time an order is positioned.

Receipt printers (and receipt printing paper) are one other frequent product bought by most POS suppliers. Popular manufacturers embody Star Micronics and Epson.


Some extra merchandise are particular to sure forms of companies. If you use a restaurant, for instance, you may additionally need to put money into a user-facing kiosk, digital menu board or kitchen show system. Most restaurant POS suppliers promote these things.

Other merchandise that may be thought of POS {hardware} (and are bought by POS {hardware} distributors) embody digital scales, routers, kitchen buzzers, digital menu boards and customer-facing show techniques.

Here are a number of the finest POS {hardware} suppliers available on the market. Remember, a few of these might require you to make use of their POS {hardware} and software program collectively.

Square POS

Square is legendary for its cellular bank card reader, which revolutionized the funds trade when it debuted in 2009. Since that point Square has launched a full line of POS {hardware} that’s inexpensive, well-designed and very user-friendly.

Credit card reader choices embody the Square Reader for magstripe, which new prospects obtain free once they enroll (extra readers price $10). There can be the Square Reader for chip ($45), which might settle for EMV funds. The hottest possibility is the Square Reader for contactless and chip, which prices $49 and accepts NFC and EMV funds.

Square’s terminal choices are the place issues get actually attention-grabbing. Its flagship product is the Square Register, a countertop POS terminal with an hooked up bank card reader that accepts magstripe, NFC and EMV funds. You additionally get a customer-facing show and energy adapter, plus Square’s lowest fee processing charges (2.5% plus ten cents).

A less expensive possibility is utilizing an iPad or pill as your POS terminal — each of that are appropriate with Square’s software program. Square sells a particular stand for iPads that prices $199 and has a built-in magstripe reader. Many retailers pair this with Square’s Bluetooth-enabled EMV and NFC reader.

Lastly, there may be the Square Terminal, a handheld POS terminal that’s extra succesful than an iPhone however much less so than an iPad. It retails at $299, accepts magstripe, EMV and NFC funds, prints receipts and comes with a reduced fee processing price of two.6% plus ten cents.

Of course, you too can purchase money drawers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, routers and even reward playing cards by Square. Square presents financing on its POS terminals and customized kits for retail, foodservice and wonder and wellness companies.

Clover POS

Clover gives 4 distinctive proprietary POS terminal choices. The first is Clover Go, a bank card reader that connects to a tool through Bluetooth and might settle for magstripe, NFC and EMV funds. The Clover Go works at the side of a tool working the Clover POS app. Unlike Square, you too can use Clover POS {hardware} with non-Clover POS software program. The Clover Go prices $69.

A extra pricey machine is the Clover Flex — a handheld POS terminal that attracts a variety of parallels to the Square Terminal. With it you’ll be able to settle for magstripe, EMV and NFC funds, print receipts and in addition run POS software program. It retails at $449.

If you want a countertop POS terminal, Clover presents the Clover Mini for $599. The Clover Mini is an enclosed monitor with a built-in magstripe, NFC and EMV reader, plus a receipt printer. It additionally connects with a wide range of receipt printers, barcode scanners and money drawers through Bluetooth.

Lastly there may be the Clover Station, Clover’s most full POS terminal providing. For $1,199, you’ll get all of the options within the Clover Mini with a bigger show, added security measures and a greater processor. Additional options embody a free money drawer and a built-in barcode scanner. Like the Square Register, this product comes with a customer-facing show. Plus, all Clover POS {hardware} merchandise characteristic a fee processing price of two.3% plus ten cents.

Note that Clover presents particular bundles for retail and restaurant companies. Individual {hardware} objects obtainable for buy embody handheld barcode scanners, kitchen printers, label printers, weight scales, PIN debit pads and printer paper.

Toast POS

For companies within the foodservice trade, Toast presents among the finest POS {hardware} bundles available on the market. Toast presents a branded model of the Elo Touch i-Series 2.0 AiO. The terminal comes hooked up with a bank card reader that may settle for magstripe and EMV funds. You also can select from three completely different monitor sizes: 10”, 15” or 22”. These terminals characteristic a hardwired connection, a top-of-the-line processor and have the power to operate offline. They are constructed to deal with the mayhem of eating places with warmth and waterproof screens.

Like Clover and Square, Toast sells a proprietary handheld POS terminal. The Toast Go is designed to permit servers to take orders tableside and fireplace them off to the kitchen with ease. It comes with a built-in magstripe and EMV reader, 40% longer battery life than iPads and is warmth and waterproof.

For fast-casual eating places, Toast sells a proprietary user-facing kiosk that enables prospects to punch in their very own orders to be despatched to the kitchen. This machine additionally comes with a built-in magstripe and EMV reader and 10”, 15” or 22” monitor sizes. Toast additionally sells a ten” user-facing kiosk that attaches to a POS terminal and permits a buyer to overview their order on the counter. There can be a proprietary kitchen show display screen that reveals the kitchen new tickets as they arrive in. This device can be warmth and waterproof and might show in a number of languages.

Toast sells a wide range of wi-fi routers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, digital scales and particular person bank card readers that may settle for magstripe and EMV funds.

In phrases of prices, Toast doesn’t provide particular pricing on particular person {hardware} objects, but it surely does provide pricing on POS {hardware} bundles. A starter package prices $450 and incorporates a Toast Go POS terminal. According to Toast, the preferred {hardware} bundle prices $899 and features a 10″ POS terminal, flip stand and magstripe card reader. There can be a bundle that prices $1,350 and comes with a ten” terminal, magstripe card reader, receipt printer and money drawer. Toast additionally presents set up companies and on-site coaching beginning at $499. All {hardware} comes with 0% financing for 36 months and a two-year guarantee.

It’s additionally price noting that every one Toast {hardware} is Android-based and the software program runs on Android techniques. While you need to use your personal appropriate {hardware} with Toast POS, the corporate strongly advises utilizing its {hardware} to forestall a disruption in service.

A model of this text was first revealed on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.



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