POS Hardware: The Top Options for Small Businesses

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You are in all probability already aware of POS {hardware}, even in the event you don’t understand it. The money register at your native comfort retailer is POS {hardware}, as is the iPad-mounted cellular card reader at your favourite restaurant.

In the case of 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 may add as much as a big enterprise funding. And since so many choices can be found, it is typically difficult for small-business house owners to determine which merchandise are really worth. This is what it’s good to know to make your best option for your corporation.

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


POS {hardware} works along with POS software program to permit your corporation to run transactions. However POS {hardware} doesn’t work with all POS software program. Usually, POS firms make software program that’s solely appropriate with sure kinds of {hardware}. Lightspeed, for instance, can solely work on iOS gadgets. When buying round for {hardware}, be sure to be taught 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 in the event you determine to purchase from third-party distributors, it’s possible you’ll run into some points.


Relying on what your corporation 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 wishes to promote merchandise off their e-commerce web site at a reside occasion can join Sq. and obtain a free cellular card reader. Conversely, a service provider who owns a brick-and-mortar clothes retailer will possible want to purchase a countertop terminal, barcode scanner, receipt printer and money drawer — all of which may price some huge cash relying on the supplier.

One other 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. Alternatively, typically 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 one technique 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 his or her software program (as is the case with Clover and ShopKeep). Others have offers with POS {hardware} manufacturers to resell their merchandise. POS {hardware} suppliers additionally typically provide distinctive pricing fashions for his or her merchandise. Sq., 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} lots, so it’s good to discover one thing that’s straightforward to make use of and attentive to the wants of your corporation. For instance, in the event 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 threat dropping your information. Different 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} (be 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. Additionally verify to see what stage of assist they provide (ideally you need free 24/7 assist). Some POS suppliers additionally provide on-site set up and coaching on tips on how to use their merchandise.

Lastly — and this will appear apparent — however be certain the POS {hardware} fulfills the wants of your corporation. For instance, in the event you function a restaurant, you want a kitchen printer. Ensure your POS supplier both presents one or integrates with well-liked kitchen printer manufacturers.

The POS {hardware} merchandise you have to rely upon the character of your corporation. Whereas not each enterprise requires all these {hardware} choices, most companies will want no less than a few of these merchandise:

Bank card reader

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

Contemplate how your prospects prefer to pay when choosing a bank card reader. Most individuals have a card with a magstripe, however some might desire the safer EMV cost 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 choosing out your bank card reader, equivalent to the power to print or e-mail receipts, counsel tip quantities or pay with a digital terminal (punch in bank card data on the bank card reader’s pin pad). You may additionally need a bank card reader that works along with your cellular system 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 choosing those that fulfill your corporation’s wants. Some POS suppliers promote their very own proprietary bank card readers (equivalent to Sq. and PayPal), whereas others require you to purchase one out of your cost processor. Bank card reader manufacturers to think about when doing all your search are Sq., Verifone and Ingenico.

POS terminal

Some extent-of-sale terminal can be typically used to seek advice from a bank card reader, but it surely’s actually the computerized system that the POS software program runs on (for old-school POS methods, the money register is the POS terminal). Usually, your point-of-sale terminal could have an interface that the service provider makes use of to handle transactions. Some retailers use a desktop pc as their POS terminal, however it’s way more widespread 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 system. Take into account that some POS suppliers construct their very own proprietary POS terminals, such because the Sq. Register and Clover Station.

The POS terminal is usually one of the costly elements of a POS {hardware} equipment. You’ll both must pay the value of an iPad or pill or the dearer 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. Alternatively, in the event you use a cellular card reader, your POS terminal turns into your iPhone, with the POS app as your software program. That is typically the most cost effective POS terminal choice.

Money drawer

Most companies nonetheless want to just accept money funds, which suggests most companies want a money drawer. The principle 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 wish 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 by way of a USB or Bluetooth connection. Different issues are the scale of the money drawer and the variety of slots and coin trays. Most POS suppliers promote money drawers.

Barcode scanner

Companies that carry a lot of stock want a barcode scanner to assist them preserve observe of inventory and expedite the checkout course of. Much like money drawers, you’ll be able to have a USB-enabled barcode scanner or a Bluetooth barcode scanner — simply be certain it’s appropriate together with your POS software program. Most POS suppliers additionally promote barcode scanners. Well-liked barcode scanner manufacturers embrace Zebra, Motorola and Socket Cell.

Receipt printers

Whereas many POS suppliers now provide software program that may ship a textual content or e-mail receipt to prospects, it’s nonetheless essential to supply a printed receipt choice. Like barcode scanners and money drawers, receipt printers could be linked to appropriate POS software program by way of USB or Bluetooth. Most receipt printers use thermal or ink printing. For those who function a food-service enterprise, you may additionally wish to spend money on 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 widespread product bought by most POS suppliers. Well-liked manufacturers embrace Star Micronics and Epson.


Some extra merchandise are particular to sure kinds of companies. For those who function a restaurant, for instance, you may additionally wish to spend money on a user-facing kiosk, digital menu board or kitchen show system. Most restaurant POS suppliers promote this stuff.

Different merchandise that may be thought-about POS {hardware} (and are bought by POS {hardware} distributors) embrace digital scales, routers, kitchen buzzers, digital menu boards and customer-facing show methods.

Listed below are a number of the greatest POS {hardware} suppliers available on the market. Bear in mind, a few of these might require you to make use of their POS {hardware} and software program collectively.


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

Bank card reader choices embrace the Sq. Reader for magstripe, which new prospects obtain free after they enroll (extra readers price $10). There’s additionally the Sq. Reader for chip ($45), which may settle for EMV funds. The most well-liked choice is the Sq. Reader for contactless and chip, which prices $49 and accepts NFC and EMV funds.

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

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

Lastly, there may be the Sq. 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 cost processing charge of two.6% plus ten cents.

In fact, you can too purchase money drawers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, routers and even present playing cards via Sq.. Sq. presents financing on its POS terminals and customized kits for retail, foodservice and sweetness and wellness companies.

Clover POS

Clover supplies 4 distinctive proprietary POS terminal choices. The primary is Clover Go, a bank card reader that connects to a tool by way of Bluetooth and may settle for magstripe, NFC and EMV funds. The Clover Go works along with a tool working the Clover POS app. In contrast to Sq., you can too use Clover POS {hardware} with non-Clover POS software program. The Clover Go prices $69.

A extra pricey system is the Clover Flex — a handheld POS terminal that attracts lots of parallels to the Sq. 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.

For those who 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 by way of 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 safety features and a greater processor. Extra options embrace a free money drawer and a built-in barcode scanner. Just like the Sq. Register, this product comes with a customer-facing show. Plus, all Clover POS {hardware} merchandise function a cost processing charge of two.3% plus ten cents.

Observe that Clover presents particular bundles for retail and restaurant companies. Particular person {hardware} gadgets obtainable for buy embrace 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 probably the greatest POS {hardware} bundles available on the market. Toast presents a branded model of the Elo Contact i-Sequence 2.0 AiO. The terminal comes connected with a bank card reader that may settle for magstripe and EMV funds. You too can select from three totally different monitor sizes: 10”, 15” or 22”. These terminals function a hardwired connection, a top-of-the-line processor and have the power to perform offline. They’re constructed to deal with the mayhem of eating places with warmth and water resistant screens.

Like Clover and Sq., 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 water resistant.

For fast-casual eating places, Toast sells a proprietary user-facing kiosk that permits prospects to punch in their very own orders to be despatched to the kitchen. This system 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 evaluation their order on the counter. There’s additionally a proprietary kitchen show display that reveals the kitchen new tickets as they arrive in. This instrument can be warmth and water resistant and may 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.

When it comes to prices, Toast doesn’t provide particular pricing on particular person {hardware} gadgets, but it surely does provide pricing on POS {hardware} bundles. A starter equipment prices $450 and encompasses a Toast Go POS terminal. In accordance with Toast, the most well-liked {hardware} bundle prices $899 and features a 10″ POS terminal, flip stand and magstripe card reader. There’s additionally 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 value noting that every one Toast {hardware} is Android-based and the software program runs on Android methods. Whereas you need to use your personal appropriate {hardware} with Toast POS, the corporate strongly advises utilizing its {hardware} to stop a disruption in service.

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

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