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Small businesses need cash registers that are easy to use and accept payments in any form — not just cash.
We've tested numerous market-leading options (see the table below) and while there are plenty of good options, we recommend getting your next cash register from Square. Square not only offers a brilliant cash register with an intuitive touchscreen interface and a customer-facing display and card reader, but you'll also get the benefit of an exceptional point of sale system to manage all aspects of your business.
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Vend Pro Hardware Kit
Epos Now Hospitality POS System
Clover Station Pro
Almost all businesses, the Square Register is stylish and easy to use.
All retail businesses
Retail and hospitality businesses
Businesses after stylish and capable hardware
Small retail businesses
Small restaurants and hospitality businesses
Businesses looking for a cheap cash register
Bars, pubs, and cafes
$799 or $39/mo*
These days, a good point of sale (POS) system is absolutely essential for managing your business' operations. From in-store transactions to ecommerce sales and from marketing to analytics, a point of sale system such as Square will help your business thrive.
Here at Tech.co, our experts have sunk thousands of hours into researching the best POS systems for small businesses, to help businesses like yours get the best value for money. Our quick and easy questionnaire has helped hundreds of businesses get started with a brand new POS setup, as well as a new cash register.
Here are the POS systems with cash registers that we recommend:
- Square – Best all-round register and POS system
- Vend – Best retail register and POS system
- EPOS Now – Best restaurant register and POS system
- Clover – A great fit for all business types
Of course, if you're simply after a new cash register, we've got some recommendations for those, as well:
- Casio SR-C4500 – Best retail register
- Sam4s ER-940 – Best restaurant register
- Casio PCR-T280 – Best cheap register
- Sharp XE-A207 – Best for bars, pubs, and cafes
- Casio SE-C3500 – Best fast-service restaurant register
We'll also cover:
Cash Registers vs POS Systems for Small Businesses
As we've mentioned, anyone running an entire business may be better off choosing a POS system instead of a simple cash register. The best POS systems offer everything you get with a cash register, plus additional functionality to address all of a business manager's daily needs.
The big difference comes down to one word: centralization. Cash registers work best on a daily basis – if you want to know how well your year-to-date sales have been, or take a glance at your year-over-year net revenue growth in the month of April, get ready for hours of combing through your files. Some cash registers can scan barcodes or use SD cards to let you transfer data to another machine, but almost no traditional cash register can easily store or share digital information.
A POS system tracks all that data, backs it up to the cloud to keep it safe, and lets you search through years of data in seconds. It'll even auto-generate pie charts or graphs to help you understand it better. It's this centralization that helps small businesses make smarter decisions.
Here's a table that compares cash registers for small businesses against POS systems, to offer a snapshot of why a POS offers a more complete solution.
|Cash register for small business||POS system for small business|
|Reporting and analytics||✗||✔|
|Includes accounting integrations||Varies||✔|
|Gift card support||✗||✔|
Best Cash Registers for Small Business
The best POS cash registers will let you do more than simply accept payments. You'll be able to send email receipts, offer discounts and refunds, manage loyalty programs, and more.
The best registers look nice, too. You'll no longer have to besmirch your store or restaurant's beautiful decor with a hunk of black plastic straight from the 1980s. Instead, you'll be able to get slick, stylish hardware that gets the job done as well as catching the eye.
1. Square POS Register
Best all-round POS system and register.
Square's Register embodies everything that's great about our favorite POS system. It has a slick iPad-esque design with a large touchscreen interface but a hefty adjustable mount reminiscent of Apple's iMac desktop computers.
It even has an optional customer-facing card reader and display which attaches seamlessly to the back of the mount or can be placed further away on a tabletop — handy in these days of social distancing.
At $799, the Square Register isn't the cheapest option on the list but we think its stylish design, combined with Square's powerful software make it almost a no-brainer. If the near-$800 outlay seems a bit steep, you can get the Square Register from $39 per month with Square's financing service (subject to eligibility). That customer-facing display, meanwhile, costs just $12 extra.
Aside from the Register, Square will give you an almost unrivaled selection of features. You'll be able to accept credit, debit, contactless, and chip payments as well as cash and gift cards. You can even create and send invoices from within Square's software. Should your internet drop out, Square even has an offline mode so you'll still be able to accept payments.
You can track sales performance by item or over a period of time. Customer purchase histories are also stored on the Register, allowing you to easily reward loyal patrons on the spot.
Like the sound of Square? Check out our full guide to its pricing structure, other hardware options, and extra features
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 2.75% charge on non-card transactions
- Support options vary by plan
2. Vend Pro Hardware Kit
Best retail POS system and register
Vend is the best retail POS system on the market and its hardware options can go toe-to-toe with any rival. Vend works on a variety of devices ranging from iPads to iMacs and Windows PCs. However, its Pro Hardware Kit includes everything you need to get started including a brand new iPad to serve as your POS interface.
The Pro Hardware Kit includes:
- 10.2-inch iPad
- Heckler Design Windfall Landscape iPad Stand
- Epson TM-M30 Ethernet Receipt Printer
- Socket Mobile s700 Barcode Scanner
- APG Vasario 1616 Cash Drawer
This gives you all the tools your retail needs to get started quickly and easily. Spending more than $1,000 on a register might seem extortionate but, of course, you do get an iPad. Admittedly, Vend's system isn't quite as stylish as Square's offering but, crucially, it has all the same functionality — and it's certainly more appealing than traditional registers.
Aside from its high tech cash register system, Vend accepts all types of payments from cash to credit card. It also works with a range of payment processing companies including PayPal, Square, and Shopify.
What's more, if you're looking to kit out a range of stores with new cash registers, Vend has the features you need to centralize your operations. Your inventory, for example, is stored in one central catalog that syncs across all your sales channels — from ecommerce to in-store — and all your locations. This means that your operation will never be out-of-kilter.
Vend also throws in CRM tools with all of its plans, meaning that you can build customer profiles to reward repeat customers next time they're checking out.
- Suits businesses of all sizes
- Works with loads of third party hardware and software options
- 24/7 support
- Strong ecommerce integration
- Reporting on lower pricing tiers can lack detail
3. EPOS Now Hospitality POS System
Best restaurant POS system and register
Price: $999 or $72 per month
Epos Now's Hospitality POS system is the perfect hardware bundle for restaurants, bars, cafes, and other hospitality businesses.
The bundle is centered around Epos Now's proprietary Pro-C15W touchscreen terminal. It has a large, waterproof touchscreen that will help stop unwanted spillages causing a small disaster and it has a solid-state drive to bring super-speedy performance.
You get an 80mm Epos Now GX receipt printer and an all-metal cash drawer. Naturally, it also includes a license for Epos Now's Hospitality software.
Epos Now also offers full installation, configuration, and training for you and your staff on how to use the system and software.
Beyond its impressive register, Epos Now's software is one of our favorite choices for restaurant and hospitality businesses.
It has excellent employee management features, including employee permission rights and clock-in and clock-out functions. It also has detailed inventory and stock management features. You can bulk import products and split your inventory into different categories for easier management. You can also separate your inventory into eat-in and takeaway items.
Epos Now also offers more than 80 third-party integrations to help make your life easier including Xero accounting software, Nettl ecommerce, and Mailchimp for email marketing.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option
Clover's overall POS system, meanwhile, is a great fit for any business with an existing online presence. You can easily add ecommerce and online ordering functions to your website and integrate them with your POS.
It also has an extensive third-party app market, allowing integrations with services such as Mailchimp and bLoyal for marketing and customer loyalty programs, respectively.
Check out our Clover pricing guide for more information
You can also track sales performance in real-time and see your sales across different locations. Clover also has employee tracking features with shift and payroll management and customizable user permissions.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- Free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
5. Casio SR-C4500
Best retail cash register
The SR-C4500 is a very flexible cash register for small retail businesses. It has 72 programmable keys to speed up sales and you can add up to 50 clerks to ensure that all of your staff can sign in and start closing sales.
The SR-C4500 also comes with an integrated barcode scanner, saving you another purchase. In an attempt to rival the full POS registers we listed above, the SR-C4500 connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth to give you hourly sales information via the Casio app.
6. Sam4s ER-940
Best restaurant cash register
The ER-940 is purpose-built for restaurant businesses. It has a large, spill-proof 150-key keyboard. This means you can create almost limitless menu combinations.
What's more, it can support up to 20,000 product lookup codes. The ER-940 can also export sales and product reports to your computer for analysis.
However, it is relatively expensive — especially compared to rival machines from POS software suppliers.
7. Casio PCR-T280
Best cheap cash register
If you need a cheap register to help get your business off the ground, the PCR-T280 is your best bet.
However, don't think it's completely devoid of features. It has a rear-facing customer display and you can add up to 1,200 products. You can also manually enter discounts.
8. Sharp XE-A207
Best for bars, pubs, and cafes
The Sharp XE-A207 has excellent credit card reader support — essential for quick-service businesses.
You can add up to 25 clerks and store 2,500 product lookup codes. It also links with QuickBooks Pro to help automatically keep on top of your accounting and invoicing.
9. Casio SE-C3500
Best for fast-service restaurant register
The Casio SE-C3500 has a small 2×2 rear-facing LCD display, while the 10-line LCD screen can display up to five items at once.
It has spill-resistant keys and two RS232 connection ports to hook up a credit card reader, barcode scanner, or receipt printer. It also can support up to 3,000 product lookups.
Verdict: Best Cash Registers for Small Business
At $799, it isn't as cheap as the Casio SR-C4500 register but the extra features the Square Register offers are more than worth the extra outlay.
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