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Smart business owners know investing in technology can unlock a world of possibilities. And for restaurant owners, boutiques and coffee shops nationwide, tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) software is one of the easiest tech upgrades to get behind.

At their core, POS systems modernize operational tasks — everything from payment transactions to record-keeping — without forcing businesses to do complex (and costly) hardware upgrades. Done right, they can also increase efficiency, speed and security.

With dozens of POS solutions on the market, choosing the one best suited for your business can be challenging. So here's an in-depth look at six of the best options out there and the nuances that will guide you to an informed decision.

Our Top Picks for the Best POS System

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Best Tablet POS System Reviews

  • Free software and card reader
  • Compatible with both Android and iOS
  • Included inventory management feature
  • Steep transaction fees
  • Frustration with unexpected account terminations

Why we chose it: With its free website builder and card reader, Square offers affordable options for businesses that want to build an online presence and accept credit card payments online, in-person and remotely.

If you already own a tablet or iPad, you can download Square's POS software and start taking payments on your device. You can even receive a free credit card reader to attach to your device.

Square’s POS system is a versatile option for businesses looking for more than just a basic checkout solution. Some available add-on features include:

  • A stand accessory that turns a tablet into a functional register (complete with an integrated card reader)
  • Inventory management
  • A kitchen display system (organize, track and fulfill orders from multiple sources on one screen)
  • Appointment booking (enables customers to book online and view openings)
  • Self-checkout software (customers can scan the QR code to order and pay online)

Customers sign-up for free and build their systems from the ground up, only paying for the features they use.

There are a few downsides to Square's POS system. One is the company's hefty transaction fees, which start at 2.6% per transaction. Likewise, some Square customers have complained their accounts were terminated with no explanation from the company. For the majority of users, though, Square’s POS system is a reliable and affordable option.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
$0 - $70 In-person transactions start at 2.6% plus 10 cents. Online transactions follow at 2.9% plus 30 cents, and manually keyed transactions at 3.5% plus 15 cents. Android
  • Applications and features available offline
  • Includes settings for delivery
  • Customer loyalty program included
  • Only compatible with iOS
  • Lack of customer support

Why we chose it: What sets TouchBistro apart is its server-centric setup, specifically designed to facilitate efficient communication between a restaurant's front and back of house.

The system’s hybrid online/offline tablet-based POS system allows restaurants to continue taking orders and payments if their internet goes out. Additional tech features touch everything from floor plan management to tableside ordering and help streamline operational tasks like:

  • Reporting (updated analytics on customer behavior, trends and sales)
  • Inventory management
  • Recipe logging and per-portion cost breakdowns
  • Integrations (merge your system with other payment and software applications)

One drawback to TouchBistro is that its software is only compatible with iOS, limiting it to iPad hardware. Online review sites rate it an average of 3.9 stars, with negative marks for its customer support capabilities.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
$69 Reservation implementation, marketing and gift cards are additions that range from $25 to $229 per month. iOS only
  • Option to customize POS solutions to your business's needs
  • Built-in payment processing rates
  • International processing included
  • iOS only
  • Relatively expensive compared to the competition
  • Poor customer service

Why we chose it: Lightspeed's POS software offers a wide range of inventory management features that go beyond standard stock counts, with access to a host of integrated vendor catalogs and built-in purchase ordering.

This comprehensive solution can cater to a wide range of businesses. Its robust loyalty program enables companies to reward their customers (and incentivize repeat purchases), and built-in e-commerce integration lets businesses easily sell their products online. Lightspeed also has a vast array of software integrations designed to help businesses automate functions like warehouse management and email marketing.

However, Lightspeed is only compatible with iOS, and its monthly subscription and transaction fees are more expensive than the company's competitors. And like some other companies on this list, Lightspeed’s customer reviews frequently cite a lack of satisfactory customer service.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
$69 - $399 Additional registers will incur a monthly charge of $29 each. Lightspeed Payments applies a charge of 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction and 2.6% plus 30 cents for manually entered transactions. iOS only
  • The first card reader is only $29
  • No monthly fees, only transaction fees
  • Works on iOS and Android
  • Additional card readers cost $79 each
  • Wall plug sold separately

Why we chose it: PayPal Zettle offers small businesses the ability to integrate various payment methods within a single device, including credit and debit cards, contactless payments and cash. This makes transactions easier and faster for both the business owner and the customer, which can be a godsend to start-ups and other newcomers to the business world.

There’s no monthly subscription fee — only a transaction fee — and the Zettle app runs on both Apple and Android devices. Zettle also provides inventory management tools to help small business owners keep track of their products and sales, ensuring they never run out of stock.

The main con to this POS system? It comes with a hefty price tag for additional card readers and wall plugs.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
N/A 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction Android and iOS
  • Compatible with both Android and iOS
  • Trustworthy cancellation options
  • Effective and simple multichannel selling integrations
  • Adding third-party processors costs extra
  • Occasional application glitches

Why we chose it: Shopify is the most affordable option on our list and comes with an arsenal of social media, analytics and inventory management tools.

The Basic and Standard plans allow customers to start using Shopify for free, paying $1 a month for three months thereafter. Once the three-month special expires, the monthly fee increases. The Basic Shopify plan costs $25 and accepts payments from all major credit cards, and the Standard plan is $65 and offers a multitude of additional features. There are additional processing fees, which amount to a 2.5% transaction fee for in-person payments.

Unfortunately, Shopify only allows the addition of third-party processors at an extra cost. This means that using a different payment system other than Shopify will incur a 1% transaction fee, which can be frustrating for some established businesses. Google Play Store reviews give Shopify an average of 3.9 stars, with the most common complaints relating to occasional temporary application malfunctions.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
$29 In-person orders have a processing fee of 2.4% to 2.7%, while online orders have a slightly higher fee of 2.4% to 2.9% plus a flat fee of 30 cents per transaction. Android and iOS
  • Compatible with Android and iOS
  • Free loyalty program functionality
  • No monthly subscription or transaction fees
  • No built-in payment processing
  • Integrations at an additional cost

Why we chose it: Loyverse has a built-in loyalty points system that incentivizes repeat purchases.

With this POS system, businesses can easily administer loyalty cards and track customer purchases, making it ideal for already-established businesses looking to enhance customer loyalty.

The software is available on both iOS and Android devices and includes standard features like inventory management and reporting. There are no transaction fees with Loyverse, but there’s also no built-in payment processing — so you’ll need to tap another company for that service.

While Loyverse includes an inventory manager, it lacks the feature to track the inventory. This means while the platform can assist with organizing and cataloging items, it is unable to provide real-time updates on current stock levels, which is frustrating to some users. Loyverse, therefore, earns an average of 4.3 stars from Google Play Store customer reviews.

Avg. Cost per Month Additional Fees System Compatibility
N/A Integrations at $9 per month and advanced inventory at an additional $25 per month. Android and iOS
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Other companies we considered

Here are some of the other tablet POS systems we considered that didn't make the cut:


  • User-friendly system
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Compulsory two-year contract
  • Steep activation and hardware fees

CAKE is a cloud-based platform for restaurant owners. It didn’t make our list due to its high price tag (about $69 monthly). Cake’s POS system also has less credit card processing flexibility than its competitors and requires a two-year contract to get started.


  • Most payment methods accepted
  • 24/7 customer service offered
  • Scalable packages are expensive
  • No offline payment processes
  • Does not accept third-party payment processors

Toast comes equipped with everything you'd need to run your restaurant successfully, from accepting payments to managing inventory and staff. But it also has high cancellation fees: If you sign up with Toast, you have to sign a two-year contract, and if you choose to cancel before the period is up, you still have to pay for the entire software subscription, plus any additional fees for services that were provided prior to the termination date. Toast’s Core Plan monthly subscription fee is $69, while its Growth Plan is $165.


  • Includes multiple-store functionality
  • Processed data accessible
  • Additional features come at higher prices
  • Monthly costs are more expensive than competitors
  • Complicated software system

Revel is a cloud-based business platform that streamlines operations for retail stores and restaurants. With integrated point-of-sale functionality, it offers a comprehensive dashboard that supports inventory management, customer management and social media management. Despite its extensive offerings, Revel falls short due to its high prices, starting at $99 a month, and customer reports of difficult usability.


  • Can be used on various hardware options
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Payment processor not included
  • Expensive compared to other systems

With its powerful inventory management features, multi-store functionality and detailed reporting, it's clear that Vend was designed to meet the needs of growing retail businesses. However, Vend comes with high starting costs, with the cheapest plan being $119 per month, and it doesn't include a payment processor, which may be a drawback for some business owners.


  • Designed for small businesses
  • No monthly fees
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Expensive hardware
  • Transaction fees add up

Helcim offers a range of tools to streamline payment processing, and it doesn’t charge a monthly fee. But the cost for a card reader is steep ($109), and the company’s tiered transaction fees add up fast.

Tablet POS System Guide

Here’s a quick how-to guide on selecting the right POS system for your business.

What is the average cost of a tablet POS system?

The cost varies depending on the company and the features included. Generally, you can expect to pay between $30 and $200 monthly. That doesn't include the cost of hardware, transaction fees or additional features that can, at the high end, run upwards of thousands of dollars.

It’s vitally important to evaluate your business's unique requirements (and budget) before deciding on a system. If you’re just starting, you may be thinking of taking out small business loans to cover your costs in your initial setup, which is an important consideration to make before taking the plunge. But while cost is essential, it shouldn't be the sole deciding factor. Ultimately, the ideal POS system should improve your business's efficiency and revenue in the long run.

What are the types of tablet POS systems?

There are three types of tablet POS systems:

  • Traditional tablet POS systems are similar to conventional cash registers but have tablet-like functionalities.
  • Cloud-based tablet POS systems offer endless benefits, such as access to real-time sales data and remote management.
  • Hybrid tablet POS systems are a combination of cloud and traditional systems. They can work offline and online, giving businesses more flexibility.

How does a tablet POS system work?

A tablet POS system offers a convenient and streamlined way to manage transactions, thanks to the system's intuitive interface using payment processing. When choosing a tablet POS system for your business, it’s important to choose from the best credit card processing companies for even better results.

Tablet POS System FAQ

What is the best system for iPad?

Generally, the Square POS system is considered a great choice. It's easy to set up, and the app is user-friendly and intuitive. Plus, there's a lot of room for customization — you can choose which features to enable and which hardware to use. And since it's widely used, you'll have plenty of resources available if you ever need help or support.

Is it worth investing in a tablet POS system for restaurants?


A tablet POS system brings many benefits, such as enhanced efficiency, streamlined operations, real-time inventory management, faster order processing and secure payment options. It provides a modern and sophisticated touch to your restaurant that appeals to customers, especially millennials, who value convenience and tech-savvy experiences.

While tablet POS systems can revolutionize business, there are also some downfalls. These systems can be expensive to implement, may not be as durable as traditional systems, leading to the need for frequent repairs or replacements and have the potential for software glitches or security breaches, which can compromise sensitive financial information.

How do you set up a tablet POS system in your business?

First, choose a creditable tablet POS software and hardware provider. Once you have the proper equipment, you can begin setting up your software and linking it to your payment processor. Then connect your tablet POS to a reliable WiFi or cellular data network for optimal functionality. Lastly, train your staff on how to use the system efficiently to avoid any interruptions in sales.

Which types of tablets work for POS systems?

When it comes to which types of tablets work for POS systems, there are a few things to consider. The tablet should have a large screen, powerful processing capabilities and a reliable operating system. Some of the most popular tablets for POS systems include the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Microsoft Surface Pro and Lenovo Tab. These tablets offer a range of features and price points. The iPad is a popular choice among businesses. However, not all tablets are compatible with all POS systems, so research before purchasing.

Can I use my tablet as a POS system?

Many tablets can be used as POS systems with the right software. This can be a cost-effective and convenient choice for small businesses. It is important to ensure the tablet is compatible with the POS software and can handle the demands of the business — additional equipment, like a card reader, may be necessary for a smooth and secure transaction process.

How We Found the Best Tablet POS System

We evaluated tablet point-of-sale systems across four main criteria. These include:

  • Integrations: Today's POS systems have evolved into comprehensive business solutions that handle crucial tasks such as marketing, inventory management, accounting and employee scheduling. With most modern POS systems offering a variety of integrations, the systems on our list must come with streamlined and accessible integrations for optimal results.
  • Usability: A multitude of features are now standard, but poor user experience (UX) design can cause wasted time and increased staff training costs. Even the best features are only meaningful if they are simple for users to access, so to ensure efficiency, a POS system must have an intuitive interface that is easy to use.
  • Features: We considered the core functionalities that most systems offer and the added features that can set POS software apart. These additional features can significantly enhance the usability of the POS system and may even be customized and curated to suit the specific needs of your industry or business.
  • Industries: Although most POS systems are designed to function across various industries, certain features and capabilities can make a system more suitable for retail businesses, while others may be better suited for restaurants. We analyzed POS systems for tables based on the industries they serve.

Summary of Money's Best Tablet POS Systems of 2023