Best Cash Registers for Small Businesses of 2023 (2024)

The best cash registers are simple to set up, reasonably priced and offer the features your business needs. Cash registers for small businesses typically fall into two categories: those offered by your point-of-sale (POS) system, and standalone electronic cash registers.

POS systems with cash register functionality are ideal for businesses that could benefit from additional management capabilities, require industry-specific features or need to sync in-store sales with online ones. Simple electronic cash registers often work fine for brick-and-mortar businesses that need to take payments only. Here are some of the best cash registers for small businesses.

Our Nerdy picks for

Overall POS-based cash registerSquare Register5.0NerdWallet Rating
Businesses with multiple locationsLightspeed Hardware Kit3.5NerdWallet Rating
RestaurantsToast POS4.0NerdWallet Rating
Interface and hardware qualityClover Station Duo4.0NerdWallet Rating

Our pick for

Overall POS-based cash register

Square Register

5.0

NerdWallet rating

Learn more

on Square Register's secure website

Monthly fee

$0.00

Starts at $0/month for unlimited devices and locations.

Our pick for

Businesses with multiple locations

Lightspeed Hardware Kit

3.5

NerdWallet rating

Read Review

Monthly fee

$89.00

Lean plan; $149 Standard plan; $269 Advanced plan.

Our pick for

Restaurants

Toast POS

4.0

NerdWallet rating

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees

2.99% + $0.15

If you pay for hardware as you go; 2.49% + $0.15 if you buy upfront.

Monthly fee

$0.00

Quick Start Bundle; $69 Core plan; $165 Growth plan. Custom plan also available.

Our pick for

Interface and hardware quality

Clover Station Duo

4.0

NerdWallet rating

Learn more

on Clover Station Duo's secure website

Monthly fee

$49.95

and up.

Types of cash registers

For this list, we looked at two types of cash registers:

  • POS-based cash registers. These devices function as accessories or components of a larger, more sophisticated POS hardware kit with built-in software.

  • Simple electronic cash registers that ring up sales but do little else.

You can purchase a basic electronic cash register online or at an office supply store for a few hundred bucks, but a POS-based cash register with all the features and accessories can cost thousands of dollars. What you pay depends on what you need; for example, with both types of cash registers, you might want to buy bar-code scanners and separate credit card readers in addition to a base setup.

» MORE: How to know whether to use a POS or a cash register

Best POS-based cash registers

POS-based cash registers may be a better choice for businesses with multiple locations or that also sell online or on the go. These systems can match all the features of an ECR but also often offer more add-ons and have credit card processing built in. (Payment processing fees apply.) This type of cash register can be a more sophisticated, flexible way to process payments.

Square Register: Best overall

Why we like it: The Square Register includes a built-in touch screen for you and a smaller, customer-facing touch screen. Purchase of this terminal comes with Square’s free software, which includes payment processing, as well as an array of features like sales tracking, tips, gift cards and online store capabilities.

Square’s POS plans for retail and restaurants — with both free and pay-per-month tiers — come with industry-specific features, including bar-code printing, table tracking and product modifiers. Any of these plans can be used as the software with a Square Register.

You can purchase separately and connect all the accessories you need to the Square Register, including a contactless and chip card reader, dock, cash drawer, receipt printer, kitchen printer and paper.

Lightspeed Hardware Kit: Best for businesses with multiple locations

Why we like it:

Lightspeed offers an iPad or desktop hardware kit for both retail and restaurants. iPads and desktops must be purchased separately. You can purchase add-ons such as a label printer and card reader as well.

The company offers paid software plans for download on your device, which integrate with Lightspeed Payments for credit card processing. Features include advanced inventory, customer and employee management, e-commerce options and a variety of third-party integrations. The software is ideal for managing inventory across multiple locations; additional registers cost extra per month.

Toast Flex: Best for restaurants

Why we like it: Toast’s POS countertop starter kit comes with the Toast Flex POS terminal, a tap-to-pay device and router, plus built-in software. You can add on additional hardware including a cash drawer, kitchen display screen and order printer. Though the Toast Flex doesn’t come with a second screen, the main screen can be flipped so it faces the customer. Payment processing rates and monthly software costs differ depending on whether you pay for the hardware upfront. Delivery services can be added to any plan.

» MORE: NerdWallet's best small-business apps

Clover Station Duo: Best for interface and hardware quality

Why we like it: The Station Duo is Clover’s most powerful register. It can process payments, scan barcodes and print receipts like Clover’s Mini — but it also includes a second, customer-facing touch-screen display as well as a cash drawer and receipt printer. The terminal can be paid for monthly or bought outright plus a monthly software subscription.

Best simple electronic cash registers (ECRs)

A traditional cash register may be a good choice if you don’t need many features or don’t want or aren’t comfortable with a tech-forward checkout system. Many are easy to use and have simple, essential features for ringing up sales.

The best options may let you calculate sales tax, tips and discounts; process returns and exchanges; print daily sales totals; connect with external bar-code scanners (purchased separately); and/or track employee use. Here are some ECRs to consider:

SAM4S ER-900 Series: Best overall

Why we like it: The ER-900 series, made by South Korean firm SAM4S, is a reasonably beefy cash register with a large cash drawer and an attached card reader. It can handle sales tax and up to 20,000 PLUs (those five-digit numbers often spotted on produce stickers). You can track up to 99 different clerks. Also, you can add scanners, remote printers, scales, coin dispensers and other peripherals. Again, factor in the cost of a separate merchant account for credit card processing.

SAM4S ER-230EJ: Best for mobile businesses

Why we like it: If you’re running a food truck, selling at fairs or operating some other pop-up-type business, this portable, battery-powered cash register could come in handy. But if you want to take credit cards, debit cards or mobile wallets, you’ll need to get additional hardware and use the device’s ethernet and USB ports to devise a workaround, which could be a headache.

Royal POS 1500: Best for restaurants

Why we like it: The Royal POS 1500’s touch-screen design gives it a streamlined look and allows users to customize their checkout processes more easily. It also works in 17 languages and can be programmed for use by specific staff members. In addition, you can customize how receipts look. But, at 22 pounds, it’s hefty.

SAM4S ER-180U: Best for low-cost portable register

Why we like it: This small, lightweight register is a good option for businesses on the go — though it’s still bulkier than a mobile POS app or card reader. The device has 16 keyboard designations for specific departments and up to 500 price look-ups, with sales tracking for up to 10 employees. It has a small built-in cash drawer and can print receipts.

However, the device doesn't have an integrated card reader, so you’ll need to purchase and use an external reader to accept credit and debit cards. And like any other traditional cash register, you’ll need a separate merchant account to process credit card payments.

As an expert in the field of point-of-sale (POS) systems and electronic cash registers (ECRs), I bring to you a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide you through the intricacies of choosing the best cash register for your small business. I have hands-on expertise in evaluating various systems, understanding their features, and assessing their suitability for different business needs.

POS-Based Cash Registers:

  1. Square Register (NerdWallet Rating: 5.0):

    • Features: Two screens, mountable to countertop, advanced apps, and software options.
    • Pros: Transparent pricing, live support, absence of monthly fees (unless you have add-ons).
    • Cons: Requires constant power connection.
    • Pricing: Monthly fee starts at $0 for unlimited devices and locations.
    • Additional Info: Compatible with iPhones, Androids, and iPads. Supports in-person and online sales.
  2. Lightspeed Hardware Kit (NerdWallet Rating: 3.5):

    • Features: iPad-based POS systems, robust inventory management, 24/7 support.
    • Pros: Integrations for accounting, marketing, payroll, and more.
    • Cons: iPad or desktop not included, higher software cost, no transparency on hardware cost.
    • Pricing: Monthly fee starts at $89.00 (Lean plan) and goes up to $269.00 (Advanced plan).
  3. Toast POS (NerdWallet Rating: 4.0):

    • Features: Toast Flex system, restaurant-friendly features, multi-location management.
    • Pros: No additional transaction fees, live support, easy menu changes.
    • Cons: Some features may cost extra, contract terms apply.
    • Pricing: Monthly fee starts at $0.00 (Quick Start Bundle) and goes up to $165.00 (Growth plan).
  4. Clover Station Duo (NerdWallet Rating: 4.0):

    • Features: Fingerprint login, fast processing speeds, robust POS software options.
    • Pros: Two screens, durable and versatile hardware, customizable for different businesses.
    • Cons: No free monthly plan option.
    • Pricing: Monthly fee starts at $49.95.

Types of Cash Registers:

  1. POS-Based Cash Registers:

    • Function as accessories or components of a larger POS hardware kit.
    • Offer sophisticated features and often have built-in credit card processing.
    • Suitable for businesses with multiple locations or those selling online/on the go.
  2. Simple Electronic Cash Registers (ECRs):

    • Basic devices that ring up sales with limited additional features.
    • Ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses that only need to process payments.
    • Can be more budget-friendly compared to POS-based cash registers.

Best Simple Electronic Cash Registers (ECRs):

  1. SAM4S ER-900 Series (Best Overall):

    • Reasonably beefy cash register with a large cash drawer.
    • Handles sales tax, up to 20,000 PLUs, and tracks up to 99 clerks.
    • Price: $489 and up.
  2. SAM4S ER-230EJ (Best for Mobile Businesses):

    • Portable, battery-powered cash register suitable for mobile businesses.
    • Backup-power battery, programmable keys for customization.
    • Price: About $250.
  3. Royal POS 1500 (Best for Restaurants):

    • Touch-screen design, customizable checkout processes.
    • Works in 17 languages, can be programmed for specific staff members.
    • Price: $700-900.
  4. SAM4S ER-180U (Best for Low-Cost Portable Register):

    • Small, lightweight register for businesses on the go.
    • Integrated cash drawer and thermal printer.
    • Price: $176 and up.

In conclusion, when choosing a cash register for your small business, consider factors such as your business type, location, budget, and required features. Whether opting for a POS-based system or a simple ECR, there are suitable options available to meet your specific needs.

Best Cash Registers for Small Businesses of 2023 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated:

Views: 6079

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.