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4 Best Tablet POS Systems

A tablet POS system maintains the functions of a desktop POS, but allows you to accept payments on the go.
By Olivia Chen
Last updated on May 23, 2023
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Tablet point-of-sale (POS) software, allows the functions of a standard POS system to be used via a handheld device. Many of the leading POS software include tablet capabilities; some can be integrated with tablets you already own, like an iPad. The best options are easy and flexible without sacrificing essential POS features. Here are our top picks.

Best Tablet POS Systems From Our Partners

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Estimates assume an average interchange fee of 1.81% + $0.10, based on our latest available data. Estimates provided reflect online and in-person transactions, but exclude any keyed transactions. Estimates are based on the lowest monthly plan and processing fees for each provider.

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Square POS

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on Square POS's secure website

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
5.0/5

Best for Overall tablet POS system

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$0.00

and up.

Get an estimated monthly cost for your business.
Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Toast POS

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on Toast POS's secure website

4.0/5

Best for Restaurants

2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Lightspeed Retail POS

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on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Retail businesses

In-person: 2.6% + $0.10

Online: 2.9% + $0.30

$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

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on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

TouchBistro

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on TouchBistro's secure website

3.5/5

Best for Food trucks and cafes

N/A

Quote-based.

$69.00

and up.

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Our pick for

Overall tablet POS system

Square POS

Learn more

on Square POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$0.00

and up.

Our pick for

Restaurants

Toast POS

Learn more

on Toast POS's secure website

Payment processing fees
2.49% + $0.15

if you buy hardware upfront; 3.09% + $0.15 for pay-as-you-go option.

Monthly fee
$0.00

Starter Kit; $69 Point of Sale plan; custom Build Your Own plan.

Our pick for

Retail businesses

Lightspeed Retail POS

Learn more

on Lightspeed Retail POS's secure website

Monthly fee
$109.00

for Basic plan, $179 for Core plan, $289 for Plus plan.

Our pick for

Food trucks and cafes

TouchBistro

Learn more

on TouchBistro's secure website

Payment processing fees
N/A

Quote-based.

Monthly fee
$69.00

and up.

Square: Best overall tablet POS system

Monthly POS software fee:
  • $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
  • $29 for Square Appointments Plus plan.
  • $60 for Square Restaurant Plus plan.
  • $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
  • $89 for Square Retail Plus plan.
  • $192 and up for Square Restaurant Essentials Bundle.
  • Custom pricing for Square Retail Premium plan.
Hardware cost:
  • $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
  • $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
  • $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included; monthly financing available).
  • $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer (monthly financing available).
  • $799 for Square Register two-screen system (monthly financing available).
Payment processing cost:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents (Free plan) or 2.5% plus 10 cents (Plus plan) for in-person transactions.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
  • 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.
Why we like it: Square has one of the best all-around POS systems, especially for businesses that are just starting out and don’t need a lot of industry-specific features. It also offers a handful of features with its free option and can be scaled with add-ons while your business grows. Its software system is compatible with Apple and Android tablets, and much of its hardware is also compatible in various capacities. For example, the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Air 3rd generation and iPads 7th-9th generation are compatible with all of the hardware Square offers, while other iPads and Android tablets have more limited options. Read our full Square POS review.

Toast: Best for restaurants

Monthly POS software fee:
  • $0 for Starter Kit plan.
  • $69 Point of Sale plan.
  • Custom plans available.
Hardware cost:
  • $799.20 for Handheld Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
  • $1,024.20 for Countertop Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
  • $1,339.20 for Guest Self-Service Starter Kit (but $0 if you agree to a higher processing fee).
Payment processing cost:
  • 3.09-3.69% plus 15 cents per transaction, if you choose a pay-as-you-go plan.
  • 2.49% plus 15 cents for card-present transactions, if you pay for hardware upfront.
  • 3.50% plus 15 cents for card-not-present transactions, if you pay for hardware upfront.
Why we like it: Toast is NerdWallet’s pick for the best overall restaurant POS software. With Toast you can manage inventory and sales across multiple locations, and add features that are becoming increasingly important, such as online ordering, pickup, delivery and even self-service customer ordering.
Toast built its own tablet, powered by Android, that is compatible with its mobile POS software. There is a Toast Tables app that you can download for iPads, but the features are limited to table management. Other than that, you are not able to integrate other hardware with its mobile software. The Toast Go 2 tablet is built to be carried around in a server’s pocket and is resistant to the wear and tear of restaurant life such as spills and drops. Read our full Toast POS review.

TouchBistro: Best for food trucks and cafes

Monthly POS software fee:
  • $69 for base plan.
  • $25 for gift cards feature.
  • $50 for online ordering feature.
  • $99 for loyalty features or marketing features.
  • $229 for reservations feature.
Hardware cost: Quote-based.
Payment processing cost: Quote-based for TouchBistro Payments.
Why we like it: TouchBistro, another POS system that was built with restaurants in mind, has solid options for food trucks and other food businesses that do frequent mobile transactions. Its system and features are also scalable to brick-and-mortar locations. Its POS software offers shift scheduling, inventory and menu management, tableside ordering and more. You can also opt to add online ordering and gift cards, among other options.
TouchBistro’s system runs on iOS, which means its software is compatible with Apple products. In addition to the software, its hardware is compatible with most versions of the iPad, and is not bundled, which makes it more customizable. You can purchase what you need, or even bring some pre-owned hardware, like an iPad stand, along with your tablet. Read our full TouchBistro POS review.

Lightspeed Retail POS: Best for retail businesses

Monthly POS software fee:
Lightspeed offers three different plans for retail stores:
  • $109 for Basic plan ($89 if billed annually).
  • $179 for Core plan ($149 if billed annually).
  • $289 for Plus plan ($239 if billed annually).
Add-on modules include the following:
  • $19 per month for reporting (for the Plus plan).
  • $39 per month for reporting (for the Core plan).
  • $49 per month for appointments.
  • $59 per month for reporting (for the Basic plan).
  • $59 per month for each additional register after the first.
  • $59 per month for workforce management.
  • $59 per month for payroll.
Hardware cost:
Pricing for Lightspeed's iPad and desktop hardware kits is quote-based. Individual hardware products are listed in Lightspeed's online store:
  • $79 for Mobile Tap V2 card reader.
  • $199 for iPad stand or swivel stand.
  • $299 for WisePOS E countertop reader.
  • $429 for Lightspeed Lite Server for data backup and offline mode functionality.
Payment processing cost:
  • 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction.
  • 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
Why we like it: Lightspeed is a great POS system for retail establishments because of its robust inventory management. Its integrations and add-ons also make it a fairly flexible and scalable option, ideal for, say, an online retail store owner who wants to start doing pop-up shops and eventually open a brick-and-mortar location.
Lightspeed’s mobile POS system is compatible with an iPad and comes with the same features as its desktop system to help you sell in store, online and across multiple locations. For inventory management, it offers product variants, barcode labels, stock transfers, automated ordering and more. Read our full Lightspeed Retail POS review.
Last updated on May 23, 2023

Methodology

NerdWallet’s point-of-sale systems provider ratings reward companies whose products and services are priced well and work in a variety of payment scenarios, among other criteria. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including cost, system capabilities, contract requirements, customer service and integrations and add-ons. Learn more about how we rate point-of-sale (POS) systems providers.
These ratings are a guide, but services, hardware and pricing can vary widely from business to business and provider to provider. We encourage you to shop around and compare several providers.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

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