The 4 best iPad POS systems for small businesses

iPad till systems are modern, easy to use and affordable - but which one is right for your small business? Find out everything you need to know here.

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Based on our thorough research, the best iPad POS system for small businesses is Square.

Not only is its software completely free, unlike other POS providers. But it is incredibly adaptable and easily scalable with software specifically designed for retail (Square POS for Retail) and hospitality (Square POS for Restaurants).

However, it isn’t the only iPad POS system in the game, and you need to consider whether Square will be the best provider for your business, as the likes of Zettle and Lightspeed both offer great POS solutions.

0 out of 0
Provider
Best for
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
Pricing from
Features

Lightspeed

Square

EPOS Now

Zettle

Hospitality businesses that want an all-in-one sale system with excellent customer support and integrations

Best value for small businesses who want to start selling for free

Small hospitality businesses looking to scale

Businesses that want the flexibility of no lock-in contracts

3.9
4.7
3.7
3.9

£39 per month – essentials plan

Square Stand – £99 + VAT
Square Stand Kit with USB Printer – £339 + VAT

Android EPOS System – £399
iPad EPOS System – £549

iPad 4G – £399
iPad wifi – £299

 

  • Over 250 integrations with other software
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Access real-time inventory updates
  • Free POS app
  • Secure Stand keeps iPad locked in place
  • Add hardware instantly
  • Inventory management
  • Back office functionality (setup and management)
  • Customisable dashboard
  • Free POS software (Zettle Go)
  • Sales reporting
  • Integrated accounting

With so many options available to you, it can be difficult to find the ideal system for your business, one that is affordable and has plenty of useful features and benefits.

This is where we come in – by using our free, zero obligation tool to compare iPad POS systems, you can be assured you are making the right decision for your business. In just minutes you’ll receive bespoke personalised quotes (including pricing) from some of the UK’s best iPad POS providers.

Or read on to find out what’s the best iPad POS software for your business, what actually is iPad POS, and how can it benefit your company…

Save On Your New POS System by Comparing Quotes Do you currently have a POS system? Compare iPad POS costs in just minutes

The best iPad POS software for small businesses

Square POS

Square (POS)
4.7
Square POS is the best value system for small businesses who want to start selling for free
  • Pricing from Free
  • Powerful customer management software
  • Real time in-depth reports
  • Pay team members with team management
Summary Square's POS system is highly regarded as one of the best and cheapest POS providers for small businesses in the UK. For starters, its software is completely free - with no setup fees or monthly payments. You only need the Square card reader to get started, which will set you back just £16. Square is also incredibly adaptable and easily scalable with software specifically designed for retail (Square POS for Retail) and hospitality (Square POS for Restaurants).
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Square POS at a glance

Square's POS system is incredibly popular among small businesses and is regarded as one of the best POS providers in the UK. The POS software is completely free and has a simple integration with Square's ecommerce software.

There is also a wide range of hardware to suit your business needs – and to get started you only need to purchase the Square Reader – which costs just £16. 

This hardware includes the Square Stand – built specifically for iPads.

What can Square iPad POS software do?

Among its many capabilities, Square's iPad POS features include:

Enhanced functionality and security

Square Stand is unique in that it locks your iPad into place and can be secured to your counter, stopping potential thieves with sticky fingers from stealing your equipment.

The Stand is also highly functional as it has been designed to swivel, so you can run your POS like normal – then offer customers the chance to securely enter any information (including PIN) right on the iPad.

The dock's long cord also means you can place the Stand pretty much anywhere in your store without worrying about its proximity to a power supply.

Add hardware instantly

Want to add a receipt printer, cash drawer, bar code scanner and more to your iPad POS system? With Square's iPad stand you can.

The Square Stand comes equipped with a USB hardware hub, so you can easily add any additional hardware or accessories instantly.

Powered by free POS software

Square's point of sale software offers everything you need to grow your business, including:

  • Employee management
  • Integration with third party apps including accounting software and ecommerce platforms
  • In-depth sales reporting through the Square dashboard extension
  • Physical and online gift cards
  • Stock control

Pricing

  • Square Stand – £99 + VAT
  • Square Stand Kit with USB Printer – £339 + VAT
  • Square POS software – free

Square pros and cons

Pros:
  • Accept every major payment type including invoice
  • Take payments over the phone - ideal for takeaway services
  • Square card reader costs just £19 + VAT
Cons:
  • No training mode available on hardware - inadequate for large teams
  • No in-app CRM system - bad for building customer loyalty

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS
3.9
Lightspeed is ideal for businesses that want an all-in-one sale system with excellent customer support and integrations.
  • Pricing from £39 per month
  • Over 250 integrations
  • Customer loyalty features
  • 24/7 customer support
Summary Lightspeed offers a range of monthly subscriptions for its POS, which is an all-in-one complete system. It's an EPOS system that utilises cloud technology. In addition to its software, Lightspeed can also provide hardware, which is available as a kit or individually so that it can be customised to your needs. Lightspeed’s hardware components range from printers to scanners and cash drawers. It offers 24/7 customer support and over 250 integrations with other software. This is a POS system that looks to help businesses future-proof themselves. You can visit Lightspeed to learn more about how they aim to help businesses be “future-ready”. For restaurants, orders can be taken tableside and are sent directly from the waiting staff to the kitchen. This means that staff no longer have to wait for an open terminal to complete the order, cutting down the time between customers ordering and receiving their food.
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Lightspeed POS at a glance

Lightspeed POS is an incredibly intuitive and popular point of sale system, popular amongst hospitality and retail businesses for a number of reasons.

Although in contrast to Square's POS offering the software is not free, the abundance of great features you get even on its essentials plan is well worth the cost of £39 per month.

Lightspeed offers two versions of its software, Lightspeed Restaurant and Lightspeed Retail. Both are tailored specifically to their dedicated industry, with a range of features and integrations built primarily to help support businesses in those sectors.

In addition to its software, Lightspeed can also provide hardware, which is available as a kit or individually so that it can be customised to your needs. Lightspeed’s hardware components range from printers to scanners and cash drawers.

What can Lightspeed iPad POS software do?

Among its many capabilities, Lightspeed's iPad POS features include:

Secure employee access

Business owners and managers can set employee permissions on all Lightspeed iPads. This ensures that only certain staff can access certain functions, including issuing refunds and removing items from bills.

Real time inventory management and product recommendations

One of the best features of Lightspeed's iPad POS software is the ability to manage stock inventories in real time. This enables your employees to keep track of stock levels whilst they are serving customers, ensuring that they don't sell an item that is out of stock.

You can also use your iPad to analyse unique insight into how long an item has been shelved. And your staff can make product recommendations based on specials of the day, or discounted product deals.

Not only is the system incredibly intuitive and easy to use for your staff. But it also comes with a number of integrated sales features to improve customer retention. Including:

  • Customer rewards system 
  • Omnichannel loyalty tools 
  • Consumer insights 

As well as all of this, Lightspeed also offers it customers unlimited 24/7 support, free one-on-one onboarding sessions, and a resource library full of helpful guides, webinars, demos and videos.

And, the cherry on top? Your staff can take payments using their iPad at anytime, anywhere in your store/restaurant.

Pricing

  • iPad ePOS cost – prices vary relative to the subscription purchased
  • Lean/essential plan – £39 per month
  • Standard plan – £59 per month
  • Advanced – £99 per month

Lightspeed POS pros and cons

Pros:
  • Huge number of over 250 integrations - with delivery, accounting, and CRM software
  • Real time inventory management allows staff to inform customers of what is in stock at all times - as well as recommending certain products
  • Customer loyalty features so you can deliver a personalised service
Cons:
  • No training mode available for your staff to get used to the system
  • Considerably more expensive than other options available

EPOS Now

EPOS Now
3.7
EPOS Now is the ideal POS system for small businesses planning to scale.
  • Pricing from £25 per month
  • Inventory tracking
  • 24/7 customer phone support
  • Customer loyalty features
Summary You won't find a better retail POS provider than EPOS Now. The retail solution offered comes as a package with everything you need, including the terminal, receipt printer, secure cash drawer, installation, configuration and training. Notably, it comes with the specific EPOS Now retail software. This is undoubtedly the best POS software option for small businesses that’s available for the retail market. You get a customisable dashboard with insightful reporting, which integrates to a back-office management system. The system offers barcoding and stock management. A booking system is also available. As is 24/7 customer phone support and excellent customer loyalty features via the EPOS Loyalty add-on.
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Epos Now at a glance

  • Over 30,000 businesses use Epos Now
  • The company has a five-star Trustpilot rating
  • The software is user friendly, and requires just 15 minutes of staff training
  • All major cards and payment methods are accepted
  • A live demo of the software is available
  • A 30-day free trial is available
  • There’s an option to buy with a single upfront fee

The UK’s largest EPOS provider, Epos Now is a great all-rounder for all sorts of start-ups. The provider processes over £2bn in transactions every year – with a new customer signing up every 30 minutes, according to the company.

In fact, in 2017 we named Jacyn Heavens, founder of Epos Now, as one of our Young Guns – the UK’s top business owners under 35. Not to mention that shopping guru and government advisor Mary Portas once dubbed Epos Now “the best system in the country” – praise worth listening to!

What can EPOS Now iPad POS software do?

Epos Now’s iPad POS software comes with a variety of useful features, including its impressive reporting functionality.

Epos Now’s iPad POS software provides a customisable dashboard from which you can access real-time product, sales and employee information from anywhere, on any device.

You can also create dedicated dashboards in order to better monitor separate KPIs.

Inventory management

Epos Now aims to give you complete control over your stock levels, meaning you don’t have to waste time on stock takes.Using the inventory control in this software, you can keep an eye on stock levels, discounts, faulty items and bestsellers, as well as automatically raising purchase orders and stock transfers (if you have other locations).

Back Office

Epos Now’s ‘Back Office’ is a modern form of POS software – offering a variety of features and functions, split into two sections: Setup and Management.

In Setup, you can make changes to various features in order to match any business requirements you may have, including tax rate, discount and location.

In Management, you can make the day-to-day changes that are important for any business – such as prices, staff, and product categories.

Pricing

  • Android EPOS System – £399
  • iPad EPOS System – £549
  • EPOS Now standard package (includes software) – £25 per month

To learn more about Epos Now, read our full review here.

EPOS Now pros and cons

Pros:
  • Integrates with delivery apps including Deliveroo
  • Automated employee performance reports generated each month to save on admin time
  • Clocking in/clocking out function
Cons:
  • Customer management tools only available with integrations
  • If you choose a one-off payment plan you'll need to buy a care and support package for an extra £39
  • No free trial available
Save On Your New POS System by Comparing Quotes Do you currently have a POS system? Compare iPad POS costs in just minutes

Zettle

Zettle
3.9
Zettle is best for businesses that want an easy way to accept in-person payments - and full control through the Zettle Go app.
  • Pricing from Free
  • Free POS app
  • Easy-to-read sales reports
  • Zettle reader easily integrates with other POS systems
Summary Zettle Go is fairly basic EPOS software – but that’s what makes it so great. This fancy-free software offers business owners exactly what they need to get going, from making transactions to managing stock. It’s intuitive to use, simple to set up, and best of all, it’s free. It’s also really easy to track and add stock, whether that’s notebooks or blueberry muffins. It’ll even flag up when you’re running low on something. You can also provide Zettle gift cards to help you with cash flow by keeping money in the business.
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Zettle iPad POS at a glance

  • Zettle has a four-star Trustpilot rating
  • A free version is available for the budget-conscious
  • Zettle accepts all major cards, plus contactless and mobile payments
  • The software can be set up in just five minutes
  • A 14-day free trial is available

With plenty of handy functions built into the software, and others available to be integrated, Zettle presents almost everything you need for POS – meaning you don’t have to complicate processes by purchasing or installing external tools.

And with a pro plan designed specifically for hospitality businesses – which includes capabilities like table management and bill splitting – your pub, bar, cafe or restaurant might well benefit from this comprehensive iPad POS system.

What can Zettle iPad POS software do?

Among other handy capabilities, Zettle’s iPad POS software enables…

Inventory management

With Zettle’s software you can build an intuitive product library, designed to help you and your staff find particular products quickly, and sell them without keeping your customers waiting.

The library is so easy to use that Zettle says no staff training is required.

Sales reporting

Using an Zettle sales dashboard, you’ll be able to view in-depth sales reports – including what was sold and when, which member of staff made each sale, what your top-selling products are, when your busiest times are, how your stock’s looking and more.

Integrated accounting

The Zettle app can be integrated with accounting apps, such as Xero, to keep your bookkeeping process cohesive.

Pricing

  • iPad 4G – £399
  • iPad wifi – £299
  • Zettle Go POS software – free

Zettle pros and cons

Pros:
  • Largest number of payment partners to give customers a wide range of options
  • Add upsell percentage to increase profits
  • Huge range of reporting tools to help you monitor operations and identify opportunities for improvement
Cons:
  • Hardware only available on a quote-by-quote basis
  • Not suitable for businesses with more than 5 employees

If you’re looking for even more iPad POS options – and custom quotes – to help you decide which supplier is right for you, the best thing to do is speak directly to suppliers – Startups can help you with this process.

Simply complete our quick,easy form, and you’ll receive tailored quotes from iPad POS suppliers who can provide what your business needs.This process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money.

Does my business need an iPad POS system?

Integrating an iPad POS system into your business comes with a number of benefits (which we explore below), including access to functions and features that would be unavailable with traditional POS equipment.

But, in deciding whether or not to invest in iPad POS, it’s worth asking yourself the following questions:

  • Would your business benefit from a POS system with the versatility of an iPad or iPhone? (enabling your staff to take payments away from the till, for example.)
  • Would you prefer not to have to rely on constant internet connection?
  • Are you looking for a low cost POS system with no upfront fees and smaller monthly costs?
  • Would you benefit from the security and huge storage capabilities of a cloud-based system?
  • Could your small business benefit from an iPad POS’s easy integration of software, rewards, loyalty programs and gift cards?
  • Is your business growing – and do you intend to grow in the future?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then it is worth investigating iPad POS systems for your small business.

Save On Your New POS System by Comparing Quotes Do you currently have a POS system? Compare iPad POS costs in just minutes

The benefits of iPad POS for different business type

Alongside the staples – like sales reporting, inventory management and staff tracking – iPad POS can come with a range of features that will benefit different types of businesses, for example:

Coffee shops:

  • Quickly customise existing products for particular orders, like adding an extra shot of coffee, a flavoured syrup, toppings and more
  • Manage loyalty schemes

Restaurants:

  • Use an iPad to take orders at each table, and send orders directly from the table to the kitchen
  • Track tables and manage reservations
  • Quickly deploy new menus or rotate through existing ones – for example lunch and dinner menus
  • Take payment at each table, and easily split bills

Bars and pubs:

  • Implement time-sensitive special offers, such as happy hour two-for-one drinks
  • Open bar tabs
  • Go to customers to take their orders and payment instead of leaving them to wait in a queue
  • Automated Challenge 21

Shops:

  • Enable customers to place orders for items they like in different sizes and colours etc by setting up order points
  • Have special offers and sales automatically come into effect on a certain date
  • Capture customer data for future promotions and insights
  • Sell online too, with omni-channel ecommerce payment support

Compare iPad POS software

Evidently, an iPad POS system is an excellent choice for small businesses who are looking for an improvement on the efficiency and functionality that their current system offers.

The information on this page should help you to understand what value an iPad POS system may have for your business – but, if you think you might find better value with a different type of POS system, however, you should take a look at our overview of UK EPOS systems.

We’ve also covered four excellent iPad POS providers – Epos Now, Zettle, Lightspeed and Square – but if you’re looking for even more options, detail, and custom quotes to help you decide which supplier is right for you, the best thing to do is speak directly to suppliers – Startups can help you with this process.

Simply complete our quick and easy form, and you’ll receive tailored quotes from iPad POS suppliers who can provide what your business needs.This comparison process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your business both time and money. Good luck!

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Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Condé Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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