The iPad has proven itself effective for web-based point of sale (POS) systems. What’s more, it looks smart and is cheaper than purpose-built touchscreen tills, making it a more realistic entry point for small businesses than Windows-based POS systems.

That said, you want a service that resolves software bugs quickly and offers prompt support so you can run the business uninterruptedly. So how do you choose an iPad POS system?

There are many providers out there, and we are not convinced they will all survive the competition in the next few years. Here, we consider the five best iPad-based till systems for small businesses in 2020.

Here’s a round-up of the best iPad EPOS in the UK:

  1. TouchBistro – Best value for small-to-mid-sized restaurants
  2. Vend – Best all-round inventory features for any retail business
  3. Lightspeed – As advanced as it gets for the price
  4. iZettle – Ideal entry point for most small businesses
  5. Square – Most features in a free till system

1. TouchBistro – smart & user-friendly for restaurants

Best for: User-friendliness and all-round value

Pricing: £49+/mo

Suitable for: Restaurants, quick-service, pubs, night clubs, breweries, food trucks, general food-and-drink

TouchBistro
(4.5/5)

Want to try it? TouchBistro offers a free demo and free 7-day trial without registration + 21 more free days with registration.

TouchBistro is the restaurant EPOS that comes out most favourably in our tests of iPad POS. It is highly user-friendly with lots of genuinely helpful features designed to make your day-to-day sales and management easier.

Image: TouchBistro

TouchBistro is perhaps the most user-friendly restaurant POS for iPad.

If using more than one iPad, or offline capabilities are important, it is necessary to set up a local computer network with an iMac or Mac server to keep them synced at all times. The system only runs on Apple devices, although it is possible to connect receipt printers, cash drawer and other hardware needed at your point of sale.

Price per iPad licence

1st: £49 + VAT/mo
2nd-3rd: £45 + VAT/mo each
4-9th: £40 + VAT/mo each
10+: Custom quote

Although more than plenty of settings and features are included in the TouchBistro app, it is possible to integrate with certain partner apps. For example, you can get advanced customer loyalty features through a third-party integration, but this comes at an additional monthly cost.

Payment integration: Barclaycard, Paymentsense, Square Reader

2. Vend – excellent value for retailers

Best for: Inventory management and intuitive retail features

Pricing: £49+/mo

Suitable for: Retailers of all sizes

Vend
(4.5/5)

Want to try it? Vend offers a no-commitment free 14-day trial.

Vend is one of the leading till software providers for retail shops in the UK. It’s a powerful system that caters to all store sizes, from independent small shops to big high street chains.

Photo: Vend

Vend POS on tablet and laptop

Vend can be run from an iPad – pictured with the Windfall stand – but also a Windows PC or Mac.

Vend’s comprehensive features cover everything you need for inventory management, a detailed product library, customised reports and the ability to take payments offline. The analytics let you dig deep into sales, view employee performance data and track how individual products are performing.

Price per iPad licence

Lite: £49/mo (annual), £59/mo (monthly)

Pro: £69/mo (annual), £89/mo (monthly)

Per extra licence: £39/mo (annual), £49/mo (monthly)

Vend works on iPad, Mac and PC, but not smartphones, so selling on the go will require an iPad or laptop. There is a ‘Scanner by Vend’ app for smartphones, which can be used to scan product barcodes or inventory counts.

If you’re looking for the most advanced retail POS solution, Vend is certainly considered one of the leading options.

Payment integration: iZettle Reader, PayPal Here, SumUp Air, Square Reader, Paymentsense, Windcave, Worldpay

3. Lightspeed – feature-rich for restaurants & retail

Best for: Advanced functions for the price

Pricing: £59+/mo

Suitable for: Retail, restaurants, quick-service, pubs, night clubs, breweries, food trucks, hotels, other food-and-drink

Want to try it? Get a 14-day free trial of Lightspeed

Lightspeed is an adaptable EPOS solution with Retail and Restaurant packages to suit small and medium-sized businesses. It can handle multiple store locations and can connect online and face-to-face sales for a seamless multichannel business.

Lightspeed POS counter view

Lightspeed is good for full-service restaurants, bars, quick-service businesses and cafés.

Lightspeed Restaurant has a neat table management overview that can be customised, along with many other food- and drink-specific features that help you run the kitchen, bar, waiting and table areas. It also works offline, so internet outages aren’t going to be a problem.

Price per iPad licence

Retail: £69 + VAT/mo (annual), £79 + VAT/mo (monthly)

Restaurant: £59 + VAT/mo (annual), £69 + VAT/mo (monthly)

Lightspeed Retail gives you advanced, store-related functions such as detailed inventory management and customer loyalty profiles so you can anticipate what to offer regular customers. If a customer can’t pick up a product, the system allows you to create and print delivery documents so you can ship it to them directly and avoid losing their business.

The ability to integrate with an online store (extra costs apply) makes this a good solution for businesses aiming to sell through as many channels as possible. The ecommerce options even include tools to increase online exposure.

Payment integration: iZettle Reader, Paymentsense, SumUp

4. iZettle – popular in hospitality, retail & services

Best for: Budget-conscious merchants who want the easiest solution

Pricing: £0-£29+/mo

Suitable for: Hospitality, cafés, bars, pubs, other food-and-drink, retail shops, beauty salons, services

iZettle
(4/5)

Want to try it? The iZettle Go app is always free to use, and you can get a free trial of iZettle Food & Drink.