Android POS Review: We've reviewed this category for three years. In the last year, we spent over 120 hours researching, testing and reviewing, and we considered 21 systems. You can use an Android POS system to accept payments, record transaction data, track inventory and more. Here's what you need to know about contracts, costs and features.
Square - Android POS Review
Kounta - Android POS Review
PayPal - Android POS Review
What Can an Android Point-of-Sale System Do?
Android POS systems are tablet-based systems that run on the Android platform. Most systems have apps that you download to your Android tablet, though some companies sell the tablets or proprietary equipment with the POS software preloaded on them. The tablet connects to or is used alongside the card reader or terminal provided by your payment processor. The POS system records sales transactions and generates reports that help you analyze your business's performance. Many include additional features that help you run your business, such as inventory and customer management tools.
You can connect the tablets to POS hardware such as receipt printers, cash drawers and tablet stands to create a countertop checkout station. Many systems also allow you to add more tablets or phones as well as peripherals such as barcode scanners to the system.
Many POS systems are designed to be used by either retail businesses or restaurants; however, some companies offer solutions for multiple business types, including retail, restaurants, and service-based businesses like salons and spas. Some POS companies offer systems that cater to specific types of retail business, such as clothing stores, florists or jewelry boutiques. All of the Android POS systems we reviewed offer a retail solution; these are often also suitable for counter-serve restaurants. Half of the systems can also be used by full-service restaurants. If you want more options for restaurant POS systems, check out our review. If you're looking for a credit card processing company to use with your Android POS system, we've got a review for that as well. Our articles about POS systems and payment processing can help you learn more about these topics.
Why Is It Difficult to Choose an Android POS System?
Each Android POS company offers a different combination of software, hardware and payment processing, and many also strive to create a one-stop solution by offering ancillary features for things such as marketing, accounting and employee management. Because there's such great variance between systems, it's difficult to compare pricing and overall value. As you evaluate your options, consider the costs for all three components in your calculations.
You also want to determine which ancillary services you require and whether it's more cost-effective to choose a POS system with these features built in, particularly if it requires you to subscribe to a higher service tier, or to get them as add-ons or third-party integrations, which may also cost extra.
Android vs. iPad: Which POS Platform Is Better?
Although some POS systems can be used with either Android tablets or iPads, some are platform specific. If you have a strong preference for one platform over the other, or if you already have tablets and phones you want to use, this is an important consideration as you're evaluating systems.
Android is the more popular platform, with over 2 billion devices in use. Because multiple manufacturers develop Android tablets, there's more competition in the market, resulting in lower pricing and a broader product selection, which can save you money as you set up your system, add devices, or replace broken, lost or stolen tablets. Many developers prefer Android, as it allows greater customization than iOS. However, iPads are well regarded for their ease of use, superior security and overall stability.
Android POS Contract Terms & Conditions: What to Watch For
Most Android POS companies provide service on a month-to-month basis; however, some require you to sign multi-year contracts. Before you sign up with any POS company, it's important to read the contract and understand what you're agreeing to. You want to pay special attention to the length of the term, the cancellation procedure and penalties, and all fees. If the company will also be providing your credit card processing service, you want to verify that you have the full contract, as it's often a three-part document (application, terms of service and program guide).
"Free" POS Hardware & Leasing Contracts
It's always more cost-effective over the long term to purchase your POS equipment upfront. However, if you choose to accept free POS hardware or participate in a "free placement program" offered by your payment processing service, or if you choose to lease equipment, you need to make sure you understand what you're agreeing to and what your responsibilities are. These contracts can be inflexible, and some are noncancelable, even if your business closes, leaving you personally responsible to fulfill all obligations. If the contract is cancelable, you want to find out what the cancellation fees are and if the company also charges liquidated damages (the amount of money the company expected to earn on your account for the time left on your contract).
You need to know the length of the initial term and subsequent terms, how long you have to cancel before the term automatically renews, and what process you must follow. Contracts typically have three-year terms, though some may be as short as one year or as long as five, and most only give you 30 days to provide written notice of your intent to cancel your account.
You also want to find out if you're expected to return the equipment at the end of the term or if you'll own it. If you'll need to return it, you want to find out if there are wear-and-tear penalties or restocking fees, and how much it would cost to purchase it at the end of the lease if you want to keep it.
What We Tested, What We Found
Our evaluation of POS systems started with a list of 21 companies. From this list, we looked for Android-based POS systems designed for small businesses. We removed from our list systems specific to restaurants and retail niches such as clothing stores, jewelry boutiques and flower shops. We then selected the 10 POS systems that performed best in our testing.
We used the following criteria to evaluate each Android POS system:
- Contractual requirements
- Pricing transparency
- Monthly subscription fees
- Choice of payment processor
- Option of purchasing POS hardware upfront
- Inclusion of key feature sets
- Customer support availability
The best Android POS companies have minimal contractual requirements, customizable setup configurations and reliable support. Their systems include a robust set of features, can be used with multiple payment processors and integrate with core business management programs. The best POS systems ...
- Are cloud-based. With these systems, you can access back-office features from any browser, allowing you to view your sales data and run reports wherever you are. Most are regularly upgraded, and the upgrades are included in the subscription price, so you get new features as soon as they're released. However, you need reliable internet access to run this type of system. If this isn't available in your area, a downloadable program that runs offline may be a better option.
- Offer unlocked hardware. Before choosing a system, you want to find out if the POS hardware is locked (specific to that system) or if it's unlocked and can be used with other systems. Choosing a system with unlocked hardware may save you money in the long term, as you may be able to keep using it if you switch POS systems or processors.
- Are scalable. Choosing a system that can expand as your business grows can save you the time and frustration of switching systems later. All the systems in our review allow you to add extra POS stations and provide apps for mobile devices that you can use to speed up checkout lines. Many offer integrations for ancillary services such as accounting and marketing that may be useful as your business grows. Most of the systems we reviewed also support multiple locations.
The Best Android POS Systems for Small Businesses: Our Verdict & Recommendations
Whether you're a retailer, restaurateur or service provider, a point-of-sale (POS) system is an investment that can help your small business run more efficiently. Although its primary function is to help you manage the checkout process and record sales data, most also track inventory and generate reports that help you analyze your sales, customer preferences and other metrics. Many systems also assist you in gathering contact information from your customers that you can then use for your marketing efforts.
Our Android POS systems review can help you find options that run on the Android platform and include essential POS features. The three Android POS companies that ranked best in our review have transparent pricing, allow you to customize the system with add-ons and integrations, and provide service on a month-to-month or pay-as-you-go basis so you aren't locked into a long-term contract. They also give you the option of purchasing your POS hardware outright, which is less expensive over time than leasing equipment.
We've listed our top three Android POS recommendations below, along with some of their best features. Read on to see our recommendations for specific business types and to learn more about what you should look for in an Android POS system.
1. Epos Now
- Month-to-month service
- Compatible with third-party hardware
- Supports multiple locations
- No long-term contract
- No monthly fee for basic POS system
- Free online store
- Month-to-month service
- Compatible with multiple processors
- Supports multiple locations
Android POS Systems: More Recommendations
Our top recommendation, Epos Now, is a good Android POS system for most businesses, regardless of type and size. Square is a great choice for small businesses that want low upfront costs and the ability to augment the system with auxiliary services as the business grows. Erply is a good, comprehensive system for established retailers that need an Android POS system with advanced capabilities. Here are our recommendations for specific situations:
- For a low monthly subscription, consider Square, PayPal, Clover, Gazelle and Posandro.
- To work with a company that provides 24/7 phone support at no additional cost, check out Clover and PayPal.
- If you want an advanced POS system for your retail business, look into Epos Now and Erply.
- If you want a highly customizable system with a robust app market, Clover is a good pick.
Common Android POS Questions & Answers
A POS is so simple to acquire these days and it offers support, reports and so much more than you can do manually. Even with a few small transactions a day, it will be good for taxes at the end of the year, organization and a better understanding of business trends, times of transactions etc. Square offers a great way to do that very inexpensively. There are a lot of really inexpensive options that will help you save time so you can grow your business rather than filtering transactions manually.Read More ▼
There are many ways to approach pricing, and cost plus is not necessarily the answer. It's a complex subject, and needs a structured approach to answer it. I suspect from this long list of questions there's no pricing strategy set by your company. It's like a flag blowing in the wind without one. In each situation, you're letting the market, the customer or the competition set the price for you. Of course these are important, but it's up to your company to decide what it wants. The first...Read More ▼
List of 11Android POS
Erply is an Android-compatible POS system for retailers. Learn more in our review.
Epos Now - Android POS
Businesses of all sizes can use Epos Now's Android POS system. Read on to learn more.
Kounta - Android POS
Kounta is an Android POS system that provides service on a monthly basis and is compatible with third-party POS hardware. Read on to learn more.
PayPal - Android POS
PayPal Here's POS system is included with its credit card processing service and can be used by small businesses. Read our review to learn more.
Clover is a popular Android POS system available from many banks and payment processing companies. Learn more in our review.
Gazelle is an Android POS system that supports an unlimited number of tablets. Learn more in our review.
Posandro is an Android POS system that you can use alongside the payment processor of your choice. Read our review to learn more.
AccuPOS is an Android POS system for retail businesses that integrates with Sage 50 and QuickBooks.
Square - Android POS
Square includes its POS software at no charge when you use it as your credit card processor. Read our review to learn more.