Types of POS Machine

Point of sale (POS) machines are an essential part of any business operations today.

To help you decide which POS system might work best for your business, this article will share more about the three most popular POS devices: desktop, mobile, and tablet POS.


Desktop POS

Desktop POS devices are what consumers ordinarily come into contact with at F&B and retail businesses. While larger and heavier, desktop POS devices typically have the most robust suite of functions. For example, it is possible for desktop POS devices to be equipped with a second customer-facing screen, scanner, printer, and also be attached to a cash drawer on top of all that.

POS software can also equip desktop POS devices with inventory, employee management, scheduling, ecommerce tools and more. Thus, desktop POS can also function as an operations hub for a large store or multi-store setup.

Hence, desktop POS devices are an all in one solution suitable for most businesses.

Suggested applications: full-service restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, boutiques, antique stores, book or magazine stores, salons, spas, electronics stores, departmental stores and more.


Mobile POS

Mobile POS devices are the smaller and more portable cousins in the POS device family. Most are slightly larger and about twice as heavy as a consumer mobile phone, making them nifty gadgets for businesses and staff on the go. For instance, mobile POS devices are great partners to delivery riders, waiters taking tableside orders, and small stores with space constraints.

Do not underestimate the small stature of mobile POS devices. They can punch above their weight to perform many (though not all) functions of desktop POS devices. For instance, some mobile POS devices are equipped with built-in scanners and/or printers. 

Suggested applications: delivery companies, street, fair, and event vendors, contracted professional services, small F&B and retail stores, restaurants, and more.


Tablet POS

A tablet POS marries the portability of mobile POS devices with the functionality of a desktop POS.

A commonly used tablet POS today would be the iPad. However, the iPad is ultimately designed as a consumer product, and is more expensive than most POS devices on the market. A relatively new player in the tablet POS line are tablets which run on Android OS. This hybrid POS model made specially for business use is very promising as usage is intuitive and efficient.

Suggested applications: mobile vendors, quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops, small retail stores, professional services, pizzerias, juice bars, sandwich shops, ice cream parlors, art galleries, small theaters, salons, and more.



The biggest change in the POS industry over the past few years is the emergence of affordable options for small and micro businesses – small companies no longer need to deplete their startup funds on an expensive POS system.

While large operations may still require a sizable upfront investment, there are now more portable options available to better service customers. Once you have your needs defined and your budget set, you should easily be able to discover the best POS option for your business.


Looking for other related POS machines?

Find out more about POS hardware here, or get insights on self-service kiosks, kitchen display systems, and QR code scanners.


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