The Ultimate Guide to Retail EPOS Hardware Systems 2020

Choosing POS hardware can be difficult. It doesn't have to be. The following guide explains what hardware you need to get started with an EPOS system

8 min read

If you’re an existing retailer looking to upgrade from a traditional Point of sale system (POS System) to an EPOS hardware system (Electronic Point of Sale), or a retailer or small business starting out, then this POS hardware guide is perfect for you.

We take a look at the most common components needed to get started with an EPOS hardware system, the pricing, and importantly provide some example hardware setups that are perfect for small to medium-sized businesses.

What is a point of sale system?

A point of sale system consists of 2 main components, hardware including touch screen devices/tablets, barcode scanners, printers, cash drawers and then point of sale software to provide the interface.

Not all point of sale software works on all hardware (AirPOS is set up to work on 99% of hardware devices), so it’s important to choose the right point of sale software before choosing your hardware (if you don’t have the hardware already).

Touch Screen Monitor / Tablet Device

Touch screen device

Touch screens are one of the most important pieces of hardware for any POS system. It will run the front end of your POS software, allowing you to make sales, book appointments, clock in staff and much more.

Most users will settle for an Android tablet or an iPad device to provide this option, with most POS providers offering apps to run the software on tablet devices. In this case, you’ll simply need to get a stand to connect your tablet too.

Some of the higher-end kits will be an all in one computer/touch-screen with Windows 10 installed.

The advantage of having a tablet device is that it can actually be taken with you on the go if you’re using ePOS software like AirPOS. This way all you need is a card reader and your tablet device with the software installed. Great for those businesses that are on the go, or at trade shows for example.

Prices for monitors/tablets vary depending on the model and device chosen, you can expect to spend anything from £300-1500.

PRICE - £300-1500

Tablet Holders & Stands

Some devices will come with a stand, normally from the higher end pieces of kit on the market. If you have an existing tablet or want to use a tablet as your touch screen for your POS, then you may need a stand.

This is especially useful if you are making sales in the one location, at your sales desk.

For tablet holders and stands, expect to pay anything from £40-250.

We recommend the Compulock Universal Tablet holder, it’s a good all-round stand that works for any tablet devices.

Other popular brands include Heckler and Studio Proper Stands.

PRICE - £40-250

Cash drawer

Star Micronics mPOP Bluetooth Printer and Cash Drawer

You need somewhere to store all that money safely right? Cash drawers are a necessity for any business that takes cash. Pair it with a POS system and you have a great piece of kit.

You can choose from a number of different cash drawer options, with key locks or without.

Popular brands include Star, Storekit, APG and Heckler.

We recommend a Star CB-2002 Automatic Cash drawer. It’s an easy to use, entry-level cash drawer that connects to your receipt printer for automatic and manual drawer release.

Of course, if you want to go move up the range to a cash drawer and receipt printer in one you could opt for the Star Micronics mPOP Bluetooth Printer and Cash Drawer for £279.

PRICE - £50-400

Receipt Printer

Star Micronics TSP100 futurePRNT

You’ll want a receipt printer to provide receipts for your clients. You may also want to print out x and z readings for reporting at the start and end of the day.

Most printers will use thermal ink and are usually connected via USB or ethernet. There are a number of Bluetooth printers starting to pop up on the market, and some like the mPOP that are connected to the cash drawer.

There are 3 types of printers that are useful for most small businesses:

POS printer - this is your regular in-store printer, great for printing receipts and coupons.

Kitchen Printer - if you run a cafe or restaurant you’ll need a special kitchen printer, as it runs it’s own software. It will allow automatic printing or orders to be sent directly to the kitchen.

Portable or Mobile Printer - if you’re looking to take order and print receipts on the go, the mobile POS printer is for you. Connect to your phone or tablet device via Bluetooth or Wifi and print at trade shows, pop-ups, basically anywhere on the go.

Just note that mobile printers don’t normally open cash drawers automatically, if you require that, you’ll want to make sure you have additional accessories to make it happen.

Popular brands for receipt printers include Star Micronics and Epson.

Receipt printers can cost you anything from £90-400 depending on the model and features.

We recommend the Star Micronics futurePRNT TSP143IIIU for a stand-alone printer, or the Star Micronics mPOP Bluetooth Printer and Cash Drawer all in one.

PRICE - £90-400

Credit card reader

iZettle v2 Card Reader

Credit card readers are used more and more as cash goes digital. Also with the recent pandemic, it has become more prevalent that businesses take card payments particularly contactless.

Due to this spike in demand for contactless payments, we recommend choosing a device that offers both chip and pin (suitable for EMV regulations) and contactless.

Card readers can come in all shapes and sizes, they can be wired directly to your POS, wireless, and even portable (some will offer 3g or 4g connections to make payments on the go).

Higher-end card readers can also include touch screens that can run their own programs, however, there is limited use for these in retail stores.

Popular brands include SumUp, Square, Verifone, iZettle

Prices can vary depending on the provider it can be anything from £0-200. Often payment processing providers will offer free credit card readers with the service, just be wary to check payment rates and fees, sometimes “free” will cost you more in the long run.

We recommend the iZettle and SumUp card readers, they are small, portable and take both contactless and chip and pin.

PRICE - £ free-300

Barcode scanner

bluetooth barcode scanner

Do you have lots of items in stock? Then you’ll want to invest in a barcode scanner. For the large majority of retailers, items will be labelled, categorized and barcoded for easy scanning at checkout.

Traditionally barcode scanners were wired to the POS, but now most will be wireless. There are 3 types, 1D, stacked and 2D.

Most laser scanners are 1D and are best suited to scanning barcodes on flat surfaces, in one direction. 2D scanners are becoming more popular and can scan flexible tags in any direction.

Note that scanners are additional items, and aren’t required to run a POS system, they are an extremely useful addition that can speed up the sales process, keep things accurate at the till.

PRICE - £75-300

Barcode/Label Printer

Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo

If you’re investing in a barcode scanner, you’ll need a barcode/label printer, well to print out your barcodes. They can also be used to print out labels and pricing to add to your products around your store.

Most barcode printers will print with Thermal printing, just like the receipt printers, saving costs and the environment in the long run.

Price - £70-350

How much does POS hardware cost? POS Hardware Package Examples

POS hardware pricing will really depend on the setup you choose. If it’s all in one, mobile, what platform (windows, android, iOS) if you require to add on’s and extras.

For smaller retailers, standard packages can cost you anything from £500-2000.

We have set up 3 examples of POS hardware packages here that would be suitable for most small to medium-sized retailers.

Android Kit

Prices may vary depending on the provider of the hardware, but this gives you a rough guide to work with. If you have an android tablet device, this can be removed from the cost.

If you don’t require a label printer and barcode scanner, this can also be removed.

Remember that software costs are separate, with AirPOS our pricing starts from only £29.99 per month and is 100% compatible with the setup below.

Check out how AirPOS works as an Android POS System.

Example Android Bundle Components

iPad Kit

Example iPad Kit

If you prefer iOS for your operating system, an iPad 10.2” will do just nicely. Again if you don’t need to purchase an iPad remove it from the cost. The same hardware will work for the rest.

Remember that software costs are separate, with AirPOS our pricing starts from only £29.99 per month and is 100% compatible with the setup below.

Learn more about AirPOS iPad POS System.

Example iPad Kit Components

Windows Kit

Aures Sango - Windows Kit

The Aures kit is an all in one computer/touch screen POS running windows 10. It’s a great system for medium-sized retailers that need a bit more processing power and an integrated setup.

It is on the pricier side, but it does allow integrations with WorldPay for payments which can provide savings with transaction fees in the long run if your turn over is £10k + per month.

Remember that software costs are separate, with AirPOS our pricing starts from only £29.99 per month and is 100% compatible with the setup below.

Need help with your POS System?

POS hardware systems have come a long way since the traditional push-button tills. You now have many options in terms of hardware providers, devices, and operating systems depending on your preferences.

If you want to learn more about POS systems, hardware and software for your business, feel free to reach out to one of our team for a free consultation, we’d be happy to help.