This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Open source point-of-sale (POS) software is adaptable and generally works with any PC or iOS system. Upfront costs of open source POS systems are typically cheaper than those of commercial POS systems; however, open source software can be more difficult to set up and maintain. This makes open source POS systems best for businesses on a budget that are comfortable customizing and maintaining their software or companies with a larger budget that want to develop a customized POS solution.
To find the best open source POS system for small businesses, we evaluated several solutions and narrowed our list down to our top four recommendations:
- Odoo: Best overall open source POS for small or growing businesses
- uniCenta: Best for international businesses as it comes with multiple languages, currencies, and a presence in 150 countries
- Imonggo: Best for small stores needing a simple solution or those with clientele from different countries
- Floreant POS: Best for mobile restaurants
Best Open Source POS Systems Compared
Paid Plan Upgrades
Depends on module; starts at $42.50 per user, per month
24x5 phone, live chat, and email
None; requires subscription to a paid support plan*
$30 per branch, per month
24x7 live chat for paid users
Add-ons are $9.99 per terminal, per month
*Unicenta’s paid annual support subscription plans are Base: £60 (equivalent to $63) and Plus: £136 (equivalent to $144); conversions are based on current foreign exchange rates and subject to change
Odoo: Best Overall Open Source POS
Odoo is an excellent POS system that is free with the basic version and offers a multitude of additional programs. While add-ons run anywhere from $5–$20 per user and can add up fast, the free version provides all the features most small businesses need for running a retail shop or restaurant.
In our evaluation, Odoo scored a 3.91 out of 5. Odoo’s interface is not as modern as those of other providers on our list, but it’s clean and user-friendly. It also doesn’t have the depth of restaurant and inventory features as others, but it made up for it in breadth—there’s enough of everything for most businesses.
Odoo Standout Features
Since our last update:
- Odoo has released version 15 of its platform, which include the following improvements to its POS:
- Assign several people responsible to a task
- Manage task dependencies
- Share the Kanban list view of projects with portal users
- Get an order upsell activity when a prepaid service is close to being fully consumed
- Version 16 of its software is also scheduled for release in October 2022.
Multiple Registers, Cloud-based With Offline Mode
Odoo supports multiple registers, is compatible with all touch-screen devices (tablets or mobile devices) and cloud-based with offline mode functionality (for open tickets), and can run multiple checks simultaneously.
Barcode scanning is available to quickly scan barcodes for discounts, prices, taxes, and loyalty programs. Barcodes can be customizable with images.
Extensive Customer Management & Loyalty Features
Odoo is also listed as one of our best open source CRM software as its customer management features are extensive. View customer history, employ email marketing, implement rewards and loyalty programs based on points or discounts (identification is done using cards or barcode IDs), and take advantage of after-sales service features—issue refunds, track warranties, and follow-up customer claims.
Multilocation Inventory Tracking
With Odoo, you can update inventory in one location, and it does an immediate update across all stores. You can set up programmable reorder points and automated purchase orders, use it with dropshipping and multiple warehouses, and run inventory reports.
What Odoo Is Missing
- More advanced features: As might be expected for a free program, Odoo is basic and charges for add-on modules like ecommerce or CRM.
- Employee features and cashier logins: If employee management is essential for your business and your priority is having a free POS system, go with Floreant POS. Most commercial POS systems include this feature in their paid tiers.
Learn more about this system by reading our full Odoo review.
uniCenta: Best for International Businesses
uniCenta’s POS software is free to run, copy, distribute, and alter, as it is based on GNU GPL2 licensing. However, you need to pay for customer support, and a premium membership gives you access to its knowledge base and user forum. uniCenta is a highly adaptable software, good not only for retail and restaurants but also for hospitality and event businesses. It supports 17 languages and multiple currencies and uses international payment processors—making it a great choice for tech-savvy retailers with businesses in different countries or needing several languages.
This provider earned 3.66 out of 5 points based on our evaluation criteria, partly because we had a hard time finding certain features in its backend. For example, we found no way to program tipping, and we didn’t see any mention of it in its online resources or demos. However, uniCenta remains a popular choice among users, based on many user reviews online and almost a million downloads across 150 countries. Its annual fee for customer support is also extremely reasonable compared to other platforms that charge extra for add-on modules. Odoo, for example, is free—but its add-ons can easily stack up and get pricey.
uniCenta Standout Features
Multilingual & Multicurrency Support
uniCenta is available in four complete languages (English, US English, French, and Spanish) and 13 partial languages. It also supports multiple currencies. You can configure each register based on the region they are in.
Ability to Reserve Items
uniCenta’s account management features include the ability to set up admin and customer accounts. Customer accounts can browse store inventory, reserve items, and make online purchases. Its system accepts partial payments and refunds.
Customizable User Interface
Retailers can customize their uniCenta user interface to specific needs and set up things such as tax rates per location, language, units of measurement for unique items and services, and payment methods.
The system lets you track employee performance, set restriction access levels, and monitor employee behavior. You can restrict employee access to the POS system based on their positions and roles. Employee user accounts will also display their performance and behavior evaluations, including the employment period, position, and responsibilities.
What uniCenta Is Missing
- Tip management features and payroll reports: These features are important to many restaurant and hospitality businesses.
- Low-inventory alerts: While it updates and monitors supply, it does not seem to offer low-inventory alerts.
Learn more about uniCenta’s features in our full uniCenta review.
Imonggo: Best for Small Stores Needing a Simple Solution or Those With Clientele From Different Countries
Imonggo is a straightforward POS system for small shops that need strong inventory tools and a points-based loyalty program. It is inexpensive and can also work with multiple currencies in the same store. This is why it is ideal for small stores, pawnshops, and tourist shops.
Overall, this software earned a 3.4 out of 5. The inability to process credit card payments and limitations in the free plan, plus the lack of payroll reporting (even on the paid plan), hurt its rating significantly (compared to Floreant POS, which offers all these under a free plan). However, it is easy to use, has an offline mode, and has remarkable inventory features.
Imonggo Standout Features
Since our last update:
- Changes to composition products
- The ability to print a product’s stock, cost, or price history
- The ability to download your adjustments data
Cloud-based With Strong Offline Mode
The Imonggo POS is web-based and can continue to function in your browser during internet outages. You can also download its POS app for iPad and its sales dashboard app for iPhone and Android devices. An “Imonggo Express Lite” app for iOS can be used to send invoices on the go from your iPhone or iPad.
Imonggo handles multiple currencies and tracks the nationalities of customers. This is why it is perfect for multinational stores like tourist shops or border towns where you may deal with different currencies. However, note that it only runs in English. uniCenta also allows multiple currencies, but only one currency at a time per register.
You can split a purchase between multiple forms of payment. For example, customers can pay for their purchases with any combination of cash, credit card, debit card, or gift card. Additionally, you can create layaway purchases for high-dollar items.
Multistore Sales & Inventory Tracking
You can combine and review consolidated store sales at your main branch and transfer products from one branch to another. You can also set up different pricing schemes for each branch location and maintain individual inventory and sales reports.
What Imonggo Is Missing
- Credit card payments: If being under a free plan is a priority, then you might find Imonggo’s free option very limiting. For one thing, it is cash-only, so if you need to process credit cards, then consider going with Floreant POS since it integrates with several processors.
- Clock-in/out tools and scheduling: If you need built-in employee scheduling tools, other platforms such as Odoo and Floreant POS offer this feature.
Discover more features by reading our full Imonggo review.
Floreant POS: Best for Mobile Restaurants (Food Trucks & Popup Stalls)
Floreant POS was specifically developed for a famous restaurant chain, so it comes as no surprise that its features are tailor-made for the food industry. Its minimum system requirements make for a quick local installation and allow for mobile device and tablet use. Customization is limitless (since it’s open source), but upon installation, basic features already include point of sale, table service, kitchen control, user-level permissions, and a mobile register.
In our evaluation, Floreant POS earned a 2.73 out of 5. The lack of cloud hosting, 24/7 customer support, and checkout features—such as online ordering and a loyalty program—kept it from getting a higher score. For example, loyalty programs are included in the free plans of Imonggo. Floreant POS is also the only software in this guide that does not offer hybrid installation (cloud-hosted).
Not sure if Floreant POS is right for you? See our guide to the best food truck POS systems. All the options on this list are commercially available products.
Floreant POS Standout Features
Quick & Easy Setup; Offline Processing
Floreant POS doesn’t have an installer—it’s released in a zip format. It boasts of an installation timeframe of 90 seconds, meaning you can be up and running in no time. It only requires 16GB of storage and 2GB RAM on a dual-core processor and can work on Windows, Mac, Linux, or Raspberry PI.
Floreant POS can also work without an internet connection, so you can still complete transactions even when you’re offline.
Kitchen Management Tools
Floreant POS enables you to manage how the kitchen receives and fulfills orders. Use kitchen displays or set up printers, and Floreant POS can group and route accordingly to make the workflow as efficient as possible.
Table Service, Bar Tab & Split-check
You can see and manage available tables, orders by tables, and the status of tables from the dashboard. These features make it easy for servers to view orders by tables and make adjustments if necessary.
Floreant POS also has bar tab and split-check features, allowing your servers to name a tab and even pre-authorize it for a certain amount.
What Floreant POS Is Missing
- Advanced POS features: While Floreant POS can be customized as much as you want if you are tech-savvy enough, its basic functions still do not include advanced POS features such as customer management, email marketing, a customer-facing display, and an online ordering system integration. These are features that some businesses might deem essential to scale. However, ORO POS, Floreant’s paid version, includes tips payout, more flexible reporting features, and the ability to split tabs.
Explore more of the platform’s restaurant-specific features by reading our full Floreant POS review.
How We Evaluated Open Source POS Systems
We looked at several open source POS systems, comparing features that business owners expect from any POS software and considering the advantages of open source platforms—adaptability, community support, and compatibility with different operating systems. We looked for a modern interface, active updates, and depth of features.
Based on our evaluation, Odoo is the best open source POS system for small businesses, scoring a 3.91 out of 5. It stood out from the competition, with the largest number of positive user reviews on multiple sites and a wide range of useful features making it good for retail and restaurant businesses. Inventory management is integrated into the system, and it’s compatible with most POS hardware, so you don’t have to buy specific systems. Plus, Odoo is free.
Click through the tabs below to see our full evaluation criteria.
30% of Overall Score
We rated overall features for inventory, customer relations, and employee management (including logins and clock in/out). We also considered the number and value of reports—whether they were customizable or offered template versions. Bonus points were given to those that provide email marketing as well. While all of the software in this guide have efficient management tools, Odoo was a clear winner in this category.
20% of Overall Score
To be useful for retail and restaurants, we considered tipping management. We also prioritized cash tracking and the ability to reconcile registers at the day’s end. Loyalty programs, gift cards, contactless payments, and online ordering were also features we looked into. Every system on our list handled barcodes and credit cards; however, Odoo took top billing here, with most of the feature criteria we laid out available for free.
20% of Overall Score
We examined the interface but also looked for user comments and complaints about features and backend issues. Since point-of-sale systems are used round-the-clock in business operations, it is critical that it is intuitive and easy to troubleshoot. We also paid attention to the software’s customer service hours and whether the program can run offline or is cloud-based. All the platforms can do hybrid installations (cloud-hosted but can go on offline mode) except for Floreant POS, which is locally installed.
20% of Overall Score
10% of Overall Score
Nearly all open source software is free, but those that ranked well charged a small fee or offered paid add-ons or upgrades. Aside from the free versions, we also considered the maximum number of users, devices, inventory, and transactions a platform can support. Integrated payment processing options were considered as well. Based on these criteria, Odoo, Unicenta, and Floreant POS had perfect scores. We found that their free versions are enough to run a business.
Open Source POS Software Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best open source POS software?
We tried and tested several open source POS systems and found that Odoo, uniCenta, Imonggo, and Floreant POS are the best open source POS software for small businesses.
Why should I consider using an open source POS for my business?
Generally, open source POS systems have the following advantages over proprietary POS systems—flexibility, rapid development, lower cost, and more security. If you have the ability to work with a developer to customize your POS system, going with an open source POS system can be advantageous. Otherwise, using the proprietary POS systems will be better for your business.
Are open source POS systems free?
Not all open source POS software is free. During our evaluation, we found out most of them are, but there are exceptions. While most open source POS systems give free licensing, the add-ons, support access, and hardware are usually paid features.
Open source POS systems are highly customizable, making them a good choice for small businesses with special needs or the software-savvy owner who likes to customize. Most are free or have minimal charges and are compatible with PC, Mac, Android, or iOS. We found Odoo the best overall because of its breadth of features and clean interface, plus it has an enthusiastic fanbase. Join others who have made Odoo their POS system.