Vape shop point-of-sale (POS) systems help small business owners efficiently handle sales, inventory, and customer relationship management from a single platform. Vape shops are often considered high-risk businesses, so they also need a POS that works with high-risk payment processors and offers sales restriction functionality.
Based on our evaluations, the best vape POS systems are:
- Lightspeed Retail: Best overall vape shop POS and for multichannel sales
- KORONA POS: Best budget and multi-location vape shop POS
- Vend: Best RACS-compliant vape shop POS for larger inventory management
- Square: Best free vape shop POS for brick-and-mortar stores
RACS: Retail Access Control Standards are a set of guidelines created by JUUL Labs to enforce age restrictions for JUUL products at the point of sale. RACS-compliant POS providers like Lightspeed, Clover, National Retail Solutions (NRS), and Vend support sales quantity restrictions tools and ID verification with manual override protection.
How We Evaluated Vape Shop POS Systems
We considered 36 POS systems, then narrowed down our evaluations to 10 systems that have features specifically suited to vape shops. We then compared those 10 POS systems based on price, vape-specific POS features (such as age and quantity sales restrictions), and RACS compliance. We considered general POS features, including payment processing compatibility and back-office management (such as sales and inventory). We also asked our retail experts to weigh in with their personal knowledge of each software.
Based on our evaluation criteria, Lightspeed is the best vape shop POS. The software received the highest overall score from our grading system for vape shop software (4.10 out of 5). Our vape shop POS scoring system resulted in rankings that are also in line with what we would personally recommend based on our experience testing different software and working with small businesses that use POS systems every day.
Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria:
25% of Overall Score
We first looked at each software’s pricing plans for options under $75 monthly because small vape shops usually operate on a budget. We then checked if those plans include unlimited transaction processing and whether or not they offer volume discounts. Finally, we awarded high marks for systems that have integrated payment processing that’s compatible with high-risk businesses because we want to recommend providers that make it easy for vape shop owners to process payments.
20% of Overall Score
Retail shops require an efficient method for managing sales and inventory. We looked at POS systems that not only allow users to accept different modes of payment but also manage employees, loyalty programs, and inventory. This includes barcode scanning, bulk updating, and variant tracking of inventory, as well as custom permission and logins for employees.
30% of Overall Score
As a high-risk, high-volume business, vape shops require functions that help manage sales and comply with FDA regulations for selling vape products. We gave premium points for RACS-compliant systems and for providers with built-in ID verification functions. We evaluated each software’s product variants and modifiers’ capabilities for tracking things like different flavors or strengths of the same product. Because of how businesses are currently operating, we gave plus points to systems with remote ID verification functionality for contactless ordering and online sales.
10% of Overall Score
Retail businesses like vape shops that sell both in-store and online require round-the-clock support and a user-friendly interface. We gave premium points for cloud-based solutions, and those offering 24/7 customer support. We also gave additional points for systems that can work offline and are compatible with both iOS and Android devices, as these features ensure efficient and seamless operation for busy vape shops.
15% of Overall Score
Finally, we considered any stand-out features of each individual system and whether or not the software and hardware options offer a good overall value for its price. We also judged each system’s popularity to help ensure safety and security. We also awarded points based on my personal experience interacting with the software and the company’s customer support.
- Strong ecommerce platform
- Extensive inventory management tools
- Rich reporting features
- Built-in RACS compliance, programmable age and quantity restrictions
- Can be quite pricey
- Learning curve on its advanced features
- Not available on Android
|RATING CRITERIA||Pricing & Payment Processing||3.80||OUT OF||5|
|General Features||4.38||OUT OF||5|
|Vape Shop Features||3.67||OUT OF||5|
|Ease of Use||4.25||OUT OF||5|
|Expert Score||5.00||OUT OF||5|
Lightspeed Retail is our most recommended vape shop POS system for its robust inventory management features and reporting capabilities. Additionally, its ecommerce integration and wide variety of add-ons, which happens to include age-verification solutions, make it the perfect multi-channel platform for vape shop businesses. This is especially true for sellers with a high volume of products and those who are looking for ways to seamlessly sell in-store and online.
Based on our evaluation, Lightspeed Retail earned 4.10 out of 5, earning high marks for general features, vape shop-specific features, and ease of use. It offers the widest solutions for running a vape shop online and in-store. A higher price point prevented Lightspeed Retail from earning a perfect score.
In addition to ranking as our top vape POS systems, we also recommend Lightspeed Retail as one of the best iPad POS systems and our top choice for inventory management. Visit Lightspeed for a free trial.
Lightspeed Retail Pricing
- Software subscription fees: Lightspeed Retail basic software plan starts at $69 per month, per register, when billed annually, or $79 per month, per register, when billed monthly. Additional registers cost an additional $29 per month. Each plan also includes a free payment terminal. Custom pricing is also available for high-volume merchants.
- Hardware costs: Starter kits range from $500 to $1,000. Desktop hardware kits include a USB-connecting hardware and printer, while iPad hardware kits are for a more mobile setup and include a LAN printer and a wireless scanner. Label printers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, and cash drawers are also available separately.
- Installation fees: Lightspeed is a self-install program, so there are no setup fees. Personalized remote onboarding is available.
- Processing fees: While Lightspeed has a proprietary payment processor, you’ll likely need to use one of its integrated partners like Fort Point Payments, which specializes in high-risk merchant services.
Lightspeed Retail Standout Features
Lightspeed Retail, which has built-in RACS compliance, is equipped with a wide variety of tools to smoothly manage vape shops across multiple platforms. This includes the ability to take special orders, create in-depth customer profiles, and define rules to regulate sales. Lightspeed register can also be programmed with age and quantity sale restrictions.
Take a look at some of Lightspeed Retail’s most notable features:
- Customized selling restrictions: Lightspeed Retail is currently beta-testing register rules features that enforce limitations in the sale of high-risk products. It allows users to prevent bulk purchases by setting quantity limits and perform age verification using ID scanning technology during transactions.
- Wide selection of integrations and add-ons: Lightspeed Retail offers significant integration tools that vape shop owners will find useful. Its long list includes high-risk business-friendly payment processors and age-verification solutions for its ecommerce platform. These, in turn, allow vape shop owners to confidently sell online while staying compliant with legislation requirements.
- Inventory management features: Vape shop owners will appreciate Lightspeed Retail’s ability to create custom matrix sets and build as many variants as they need for their products. It also allows users to easily manage products that are acquired in bulk and then sold individually. The same platform can also be used to track sales orders, submit purchase orders, and manage vendor information.
- Affordable subscription plans
- Multi-location management features
- Built-in age restriction tools
- 24/7 customer support
- Lacks direct ecommerce integration
- Very limited features in base plan
- Requires additional fee for inventory and multi-location features
|RATING CRITERIA||Pricing & Payment Processing||3.60||OUT OF||5|
|General Features||3.13||OUT OF||5|
|Vape Shop Features||3.42||OUT OF||5|
|Ease of Use||5.00||OUT OF||5|
|Expert Score||4.69||OUT OF||5|
KORONA POS is a cloud-based retail POS designed for small to medium-sized businesses that provides tools for multi-location management and specialized sales. It offers competitive subscription pricing, so while it has limited basic plan features, users will find it easy to upgrade to a higher plan or purchase a set of add-on tools for a more customized option. KORONA POS also works with the most popular merchant service account providers, including those that cater to businesses considered as “high-risk,” such as dispensaries and vape shops.
Based on our evaluation criteria, KORONA POS earned a score of 3.75 out of 5, with high marks for pricing, ease of use, and expert score. While limited basic plan features prevented this provider from getting a higher score, vape shop owners who want more control over their POS system budget will find KORONA’s flexible pricing a good value for their money. Visit KORONA to for a free trial.
KORONA POS Pricing
- Software subscription fees: Monthly subscription fees start at $49 per month for core features in a single terminal, unlimited users, and unlimited transactions. Higher plans cost $59 and $79 a month depending on available functions. A variety of optional add-on modules—which start at $10 per month, per terminal—are also available in lieu of a higher subscription plan.
- Hardware costs: KORONA POS is compatible with other POS hardware but also sells a range of desktop solutions. Touch screen registers start at $1,300, and peripherals (such as barcode scanners, receipt printers and cash registers) are also available.
- Installation fees: Included in subscription plan.
- Processing fees: Depending on your chosen payment processor.
KORONA POS Standout Features
KORONA provides vape shop owners with flexible solutions that can grow along with their business. And while most of these capabilities can also be found in other POS providers, there are a number of functions where KORONA excels, including:
- Integrated payment options: KORONA POS does not have its own payment processing system. Instead, it partners with popular merchant service providers, which allows users with high-risk businesses to get the best transaction rates.
- Complete CRM and built-in point-based loyalty program: KORONA allows you to engage your customers through SMS, email, and branded applications. It also comes with a point-based loyalty program and lets you build your customer database to help you track customers and process their special orders.
- Flexible multi-store management: At $79 a month, KORONA POS provides you with multi-store management tools to consolidate data and reports in real time. You can manage inventory, award loyalty points, track sales, and monitor employee performance for all locations from a single platform.
- Retail loss prevention: Set customizable security features to minimize retail loss and permissions to limit access to back office tools where prices can be altered. Add authorization tools to prevent impromptu discounts, price changes, and no sales tenders.
- Inventory management: KORONA POS includes a mobile inventory app that allows you to manage inventory on-the-go. It also supports adding inventory using a barcode scanner and lets you track inventory movement with automated counting that generates a daily count list on-demand. You can also set automatic reordering, track shipment, and manage your vendor list.
- Easy-to-use and intuitive interface
- Excellent customer support
- Excellent customer support
- Pricey subscription plans
- Limited transaction volume for its basic plan
- Limited reporting features
|RATING CRITERIA||Pricing & Payment Processing||1.10||OUT OF||5|
|General Features||3.88||OUT OF||5|
|Vape Shop Features||3.58||OUT OF||5|
|Ease of Use||4.25||OUT OF||5|
|Expert Score||5.00||OUT OF||5|
Vend is a retail POS designed for small to medium-sized businesses and is well known for its user-friendly interface. It’s also browser-based, which means it can work on any device and potentially save users from expensive hardware costs. However, because it’s a little pricier than its counterparts, we recommend Vend for vape shop owners with a large inventory and prefer a RACS compliant POS system. It could be a good option for those keen on investing in a pricier software in the process of expansion to gain maximum value for money.
Based on the criteria we’ve set for evaluating vape shop POS systems, Vend earned a score of 3.30 out of 5, with high marks for ease of use and general features. On the other hand, Vend’s pricey subscription plans and add-ons prevented it from getting more points and performing better in our rankings. It’s important to note, however, vape shop owners who use Vend are raving about the system’s ability to scale and grow with their business. Visit Vend for a free trial.
- Software subscription fees: Monthly subscription fees start at $99 per month, when billed annually, or $119 per month when billed monthly. This plan is applicable to a single location, single register, and a monthly transaction limit of $20,000. Each additional register costs $59 per month, or $49 per month if billed annually.
- Hardware costs: Vend is a browser-based system so it can work on most iOS, Mac, and PC devices. However, it does not sell its own hardware bundles, but instead, it provides a list of recommendations.
- Installation fees: Cost varies. Vend’s software and hardware are easy to set up and use with the help of user guides available on its website. Those who would like to request an on-site expert consultation are directed to Vend’s expert partners who determine the fees. These experts provide on-site POS installation, account setup, hardware configuration, and training for you and your staff.
- Processing fees: Varies. Vend offers integrated payments through partner payment providers, a number of which support payment processing for high-risk businesses, like Worldpay.
Vend Standout Features
Vend has all the tools needed to effectively run your vape shop and offers great value for money particularly to businesses with large inventories. As a RACS-compliant system, vape shop owners can be sure that they are getting the best POS solution for their business. Among Vend’s key features are:
- Customizable premium API: Vend Workflows is a set of customizable premium APIs available to Enterprise plan subscribers. This allows users to add functionalities that their business needs to improve performance. For vape shop owners, this feature will allow you to integrate weighing scales in your POS system, as well as set age verification and quantity limits for each transaction.
- Intuitive user interface: Vend’s user interface is easy to learn and use. There are options to add quick keys which can be used to save the most common buttons when processing transactions to speed up the checkout process. It also has a free customer-facing display app that can be added through a secondary iPad tablet. Customers can also use this to enter their email address if they prefer getting their receipt via email, or for enrolling in loyalty programs.
- Robust inventory management: Vend offers management tools that allow you to easily handle large volumes of inventory. Add, edit, and remove products at any time to quickly update your list with new variants of flavors and hardware. You can also assign serial numbers with a few clicks and identify your most popular products with the help of reporting tools.
- Responsive customer service: Vend is well known for its excellent support and customer service. Phone support is available 24/7, while options for live chat, email, and social media are also available. Aside from a help center, users can also sign up to Vend U for on-demand courses and training webinars.
- Back office management: Back office tools sync information across locations, so data is accessible from a single platform. Users are then able to manage customer lists, update product catalogs, track inventory movement, and review sales performance from a central database.
- Free POS
- User-friendly interface
- Lacks sales restriction features
- Limited customer support service
|RATING CRITERIA||Pricing & Payment Processing||3.80||OUT OF||5|
|General Features||3.63||OUT OF||5|
|Vape Shop Features||1.58||OUT OF||5|
|Ease of Use||3.50||OUT OF||5|
|Expert Score||5.00||OUT OF||5|
Square is easily the most affordable of all the industry-leading POS software available in the market today. It offers a full suite of sales and inventory management tools that can easily handle thousands of SKUs, along with the ability to manage an unlimited number of products and transactions.
On top of all its premium features, Square also includes an online store with its free software, making it the best option for startups working on a tight budget. However, vape shop owners who would like to use this system find themselves limited to in-store sales, as Square is not able to process age-restricted products like e-cigarettes online.
In our evaluation of vape shop POS systems, Square earned a score of 3.25 out of 5, gaining its top marks for pricing and expert score. On the other hand, limited phone support hours and lack of sales restriction tools to support online sales of vape products prevented Square from earning a perfect score. That being said, Square is our choice for the best overall POS system for small businesses, and Square for Retail was chosen as one of the best retail POS. Visit Square to create a free account.
- Software subscription fees: Square’s POS software is free, and you get all the features that vape shop startups will need to start selling in-store. For more retail-specific features, Square for Retail has a free version and a Plus plan for $60 monthly.
- Hardware costs: For a full POS system, Square offers Square Register for $799 or $39 per month for 24 months and comes with a touch-screen monitor, detachable customer-facing display, and credit card machine. Additional terminal costs $299 for $27 per month for 12 months, which is an all-in-one credit card machine with POS, card reader, and receipt printer. Chip and contactless readers are also available separately for $49. There’s also one free magstripe reader that comes with each account.
- Installation fees: None. Square has a built-in self-installation feature. However, paid plans also include a free one-on-one remote consultation for customers requiring assistance during installation.
- Processing fees: Square offers a flat-rate transaction fee, in-person purchases cost 2.6% + 10 cents, while it’s 2.8% + 30 cents per online order. Custom pricing is also available for businesses with more than $250,000 in card sales and has an average ticket size of over $15.
Square Standout Features
Square POS is free and its intuitive system offers the best value for small businesses and startups. It’s also easy to use and installs automatically, so vape shop owners who purchase this software can start selling immediately.
Here are some of Square’s standout features to help vape shops owners build a successful store:
- Square Dashboard: Managing a vape shop is easier if it can be done from a single platform. The dashboard is Square’s headquarters that efficiently provides business information at a glance, so owners can quickly see key data and make timely decisions. It also allows users to send out invoices, engage with customers, and manage employees and inventory.
- Customer relationship management (CRM): Square’s CRM uses a tool called Customer Directory where business owners can view customer data such as their contact details and how they normally transact with the business. Customers are also able to provide feedback through their digital receipts and start a private conversation with your business.
- Cash Tracking: Square can be used to accept and track cash and payments such as checks and gift cards from any Square device (tablet, smartphone, or terminal). It’s also possible to split tender, so customers have the option to use different payment types for a single transaction.
While we had other top contenders that showed potential in terms of vape shop-specific features, we wanted to ensure that our top vape shop POS systems offer the best value for features every high-risk product retailer needs. Square POS is the best choice for in-store vape shop sellers working on a limited budget. If you have multiple stores, KORONA POS is a budget-friendly solution, while Vend is the best match for fast-growing vape shop businesses with large inventories.
However, we find Lightspeed Retail the best overall vape shop POS system. It received the highest score across our grading system for general POS features, vape shop-specific features, ease of use, and our own expert review. In spite of not being the most affordable system, Lightspeed puts together the best tools to offer vape shop owners in one neat package.