This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
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 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 and for multichannel sales
- Vend by Lightspeed: Best for multilocation shops with large inventories
- Clover: Best for shops with existing merchant accounts
- POS Nation: Best for perishable goods tracking
- Square for Retail: Best free vape shop POS for brick-and-mortar stores
- KORONA POS: Best for small, multilocation shops on a budget
Lightspeed, Vend, and Clover are the RACS-compliant providers in our list.
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.
A RACS certified POS system
- Requires the scanning of a valid government-ID for age verification
- Limits the amount of products per transaction to one device and four JUULpod packs
- Integrates sales transactions to prevent manual override by sales staff
Top Vape Shop POS Systems Compared
Monthly POS Software Fee
$99 or $999 (one-time fee)
Lightspeed Payments, Worldpay, Stripe, TSYS, 2Accept
TSYS, Worldpay, Cardconnecct, Chase, EVO Payments, PayPal, Square, and more
Fiserv, Reseller third-party
First American, Worldpay, Heartland, Priority I.S., North American Brand, EVO
Priority I.S., Global Payments, Cost Plus Processing
No, but offers built-in age-verification
Lightspeed: Best Overall POS for Vape Shops
Lightspeed Retail is our top-recommended vape shop POS system for its robust inventory management features and reporting capabilities. Its ecommerce integration and wide variety of add-ons, which happen to include age-verification solutions, make it the perfect multichannel 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.
Among the three RACS-compliant POS systems in our list, Lightspeed is the only provider that includes a built-in payment processor in addition to options for integrated payments. Its pricing is also in the mid-range compared to Clover and Vend, and Lightspeed offers a RACS iPad bundle that includes everything to immediately start your business.
In our evaluation, Lightspeed Retail scored 4.29 out of 5, earning high marks for general features, ease of use, and expert score. Its high price point, which starts at $79 per month when most POS systems cost $0–$60 per month, and vape shop features, which only have basic reporting and customer management tools, prevented it from getting a perfect score. It offers the widest solutions for running a vape shop online and in-store, and with that said, it is one of our best iPad POS systems and is our top choice for inventory management.
Lightspeed Retail Standout Features
Lightspeed Retail, which has built-in RACS compliance, is equipped with a wide variety of tools to manage vape shops across multiple platforms smoothly. This includes the ability to take special orders, create in-depth customer profiles, and define rules to regulate sales. Lightspeed registers 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.
What Lightspeed Retail Is Missing
Lightspeed Retail does not work on Android devices, as it’s designed for iPads. If you prefer an Android-based POS system with RACS compliance, consider Vend.
Vend by Lightspeed: Best for Multilocation Vape Shops With Large Inventories
Vend by Lightspeed is a retail POS designed for small and medium-sized businesses and 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 preferring a RACS-compliant POS system. It could be a good option for those keen on investing in pricier software in the process of expansion to gain maximum value for money.
While it ties with POS Nation for the most expensive baseline subscription plan, Vend by Lightspeed offers more value for money with its RACS-compliant age restriction app. However, it costs more than Lightspeed and Clover, which have the same feature.
Overall, Vend earned a score of 3.88 out of 5, with high marks for ease of use and general features. It’s the only provider in our list that integrates with Square and PayPal. On the other hand, Vend’s pricey subscription plans and add-ons prevented it from performing better in our rankings. It’s important to note, however, that vape shop owners who use Vend rave about the system’s ability to scale and grow with their business.
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.
Its 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 and 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 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.
What Vend by Lightspeed Is Missing
Its price point is quite high unless you’re managing a vape shop with a large inventory. For smaller vape shops, consider Clover or Square for Retail.
Clover: Best for Vape Shops With Existing Merchant Accounts
Clover POS is a hardware and software provider that allows users to keep their existing merchant account. While Fiserv is Clover’s default payment processor, third-party resellers can reprogram the system to work with your preferred payment processing solution. Clover comes with all the tools you need and can be added from a list of apps as you grow, making it one of the most scalable POS solutions available.
It is the only provider on our list that does not sell vape products online because its age restriction tools are only for in-person sales. On the other hand, it has the cheapest subscription cost among our RACS-compliant providers, and second to Square, overall, which offers a free plan. However, it’s important to note that pricing and contract terms are both unpredictable if you plan to buy from third-party resellers.
The provider comes in third in our rankings, earning a score of 3.68 out of 5. It’s loaded with a wide range of easy-to-use tools, which resulted in high marks for ease of use and general features. Unpredictable pricing, lack of built-in ecommerce tools, and limited use of proprietary hardware prevented Clover from climbing further in our list.
Clover Standout Features
As one of the most popular alternatives to Square, Clover provides sales, inventory, and business management features known to be both affordable and user friendly. But it is in flexibility and customizability that Clover stands out from Square.
- Customer management: Allows you to set up customer profiles automatically from the point of sale, including adding the customer’s photo so your sales staff can easily identify them. It also lets you create and search transaction history records for each customer.
- Loyalty programs: Use Clover’s point-based program to assign points to different varieties and combinations of your products. You can also advertise promos on social media or via email or text messaging using Clover Promos.
- Third-party apps: Clover has a large collection of third-party apps, including order management, advanced inventory management, and back-office tools.
What Clover Is Missing
Clover’s inventory management tools do not include low stock alerts and vendor management features. So, if you have a busy vape shop with fast-moving inventory, you might want to consider alternatives like Lightspeed Retail or Vend by Lightspeed.
POS Nation: Best for Perishable Goods Tracking
POS Nation is a popular software and hardware POS solution for convenience and liquor stores. Because of its built-in age verification tools and perishable tracking feature, it is also a viable solution for vape shops. However, it lacks the automatic quantity restrictions that would make it qualify for RACS compliance. Still, this provider offers adequate security to prevent underage purchases in vape shops. It bundles software and hardware equipment at $99 per month. A custom-build plan is also available.
E-juices are perishable products, so while POS Nation is not RACS compliant, its perishable tracking function is an advantage you won’t find in Lightspeed Retail. Its built-in age verification tools are also better than those of Square and Korona, which can only be programmed to display pop-up reminders when you ring up a sale.
Overall, POS Nation earned a respectable score of 3.52 out of 5, getting a perfect mark for general features. However, it will cost you more to add ecommerce features and cloud backup to your POS system. And while there are no long-term contracts and cancellation fees, the high monthly plan prevented POS Nation from scoring higher.
POS Nation Standout Features
POS Nation is a popular choice for liquor stores and convenience stores, making it suitable for vape shops. It includes an ID scanner, scale integration, mobile checkout features, and integrated payment options with a number of providers.
- Custom-build plan: POS Nation offers a custom-build plan that allows you to choose your own payment processor and preferred features without a long-term contract.
- Specialized inventory management tools: It supports perishable inventory tracking, case-break inventory, mix-and-match bottle pricing, and kit building for vape shops. You can also integrate scales to allow for selling by weight options.
- Age validation: The tool includes ID scanner software and hardware to scan driver’s licenses or IDs. You can also set the age validation requirements per product from the back end using POS Nation’s advanced item configuration tools.
- Customer data management: The software records contact and billing information for each transaction. It also records purchase history with a lookup function to quickly search for previously bought items of frequent buyers.
What POS Nation Is Missing
POS Nation only needs an automated quantity restriction feature to qualify for RACS compliance, which helps prevent fraudulent transactions. This also gives vape shops a better chance of being approved for a merchant account. Consider Clover as a RACS-compliant alternative that offers similar freedom in choosing a merchant account.
Square for Retail: Best Free Vape Shop POS for Brick-and-Mortar Stores
Square for Retail is easily the most affordable of all the industry-leading POS software available in the market today. Starting with a free plan, it offers a suite of sales and inventory management tools that can easily handle variants and sale by weight, along with the ability to manage an unlimited number of products and transactions.
Square is one of three non-RACS-compliant POS systems that made our list, but unlike POS Nation, Square can only display pop-up age verification reminders during sale. And while it is known for its built-in ecommerce tools, Square highly regulates the sale of CBD, including vape products, online as it does not have an age restriction feature. Vape shop owners will have to register their account under the Square CBD Program, which also carries higher transaction fees.
The platform earned a score of 3.49 out of 5, performing better in terms of features and ease of use than the generic Square POS. Limited phone support hours and the lack of sales restriction tools to support online sales of vape products prevented Square from earning a higher score. However, Square for Retail still makes our list of best retail POS systems and Square our best overall POS system for small businesses.
Square for Retail Standout Features
Square POS is free, and its intuitive system offers the best value for small businesses and startups. It is 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 shop 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, which 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.
What Square for Retail Is Missing
Square users are locked into Square’s built-in payment processing system. This means you won’t be able to choose a merchant account, which is more convenient for high-risk businesses such as vape shops. Consider Vend and Clover as alternatives with more payment processing options.
KORONA POS: Best for Small, Multilocation Vape Shops
KORONA, a cloud-based retail POS designed for small and medium-sized businesses, provides tools for multilocation 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. It also works with the most popular merchant service account providers, including those catering to businesses considered high risk such as dispensaries and vape shops.
Apart from Vend and Lightspeed, KORONA is the only other provider on our list that offers both ecommerce and multilocation tools for vape shops—and at a significantly lower cost ($79). However, it cannot support large inventories like the other two. Meanwhile, Square and Clover also offer multilocation tools but both are limited to inventory management and basic reporting.
As for sales restrictions, KORONA can only display pop-up reminders during transactions to prompt sales staff to manually verify a customer’s age with an ID similar to Square for Retail.
All things considered, KORONA POS earned a respectable score of 3.39 out of 5, receiving perfect marks for ease of use. While limited basic plan features prevented this provider from scoring higher, vape shop owners who want more control over their POS system budget will find KORONA’s flexible pricing a good value for their money.
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 it 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 multistore management: At $79 a month, KORONA POS provides you with multistore management tools to consolidate data and reports in real time. You can manage inventory, conduct inventory counts, 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.
What KORONA POS Is Missing
Unless you sign up for KORONA’s custom plan, you won’t have access to its pre-built integrations, which are also quite limited (Loyalty Programs, QuickBooks Accounting, Excel, and Extensible Markup Language). Consider Lightspeed for Retail or Square as an alternative.
How We Evaluated Vape Shop POS Systems
We compared 12 POS systems based on price, general POS tools, vape-specific POS features (such as age and quantity sales restrictions), and RACS compliance. 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 in our grading system for vape shop software (4.29 out of 5). Our vape shop POS evaluation 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 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.
15% 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.
10% of Overall Score
Finally, we considered any standout 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.
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 for Retail 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 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.