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Introduction to hardware

From printers to cash drawers to payment terminals, selecting the right hardware for your business helps optimize workflows and ensures your business runs smoothly. This article will guide you through the types of hardware available and how to set up hardware with Retail POS.

Available hardware

These are the tools you'll need for your transactions, managing inventory, and managing cash flow. For a complete list of the various devices that you can use, their features, and compatibility details, refer to our Supported Hardware article.

Receipt printers

A receipt printer.

Receipt printers, specifically thermal printers, are essential for generating customer receipts. They print quickly and silently. Receipt printers connect to your computer using Lightspeed Hub.

Payment terminals

A payments terminal.

Payment terminals allow your store to accept debit and credit card payments, accelerating transactions and offering your customers more ways to pay for their orders. They reduce the need for manual card entry, minimizing errors, and ensuring secure, PCI-compliant transactions.

Barcode scanners

A barcode scanner.

Barcode scanners are a great solution for retail items or packaged goods. Barcode scanners can help you quickly add items to sales or when you are managing your inventory by simply scanning the item label.

Label printers

A label printer.

Label printers are great for inventory management. If you're using barcode scanners, you can use a label printer to apply adhesive labels with barcodes to items so that they can be scanned and added to a sale. Label printers connect to your computer using Lightspeed Hub.

Cash drawers

A cash drawer.

Cash drawers store cash, coins, and checks. With Retail POS, they're connected to your printer via an RJ12 connector cable. They are automatically triggered to open when needed, improving the organization and security of your cash handling.

Understanding connection types

While purchasing hardware, it's important to be aware of various factors, such as the connectivity options (e.g., LAN vs. USB), their compatibility with your devices, and the specific features of each hardware type.

Choosing the right connection types for your hardware is crucial for the efficient operation of Retail POS. Different connections impact performance, reliability, and versatility in unique ways.

LAN (Local Area Network) connection


LAN-connected hardware communicates through a wired network by connecting your device to your router via an Ethernet cable. It's known for reliability and speed, making it a good choice for environments where a consistent, uninterrupted connection is vital. Using a LAN connection is often considered the most stable option.Diagram showing printer and router connected with a LAN cable.

We recommend using printers and payment terminals with a LAN connection to support a sturdy and reliable connection. Bluetooth or USB printers can only be linked to a single iPad at a time.

Benefits of LAN connection

  • Reliable and fast.
  • Offers a more consistent and uninterrupted connection.
  • More secure than wireless alternatives.
  • Allows multiple POS devices to connect to shared hardware.

Considerations of LAN connection

  • Requires a wired setup.

USB connection

USB-connected hardware is simple to set up and reliable. It's ideal for hardware like receipt printers that are positioned close to the POS. However, USB-connected devices are less flexible, as they can only be linked to a single iPad at a time.

Benefits of USB connection

  • Reliable and fast.
  • Most USB devices can be powered directly from the device they're connected to.
  • Easy setup.

Considerations of USB connection

  • Can only connect to one POS device at a time.
  • Needs to be physically close to the POS.

Wi-Fi connection

Like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi allows for wireless hardware placement but with a more extended range. It's suitable for larger premises or mobile devices. However, Wi-Fi is susceptible to connection issues due to network congestion or interference.

Benefits of Wi-Fi connection

  • Allows devices to be mobile within a certain range.
  • Allows multiple POS devices to connect to shared hardware.

Considerations of Wi-Fi connection

  • Vulnerable to unauthorized access if not properly secured.
  • Slower connection that's more prone to interruptions and disconnects.

Bluetooth connection

Bluetooth devices connect wirelessly and offer flexibility when it comes to hardware placement. They're suitable for smaller establishments or where cabling would be intrusive. However, remember that the range of Bluetooth is limited, and interference from other devices could affect connection quality.

Benefits of Bluetooth connection

  • Allows devices to be mobile within a certain range.

Considerations of Bluetooth connection

  • Limited range.
  • Susceptible to interference from objects like walls.
  • Can only connect to one POS device at a time.

Purchasing hardware

You can purchase supported hardware directly from Lightspeed. Our online stores are customized for each region and only stock items that have been tested and verified by Lightspeed. 

  • Australia & New Zealand: https://store.lightspeedhq.com.au/
  • Europe: https://store.lightspeedhq.nl/
  • UK: https://store.lightspeedhq.co.uk/
  • North America: https://store.lightspeedhq.ca/

You also have the option of buying from other sources, but purchasing from Lightspeed directly ensures compatibility and support.

Setting up your hardware

Once you have selected and purchased your hardware, the next step is setting it up. If you already know what model you have, refer to the relevant sections of the Supported Hardware article to find setup instructions for your specific device.

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