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Buyers Guide: Cash Drawers

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Cash DrawersFor any cash handling business, some sort of cash storage & security is required. Some businesses opt to purchase a cash drawer connected to their POS system, which automatically opens when processing a sale. This is the secure way to go and prevents un-authorised access to your business cash.

If you've decided that this is the best option for you, what should you look for when comparing cash drawers?

Here are a few things you should consider:


When looking for a cash drawer it's very important to consider the size of the cash drawer. You need to decide whether you want the cash drawer on the counter or underneath. Then you'll need to measure the space under the counter. Cash drawers come in various sizes, so it's important to measure up before you buy.

Connection type

There are three different connections types:

- Receipt/Docket Printer Driven
- Terminal Driven
- Interface Driven

Receipt/Docket Printer Driven
These types of drawers require a receipt printer with a cash drawer port. A cash drawer port looks just like a telephone jack. The Cash Drawer has a cable which plugs into this port, it is called an RJ11 or RJ12 plug. The port on the printer sends an electrical signal to the cash drawer that pops the drawer open.These drawers are more popular because they're generally less expensive and work with almost all software. The drawers have a 24 Volt Solenoid, as the receipt printer sends out a 24 volt signal.

Terminal Driven
These types of drawers connect directly to a POS Terminal. They have the same RJ11 or RJ12 plug as the Receipt printer drawers, except the drawers have a 12 volt solenoid as the POS Terminal sends our a 12 volt signal. If you are going to connect directly to a POS Terminal make sure you select the 12V solenoid drawer.

Interface Driven - USB, Serial or Parallel
These drawers have an interface cable (either USB, Serial or Parallel). They will connect via this interface directly to your POS Thermal or PC. To use one of these your POS Software will need to be compatible and setup to work with the drawer, so before purchasing one of these make sure you check with your software provider. If you are unsure feel free to contact one of our experts.

Slots and Inserts

You can choose a drawer with or without media slots. They're slots on the front of the drawer for slipping checks and credit card receipts in the drawer without opening the drawer and exposing the cash.

Number of note and coin trays

Here in Australia we have 6 different coins (5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 & $2). And 5 notes, including the $100 note. You need to consider this when purchasing as not all drawers come with the same amount of coin and note slots. Some come with only 4 coin slots. While others come with 8 coin slots(allowing for room for extra rolls of coins if needed). Most drawers come with some sort of storage area under the note and coin tray for cash or coin roll storage.

Most drawers also have extra cash trays available to purchase. In high cash flow stores & areas where staff swap shifts on the same register (like grocery stores) additional cash trays are beneficial for security. Most also have the option for lockable covers so the cash can't be accessed when the tray is being moved.


Most cash drawers come with locks but not all of them. You should think about getting a drawer with a lock in case you need to open it without power and lock it for the night.


The most common are steel based cash drawers however many cheap drawers have a plastic fascia on the front.

You really need to consider what your business requirements are and what special features you need and want. Also considering the type of business you run will help you make the right decision.

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