Coin sorters are a modern miracle when it comes to counting change. We all know how time-consuming it is to count coins by hand, or how expensive it is to use a coin counting service from your local bank. If you deal with coins often, there’s no question the Cassida C200 is the best coin sorter available. It holds a massive 2,000 coins and processes at a quick rate of 300 coins per minute. In addition, it has the highest accuracy rate of any model we looked at (98.5% according to customers) and digitally tracks your results as you go. With that said, if you only count coins occasionally, you’re probably better off with the Royal Sovereign QS-1. It’s not quite as advanced or efficient, but it’s cheap and it gets the job done. Article Summary
If you have a pile of coins that needs sorting, you have three options. First, you can roll them by hand. It’s free, but it’s extremely time-consuming and can be inaccurate if you miscount. Second, you can take them to a local bank or coin counter service like CoinStar. It’s time-efficient and accurate, but it’s going to cost you a pretty hefty fee (typically 12% or more). The third option is to buy your own coin sorter machine. It’s not free, but it’s time-efficient, accurate, and way cheaper than going to CoinStar, especially if you have a lot of change to count.
Coin sorters come in both manual and automatic options, and there are different sizes and speeds available depending on your needs. For example, if you count coins often, you’ll probably want a more advanced automatic sorter. They’re more expensive, but they have better sorting technology (for faster and more accurate counting) and digital monitoring (to keep track of your coins’ volumes and values). On the other hand, if you don’t count coins often, a less advanced manual sorter will still get the job done when you need it (even though it’s slower and potentially less accurate).
We spent three days comparing a variety of coin counting machines in order to find the most accurate, reliable models on the market. However, we were surprised to find that most of them have pretty poor reputations. The market is flooded with customer complaints of cheaply made products, inaccurate sorting, and usability headaches. Fortunately, through the muck we were able to identify a select few models that have provide top-level quality, accuracy, and operation. Depending on your needs, we can say with almost absolute certainty that the best coin sorter is going to be among the three below.
The best coin sorter overall
There aren’t many markets where one individual product dominates the rest, but in the case of coin sorters, the Cassida C200 does just that. This electronic counter not only sorts quickly and accurately, but it also has an extremely impressive reputation to back it up. It’s not the cheapest model out there, but if you demand speed, accuracy, and long-term reliability, the C200 is truly exceptional.
The C200 operates just like any other coin sorter out there: you pour your change in the top tray (called the hopper), press start, and the machine begins counting and filtering your coins into their respective slots. However, Cassida is a company that specializes in money handling equipment, and they’ve built this model to serious professional standards so that any person or business could use it efficiently.
With a hopper that holds 2,000 coins, the C200 has the largest capacity of any coin sorter in its direct competition. This is nice because it means you don’t have to refill it often (most other models hold less than 800 coins, so they require more frequent refills). It boasts one of the fastest operating paces with roughly 300 coins sorted per minute, and it can distinguish between nearly every coin denomination (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1) except the half dollar. Most important of all – it counts accurately. The C200 has the highest accuracy rate of any other coin counter we looked at, with less than 2% of customers reporting incorrect readings.
As your coins filter through Cassida’s advanced sorting system, a big LED display on the front keeps track of your results. You have the option to view numerous metrics, including total dollar amount, total coin count, and individual breakdowns for each type of coin, and you can even program the machine to notify you when the counter has reached a certain metric. In addition, you have the option to dispense coins into bins or paper wrappers. Now, if you’ve used a coin sorter before, you know that dispensing into paper wrappers can typically be a huge headache. Cassida has really nailed this aspect; the C200 will perfectly fill each roll with no issues, and it will even pause when each roll is completely full so that you can add a new paper wrapper.
Overall, the Cassida C200 is the best coin sorter hands-down. It’s not loud and doesn’t have any of the usual usability issues associated with these types of machines – it just quietly does its job with efficiency and reliability. That’s a rare find in this market. It’s a little expensive compared to other models, but considering the convenience it offers, it’s an incredible value that will last for years.
The best bang for your buck
If you’re not looking for anything fancy and you just want a simple coin sorting machine to help you get through a pile of change every now and again, we’d recommend the Royal Sovereign QS-1. It’s a little smaller and slower than our top pick, but it gets the job done without breaking the bank.
The QS-1 was designed for personal use, so it’s not going to get things done at the same efficiency as the C200 from Cassida. This hopper only holds about 200 coins, and it sorts at a rate of about 150 coins per minute. It can distinguish between the most average coins (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢), but it can’t recognize dollar coins or half dollars, so be sure to remove those before sorting, if possible.
The biggest difference between our top pick and the QS-1 is that this machine is a manual sorter, which means it requires you to turn a hand crank in order to filter through your change. This crank works well, but you have to be gentle with it. Like any manually-driven product, you shouldn’t try to turn the crank as fast as you can or force it if it gets stuck. Be patient, crank at a reasonable pace, and it will get through your change efficiently. If you do feel a little snag (which some customers have reported), simply reverse-turn the crank or give it a little jiggle, and you can continue on as usual.
As far as accuracy goes, the QS-1 is surprisingly good given its basic, low-cost build. It averages about a 95% accuracy rate according to customers, but there is a catch – it does a better job counting if you don’t use paper wrappers. Since its sorting system isn’t as advanced as other models, it sometimes doesn’t fill the correct amount of coins. For example, a wrapper that should be filled with 50 pennies might only be filled with 48. Fortunately, with wrappers removed, you can clearly see into the collecting tube, and as long as the tube is filled to the very top, you’re guaranteed the right count. You just have to roll the paper wrappers yourself right after, which isn’t the end of the world.
At the end of the day, the Royal Sovereign QS-1 is the best coin counter for its intended purpose – basic, occasional home usage. If you’re only counting coins every six months and want a relatively low-cost machine to speed up the process, this is it. However, if you count coins frequently, it’s worth it to invest in something more advanced.
A good balance between cost and efficiency
If you don’t need something quite as advanced as the Cassida C200, but you still want something more convenient than the Royal Sovereign QS-1, the Royal Sovereign FS-44P would probably be the best coin sorter for you. It’s the perfect middle-ground between our other two picks, offering automatic sorting and a handful of nice features with a reasonable price tag.
While the hopper isn’t as massive as our top pick, the FS-44P still holds 800 coins, which is a pretty large amount compared to most other competitors. The sorting pace is pretty much right on par, getting through just over 300 coins per minute. There’s a digital display on front that keeps track of your dollar and coin counts, but unfortunately, even though this is Royal Sovereign’s top-of-the-line model, it still only offers sorting for average coins (no dollar coins like the C200). That’s typically not a deal breaker as long as you don’t have a ton of those, though.
One cool and unique thing about this model is that it has several dispense tubes for each type of coin. Most coin counting machines only have a single tube for each coin, and when it’s full, you have to empty the tube before the machine can begin sorting again. With the FS-44P, there are four dispense tubes per coin type, and the machine will automatically move on to the next tube when one is full.
So, let’s say the machine is in motion and the penny wrapper fills to the top before the rest. The machine will recognize this, pause operation, push the penny row forward to the next available tube, and then begin filtering again, requiring no work from you (until all tubes are full, of course). And thankfully, the FS-44P doesn’t have the same issues as the QS-1 – it can dispense into wrappers just fine.
The only real downfall to this machine, which is why it earned our third pick instead of first, is the fact that customers have reported jamming issues. There aren’t too many reports, but enough that we wanted to warn about it because of how annoying it can be to fix coin jams. The FS-44P supposedly features an “Anti-Jam” feature, but apparently, according to reviews, it doesn’t work quite as well as advertisements claim. Luckily, the accuracy rate is still great, averaging about 95% as reported by users.
Overall, the Royal Sovereign FS-44P is a great coin counter if you want a good balance of cost and efficiency. It’s not quite up to par with the C200 in certain aspects, but for most people, it should get the job done easily.
How we picked our top three
Because of how many models had poor reputations, we had to be especially careful when choosing which models we believe are the best coin sorters. We took all customer complaints into consideration and prioritized our selection based on the standards below.
Reliability (accuracy and operation)
Above all else, the number one complaint from customers with the coin sorter market is that too many machines are unreliable. Needless to say, reliability became our top priority during selection. For us, reliability means accuracy and operation. In other words, a machine needs to be able to accurately count coins, and it needs to do so with little-to-no interference.
To determine accuracy rates, we compiled hundreds of customer reviews of each machine, and then figured out how many of the reviews contained complaints of accuracy issues. Anything less than 95% accuracy didn’t make the list. To judge operational reliability, we looked through these reviews to find any complaints of operational issues like coin jams, wrapper jams, or other similar malfunctions. While any electronic product is bound to have its bad days, we removed anything where an issue looked like a steady trend.
For coin counters, convenience comes in many forms. How many coins can a machine hold? How fast can it count? How many types of coins can it recognize? Does it monitor your progress? These are just a few of the basic questions most people ask themselves before buying, so we knew we had to include them when choosing our top three. In this case, the answers are almost always “the bigger, the better.”
For example, the more coins a machine holds, the less you have to refill it. The faster it counts, the quicker your work is done. You get the idea. The point is, we chose the best coin sorter based on how easy it was to use, and how little work it required from the user. If a machine requires too much time and effort to use, it basically defeats the purpose – you might as well have just counted and wrapped all the coins by hand.
Things to consider before buying
Not everyone has the same needs when it comes to coin counting. Differences in frequency, currency, and more can make one machine better than others in certain cases. Ask yourself the following personal questions to figure out which particular model is the best coin counter for your needs.
How often do you count coins?
The logical first question to ask yourself is how often you’re actually going to use your coin counter. If you only want a machine to help you with your yearly change pileup, get something basic like the QS-1. It’ll get the job done while still being cheaper than CoinStar, and it’ll last for years. On the other hand, if you need to count change daily, weekly, or even monthly, it makes sense to invest in a machine that’s more advanced because of how much time and effort it will save you over your continued use. Accuracy and speed are obviously big contributing factors to the time efficiency, but digital monitoring that tracks your total dollar and coin amounts is also a huge life saver when it comes to accounting.
Do you need to sort uncommon denominations?
Most people only care about sorting pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. However, if you frequently find yourself encountering other denominations like dollar coins or half dollars, make sure you look for a machine that can recognize these. To be frank, finding a machine that sorts fifty-cent pieces is going to be pretty hard unless you want to shell out some serious cash, but there are a few within reasonable budget that sort dollar coins. Our top pick, for example, is capable of sorting them.
What currencies do you need to count in?
Most people probably only need to sort US currency, but depending on how close you are to our northern or southern borders, you may have unique needs to sort Canadian or Mexican currency. Like rare coin counting, there aren’t many machines that are capable of this unless you’re investing in a professional-grade sorter. Yet again, our top pick from Cassida comes to the rescue, offering different versions of the C200 that are programmed for CAD or MXN.
How coin sorters work
There’s a bit of mystery surrounding how coin processors actually recognize your coins in order to correctly count and sort them. Is it magic? Sadly, no. But when coins are pouring out at a rate of 300 per minute, you have to wonder what’s going on inside there and why everyone claims these machines are the most accurate method to count change.
Thanks to modern technology, coin sorters use a few different methods to identify each denomination. The most basic form of recognition is size. Coins will roll down a chute and dropped into their respective bins or tubes based on how big they are. The next method is based on weight. There are tiny (but finely-calibrated) scales inside the machine that calculate the weight of each coin and sort them depending on their weight differences. The third and most advanced method is sight. Optical sensors within the machine basically scan each coin to virtually “see” what denomination it is.
Some coin machines use a single method from about to count and sort coins, whereas others use a combination of the above methods. Generally speaking, the more forms of verification there are, the more expensive the machine – but with more verification also comes better accuracy, speed, and reliability.
Wrapping it up
Coin sorters are a brilliant invention for convenient change distribution. Unfortunately, not every machine out there lives up to its promises, so it pays to do your research before buying (both literally and figuratively). While you might be able to get away buying knockoff brands with other products, coin sorters are one category where you want to stick to trusted companies. Cassida and Royal Sovereign are experts in money handling equipment, and based on our research and reviews from actual users, they’re your best bet for accuracy and reliability.