The 7 Best Small Business Time Clocks of 2019

The perfect way to keep track of the hours your employees are logging

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In a small business, time clocks eliminate human error by precisely recording start and end times. Besides streamlining the payroll process, documentation is important for payroll audits as well as protection against lawsuits.

There are a few factors to consider when purchasing a time clock for your office. You first need to think about how employees will physically sign in. Most of us are familiar with traditional punch clocks, but time clocks actually come in different sign-in methods, like proximity cards and fingerprint scanners. Nowadays, you can also find a time clock that uploads attendance information into a cloud so that you can easily export the data to payroll systems. Whatever your needs are, you will find a time clock perfect for your business in the list below.

Best Overall: uPunch Time Clock

The uPunch Time Clock marries the old school act of punching in with the convenience of cloud technology. It's the most budget-friendly option on this list. The uPunch Time Clock can track any number of employees. Workers can punch in six times a day for start times, break times, lunch times and finish times. Before pay periods, you can manually enter the time card data online in the free cloud-based software, which includes time-tracking features, pay reports, overtime tracking and export options to a payroll system. The standard bundle comes with a time clock, 100 time cards, two keys and one ink ribbon. The biggest package includes all of that with an additional two card racks, three ink ribbons and 300 cards.

Best Punch-In Time Clock: Allied Time USA Small Business Time Clock

Small business owners sometimes prefer simple punch-in machines without bells and whistles because they're easy to use and take less time to set up. Its easy installation and intuitive mechanism make Allied Time USA's Small Business Time Clock a top choice for employers who want a frills-free attendance tracker. Setting up the machine takes less than two minutes, and you'll be able to access customer support if you do need help. The bundle includes everything you'll need — a time recorder, 100 time cards, two ribbons, two card racks and four keys. The time clock will not add up time but Allied Time USA has a free online app for calculating hours.

Best Key Code Time Clock: Icon Time RTC 1000 Time Clock

A key code machine eliminates the need to purchase proximity cards for your employees. It's also more secure than a card-based system since cards can get lost or stolen. Icon Time's RTC 1000 Time Clock predominantly uses PINs but also take cards or Web punch entries. At the end of the day or week, employees can review the number of hours they worked on the machine.

Employers can edit, monitor and calculate work hours to generate reports for payroll. If Internet access isn't available, you can directly plug the machine into a computer to access attendance data. The free software imports data in a cinch for different payroll services. In addition to being a standalone clock, the RTC 1000 can connect with multiple clocks over LAN, WAN, VPN and the Internet. At $400, it costs over twice as much as a simple punch-in system but could be worth your money with its versatility.

Best Fingerprint Time Clock: uAttend BN6500 Biometric Fingerprint Time Clock

A fingerprint system discourages buddy punching and eliminates card costs. The uAttend BN6500 Biometric Fingerprint Time Clock uses a fingerprint scan to clock employees in and out, then exports the data into a cloud. Remote employees can also mark their attendance from a computer or a phone app. Employers gain better insights into scheduling with overtime alerts and can set shift times and lockouts. Do keep in mind that this fingerprint machine requires a monthly subscription to a cloud-based system. Though it comes at an additional cost, you'll get benefits like free support, secure data storage, software upgrades and a lifetime warranty. It also allows supervisors to manage hours and export payroll information. The cost depends on the number of employees registered, starting from $18 a month.

Best Facial Recognition Time Clock: Lathem Face Recognition Time Clock System

If you work in an industry like health or food, the Lathem Face Recognition Time Clock System is a hygienic alternative to fingerprint readers. It uses face recognition technology that eliminates the need for badges that can get lost or be used for buddy punching. It won't take too much time to use either. The dual camera system initiates a 3-D facial analysis in seconds. Since the clock uses 3-D analysis, you won't be able to fool it with 2-D images like photographs. The package comes with a time clock, power adapter, ethernet cable and desktop software. The clock connects online with an ethernet cable so you can transfer attendance data into the PayClock online database to edit, produce reports and export to payroll systems. Do keep in mind that the system is more expensive than simple punch-in time clocks.

Best Multipurpose Time Clock: Pyramid 3500 Multi-Purpose Time Clock

If your office works with important documents where time is of the essence, consider the Pyramid 3500 Multi-Purpose Time Clock and Document Stamp. Sure, this multipurpose machine is a step up from a standard punch-in system in that it can mark more than just employee attendance. It includes 14 pre-programmed messages for time-sensitive documents like incoming mail, attendance logs and legal paperwork. The setup is easy to understand, featuring an alignment indicator and a side-loading document feed. The time clock comes with one ribbon, two security keys and 25 time cards. The one major drawback is that you'll have to manually enter and calculate hours since the machine cannot connect to a computer.

Best Heavy-Duty Time Clock: Acroprint Analog Manual Print Time Clock

Manual time clocks can be useful when you need a heavy-duty machine onsite. The Acroprint Analog Manual Print Time Clock records months, dates, hours and minutes. Clocking in is easy. Feed the time card and tap the antimicrobial touch bar to register your presence. The machine runs on AC power, specifically 120VAC, 60Hz. If you work in an area with limited or no AC power, you can place an order for a battery-operated version. The time clock features a rust-resistant case, which makes it last in harsh environments. The machine will also be able to handle thousands of print registrations per day. The clock face has large, easy-to-read print, sporting a vintage look. You will need to adjust it occasionally since it does not account for shorter months or daylight savings. Should you encounter problems, the machine comes with a lifetime warranty.