Businesses use time tracking software to keep accurate records on how long it takes to complete a task. Being able to precisely track the time spent on various projects lets you bill your clients accurately and manage your time more efficiently.
Independent contractors, such as freelance writers or graphic artists, may use simple time tracking software to measure how much time an assignment takes for them to complete and to bill accordingly. Small-to-medium-size businesses may use digital time tracking tools as a replacement for physical punch cards for their employees and to gather data on other workplace metrics. Time tracking software can be used as a standalone feature or be incorporated within a larger project management suite.
Factors such as the size and type of your business, as well as how much you’d like to spend, will determine the right time tracking software for your needs. We’ve rounded up the best time tracking software options based on features that make each one stand out.
Best Overall: Zoho Projects
Zoho Projects offers time tracking tools as part of a comprehensive project management package. Along with project planning features, color-coded project completion visualization charts, and communication feeds, Zoho Projects offers teams automated time-management features that track billable and nonbillable hours. The software features an attractive, easy-to-use interface that allows teams to compare estimated time proposals with the actual amount of time a project took to complete. It is also able to track simultaneous tasks at the same time. Zoho Project’s timesheets simplify employee payroll processing by automatically scheduling timesheets to be sent for approvals.
Zoho Projects can be used by small businesses with up to three users for free. It offers personalized quotes for enterprises with up to 5,000 users.
Best for Freelancers: Toggl
Toggl is a simple time tracking tool that aims to make time entry as easy as possible. This service can be integrated into more than 100 apps and offers one-click timers, as well as manual time tracking and calendar integration. Toggl breaks down the time you spend on various tasks to help you determine billable rates. It filters data into reports that can be exported into Excel, CSV, or PDF files. Its features include tracking reminders for when it detects idle time and when you may have forgotten to stop the timer. The intuitive tool is ideal for independent contractors, but its upgraded features—including analytics on profits versus labor cost, and automated time tracking reminders—can make it a great time tracking and productivity tool for larger teams.
Based in Estonia, Toggl offers a free plan for freelancers and teams with up to five members. Its Starter packages begin at $9 per user per month with an annual subscription.
Best for Businesses With Remote Contractors: Tsheets
Tsheets is a cloud-based, comprehensive time tracking and management system. It allows users to access the system via web browser and mobile apps. Users can clock-in via text message or by dialing-in. Tsheets has an excellent employee tracking system that uses GPS to track and record the locations of employees with mobile devices, which is very handy for contractors who work on remote sites. Tsheets integrates directly with QuickBooks accounting software—after initial setup, QuickBooks and Tsheets can synchronize payroll and accounting information in real-time.
Tsheets is available for a starting monthly subscription of $8 per user, plus a $20 base fee per month. It also offers a 14-day free trial.
Best Biometric Time Clock: uAttend
uAttend time and attendance software is a perfect solution for small businesses. Being cloud-based, it does not require desktop software installation. Employees can enter data via web browsers, mobile devices, and telephones, or automatically via a variety of uAttend devices, including time clocks, fingerprint readers, and biometric scanning devices. The system tracks employee time each day and can also manage vacations, sick days, and time off. The job-tracking feature enables employees to log the amount of time spent on specific projects.
After purchasing your preferred time clock, choose the uAttend plan that's right for your budget and business. Plans start at $20 per month for businesses with up to nine employees, and there are additional charges for administrators, devices, data exports, and more. The company is based in California.
Best for Usability: Dovico
Dovico offers cloud-based professional time tracking software that has excellent functionality and design features. The program allows multiple types of time entry, handles multiple projects, lets users create a variety of reports and invoices quickly and easily, and allows data to be exported in a variety of formats. Dovico can be used for both collaborative projects and individual assignments. It allows managers to assign projects to employees and gives users access to set a timer for a specific task, or to enter data manually. The system alerts users when they have reached their maximum allotted time for a project. Dovico integrates well with Microsoft Project, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, and Intuit QuickBooks. For those who work internationally, Dovico supports multiple currencies.
Dovico offers a free service, as well as tiered plans that offer more features for growing companies. Its basic plan starts at $8 per user, per month.
Best for Flexibility: BQE Core
BQE Core is a comprehensive time, billing, and project management solution suitable for professionals in a variety of industries, including construction, accounting, engineering, law, and information technology.
In addition to time tracking and project management, BQE Core includes invoicing and accounts receivable features. Deployment is very flexible and scalable—data can be entered via desktop apps, browsers, or mobile apps on iPhone, Android, or Blackberry devices. A full cloud-based version (BillQuick Online) is also available.
BQE Core offers custom packages that start at $7.95 per user, per month (based on a five-year plan). It offers flexible, role-based pricing with features various team members may need access to, and it also accommodates pricing models based on an organization’s shifting staff numbers. The company is headquartered in California.
Best for Simplicity: TimeWriter
TimeWriter's entry screen is a weekly grid displaying one week of hourly entries at a single glance—making it easy to enter hours worked quickly. This time tracking software program has excellent report functionality, and data can be exported in a variety of formats. Because the time tracking software was designed for workgroups, it has more administrative features than other single-use programs.
TimeWriter offers a two-month free trial version with limited features for personal use. Pricing for TimeWriter Standard is targeted toward smaller companies and starts at 180 euros (about $199) per year. TimeWriter Pro accommodates organizations with more than 250 employees and starts at 3,720 euros (about $4,126) a year. The company is based in the Netherlands.
Best for Productivity: RescueTime
RescueTime offers automated time tracking that works in the background of a user's computer, phone, and tablet to collect data on how they spend their time. It categorizes this data, highlights the apps and websites that may be the most distracting, and measures how much time users spend in meetings and answering emails. This data can help optimize a user's schedule for productivity and help them become aware of different types of distractions. The software can be used by teams to give managers big-picture insights on their teams’ productivity levels.
RescueTime focuses on providing time management analytics, rather than time tracking tools for billing. The Lite version is available for free, while its premium plan starts at $6.50 per month. Its plan for organizations starts at $6 per user, per month.
What Does Time Tracking Software Do?
Time tracking software is a specialty type of software that records time spent on tasks or projects. It monitors and tracks how long is spent on each task and keeps the records. It’s commonly used by freelancers and other workers who are being paid hourly to perform specific tasks.
Time tracking software takes the guesswork out of how long you spent doing something. It may also help you alter your habits if you find you’re spending too long on one thing.
Who Should Use Time Tracking Software?
Time tracking software can be helpful for employees who want to keep track of their hours worked. It’s helpful for business owners who want to increase their own productivity and see how much time is spent on reading email, web browsing, and social media sites. The software is also great for bosses to track how their employees are spending their time on the clock.
How Much Does Time Tracking Software Cost?
There are different kinds of time tracking software with varying features and tools, so their costs vary as well. Typically, you can expect to spend $6-$15 per month. Some software makers provide free 14-day trials so you can test out a program before you purchase it.
What Are the Benefits of Time Tracking Software?
Some of the benefits of time tracking software are:
- Find out where you’re spending your time and adjust accordingly
- Track employees' time while they are on the clock
- Increase productivity
- Keep track of hours worked
- Increase accuracy because you don’t need to remember how long you spent doing something
How We Chose the Best Time Tracking Software Programs of 2020
We researched many time tracking software programs before narrowing them down to our top eight. We reviewed the software options based on their features, packages, numbers of users, and available upgrades. We also considered the costs, types of plans, and device compatibility.