The Best Time Tracking Software of 2018

Marcel Tit

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Marcel Tit

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32 minutes

Time Tracking Software

Published: February 2018

If you’re here, it means that you’re looking for time tracking software that you will use yourself or with your team. But choosing one or even picking a few to try out can be a confusing and daunting task with more than 100 apps available out there.

To save you precious time, we did the hard job of in-depth market research and app testing and came up with a list of 10 time tracking software that are “la crème de la crème”.

The time-tracking tools that made our list are:

  • Paymo – full-featured project management app with time tracking and accounting features to help you manage projects from start to finish
  • Harvest – a time tracking and invoicing tool to ease project delivery and billing
  • TSheets – a solution paired with facial recognition for employees who work outside of the office
  • Toggl – time tracker, visual reports, and team insights for any company size
  • Hubstaff– time tracker that monitors your activity by taking random screenshots of your desktop
  • Timely – tool that tracks time and creates schedules and automatic timesheets simultaneously
  • TimeCamp – time tracking and invoicing app with a robust list of integrations
  • TrackingTime – a tool for tracking time on recurrent tasks and scheduling repeating events
  • Time Doctor – automatic time tracking, payroll module, and desktop screenshots feature in a single app
  • RescueTime – block distracting websites and set goals to improve your productivity through time tracking

Why is time tracking important

If you’re not yet convinced about the utility of time tracking, have a look at the following benefits:

  • Identify non-essential tasks: You don’t have the necessary time to spend on just any activity. Time tracking can help you replace unimportant tasks with productive ones. You can export this data into reports and timesheets, so you can use them for your next projects to avoid wasting time. This is another reason why you should pair time tracking with task management. It’s even better if these two features are part of the same native app to avoid data clutter.
  • Improve time estimates: You can use previously tracked time entries as the main indicator for your future projects. Through them, you’ll make better estimates for following tasks and set more accurate deadlines for similar projects. Monitoring their evolution in time can help you find out if a worker will have time to finish a task based on their past activities. Also, underbooked employees can take charge of the others’ work for faster results if they have the right skills.
  • Get paid fairly:  If you’re a paid-by-the-hour freelancer, time trackers will help you get the amount of money you deserve. It can eliminate guesstimates and awkward conversations with problematic clients who are unwilling to cooperate or hesitant to decide on a pay rate. You’ll have the evidence of your work securely stored online and measured second by second with all your time logs.

In our test we only looked at those apps that have time tracking as a native feature.

If you already use an app to manage your work but it doesn’t have a time tracking module, an integration with a time tracking app can be a solution. Yet, we don’t recommend this as it might bring additional complexity or increase your costs.

Time tracking works even better when you pair it with other features. You need task management to keep track of your daily duties and a functionality to create reports based on your work to measure performance and monitor past activity for future reference. Other nice-to-have functionalities, such as automatic time tracking, resource scheduling for teams, or accounting capabilities help the overall management of work by balancing your time, budget, and human resources. What is more, you’ll no longer have to switch between apps, tools, and techniques to complete your tasks.

Key Criteria for Choosing Time Tracking Tools

Here are the seven key factors that we took into account when reviewing the time tracking software in this guide:

  • Core Features: The most important things that should influence your decision are the tool’s main features. Task management and reports are indispensable. Functionalities such as automatic time tracking or invoicing add value and can make the difference between a great app and one that will do the job for the moment. Also, teams can use resource scheduling along with time tracking, but this feature is useless for individuals. Before choosing a final product, talk to your team and find out what their own needs are besides the requirements of your project.
  • Onboarding process: We’ve gone through each step of the onboarding process to see exactly how easy it is for a user to get acquainted with a new tool. Some perks of the onboarding process include tutorials, guides, customer support, free resources or templates, and other helpful features that can help you start faster. Why bother about it? Because you’ll be able to use the time tracking app to its full potential from the very beginning only through a clear and detailed onboarding process.
  • Cost: Think about your existing budget and what you want to pay for. Some tools charge more for additional users, so you’ll need to consider the number of active users on the app at the same time. Don’t forget to count the extra costs that you might encounter during the onboarding of new employees or the transferring of existing project data, documentation, and team schedules into the platform. Also, keep a close eye on any special offers from time to time.
  • Support: You might have to resort to customer support at some point regardless of how prepared your team is when it comes to tech skills. Support for the product should be easy to access so you can get help quickly. Examine the available languages to avoid any miscommunication problems. Pay attention though – the degree of offered support can rely on your subscription level. For some apps, talking to an Account Manager might only be available with premium plans, so consider how much money you are prepared to commit.
  • Reviews: Even though every tool works in distinct ways for each business, you can take a look at what existing users have to say. Capterra and G2 Crowd are two reliable user review platforms that aim to provide objective user feedback. These reviews serve as a basic orientation of aspects that you must analyze and test yourself before deciding if a tool is the right fit for your business.
  • Awards: Some of the best products win awards. That is unless we’re dealing with a new app that has had no chance to be nominated for one yet. The press page of each tool often highlights the awards they’ve picked up over the years and the reasons for receiving them.
  • Extra features: Think of any other feature that you might need, anything from GPS tracking and integrations, to a timesheet approval system, a payroll function, or even a clean or colorful design to keep your team engaged.

Tip: Take these seven factors and grade them according to your needs. First, create a spreadsheet. Then, write down your must-have features (give 5 points for each one), nice-to-have features (2 points for each one), and the bonus features (1 point for each one). Add it all up to create your own rating of the tools and make your own top to test before choosing one.

Paymo

Paymo is a project management and time tracking software that helps management professionals and freelancers deliver projects throughout their whole lifecycle.

The company has been around since 2008 and started out initially as a time tracking and invoicing app. Gradually, based on user feedback, it turned into a full-featured project management platform.

With users from over 50 countries, Paymo is an established app that around 4,000 companies and 40.000 freelancers (~70,000 users) rely on to help manage their time and projects from start to finish. Its main goal is to help you keep all of your work in one single place while simplifying your workflow for a more efficient task management.

Paymo Time Tracking Software

Best For:

Freelancers, small, and medium businesses.

Why We Say It’s Awesome

Work Happy. Our project management app takes away the pain of planning, scheduling, task management, time tracking, and invoicing.

Top 5 Features

1) Availability: You can decide exactly how and from which device you want to track time. Paymo is available as a web timer, desktop app, mobile app (works offline too), and even as an automatic desktop time tracker (PaymoPlus). There is also an Adobe integration for creatives that wish to track their time within the Adobe products, without having to switch between different apps.

2) Resource Scheduling: To help you calculate the resources required to deliver a project, view your team’s activity. This can help who’ll be working on what and when or check user capacity to avoid employee burnout. Manage your resource allocation easily and give your staff the right tasks based on what they’ve done in the past.

3) Timesheets area: See and manage your time entries on a daily/weekly/monthly/agenda basis, add bulk time, or import time directly from your bookings.

4) Time reports: Create time reports based on tracked time and get a detailed look at how you or your team’s time is spent. Choose from flexible grouping, subgrouping in a reporting hierarchy, project status support, and include project IDs & task IDs for more personalization.

5) Accounting: Generate invoices based on the amount of time spent on tasks or projects, track expenses, or create estimates for clients. Also, you can create invoices from scratch and use the integrations with payment gateways such as PayPal, PayPal’s Payflow, Stripe, Authorize.net, and Stripe.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

You’ll receive an activation email that’s available for 24 hours.  Then, you can start your first project or explore an existing one. There are 8 video tutorials that walk you through different parts of the app. Additionally, there is a detailed Knowledge Base to explore more advanced features. Our Customer Success Managers who can help you from the account activation throughout the entire onboarding process will also contact you.

Pricing

There are 3 pricing plans you can choose from according to the size of your business and features you might need:

  • Free (for 1 user: freelancers and individual users):  Simple To Do Lists for your tasks, Kanban Boards to get a more visual look at your tasks,  Time Tracking to keep you motivated, Desktop & Mobile Apps to track time offline, Adobe CC Extension for creatives, and Reporting. Also, you’ll get 1GB Storage, File Sharing, Community Support to solve any issues that you might encounter, API, 3 invoices/account to get a feel of how easy it is to connect your data to the invoices you send to your clients.
  • Small office ($11.95/user/month): You can get the Free plan features +  Invoices, Estimates & Expenses, Advanced Task Management to help you manage larger projects and teams, Project Templates to avoid wasting time with the basics, Dashboard to oversee your project and team activity, and 50GB to store your files. You’ll also be able to use Advanced Reporting for your managers and give a detailed overlook at the project’s status and results to your clients, Integrations with other tools you’re using.
  • Business ($18.95/user/month): You can get the Small office plan features +  Resource Scheduling for maintaining control of your team’s activity, Gantt Charts, Portfolio Gantt Chart, and Online Remote Assistance to quickly answer your inquiries. This plan also gives you unlimited storage so you’ll never worry about where to keep your data.

There is a 20% discount offered for annual payments.

The app also supports schools, colleges, and universities around the world by offering free subscriptions for 1 year without any feature limitations. Paymo also supports anyone who wants to do good for the society. Therefore, nonprofit organizations are eligible for a 50% discount.

Verdict

We’re proud to have scored a 5/5 from 212 reviews Capterra’s review score and 4.6/5 from 325 reviews on G2 Crowd.

The  app has also won a series of awards including: Most Usable PM Software (G2 Crowd’s Project Management Usability Index | Summer 2017), The Time Tracking Software with the Smoothest Implementation (G2 Crowd Summer 2017), The Best ROI PM Software (G2 Crowd Summer 2017), The PM Software with the Smoothest Implementation (G2 Crowd Summer 2017), and the Great User Experience Award 2017 (FinancesOnline).

Paymo has the best free plan for individuals and could easily rank in the top three software in terms of time tracking functionality. The advanced task management features, resource scheduling, and accounting modules have you covered if you want to manage projects from start to finish along with your team. Most noteworthy, you can choose any method of time tracking you want. The platform could be even better if they added features like GPS tracking, Timesheet approval, or a Payroll system in the near future.

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Harvest

Large companies, smaller businesses, and freelancers can all use Harvest. Launched in 2006, they aim to do things the Harvest way. This implies being honest, giving back, innovating, and listening to customers’ needs among others.

Harvest offers time tracking solution and invoicing under the same roof. This tool connects both features so you can be paid based on the tracked time entries without exporting data to another system.

Harvest time tracking

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Keep your business ticking. Time tracking and reporting that let you operate with insight.

Top 5 Features

1) Time tracking and expense management: Track time for specific clients, projects, tasks, and staff members to maintain control of all the activities through a web timer. Don’t worry, you’ll get email reminders for when you leave it on for too long to fix this issue. If you forgot to start it though, add time in bulk to the weekly timesheets area. Bonus: Snap a photo and add it to an expense using the mobile app to offer proof of your spendings.

2) Team overview: Monitor who’s tracking time and when they’re working on a specific project, as well as who’s overworked to avoid burnouts. You can edit time entries and divide them into billable or non-billable hours for more detailed reports. You can also use the timesheet approval system for an enhanced team oversight.

3) Visual reports: Check time entries and compare them to the initial project budget to see if you’re on track. The reports also show you the sum you need to invoice to be profitable.

4) Invoicing module: Bill clients based on tracked time, send invoices via email, and get paid online through Stripe or PayPal. There’s also a native integration with Xero and Quickbooks that’s useful if you’re already using one of these apps.

5) Scheduling: Through their sister app,  Forecast, you can book projects in advance and compare the time tracked in Harvest with the time scheduled in Forecast.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

After signing up you’ll receive a welcome email to start and create your first project. In parallel, you’ll also get access to free timesheet and invoicing templates, educational resources for time tracking, webinars (scheduled and recorded), and to a knowledge base with tutorials and step-by-step guides.

Pricing

There are 3 plans that you can choose from after the free trial expires, each adding more features:

  • Free: It’s for 1 person, 2 projects, and you get unlimited invoices and clients. You can’t upload a company logo, attach files to invoices, integrate with QuickBooks Online, or import data. When you sign up you’ll first receive the full-featured 30-day free trial. After this expires, you’re able to use the free plan unless you upgrade.
  • Solo: $12/month or $10.8/month (10% discount for annual payments): 1 person, unlimited projects, unlimited clients, and unlimited invoicing.
  • Team: $12/person/month or $10.8/person/month (10% discount for annual payments): 2+ people, unlimited projects, unlimited clients, unlimited invoicing, timesheet approval system to also allow managers to have an overview of their team’s activity.

You’ll have to pay separately for the scheduling feature, Harvest Forecast. ($5/month, unlimited users and projects)

All plans include Time & Expense Tracking, Powerful Reporting, Unlimited Invoices and Estimates, Project Budget Alerts, Timesheet Approval, Integrations with 100+ Apps,  Apps for iOS, Android & Mac, Bank-Level Security, and Phone and Email Support.

Availability: web, iOS, Android, Mac, and as a plug-in for Chrome and Safari.

Verdict

It seems that most users have a good opinion regarding Harvest since the tool got a 4.5 out of 5 (89 reviews on Capterra) and 4.3 out of 5 (245 reviews on G2 Crowd).

If we were to select the best time tracking and accounting-based tools, Harvest would make our top three. Why? Because it’s a great example of a tool that blends time tracking with accounting features to ease project delivery and billing. What is more, their integrations with Xero and QuickBooks make it more convenient for users who already use those tools for accounting or bookkeeping.

We’re looking forward to the possible introduction of a Recurring Invoicing Module to make the entire payment and invoicing process with repeat customers easier. The tracker only shows your times after each minute has passed. Beginners who feel motivated if they see their seconds quickly passing would appreciate a more accurate timer that tracks each second of your work.

You can try this tool yourself with a 30-day free trial and test it along with its 100+ integrations or make use of its own API to configure your own one.

TSheets

Started in 2006, TSheets fulfilled a need of one of the founder’s previous company: tracking timesheets for employees who were always on the go. The team then grew from just two members who wanted to fix reporting and productivity issues, to having more than 100 employees. Intuit acquired the tool in 2017.

TSheets

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Time tracking with over 8,000 five-star reviews. Easily track time on any device to streamline payroll, send accurate invoices, and save thousands each year.

Top 5 Features

1) Scheduling: Works more like a shift roster by helping you build employee schedules by job or shift and share them with the team. Workers will get alerts reminding them to clock in or out of their shifts. You can assign the address of a job so they’ll always know exactly where they need to be.

2) TSheets Time Clock Kiosk: A punch time solution that works on any computer or tablet connected to the Internet, even outside of the office. Employees use a four-digit PIN to clock in and out or take breaks. Additionally, photo capturing and facial recognition are available,  which also flag when something doesn’t look right.

3) Reports: Predict time needs for job costs, plan for payroll, and increase profitability. Also, to ensure accurate timings, anyone with permission can approve or reject timesheets.

4) Overtime and PTO: You can get overtime alerts to keep you and your employees aware of weekly overtime limits. To avoid burnouts, send alerts to those who work overtime via email, Twitter, or text messages. Customize PTO – paid time off (vacation, sick, or holiday accruals) to calculate time off balances in your place. Managers get the ability to approve or reject them while users can request days off from the app even if they’re not in the office.

5) Employee Permissions and Restrictions: Give different permission types. Salespeople might need time trackers on mobile devices, while managers need to review and approve the timesheets of other workers. If you want to maintain a strict schedule that’s dependant on the time and place of your workers, you can restrict employees from clocking in and out when they’re not in an approved area or timezone.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

TSheets has a fast onboarding process. You’ll receive a welcome email and a message to verify your email address. As soon as you validate this email, you’ll get access to the TSheets Guide, a product tour, and live training for account admins.

Pricing

There are 3 plans that you can choose from to use TSheets depending on the number of users who are going to use the tool:

  • 1 user: It’s free (unlimited projects) and it includes Scheduling, but it only allows a single user to access TSheets.
  • 2-99 users: Pay $5/user/month + $20 base fee/month or $4/user/month if billed annually*.
  • 100+ users: Pay $5/user/month + $100 base fee/month or $4/user/month if billed annually*.

*after the trial period ends, you can add Scheduling for $1.25/month or $1/month when billed annually

You can save 20% with annual payments for all plans.

All accounts include: Mobile Apps for employees who work out of the office, GPS Timestamps, Flexible Time Entry, Track Crew Time, PTO Accruals, Overtime Alerts to avoid burnouts, Timesheet Approvals, Who’s Working, and Real-Time. Also, you’ll get Payroll Reports, Project Reports, and Job Costing. Equally, you’ll have access to Audit Trail, 99.99% Server Uptime to answer questions anytime, Safe Harbor Certified to maintain privacy, and TLS Encrypted Data.

Verdict

With over 2500 user reviews, TSheets scores a perfect 5/5 on Capterra and 4.7/5 from G2 Crowd. Their commitment to creating a unique product has earned them several awards in the past: 2015 & 2016 Top Company Cultures by Entrepreneur, Deloitte Fast 500 Technology – 2016 North America, 2015 & 2016 Best Places to Work – Idaho, 2014 Innovation Award – Company of the Year, and also the 2014, 2015 & 2016 Awesome App by the Sleeter Group.

Available for iOS and Android (mobile app), as well as iPad (Kiosk app), we’re putting TSheets in our own personal top for portability. You won’t find their facial recognition feature at any other tool. This can be useful for managers to verify the identity of the person delivering a task, especially if they haven’t met them before. But, it is not for everyone. Although it helps managers check identities, be aware that some employees might find this option rather intrusive. TSheets also misses an invoicing module, but you can use their main app, QuickBooks, to fill the gap.

Toggl

Toggl takes pride in its remote work culture. They unite a mix of people from all over the world to create one product that can serve all companies. Occasionally, they fly to different cities to meet users in reality, learn about how they use Toggl, and how to make it better. They also have a pug named Muffin whose main duty is to bring the cute factor to the team.

If you’d like to take a look at the fun side of this company, check out this Startup Simulator Game.

Toggl time tracker

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

The ultimate timer. It’s insanely simple.

Top 5 Features

1) Time Tracking: Available through the web timer or browser extension button that connects with 100+ apps. It works like any other tracker by clicking the play button when you want to start or stop it. You can track time from several places in the app including the dashboard where the most active team member will also get a motivational first place spot.

2) Visual reports: If you’d like a visual and easy-to-understand look at your daily activity, you can check your time usage, who’s working on what, and how many hours your team spends on different projects and clients from the summary/detailed/weekly reports.

3) Team overview: See if the project and team comply with the initial estimations in terms of logged time, find out which tasks are overdue, and which exceeded the initially set budget.

4) Insights: Discover the projects and employees that are bringing the most revenue. This can help you make better estimates and know exactly which tasks should be assigned to an employee.

5) Toggl Master Program: Lets you hire a certified Toggl consultant to help you with the tool’s implementation. In exchange for a specific price (depending on the plan), you can get help on setting up the tool, using Toggl on different platforms, importing data, team management, and more.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

After signing up, you’ll get a welcome email from the CEO including a link to some tips and tricks that can help you start using the tool. Toggl also offers a knowledge base and access to business and productivity resources that you can use for work.

Pricing

Toggl allows you to choose between four pricing plans according to your business’ scale:

  • Basic: Free for teams of up to 5 users: Tracking time, Deleting time entries to correct those unwanted mistakes, Bulk edit, Adding time manually in case you always forget about the timer, Autotracker for multitaskers, Tags, Keyboard shortcuts to make the time tracking process faster, Idle detection, Time formats, and an Offline Mode. Also, you will get a Pomodoro timer to improve your productivity, .csv import, Summary, Reports, Dashboard, Archive projects, Project colors to keep users engaged, Unlimited projects and clients, User groups, Deactivate users for those moments when an employee leaves a project or team, Team’s access level to match each role and status, Team Dashboard for an overall view of activity, and more Integrations.
  • Starter: $10/user/month ($9/user/month – if paid annually). This plan gets you the Basic plan features + Billable rates, Exporting, Rounding, Bookmarked reports, Company logo for a dash of personality, Project Dashboard, Tasks, Alerts for estimates, Project time estimates, and Unlimited team size because you never know when you’ll need another member.
  • Premium: $20/user/month ($18/user/month – if paid annually). This plan gets you the Starter plan features + Tracking reminders (optional), Locking time entries (optional), Time audits (optional), Scheduled reports to email (optional), Required fields on a time entry for stricter tasks (optional), Adding time for team members since they might forget to do so(optional), Editing team members profile (optional), and Priority support (optional).
  • Enterprise: $59/user/month ($49/user/month – if paid annually). This plan gets you the Premium plan features (all optional features become available) and also Priority support for a more personalized level of service when you’re seeking technical help.

You can get 30 days of Toggl for free with access to all features in a plan.

Availability: web, desktop app for Windows, Mac & Linux, mobile apps for iOS and Android, Toggl button for Chrome & Mozilla, Superday (Automatic Time Logging App only for iOS).

Verdict

With over 200 reviews from worldwide users, Toggl gets a 4.3/5 on G2 Crowd and 4.5/5 from Capterra.

The reports are ideal for larger companies who’d like to assess if a team need more members or financial resources. Using this data, managers can restructure the company and turn its environment into a more efficient one to raise its profitability. The insights also allow you to see which projects and employees that bring you more profit. This is helpful since it can help you give better estimates in terms of deadlines and resource allocation.

Toggl is a robust time tracking app, but compared to some of the other tools in our list, it lacks when it comes to resource scheduling and accounting. You can use their integrations with Xero and QuickBooks to fix this problem. Also, the subscription plans are expensive compared to the other tools on this list.

We’d also like to see a free option for the Master program to get companies with low budgets acquainted with the tool.

Hubstaff

Hubstaff started out in 2012 as a tool to help manage small remote teams. Today, they are the choice of over 8,000 agencies, freelancers, and virtual teams who use it to help them with their daily tasks. Hubstaff is run by a growing team that spreads across the world and whose main purpose is to focus on customer satisfaction. Also, they offer a free marketplace (Hubstaff talent) for connecting freelancers and employers.

Hubstaff time tracking

Best For:

Small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Time Tracking for Teams on the Go.

Top 5 Features

1) Screenshots and activity rates:  Take up to three screenshots every 10 minutes. They’re  taken at random times to get a better idea of how your employees work.  

2) Team dashboard: See all your team members, when they worked, what they’ve worked on, their average activity levels, and the total time worked in the past week. You’ll immediately notice who is working and who is slacking off.

3) Scheduler: An employee attendance tracker is a way for you to manage the overall team schedule. Get email alerts to inform you on of any late, missed, or abandoned shifts.

4) Payroll system: Set up payments only once so you can then focus on more important matters without worrying about payroll again. Also, it calculates salaries according to the registered time. Meanwhile, individual pay rates are sent to Payoneer or Bitwage if you’d rather work with a payment gateway.

5) GPS location: When your team is using the mobile time tracking app for logging time, you’ll be able to monitor their location via GPS. You can also track the time worked at a specific job site and find out which locations require more attention.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

Upon signing up, you get a confirmation email, as well as a welcome email after confirming the account and a 3-step plan to create your organization and invite your team. What else will you get? Best practices on team onboarding, a guide for users and owners, and a video tutorial link. In fact, you’ll get access to live chat, support, and even the profile pictures of the team to get to know the creators (found that neat).

Pricing

There are three subscription plans to choose from, each adding more features:

  • Solo lite: It’s free for 1 user and you’ll get time tracking, limited screenshot storage, and activity levels to see your progress.
  • Basic: $5/month allow 1 person (billed monthly) to use Hubstaff. You can get the following features: Time tracking, Screenshots, Keyboard and mouse activity monitoring to make time tracking as accurate as possible, Employee payments, 1 integration with an app of your choice, 24/7 Support for additional help whenever you’ll need it, and Per-user settings to customize each person’s account.
  • Premium: At the price of $9/month for 1 user (billed monthly) you can get the Basic plan’s features and App and URL tracking, Automatic Payroll, Weekly Limits, and Multiple integrations to meet all of your needs. In addition, this plan will give you Attendance scheduling, Invoicing, Location tracking for better employee monitoring, and Project budgets to keep track of your spendings.

All plans change their pricing depending on the number of users chosen from the scale bar. Plans can go up to 200 users.

Annual payments get you two free months. The best part is that you can get a refund within the first 60 days.

Verdict

Available for web, Windows, Mac, and Linux (desktop app), iOS and Android (mobile app), and as a Chrome extension, the Hubstaff time tracking tool has received the High Performer award by G2 Crowd in Fall 2015. However, their reviews are lacking with just 37 reviews on G2 Crowd where the app scores 4.2/5 and 58 reviews on Capterra that gets them a full score of 5/5.

Hubstaff made our top thanks to their monitoring system that takes screenshots of desktops to ensure work is delivered and to increase accountability. The entire user experience is supported by their clean menu and organized modules that structure the app into the following functions: Dashboard, Activity, Timesheets, Reports, Invoices, and Scheduling. The best thing about Hubstaff? When it comes to free users, clients and supervisors can be invited and they don’t count as paying users. If you’re looking for an invoicing module, there is one in beta version right now.

If you’re interested in using time tracking outside browsers, we took a closer look at desktop and mobile apps. The desktop app for Windows will let you choose a project and task and add time. However, you won’t be able to create a new task directly from it. The mobile app, if you’re on the go, includes a timer, timesheets, the screenshot feature, and weekly reports. It is a bit laggy, but the GPS and location tracking will compensate for it.

We also mentioned them in one of our previous articles on time trackers.

Timely

The Viking representative on this list, Timely, has team members that are self-declared as being “obsessed with time”. And that was just what they needed to create an app that tracks time and creates schedules simultaneously. Their aim is to make the working day as productive as possible and unlock the 25th hour. The main goal – ambitious, to say the least – is to use that extra time to solve the world’s problems and support progress.

In 2016 they raised investments of $1 million and the company is growing with two investors to back them up: SNÖ Ventures and 500 Startups. So, is it really that good? We took a closer look at the product to find out.

Timely time tracking

Best For:

Freelancers, business owners, and managers.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Meetings, travel, productivity, downtime… Track life as it happens.

Top 5 Features

1) Automatic timesheets: Using the AI-powered Memory Tracker you don’t have to think about starting the timer again. Work on your tasks while the timesheet gets populated. Additionally, connect your calendar to automatically add your meetings to a timesheet once you confirm them.

2) Copy and paste time entries for several days: Suited for freelancers, it makes your work on recurring tasks much easier by shortening the time you spend adding time entries.

3) Scheduler: See what’s been worked on vs. what was planned from a single place – a combination of a timesheet and scheduling feature. See how much of your budget you’ve scheduled. Similarly, find out how much you have left to assign for more tasks and resources.

4) Team Dashboard: Monitor who tracked time and who didn’t on a monthly basis. Ideal for teams, it can help you evaluate workload and avoid burnout.

5) Automatic reminders: Choose when everyone will receive a notification to add their time. No need to nag your team again and again to do this.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

You get a welcome email where you’ll be prompted to add projects and team members. Also, you’ll receive some links for downloading the apps and shortcuts to specific features that might be useful.

As soon as you sign in, you’ll go through a survey that is meant to gather some info about your team and your goals for using Timely. Then you’re advised to install their Memory tracker app. You can skip this part if you don’t want to get it yet. There is also a page that offers help guides and another one for product updates for the latest features.

Pricing

To use Timely, you’ll have to choose between 4 different plans. Each subscription level is made for different types of businesses according to their size and needs:

  • Solo: $8/month ($7/month if paid annually): For only 1 user, you’ll get basic time tracking to get started with monitoring your time, a maximum of 3 active projects, 3 days Memory history, PDF/Excel reports, Apps & integrations with other useful tools, Tags & Subtags, User access levels to differentiate your team roles, Project budgets, Team scheduling, Per-user rates, Per-project rates, Hidden hourly rates.
  • Essential: $15/user/month ($14/user/month if paid annually): Includes the Solo plan features + Unlimited active projects, 1 month Memory history, Mark as billed to know what has and hasn’t been billed.
  • Company: $23/user/month ($21/user/month if paid annually): Includes the Essential plan features + 6 months Memory history, and a Control page to keep control over your whole team at the same time. Then, you can make use of Teams to organize users into more meaningful groups, Project tags to control which tags are allowed/required per project, and Priority support.
  • Enterprise: from $59/user/month billed annually: Includes the Company plan features + Unlimited Memory history, Account manager*, Service-level agreement*, Advanced integrations*, Dedicated server*

* additional fees may apply

Availability: web, Mac and Windows (desktop app, Memory Tracker), iOS (location tracking) and Android (mobile app), iPad, and Apple Watch.

Verdict

With some of the fewest user reviews on our list, Timely scores a 4.4/5 from 7 reviews (G2 Crowd) and a 5/5 from 95 reviews (Capterra).

Timely made our top thanks to their fully customizable reports. We know how difficult reporting can be. However, with Timely you can choose from a wide range of business, appointment, customer, and staff reporting templates to evaluate your performance. For more control, we advise you to create your own templates. You can also log time entries into Outlook, Office 365, Google Calendar, or use the other integrations: GitHub, Gmail, Todoist, Timely’s own GPS Tracker, and phone calls with Android. From a sales perspective, we have to say this is super cool.

On the other hand, some minuses in terms of features are the missing Invoicing/Estimates/Expense module and Payroll module option. There’s a 14-day trial available for testing the app for free.

TimeCamp

TimeCamp was established in 2009 as a one-person company and a seed capital investor. Today they have offices both in Los Angeles and in Poland where people are working to make the tool better.

To help their goal of implementing the time tracking process for B2B service companies, they have one of the most robust list of integrations we’ve seen so far: Buffer, Dropbox, OneDrive, GitHub, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Survey Monkey, Reddit, Slack, HipChat, Evernote, Salesforce, Toggl and Harvest (analyzed earlier in this guide), Clio, Formitize, Zapier, and many more.

Timecamp Time Tracking

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Time tracking your team will actually use. Live each and every day to its fullest. We will help you understand and improve your productivity

Top 5 Features

1) Income function: Calculate income by assigning billing rates to different projects or people.

2) Powerful reports: For more accurate reports, choose from a series of different templates according to tasks, users, attendance, day, billable vs non-billable time, etc.

3) Invoicing module: Track how many billable hours people work on paid projects and how many hours are spent on internal, non-billable projects. Invoicing is done automatically based on the registered hours to make your work faster.  You even receive notifications when a client views an invoice.

4) Productivity verification: Reports display the top productive apps and sites you’re using, including time spent on documents and overall computer usage. You’ll also be able to approve timesheets, set goals, and receive weekly email summaries. This is to ensure that your team is being productive and not wasting any precious time.

5) Attendance and Time off: See how many paid hours your team has logged in and get a full analysis of when they started and finished their work to keep everyone in check and avoid leaving someone behind with their duties. This ensures compliance with the company’s rules and increases accountability.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

The downside of the onboarding experience was that we got no welcome email to guide us. However, you’ll get access to a knowledge base, product updates, and on-screen help points when you first add a task.

Pricing

For TimeCamp, there are 3 pricing plans from which you can choose:

  • Solo: Free: Only 1 user can use this plan, but you get the time tracking feature.
  • Basic: $7/month, $5.25.month if billed annually: There is no user limit and you get time tracking, exporting, integrations with your favorite tools, and billable time & budgeting.
  • Pro: $10/month, $7.5/month if billed annually: Includes all of the Basic plan’s features and invoicing, scheduled reports, timesheet approvals, projects costs & billing rates, and screenshots of your employees’ desktops as well.

You can get a 25% discount when billed annually. Also, you have access to a 50% discount if you’re a nonprofit organization, university, or school.

They also have an enterprise plan for companies with more than 50 users. This plan includes a dedicated account manager, active directory integration, onboarding, and training.

Verdict

Available on web, Windows, Linux and Mac (desktop), iOS and Android (mobile app), TimeCamp has gained a series of awards in the past years: Expert’s Choice – 2016 Award – by Finances Online, Category Leader 2017 by GetApp, Great User Experience – 2017 Award – by Finance Online, and Featured company on FitSmallBusinesses.

From just 18 reviews on G2 Crowd, the app scores a 4.4/5. On Capterra, however, they get a full 5/5 from a total of 322 user reviews. For now, we’re looking forward to a more user-friendly experience with improved communication and a clearer interface design in the future. It also needs a Resource Scheduler module and maybe even a location tracker similar to what TSheets already has.

Yet, we gave them props for their Computer Time data tracking that offers an in-depth look at exactly what your employees are doing during work hours. This feature can also be a fit for anyone who is trying to improve their productivity. Through their reports, you’ll be able to see which apps, sites, and documents you’re using so you’ll find out how you can become more productive when it comes to computer usage. Also, managers will track this through summaries and approve timesheets to ensure that an employee is not slacking off.

Find out more about why automatic time tracking is a must-have for your tool.

TrackingTime

Starting from 2012, TrackingTime, a collaborative and cloud-based time tracking service aims to help companies of any size manage their projects, track work time, and measure team productivity. Currently, the company is in the US and has other locations in Buenos Aires and Munich. They regard time as the most valuable asset of a company. For this reason, the TrackingTime team’s main goal is to empower companies to effectively manage their strongest resource.

Trackingtime time tracking

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Your time counts. Time tracking for productive teams.

Top 5 Features

1) Schedule Repeating Events: Repeating events let you edit recurring time entries in batch and avoid manually entering them.

2) Automatically sync your due dates for projects and tasks with your calendar: TrackingTime supports Gmail, Outlook, Mail, and all the other major email clients.

3) Import Time Entries: Import clients, services, projects, tasks, and time entries directly into your account.

4) Working On!: See what tasks are being tracked from the activity tab. This helps you avoid unnecessary interruptions and empty time slots in the team’s schedule.

5) Get weekly overviews of your team’s activity: Manage your tasks and time entries from the calendar view or edit them in bulk.


How Easy It Is To Get Started

In addition to a confirmation email, you’ll go through a setup wizard (with a clear and responsive design) to add a project and some tasks to it. Then, the timer automatically starts tracking each second for the task.

Pricing

TrackingTime lets prospects pick from 3 plans according to the size of their team:

  • Basic: Free (for teams of up to 3 users): Track time in real time, Time estimates, Desktop and mobile apps to keep you connected on the go, Integrates with many popular services like GitHub and Gmail, Import time entries from CSV, Limited to 50 active projects and 1000 tasks.
  • Pro ($4.99/user/month): includes the Basic plan features + Calendar to organize your time entries, Custom reports for more personalization, Sync your deadlines with your calendar, Set advanced users permissions, Add notes to time entries, and Time audits. Also, you can create multiple tasks at once, Duplicate existing projects to create similar ones, Run company reports, Export timesheets to PDF, Unlimited projects and tasks.
  • By the hour: includes the Pro plan features with unlimited users Up to 500 hours per month $24.5, Up to 1000 hours per month $49, Up to 2000 hours per month $98, Up to 3000 hours per month $147, Up to 4000 hours per month $196.5.

Verdict

This tool has the fewest reviews from any we’ve analyzed so far: 3.7/5 from 6 reviews (G2 Crowd) and 4/5 from 1 review (Capterra).

We’ll place this tool in our list for great responsive UI and time tracker portability since it’s available on Mac (desktop app), Windows, Linux (chrome extension), iOS and Android (mobile app), and as a Chrome extension. From the mobile app, you’ll be able to add tasks, projects, and time entries or start tracking time by clicking on an existing task. Also, you can even see today’s activity and manage all of your projects. Yet, a resource scheduler and an approval system feature would be a bonus that could bring more users.

Time Doctor

TimeDoctor is a SaaS multi-functional time tracking app created by the owners of Staff.com. Around since 2012, it lets you choose from their desktop software, mobile app, or web platform.

The Time Doctor staff is the second fully remote team on this list. At the moment, they have employees from 23 different countries that aim to bring diversity and miscellaneous ideas to the team. This is why the focus of the app is to allow customers to build distributed teams so they can now work out of an office, wherever, and whenever they want to.

Timedoctor

Best For:

Freelancers, small, medium, and large teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Want to make sure your remote team is actually getting work done? Remote teams average 22% more productivity with Time Doctor.

Top 5 Features

1) Screenshots: In case you need or want to monitor your employees, particularly remote ones since in an office environment you get to see what they’re doing in real life. Screenshots can also be used to review work processes, improve productivity, and develop strategies. They will only be taken when team members start work on a task and not during breaks.

2) Payroll: You can pay team members based on the tracked entries or fixed salaries. The payroll setup is customizable to match your currency, financial regulations, company requirements, and more. You can connect the tool to PayPal, Payoneer, TransferWise, or any other method of your choice for more freedom.

3) Alerts: Receive notifications when you are not working. These help you avoid procrastination.

4) Reporting: Track time spent on each website, app, or task. The tool records overall Internet usage during work time to ensure that your employees are not slacking off. It creates weekly reports that show the exact websites and applications that were used. To improve their own work activity rates, each user gets the same report outlining their own work time statistics.

5) Automatic time tracking: You might be one of those people who forget to turn the timer on or off. To precisely track hours, Time Doctor even stops tracking your time when there’s no keyboard or mouse activity for a while.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

As soon as you sign up you’ll have to choose one of the other applications you’re using and integrate them with Time Doctor. You can also skip this step and customize the features you’re going to use the most. You’ll also get an email from one of their employees asking you about the size of your company. If you’re having problems using the tools, you can use the help center or contact their support team.

Pricing

There are three pricing plans that you can consider:

  • Free: Limited, you’ll not be able to access the web interface, statistics, monitoring, web-based reports, or have reports sent to you. Hence, free users can still continue to use Time Doctor and track their tasks and work hours on the desktop client only without reporting that’s normally available on the dashboard.
  • Solo: $5/user/month – Solo plan users can add clients without additional fees and allow those clients to see project progress and time reports.
  • Standard: $9.99/user/month, one free manager included – Track time, tasks, projects, screenshots, keyboard, and mouse activity levels, Website and application tracking, Payroll and payment integrations, and Work schedules and attendance report. Furthermore, you can use the GPS tracking option on mobile apps, Integrations with 32 integration partners like GitHub and Slack, Support, Live Agents, Managers can approve manual time, White labeled login interface for team members, Add multiple users.

Discounts: 2 months free for annual payments and for 10+ users.

Verdict

With not so many reviews (4.6/5 from 94 reviews on G2 Crowd and 5/5 from 91 reviews on Capterra).

We added Time Doctor to this ranking because it’s very easy and fast to create an account and start using it and it has one of the best personalization options on this list. Likewise, their mobile and desktop apps work well with helping you track time and organize your tasks. The mobile app has GPS tracking and it lets you see your current and future tasks. You can either add a task or start the timer for an existing one. You’ll also see the time you’ve worked and a dashboard. The desktop app performs like the mobile one, but it’s designed only for time tracking and organizing tasks into folders. You can add tasks or start registering time for existing ones. However, like for many other time tracking tools, it’s missing the Invoicing module and an Approval system for timesheets.

RescueTime

RescueTime is yet another distributed company that has members spread across the entire United States. In January 2008, they were funded by Y Combinator and got the additional Series A Financing by True Ventures the same year in September.

They claim to offer a different type of approach to employee time management. Also, they dislike traditional employee monitoring methods that get employees to always wonder if their manager is checking them every single second. Through the TimeRescue platform, they want to promote trust and encourage the fair use of creative solutions to the solve work-related problems.

Rescuetime

Best For:

Small teams.

Why They Say It’s Awesome

Find your ideal work‑life balance. With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.

Top 5 Features

1) Block distracting websites: Choose which applications you want employees to stop using and the time when you want to block the app. This can ensure that your team is not slacking off on websites that provide no value for the project.

2) Set goals: A goal can keep you on track and improve your productivity. Progress appears on a dashboard, in weekly email reports, and in a goals report.

3) Detailed reports: Show which applications and websites you or your team spend time using. Additional reports show your time based on different categories, how productive you were, and if you met the goals.

4) Productivity score: Activities are grouped into existing categories that highlight productivity scores for thousands of websites and applications. You’ll also receive a weekly email with the summary of your productivity to help you improve your work manner.

5) Daily highlights: Add context to your finished activities accomplished each day. Use these to motivate you for future tasks and to have proof of your work.

How Easy It Is To Get Started

A welcome email will prompt you automatically to download the app and sign in. You’ll get access to a Getting Started guide, the knowledge base, and a tour to get to know the app’s key pages and features.

Pricing

For RescueTime, there are just two pricing plans that make the decision process easier:

  • RescueTime Lite (Free): track time in websites and applications, set goals, weekly email reports, 3-month report history for a more comprehensive outlook on how you spend your time.
  • RescueTime Premium ($9/month, $72/year): get more advanced features such as time tracking when you’re away from the computer, goal alerts, and block distracting websites. You can also keep a log of your daily accomplishments, detailed reports, and unlimited report history.

Availability: web, Desktop app or Windows and Mac + mobile app for Android (iOS coming soon) + browser plug-in (for Chrome, Chrome OS, and Mozilla).

Verdict

There aren’t many reviews for you to judge the tool: 4.1/5 from 47 reviews (G2 Crowd) and 4.5/5 from 5 reviews (Capterra).

It’s one of the best tools for automatic time tracking because it runs in the background and breaks down time into activities that are productive (Business, Utilities, Communication, and Scheduling) and unproductive (shopping, social media). Alternatively, to become even more productive, you can set goals to keep you on track with doing your work persistently and maybe even improve your pace and manner of working. Also, you can see your progress on a dashboard and in email or goal reports. You’ll get notifications to remind you of these. Yet, for now, the tool is rather simple compared to the others as it doesn’t have an Invoicing module, Timesheet approval system, or Resource scheduling.

The only option to see the real capabilities of the tool is to try their free trial. However, you need a credit card to sign up.

Bottom line

By now, you’ve probably chosen 2 or 3 apps to look at. The right tool is one that meets your business requirements, delivers what you need to get work done, and is easy-to-use for your entire team.

But your personal experience with the app might be the decisive factor when choosing the right time tracking software. Therefore, with all this information at hand, you just need to start a free trial and “play” with the apps. Test them thoroughly and invite your team to do the same.

Last, but not least, we can only hope this article will help you choose wisely and, if you found it useful, please share it with your friends and teammates.

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Mathew Lewis

Small business owners generally take care of payroll systems on their own, or through a consulting CPA. Businesses need a working payroll system that is cost effective for them as well as being accurately maintained and all income taxes are correctly calculated and submitted to the federal and state tax governing bodies.

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Colin F

I just trialed Hubstaff, but they no longer have a free option – you get a 14 day trial and then have to move to a paid subscription.

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