Employee time tracking is key to understanding the productivity of your workforce. You need accurate employee hours to run payroll and bill your clients correctly. But tracking time is harder than it seems. You can’t always keep tabs on when your employees are coming to work, how long they’re on breaks, or when they leave for the day.
You also have to deal with issues such as buddy punching (i.e., one employee clocking in on behalf of another), incorrect time entries, and manual approvals. Not to forget, manual tracking is time-consuming and prone to errors. The solution to this problem is a time tracking software tool.
Time clock software automatically records the hours spent by your employees on various tasks. You can pull the timesheet entries to get a visual breakdown of the hours spent on every task, project, and client. But if you’re not willing to invest in a software tool right away, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ve listed the top five free time clock solutions and explained the features of each. These tools are arranged alphabetically and have a minimum user rating of 4.5 (out of 5) and at least 10 user reviews on Capterra. Read the complete selection methodology here.
Clockify is a cloud-based time clock app that lets you track hours for an unlimited number of employees. It offers an online timer that allows your staff to clock in and out of work. This data gets automatically stored in their timesheets. You can then pull the timesheet data to generate reports, run payroll, and calculate billable hours.
The tool offers desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Free plan: Supports unlimited users and offers time tracking, project tracking, reporting, integrations, and email and chat support.
- Paid plans: The starter plan costs $9.99 per month. Besides the features of the free plan, it offers time audits, lock timesheets, branded reports, and timesheet reminders.
Jibble is a cloud-based time clock solution that offers buddy punching-proof clock-ins. It uses facial recognition and geotagging technologies to ensure clock-ins are accurate and done by the right person from the right location. It also helps track employee attendance and lets you use timesheet data to process payroll.
The software offers mobile time clock apps for iOS and Android devices as well as desktop apps for Windows and Mac.
- Free plan: Supports unlimited employees and includes features such as clock-in with selfies, mobile apps, overtime calculation, geotagging, and reports.
- Paid plans: The first tier costs $2 per user per month (billed monthly) and supports a minimum of three users. Besides the features of the free plan, it offers activity tracking, timesheet approval and rejection, unlimited historical data storage, and priority customer support.
OfficeTimer is cloud-based time tracking software that lets you track employee work hours for particular tasks. It also allows you to track time by projects. You can customize timesheets, record billable and nonbillable hours, and set hourly pay rates for various employee roles, tasks, or projects.
The tool offers a mobile app for iOS and Android devices as well as a web app.
- Free plan: Supports unlimited users and includes time tracking, attendance tracking, project management, and expense management
- Paid plans: Starts at $3.99 per user per month (billed annually) and includes attendance, leave, timesheet, project, and expense management
Open Time Clock is a cloud-based time clock system that tracks employee work hours using facial recognition and geotagging technologies. Its barcode tracking feature lets you scan employee IDs to record their attendance and clock-in and clock-out time. It also helps track employee shift details and leave accruals.
The tool offers desktop apps for Windows and Mac as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Free plan: Supports an unlimited number of users, includes all features (except reports), and offers free technical support.
- Paid plans: Upgrade plans start at $25 per company per month and include all software features. Custom price quotes are also available.
TimeCamp is a cloud-based time clock software solution that lets you set customized billing rates, create graphical representations of timesheets, and generate reports. Besides time tracking, it offers productivity tracking and attendance tracking to help monitor the performance of your workforce.
- Free plan: Supports one user and includes features such as time entries, idle time tracking, detailed reports, guest collaboration for external users, and data backup. Support is available via a knowledge base.
- Paid plans: The starter plan costs $5.25 per user per month (billed annually). Besides the features of the free plan, it offers timesheet and workflow approvals, single sign-on, on-premise deployment, and email and chat support.
How to choose the right free time clock software for your business
Some considerations to help make your software search a little easier:
- Create a shortlist: Build an initial shortlist of three to five software tools. If you find yourself struggling to filter out tools, use our product comparison template.
- Read software reviews: Once you’re ready with a shortlist, research about the performance, support, and features of the tools. Start by reading user reviews on third-party websites like ours. Reviews will let you learn from the experience of real buyers. Check out these four tips to make the most of user reviews.
- Take a test drive: When you’re down to two or three tools, take a free trial to get a first-hand experience. If a free trial isn’t available, ask the vendor for a demo. You’ll get to see the tool’s features and user interface as well as discuss any queries with the provider. Learn how to get the most out of software demos.
- Check the upgrade cost: Discuss the different pricing plans with the software provider and check if the upgrade cost is within your budget.
- Look for references: Ask for references from the vendor to understand the experience and challenges faced by real users. Here are 25 questions to ask when speaking with a reference.
Common questions to ask while selecting a free time clock tool
Here are a few questions you can consider asking the software provider to learn more about the tool:
- What kind of support do the upgrade plans offer? Check the support options the vendor offers and also the cost of these options. Ask if support is available around the clock or only during set hours. If only available for set hours, check if they match your time zone.
- Will my team need additional training to use the tool? Getting used to a new tool can take time. Check with the software provider to find out if your team will need extra training to use the tool and if such training will be an extra charge.
- How long will it take to set up the tool? Check with the vendor about the approximate duration of setting up the tool. Also, ask if you can set up the tool yourself or you’ll need extra support from the vendor and if the support will be an extra charge.
How we rate
This article was updated on Feb. 8, 2021. Products considered for this article had to:
- Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
- Meet our time clock software market definition: Time clock software automates the process of tracking employees’ in-time and out-time. This information helps you administer and manage HR policy related to the number of hours an employee needs to spend at his workplace.
Software that met the market definition also needed a minimum of 10 user-submitted reviews and an above-average overall user rating compared to other products in the category.
- “Top” free tools had a minimum overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars from reviewers on Capterra at the time of publication.