8 Best Apps for Time Clocks (2024)

This post looks at the best apps for time clocks. These as are apps you can use to clock in and out for work, track time worked (as well as paid time off), and submit billable hours to payroll. There are several different types of time clock apps, including time clocks for individuals (freelancers and contractors) and time clocks for teams and small businesses.

This article covers both.

Individuals generally want a simple-to-use (ideally free or low-costing) app that they can use to track their time.

Small businesses know that tracking time and project management for their employees involves several challenges, such as:

  • Employees not being transparent with time spent on the clock during the workday.
  • The amount of data manipulation required in spreadsheets in order to understand revenue and job cost.
  • The complexity of crafting work schedules for your team.
  • Remaining compliant with labor laws.

Due to running into these challenges when trying to track employee time, many small businesses turn to using an employee attendance tracking app.

But deciding which time tracking app best fits your specific business needs can be a challenge on its own. That’s why we’ve put together an in-depth post that compares eight of the best employee management apps on the market.

Since Buddy Punch is our own product, we’ll introduce ourselves first.

Employee Time Clock Apps

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. Connecteam
  3. Hubstaff
  4. Homebase
  5. QuickBooks Time
  6. Clockify
  7. Timely
  8. DeskTime

We’re proud of what we built at Buddy Punch. It includes advanced features we ourselves would have loved, having struggled to track time data for 20 employees across three locations. Transform how you track time, process payroll, and create schedules for your employees. Click here to learn more and try it for free.

1. Buddy PunchBest Time Clock App for Businesses

A preview of the Buddy Punch Platform

Increase Accountability for Your Team

Streamline Payroll

Simplify Scheduling


We experienced difficulties for many years tracking time entries for over twenty employees at three different locations. Specifically, it was a challenge to keep our employees accountable. Our payroll process was slow and inefficient. And trying to manually create schedules that would fit every person’s needs was a headache.

That’s why we set out to build Buddy Punch in the first place. We wanted to create a time tracking tool that would:

  • Be much more efficient than paper time cards.
  • Help keep your team accountable when they clock in and clock out on-site.
  • Simplify and streamline payroll processing.
  • Remove all complexity from scheduling for multiple employees with differing needs.

We are proud to say that since our founding, more than 10,000 businesses have trusted us to solve their employee time tracking needs. Our help has translated into many positive online reviews, like this one:

Buddy Punch review: "Buddy Punch instead of an Excel spreadsheet ... TIME SAVER"

Click here to see all of our Buddy Punch Capterra reviews.

Next up, we’ll dive into how Buddy Punch helps small businesses track their employees in real-time by detailing some of our best features, one by one.

But first as a reminder, the Buddy Punch time clock app can be downloaded on both:

Increase Accountability (Geofencing, Facial Recognition & More) 

One of the first challenges small businesses face when attempting to track time for their employees is a lack of accountability for their timekeeping. This in turn translates to wasted money and time due to inaccurate timesheets.

With Buddy Punch, you don’t have to worry about this any longer. You can easily keep your employees honest and accountable when they punch in and out thanks to the following features.

Geofencing

Buddy Punch: Geofencing

With Geofencing, you can determine the radius inside which your employees can punch in and out of work. Simply choose a specific radius and your employees won’t be able to punch in or out unless they’re inside that radius.

If your business works with multiple job sites, you can create geofences for each and assign a unique job code to them.

GPS Tracking

Buddy Punch: GPS Tracking

Buddy Punch’s GPS time technology allows you to keep track of your employee’s locations when they’re out in the field. Our platform automatically records where your staff is when they punch in and out of work. And you can easily see and verify your team’s punch locations all in one place.

IP Address Locking

Buddy Punch: IP Address Lock

This feature works similarly to Geofencing, but instead of limiting your employees’ punches by where they are located, IP Address Locking allows you to determine from which IP address your staff can clock in and out.

Simply designate the IP address where your employees can punch in and out from, and Buddy Punch will show your staff an error message if they try to punch in or out from another IP address.

Facial Recognition

Buddy Punch: Facial Recognition

If you wish to add another layer of accountability to your staff’s punches, you can activate Buddy Punch’s Facial Recognition feature. When this feature is on, your employees will have to scan their faces and verify it’s actually them before they can punch in and out.

Photos on Punch

Buddy Punch: Photos on Punch

Buddy Punch also offers the ability to prompt your employees to take photos of themselves before they can punch in and out. All the photos are saved in your dashboard. And you can then review those photos and verify that your employees punched in and out themselves (instead of a co-worker doing it for them).

Streamline Payroll (Integrations, Payroll Reports & More)

As we mentioned earlier, another key challenge we set out to solve when building Buddy Punch was to make payroll processing simple and effortless. We have multiple features and functionality to help with this, such as:

  • Built-In Payroll
  • Integrations with Payroll Providers
  • Payroll Reports on Demand
  • Project Tracking
  • Time Off Tracking
  • Accruals

Now, let’s look at each one by one.

Built-In Payroll

When you use Buddy Punch’s app, you can run payroll for your entire team. This means your employees can get clock in and out and get paid from within the same app.

This makes it easier for you to run payroll. You don’t need to worry about manually uploading payroll date, dealing with spreadsheets, or integrations. 

Instead, you’d just log into Buddy Punch and click on the Payroll feature on your dashboard.

Click "Run payroll".

From here, you can pick which time period you want to run payroll for. All the data tracked on Buddy Punch is then loaded into Buddy Punch’s payroll software. 

Click " Import time into Payroll".

You can review the payroll info – making sure your employees are getting paid for the right amount of time at the right pay rate. 

You can also make any additional edits, including adding additional earnings, which is perfect for adding commissions, bonuses, or per diems to a check.

Here are some other benefits of using Buddy Punch as your payroll system:

  • You can pay employees via direct deposit or check.
  • Your employees can get all their tax forms from a self-service login.
  • You can set up Auto-Payroll.

But at Buddy Punch, we work with plenty of small businesses that don’t want to change their payroll systems. They may be using an accountant or dedicated payroll software (like Gusto or Paychex). For these customers, you can still use Buddy Punch to keep accurate time words and then easily export your payroll data out of Buddy Punch and into your specific payroll provider. 

We have ready-made integrations (which we cover next), as well as a “download as .CSV file” feature.

Integrations with Payroll Providers

Payroll Integrations with Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch pairs with most top payroll providers to make sure your payroll processing is as fast, simple, and accurate as it can be. To name just a few examples, Buddy Punch integrates with:

  • Paychex
  • QuickBooks
  • Gusto
  • ADP

We also offer a Zapier integration which, if you lean on the tech side of things, you can use to connect to thousands of other apps.

Note: To view a full list of all Buddy Punch’s integrations, click here.

Payroll Reports on Demand

Buddy Punch: Payroll Reports on Demand

Buddy Punch automatically calculates what you need to run payroll and allows you to export the data in the form of an Excel payroll report. There’s no need to waste time manually reviewing employee timesheets, and searching for mistakes to correct.

Project Tracking

Buddy Punch: Project Tracking

Buddy Punch’s Project Tracking feature allows you to set up pay rates tailored to your different jobs and pay scales, which then allows you to calculate labor costs, create budgets, and generate project reports with just a few clicks.

Time Off Tracking

Buddy Punch: Time Off Tracking

This feature allows you to keep track of all your employee’s paid time off (PTO) and unpaid time off, and then export time reports with all the information for you to review. You can also manage all paid time off requests. This can be done for all your employees at once, or broken down on a per-employee basis.

Accruals

Buddy Punch: Accruals

Buddy Punch is a time clock system that gives you the capability to create time off accrual rules. These can be based on the number of billable hours worked, a specified pay period, or annually.

Simplify Scheduling (Drag & Drop, Employee Availability, & More)

Creating schedules without the right tools is a notoriously time-intensive process. More often than not, there are too many moving parts to take into account, such as which employees can work when and for how long. Using Excel templates, or pen and paper, doesn’t make the process easier.

That’s why at Buddy Punch we created an array of time tracking features that remove all hurdles and make creating schedules for your team simple and easy.

For starters, we set out to make scheduling intuitive with our drag and drop functionality, which you can see in action below:

Buddy Punch: Drag and Drop Functionality for Scheduling

Other Buddy Punch functionalities that help you create schedules for your teams are:

Repeating/Recurring Shifts

Buddy Punch: Repeating/Recurring Shifts

Once you’ve created a schedule that works, there’s no need to waste time and effort manually re-creating it each week or each month.

With Buddy Punch’s repeating/recurring shifts functionality, you can copy your schedule across time, or have it repeat over regular periods to create shifts for your employees.

Employee Availability

Buddy Punch: Employee Availability

One of the biggest pain-points behind the creation of schedules is knowing when your employees are available to work, and when they’re not.

Thanks to Buddy Punch’s Employee Availability scheduling feature, your employees can easily notify you of their availability. All they need to do is log into our app (which works with iOS, Android, tablet, or desktop) and choose their preferred time and day of work, subject to your approval. You can even grant team members permission to swap or cover for each other’s shifts.

Punch Limiting

Buddy Punch: Punch Limiting

Our Punch Limiting feature allows you to tie your employees’ ability to punch in and out of work to their assigned schedule. If they attempt to punch outside of that specified time-frame, Buddy Punch will now allow them to do so.

Notify Employees of Their Schedules

Buddy Punch: Notify Employees of Their Schedules

Once you’ve crafted a schedule you’re happy with, the next step is to share it with your team.

With Buddy Punch, this just takes a few clicks. Select our ‘publish schedule’ button, and choose whether to share through email, push notification, or both.

Your employees can also check their schedules at any time via the Buddy Punch mobile, desktop, or tablet app.

Other types of scheduling notifications that you can configure to automatically get sent to employees and/or administrators include:

  • Early In Alert & Early Out Alert
  • Late In Alert & Late Out Alert
  • Shift Start Reminder & Shift End Reminder
  • Click here to get a more detailed overview of all the notifications, alerts, and reminders you can set up with Buddy Punch.

Additional Features

So far we’ve covered features dealing with accountability, scheduling and payroll. But Buddy Punch also offers a whole suite of other features, such as:

When we set out to build Buddy Punch, a great array of features wasn’t our only concern. We also wanted to make an employee time clock app that was simple to use and offered customer support we could be proud of.

How We Set Out to Make Buddy Punch Easy to Use

From day one, we set out to make Buddy Punch as simple as it could possibly be. We did not want employees to have to worry about not being tech-savvy enough to use our platform or have to learn a complicated app interface just to clock in and out of work.

Buddy Punch's interface is easy to use.

In the Buddy Punch platform (pictured above), employees are presented with as few options as possible. They have buttons to clock in and out of work, and can also view their current timecard. This was designed with the express purpose of eliminating all unnecessary distractions.

We’re proud to say that our effort was noticed by many of our users, and that it translated into many positive reviews that highlight this very effort:

What Differentiates Our Customer Support?

At Buddy Punch, we have a median first response time of 54 seconds via live chat during business hours. In comparison, you may have to wait for an unreasonable amount of total hours (or even more than a day) to hear back from other companies.

Interested in Learning More?

We’ve recorded a full Buddy Punch Demo that goes in-depth on our key features. Watch it below, and sign up for a free trial to see it in action!

In addition, you can request a demo here — we’ll show you how to best leverage Buddy Punch, as well as answer any questions you may have.

2. ConnecteamGood Time Clock App for Tasks

Connecteam is a great employee time clock app for small businesses. Connecteam has over 320 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Some of its key features include:

Click here for a complete list of Connecteam’s features.

If you’re a small business, you can use Connecteam as a free time clock thanks to its free plan for small team sizes. Here’s one review that highlights how Connecteam helps small businesses track time for their employees. Here’s one review that highlights how Connecteam helps small businesses track hours for their employees.

Interested in learning more? Visit Connecteam’s site, or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

3. HubstaffGood Time Clock App for Invoices

At the time of writing, Hubstaff has a total of 1450 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

They boast a large range of features to track your team’s time, including:

Click here to see a complete list of Hubstaff’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights how Hubstaff helps small businesses track time for their employees and why it’s a great employee time clock software:

Hubstaff review: "Hubstaff is a great way to keep track of your team off your location."

Interested in learning more? Request a full Hubstaff demo, or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

4. HomebaseGood Time Clock App for HR Tools

At the time of writing, Homebase has over 970 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

They offer features such as:

Click here for a complete list of Homebase’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights how Homebase helps small businesses track time for their employees and why it’s one of the best employee time clock software:

Homebase review: "Homebase has saved us time AND money"

Interested in learning more? Visit Homebase’s site or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

5. QuickBooks Time (Formerly TSheets)Good for Payroll

At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time (previously known as TSheets) has over 6600 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Some of its key features include:

Click here for a complete list of QuickBook Times features.

Here’s one review that highlights why QuickBooks Time is one of the best employee time clock apps for small businesses:

QuickBooks Time review

Interested in learning more? Visit QuickBooks Time’s site, or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

6. Clockify – Good Time Clock App for Freelancers

Clockify has over 4700 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Among its key features, you’ll find:

Click here for a complete list of Clockify’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why Clockify is a great employee time clocking app:

Clockify: "Simple, trust-based program for tracking work hours"

Interested in learning more? Visit Clockify’s site, or sign up for a free Clockify account.

7. TimelyGood Time Clock App for Project Planning

At the time of writing, Timely’s employee time clock app has over 212 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Some of its key features include:

Click here for a complete list of Timely’s features.

Timely has a robust unlimited users and projects paid plan if you have a large organization and want “pro” capabilities. Here’s one review that highlights why Timely is one of the best employee time clocking apps:

Timely: "I couldn't run my creative business without this"

Interested in learning more? Visit Timely’s site, or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

8. DeskTimeGood Time Clock App for Absence Tracking

Last but not least, DeskTime is another great employee time clock solution. At the time of writing, DeskTime has over 510 reviews on Capterra with 4.4 out of 5 stars.

DeskTime’s platform comes with a wide range of features, such as:

Click here for a complete list of DeskTime’s features.

Like Buddy Punch, DeskTime works on both Desktop and Mobile devices (such as tablets and smartphones) and any device with an internet connection. Here’s one review that highlights how DeskTime is one of the best employee time clocking apps for small businesses:

Desktime review

Click here to see all of DeskTime’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more? Try a DeskTime demo, or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Give Buddy Punch a Try

We’re proud of what we built at Buddy Punch. It includes features we ourselves would have loved, having struggled to track time for 20 employees across three locations.

Transform how you track time, process payroll, and create schedules for your employees. Click here to learn more and try it for free.

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FAQs

What is the Best Clocking In System?

When finding the best clocking in system, think of how your employees are going to clock in and out of their shifts. You wan a system that’s flexible, yet secure, so you can get accurate timesheet records every time.

For example, we made Buddy Punch to be an easy-to-use, versatile, accurate clocking in system. It can be used by all types of small businesses, from one-location retail stores to multi-job site construction crews to companies with remote employees.

You and your team can download Buddy Punch off the Google Play store and App Store. You can use Buddy Punch on your smartphone (both iOS and Android).

And you can make sure your team is tracking their time accurately with advanced features like:

  • Geofencing
  • IP address locking
  • Photos on Punch
  • And more

Is Clockify 100% Free?

Clockify has both a free time tracking app, and a paid option. 

Let’s break down the key differences to see if Clockify’s 100% free option is right for you.

With Clockify, you can track time worked for free. You also get a Pomodoro timer (a convenient way to stay on task by working during 25-minute bursts), a kiosk you can set up to clock in and out, and idle notifications and reminders.

But here are some of the features you don’t get until you start paying for Clockify Pro plans:

  • You can’t add breaks to someone’s shift
  • You don’t get attendance tracking or overtime tracking
  • You can’t add time on behalf of someone else (so say someone forgot to clock in for their shift)
  • You can’t add time off (so you’ll need another tool for tracking PTO)
  • You can’t track by GPS location
  • You can’t audit time-tracking reports 
  • You can’t apply new hourly rates to past-time entries
  • You can’t round time for payroll
  • You can’t integrate with QuickBooks
  • You can’t submit payroll timesheets for manager review
  • You can’t handle invoicing and billable hours
  • You can’t write work schedules

What is the Alternative to Clockify?

There are several alternatives to Clockify. If you’re a freelancer or independent contractor who needs to track your own time (and no one else’s) you might like a tool such as Toggl or X.

But if you’re a manager/owner who needs to write schedules, have their employees clock in and out, check time cards, and issue payroll, then you’re going to want to consider alternatives such as Buddy Punch.

If you don’t think Clockify is right for you, check out our recommendation of 5 alternatives to Clockify, which features alternatives for individuals and teams.