The Best Free and Award-Winning Time Tracking for Each Need

Harry Lees
January 25, 2021
Productivity

The Best Free and Award-Winning Time Tracking for Each Need

With the huge variety of time tracking software available and an even bigger difference in users’ needs, it can be hard to find an option that fits. From freelancers recording billable work hours to small-team coordination, to larger group timesheets and attendance, there are free choices available to satisfy your needs without breaking the bank. Several of the winners of TrustRadius Top Rated awards for Time Tracking include no-cost options. Teamwork, Everhours, and Toggle all have free plans. Whether you are a project manager, team member, or contractor, you can find the right option for you. The software we will discuss are:

All of these offer free versions of their software rather than just a free trial of premium versions.

What Do Users Want in a Time Tracking Software?

When determining the best time tracking software that won’t cost you a penny, it is important to keep in mind the limitations placed on the free plan, and how its features compare. One of the most common ways of incentivizing purchase is limiting the number of users. If you are a lone ranger of sorts, this will be no issue for you. If you collaborate with a team, make sure the tool you choose allows for enough free users. Another common factor is limiting the number of projects that can be worked on at once. When exploring your choices, these four important features are not available in all free options. For this reason, make sure to think about what is most important for your team.

  • Time Tracking: The ability to record hours, create schedules, and manage tasks
  • Billable Rates and Invoicing: A log of hours, relevant tasks, and associated fees, vital for freelancers and contractors who need this information to send to an employer 
  • Real-time Employee Tracking: Live monitoring of employee productivity status and task, great for managers and team leaders
  • Idle Detection: Active registry of work status, allowing leaders to see who is currently working and who is not, as well as prevent accidental work-hours and timekeeping errors
 Free Users Allowed# of ProjectsTime TrackingBillable Rates & InvoicingReal-Time Employee TrackingIdle Detection
Awards
Teamwork Projects52Limitedtrustradius top rated badge
Harvest  12 Projects, 4 Clients ✔ ✔ ❌ ❌ trustradius top rated badge
Toggl Track  5 Unlimited ✔ ❌ ✔trustradius top rated badge
Clockify UnlimitedUnlimitedNo
TimeCamp 1Unlimited
When I Work 75N/A+2$/Mo

From this table, we can see the at-a-glance features of the top free time trackers. Each has a series of benefits and features to help you in specific ways, based on your team size and workflow requirements.

What Time Tracker is Best for you?

Freelancers: Harvest, TimeCamp

For those of you who take the solo approach to their work, Harvest and Timecamp will be the best options for your needs.

In a role as a consultant, contractor, or any other individual type of work with billable time records, Harvest has the best balance of features for you. Its invoicing ability is rare in free time tracking software and will allow you to get the credit for the hard work you do, without spending for the privilege. The ability to generate detailed reports for an employer or agency, with well-reviewed mobile app support makes harvest nearly unique for a free time tracker. There are limitations, such as no support for Quickbooks, and no pdf or other file attachments to invoices. A TrustRadius Top Rated software, as long as you have limited client and project numbers, and work alone, this is the option for you.

Read Reviews of Harvest

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If you need unlimited projects and tasks, without the invoicing requirement, Timecamp is the software for you. With an often-praised desktop app for Mac and PC along with strong mobile device support for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile, the productivity reports will be a great boon to basic timekeeping and management needs. Reviewers have noted the lack of the ability to take screenshots built into the service.

Read Reviews of Timecamp

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Small Team Coordination:

Teamwork Projects, Toggl Track

For those of you with a team on the smaller side, Teamwork Projects and Toggl Track will be more up your alley. Teamwork Projects, another award-winner, offers calendar view, time tracking, subtasks, and dashboards, all in one entirely cloud-based service. They also offer Gantt chart support, a rarity in the free software world. This feature offers users the ability to make detailed, colorful project timelines, a strong, intuitive visual feature for team members, especially to help those outside of the HR world.

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For the project managers of small teams, Toggl Track offers idle detection and real-time Employee Tracking to keep track of what’s going on in your strike-force. This makes it eat to optimize use of employee time, and makes sure they steer clear of distracting websites and social media. Reviewers praise the light, intuitive user interface, but say it can lack polish on iOS and some other mobile devices.

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Large Team Management:

Clockify

Who says free software is just for the smaller-size teams? For bigger groups, Clockify is far-and-away the best option for you. With Unlimited users and projects, this service sacrifices some of the more complicated built-in features of paid services for the significant perk of costing absolutely nothing. If you do not need invoicing and are looking for basic time tracking and progress reports, this platform is a great option for bigger companies. (Small companies with these needs should keep it in mind as well.) Managers can keep track of overtime, billable hours, and input custom excel or CSV files as a way to track expenses, which makes up for some of the limitations. This service also needs no conversion from Mac, Windows, or Linux, and runs natively in each. One potential limitation is only being available in English.

Read Reviews for Clockify

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Shift-work and In-Person Time Clocks:

When I Work

A company that functions like Easy-Jet for software, this is very much a pay for what you need a system. For a business like a restaurant, that uses a physical timer for payroll, rather than automatic time-keeping, this software is perfect. When I Work is a great tool for schedule coordination, allowing employees to request to switch schedules and edit time off requests. It is much more seamless for shift workers than Google Calendar. When I Work also offers the ability for the employer to broadcast open shifts to the workforce, to request them to be filled. While the actual time tracking is not free, it is a base fee of $2.00/user/month cost to add that feature, and if that is all you need, maybe a worthwhile investment in specific cases. As the best cheap option for tracking in-person shifts, it had to be included. When I work was also an award-winner for best Workplace Management.

Read Reviews for When I Work

Get When I Work Free

Comparing Free Time Tracking Tools

Overall, balancing the requirements of size versus features makes the exploration of free time tracking a difficult process. With so many options available, there can be a lot of noise to sift through when making the right choices for your business. In order to hear from people who have gone through the process of exploring time tracking software, click on the name of the software in the bullets above to go to their TrustRadius listing, see their Trust Score, and see how customers with similar use cases feel about them. You can also use our direct comparison tool to contrast and highlight the differences in reviews and features of different software.  Almost all of these offer a premium plan beyond the lite or free option if you decide you need an upgrade.

About the Author

Harry Lees
I am a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, with a Comprehensive Honors degree in Political Science and Journalism. Go Badgers! A dual-citizen with the U.S and U.K, in my free time I support Liverpool Football Club, obsessively follow politics and do extremely nerdy things with my friends.

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