Top 5 (mostly FREE) time tracking tools
Tracking the hours you actually work without any distractions keeps you focused on your task, helps with billing your hours better and makes you stop wasting (too much) time. Which results in more money if you’re billing clients hourly or just a more efficient use of time among your employees.
While you can just use a timer and write down the time and task on paper, that takes a lot of time in itself and is much messier than just using a good specialized time tracking tool – they save time themselves and help you efficiently organize time in your company. There are several great browser-based tools on the web (so there will be nothing to install locally) and we took the time to test drive over a dozen of them and came back with la crème de la crème.
We chose 5 awesome tools that have free plans for 1-5 users and if you try some of these out and love one of them, we encourage you to upgrade. If they’re awesome, they’re worth the money, as time tracking can be invaluable to a business. Plus even their paid plans are cheaper than some tools we’ve tried that don’t have any free plans and charge an arm and a leg for their service.
Let’s dig in and see what these 5 have to offer.
FREE for 1 user
TimeCamp is a great tool with a free plan for 1 user that lets you not only track the hours you work, but also enter time manually, churn out reports with the hours you’ve worked, create to-do lists with due dates and even create invoices. It also lets you track time spent on various websites. Lots of features for just one user.
Their only slight issue is when you enter time manually, from say 9AM to 11AM and change something, the duration doesn’t update automatically when you make changes. Nitpicking.
The paid plan is $9/user/month and it integrates with Trello, Basecamp or Podio, lets you export reports to Excel, assign roles and permissions, track time at the computer and a bunch of other features.
Clean, user-friendly, with scheduled tasks and invoices – that’s TimeCamp.
What’s really great about Harvest is that it has invoice integration even with the free plan so you can set your hourly rate, bill your hours and create invoices (and expenses) with ease.
The free plans means only one person can use it with 4 clients, 2 projects and unlimited tasks.
In the Timesheets tab you can create a new entry, add your project and in the Notes you can name your task – say, “QA fixes”. You can either start the timer or set the hours you’ve worked on it afterwards. The report in the image is amazingly useful to track the exact time you’ve worked and on what, what’s billable, total you’ve worked and how much you’ve made according to the rate you set.
The plan for small businesses with 5 to 9 users and unlimited everything plus timesheet approval is $49/month while the plan for 10 to unlimited users for large businesses is $99/month.
It’s absolutely excellent for freelancers and when your business is billing clients hourly. Definitely worth a Pro plan.
FREE for 3 users
primaERP is a simple tool that gives full access to all its features for free for 3 users. The time tracker itself is easy to use, you can bill your hours and attach a price to every task and the reports are very detailed, showing you everything there is to know about the hours worked and money to bill.
To add a new task to time track, just click the Play button on the timer and a windows shows up that lets you choose/add the project and task you’ll be working on and if the activity is billable or not. When you’re done, you can set the price for the time worked. Created tasks that you didn’t start timing are found under the Impulses tab in the Agenda.
It can also connect to Google Calendar, MS Exchange Calendar and Basecamp.
The paid plan lets you add more than 3 members for $3.99/member/month with all the above features included, particularly great for small businesses.
Just a simple and practical time tracking tool that also helps you keep track of your billable time.
FREE for 5 users or more:
Chime from the guys at 84kids is a basic and COMPLETELY FREE time tracking tool with pretty much unlimited everything. Up to 100 members, unlimited projects, unlimited tasks and it’s all free.
The time tracking itself is really great – just get into the project you’re working on, name your task, set it billable or unbillable and start the timer. Or just manually set the hours you’ve worked. You can check out the Reports page and see data about the hours worked and pie charts with billable and unbillable work. You can also color-code projects, set milestones, tags and it even has a chat function so you can send messages to members or only to administrators.
The design is clean and elegant and user-friendly. All in all, Chime is pretty freaking great. I’m only surprised they keep it completely free, no plans for more features or more users or anything.
84kids also built a great project management tool I mentioned in this other article with 5 Great (and free) project management tools, check it out as well. They definitely do an excellent job in everything they do.
Toggl is the little time tracking tool we’ve been using for some time and it’s what made us look for similar apps, just to see what else is out there. It’s still the most user-friendly tool we’ve tried and the easiest to use.
The free plan allows 5 members to join in on unlimited projects and tasks, you can time your tasks or add the time manually to a task and you have a Reports tab with lots of different ways of showing you how you spend your time.
The paid plan with unlimited users is $10/user/month when billed monthly and $9/user/month when billed yearly (with discounts for teams of 40+ members) and lots of new and useful features: you can form teams, assign roles, assign tasks, generate team reports and you can set billing rates. Plus integration with Basecamp, exporting reports to Excel and other features.
It’s the only tool that has a free plan for a small team with a few (great) basic features and keeps its even more practical features for the paid plans – they get you hooked and convince you that Toggl is even better when paid!
So what do you think? Are there other time tracking tools that you use and would like to share? I’d love to hear about them!
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