6 best time tracking apps for 2021(and some dishonorable mentions)

Our choice of the top time tracking apps for freelancers and small teams. Researched and tested by people with more than 10 years of experience in the field of time tracking.

By Miha Stanovnik and Mitja Puppis

Best time tracking apps mobile view
Best for running profitable projects
Best for simple time tracking
Best for invoicing time & material
Best for integrating with QuickBooks
Best for complex enterprise setups
Best for visual task planning

With the size of the time tracking market the customer needs are very diverse. Therefore you now have thousands of apps that try to satisfy those needs and you may find it hard to choose the one for you.

Before you start your research determine:

  • Your team size
  • Your budget
  • Your “must-have” features
  • Your “nice-to-have” features

So the bare minimum for your time tracking app should include:

  • An easy to use tracking  (preferably both real-time and manual)
  • Useful and insightful reports
  • Invoicing and/or data exporting features.

The need for other features depends on the nature of your work and what expect from your time tracking app.

How we choose the best apps for 2021:

  1. Due to so many time tracking apps on the market we sieved the best from the rest with the help of review sites like Capterra, G2, Software Review, and more. This insured that we include apps that were most highly praised by their users (we choose the most and best-reviewed apps on the review sites).
  2. We tested the remaining apps and put their help centers under the magnifying glass we learned what makes them thick and useful for a specific audience.
  3. Lastly, we handpicked the best ones based on our 10+ years of experience in being in the time tracking field. We included only the apps that were made specifically to track time. You won’t find project management tools, accounting apps, or other time management apps on this list.

DISCLAIMER: We included My Hours on the list (duuuh :P).

So why are we still credible?

We firmly believe that apps can coexist in a specific field as long as they address a specific part of the customer base. Thus, we divided our best app list with specific need the customers have and picked the best contender for each category:

  • My Hours: Best for running profitable projects
  • Toggl Track: Best for simple time tracking
  • QuickBooks Time: Best with integrating with QuickBooks
  • Harvest: Best for invoicing time and materials
  • Replicon: Best for complex setups and enterprises
  • Timely: Best for virtual task planning
Best Time Tracking apps of 2021
My Hours Logo

My Hours: Best for running profitable projects

Price: Free, $6/user per month

Available on: Web, iOS, Android

Plus icon
Detailed reporting
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Custom hourly rates and billable settings
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Best price-performance on the market
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No scheduling
My Hours mobile app, reports and time tracker
Time report dashboard
My Hours time tracking screenshot

With almost 20 years of experience, My Hours is built with one job in mind – tracking time so you can run profitable projects. The app excels at simple time tracking (timesheet or real-time tracker) and advanced but clear reporting.

With unlimited projects, tasks, clients, and team members you can lead small or large teams to run profitable projects from start to finish. Organize your projects, track your time, analyze them with reports and create invoices all in one place.

With a rich set of features, My Hours easily comes on top when regarding user experience and price performance. Last but not least My hours has one of the best support teams on the market.

Positive review icon

"My Hours time-tracking software provides everything we need as a small business both for our payroll time-tracking and for customer billing. We've been using it for several years now without any problems. The customer support is great and any questions are answered by return email within 24 hours. The My Hours team is always listening to customer feedback and improving the product. It's great value for money."

Negative review icon

"As a graphic designer I wish the interface was a bit more beautiful, but as a UX designer I know that its value lies in the simplicity of the interaction not how pretty the buttons are. But I still wish the single app I use the most times a day was nicer to look at."

Toggl track logo

Toggl Track: Best for simple time tracking

Price: Free, $10/user per month

Available on: Web; Mobile (iOS, Android); Desktop widget (macOS, Windows, Linux)

Plus icon
Being simple and easy to setup
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Polished app with few bugs
Minus icon
Pricing
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UX may not be to everyone’s liking
Toggl Track Screenshot
Toggl Track Screenshot
Toggl Track Screenshot

Toggl Track is one of the most used time tracking apps on the market. It shines through with its signature quirky design and simplicity. The app works flawlessly on all platforms. In addition, Toggl offers a useful browser extension (Chrome and Firefox) that allows you to track time in other tools like Asana, Trello, Todoist, and more, but this is not really an integration.

Another useful feature (besides the “must-have” ones) is idle detection, where the app reminds you when you aren’t using your computer and offers to correct your timeline.

All in all Toggl Track is a very polished app and well established in the world of time tracking. That is mirrored in the price – regarding the basic plan you would get more for your buck from some of its competitors.

Positive review icon

"Toggl is a very simple tool, but helps you understand how much time you have dedicated to a task so you will have a better understanding of how your time is allocated in certain activities. This is very useful when showing clients or management how much time and resources were really needed for each project phase. It also has reporting that is mainly basic but contains all the important information you might need for simple reports."

Negative review icon

"This is the best example I can think of where beautiful UI meets awful UX. So many times this software makes assumptions that are wrong and mess up my data entry. I know time tracking is not fun and these folks really tried to make it so, but it just gets in my way more than anything else. The system often assumes I work 24/7, that I book two tasks for the same timeframe, etc. It's likely that us not using the real-time timer function but rather the reporting function creates this pain, but still. "

Harvest logo

Harvest: Best for invoicing time and materials

Price: Free, $12/user per month

Available on: Web, Mobile (iOS, Android), Desktop (Mac, Windows)

Plus icon
Invoicing time
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Invoicing materials
Minus icon
Lacks detailed reporting
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Good for admins less suited for other users
Harvest Screenshot
Harvest Screenshot
Harvest Screenshot

Harvest is an app that offers what most “serious” time trackers need. It provides a full journey from tracking time to invoicing in a format that will fit most freelancers and teams. If you are looking for a time tracker with billing and accounting features that are comparable to simple accounting software Harvest is a good fit.

Reminders for submitting timesheets and PayPal and Stripe integrations that let your clients quickly pay invoices online are other useful perks that Harvest offers.

Track time on your desktop, mobile, or by integrating Harvest with your favorite app. You can do that via Zapier, their native integrations, or browser extension –the list of integrations is long.

Positive review icon

"We've been using harvest for years, and when we were just doing small side projects here and there it met our needs perfectly. Now that our business has grown we need a more powerful tool that integrates bookkeeping and vendor management, in addition to time tracking, billing, and invoicing. We love Harvest and its features. From time tracking to billing and invoicing Harvest has helped us grow our business and keep on top of the projects we are working on."

Negative review icon

"Harvest lacks detailed reporting. Basic reports I would expect in a timekeeping system such as reports on utilization or unsubmitted timesheets are not available. There also is not a lot of flexibility in terms of administrative options in Harvest. There is a lack of auditable detail in Harvest. There are no timestamps to see when timesheets are submitted or approved, nor are there audit trails to see who changed what on timesheets."

Quickbooks Time logo

QuickBooks Time: Best with integrating with QuickBooks

Price: $20 /m+ $8 per user per month

Available on: Web, Mobile (iOS, Android)

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Features that dabble in time and attendance
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Great integrations
Minus icon
Very pricy
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No free version
QuickBooks Time
QuickBooks Time Screenshot
QuickBooks Time Screenshot

QuickBooks Time (former TSheets) covers all the basic time tracking features well, but the main reason for deciding on this time tracker is that it is a part of the QuickBooks family. There is a good chance you are using QuickBooks in your accounting department and QuickBooks Time integrates with it perfectly.

The app also offers basic scheduling, where you can schedule shifts and specific jobs for your employees. Scheduling is rare among time trackers and is considered an advanced feature. But for some serious scheduling and planning, you will need to get an app focused on the time and attendance field.

Lastly, QuickBooks has excellent customer service, praised by its users, but was reportedly even better before when QuickBooks was not under Intuit and were still called TSheets.

Positive review icon

"QuickBooks Time makes my payrolls, job costing, and reports so much more accurate, efficient, and expedient. The time I save pays for the software over and over again. Not to mention, the customer service is stellar!!! Each and every time I have had to contact a representative for any reason, they have been some of the most friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable customer service reps I have ever encountered with any company or product, ever."

Negative review icon

"Now that Intuit owns TSheets (OuickBooks Time), has significant errors in every sync up. Random changes to setup features. Problem-solving with the Tsheets (OuickBooks Time) team used to be quick and efficient. Now takes forever to get someone by phone and they do not solve the problems. Our company will need to move on from not only Tsheets (OuickBooks Time) but QuickBooks if these issues are not resolved."

Replicon logo

Replicon: Best for complex setups and enterprises

Price: $40/user per month

Available on: Web, Mobile (iOS Android)

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Handling large teams and enterprises
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Advanced time clock system
Minus icon
Complexity
Minus icon
Clunky old fashioned design
Replicon screenshot
Replicon screenshot
Replicon screenshot

Replicon, compared to previous entries on this list is a much more enterprise-orientated time tracking app. Altogether it is a time management solution that helps with your time and attendance needs. It also shines in expense, resource, and absence management.

This is also a time clock system capable of creating granular and complex reports that mostly benefit your HR and finance departments.

Taking this into consideration, if you don’t have separate HR, finance and other departments in your business Replicon will most likely prove to be too complex and too functionality-rich for you.

Positive review icon

"Replicon is a very robust and flexible system that can cater to a company's need whether you have office/field staff, full time/part-time staff, and anything in between. Being able to customize the system for different use cases and for different types of employees is great. The ability to create custom reports is powerful for data nerds like me."

Negative review icon

"Unfortunately there isn't much I like about Replicon. The user experience is terrible. Trying to navigate simple tasks like setting up a new user is difficult and frustrating. The service is probably the worst though. I have had several negative experiences with their support staff whose communication skills are sub-par."

Timely: Best for visual task and project planning

Price: $10/user per month

Available on: Web; Mobile (iOS, Android); Desktop (macOS, Windows)

Plus icon
Automatic time tracking
Plus icon
Visual planning
Minus icon
Weak reporting
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Price-performance
Timely screenshot
Timely screenshot
Replicon screenshot

Timely is the time tracker that comes closest to automatically tracking your time. The AI-powered app helps you fill the blanks on your timesheet and learns from your inputs.

The best thing about Timely is the task planning feature. You can manage the tasks (drag and drop) on the Gant charts in a visually pleasing way. This helps with efficient project timeline planning which is crucial for successfully finishing the project.

Memory’s (the company behind Timely) emphasis and efforts on building secure and private apps is also worth mentioning.

Positive review icon

"The best thing about Timely is that it lets you focus on your work first, time capture second. Traditionally within an organisation with time sheets, you need to constantly keep on top of your time entries or it will snowball into a big mess by the end of the week. Timely allows you to just get on with things and perhaps at the end of the week, you just approve the timesheet pre-filled for you."

Negative review icon

"I thought it was a bit clunky and confusing to use and found another product that was easier to use across all of my devices. The pricing plan for the service was too much for me."

Dishonorable mentions

Shining a light on the dark side of time tracking - employee monitoring.

We at My Hours firmly believe that good companies lead with purpose, not fear of being fired. Thus we condemn companies that produce apps that allow employee monitoring.

Features like random screenshots, keyboard and mouse movement tracking, app and website usage tracking, and many more belong in the year 1984 (insert your favorite George Orwell quote here).

We are not saying that the apps on this second list are not good in general. Apps on this list can have some well-developed aspects and can be quite useful, but as long as they include employee monitoring features they shall remain on the dishonorable list: 

Clockify logo

1. Clockify

Employee monitoring features:

Employee monitoring icon
Takes random screenshots
Employee monitoring icon
GPS tracking
Hubstaff logo

2. Hubstaff

Employee monitoring features:

Employee monitoring icon
Takes random screenshots
Employee monitoring icon
Tracks visited URLs
Employee monitoring icon
Tracks used apps
Time Doctor logo

3. Time Doctor

Employee monitoring features:

Employee monitoring icon
Takes random screenshots
Employee monitoring icon
Website history reports
Employee monitoring icon
Distraction alerts
Employee monitoring icon
Distraction alerts
TimeCamp logo

4. TimeCamp

Employee monitoring features:

Employee monitoring icon
Tracks used apps
Employee monitoring icon
Idle time detector
Employee monitoring icon
Tracks visited websites
DeskTime logo

5. DeskTime

Employee monitoring features:

Employee monitoring icon
Takes random screenshots
Employee monitoring icon
Tracks used apps
Employee monitoring icon
Tracks visited websites