The 7 Best Time Clocks of 2022
Accurately keep track of your employees' hours
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In a small business, time clocks eliminate human error by precisely recording start and end times. Besides streamlining the payroll process, documentation is important for payroll audits as well as protection against lawsuits.
There are a few factors to consider when purchasing a time clock for your office. You first need to think about how employees will physically sign in. Most of us are familiar with traditional punch clocks, but time clocks actually come in different sign-in methods, like proximity cards and fingerprint scanners. Nowadays, you can also find a time clock that uploads attendance information into a cloud so that you can easily export the data to payroll systems.
Whatever your needs are, these are the best time clocks for your business below.
Best Overall: uPunch Time Clock
The uPunch Time Clock marries the old-school ways of punching in with the convenience of cloud technology. It's also one of the more budget-friendly options in the market. The uPunch Time Clock can track any number of employees. Workers can punch in six times a day for start times, break times, lunch times, and finish times. Before pay periods, you can manually enter the time card data online in the free cloud-based software, which includes time-tracking features, pay reports, overtime tracking, and export options to a payroll system. The standard bundle comes with a time clock, 100 time cards, two keys, and one ink ribbon. The biggest package includes all of that with an additional two card racks, three ink ribbons, and 300 cards.
Best Punch-In Clock: Allied Time USA Small Business Time Clock
Small business owners sometimes prefer simple punch-in machines without bells and whistles because they're easy to use and take less time to set up. Its easy installation and intuitive mechanism make Allied Time USA's Small Business Time Clock a top choice for employers who want a frills-free attendance tracker. Setting up the machine takes less than two minutes, and you'll be able to access customer support if you do need help. The bundle includes everything you'll need—a time recorder, 100 time cards, two ribbons, two card racks, and four keys. The time clock will not add up the time, but Allied Time USA has a free online app for calculating hours.
Best With Fingerprint Scan: uAttend BN6500 Biometric Fingerprint Time Clock
A fingerprint system discourages buddy punching and eliminates card costs. The uAttend BN6500 Biometric Fingerprint Time Clock uses a fingerprint scan to clock employees in and out, then exports the data into a cloud. Remote employees can also mark their attendance from a computer or a phone app. Employers gain better insights into scheduling with overtime alerts and can set shift times and lockouts. Do keep in mind that this fingerprint machine requires a monthly subscription to a cloud-based system. Though it comes at an additional cost, you'll get benefits like free support, secure data storage, software upgrades, and a lifetime warranty. It also allows supervisors to manage hours and export payroll information. The cost depends on the number of employees registered, starting from $18 a month.
Related: The Best Small Business Routers
Best Multipurpose: Pyramid 3500 Multi-Purpose Time Clock
If your office works with important documents where time is of the essence, consider the Pyramid 3500 Multi-Purpose Time Clock and Document Stamp. Sure, this multipurpose machine is a step up from a standard punch-in system in that it can mark more than just employee attendance. It includes 14 pre-programmed messages for time-sensitive documents like incoming mail, attendance logs, and legal paperwork. The setup is easy to understand, featuring an alignment indicator and a side-loading document feed. The time clock comes with one ribbon, two security keys, and 25 time cards. The one major drawback is that you'll have to manually enter and calculate hours since the machine cannot connect to a computer.
Best Heavy-Duty: Acroprint Analog Manual Print Time Clock
Manual time clocks can be useful when you need a heavy-duty machine onsite. The Acroprint Analog Manual Print Time Clock records months, dates, hours, and minutes. Clocking in is easy. Feed the time card and tap the antimicrobial touch bar to register your presence. The machine runs on AC power, specifically 120VAC, 60Hz. If you work in an area with limited or no AC power, you can place an order for a battery-operated version. The time clock features a rust-resistant case, which makes it last in harsh environments. The machine will also be able to handle thousands of print registrations per day. The clock face has a large, easy-to-read print, sporting a vintage look. You will need to adjust it occasionally since it does not account for shorter months or daylight savings. Should you encounter problems, the machine comes with a lifetime warranty.
Most User-Friendly: uPunch CR1000 Digital Time Clock
Reviewers rave about the ease of use and set up of the uPunch CR1000 Digital Time Clock and Date Stamp. The digital time clock means there won't be any manual error when tracking employees' arrival, break, lunch, and departure times. It also acts as a digital date stamp with preset message options and three-way printing. Best of all, its clever window placement lets you easily load and punch time cards and documents. Other bonuses like password protection, wall or desk mount options, and built-in daylight saving time feature, which automatically adjusts the clock, make this time clock a breeze to use. This purchase comes with 50 time cards, one ribbon, and two keys.
Best With Thermal Printing: Lathem Heavy Duty Time Clock
With a patented, thermal WhisperPrint technology, the Lathem Heavy-Duty Maintenance-Free Thermal Print Time Clock boasts a maintenance-free operation that eliminates the need for ribbons. Its heavy-duty construction also means it'll withstand harsh environments and high volume use, while the large, LCD display makes it easy to read the time and date. Set-up is relatively seamless, too, thanks to its EZSet rotary knob, and the Tru-Align printing system makes sure time cards are perfectly aligned. Choose from six different formats to print the day of the week or the month and date along with the time. The time clock comes with a power adapter, two keys, and 25 time cards.
THe uPunch Time Clock (view at Walmart) is our top pick due to its affordable price, ability to track any number of employees, and free cloud-based software that helps you track the time. It allows workers to punch in up to six times a day, so their start times, breaks, lunches, and finish times are all recorded.
What to Look for in a Time Clock
Method of Sign-In
Time clocks can come with several different sign-in methods like punch-in, swipe, fingerprint, and proximity cards. Punch-in and swipe methods require you to place a card directly in the time clock and pull it out or swipe it in a certain direction. This can be more time-consuming than a proximity card which can usually just be held up against the time clock. Fingerprint time clocks can be used for remote workers since workers can log in via their computer or phone. They are also more accurate since they cannot be forged or tampered with.
Although time clocks help keep track of time not all of them are made equally. Some time clocks do not automatically add up the time for you and create pay reports. This can be a particularly helpful feature, especially if you're looking to maximize your time. Other helpful features include tracking overtime, incoming mail, recognizing daylight savings, and more. How advanced you want your time clock will depend on personal preference and the needs of your business.
Make sure the time clock you use is compatible with your business' payroll system. If they are compatible, the time clock can automatically upload the data it tracks into your payroll system. This can save you time and result in fewer errors from manually inputting the information.
What type of business is a time clock useful for?
Any business can benefit from using a time clock. Time clocks make it easier for employers and employees to track their time, giving them more time to increase their productivity instead of spending time adding up their hours. They eliminate human error, which prevents your business from losing money on inaccurate time. Time clocks can also track metrics that will help you learn how to properly allocate your funds across departments and create efficient schedules that suit your employees' needs.
How much should I spend on a time clock?
How much you spend on a time clock system will largely depend on the size of your business. Generally, smaller businesses with 25 or fewer employees will only need to spend around $500 to $800 for a time clock system. Larger companies who require advanced systems to process schedules, payroll, and more will spend anywhere between $2,000 to $100,000.
Meet the Expert
Stacey Nguyen is an experienced freelance writer whose topics include finance, fashion, and more. Her work has appeared in PopSugar, StyleCaster, and more.