This guide to the best time tracking software is for freelancers and small business owners who work online and need software to track the time they spend on projects. If you’re looking for employee scheduling software, check out our employee scheduling software buyer’s guide.
We looked at the top 3 time tracking software programs for small businesses: Toggl, Timely and Harvest. We compared their price, ease of use, features and customer service. Below you’ll find our recommendation as well as a detailed comparison of the three.
The Best Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses: Harvest
Harvest takes a little more time to learn, but the ability to draft custom reports and send invoices to clients makes the extra effort worth it.
Best Time Tracking Software Comparison Table
$5 / user / month
$14 / month for 1 user
$49 / month for 5 users
$12 / month for 1 user
$49 / month for 5 users
Ease of Use
Records Exact Times?
Yes. Toggl records exact start and stop times.
No. Timely records hours worked per day on each task, but not exact start and stop times
No. Harvest records hours worked per day on each task, but not exact start and stop times
Advanced reports - filter by user, client, project or keyword tag
Basic reports - filter by user or project
Advanced reports - filter by user, client project or subtask
Send Invoices to Clients?
Some user-developed integrations, including Margn accounting software
Integrates with all popular calendar apps.
Integrates with top accounting & project management software, including Quickbooks and Xero
Free email support and help articles
Free email support
Free email & phone support.
Why We Chose Harvest As The Best Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses
Harvest takes a little more time to learn, but there’s a payoff in that you can track projects more closely, produce detailed custom reports and send invoices to clients, which the other programs can’t do.
Harvest works like a timesheet you fill out for each week. On the “weekly” calendar page, you can add projects and subtasks and punch in the time you spent (or plan to spend) working on them each day. If you’re in the process of working, you can run a timer to log the exact amount of time you spent on a task. Because it lets you break up projects by subtask, it gives you the most detailed reports of all the programs.
You can also use Harvest to create invoices and send them to clients with a payable link. None of the other programs supported invoicing. With Harvest, this can be done on any level account – even a free one.
Harvest is the only software to offer free phone support. It also has the most integrations, which includes popular accounting software Quickbooks and Xero and project management software Basecamp, Trello and Asana.
When To Use Toggl Or Timely
One downside to Harvest is that it does not measure exact start and stop times. It only records the amount of time you spend on a task each day. If you need to report the exact hours worked to your clients (i.e., started 9 AM finished 2:30 PM) then consider using Toggl. It’s simple, inexpensive and the only app we found that measures exact times.
If you have no interest in sending invoices and just want easy-to-use time tracking software, then you might prefer Timely. It has, by far, the best interface. The weekly calendar layout is simple to grasp and intuitive. The downside, however, is that there’s no invoicing and limited reporting. Also, it costs a little more than Harvest ($14 / month for 1 user vs. $12 / month).
Toggl vs. Timely vs. Harvest Detailed Comparison
Toggl is $5 / user / month. You can try it free for 30 days.
Harvest is $12 / month for 1 user or $49 /month for 5 users, with additional users costing $10 more each. There’s also free version for 1 user that limits you to 2 projects.
Best Time Tracking Software Feature Comparison
Time tracking software is a way to record the amount of time you and your employees spend on projects. Every time you sit down to begin work, you can add a new entry in the program. Just enter in which project or task you’re working on and a clock will start ticking. Once finished, click “stop” and it will archive your user name, the amount of time you worked and (if applicable) the task or project detail you focused on.
The timer is handy because you can pause it whenever you take a break. Each of the programs we reviewed are web and mobile-based apps, so you can use them in your browser or on a device. If you forget to run the clock, you can also enter in sessions retroactively. When you add a new entry, you can choose to punch in the time length rather than start the clock.
The programs differ in exactly how they work and in their extra features. Here’s how they compare:
Reporting & Invoicing
In the long run, time tracking software enables you to view reports on the hours worked by your team. You can view the productivity of individual employees or of your company as a whole. You can also view a breakdown on time spent on each project, which comes in handy for invoicing.
All of these programs include at least some ability to track expenses so you can accurately bill your clients and show them a report of how their money was spent. With Harvest, however, you can send invoices straight from the program with a link to send payment.
Toggl supports a handful of integrations, including Asana, Basecamp and Freshbooks. There’s also a number of user-developed integrations, including Zapier, which can link Toggl with Google Calendar, Trello and more.
All three programs we looked at were highly praised by their users, so you could probably choose any one of them as the best time tracking software for your business without making a mistake. It’s just a matter of deciding which features you need and how much time you’re willing to spend learning the program. Since many small businesses need time tracking software to accurately bill their clients, we recommend Harvest – the only program that lets you draft and send invoices with payable links.