6 Best Time Clocks for Small Businesses in 2023

time clock for small business

Any small business with hourly employees has to keep careful track of when employees clock in and out for shifts and breaks. So how can you find the best time clock for small business?

Today, we’ll consider some of the criteria to seek out when you’re searching for the best time clock solution for your small business and then take a look at some specific options.

Table Of Contents

Why Small Businesses Need A Time Clock

Weekly time sheet for small business

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that your business needs a real system for employee timekeeping. Still, let’s take a minute to discuss why timekeeping is important before we evaluate the different solutions available.

You want to be sure that employees are working when they’re scheduled (not coming in late, clocking out early, or working unauthorized overtime) and getting paid what they deserve. To do this, you need an accurate, reliable record of when your employees are working.

You might think that if you have a small business with just a few employees, it would be feasible for the manager to just keep track of when employees come and go. However, many other duties will occupy the manager’s attention.

This method also opens the door to complaints if the manager and an employee disagree about when the employee began and ended their shifts or breaks. That can potentially lead to employees being paid for time they weren’t working or short-changed on for time they were.

There’s also the issue of how to record when employees began and ended work. Manually written records, whether on paper or in a word processing or spreadsheet document, are susceptible to human error or intentional inaccuracies.

Furthermore, in order to actually do anything with the “records” made with this method, like using them to run payroll, a manager will have to copy the data manually into some other system.

Clearly, a more robust timekeeping system is needed, even for very small businesses.

What Makes A Good Time Clock For Small Businesses

Researching the best time clock for small business


At minimum, the time clock you pick for your small business needs to be precise and reliable. Your employees should be confident that their hours will be recorded fairly.

What’s more, you want to be confident that employees can’t manipulate the time they’ve clocked in or out, clock in for other employees (“buddy punching”), or otherwise falsify the data about who’s working and when.


A time clock for a small business needs to be quick and straightforward for everyone to use. Employees shouldn’t be forced to try multiple times to clock in for their shifts, and managers should be able to retrieve timekeeping data easily.

Time Savings

In business, time is money. If you can find a way to save time in operating your small business without compromise, you should take it.

Time savings go hand in hand with implementing a time clock system that’s reliable and easy to use, but if you can find a solution that will also help you save time on the administrative work of managing your business — like combining scheduling and timekeeping — that’s a big bonus.


Spring-boarding off of our last point, the ideal time clock for small businesses will go beyond the basics of just keeping track of when employees clock in and out and help you actually make each shift more efficient and productive.

Sounds like asking a lot? Not necessarily. More on this later.

Basic Time Clock Systems

1) Lathem 7500 Punch Card Time Clock

Lathem 7500 Punch Card Time Clock for small business

With traditional time clock systems, like the Lathem 7500, employees use printable cards that are inserted into the machine to clock in and out. Systems like this are accurate since they use an atomic clock.

The Lathem 7500 has a battery backup in case of power outages, and it can accommodate up to 100 users — plenty for small businesses.

In terms of features, this is about as basic as it gets, however. It’s not really much different in what it offers your business than the mechanical punch time clocks of a century ago.

2) Pyramid Time Systems TTEZEK

Pyramid Time Systems TTEZEK time clock for small business

With the Pyramid Time Systems TTEZEK, each employee is given a card with a magnetic stripe that they swipe through a reader, much like a credit card, to clock in and out.

This system has the advantage of not using printed punch cards. However, the cards themselves can be problematic.

If you let employees keep their time cards, they may forget to bring them to work. If you require that the cards be left in “In” and “Out” racks in the office, then nothing stops one employee from “buddy punching” using another employee’s card.

3) Compumatic XLS-21

Compumatic XLS-21 time clock for small business

With the Compumatic XLS-21, employees simply enter a personal ID number to clock in and out. The advantage here is the simplicity of not needing physical cards.

However, employees have to remember a number, and unless you supplement the system with some other technology, there is still no way to verify an employee is really present and not being clocked in by someone else.

Biometric Time Clock Systems

4) uAttend Voice Control and Facial Recognition Time Clock

uAttend Voice Control and Facial Recognition Time Clock for small business

Biometric time clock systems try to solve the problems of employees having to remember cards or ID numbers and “buddy punching” by using biometric technology to identify each employee. Some of them use facial recognition cameras to verify employees are present.

However, as anyone who has used a smartphone with facial recognition knows, this technology is far from flawless!

Furthermore, biometric systems can be problematic for disabled employees, and storing biometric data requires your business to be in compliance with certain privacy regulations, with costly fines for violators.

5) Pyramid Elite Biometric Time Clock

Pyramid Elite Biometric Time Clock for small business

Instead of facial recognition, the Pyramid Elite Biometric Time Clock scans an employee’s fingerprint to record when they clock in and out.

While this method is potentially less temperamental since the software in the system is simpler, it shares the general downsides of biometric systems, and doesn’t by itself offer your business any additional time-saving or productivity benefits.

The Best Time Clock For Small Businesses: A Dedicated App

Inch app for small businesses

6) Inch

Inch is an all-in-one application for helping businesses manage hourly staff that ensures accuracy, saves time, and improves efficiency.

Inch turns any device into a time clock. It’s available on Windows, macOS, and both iPhone and Android smartphones. It records the GPS location of devices that are tracking time, and has geofencing features to ensure employees are where they’re supposed to be when they clock in.

But Inch’s benefits for your business go way beyond trusted timekeeping! Inch also has scheduling and task management features so that managers can assign each employee or teams of employees specific duties for part of or all of their shifts.

Managers can easily pull data on hours worked, time spent on specific tasks, location coordinates, and more to run reports for payroll, client invoicing, or labor cost optimization analysis.

If that weren’t enough to make Inch invaluable to your business, Inch also has powerful communication features that allow managers to message individuals, groups, or the whole team, and lets teams working on specific tasks converse without other staff being bombarded by irrelevant info.

Inch is the best time clock for small business because it’s simple to use, gives both managers and employees confidence their hours are being tracked fairly and accurately, helps managers increase productivity, and keeps everyone up to date on what needs to get done.

Save Time And Money With Inch

Even the smallest small businesses need a proper time clock system. The best time clock for small business will give both managers and employees confidence about accuracy and fairness, but also be easy to use and make the whole operation more efficient.

There are numerous time clock options available, from simple punch card time systems to systems boasting the latest biometric technology, but they all have their own drawbacks in reliability and ease of use.

Inch gives your small business timekeeping you can trust, plus powerful scheduling, task management, and notification and communication features that will give your business the edge it needs to grow.

Want to find out more? Visit TryInch.com today.

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