Top 10 attendance tracker apps in 2023

Any business owner or manager with hourly staff knows keeping track of attendance is crucial. You want to ensure you always have the right number of team members on shift, make sure work is getting done, track time off and availability, and keep labor costs to a minimum. 

Monitoring employee hours is a central part of running a small business — but trying to keep track of it all with paper or spreadsheets is almost impossible. That’s why it’s so key to choose the right app. 

Digital time trackers can ensure staff are where they say they are, keep up-to-the-minute accurate records, and integrate with scheduling and payroll tools for accurate availability, shift planning, and payroll.

But comparing the platforms on the market and figuring out which does what can feel like a full-time job in itself. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you.

In this post, we’ll look at: 

  • The key features we recommend looking for in attendance tracking apps
  • Our top pick out of the ten best attendance tracking apps
  • A comparison of the apps based on what they do, the types of businesses or tasks they’re best for, and how much they cost

Once you’ve read through it, you’ll be able to decide which attendance tracker app will work best for your team and get back to business.

Key features to look for in apps to track attendance

    • Geofencing capabilities — Geofencing should be a major priority when you’re looking for an attendance tracker platform. It avoids buddy punching (where staff check in for others) and time theft because people can only punch in when they’re physically on-site.
    • Features to avoid buddy punching In addition to geofencing, many of the best apps ensure staff can’t sign into work for others or “steal time” by checking in when they’re not actually present. Check for features like unique PINs or prompts for photos on arrival. 
    • Alerts and reminders Any platform you choose should be able to send staff shift reminders and alert managers when employees fail to clock in for a shift or are close to reaching expensive overtime.
    • Free or reasonably priced — Price won’t be your only consideration, but it’s an important factor, especially if you run a small business with a limited budget. Check if tools are priced per user or by location, as it could add up if you have a lot of staff or many locations. For example, Homebase’s time clock includes up to 20 employees for one business location and isn’t priced per user.
    • Can be used on a variety of devices — You’ll want your attendance tracker tool to work on as many devices as possible, so staff can check in however they prefer and whenever they are. Make sure the platform you choose works on mobile, tablet, desktop, or POS, depending on your needs.
    • Syncs with other useful products Attendance trackers work best when they connect with other must-have staff management tools, like timesheets, payroll, and team communication. This means you can link attendance and hours, pay staff accurately, and send alerts when needed.
    • Wide range of integrations — Attendance tracking tools that integrate with a range of other platforms are even more powerful. Check whether the apps you’re considering connect with the tools you already use so all your software solutions will play nicely together.

Our top pick for apps to track attendance in 2023 (+ the rest compared)

Of course, we believe that Homebase is the best time tracking and attendance app. It not only helps monitor employee hours, but also integrates seamlessly with our wider suite of must-have people management tools like timesheets, payroll, and staff happiness.

However, as a responsible business owner, don’t take our word for it! We’ve also compared nine other possible options, so you can be sure to choose the best option for your business.  

  1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
  2. actiPLANS: Best for multi-location or remote teams
  3. Calamari: Best for automatic clock-ins
  4. Deputy: Best for simplicity
  5. Buddy Punch: Best for efficiency
  6. Connecteam: Best for ‘non-desk’ teams
  7. Timely: Best for automated, desk-based tracking
  8. Hubstaff: Best for larger teams
  9. QuickBooks Time: Best for QuickBooks integration
  10. Sling: Best for using smartphones as time clocks

Comparison chart: Top 10 apps to track attendance in 2023

Software GPS geofencing Integrates with other useful tools Can set up alerts and reminders Anti-buddy punching tools Mobile app Free plan or trial? Pricing
homebase logo Plans range from free to $99.95 per location per month (plus 20% savings when you commit annually!)

Homebase payroll costs $39/month base fee plus $6/month per active employee.

actiplans Free for 1 to 3 users with limited functions, then from $1.20 per user per month up to 200 users. Price on request for 200+ users.
calamari logo X $2 per employee per month. $20 per month minimum.
deputy logo Free for 100 shifts per month. From $3.50 to $4.90 per user per month.
buddy punch logo (linked but separate) X From $2.99 per user per month plus $19 base fee to $3.99 per user per month plus $19 base fee. Enterprise on request.
connectteam logo X Free for up to 10 users. From $29 to $99 per month for 30 users.
timely logo X X X X From $11 to 28 per user per month. Custom pricing and tailored features on request.
hubstaff logo Free plan. Paid plans from $5.83 per user per month. Starts at $140.
quickbooks logo X From $8 per user per month plus $20 base fee per month to $10 per user per month plus $40 base fee per month.
sling logo Free for some tools. From $1.70 to $3.40 per user per month.

A breakdown of 10 apps to track attendance

1. Best all-in-one solution: Homebase

A graphic of the Homebase geofencing tool on a phone.
Homebase lets staff clock in using maps and GPS location tracking. Source: JoinHomebase.com

Homebase is an all-in-one small business management platform that’s built for hourly work. Our suite of tools makes attendance tracking just one easy part of your wider operation. The smart time clock lets you keep control of labor costs, while our automated timesheets and schedules help you calculate hours, breaks, PTO, and wages remotely and seamlessly.

Top features

  • Geofencing capabilities, so staff can only check into work when they’re on-site
  • Prompts for sign in photos and unique employee PINs to avoid buddy punching
  • Seamless, intuitive time tracking
  • The ability to set up alerts to remind staff to take breaks, stick to hours, and avoid expensive overtime
  • Built-in team messaging and reminders
  • Alerts for late clock ins or forgotten clock outs
  • A mobile app that’s compatible with iOS and Android
  • Labor cost tracking and smart tracking of labor vs. sales
  • Accurate timesheets and payroll calculation
  • Easy to convert timesheets into wages and accurate tax payments

Pros and cons

Homebase’s geofencing and unique PIN check in tools are just a couple of key parts of our wider time tracking system. Users praise how “easy to use” it is and “love that everything is in one place.” 

However, if you’re looking for a simple clock in and clock out time tracker, Homebase may offer more tools than you need.

Pricing

  • Free: Basic time tracking, scheduling, and employee management for one business location and up to 20 employees.
  • Essentials: $24.95 per month per location. Everything included in the Free plan, plus advanced scheduling and time tracking and team communication.
  • Plus: $59.95 per month per location. Everything in Essentials, plus hiring, personal time off (PTO) controls, and departments and permissions.
  • All-in-one: $99.95 per month per location. Everything in Plus, as well as onboarding, labor cost management, and HR and compliance.

Homebase payroll is available as a separate add-on for a $39/month base fee and $6/month per active employee. You can also save 20% on the cost of all paid plans if you commit to annual billing.

2. actiPLANS: Best for multi-location or remote teams

A graphic of the actiPLANS shift scheduling tool.
actiPLANS features include an at-a-glance view of who’s working when and for how long. Source: Actiplans.com

actiPLANS makes it easy for managers to see where their team members are at any given time, even if they’re working across the world or simply checking in from home. With color-coded dashboards, photos, staff profiles, and statuses, its visual timeline offers a simple display of who’s working and when.

Top features

  • Location check ins and work location calendars for an easy overview of where your team is.
  • Shift tracking, including scheduling and hour calculation, with a visual timeline to prevent staff shortages and overscheduling and to see everyone’s hours at a glance.
  • Leave management, including easy leave requests, one-click requests, and reports to keep track of staff absences and stay compliant with time off policies.
  • A mobile app that’s designed to monitor staff attendance wherever they are with notifications and the ability to leave extra comments and check absences on the go.
  • iCal integrations to display attendance, shifts, and absences in your calendar of choice.

Pros and cons

Users like how well actiPLANS works to “oversee” their entire operation, and one said it’s a “great product to track our most valuable resource: time.” However, actiTIME, which includes features for time tracking, billable time records, and schedule settings, is considered an add-on to the app’s core functions and needs a separate setup.

Pricing

  • For 1-3 users. Free. Limited functionality as it doesn’t include PTO or scheduling.
  • 1-40 users. $1.50 per user per month.
  • 41-200 users. $1.20 per user per month.
  • 200+ users. Fixed cost for unlimited users.

ActiPLANS offers a free 30-day trial for all users.

3. Calamari: Best for automatic clock-ins

A graphic of the Calamari platform interface.
Calamari’s innovative Bluetooth iBeacons clock staff into work automatically. Source: Calamari.io

Just like its fishy namesake, this app gives HR managers extra hands to coordinate attendance. One module focuses on tracking and attendance, while the other manages leave, sick days, time off, and remote work. Its innovative iBeacons technology even automatically clocks employees in and out of work using their phones and a battery-powered on-site Bluetooth device.

Top features

  • Tracking for time worked and breaks
  • Automatic timesheet creation
  • Clock in and out methods, including iBeacon phone detection, unique QR codes, and photos
  • GPS punching in and out
  • Integrations with popular workforce apps like Slack and Asana
  • Works on web browser and mobile app
  • Sends alerts to managers about late or early clock ins and outs and unexpected absences

Pros and cons

Users like “how easy and simple” Calamari is to use and enjoy the “reminder emails that always ensure” managers are in contact with their team. However, you need to sign up for both modules to get access to all of the time management and leave features, and the platform requires payment equal to ten employees per month to sign up.

Pricing

  • Leave management. $1.70 per employee per month. $17 per month minimum.
  • Clock in / Clock out. $2 per employee per month. $20 per month minimum.
  • Core HR. $1.30 per employee per month. $13 per month minimum.

4. Deputy: Best for simplicity

A graphic of the Deputy platform interface.
Deputy makes it simple for team members to clock in when they arrive at work. Source: Deputy.com

Deputy is a team scheduling tool that aims to help managers stay on budget and organize staff with ease, saving time and money related to budget and labor costs. It also strives to help you abide by compliance laws and make attendance tracking accurate and automatic.  

Top features

  • Uses GPS technology for location stamps and touch-free face verification
  • Records exact hours and breaks on the app
  • Automatically creates accurate timesheets that managers can export
  • Alerts staff and managers when breaks are due
  • Works on phone, tablet, and computer
  • Touchless options like voice commands and face recognition for clean workplaces and faster work

Pros and cons

Reviewers like how Deputy “covers a lot” and is “user friendly,” as well as its “straightforwardness.” However, you need to sign up for the more expensive plans if you want to access all tools, including time tracking.

Pricing

  • Starter: Free for up to 100 shifts per month.
  • Time & Attendance: $3.50 per user per month. Includes attendance tracking and timesheets, but minimal team communication features.
  • Premium: $4.90 per user per month. All scheduling, time, attendance, and reporting tools.
  • Enterprise: Price on request. For businesses with 250+ employees.

Deputy also has a free 31-day trial.

5. Buddy Punch: Best for efficiency

A graphic of the Buddy Punch platform with smartphone and tablet interface examples.
Buddy Punch includes tools like unique PIN codes for each employee. Source: Buddypunch.com

Buddy Punch lets managers track where their staff are and how they’re working. It aims to make team management super efficient and connects time tracking tools with other features like PTO, payroll, and reports on everything from hours to attendance to overtime.

Top features

  • Uses GPS, PIN codes, and images for accurate, honest tracking
  • Automatically tracks paid and unpaid time off and sick leave
  • Monitors remote workers via IP addresses to ensure they’re working
  • A mobile app that works on smartphone and laptop
  • Sends notifications to users automatically

Pros and cons

Users praise how “efficient” Buddy Punch is and how “easy” the platform makes it to “keep track of your hours.” However, it does require extra add-ons (from the same company) to do things like process payroll.

Pricing

  • Standard: $2.99 per user per month billed annually, as well as a $19 base fee per month. Includes a mobile app, GPS tools, and break planning. 
  • Pro: $3.99 per user per month, as well as a $19 base fee per month. Everything in Standard, plus early or late reporting.
  • Enterprise: Price on request. All Pro features, plus API access.

Buddy Punch also offers a free trial.

6. Connecteam: Best for “non-desk” teams

A graphic of the Connecteam platform for non-desk teams.
Connecteam lets managers track employee locations and communicate easily. Source: Connecteam.com

Connecteam is designed for a “non-desk” workforce and works on smartphone apps only. Its Operations “hub” includes a time clock, as well as scheduling and task management tools. It aims to help managers communicate with and track their workforce, even when they’re not physically together.

Top features

  • GPS location capabilities for accurate and easy time tracking
  • Overtime alerts and break monitoring
  • Automated shift reminders and no-show messages
  • Secure and easy team communication within the app
  • Tools to avoid conflicts and shift overlaps
  • Exportation of timesheets to external payroll providers

Pros and cons

Clients particularly like how “customizable” Connecteam is, as well as how “easy it is to navigate” and how “intuitive it is.” However, the platform only works as a smartphone app, so it’s not the best choice if you need to work on a laptop or computer.

Pricing

The operations hub, which includes scheduling and time tracking features:

  • Small Business: Free for up to 10 users.
  • Basic: $29 per month for up to 30 users. Extra users are $0.50 per month.
  • Advanced: $49 per month for 30 users. Extra users are $1.50 per month. Everything in Basic, plus extra features, including time clock tasks.
  • Expert: $99 per month for 30 users. Extra users $3 per month. Everything in Advanced, plus GPS features and automation. 

Connecteam also has other “hub” packages, like Communications and HR & Skills. However, these do not include time tracking or attendance tools.

7. Timely: Best for automated, desk-based tracking

A graphic of the Timely platform on smartphone and tablet interfaces.
Timely shows you a simple timeline of your hours and what you spent your time working on throughout the day. Source: Timelyapp.com

Timely calls itself the “best AI-powered automatic time tracker.” It aims to help customers keep count of hours and work in real-time, reduce errors, enable work-life balance, and make sure no one is over or underworked. It’s best for teams that are based at desks or work on laptops all day as it’s designed less for attendance and more for specific app or program use.

Top features

  • Time tracking for accurate billing and automatic work capturing
  • A wide range of project-tracking features
  • Team tracking for automated team connection and accurate billing across collaborations
  • Plan tracking with visual day timelines and flexible deadline planning
  • A memory tracker, which is an extra tool that runs in the background to track time spent across apps
  • Integrations with tools including Asana, Basecamp, and Google Calendar

Pros and cons

Users like how Timely offers “more accurate data with less time and effort” and how “reliable” it is. However, the platform focuses purely on tracking and computer-based work, so it may not be the best choice if you also need GPS technology or precise location-based attendance.

Pricing

  • Starter. From $11 per user per month. Up to 50 projects and three teams.
  • Premium. From $20 per user per month. Unlimited projects and teams.
  • Unlimited. From $28 per user per month. Unlimited projects, teams, features, and capacity.
  • Unlimited +. Custom pricing and tailored features. Available on request.

8. Hubstaff: Best for larger teams

A graphic of the Hubstaff platform with smartphone and laptop interface examples.
Hubstaff lets managers track GPS locations, projects, and tasks. Source: Hubstaff.com

Hubstaff aims to boost and automate productivity among larger teams, with time tracking and automated timesheets as just some of its features. It has a number of tools designed to ensure accurate timekeeping, including GPS, photos, and screenshots.

Top features

  • Geofencing capabilities and accurate time tracking across different locations
  • Time clock app for specific clients and projects
  • Productivity and hourly data tracking
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android

Pros and cons

One user particularly pointed out how Hubstaff is a “great tool for tracking time,” while another said it improved the “efficiency” of their entire team. However, the platform is more expensive than some of the other attendance tracker apps on the market and may offer more functionality than you need, especially if you manage a smaller team.

Pricing

  • Desk Free: Free for one user. Features include time tracking and timesheet creation.
  • Desk Starter: $5.83 per user per month. Starts at $140. Includes two users. Everything from the Free plan, plus reports, 24-hour support, and one integration.
  • Desk Pro: $8.33 per user per month. Starts at $200. Includes two users. Everything in Starter, plus time off tools, project budgets, limited API, and expense tracking.
  • Enterprise: Price on request. Everything in Pro, plus more insights, higher limits on API, concierge set-up and VIP support, compliance tools, and unlimited job sites.

Hubstaff also offers a 14-day free trial.

9. QuickBooks Time: Best for QuickBooks integration

A graphic of three QuickBooks Time tool screens, one on a laptop, one of a tablet, and another one of a smartphone.
QuickBooks Time shows employee GPS locations on a map and lets you track time using a smartphone. Source: Quickbooks.intuit.com

QuickBooks Time is owned by Intuit, the same company that runs QuickBooks accounting software. It offers time tracking capabilities directly inside QuickBooks and makes it possible to log hours from any location and any device. It also simplifies scheduling and timekeeping and lets you manage several aspects of your business operations from one platform.

Top features

  • GPS technology for accurate tracking
  • Lets team members clock in and out from a central time tracking kiosk or location
  • Monitors overtime to avoid expensive extra labor costs
  • Lets you set up and send customizable alerts and reminders
  • Works directly inside QuickBooks, an already-widely used software
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Syncs with QuickBooks and creates accurate timesheets to run efficient payroll

Pros and cons

Users love the “flexibility” of QuickBooks Time and praise how easy it is to “open the app and keep accurate time no matter where you are.” However, it may not be ideal if you don’t want (or need) to use QuickBooks’s general suite of tools.

Pricing

  • Premium. $8 per user per month plus $20 base fee per month. Unlimited users.
  • Elite. $10 per user per month plus $40 base fee per month. Unlimited users.

10. Sling: Best for using smartphones as time clocks

A graphic of the Sling platform on a smartphone.
Sling offers precise time tracking with granular records. Source: Getsling.com

Sling lets you track employee hours and limit labor costs, as well as accurately keep on top of where your staff are and what they’re working on. It coordinates scheduling and employee communication, as well as manages time clocking and payroll accuracy.

Top features

  • Up-to-the-minute time tracking
  • Geofencing capabilities
  • Keeps track of overtime and holiday pay
  • Mobile-friendly platform that lets you turn any phone into a time clock
  • Lets you set up clock in and out reminders
  • Nudges staff to take breaks and avoid overtime
  • Offers timesheet exportation for payroll processing
  • Connects with scheduling for easy hours calculation

Pros and cons

Users praise how easy Sling makes it to “communicate with coworkers,” how “efficient” it is, and how it helps “reduce errors.” However, to access the mobile time tracking features, you need to upgrade to the Premium plan.

Pricing

  • Basic: Free. Doesn’t include mobile time tracking.
  • Premium: $1.70 per user per month. Everything in Basic, plus tools for mobile time tracking and optimizing labor costs.
  • Business: $3.40 per user per month. Everything in Premium, plus data and report creation.

Attendance tracking: One key part of your wider business

Any one of these apps could be the perfect tool to help your small business track attendance.

Whether you’re prioritizing mobile clock ins and clock outs, integrations with other tools, or useful automations, each option offers something different at various price points.

However, we believe Homebase is the best all-in-one choice on the market right now. Our tools go far beyond time tracking, helping you manage staff seamlessly and making attendance monitoring just one efficient cog in your wider, well-oiled operation.

**The information above is based on our research on apps to track attendance. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in March 2023.

Remember: This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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