For construction crews that are on different job sites frequently, a rugged or digital portable time clock ensures accurate timekeeping. In this article, we break down 2023鈥檚 4 best portable time clocks鈥攂oth rugged and digital鈥攆or construction companies.

Construction crews face unique challenges in time tracking. With constant changes in job sites, exposure to the elements, and a need for durability, it can be difficult to track employee time.

Portable time clocks can help. There are 2 main types of portable time clocks for construction crews: rugged and digital.聽

A rugged clock is a physical device that can travel between job sites and offers durability against weather and rough environments. Some options can connect to the internet or store data internally. A digital clock is accessible from any connected device, like a smartphone or tablet, and enables employees to clock in and out on the go.聽

In this article, we explore the top 4 portable time clocks鈥攄igital and rugged鈥攆or construction workers to help you pick the best one for your team.

If you don鈥檛 have the time to read through our research, jump down to our quick comparison table.

Our Top Picks

  1. Best all-in-one portable time clock

  2. ExakTime JobClock Hornet

    Good for projects where smartphones or internet-connected devices aren鈥檛 allowed

  3. TimePilot Tap

    Good for large teams who need a pocket-sized clock

What to Look For in a Portable Time Clock for Construction Crews

Look for the following features when searching for a portable time clock for your crew.

  • Portability. It鈥檚 essential the clock can move between job sites. A lightweight, battery-operated time clock that鈥檚 easy to keep charged is ideal. While many rugged clocks fit the bill, with mobile clocking apps, an employee鈥檚 personal device becomes their time clock.聽
  • Durability. The clock needs to be built to withstand exposure to the weather and the general construction environment, like sawdust and spills.聽
  • Connectivity and integrations. A good rugged clock will provide data that can integrate with other software you might use, like scheduling or payroll tools. The best digital options will have built-in integrations. For example, Connecteam directly integrates with QuickBooks Online and Gusto for payroll processing.
  • Battery life. This applies specifically to rugged time clocks. A long-lasting battery prevents you from needing to recharge the clock frequently and reduces the risk of it dying while your workers are in the field. It also prevents you from needing to carry a battery backup onsite.
  • Geofencing. Specifically on digital clocks, this feature lets you set up borders around your job sites and prevent workers from punching in or out unless they鈥檙e within the geofence.
  • Time theft prevention. A rugged clock might work with tags or ID cards to avoid buddy punching and other time theft issues. Digital clocks can be even more particular, tracking IP addresses for buddy punches and monitoring employees for unapproved overtime.聽
  • Easy-to-use interface. The easier your clock is to use, the faster employees can get to work鈥攁nd the more efficient your administrative duties will be.聽
  • Accurate data. Some clocks do more than just show the time and date. For example, digital clocks can give real-time information about when an employee approaches overtime or when a team member鈥檚 punches don鈥檛 match their schedule.
  • Data storage capacity. This can be useful for a team without internet connectivity or if there鈥檚 a power outage on site. Clocks often keep a certain number of punches in an internal memory that they can later transmit via internet or phone data.

The 4 Best Portable Time Clock for Construction Crewss of 2023

  1. Connecteam 鈥 Best all-in-one portable time clock

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    A construction worker in the Connecteam application

    Connecteam is an all-in-one work management platform that includes everything you need for employee time tracking on any job site.

    Features like geofencing, GPS location tracking, an in-app chat, and smart notifications make Connecteam a perfect portable time clock for construction teams. Rather than purchasing a separate rugged clock for each job site, with Connecteam, your workers’ devices become their time clocks.

    Let鈥檚 explore Connecteam鈥檚 features in more detail.

    Accurate time tracking on the go

    Connecteam鈥檚 time clock records employees鈥 time down to the second. Workers can clock in and out with a single touch of their device at any job site they鈥檙e at, and the clock will automatically start and stop recording their hours.聽

    Employees can also add or adjust time entries manually if they forget to clock in or out for the day.

    Make any device a centralized clock-in station with kiosk mode

    Connecteam is also a perfect fit if you want a central clock-in station at any job site.

    You can deploy Connecteam as a kiosk app on any internet-connected device鈥攍ike a laptop, tablet, or phone鈥攖hat multiple employees can clock in and out from.聽

    You can give each of your workers a unique PIN they鈥檒l enter when punching in and out. Plus, you can set certain timeframes for clock-in and clock-out to prevent workers from arriving late or leaving early.

    GPS functionality to prevent time theft聽聽

    Connecteam鈥檚 digital clock offers 2 GPS components: GPS location tracking and geofencing.聽

    GPS location tracking allows you to quickly check employees鈥 real-time locations while they鈥檙e working. This ensures they鈥檙e always in the right locations and can help you ensure workers are safe if they鈥檙e the only ones at a job site. Connecteam automatically stops tracking locations as soon as employees clock out.

    As a manager, you can set up geofences, or virtual boundaries, around job sites to ensure employees can clock in and out only when they鈥檙e physically onsite. The software will send employees notifications to clock in when they鈥檙e inside the geofence and will automatically clock them out when they exit it.聽

    In addition, Connecteam allows you to create an unlimited number of geofences so you鈥檙e covered at all your job sites.

    Save administrative time and prevent errors with automated timesheets

    Using employees鈥 time entries, Connecteam will automatically generate digital timesheets. The process takes seconds, saving you and your administrative team a ton of time manually creating timesheets.

    You can view each timesheet to catch and correct errors like forgotten clock-outs or incorrect start times. You can also allow employees to make changes to their timesheets, and Connecteam will alert you when you have a timesheet to review. This ensures all timesheets are error-free before payroll processing.

    Speaking of, Connecteam integrates directly with payroll providers QuickBooks Online and Gusto. But you can also easily export timesheets to use with the payroll software of your choice.

    Create schedules in minutes

    Not only is Connecteam a powerful solution for employee time tracking, but it鈥檚 also perfect for employee scheduling.聽

    You can quickly create schedules using the drag-and-drop interface or built-in templates. You can add job roles, checklists, notes, job sites, and more information to each shift鈥攁nd even color-code them for easy reference. Set schedules to recur daily, weekly, or monthly or import any of your existing schedules.

    With the scheduler, employees are able to add their availability, note their shift preferences, request time off, and easily see where they鈥檒l be for each shift and what they need to do.

    The scheduler also syncs with Connecteam鈥檚 time clock so you can cross-reference employees鈥 time entries with their schedule to ensure their logs are accurate.聽

    Smart notifications and alerts for better oversight

    Connecteam will automatically notify you when an employee approaches unscheduled overtime, misses work, or is late for a shift. This helps reduce unnecessary labor costs and gives you more oversight into attendance issues like tardiness and absenteeism.

    For your employees, Connecteam鈥檚 smart notifications and alerts remind them to clock in and out, let them know when they have a new schedule to view, and notify them when there鈥檚 been an update to any of their shifts.

    Keep employees up to date with built-in communication tools

    Making announcements or staying in touch with your employees can be difficult when working at different times or on different job sites. Luckily, Connecteam has features to streamline communication across your entire workforce.

    First, there鈥檚 the in-app team chat. You can chat with workers individually or in group chats, and employees can send messages to their coworkers at any time. Messages can include photos, videos, file attachments, audio notes, GIFs, and emojis. Plus, you and your team will always be notified when there鈥檚 a new message to view.聽

    Then, there鈥檚 the updates feed. Use this for company- or team-wide announcements to keep everyone informed. With this feature, you can schedule posts to go live at a particular time and even check who has viewed and interacted with your updates.

    And much more

    Connecteam does much more than track workers鈥 time and allow you to schedule your team. It鈥檚 a comprehensive work management solution with many tools to help you manage your workforce easily and efficiently.

    There are built-in features for employee onboarding and training, rewards and recognition, document management, surveys and polls, event management, and more.聽

    Paid plans start at just $29 per month for up to 30 users, and teams of up to 10 can sign up for the free-forever Small Business Plan.

    Connecteam also offers a free for life plan – Try Connecteam here!

    Key Features

    • Accurate attendance tracking and reporting

    • Built-in employee scheduling ability

    • Geofencing and GPS location tracking tools

    • One-touch clocking in and out

    • Real-time data syncing

    • Custom alerts and notifications

    Pros

    • Employees can use their own devices to clock in and out from anywhere

    • Robust reporting capabilities

    • Easy-to-use interface

    • All-in-one digital solution

    Cons

    • More integrations in development

    Pricing

    Free-for-life plan availablePremium plans start at $29/month for 30 users

    14-day free trial, no credit card required

    Start your free trial
  2. ExakTime JobClock Hornet

    ExakTime JobClock Hornet 鈥 Good for projects where smartphones or internet-connected devices aren鈥檛 allowed

    Available on

    Screenshot of the ExakTime website, showing a photo of the yellow JobClock Hornet portable time clock. Text beside the photo reads, 鈥淐onveniently wireless. Reliably rugged. The JobClock Hornet and JobClock/LE are part of the ExakTime family of products. Our weatherproof time clocks are designed for the harshest environments.鈥

    ExakTime creates time clock software and specializes in the construction industry. The JobClock Hornet is its signature rugged clock. The bright yellow device can be placed at a job site, and employees use 鈥渒eytabs鈥 to clock in and out. The tabs are color-coded and can be assigned to different jobs or roles.聽

    The clock syncs with the cloud once an hour. It will hold on to employees鈥 time data (up to 20,000 punches) until it can connect to the internet.

    Unfortunately, employers must have a separate JobClock Hornet at each work location. On the plus side, however, time data can feed into the same admin account for ExakTime鈥檚 Connect software. The software offers attendance tracking management and creates timesheets that can integrate with payroll software.

    Learn more about ExakTime JobClock Hornet

    Key Features

    • Can operate without internet connectivity
    • Multiple job codes can be used
    • Connects with management software
    • Mountable onsite and lockable for security

    Pros

    • Battery lasts up to 21 days and can connect to a car charger
    • Weatherproof in temperatures from -10 to 170 degrees F

    Cons

    • Uses tabs that employees must keep track of
    • Clock must be physically at the jobsite

    Pricing

    Contact vendor for price Trial: No Free Plan: No

  3. TimePilot Tap

    TimePilot Tap 鈥 Good for large teams who need a pocket-sized clock

    Available on

    A TimePilot Tap portable clock sitting on a car dashboard, with a worker鈥檚 hand holding a blue plastic tab and a set of keys pressing a button to clock in for work.

    The TimePilot Tap is the smallest portable clock on our list, fitting in a toolbox or even a pocket, and has a 1-year battery life.

    Employees clock in and out using their assigned 鈥渋Buttons.鈥 The clock measures clock in and out times and can record time data for up to 2,000 employees. If an employer needs to track employee time in multiple locations simultaneously, they鈥檒l need multiple clocks.聽

    Users can plug the clock into a PC using a provided USB cable to send time data to a database in TimePilot鈥檚 software. The database can also combine with data from employees who use the TimePilot mobile app or other TimePilot clocks.聽

    There are 2 software plans to choose from: Cloud or Locally Based. With either plan, users can manage and report on time and attendance. The Cloud Based option stores data in the cloud managed by TimePilot. With the Locally Based option, managers are responsible for saving the data to their computer. The software requires a Windows 10 or later operating system.

    Learn more about TimePilot Tap

    Key Features

    • On-premise plan available
    • Simple clock in and out buttons
    • Works with mobile clock and desktop clocking options
    • Can hold up to 12,000 punches

    Pros

    • Small size
    • Battery lasts up to a year

    Cons

    • Employees must have individual licenses
    • Clock must be connected to a PC to sync data

    Pricing

    $189 for the device, plus per-employee costs for iButtons and monthly cloud licenses Trial: No Free Plan: No

  4. Pyramid 5000HD

    Pyramid 5000HD 鈥 Good for businesses that want to use paper time cards

    Available on

    A Pyramid 5000HD time clock sitting on a counter in a busy workplace

    For businesses used to paper time cards, the Pyramid 5000HD is a heavy-duty option that can withstand regular wear and tear. This electronic time clock has a few customization options鈥攍ike setting the language to French or Spanish and rounding time entries by 5, 10, or 15 minutes.聽

    The clock also gives elapsed time and totals time for the employee at the end of the designated pay period. Each clock can be used for 100 employees. Replacement cards, ribbons and accessories must be purchased through Pyramid.

    Learn more about Pyramid 5000HD

    Key Features

    • Made out of industrial-grade steel for durability
    • Customization options
    • Auto-feed time card alignment
    • Calculates worked time for each pay period

    Pros

    • Doesn鈥檛 require internet
    • Paper time cards include more information than just time and date

    Cons

    • Extra cost for additional materials
    • Maxes out at 100 employees per clock

    Pricing

    $707 per device, plus the cost of print ribbons and cards Trial: No Free Plan: No

Compare the Best Portable Time Clock for Construction Crewss

Topic Start for free ExakTime JobClock Hornet TimePilot Tap Pyramid 5000HD
Reviews
4.8
N/A
N/A
N/A
Pricing
Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users
Contact vendor for price
$189 for the device, plus per-employee costs for iButtons and monthly cloud licenses
$707 per device, plus the cost of print ribbons and cards
Free Trial
yes
14-day
no
no
no
Free Plan
yes
Free Up to 10 users
no
no
no

What Are Portable Time Clocks?

Portable time clocks are physical or digital tools that allow employees to easily clock in and out on job sites, tracking and recording their hours. The 2 main types of portable time clocks are rugged clocks and digital clocks.聽

A rugged clock is a device built to withstand harsh environments. Employees typically use a tag or ID to clock in and out. This clock may have a way of translating the data into a digital format. Or, it could rely on paper punch cards.聽

While rugged clocks can be useful for some businesses, they can be limited by caps on how much data they can record. Additionally, without cloud-based software, rugged clocks don鈥檛 improve over time. Thus, it can be difficult to troubleshoot or fix an issue if it arises.

A digital time clock is an app or cloud-based software that allows employees to clock in and out on an internet-connected device like their smartphones or a shared kiosk device like a tablet. The data recorded is stored entirely online.聽

Digital time clocks usually have features beyond time tracking, such as scheduling, geofencing, and communication tools. These clocks can be easily updated, and the platforms that offer them typically have comprehensive customer support.

How Do Portable Time Clocks Work?

Portable time clocks work by tracking and recording time for employees who work at job sites that are usually outdoors and may change frequently. They鈥檙e very common in the construction industry, where crews of workers may be on different projects every day.聽

As a manager, you can use portable time clocks to track your employees鈥 time accurately while in the field. Rugged options can stay at a single site and record data even without an internet connection. With a digital clock, you can easily see employees鈥 clock-in and out times from any device, correct time entries as needed, and generate automated timesheets.聽

On the employee side, portable time clocks enable them to clock in and out quickly on location and trust their hours are recorded accurately.聽

With rugged clocks, employees use a keytab or ID card to scan in and out. Meanwhile, a digital clock allows them to use their mobile devices as a clock for one-click punches. Digital options also offer them an easy way to see their schedule, request time off, communicate with you and their coworkers, and more.

The Benefits of Portable Employee Time Clocks for Construction Crews

Mobility and flexibility聽

Both digital and rugged portable clocks enable accurate time tracking at any time, in any environment. For construction crews that move from job site to job site, having a clock that can move with them makes sense.聽

Accuracy and compliance

Having exact time records, rather than a general idea of when everyone arrived and left work, ensures that employees are paid correctly. It also helps with job costing and project planning. Plus, precise and accurate time data records help your business stay compliant, and some time clocks can produce these reports automatically.聽

Accountability and efficiency

With a rugged clock on-site at every site or a digital time clock on every worker鈥檚 mobile device, all employees know what to expect regarding time tracking. For employees who are used to reporting time after the fact or relying on a manager to track them, a rugged or digital time clock can change their habits and encourage them to take responsibility for their time.聽

These clocks also make teams more efficient. They encourage punctuality and prevent managers and workers from needing to manually enter and review time data.

How Much Do Portable Employee Time Clocks Cost?

Portable rugged time clock systems can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in device costs, plus cloud or software fees or licenses. They鈥檙e usually built to withstand extreme weather, and their cost reflects that.聽

Costs can rise if you have multiple job sites, as you鈥檒l need multiple rugged clocks. Depending on the clock type, you may also need to purchase refill cards, ribbons, or battery backups. Additionally, you might need to pay for clock-in tags or tokens for every employee.聽

Some rugged time clocks also have external software, which comes at an additional monthly cost.聽

Digital clocks are typically priced per user, per month, and sometimes have an initial set-up cost too. There are some options with a monthly cloud subscription as well. This may be based on the number of employees you have or a set number of licenses that comes with the clock.聽

With Connecteam, you don鈥檛 need to sacrifice quality for affordability. You can access the built-in digital time clock鈥攁nd many other work management features鈥攖hrough our free-forever Small Business Plan for up to 10 users or one of our paid plans, starting at just $29 per month for up to 30 users.

FAQs

How do you keep track of construction employee hours?

Construction employees move from site to site, so you鈥檒l need a portable time clock so they can punch in and out of onsite and track their hours accurately. The clock could be a rugged physical clock or a digital clock app they can use on a mobile device.聽

What is the best way to track hours worked?

The best way to track hours worked is by using a time tracking app like Connecteam. Employees can clock in and out on their personal mobile devices or a shared device using the kiosk functionality. As a manager, you can create and publish schedules, generate timesheets, and more with Connecteam.

What is the simplest time clock?

While a paper punch card seems the simplest option, digital clock software like Connecteam is generally easier and more intuitive for workers today. This is because they鈥檙e used to mobile apps and digital interfaces in all other parts of life. Plus, digital options often enable workers to clock in and out with a single touch of their devices.

The Bottom Line on Portable Time Clocks for Construction

Portable time clocks are necessary to ensure accurate data on every job site, in all weather, and for every construction worker on your crew. You can opt for either a rugged clock, which is a physical device you can carry across job sites, or digital software that turns your workers鈥 devices into a time clock.

Connecteam is the best portable time clock for your construction team. It enables one-touch clock-in and out, is accurate down to the second, and offers GPS location tracking and geofencing for unlimited job sites. Connecteam also has scheduling features that work seamlessly with the time clock鈥攑lus many more employee management tools.

Get started with Connecteam for free today.