Portable time clocks provide a much-needed solution for construction management, allowing for accurate time tracking with teams of all sizes. Check out this list of top portable time clocks and find the right one for your construction company.
Paper timesheets have their drawbacks. Time tracking apps are great for some teams, but many contractors find it’s difficult to get employees to install a work app on their personal device, and it can be hard to remember to clock in and out.
A portable time clock is the perfect solution. For a construction job site, standard paper punch clocks just won’t do. Neither will a fancy “smart” time clock that can’t hold up to the elements.
We reviewed the top five portable time clocks for construction job sites. Let’s see how the most popular portable time clocks hold up to the realities of the job site.
What to look for in a Portable Time Clock
How does it prevent errors and labor fraud?
In our experience on real construction job sites, buddy punching and employee time theft is an industry-wide problem. When you choose your time clock system, it’s important to choose one that uses an error-proof and fraud-proof method, like facial verification, to provide documentation of the workers’ presence at the time of the activity.
How will the time clock be powered?
On many job sites, power is unavailable, limited, or inaccessible. A good job site time clock will have its own solution for ensuring that the device stays working. The best portable time clocks come with their own built-in power solution for the job site.
How easy is it to set up and operate?
The best construction time clocks are easy to use and don’t require a lot of time and attention. How easy is it to deploy on the job site? Will you need to charge or replace batteries? Will data be synced automatically, or require a job site visit to gather the timesheet data? An ideal solution will have a simple setup and no maintenance required.
5 Best Portable Time Clocks for Construction [2023 Edition]
Exaktime JobSite Hornet
EasyClocking Xenio R700
TimePilot Extreme Blue
Portable Time Clocks Reviewed
SmartBarrel Portable Time Clock
At the top of our list is the SmartBarrel construction time clock. Designed specifically for construction job sites, this device is durable and super simple to use. A simple check-in system makes employee identification a breeze. The SmartBarrel portable time clock uses AI-powered facial verification technology to automatically alert you of buddy punching.
Read on to get the details of why the SmartBarrel time clock is a great choice for construction companies.
The SmartBarrel portable time clock was designed for commercial construction sites from the start. We put our device through a series of drop tests, threw it into mud puddles, and left it out in the rain. We’ve put time clocks on job sites across the country and they’ve held up beautifully. Best of all, if a SmartBarrel time clock malfunctions, breaks, or is stolen, we replace it at no cost to the customer.
The SmartBarrel portable time clock utilizes multiple employee verification methods for maximum accuracy. First, employees can clock in and out using their phone number, which acts as a 10-digit security code to ensure that the hours are associated with the right employee. Alternatively, employees can use pre-registered key fobs to speed up the clock-in process. Users can also sign in using a badge. All sign-in attempts are verified with a photo of the worker, and each new photo is automatically compared with previous punches to verify the user. If an employee does not match previous photos, a notification is sent to administrators for review.
The SmartBarrel portable time clock is designed to be as easy–to-use as possible. For job sites that have power, the time clock comes with a power cord that plugs into a standard outlet. For job sites that don’t have power available, the device ships with a solar panel. Install the panel in an area with sufficient sunlight, and you’ll never have to think about it again.
The SmartBarrel portable time clock comes with a built-in 5G LTE connection with real-time updates. This provides live headcount monitoring through the SmartBarrel web dashboard, an important tool for HR, safety, and compliance teams. From urban tunneling projects to remote solar farms, our portable time clocks have provided real-time workforce data in places where others couldn’t.
When you use SmartBarrel for job site time tracking, you get much more than a portable time clock. The SmartBarrel ecosystem includes a mobile app, head office software, reporting features, time and attendance software, and broadcast messaging.
SmartBarrel has direct integrations with Procore, CMiC, and Microsoft Power BI. SmartBarrel’s integration with Procore is the first time tracking system to connect directly into Procore’s Timesheets feature, which allows you to report actual timesheet data against your budgeted cost codes in real time. SmartBarrel also provides exports for Quickbooks, Viewpoint, Foundation Software, and other providers.
Ratings & Reviews
The SmartBarrel portable time clock is loved by field and office alike. In reviews, SmartBarrel customers rave about the customer service. SmartBarrel has a rating of 5.0/5 on SoftwareAdvice.
Get The Best Portable Time Clock
The Exaktime JobClock Hornet is a tough cookie. The Hornet’s design is reminiscent of a two-way radio. There’s even a YouTube video of someone dragging this time clock down a mountain behind a bicycle. There’s no doubt that this thing will hold up to some major abuse on the job site.
The Exaktime JobClock Hornet uses key fobs for employee identification. While the Exaktime mobile app has an optional photo identification feature, the Hornet time clock does not.
The Exaktime JobClock Hornet uses a lithium-ion battery, and can go up to 21 days on a charge. If your job site has power, you can connect the Hornet power cord to a standard outlet.
The current version of the Exaktime JobClock Hornet uses an LTE data connection. The Hornet syncs data to the cloud every hour, which can work well if you only need reports daily.
Exaktime is an employee time tracking platform for construction companies and home service providers.
Exaktime has direct integrations with payroll software: Quickbooks, Sage, ADP, Foundation Software, Viewpoint, and more. Exaktime also has a direct integration with Procore.
Ratings & Reviews
Exaktime has a rating of 4.0/5 from 170+ reviews on SoftwareAdvice. Despite its widespread use, some of Exaktime’s user reviews mention undesirable customer service response times and experiences. Some reviewers shared frustration at needing to buy new Hornet devices when a new version was released.
Plans & Pricing
Pricing for the Exaktime JobClock Hornet is not publicly available. Used JobClock Hornets are available on Ebay for a few hundred dollars, but it’s important to note that some of these are an obsolete model which cannot be used with the current version of the Exactime software subscription. The Exaktime time tracking software has a base fee of $50/month and $108/worker/year, billed annually.
- Durable design
- Integrates with a wide range of software, including QuickBooks, Sage, ADP, Foundation Software, and Viewpoint
- Has a significant number of user reviews
- Photo identification feature only available through the mobile app
- Data syncs hourly
- Pricing for the device is not publicly available
- Some user reviews describe slow customer service
The EasyClocking Xenio R700 looks like it is straight out of a Dewalt catalog – which is appropriate, since the time clock is compatible with Dewalt’s lithium-ion batteries. The heavy-duty black frame and bright yellow plastic casing look right at home on the job site. The company promotes the time clock as water Unfortunately, their 1 year limited warranty doesn’t cover physical damage or man-made damage, which doesn’t inspire confidence. Still, from all appearances this appears to be a solid time clock.
The EasyClocking Xenio R700 uses the workers’ fingerprint as its primary source of employee identification. While fingerprint scanners on job sites are notoriously difficult to use, this product is advertised as being able to accurately identify fingerprints that are worn or dirty. The product also has a camera for secondary identification purposes, although very little detail is provided about how that feature works.
The EasyClocking Xenio R700 has a battery that is advertised as lasting “on-the-go” for up to 12 hours. The manufacturer specs state that the device will last 3-4 days in an idle state, making this by far the highest-maintenance of the four options. The Xenio’s sales material does not mention an AC power option.
The EasyClocking Xenio R700 provides four options for data connectivity. The ethernet, WiFi, or optional 3G connections enable real-time data syncing, while the Bluetooth connection requires close physical proximity to download data and sync it to the cloud. Overall, this is the most comprehensive of the four, although the WiFi and ethernet functions may not be practical during the early stages of a project.
EasyClocking is a part of EasyWorkforce, an all-in-one workforce management solution. The company provides a wide range of products, from time tracking to scheduling to HR software. With over 50,000 customers, EasyWorkforce is the largest company on this list.
EasyClocking offers a direct integration with ADP Workforce Now, which allows you to synchronize users and send payroll data to ADP. EasyClocking also offers export options for Quickbooks, ADP, and Paychex.
Ratings & Reviews
EasyClocking parent company EasyWorkforce has a rating of 4.0/5 from 12 reviews on Software Advice. One review mentions trouble using a fingerprint scanner, but overall there are no significant patterns of negative feedback.
- Heavy-duty design
- Compatible with Dewalt’s lithium-ion batteries
- Connects via ethernet, WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth
- Direct integration with ADP
- Pricing information not publicly available
- Fingerprint scanner identification is not compatible with some trades
The TimePilot Extreme Blue Enhanced is advertised as weatherproof and durable. Unfortunately, there are very few user reviews available online, which leaves us to rely on the company’s own statements about the device. TimePilot does have one YouTube Short showing one of their Extreme Blue devices covered in snow and ice. All TimePilot time clocks have a one year warranty that covers malfunctioning hardware.
The TimePilot Extreme Blue Enhanced uses key fobs to identify employees. The employee scans their fob at the device. The company sells compatible key fobs with the device.
Because of its simple design, the TimePilot Extreme Blue Enhanced requires very little power to operate. The device is powered by four AA batteries, and is supposed to last up to one year between battery replacements. The device also appears to come with an AC power cord, although we were not able to confirm this through the TimePilot website.
The TimePilot Extreme Blue Enhanced is a little different. During use, data is stored locally on the device. To connect the data to the cloud, the stored data is synced via Bluetooth to a mobile app on a smartphone, which is then pushed to the cloud. This requires the smartphone to be within close proximity to the device; Bluetooth connectivity range is usually limited to about 33 feet. As a result, the TimePilot does not provide real-time job site time and attendance reporting.
TimePilot offers time and attendance software in both cloud and local editions.
TimePilot does not provide direct integrations to any software products, but allows users to export data for use in payroll software like Quickbooks or ADP.
Ratings & Reviews
We were not able to find independent reviews related to TimePilot and the Extreme Blue Enhanced device.
- Low power consumption and operates on four AA batteries
- No data connection
- No direct integrations with software products, only data export options
- No user reviews available
DurabilityThe Accu-Time Systems Maximus is built with an aluminum case. We were not able to find any reviews or data describing the durability of the device.
Employee IdentificationA built-in fingerprint scanner provides biometric time tracking functionality.
Power OptionsThe ATS Maximus is battery powered with a charger cable and an optional power over Ethernet module, allowing you to provide power to the device through an Ethernet cable.
ConnectivityThe device comes with a built-in ethernet port and optional WiFi connection.
Product SuiteThe Maximus is a portable time clock device with Linux OS that can be programmed to connect to existing software or custom-built software.
Ratings & ReviewsWe were unable to find any third-party reviews of the Maximus portable time clock. Pros:
- Java programmable to connect to custom in-house software
- Fingerprint scanners may not be practical for some trades
- Requires custom software development
|SmartBarrel||Exaktime JobSite Hornet||EasyClocking Xenio R700||TimePilot Extreme Blue Enhanced||ATS Maximus|
|Power Source||Solar||Battery (up to 21 days)||Battery (3-4 days)||Battery (up to 1 year)||Battery|
|Wireless Connection||LTE||LTE (current model only)||3G, WiFi, Bluetooth||Bluetooth||WiFi|
|Key Fob ID||✅||✅||❌||✅||❌|
What is a portable time clock?
In general, a portable time clock is a time tracking device that can be easily moved from one location to another. Instead of using paper timesheets to track time, a portable time clock provides a more organized and efficient way to keep track of hours spent on the job.
How does a portable time clock work?
In general, a portable time clock is durable and comes with an alternative power source to enable round-the-clock use. These devices provide a way for workers to clock in and out on the job site, and provide accurate data in a format that can be used by payroll, accounting, and project management teams.
Why you need a portable time clock
Tracking employee hours is of critical importance for a successful and profitable project. Paper timesheets are prone to errors and fraud, and most time tracking software solutions require employees to install an app on their phone. Portable time clocks solve these problems by providing a dedicated device which all employees use to clock in and out of the job site. Some devices like the SmartBarrel time clock provide advanced verification features which can eliminate common sources of errors and time theft, increasing timecard accuracy and project profitability.
How much does a portable time clock cost?
In general, portable time clocks are sold as individual units, with prices starting at a few hundred dollars per time clock. Once the device is purchased, companies are generally required to purchase a software subscription to use the product. These subscriptions are usually priced per worker. If a device is damaged, broken, or stolen, companies usually are forced to purchase a new device at full price. The SmartBarrel time clock does not require an up-front purchase, and stolen or malfunctioning devices are replaced at no cost.
How are portable time clocks powered?
One of the most important features of a portable time clock is a reliable power source. Construction job sites may have limited options for power, and early in the project may have no on-site power at all. Each of the time clocks we reviewed has some form of alternative power source, but take different approaches to solving this problem. Many devices use battery power, while the SmartBarrel device comes with a solar panel that provides power throughout the duration of the project.
How do portable time clocks sync data?
For most portable time clocks, timesheet data is synced via an LTE, WiFi, or Bluetooth connection. The SmartBarrel time clock syncs timesheet data to the cloud in real time, providing live workforce and attendance data that is invaluable for workforce management and safety teams.
How do portable time clocks connect to accounting, payroll, or construction management software?
In general, portable time clocks can come with direct database integrations to a variety of third-party applications, including Quickbooks, Procore, CMiC, Foundation Software, and more. SmartBarrel has direct integrations with Procore, CMiC, and Microsoft Power BI. SmartBarrel also provides data exports for Quickbooks, Viewpoint, Foundation Software, and other providers.
The bottom line
Portable time clocks go a long way in improving efficiency on the job site. A good portable time clock is durable, easy to install and use, and provides a verifiable record of time and attendance for every employee on the job site.
For commercial construction contractors that want a fool-proof, excuse-proof solution, we believe they are best served by a portable time clock that offers automatic facial verification, PPE detection, and a dedicated power solution.
SmartBarrel’s time clocks meet all of these requirements, while providing you with advanced integrations, and top-tier customer service.