10 of the best time tracking tools for freelancers

Time is money. Particularly when you freelance. You'll need to track every single minute of every day, not just to see where your time is going – but to ensure you invoice your clients accordingly.

This is where a decent time tracking app will come in handy. And there are plenty of excellent choices on the market, many of which start off completely free. Creative Boom has picked out 10 of the best web-based tools, along with some alternative solutions for freelancers looking to track their time:

Time tracking tools and apps

1. Harvest

Spend less time tracking and more time doing – that's the promise from Harvest, an online time tracking tool that was created by two founders of a web design firm back in 2006. Whether it’s from the web, your smartphone or another application, it’s never been so easy to track time. With beautiful time sheets and reports, you can also create and send invoices online that accept payments with Stripe or PayPal.

A handy extra is the expense tracking feature that allows you to snap photos of receipts and store them in your Harvest account with its free iPhone and Android apps. You can also connect 70+ business apps from project management to accounting. And if that wasn't enough, you can get legendary support from the Harvest team.

Free | Visit the website

2. Toggl

Toggl's time tracker is built for speed and ease of use. Time keeping with Toggl is so simple that you'll actually use it. What are the features? One-click time tracking that means you never lose a minute of your billable time... Sexy reports with transparent billing... Toggl anywhere with multiple device access so you can track time on the move.

Free | Visit the website

3. Everhour

Claiming to be the best time tracking tool for teams, this nifty little app is perfect for sole traders as well. Hook it up to your favourite project management tool – Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Pivotal or Github – and you're good to go. Produce detailed reports by date and task, and chose from 30+ grouping combinations to let you see the information the way you want. Track time via timer or manual entry too. Use estimates to track your project status and understand how much time you have left. You can even immediately export billable hours to Xero or FreshBooks and send beautiful invoices.

Starting from $7/month | Visit the website

4. PayDirt

Online invoicing and time tracking for freelancers made easy. Use the built in tracker to start a timer for any client in one click. Create invoices from your logged time, edit them visually, and send them by email with customised message templates. Keep track of your business with overviews of unbilled work, outstanding invoices, and graphical time reporting. Accept credit cards with PayPal and Stripe integrations that help you get your invoices paid faster and automatically track payments. You can even send invoices in 51 currencies and 17 languages. Awesome.

Starting from $8/month | Visit the website

5. Timely

Timely takes a slightly different approach to time tracking. Instead of logging your time, it encourages you to schedule your time, and then track that. In a nutshell, it turns your cloud calendar into a time track – anticipating how you'll spend each day, and taking the complete hassle out of time tracking.

Free | Visit the website

6. My Hours

Track them and bill them – My Hours is a great little solution for your desktop with a free mobile app. Start or stop the timer with a single click, switch timing between tasks in a second, or pause for an essential coffee break. All your time sheets are always up-to-date and ready to go, giving you the ability to accurately invoice your clients. Perfect.

Completely free under 'Solo' | Visit the website

7. Time IQ

See where all the time goes with Time IQ – an intuitive, web-based time tracking app that makes logging time instant and effortless. Set up and switch between timers with a single click, enjoy powerful reporting with attractive graphs, and see where time is billable or not. A nice little feature is the 'time locking' option where you can prevent any further time entries from being added to a project.

Starting from $5/month per user | Visit the website

Alternative time trackers

8. ATracker

ATracker is a time tracking app for your smartphone, which is very simple to use and requires minimal setup. On the main screen, you see the complete user defined task list and the overview of each day's spent time. You can start or stop time recording simply by tapping a task. It only needs a name and/or icon to setup a unique task, with advanced settings as optional. So you can focus on your work and not worry about anything else. Download from the App Store.

Lite version is free, full version costs $4.99 | Visit the website

9. Tyme

Do you need to track time spent on various tasks for various projects and clients, but don't need anything too complicated? Tyme is the right fit for you. It not only offers time tracking, but fixed costs and mileage tracking too. With detailed insights and statistics about your workload, you can easily see if you're on time and budget, and you can forecast work that lies ahead. It can even remind you of upcoming deadlines. A nifty little app available from the App Store.

Priced at $4.99 | Visit the website

10. My Minutes

Set goals for your time with the personal time tracking app for your iPhone. Features include 'time budgeting' – where you can set the minimum or maximum amount of time you want to put into a task – and 'repeating tasks', which allows you to set the days on which your task repeats, and My Minutes will only remind you about it then. Handy and simple. And if you need some motivation, you'll love the 'Motivational Streaks' that help you keep going.

Priced at $2.99 | Visit the website