Choosing a Clock System Form

 Clock Systems Overview   Clock Selection Guide 

Which Clock System Is Best For Us? 
Some Facts To Consider When Choosing Your Clock System.

Battery Operated Wireless Clock Systems 
Wired clock systems

With over 100 years of experience working with facility owners, specifying architects/engineers and installing contractors, these three interests dominate the selection process:

  1. Price/Cost
  2. Reliability/Accuracy
  3. Sustainability/Environmental


Although “Price” and “Cost” are not the same, they are inextricably linked in the discussion. Both wired and wireless clock systems warrant closer inspection of their advantages and claims. It could be a major mistake to assume one or the other is lower in price or cost for all applications. The accompanying charts will provide objective data to help you in your decision making process. You will note how the price of control equipment and wiring can affect the “price” of a clock and how batteries can affect the “cost” of ownership.


Like Price/Cost, these two concepts are usually considered together. Reliability considerations should and do get the most attention. Claims of accuracy by many manufacturers may have been misleading and, unfortunately, resulted in poor choices by facility managers and their construction advisors.
A good clock system references Universal Time (UTC) as the time source but, the built in tolerances of an individual digital or analog clock prevent such accurate time from being displayed. Further, it is beyond human capability to discern such accuracy from viewing any clock.
The purpose of a synchronized clock system is to coordinate the activities of the building occupants and operating systems to achieve functional efficiencies. 
Beware the purveyors of “atomic clock accuracy”.

Some questions about “reliability” you may want to consider:

  • Should the clock system last for 10 years or the practical life of the facility? 
  • Is a temporary loss of time display due to a power loss acceptable? If so, how fast should the clocks correct after restoration of power?
  • Do you have a need for reliable time recording of a medical or commercial event?
  • Will you use your clock system for timing functions? Class change countdown timing in schools? Timing of school exams? Commercial or medical process timing?


Battery technology continues to improve and our world now revolves around the portability and convenience batteries provide us in our daily lives. Clock systems, however, are building infrastructure components and portability is not one of their valuable characteristics. Today, Americans throw over 3 billion batteries in landfills every year! This just can’t be a good thing for the environment. Add to this, battery operated clocks are not compatible with “clean” alternative sources of energy available at greatly reduced prices from the electrical grid. Wired clock systems are the clear winners for the environment if this is an important decision point for your purchases.

Making a Choice

In summary, each style of clock system has its advantages and disadvantages.  In order to narrow your choices, it is important to answer some key questions about your needs, expectations and budget.

How many clocks will I need?  Do I want to put up clocks only as and where needed?

Do I have an existing clock system that is beginning to fail and I only want replacements that will operate on the current system?

What is the structure of my building?  Are there multiple floors and a lot of concrete and steel that inhibits radio frequency penetration?  Will there be drop ceilings or hard ceilings that might affect installation considerations?

Is my project a renovation or a new building?  Are there existing clock outlets and wiring available for most locations?