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Best ELD Devices

May 29, 2019

6:33 am

Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, track a driver’s Hours of Service in real time. Drivers won’t have the option to forget or misplace their paperwork – instead, it will be automatically collected straight from their vehicle’s engine.

For our money, KeepTruckin provides the best all-round ELD service. It has loads of features, including two-way messaging and GPS location tracking, and starts from just $20 per month.

However, there are loads of alternative providers on the market, and each has its own set of unique features which might make it better suited to your business. You can compare prices between all the top providers here.

As of December 2017, the US government requires ELDs for most commercial motor vehicles operating across the nation. It’s tough to find a better reason than that to ensure your fleet makes the leap to ELDs.

Top 3 ELD Devices

We’ve got reviews of all the leading ELD devices on the market below, but if you just want the best, here are our top three devices:

  1. KeepTruckin ELD – Strong all around features and very attractive pricing
  2. Garmin eLog – With features such as fuel-tracking, the eLog can easily recoup its pricey initial cost
  3. Omnitracs ELD – Great interface and feature set

These devices stand above the rest on this list thanks to their feature sets and ease of use. All of them can serve small and large fleets equally well, making them useful no matter what sort of business you run.

 KeepTruckin ELDGarmin eLogOmnitracs ELD
KeepTruckin logo smallOmnitracs logo small
Compareget-quote-button-greenget-quote-button-greenget-quote-button-green
Price from$20 per month$250 upfront$23 per month
Our rating5 stars5 stars5 stars
Key benefitA good, cheap, all-round solutionNo ongoing costsGreat variety of features
Neat tricksOffers a free versionServes all fleet sizesOffers 24/7 support

You might balk at the idea of spending $250 upfront (or $23 per month) on a little box that tracks your trucks, but you will be able to recoup that investment over time. Gas costs will decrease, and you should find that your drivers make fewer mistakes while on the road. Your business matters, so understanding every aspect of it is crucial — and a good ELD device will let you do just that.

Avoid legal penalties and optimize your fleet
with the best ELD management devices

Best ELD Devices for 2019: Full Reviews

So, you’ve seen the top three, but there are plenty of other devices on the market — and some are almost as good as our high-flying trio. DriveELD, for example, is ideal for those looking to get the basics covered (you do need to have some sort of electronic driver logging, after all) and costs just $99 per year — or just $8.25 a month!

Others, meanwhile, offer attractive additional features. Samsara’s ELD offering, for example, plugs straight into a vehicle’s OBD port, and provides managers with real time data. Fleet management providers like Samsara will offer the greatest returns on your investment in the long run, as well as ensuring ELD-compliance.

The below devices might not all be in our top three, but they’re certainly worth considering.

  1. KeepTruckin ELD – Intuitive interface, vehicle inspections, and a low monthly cost
  2. Garmin eLog – No upfront cost, plus fuel tracking, make it a great investment over time
  3. Omnitracs ELD – An impressive feature set, and offers two different models for an easy setup
  4. Gorilla Safety ELD – A great choice if you need document management
  5. DriveELD – With a low price tag and stripped-back feature set, it’s great for small fleets
  6. Samsara – A great starting point for a full fleet management system
  7. Rand McNally ELD 50 – The easiest ELD to set up

We’ll also cover some more general advice on ELDs and fleet management:

1. KeepTruckin ELD

Best all around

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $20/month (no initial cost)

A strong suite of features, an easy-to-use interface, and a low price point make KeepTruckin one of the most attractive ELD options. Add to that the service’s 24/7 support, and you have a recommended ELD option for any fleets that need to track their HOS in a streamlined, cost-effective manner.

KeepTruckin offers an ELD solution for vehicles of any size, and a basic plan which includes ELD compliant logs, two-way messaging, GPS location tracking, and customizable vehicle inspection features that include vehicle histories and automated alerts. It’s a raft of features that sums up everything you could reasonably expect from an ELD, and it’s a lot more than most offer.

KeepTruckin hardware units are free to lease for the duration of your 1-year contract. Light and medium duty vehicle units can be hardwired to the OBDII port, while heavy duty vehicle units can be installed via 6-pin and 9-pin diagnostic ports. The ELD-compliant plan starts at $20/month/vehicle, billed annually, while additional features are available for $30/month/vehicle, including IFTA fuel tracking, vehicle diagnostics, and driver safety scorecards.

Key Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Two-way messaging
  • Vehicle inspections

Extras

  • Free Version
  • 24/7 support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

2. Garmin eLog

Best for long term investment

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $250 initial (no monthly cost)

Garmin eLog can come with a tough learning curve, both for setup and daily use. However, the complete lack of ongoing costs is rare among ELD providers, and makes Garmin stand out as one of the best long-term ELD investments. It does the job – even offering fuel tracking – and once drivers have mastered it, the Garmin eLog can save a business thousands of dollars a month.

The fist-sized Garmin eLog offers ELD compliant logs, which can be locally accessed via USB and Bluetooth for roadside inspections. A free-to-download mobile app allows drivers to enter their on-duty status manually, and easily see their remaining available hours. IFTA fuel tracking is also a supported feature. The units can be installed in 6-pin and 9-pin ports, but not in OBDII ports.

Key Features

  • No ongoing costs
  • Fuel tracking
  • Data backed up on mobile app

Extras

  • Free mobile app
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

3. Omnitracs ELD

Best for variety of features

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $23/month (initial cost varies)

Omnitracs offers plenty of features, but its cost-efficiency can depend on the type of service plan, and whether your fleet leases the hardware units. The interface and features are hard to beat, and 24/7 online support can guide operators through any concerns.

It also offers two ELD compliance-oriented units (in addition to a Omnitracts FMS unit, which we won’t cover here). The Omnitracs XRS device is a plug-and-play unit, while the Omnitracs IVG unit must be hardwired into the vehicle. Both offer a similar range of features, including automatically recorded data for HOS, IFTA fuel tracking, and DVIR, as well as vehicle tracking, safety reporting, two-way messaging, driver monitoring, Bluetooth support, and proof of delivery. There’s no initial cost for the XRS if it is leased; Leases are available for the IVG unit as well, but it’ll cost a pricey $800 if bought outright.

Key Features

  • Fuel tracking
  • Safety reporting
  • Driver monitoring

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

4. Gorilla Safety ELD

Best for document management

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $7 initial + $12/month

A cost-efficient option, the Gorilla Safety ELD offers a high-quality ELD compliance and DVIR service at one of the lowest up front and monthly costs in the industry. Businesses that prioritize documentation should find Gorilla Safety to be the best on the market for streamlining the process.

Gorilla Safety also offers a unique feature. Through the app, drivers can switch on document tracking as they drive – this allows them to scan and digitally file documents to different categories, including sections specific to the driver, the truck, or the company. According to Gorilla Safety, this makes it the “only company to offer a fully automated ELD document feature,” and this ability can help businesses go paperless that much faster. Location tracking is accurate to within one mile when the driver is on duty. In addition, the service offers communication abilities that can help aid driver-mechanic communication, or help drivers record photos and take notes in the event of collision. Each ELD unit costs $175 if bought to own, but just $7 each if leased.

Key Features

  • Document management
  • Mechanic inspections
  • Low cost

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • Support during business hours
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

5. DriveELD

Best for the basics

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $99/year (no initial cost)

The DriveELD service isn’t clunky or finicky, and tracks HOS as advertised. Businesses that are only interested in ensuring ELD mandate compliance (with no additional bells and whistles) will be well-served by DriveELD, which comes at a low yearly cost.

DriveELD offers a stripped down ELD compliance service for an unbeatable price: Just $99 per vehicle for a full year of service, with no initial cost for the hardware unit or installation. The DriveELD mobile app is available free for download, and supports iOS and Android devices. Driving time is stored in the cloud and logged in the app automatically, while drivers can update their on-duty status manually, also via the app. Drivers can even add a co-driver for the trip in the app’s Trip Configuration settings, if needed.

Key Features

  • Cloud-based storage
  • Easy Installation
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • Phone and email support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

6. Samsara

Best for fleet management features

Rating: 5 stars Starts at: $99 initial + $30/month

The Samsara ELD is a great option for fleet managers who are also interested in a complete fleet management service. While you won’t need to purchase a full FMS (field management system) in order to buy the ELD-compliance hardware/software package, it’s easy to upgrade to one. Samsara offers one of the most comprehensive FMS services available, with routing and dispatch, fuel tracking, and driver safety all covered in an easy-to-use interface and simple, intuitive hardware units.

Samara’s ELD solution is a unit that plugs directly into a vehicle engine via its OBD port, and is paired with a mobile app that a driver can use to track and log their vehicle data in real time. In addition, dispatchers can use a dashboard to see the HOS for all of their drivers in one central location. The devices are easy to connect and set up, and managers can easily upgrade to Samsara’s full fleet management service while retaining the ELD-specific software’s dashboard and app infrastructure.

Key Features

  • Intuitive Interface
  • Easy Installation
  • Upgrading to FMS is simple

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

7. Rand McNally ELD 50

Best for easy setup

Rating: 4.5 stars Starts at: $150 initial + $20/month

The Rand McNally ELD 50 installs quickly, and comes at a low monthly cost. A few features included (along with ELD compliance) are handy perks for fleets that don’t have a full FMS service: Two-way messaging is a useful way for managers to quickly communicate changes or receive updates, while vehicle tracking offers managers some reassurance that drivers are staying on track.

Rand McNally’s plug-and-play unit offers easy installation, though some drivers find the interface difficult to navigate. Managers can subscribe to a $19.99/month Compliance plan in order to get ELD compliant HOS, DVIR, real-time location tracking, and two-way messaging capabilities. A $24.99/month Core plan is also available, offering IFTA fuel tracking and workflow reporting features.

Key Features

  • Easy installation
  • Two-way messaging
  • Location tracking

Extras

  • Free Trial
  • 24/7 Support
  • Serves fleets of all sizes

How Fleet Management Software Supercharges ELD


What can beat the features of the best ELD? A full fleet management system – designed to serve the same needs, and do a whole lot more.

All of the best fleet management software providers offer data tracking that maintains ELD compliance. Granted, an FMS will cost more per vehicle than an ELD – but an FMS pays for itself over time, thanks to its many money-saving features.

An FMS can be worth adopting early, too, given the infrastructure it offers. For example, with a simple ELD like the Garmin eLog, you won’t get a central dashboard that can support a manager’s routing and dispatch management.

If a small fleet starts to grow, its need for better routing features will grow, too. Avoiding an upgrade to a full FMS means that a fleet will miss out on chances to improve routing efficiency — as well as the financial savings that would result.

Here’s a look at how the two fleet-oriented services overlap in terms of features.

ELD vs. Fleet Management Software

Typical ELDTypical FMS
Per-vehicle monthly costs start at$15-20$30-50
Ensures legal complianceYesYes
Contract length1 year1-3 years
InstallationPlug-and-play or hardwiredPlug-and-play or hardwired
Tracks fuelDepends on vendorYes
Routing and dispatchNoYes
Route optimizationNoYes
Vehicle diagnostics NoYes
Safety alertsDepends on vendorYes
GeofencingNoYes
Inventory managementNoYes
Asset trackingNoDepends on vendor

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Best ELD Devices With Fleet Management Included

If you’re open to exploring fleet management companies, these are the top ELD-compliant choices to consider.

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect fleet management software on desktop and mobileThe biggest of the FMS options, Verizon Connect offers a fleet management system that tracks IFTA, DVIR, and ELD data. As an FMS, however, the service offers far more ways to save fuel than simply tracking IFTA data.

Route optimization finds the best routes, while real-time route updates help drivers avoid bad traffic. Unneeded idle times and fuel card fraud can be tracked and deterred, while additional features include work order delivery, engine diagnostics, and weather alerts.

Fleets that need to track high-value assets can opt for Verizon Connect Asset Tracking – this lets managers locate non-vehicle assets in real time through a desktop or mobile interface, in order to deter theft and further boost efficiency. Field service management software can also be added to the central dashboard.

For more on features, pricing, and support, check out Tech.co’s full Verizon Connect review.

Samsara

Samsara route dispatch softwareAs mentioned above, Samsara’s ELD service can be upgraded smoothly to an FMS service. The FMS retains the same dashboard, but adds features including routing and dispatch, driver safety, vehicle diagnostics, improved fuel tracking, and asset tracking.

The easy-to-use interface and 24/7 support options make this FMS an attractive option, and one that’s easy to adapt if your fleet doesn’t need a full FMS yet, but plans to use one in the future.

Read Tech.co’s full review of Samsara FMS for more details on its features, support options, and pricing.

Teletrac Navman

Teletrac Navman fleet management software dashboardTeletrac Navman provides more features than a high-end ELD, but at a lower cost than a typical FMS. If you’ve read this far, you’ll likely recognize its ELD compliance, GPS fleet tracking, two-way messaging, and safety alert features. In addition, Teletrac tracks drivers’ fuel usage, idle times, vehicle authorization, harsh turning, rapid acceleration, or instances of speeding – any of which can be set to automatically send alerts to managers when triggered.

A customizable dashboard allow managers to decide which KPIs are the most important, and whether they’d prefer to see their fleet in real time via the satellite view, a GPS map, a list of vehicles, or even a street-level camera.

Check out Tech.co’s full Teletrac Navman review for more details on these features, pricing, and support.

These three FMS systems are far from your only options, of course: Check out Tech.co’s comparison of the best fleet management systems for a more detailed breakdown.


ELD Tracking FAQs

What will happen if I don’t install ELDs?

Without an ELD, a fleet won’t be able to record the HOS data needed to pass a roadside inspection. The ELD mandate initially went into effect on December 18, 2017 – any fleets that were already operating with AOBRDs were grandfathered into the law, but still need to upgrade to ELDs by December 16, 2019. After that date, almost all commercial motor vehicles operating in the US will need ELDs in order to avoid fines.

Failure to provide a record of duty status can result in a vehicle being placed out of service for ten hours, and the violation will be registered on that operation’s Safety Measurement System scores.

Do ELDs infringe on drivers’ privacy?

No, ELDs are not designed to infringe on privacy. However, they are designed to log HOS in an airtight manner, removing the possibility of driver interference or negligence.

Drivers won’t be held to any higher standards than the already existing regulation regarding on-duty statuses. In some cases, drivers even stand to benefit, as ELD data provides a record that helps ensure fleet managers cannot harass drivers to work beyond their legal hours of service.

Will ELDs contact the government after a HOS violation?

No, ELDs do not directly contact law enforcement. Any HOS violations logged during the previous six months can be accessed by any officers during a roadside inspection, but they will not be proactively sent to any regulatory agencies.

How do I choose the best ELD system for my company?

In order to determine which ELD service is best for your operation, you’ll need to be well-versed in several areas:

  • The requirements of the federal ELD mandate — This is covered in Tech.co’s guide to the ELD mandate
  • The features your fleet requires — ELD compliance is a must, but fuel tracking, two-way messaging, and even the maintenance or safety features of a full FMS may be useful as well
  • The features offered by each ELD service — This guide covers the key features offered by each of the top ELD vendors
  • The price range your operation needs — You’ll need to balance the long term benefits of adopting a feature-rich ELD against the short term financial burden the upfront costs represent

Once you have all four of these factors at the front of your mind, you’ll be ready to pick the best ELD for your needs.

How reliable are ELDs in real time?

ELDs typically depend on cell service or wifi hotspots to relay data to a centralized dashboard, so in some cases – particularly if the connection is poor – a fleet manager may not receive data in real time. However, the data remains stored on the device, and won’t be lost due to a lack of connection.

How long will I need to store ELD data?

All motor carriers must retain their record of duty status data from their ELDs for at least six months, according to the federal mandate. They’ll also need to store a backup copy of the same data in a secondary location for the same length of time.

Next Steps for Choosing ELD Tracking Software

The vendor-specific costs listed in our guide are intended as guidelines – prices in the ELD industry are rarely public knowledge, and are always subject to change. Once you know which vendors you are interested in, you should always reach out for a quote. If you operate a large enough fleet, the vendor may offer you a boutique quote aimed specifically at your needs. It’s also worth going through the FMCSA’s checklist to make sure everything you’ve got everything covered.

To find the best prices to ensure ELD compliance while saving your operation money in the long term, you’ll need to find and compare prices which are tailored to you. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, though – just take a couple minutes to fill out Tech.Co’s handy quote comparison, and you can easily track down the best ELD-compliant fleet management system for your business.

Upgrade your fleet today with ELD-compliant
fleet tracking and management software

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By clicking to compare, you’ll receive quotes from various suppliers, tailored to the needs of your business. If you enter into a contract with a provider, we may receive a payment for the introduction. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.