ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. It is DOT-certified electronic hardware that is attached to the vehicle’s engine to record driving hours. In the past, ELDs have been referred to as AOBRDs (Automatic On-board Recorders) or EOBRs (Electronic On-board Recorders).
Every ELD has a screen on which the driver can monitor their current status, and it also enables them to print hour logs when required. When connected to a fleet management software, ELDs can transmit real-time driving logs to a back office staff.
Only DOT-certified ELDs are used to record HOS. The latest ELD Mandate was announced on October 30th, 2015 and it stipulated specific requirements for any ELD hardware. The ELD Mandate requires that all commercial vehicles must have an ELD fitted to replace the paper log book system.
Electronic Logging Devices Reviews
|Device Name||Best Feature||Price|
|1.DriveELD||Compact and durable||$297|
|2.Zed ELD||Affordable monthly service plan||$1,620|
|3.Garmin eLog compliant ELD||No subscription fees||$249.95|
|4.VDO RoadLog||Very easy to install||$249|
|5. BigRoad’s DashLink ELD||User-friendly||$480/year|
|6. Konexial My20||Drastically cuts fuel costs||$130|
|7. Blue Tree Systems||The most open-end solution on the market||$995|
|8. Peoplenet Eld||Connects all devices to a single Wi-Fi hotspot||$575|
|9. Samsara||Premium customer service||$1,287|
|10. Teletrac||No monthly fee||$200|
Our Top Pick: DriveELD Review
Drive ELD is the easiest to use and most reliable ELD solution currently available on the market. Therefore, we rank it number one on our list of most efficient ELDs this summer. Built with professional drivers in mind, also meets all FMCSA requirements for the ELD mandate.
Every driver needs a smartphone or a tablet so as to start using DriveELD. A computer such as a laptop cannot be used to run the DriveELD mobile app. Also, your mobile device must be an Android running OS 5.0 or higher, or an Apple running iOS 9.0 or later. Your mobile device must also support a connection to the internet (cellular data plan is required) and Bluetooth 4.0 or later.
The device is as sturdy as it is compact and can be set up in a matter of minutes. Once the setup is complete, you need to sync it via Bluetooth. This done, you can now rest assured that your Hours of Service (HOS) logging is fully compliant with the FMCSA ELD mandate.
DriveELD provides a slick, modern, user-friendly app for drivers to record their activity. The app is free for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Drivers are also able to take photos of paperwork, accident damage, or anything they consider worth capturing, and send in the images through the app.
The app is capable of recording real-time information on the device, and it securely stores data by means of cloud based storage. It communicates with other mobile devices without interfering with your cellular connectivity.
DriveELD is the easiest to use ELD solution and it costs only $99 a year, per truck. You needn’t worry about hidden fees, neither is there any long-term commitment. The company even offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can test their solution risk-free and see if it fits your needs.
Our Second Choice: Zed ELD
Get fully compliant with the FMCSA mandate with ZED. This ELD solution fills in all mandatory FMCSA documentation, including daily certification, duty status records, Hours of Service, and DVIR reports for DOT inspections to keep you covered.
You can install ZED in just a few minutes with zero initial training. All you need to do is connect the ZED app to the ZED Bluetooth Adapter that is connected to your truck’s OBD port. This ELD’s user-friendly and intuitive design allows drivers to fully focus on the road while ZED is constantly tracking their Hours of Service and completing their e-logs for them.
The dashboard enables the fleet manager or dispatcher to see the location and status of their drivers. GPS locations are updated every fifteen minutes.
To get started with ZED, you just need to pay a one-time cost of only $200 for a ZED Bluetooth Adapter for each truck, and then you’re good to go. There’s no contract, no monthly subscription plans, no installation fee, and no hidden charges.
In order to get started using the ZED ELD adapter two separate events must take place. However, it does not matter in what order they are completed. First, a driver or owner operator must install the ZED app from the iOS or Google play store and create an account. Then, the driver must be added to a company fleet through the Fleet Management Portal or FMP site (fmp.zed-eld.com).
Drivers can be added in two ways, depending on whether the driver is already registered with the company or not. If the driver is not registered with any other fleet for the company, all you need to do in order to add a new driver is enter CDL# and State of the driver.
If the driver is already registered with other fleet or fleets of the company, you can add him by using the ‘Add Existing’ option. Managers can choose to allow Personal Conveyance, Yard Moves, and ELD Exemption for drivers to meet the requirements.
Our 3rd Pick: Garmin eLog Compliant ELD Review
Garmin eLog is the easy route to ELD compliance. It boasts simple setup, with one-time purchase and no subscription fees. Right out of the box, this device supports 9-pin J1939 and 6-pin J1708 diagnostic ports to fit nearly any semi-truck model.
The hours of service (HOS) are recorded in compliance with FMCSA and ELD mandates. The device also stores ELD records securely on your compatible mobile device, accessible for inspection via the device’s USB port, or via the FMCSA web services through Bluetooth.
Drivers should download the free Garmin eLog app to their GPS and Bluetooth®-enabled smartphone to complete the ELD compliance solution. Please note that some Garmin dēzl™ navigators have the app pre-installed and do not require a smartphone to complete the solution.
The Garmin eLog compliant FMCSA-registered electronic logging device is your straightforward solution to guarantee that your HOS recording complies with FMCSA ELD mandates. All you have to do is purchase it, install it and drive. You never need to worry about subscription fees or ongoing costs.
This ELD is incredibly simple to set up. You just plug in the Garmin eLog device, download the free Garmin eLog™ app, and you’re ready to go. Please note that Garmin eLog is not compatible with vehicles using the OBD2 protocol (SAE J1979). Volvo Trucks with a Volvo engine which have a 16-pin J1962 configuration will require a 16-pin to 9-pin adapter cable, which is sold separately.
Garmin eLog™ functions with a number of Garmin dēzl GPS truck navigators that are sold separately such as, for example dēzl 580, dēzl 780, and dēzlCam 785. Thus, you can easily view duty status and HOS information right on the navigator’s display. Some dēzl navigators need a smartphone or a tablet in order to show remaining hours on the dēzl display.
With Garmin eLog you can rest assured that your HOS recording fully complies with the FMCSA and ELD mandates.
Our 4th Choice: VDO RoadLog
The VDO RoadLog provides ELD functionality without data connection or monthly costs. Continental also offers the VDO RoadLog Plus, which boasts the same ELD capabilities, plus a cellular data connection to support GPS tracking and communication with the back office.
Jam-packed With Features At $0/Mo
VDO RoadLog™ ELD from Continental is one of the few FMCSA recognized ELDs that can be yours with no monthly fees. It is capable of transfering log data by wireless, USB transfer, or an instant paper log from the built-in thermal printer. RoadLog ELD works with Continental’s compliance, reporting and fleet management tool called VDO RoadLog™ Office.
RoadLog users can choose to space out the cost of their RoadLog system out over 36 months with the FlexPay program. After 36 months, the ELD becomes all yours.
RoadLog ELD provides automatic recording for IRP, IFTA miles-per-state, and electronic logbook compliance for US, Canada, Alaska, and Oilfield regulations. Drivers can record pre- and post-trip inspections (DVIR) onscreen and the reports then become part of the log.
On-duty, Driving, Sleeper Berth, and Off-Duty status are tracked automatically, based on vehicle movement, and automatic warnings are issued when the driver is approaching HOS limits.
Data-recording capabilities include driver log, vehicle events, vehicle tracking, trailer assignments, shipment documents, total odometer, refueling, vehicle speed, and idling analysis. The VDO RoadLog™ Office online tool helps automate compliance reporting and record keeping, and it provides the ability to map vehicle’s travel.
Data access is protected by password, RoadLog USB Keys, and a digital signature. These security features guarantee the authenticity and integrity of all stored data. No info is shared except data required by FMCSA compliance regulations.
Continental guarantees that RoadLog provides 100% ELD mandate compliance, and the company offers free software updates to maintain compliance as FMCSA regulations change. RoadLog ELD is FMCSA registered and has passed the FMCSA data transfer test.
Our 5th Choice: DashLink ELD By BigRoad
BigRoad is a very common stand-alone app for drivers who prefer to keep logs on their smartphone. More recently, they have added some ELD hardware that enables the app to connect to the truck’s engine data. This system really shines as a simple, user-friendly and affordable option. There are not many extras, but it does the job when it comes to providing easy-to-use log compliance at a competitive price.
Annoying Access Fees
While drivers pay nothing to install the app, all fleet owners pay access fee in the amount of $15 per driver per month for access. Surprisingly, there is also a $15per month charge for office users who may need to access the system.
Of course, you also need an Apple or Android mobile device with a suitable data plan. Drivers could be asked to provide their own, but if your company is providing such, you can probably get a free device with a service contract and a basic data plan for something like $15/mo. To sum up, you are looking at a total of $40 per month, plus the cost any mounting hardware you pay upfront.
Developed with simplicity in mind
The app is developed with simplicity in mind, but at the same time it does provide a few helpful extra features, such as a google map that shows driver’s location and traffic.
The driver can easily view their upcoming recap hours, and can also email, fax, or print their logs from the device. There is only a very basic inspection form that enables a driver to certify that an inspection has been carried out and comment on any defects.
Sales reps and support staff are friendly and well trained on the product and HOS regulations. In a nutshell, you get a good experience for a great price.
Back office extras
To back office users BigRoad provides GPS tracking, simple messaging, and a nice snapshot of current HOS compliance. There are also a few reports that show things like miles per state for IFTA reporting. Lacking are many of the more advanced management features like MPG and engine fault codes, idling reports, DVIR tracking and alerts, Macros and Workflow, and official out-of-the-box TMS integrations.
Our 6th Choice: Konexial My20
The Konexial My20 ELD-ready is designed to conform to specific technical specifications and serve as a "one-stop shop" for customers who need to meet the ELD mandate requirements.
When it comes to compliance and readiness for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, being able to find what's needed in one place can take much of the stress out. Konexial My20 is designed with freedom from stress in mind.
The My20 ELD by Konexial is the lowest cost ELD on the market and the top rated ELD on Amazon. No additional hardware is needed except for your Apple or Android smartphone and the free My20 app which is downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Konexial’s highly-professional customer support team is available to guide drivers through set up and daily use. With Konexial’s premium customer care, you can rest assured that no question will remain unanswered.
To get started, just install the My20 ELD in your diagnostic port, download the app and link your smartphone to the app via Bluetooth. The My20 ELD has a standard 9-pin (J1939) ECM connector, as well as adapters for OBD-II or 6-PIN ECM port connections.
No Empty Miles
GoLoad Dynamic Load Matching opportunities flow to drivers and dispatchers, helping earn more by reducing empty miles.
Our Seventh Pick: Blue Tree Systems ELD
Blue Tree Systems has been in the telematics industry for almost two decades. Their target customers are large fleets and their ELD solution has been developed with reefer monitoring in mind.
Features & Tools
Blue Tree still offer some interesting features that might make them worth the price tag for certain fleets. First, the unit can be installed completely behind the dashboard, making it more covert and difficult to tamper.
Most of the standard features a driver would expect are also present: logs, DVIRs, messaging, navigation, engine codes, IFTA, etc. The app feels fairly modern and easy to understand.
Given this ELD’s relatively high price, it is surprising why drivers cannot yet email or fax their logs from the tablet. Also, Daily recap hours for the upcoming week are not easily visible.
The Android app allows the system to be used on a personal smartphone or tablet, but it does not support HOS recording for now. Blue Tree’s new fleet management software for back office users is still in development.
Because the system runs on Garmin and TomTom, drivers are provides with integrated, truck-specific navigation. The app also boasts some interesting tools like HOS coaching.
It is designed to help drivers plan their day and get the most out of their driving time. Blue Tree has existing integrations with a lot of major software companies like TMW and McLeod among others.
High total price
Considering the work-in-progress feeling that the software creates, the price tag may be a tough pill for many fleet managers to swallow. At nearly $1000, the up-front hardware cost is among the priciest on the market. This price is for BT500 hardware and the Garmin option.
Going with TomTom is even more expensive. There is a service subscription fee of $40 per month. If you sign a five-year contract, the hardware and the service will cost you about $60 per month. Some larger fleet budgets may accept this option, but many smaller customers will likely be driven away.
Our Eight Pick: ConnectedFleet By PeopleNet
PeopleNet provides fleet mobility technology for North America’s land transportation industry that allows greater levels of safety, compliance, cost reduction and customer service.
Leading ELD provider
PeopleNet is a top provider of fleet mobility technology. Its ConnectedFleet Platform is the first platform to provide a comprehensive fleet mobility solution that integrates pure SaaS and mobile technologies with real-time predictive analytics.
Through PeopleNet’s ConnectedFleet Platform, fleets are now able to subscribe to specific data based on their specific needs, and receive it as it is published in almost real-time.
The new PeopleNet ConnectedFleet Platform is the next generation in fleet mobility. It provides radically new options and extras unseen before. The platform allows faster integration of new data from a large number of truck sensors and solutions that respond faster to customer needs for improved safety, enhanced efficiency in logistics, and reduced environmental impact.
The PeopleNet Mobile Gateway™ system is a smart vehicle-bridging unit that is available factory-fit or installed after the purchase of the platform. It serves as a hub that provides connectivity to a variety of devices such as in-cab displays, mobile devices and wearables.
It operates on high-speed networks and works as a wireless access point within the vehicle. The Mobile Gateway connects through PeopleNet’s managed network to a cloud-based infrastructure using high-speed data networks and WiFi.
PeopleNet Mobile Software is available for Android operating systems. The release of this software supports growing demand for company-owned, personally enabled (COPE) devices.
The software gives fleet managers greater access to a number of commercial-grade mobile devices, connected to individual trucks, with the framework to support and allow some personal adjustment. For example, drivers can select the PeopleNet ConnectedTablet option or one of many PeopleNet-certified off-the-shelf devices, depending on their specific needs.
Our 9th Choice: J. J. Keller ELD
If you’ve been interested in E-Logs, but have also been concerned about the cost to implement, now you can the time to take a closer look. Put J. J. Keller’s regulatory compliance expertise to work for you.
You get the J. J. Keller® Encompass® online fleet management system to perform audits and generate reports from driver ELogs. The system can also be accessed by fleet management at any time, while its self-guided set-up makes installation smooth and easy.
Once you set up your driver roster, you can choose the Hours of Service rule set that each driver will follow, so as to minimize DOT violations risk.
J. Keller’s offer for new ELD customers: $249 per ELD, $50 per adapter, plus a monthly Encompass online fleet management system service fee, starting at $10.95 per driver.
If drivers use their own smartphones, then you pay only $199 for the Elog box up front and $25.50 per month, which is only $1,117 per device for three years.
On the more expensive side you could use the official J.J. Keller tablet and add Co-Pilot Navigation, for which you’ll pay $548 up front and $59/mo. This gives a quite substantial 3-year cost of $3,032.
Our last choice: Teletrac ELD
This ELD solution sits at the bottom of our list, and for a good reason. We are firmly convinced that every ELD deserves its spot on the market, however controversial its reviews may be. With Teletrac, however, we were disappointed to find out that very few users on the Internet had said a good word or two about it.
Teletrac’s most appealing feature is its pricing structure. They charge a fixed monthly amount per unit, with no up-front costs. This is very convenient for fleets trying to avoid shelling out a large amount of initial cash, or seeking extra financing. For them, Teletrac’s pay-as-you go model seems to be a great solution.
Most users unanimously agree that Teletrac’s hardware is somehow hastily made, which makes it prone for frequent malfunctions. This is especially true of the display devices, and the wiring harnesses that connect them.
Many drivers have complained that initial training is difficult, because the system does not seem to make much instinctive sense to them. Again, we are firmly convinced that Teletrac’s engineers are working tirelessly to make things better but, for now, drivers’ find it quite challenging to get used to this ELD’s interface. Their back-office tool called Fleet Director is a little better, but there is much to be desired with regard to its design.
Inefficient Customer Support
As far as customer support is concerned, this isn’t one of Teletrac’s strong points either. Support was close to non-existent. Turnover among Tier 1 tech support staff seems quite high, and their training is not sufficient against the background of frequent hardware failures and software bugs.
We believe Teletrac is working to improve, and we would love to re-evaluate their product later. The price scheme is certainly appealing. If cost is your top priority, they can serve the purpose of keeping you compliant without breaking the bank.
Our Final Say
Thanks for reading our review of the most efficient ELD devices this summer. We hope that it has helped you to make an informed choice as regards the purchase of an ELD fully compliant with the FMCSA mandate. Make sure to read our future reviews to keep up with the latest updates in the sector.