Top E Logs For Owner Operators – Best ELD Devices For Truckers

Posted in Electronic Logging Devices
(Last Updated On: November 16, 2018)

Every Day, I get asked, which devices are the best eld devices for truckers? What are the top e logs for owner operators?

For starters, lets agree that the best device might be different for every trucker and every owner operator.

I am sure that if you’re looking to purchase an ELD devices for your fleet, you are already aware of the eld mandate.

However, do you know what are you looking for features-wise? Do you know whats the price range for such device?

It may seem overwhelming, however, when you begin to research the multitude of options available and the pros an cons of each.

We made a list of the most widely used elogs before. However, in this article, we will  go a step further.
In other words , we are going to review the best devices for owner operators.

Affordability is Key

Of course, you’ll want to ensure they device is affordable and worth the sticker price, and you’ll need to consider whether there are other hidden fees.

Some devices are available for a one-time fee, and others include monthly service fees and other hidden costs.

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Reliability Perhaps is More Important

Product-wise, there are some devices that are reportedly more reliable than others, and some brands have stood the test of time, while others are new to the market.

Sometimes it can be worth paying for a brand’s reputation, but that isn’t always the case. Newer to market products may prove to be just as reliable at the end of the day.

You don’t want to sink your funds into a product that doesn’t work as expected, that disconnect often or glitches.  You also wouldn’t want to overpay for features that you can find in a comparable device for less.

You’ll want to ensure the e-logger is easy to install and use, and that drivers can quickly learn to operate features, so they can begin to use them immediately.  Technical support is important should they encounter unforeseen issues while on the road. You’ll want to be able to quickly troubleshoot and get back to business.

Which device you choose to go with is important mainly because ELD tracking is an essential part of your company’s operation.  Staying in compliance with the latest federally mandated regulations means staying on the road.

E-logs for owner operators and Return on Investment (ROI)

Using an ELD device (or truck tracker) will help calculate or weigh cost against the savings and increased productivity you can gain with different ELDs.

Since you need an ELD to meet the HOS requirements, you'll need software that integrates with software features such as vehicle monitoring, two-way communication, improved routing and much more.

Top E Logs For Owner Operators Reviewed | 2018 Guide

 Product NameInitial CostMonthly CostBest Feature
Keep Truckin $150$20Fuel monitoring
Garmin eLog $249$0No Monthly Fee
Stoneridge EZ-ELD $169$15Fleet Management
Blue Ink BIT $295$0for small fleets
Rand McNally ELD 50$150$20Driver connect app
LINXUP ELD $149.99 $49.99
GPS integration
Omnitracs ELD$800$23 robust functionality
peoplenet ELD$0 * w/ contract$50IFTA reporting
Gorilla Safety ELD$0$10 full fleet Mgmt
Samsara ELD DevicesSamsara ELD$129$400 (annual license)Dash cams optional

First Choice: KeepTruckin ELD Device

Pros
  • Includes geofencing and fuel monitoring
  • Monthly payments as low as $20.00/month
  • Come with the ability to send photos through the app, if desired
  • Advanced engine diagnostics
  • 24/7 technical support
Cons
  • Long term contract required
  • Software service not included 
  • Up charge for using a tablet

Second Choice: Garmin eLog ELD Device

Pros
  • Trusted brand name
  • No monthly fee
  • Low start-up costs
  • Will fit any standard 6- or 9- pin data port (adapter not required)
Cons
  • Basic, limited functionality
  • Not compatible with vehicles using OBD-II protocol (SAE J1979)
  • Vehicles with Volvo engine and 16-pin J1962 require separate cable (not included)
  • Up charge for using a tablet
  • Middle of the road price-wise; limited features may not be worth the price

Third Choice: My20 ELD Device

Pros
  • Quick install and easy to use
  • No contract required
  • 100% FMCSA approved
  • DOT certified
  • Only ELD with GoLoad (direct shipper loads). GoLoad Dynamic Load Matching opportunities flow to drivers and dispatchers, helping earn more by reducing empty miles.
  • No additional hardware needed to operate
  • One-year warranty available
  • IFTA mileage included
  • Konexial will repair or replace your ELD as long as you maintain your monthly service
Cons
  • No support for 6-pin adapter
  • No exterior USB port
  • Subscription service required and most remain current in order for updates to install properly
  • Some users have reported consecutively issues

Fourth Choice: GPSit1000BZL LTE Vehicle Tracking Device

Pros
  • Newer LTE model with full ELD compliance
  • No contract required
  • One-year of service included with purchase
  • No hidden fees or monthly service charges
  • Works with OAY1000 OBD adapter for OBD installs
  • One-year hardware warranty available
  • Easy three wire installation
  • Includes hardware, data, software, and mobile access (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and others) making it easy to use on just about any device
  • Users report it comes with great technical support if needed
Cons
  • No hardcopy installation manual: must be downloaded online
  • Users report the website could be easier to navigate and understand
  • Users have reported unintentional, mistaken firmware pushed to the unit causing it to glitch

Fifth Choice: ZED Connect ZED - ELD

Pros
  • No contract, no monthly fees, no installation fees, and no hidden fees
  • Powered by Cummins, a trusted brand name
  • Bluetooth adapter works with ZED ELD mobile app (iOS/Android) to automatically collect data required for FMCSA E-log HOS reporting
  • ZED completes all mandatory FMCSA documentation (i.e., daily certification, duty status records, Hours of Service, and DVIR reports)
  • The 16-pin OBDII adapter is compatible with most American made vehicles 2008 and newer
  • Compatible with 2013 and newer Volvo/Mac Trucks w/16-pin diagnostic port
Cons
  • Bluetooth Adapter hardware and cables may be required and are purchase separately
  • Some users have reported connectivity issues
  • When the device malfunctions, noncompliance error messages are generated which can lead to a need for manual reporting
  • Some users have reported recorded drive time that didn’t actually happen even when trucks are not on the road
  • Some users have reported the e-logger frequently malfunctions and switches drivers intermittently to on- and off- duty status

Sixth Choice: Rand McNally ELD 50® E-Log Device

Pros
  • DVIR stores a lot of information, so users don’t have to worry about data being overwritten
  • Use gauges feature to show current engine stats in customizable dashboard and allows drivers to quickly diagnose engine problems
  • Easy to install
  • Simple to operate
Cons
  • May not work with older Android devices
  • Works best with smaller fleets
  • Users report it can be unreliable and disconnects at times
  • Users report no technical support when needed
  • Doesn’t fit all trucks
  • Cannot change drive time with the time is recorded inaccurately
  • Requires monthly subscription fee
  • Hold up to one day’s worth of data at a time
  • If an Android phone does not connect within that one-day window, then the data does not back up and earlier data is deleted

Seventh Choice: ThinAir ELD Device

Pros
  • FMCSA Registered and Compliant ELD
  • Manufacturer guarantees compliance for Hours of Service (HOS) regulations now and into the future
  • Complete DVIR reports
  • Customizable pre, post, and ad-hoc inspection with voice dictation feature
  • IFTA Reporting On Demand
  • Easily import or manually input fuel receipts, track fuel costs by state, and fuel type
  • Simple to install
  • Easy to use with an intuitive interface
  • 24/7 technical support
Cons
  • Requires subscription for use
  • There is a registration process for switching between vehicles
  • For monthly pricing, company requires that user call the sales department (there is no set rate available online)

Eighth Choice: J.J. KELLER Encompass ELog Electronic Logging Device

Pros
  • Free easy-to-use e-log app
  • Simple installation
  • Proven driver interface
  • Works with iPhone, iPad, and Most Android devices
  • One-touch e-logging for better time management
  • Online dashboard to view and store past logs
  • Service plans include e-logs with optional automated fuel tax reporting
  • Compatible with all vehicle classes (1-8)
  • 15 Different Hours of Service (HOS) rule sets
Cons
  • User have reported an inability to print daily fuel purchases
  • Users have reported it will switch to drive when they are stopped

Ninth Choice: Stoneridge EZ-ELD Device

Pros
  • Easy to use and install
  • FMCSA-certified to provide total control of federally mandated compliance obligations
  • Multiple adaptors connect to it and can be easily switched between vehicles
  • Capable of storing up to six months of data
  • Allows users to view timesheet calendars for up to thirty days at a time
  • IFTA & vehicle inspection included in the package
Cons
  • Company is still building its brand’s reputation
  • Users report poor instructions and support
  • Users report the device frequently disconnects
  • Faulty devices cannot be returned (no return policy)

Tenth Choice: Omnitracs Intelligent Vehicle Gateway (IVG)

Pros
  • Completely stable connection through state-of-the-art gateway
  • Black 9-pin, type I harness
  • Hardware complies with ELD mandate requirements
  • Intelligent Voice Gateway (IVG) allows drivers to access key features by voice activated commands.  This allows them to use the features without taking their eyes of the road.
  • Backwards compatible to coexist seamlessly with legacy Omnitracs platforms
  • Comes equipped with dash cams
  • Comes equipped with in-cab scanning
  • Includes tire pressure monitoring
Cons
  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Requires some time to set up
  • Frequent updates needed in order for device to work properly

Buyer’s Guide: Important Factors When Choosing an ELD Device

When purchasing ELD devices for your fleet, there are many important aspects to consider.  You’ll want to ensure the product is within your budget and has the features you desire 

You’ll also want to make sure the device is relatively easy to install and use.

In addition, you will want t make sure your drivers can quickly learn the ropes, so they’ll remain on the road and in compliance at all times.
You’ll need to purchase a product that complies will all current industry standards and regulations.

This is vary important since many legacy products (such as onboard devices) will not fulfil current mandates.

it is paramount to select a device that is up-to-date with all federal regulations.  Some products include warranties and manufacturer guarantees so that users (the drivers) can be sure the product will remain in compliance as updates are needed.

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Technical Support 

Should your drivers encounter technical issues while on the road, you’ll want to make sure the ELD device comes with 24/7 guided support. This is super important. The customer service team should troubleshoot the issue in a timely manner so your trucks can get back on the road.

Limited or no technical support will mean wasted time attempting to manually log drive time. Because drivers are required to keep track of their time on the road, manual logging is necessary if the device fails.

You’ll need a device that connects seamlessly and stays connected.  You don’t want to have to fuss with one that disconnects frequently or loses data.  You also don’t want to worry about it capturing inaccurate information which you may or may not be able to overwrite depending on its features.  

Information Storage On Device

You want to purchase an e-logger that stores an adequate amount of relevant data for a prolonged period of time.  This way, the device won’t overwrite data that could still be needed or stop logging because it reached maximum capacity.  

You'd want to be able to access all needed information quickly and easily, so you can keep up with your reporting procedures.

You may want to look at an ELD with the most robust back office features. This way you can analyze a multitude of reports and keep track of your team.  You’ll want to be able to print these reports and share them as necessary.

Choose the best features for you

Some devices come with advanced features that others don’t. Again, you will want to select the features that are meaningful to you.

Pricing should be a primary consideration.  You don’t want to overpay for features that are available on comparable, lower cost devices. Some can be purchased for a one-time, out the door fee. Others require an activation fee and monthly subscription fees. Some come with warranties, and others require you to purchase these separately, if available.

Be sure to account for any miscellaneous hardware that may be required and needs to be added a la carte.  

 

The ELD device you select should be compatible with the equipment installed in your trucks. Occasionally, an adapter and cord will need to be purchased separately in order for the device to work with your vehicles.  Read the fine print to determine if you’ll need additional hardware in order to complete installation.

 

You’ll want to take some time and do some thorough research, so you know you’re buying a product that is compatible with the devices you will be pairing with the e-logger.  If your fleet used Android devices, you’ll need to purchase ones that will work with this operating system. You’ll also want to ensure the e-loggers work with the device models your drivers are using.  

Some of the newer devices will not pair properly with older operating systems. You wouldn’t want to have to replace all of the drivers’ devices along with the product you chose before they’re able to get on the road.

If you are not sure which system is better for you, you can get free expert advice by filling out the form below.


Lastly, you’ll want to see if the company you’re purchasing from has a return policy on their ELD products should you encounter unsolvable issues or inadvertently discover the e-logger doesn’t pair well with your vehicles or devices.  You don’t want to be left hanging on to a product that is unusable.

 

Again, some products also come with a one- or two-year service warranty, which may be included in the initial purchase price or may require an additional fee.  If the product you are considering comes with a warranty, make sure you understand what is included. Sometimes you’ll be able to get a basic warranty with your initial purchase and will need to buy an extended warranty that is more comprehensive.

 

Some brand names have stood the test of time, and others are newer to the market.  Sometimes the reputation of the longer-standing brand warrants a higher purchase price.  But, this isn’t always the case. There are many newer to market brands that include comparable features at a lower fee simply because the brand is still building its reputation.

 

Take the size of your operation, the number of trucks you have on the road, and overall distance traveled into consideration, as well as the information you’ll need your drivers to capture and your budget for ELD expenses.  Above all, purchase the product that works best for your individual company’s needs and that will allow you to stay in compliance.

 

Conclusion

There are pros and cons to each ELD device on the market.  The key is choosing one that best fits your needs. Some work great for smaller fleets but aren’t equipped for larger ones.  Others work well for all sizes.

You’ll want to make a purchasing decision based on price and available features.  The product should be easy to install and operate and come with competent, readily available customer support should a driver encounter technical issues.  The key is to get drivers up and running quickly and keep them on the road.

Some products come with warranties, otherwise don’t.  Some are easy to return, and others can’t be returned at all.  Always read the fine print and ensure you’re covered should you encounter an issue that isn’t easy to resolve.

Do your research first, comparing and contrasting models to find the best fit.  This guide is designed help you make an informed decision. At the end of the day, you’ll know what you need from your ELD device!

Comment (1)

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