Every Day, I get asked, which devices are the best eld devices for truckers?
What are the top e logs for owner-operators?
Is there any owner-operator eld exemption?
For starters, let’s agree that the best device might be different according to each business’s needs.
I am sure that if you’re looking to purchase an ELD device for your fleet, you are already aware of the eld mandate.
Even though some truckers have not installed an ELD Device on their trucks, and to be honest, there are advantages to having it installed.
However, do you know what you’re looking for in the best eld devices for small fleets? Do you know the price range for such a device? Is there any eld exemption for the owner-operator?
Though there is some eld exemption that you can check in our article “ELD Exemptions“ updated in 2019, but overall, it is most likely that you must comply with the Mandate.
It may seem overwhelming, however, when you begin to research the multitude of options available and the pros and cons of each e-logs for owner-operators.
We have made a list of the most widely used e-logs, and in this article, we will go a step further.
In other words, we are going to review the best ELD devices for owner-operators.
Affordability is Key
Of course, you’ll want to ensure the 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.
Reliability Perhaps is More Important
Some devices 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-log is easy to install and use, and that drivers and owner-operators can quickly learn to operate it, so they can begin to use them immediately.
Technical support is vital if the driver encounters unforeseen issues while on the road; you’ll want to be able to troubleshoot and get back to business quickly.
Which device you choose to go with is essential mainly because ELD tracking is a crucial 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 the cost and increased productivity.
Since you need an ELD to meet the HOS requirements, you’ll need a solution that integrates with software features such as vehicle monitoring, two-way communication, improved routing, and much more.
What Makes an eld Suitable for Owner-operators?
To owner-operators, the best ELD solution depends on many factors. There are many things you should know to purchase the right e-log solution for your truck(s).
As I said earlier, the best eld devices for small fleets need to be accurate, inexpensive and easy to use.
However, below are the key factors you should consider before purchasing the best eld for owner-operators.
As you have known, some owners-operators who object to the ELD mandate base their claims on the price of the solution.
For all eld solutions out there, this isn’t the case. However, for owner-operators, some of the ELD options available today are quite inexpensive.
As far as e-logs for owner-operators are concerned, here are a few of primary considerations you must make:
Although ELD systems seem to be very simple pieces of technology, however, some of them may be super expensive.
And you may not have the cash to spend on such an expensive solution as an owner-operator.
If you’d still like to get the eld devices that are more complex and often costly, you can think about buying the devices that offer to finance.
In such a situation, at a much more reasonable upfront cost, you will have the device.
Then according to your preferred monthly service plan, you will start paying for the device
As you might be aware, the complexity of various ELD implementations varies. And Tthe mode of installation can range from easier approaches to the most complex.
As an owner-operator looking to save some money on e-logs, it is best to go for the eld solution you can install on your own.
Additionally, you can go for some providers that install the device free of charge in your vehicle(s).
Therefore, on the installation of the device in your car, you would be able to save some money.
Monthly Subscription Fees
Depending on your favorite eld solution provider, you will need to commit to a monthly subscription plan to use your back-office software tools.
This fee also varies from provider to provider.
While affordability has become an important factor to consider for you, however, I would like to recommend that you should choose a provider that offers cheap monthly subscription plans.
Any best eld for owner-operators should comply with the provisions of the ELD mandate and must, therefore, be FMCSA certified.
As such, before buying the device, you must first check if the device is on the FMCSA list of approved products.
Unless, for any cause, it is found that the ELD system mounted in your truck(s) is not compliant, replacing with a compliant eld solution will be needed within eight days.
Not only is this inconvenient, but it will cost more money as well. Also, for the non-compliant vehicle, you could end up getting penalized and receiving a citation.
Stay on the right side of the law, get your truck’s approved and certified by using FMCSA elog solution.
Dedicated e-Log or BYOD
As you decide on the best eld devices for small fleets, you have to understand that requirements vary from business to business.
Therefore, it will rely on your business needs to choose either BYOD or Dedicated eld systems.
So which among the two e-log systems is right for your business?
Dedicated electronic logging systems provider will provide you with everything that you need, including ELD software and a one-time upfront cost, including viewing platforms such as mobile devices or tablets.
Many ELD providers are believed to sell the equipment free or discounted or on payment terms to owner-operators.
If that is your preferred ELD solution type, it is recommended that you first ask regarding the current features before buying the device.
Almost all of today’s major dedicated ELD solutions are considered to have limited functionality, beyond logging.
Therefore, choose a dedicated device that is robust and also has the features you need to make sure you get a good return on your investment.
BYOD e-Log Device
These ELD systems allow you to bring your own devices, like tablets or smartphones.
Therefore, you only need to purchase the e-log system and attach it to a separately purchased mobile device.
Such an e-log system is called versatile and, if you have a mobile device, it will save you some money.
The drawback of such an ELD system is that you would have to pay an additional fee separately for cellular connection.
Drivers once again have to use their mobile devices to access the ELD, which may result in distractions when driving.
Beyond logging, your preferred best eld devices for owner operator should provide extra features for enhanced versatility.
You should, therefore, go for the brand that provides the functionality you need as an owner-operator.
And this will primarily depend on how many trucks you have as an owner-operator. For example, if you don’t have more than one vehicle in your fleet, you may not really need GPS tracking.
You should also guarantee that your preferred e-log provider provides the right back-office software for your company in addition to the ELD apps.
A few of the standard features of an eld solution that you may want to include:
- HOS logs
- Signature capture
- Document scanning
- Tire pressure tracking
- Real-time GPS tracking
- Dashboard video camera
- Dashboard for a fleet manager
- Maintenance and diagnostic reports
Top E Logs For Owner Operators
|Product Name||Initial Cost||Monthly Cost||Best Feature|
|Keep Truckin||$150||$20||Fuel monitoring|
|Garmin eLog||$249||$0||No Monthly Fee|
|Stoneridge EZ-ELD||$169||$15||Fleet Management|
|Blue Ink BIT||$295||$0||for small fleets|
|Rand McNally ELD 50||$150||$20||Driver connect app|
|LINXUP ELD||$149.99||$49.99||GPS integration|
|Magellan ELD||$120||$10||Installation is simple and quick|
|Omnitracs ELD||$800||$23||robust functionality|
|Konexial ELD||$45||$300 (annual license)||includes all the fleet-management software|
|Peoplenet ELD||$0 * w/ contract||$50||IFTA reporting|
|Gorilla Safety ELD||$0||$10||full fleet Mgmt|
|Samsara ELD||$129||$400 (annual license)||Dash cams optional|
|J.J. Keller ELD||$199||$6||drivers can use their own smart devices|
|EROAD Ehubo ELD||$35||$35 to $60||Durable and easy to use|
|Switchboard ELD||$200||$10||smooth, user-friendly ELD|
|Verizon ELD||-||$60||Accurate HOS recording|
|BrigdeHaul ELD||$0||$15||One of the cheapest in the market with no upfront fees|
|FREE Zonar 2020||$0||$70||scan each of these RFID tags|
|VDO RoadLog Plus||$299||$20||Automatic logs auditing|
|Blue Tree Systems ELD||$1000||$40||HOS coaching|
|Carrierweb ELD||$700||$30||Easy to install|
|AT&T ELD||$0||$25||Auto Update of Duty Status|
|TRANSFLO ELD||$99||$25||Easy to install and use|
|Coretex DRIVE||$350||$46||TMU In-Vehicle Hardware|
1st Choice: KeepTruckin ELD Device
KeepTruckin ELD gives owner-operator maximum bang for their buck when invested in today’s most popular e-logs for owner-operators.
As an owner-operator, you first need a product that is inexpensive and user-friendly, and also offers something which will help your business grow.
When investing in a product that enables you to use your device, you will be able also to save cash on the ELD hardware.
You won’t have to dump this ELD for some other e-log solution as your fleet expands.
And this is because the device already has the resources you need as an owner-operator.
Now, in this ELD system’s more interesting details; the keeptruckin eld device cost is free. And, for owner-operators, this would be a tremendous relief.
Check our Keep Truckin ELD full review for further information.
2nd Choice: Garmin eLog ELD Device
While most of the best e-log for owner-operators are free or low cost to purchase, it could be a burden on your company to pay for your data service subscription every month
Owner-operators prefer e-logs that prevent this, which does not involve monthly subscription service fees.
The Garmin eld app is compliant ELD among the best e-log solution in this respect.
The system, however, is simple to set up and is integrated with both 6-pin J1708 and 9-pin J1939 port installations.
And this implies that every truck in your fleet can use the device.
Check our Garmin ELD full review for more info.
3rd Choice: My20 ELD Device
If you still feel that e-Logs have become too pricey for owner-operators, you haven’t heard of the Konexial My20 ELD.
This company is one of the major ELD providers offering their e-log solution hardware on hire terms.
And also, this provider’s monthly subscription service packages are affordable.
The My20 ELD, while inexpensive, is a useful and right solution for electronic logging.
Also, the device is loaded with essential features for productivity for your company.
And in general, you would love the apps intended to streamline your processes and increase your business ‘ efficiency.
For example, GoLoad — a vibrant load-matching service — is provided by the provider to make your life a little bit easier.
Likewise, the unique feature of GoFuel is also intended to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy.
And all this feature makes it possible for you to spend less while making a lot of money.
Some functionality you’ll get with this device is Messaging, GPS tracking, Maps, My20 Rewards, Time, Real-time dynamic load matching and reports.
For a monthly fee to of app, depending on the functionality you need, you can either choose the $15 or $25 package. And all the plans are paid quarterly.
4th Choice: VDO RoadLog ELD
VDO RoadLog ELD is primarily intended for owner-operators and fleet managers.
So, if you’re an independent owner-operator or you are responsible for fleet vehicle management and tracking, VDO RoadLog is the ELD you’re looking for.
With this e-log solution, how big your fleet is, and the number of trucks and drivers you have doesn’t matter.
The RoadLog VDO is ideal for owner-operators and large fleets.
User will also have MTO and DOT checks with the aid of this innovative e-log solution as they will never fail
And this will significantly increase business performance efficiency.
In particular, VDO RoadLog ELD is best suited for those seeking an inexpensive, quick compliance solution rather than a top-of-the-line ELD device offering loads of attractive additional features.
This e-log solution has comprehensive data recording features and provides many benefits for both owner-operators and fleet managers.
And also, this stand-alone ELD solution comes with a built-in printer, enabling drivers to print their logs on the go.
More importantly, VDO RoadLog is one of FMCSA certified devices, which ensures that compliance with the ELD requirement is guaranteed.
5th Choice: ZED Connect ZED – ELD
With more and more e-log devices to choose on the market, finding the right one is sometimes very difficult for an owner-operator.
Moreover, one thing is for sure; owners-operators are searching for low-cost and efficient ELD devices and apps.
In this regard, the best eld devices for small fleets have many benefits to offer owner-operators, including:
- If your fleet is operating on a tight budget, you should be using the ZED ELD solution as it also requires no monthly subscription fees
- The ELD device has many more features and benefits to deliver besides being affordable.
- This ELD device is completely unique, from the fleet management platform to Bluetooth-enabled adapter and drivers ‘ app
This e-log solution will simplify your fleet’s activities, boost operational efficiency while allowing you to make effective economic decisions
6th Choice: Rand McNally ELD 50® E-Log Device
The Rand McNally e-log solution ELD 50 provides you with a huge selection of features for less than $200.
You need to have an easy-to-install ELD solution as an owner-operator to avoid having to pay for installation.
Yeah, that's what this brand gives you.
You should plug the device into the diagnostic port to mount it; however, this port is mostly located under the dashboard.
This software is capable of delivering comprehensive DVIR reports in addition to the standard ELD functionality.
You would also appreciate the fact that sometimes, a large amount of data can be stored on the vehicle's functions and metrics.
This e-log solution can keep collecting logs when you are out of wireless network coverage or when the connected device isn't with you.
In such a situation, the logs are kept in the internal storage, which can hold logs worth of 2 days’ logs.
You may transfer the stored data to the Rand McNally web interface for processing when you are connected to the internet on the tethered phone.
This database will store up to 6months of such data.
Check our Rand McNally e-Log review.
7th Choice: ThinAir ELD Device
With the ELD requirement, ensuring that you comply with the right solution that works is crucial.
ThinAir ELD is one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market at the moment for an owner-operator.
More comfortable to use it and easy to operate, and also, the system makes things a lot easier for the user while ensuring compliance, enhancing security, and offer productivity optimization.
This BYOD e-log solution connects directly to the diagnostic port of the vehicle and automatically connects via Bluetooth to your current mobile Apple or Android device.
The ThinAir ELD app streamlines many of the mundane operations, like automatic duty status transition, voice dictation with pre/post/Adhoc inspection (DVIR), one-button roadside inspection, etc.
Owner-operators can in real-time view logbooks, violations, inspection reports and more to minimize paperwork and simplify business activities with the ThinAir ELD HOS web portal.
Generate IFTA reporting on-demand, dispatch mobile staff, access mobile documents, and much more.
The ThinAir ELD is compliant with ELD/AOBRD in both the US and Canada.
8th Choice: J.J. KELLER Encompass ELog Electronic Logging Device
The E-log, in combination with the Encompass program, will standardize certain critical functions such as driver qualification, Hours of Service (HOS), driver quality monitoring, licensing, and even more.
J.J. Keller's e-log is an ELD solution that you can insert into your vehicle's diagnostic port as a black box.
It provides effective legal compliance and management of performance. Also, for compliance purposes, it logs DVIR and HOS data.
This system was specifically intended for owner-operator that want to enhance compliance by moving beyond logs.
You would end up paying, (the smallest amount one can pay for the device), an upfront fee of $199 with this e-log solution. And Keller e-Log box plus a monthly total of $25.5.
The total cost per unit for three years would be $1,117.
When selecting a JJ Keller e-log version, however, I would like to advise you to carefully evaluate the pricing and find bang-for-buck when implementing the deals.
Once you decide on one option, take stock of all available options.
Check our J.J. Keller ELD review.
9th Choice: Stoneridge EZ-ELD Device
Depending on your truck make and model, the Stoneridge EZ-ELD is a great choice for an owner-operator.
First of all, the e-log solution is certified by FMCSA and, therefore, will provide you full control over compliance requirements.
Again, transferring the device from one vehicle to another is comparatively easy. And the e-log solution comes with several adapters for installation on the various truck in this regard.
Many users of this device at the moment have shown satisfaction with its easy installation.
Check our full Stoneridge EZ-ELD review.
10th Choice: Omnitracs Intelligent Vehicle Gateway (IVG)
Omnitracs had been a renowned supplier of SaaS fleet management and groundbreaking transport technology solutions.
The Intelligent Vehicle Getaway (IVG) e-log is a clear demonstration of Omnitracs' desire to offer a competitive edge to its customers.
As such, Omnitracs' e-log approach aims to reduce costs, streamline processes, and improve driver efficiency in your fleet.
The right system for e-log ought to be compliant and significantly improve your fleet's performance, safety, and reliability.
Even though some of the industry's leading ELD implementations may only be successful at logging and compliance, however, everything is handled by the Omnitracs IVG.
The Omnitracs eld solution is designed primarily to improve safety, performance, and ease of use.
Omnitracs eld is clearly a trendsetter in the industry, ranging from easy installation through the user-friendly Intelligent Voice Interface and intuitive feature scope to intelligent alerts of this e-log solution.
The omnitracs eld is basically the accurate, budget-friendly, and useful e-log solution.
Check our full Omnitracs ELD review.
Buyer’s Guide: Important Factors When Choosing an ELD Device
When purchasing ELD devices for your fleet, there are many essential aspects to consider when you chose e logs for owner-operators.
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.
Also, you would want to make sure your drivers can quickly learn the ropes, so they’ll remain on the road and in compliance at all times.
Therefore, you’ll need to purchase an e-log that complies will all current industry standards and regulations for owner-operators.
And, this is very important since many legacy products (such as onboard devices) will not fulfill 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.
Should your drivers encounter technical issues while on the road, you’ll want to make sure, the ELD device comes with 24/7 support.
This is super important. The customer service team should troubleshoot the issue promptly so your trucks can get back on the road.
Limited or no technical support will mean a waste of time attempting to log drive time manually. 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 would also like to purchase an e-logger that stores an adequate amount of relevant data for a prolonged period.
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 the needed information quickly and easily, so you can keep up with your reporting procedures.
You may want to consider an ELD with the most robust back-office features.
And, 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 of e-logs for owner-operators
Some devices come with advanced features that others don’t. However, you should select the features that are meaningful to you.
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 for the device to work with your vehicles.
Read the fine print to determine if you’ll need additional hardware to complete the installation.
Also, I want to advise you 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 it with.
For example, if your fleet used Android devices, you’ll need to purchase ones that will work with this operating system.
And, also ensure that 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.
Check the policies!
Lastly, you’ll want to see if the company you’re purchasing from has a return policy on their ELD products.
And this is very useful if 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 an unusable product.
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 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 much 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 company’s needs, and that will allow you to stay in compliance.
There are pros and cons to each ELD device on the market. The key is choosing one e-logs for owner-operators that feeds your needs and cover eld exemption. If you manage a fleet it's worth it to check other Fleet Management Systems such as Verizon (known as Fleetmatics Reveal) or GPS Insight.
Some work great for smaller fleets but aren’t equipped for larger ones. Others work well for all sizes. Therefore, you should 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 if a driver encounters technical issues. The key is to get drivers up and running quickly and keep them on the road.
Do your research first, comparing and contrasting models to find the best fit.
This guide of best eld devices for the owner-operator is designed to help you make an informed decision. At the end of the day, you’ll know what you need about your ELD device!