Best ELD Devices of 2021 – Complete Round-up

Don
| Last Updated: May 6, 2021

The ELD mandate has made fleet operators and drivers rush to equip vehicles with a reliable ELD device.

An ELD or Electronic Logging Device monitors a driver's duty hours while improving productivity and efficiency. 

Picking the right ELD device can be a bit of a struggle, but we’re here to help! In this article, we have listed down some of the best ELD devices that might suit the needs of your business. Check them out!

Our Top Picks for ELD Devices

  • Hours of service
  • Compatible
  • Stores records
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  • Best for the Money
  • Very accurate
  • All inclusive
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  • Best For Small Fleets
  • Subscription service
  • Easy to use
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Comparison of the Best Electronic Logging Devices

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Compliance solution for hours of service
  • Supports 9-pin and 6-pin diagnostic ports
  • Stores ELD records securely on smartphone
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  • Best for the Money
  • Very accurate trips included
  • Everything you need in included
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  • Best ELD Devices For Small Fleets
  • Subscription service is required
  • Very easy to use
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best ELD Devices For Owner Operator
  • Complete DVIR reports in the field
  • Simple to use and easy to install
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What is an ELD Device and How Do E Logs Work?

An ELD device is designed for trucks and other logistic vehicles to record the driver's hour of service, amongst other variables. This technology has proved reliable for precise and accurate recordkeeping of electronic logs related to the truck.

The device tracks the truck's engine and records whether it is moving or not. Similarly, it also helps to record the engine's active hours as well as on-duty and off-duty hours of the driver.

The E-Log, also known as electronic logbooks, keeps a record of the HOS duty status with the help of the GPS tracker. All a driver needs to do is log into the EDL device and leave the rest to it.

Who Needs an ELD Device and Why?

ELD compliance is mandatory in the US since 16th December 2019. All the commercial vehicle drivers are required to install an ELD compliant device in their vehicle. It is beneficial for fleet operators and drivers in many ways. These include:

Minimizing Administrative Burden

Since an ELD automatically tracks and records a vehicle's movement, it saves the management from a lot of manual paperwork. With this device, there will be no need to manually record hours of service and store them.

Reducing Fuel Wastage

The incorporation of an ELD helps you track how much time each driver spends idling. This way, you can save money and reduce fuel wastage.

Vehicle Diagnostics

Since the ELD is directly connected to the vehicle's diagnostic port, it can easily monitor faulty codes. This helps in identifying recurring issues and ensuring maintenance.

Do Local Drivers Need ELD?

No, ELD isn’t legally required for local drivers. However, any driver who breaks the short-haul exception more than eight times in a month needs to install an ELD.

Who is Exempt From ELD Rule?

Drivers who use the 100 air-mile and 150 air-mile short-haul exceptions are exempted from the ELD rule. Similarly, the age of the vehicle’s engine determines the exemption status. For example, vehicles manufactured before 2000 are exempt from this rule. Additionally, engines with plates and documentation year of 2000 are also exempted.

Do Hot Shot Drivers Need ELD?

As per guidelines from FMCSA, carriers with vehicles that operate within a 150-air-mile radius of the headquarters and do not require CDL are exempt from the ELD mandate. However, all applicable Hot Shot drivers need to observe the rule.

What is the Age Restriction For ELD Devices?

The cutoff for ELD devices is the year 2000. All the vehicles with engines manufactured after 2000 fall under this ELD mandate.

Garmin eLog

Quick Take - Best Electronic Logging Devices

Before you go any further, here are the best electronic logging devices:

  1. Garmin eLog
  2. GPSit1000BZL
  3. My20 ELD

Review of the Best Electronic Logging Devices

Having an electronic logging device on board helps the driver maintain his operating hours without any need for moving paperwork. Let's have a look at popular options that are worth consideration.  

Best Overall:
Garmin eLog

Garmin eLog, Compliant Electronic Logging Device (ELD), No-Subscription Fees, FMCSA Compliant, Supports 9-pin J1939 and 6-pin J1708 Diagnostic Ports (010-01876-00)

PROS

  • User-friendly and easy to install
  • Driver app can be used on any smartphone
  • No need for monthly subscription payments
  • Compatible with a range of commercial vehicles
  • Data is secured and can be transferred whenever you want 

CONS

  • Price tag can be a problem for some customers
  • Not compatible with a vehicle that uses the OBD2 protocol

What Recent Buyers Report

Users are in love with the versatility of this elog device. According to them, it offers superior compatibility as per advertised. The design is nice, and you won't need to struggle with the installation. Moreover, it gives you the liberty to use the driver's app on any smartphone.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Garmin is an internationally acclaimed brand that is known for improving the lifestyle of the people. This device is truly a great addition. It is compact and very easy to use and works well with a wide range of commercial vehicles, making it a versatile option.

You will need to use the Garmin Driver mobile app with this device, and the best thing is that the app is compatible with any smartphone. With this app on your phone, the data will be collected and secured in the linked phone. This way, you can easily access the data in the hour of need. Not to forget, the setup is a breeze.  

Bottom Line

Being the best of the lot, the Garmin eLog is a must-have. With its versatile performance and user-friendly operation, it can take your driving experience to a whole new level. All in all, it has everything you would expect from an ELD device.

Best for the Money:
GPSit1000BZL

GPSit1000BZL LTE Vehicle Tracking Device with 1 Year Service, No Contracts, No Monthly Fees, Real Time GPS Tracker, Fleet Tracking, Eld Support, Car Tracking, Monitor Teen Driving, Nationwide Coverage

PROS

  • No contracts required
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Offers a nation-wide coverage
  • Packages include various accessories
  • Comes with a 1-year hardware warranty

CONS

  • A limited feature set

What Recent Buyers Report

The GPSit eLog device has lured many new customers with its attractive price tag. Users are also very happy with the performance and easy installation. They just loved how this model allows them to supply their hardware. Most of all, it saves you from getting into any contract. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

In case you are looking for a budget-friendly option, the GPSit device should not be missed. It saves you money and doesn’t bind you with a contract. The hardware units are simple and easy to install, plus the software tracks hours of service automatically. 

You can easily generate the report with a simple click. Additionally, it allows drivers to set up customized notifications for any alert. The driver app is free to download and easily available on the Google PlayStore. You can't miss the fact that a one-year hardware warranty also backs this model to ensure reliability.

Bottom Line

Save yourself from getting locked into a contract with this model. Available at a reasonable price, this device does not compromise on performance and, therefore, brings value to your bucks. It is indeed just the right option for those on a tight budget.

Best ELD Device For Small Fleets:
My20 ELD

My20 ELD (Electronic Logging Device) + Truck GPS Tracking

PROS

  • Shows compliance with all regulations
  • Plug-and-play device is easy to set up
  • Highly suitable for safety record organization
  • Package includes both 3-pin and 9-pin adapters
  • Offers a range of fleet management tools to ensure convenience

CONS

  • Batteries need to be purchased separately
  • Unable to report unlogged driving efficiently

What Recent Buyers Report

This eLog device has been well very-received and is highly appreciated for its simple installation. According to users, you won't need to purchase additional hardware for this device, and it is reliable for managing large fleets easily. Moreover, its easy operation helps drivers, as well as managers, save time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Rated as the number one ELD in America, this model functions as an electronic logging device as well as a GPS tracking device. Both the setup and operation are easy. The provided three-pin and nine-pin adapter can be easily plugged into the diagnostic port of the vehicle. One of the most prominent qualities is that this product is fully mandate-compliant.

With this device, you get access to a bespoke website. You can make the most of this device with an ELog mobile app. Moreover, the software can be easily updated, quite user-friendly. To add on, this device provides various fleet management tools that make things easier for drivers.

Bottom Line

Another great product on the list, this elog device is surely an all-around performer. This model covers everything for you, from easy installation to reliable data storage and from providing logistics solutions to a pocket-friendly price. In short, it is ideal for managing large fleets.

Best ELD Device For Owner Operator:
ThinAir ELD

ThinAir ELD - Electronic Logging Device (BYOD - Display Not Included), DOT Compliant, IFTA, DVIR, Light Duty Vehicle (OBDII)

PROS

  • App is very reliable
  • Reduces errors and violations
  • Guarantees FMCSA ELD compliance
  • Easy to use and set up, even for beginners
  • Comes with a 9-pin adapter for simple installation 

CONS

  • No display available
  • Batteries not included

What Recent Buyers Report

Like our other reviewed models, this device has succeeded in winning most users' confidence. According to them, the installation does not require any struggle, thanks to the nine-pin adapter. You can always seek customer service in case of any issue. Moreover, the app is really helpful for drivers and managers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This ELD from ThinAir mainly stands out from competitors for offering some latest features. It has set the bar by providing the most reliable FMCSA-registered ELD solution for fleets. Easy to install and simple to operate, the device has truly improved compliance and safety for drivers and managers. It optimizes efficiency by allowing access to logbooks in real-time. 

Just plug the cable into the vehicle’s diagnostic port and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can choose from monthly, semi-yearly, and yearly programs according to your choice and needs. Moreover, the drivers are ensured excellent customer service 24/7. 

Bottom Line

The ThinAir device makes its way to our list for exhibiting an exceptional set of features. It is highly popular among managers. Whether you talk about the versatile operation or high-end customer service, this model won’t disappoint you.

Rand McNally ELD50IA 9-PIN Electronic Logging Device Trucking ELD

PROS

  • Offers eight days of log storage
  • Installation does not take much time
  • Package includes a nine-pin connector
  • Provides several diagnostic gauges for engines
  • Performs well, even if the cellular network is unavailable  

CONS

  • Lacks any display
  • Limited features available 

What Recent Buyers Report

The simple installation and top-notch features have made this model quite popular among customers. What users loved about this elog device is its easy yet versatile performance when it comes to managing the data. Moreover, with the two-way messaging facility, you can communicate easily and receive updates from time to time. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Rand McNally never fails to entertain its customers with some great options. This device installs in a matter of seconds. All you need to do is plug the device into your vehicle's diagnostic port and download the DriverConnect app. This app is available for free and allows the user to send and receive messages, view logs, and much more.  

One of the most interesting things is its ability to record data, even in the absence of a signal. Moreover, the device sends you a notification if your memory is about to get full. The monthly cost is relatively less, which further makes it a great option.

Bottom Line

If it wasn’t for the display, this eLog device would have been the best overall model on this list. Not only is the design amazing, but the user-friendly operation is commendable as well. You can easily rely on this device to keep track of your status.  

Requirements and Legality of ELD Devices

An ELD is an advanced tracking device and is generally connected to a vehicle’s ECM to precisely record a driver’s HOS. ELDs seem to be more restrictive, and the rules are more specific as compared to AOBRDs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has listed some ELD rules to ensure truck drivers' safety. These rules help in accurately tracking, managing, and, of course, sharing the record of duty status. 

  1. Commercial drivers who are required to prepare HOS and RODS have to use an ELD device.

  2. ELDs need to be certified and registered with FMCSA.

  3. No data is retained by FMCSA or authorities unless there is a violation.

What Does the Law Say About ELD Logging Devices?

According to the law, all commercial motor vehicle operators covered by this mandate need to operate an ELD compatible with their vehicle.

What is the Electronic Logging Device Mandate?

The Electronic Logging Device or ELD mandate is a U.S federal government regulation. It specifies that drivers and operators of commercial vehicles need to use electronic logging devices in their vehicles under this law.   

Elog Requirements

Drivers need to file Hours of Duty as the record of duty status. It not only helps carriers to stay in compliance, but the authorities can also use the information to check if there was any violation.  

Automatic Onboard Recording Device vs ELD - Comparison Overview

There are various devices available to keep track of the driver's working hours. The question here is, which one should you go for? Well, we have drawn a detailed comparison between AOBRDs and ELDs to help you make an informed decision.

Similarities

Both types of devices are designed to track and transmit driver data. They can help to keep a record of the driver's working hours. Both are plugged into the vehicle. Once connected, they automatically generate the record of drivers and managers.

Dissimilarities

AOBRDs are surely a thing of the past. ELDs are way more advanced in technology in comparison. This is why the latter is capable of capturing more data and delivering accurate reports when required.

Not only do ELDs have the edge on providing much more information, but they are fast as well. They generate all the information for inspection officers within minutes, making them a better option for use in trucks and fleets. This is one of the reasons why AOBRDs are no longer acceptable for logging driving records.

How to Choose the Best ELD Device

An ELD device is surely a full-fleet management system that suits the needs of drivers and managers exceptionally. However, the market is currently flooding with various options that can make the decision difficult. Choosing the right ELD device requires you to think with an open mind and consider certain features. The most important ones include:

Compatibility

Whether you own or manage a fleet, you will have to manage different models of vehicles. Getting a universal solution can save cost and energy. Therefore, you should go for an EDL device that works with almost all vehicles, making things easier for drivers.

Easy to Use

Another prominent characteristic of a reliable device is its user-friendly operation. You must pay attention to this factor. A complicated unit will make working conditions more difficult for the drivers. Go for an ELD device that offers easy vehicle inspections, allows easy status update, and delivers compliance reports.

Fleet Management System

Since not all ELD providers offer fleet management services with their devices, you need to be careful in this aspect. This system helps in improving the productivity and efficiency of the entire fleet.

Off-Grid Logging

The functioning of some ELDs can be affected by limited network coverage. Therefore, it is important to go for a model that continues to deliver even if the truck moves out of the area with a cellular network.

How to Install an ELD Device

Almost every ELD device comes with an instruction manual. It generally contains all the instructions for the proper installation of the ELD device. In this section, we have divided the whole process into some simple steps.

  1. Locate the diagnostic port in your vehicle.

  2. The device comes with a cable. Attach the Y-cable to the diagnostic port.

  3. Now, connect the straight cable with the other end of the Y-cable. 

  4. Attach the cable to the ELD device and screw it properly. 

  5. Mount the ELD to a clean area in the vehicle, and you are good to go.

That’s all. If you still have any confusion, make sure to refer to the video below to have a full overview of what was just described. 

Conclusion

That's a wrap for the best ELD devices currently available on the market. With many options available, you might get confused about where to begin. Hopefully, this article has provided all the helpful pointers, and now you can make the right decision for yourself. All our recommended products are reliable and ensure superior performance, so you won’t have trouble finding your pick.

People Also Ask

The installation of an ELD in vehicles has become mandatory. You might have certain questions raised in your mind regarding the final pick. To help you out, we have provided answers to some of the frequently asked queries.  

Can I Use My Phone For ELD?

Of course, you can use your phone for the ELD. If the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications, you can easily use it on any smartphone. Make sure to properly mount the device in your vehicle. You can easily download the app and enjoy the latest features that come with it on your smartphone. 

How Much Are ELD Devices? 

ELD devices prove to be an ideal logistics solution. They not only incorporate the latest technology but also speed up the work for you. Depending on the features and the brand they come from, these devices can cost you from $165 to $832.

What Happens If You Unplug Your ELD?

The violation of the ELD rule requires you to pay a fine. Therefore, you need to ensure full compliance with the ELD mandate. Most of the ELDs now come with a feature that alerts you whenever the device is unplugged. This way, you will never have to worry again about the violation. Additionally, you will receive an update as soon as the driver connects again.

What is the Primary Reason All ELD Devices Are Mounted In the Vehicle?

The installation of ELDs in the commercial vehicle is necessary to eliminate paper logs and manual recording of driver’s hours of duty. An ELD saves managers as well as drivers from the cumbersome work. Moreover, it saves a lot of time, effort, and energy. 

Must You Log Into an ELD Device When Not Driving All Day?

Since the ELD mandate requires you to register on-duty and off-duty hours, a driver needs to log into an ELD device every day. Similarly, it is mandatory to log whether the truck is moving or not. This helps in proper tracking and keeping a record. 

How to Connect a Device to an ELD

GPSit1000BZL

Open the Logs screen and tap on the "current vehicle." This will open a list of the company's vehicles.

Select the vehicle you want to connect with, and your mobile will automatically attempt to connect with the ELD via Bluetooth.

Once connected, a green icon will appear on the main logs screen, and the indicator lights of the ELD will also become green.  

How Reliable Are ELDs?

There is no doubt that ELD is one of the most reliable and durable systems. The devices are easy to use and accurately keep a record of service hours. Most of all, the data is secured, and you can easily access it whenever required to be presented to inspection officers.

How to Edit Electronic Logs

Drivers and carriers are at liberty to make small edits in the eLog in order to eliminate small mistakes and add necessary data. First of all, click on “edit.” Make the required changes in the time, date, and remarks. Additionally, you have to enter a reason for the edit. Finally, enter “save.” 

What to Do if You Have Trouble Pairing Rand McNally ELD Device?

Simply click on the settings icon in the top right corner and then tap OverDryve settings. Now click "Bluetooth" and tap on "connect." Scan for devices and make sure your smartphone is in Bluetooth pairing mode. Accept the pairing request, and you are good to go. If you still face pairing issues, you are recommended to contact customer service.  

What Are the Types of ELD Devices?

There are two major types of ELDs. One of them is Dedicated Unit ELD, and the other one is BYOD ELD or Bring Your Own Device ELD. While the former is an older form of ELDs, the latter is advanced and allows drivers to bring their hardware, including smartphones or tablets.

Don

After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.