FMSCA Approved ELD List – 2021 Complete Guide

| Last Updated: September 8, 2021

Before the ELD mandate went into effect, drivers used to maintain paper logs to show their hours of service. These logs were easily manipulated by both carriers who wanted drivers to overwork and by drivers who rigged them to earn more. But we all know that a tired driver is prone to reckless driving and commercial vehicle accidents are the most dangerous. That’s why the FMCSA passed the ELD rule to prevent fatigued drivers from hitting the road.

The ELD rule maintains that all carriers install ELDs on their vehicles to ensure their safety on the road. They have even provided a list of self-certified vendors for carriers to choose from.

This article reviews some of the noticeable ELDs on the FMCSA-approved ELD list. Read on to find out more. 

Comparison of the FMSCA Approved ELD Devices

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Quick and easy vehicle tracking option
  • A smart dash cam included for improved safety
  • Improve the workflow with quick and easy records
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  • DOT Certified to be safe to use in where you want to
  • Easy to install with standard 9 pin connector
  • Compatible with Apple or Android devices
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  • No subscription fees needed just a one-off buy
  • Easily and quickly store all records on your mobile device
  • Compatible with all vehicles using the OBD-ll protocol
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  • Easy voice dictation for hands-free option
  • Clear and easy to read display for quick access
  • Very easy installation with online help when needed
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  • Device is compliant with new FMCA regulations
  • Easy to set it up and install on vehicle
  • Back office features included for better management
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What Does it Mean to Be FMCSA Approved?

Being FMCSA-approved means that the ELD device you are using is compliant with the ELD mandate. The law went into effect in December 2017, so all motor carriers operating throughout the US are now required to install ELD units on all their vehicles. These units will electronically maintain an accurate record of duty status and hours of service to facilitate both the driver and the carrier. Fail to comply, and there will be a steep fine to pay.

The FMCSA website lists all the self-certified vendors and is regularly updated so you can choose an approved provider for your fleet easily. 

What Does FMCSA Stand For?

FMCSA stands for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is a department established within the US Department of Transportation (DOT). Operating since January 1, 2000, it pursues the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 to help improve commercial motor vehicle safety and avoid accidents. 

What Does it Take For an ELD to Be FMCSA Approved?

Getting certification from FMCSA is no easy feat. Manufacturers must self-certify that their ELDs meet the technical standards in the ELD rule and register with the FMCSA. The department does not provide the RODS (Record of Duty Status) application for vendors to test against. However, they have provided the compliance test procedure on their website so the vendors can test their devices’ compliance with the ELD rule technical specifications. The standards they have set include: 

Account Types

An ELD must configure between different accounts. It must recognize whether the account is a driver account or a support personnel account. Each driver account must be created uniquely by configuring it with the driver’s valid license number. It must not have administrative rights to create new accounts on the ELD. Moreover, the ELD must restrict the availability of motor carrier entries to support personnel accounts only. 

Power On

The ELD must turn on within a minute of the engine is powered. It should power up and become fully functional during this time. Also, it should remain operational for as long as the vehicle is on the move or power. 

Furthermore, it must automatically sense the ECM data like motion status, engine power, CMV VIN, vehicle miles, and CMV position. Also, if the driver does not log in, it should issue an audio or visual warning. 

Data Recording

The basic purpose of an ELD is data recording. It must keep an accurate electronic record of duty status and supporting events, retain it for a while, and create a data file for output. Moreover, if the driver does not log in, it must, by default, record the total driving and on-duty, not-driving data under an unidentified driver profile. Also in such a situation, it should only allow data entry in the login prompt.

Date and Time

The ELD must obtain and record the date and time information automatically. It should not allow the driver, carrier, or any other external input to influence it. The date and time should also be tracked to the time standard in effect at the driver’s home terminal in UTC. 

Location Information

The ELD should determine CMV geographic information. It must do so automatically, without any external input. It should recognize the geo-location as standard latitude/longitude coordinates. 

It should be capable of converting position information by indicating the approximate distance and direction from an identifiable location and associate it with the name of a nearby city, town, or village, that, too, with a state abbreviation with each change of duty status. 

In the end, the ELD certification process does require a certifying statement describing how the model was tested to comply with FMCSA regulations. 

My20 ELD

Review of the Best FMCSA ELD Devices

According to the FMCSA ELD mandate, it is now a requirement that all carrier vehicles install an ELD to maintain a truthful record of duty status. There is a list of certified ELD units available on the FMCA website. Even then, you have to choose carefully as they are self-certified, so you have to make sure that they are truly compliant first. 

Here is a detailed review of some of the best units on the FMCSA Approved ELD List. 

Best Overall:
KeepTruckin ELD

PROS

  • Has a fairly low cost
  • Boasts a number of advanced features
  • Auditing ensures that drivers log correctly
  • Accompanying app is modern and user-friendly
  • Facilitates drivers in complying with DOT regulations

CONS

  • Logs can only be edited by the dispatch the following day
  • Some complaints about tech support, contract, and/or billing terms

What Recent Buyers Report

Judging from customer feedback, KeepTruckin is one of the highest-rated ELD services on the market. The ease of use, advanced features, greater accessibility, and comprehensive fleet management have made it a high ranker in the eyes of buyers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

KeepTruckin really changed the way ELDs were sold. It comes as a device along with an app. The app is free for download from the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore.  

This ELD is also a BYOD solution. You won’t get a dedicated display with it. As the app is available over both Android and IOS systems, you can operate with almost any device you wish. You get advanced features for an affordable price, such as e-logs, messaging, GPS Tracking, DVIR, geofencing, and some basic fleet management tools. 

Furthermore, the app itself is very simple and straightforward. They designed it with customer comfort in mind. It has a very intuitive interface with some convenient features that many other systems skim over or do not include at all. The back office system is also modern, with all the essential features of fleet management. 

Bottom Line

We conclude by saying that KeepTruckin is truly an attractive option for both owner-operators, as well as carriers that prioritize low cost. The system is simple and easy to use for both drivers as well as office personnel. It offers affordable plans and also has room to upgrade. Hence, it is a solution worth making our FMCSA-approved ELD list. 

Runner-up:
My20 ELD

My20 ELD (Electronic Logging Device) + Truck GPS Tracking

PROS

  • Quick, simple, and easy to install
  • Backed by strong customer support
  • User-friendly app works like a charm
  • Both hardware and software are high in quality
  • One of the most affordable and inexpensive devices 

CONS

  • Does not have an external USB port
  • Tends to change duty status randomly

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers regard this ELD as an awesome unit. The device is really small and appears unnoticeable once installed inside the truck. They report that the compatible app is very intuitive. The interface is user-friendly and gives the exact directions on how to install the device. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

My20 ELD is an excellent device for ensuring compliance with HOS requirements. It is a simple ELD solution that connects to the truck engine and automatically records driving time. This compact unit is your co-driver. It will record the hours of service and keeps you informed about available capacity as well as your location. 

The FMCSA compliance is not it's only quality. It has several other useful features. The most noteworthy ones are dynamic load matching, navigation, and route mapping. Hence, it is designed to meet all of the fleet management and truck driver needs. 

It utilizes telematics software and hardware devices to record the driver’s activity. So it provides the best data to dispatchers and drivers, allowing them to do their jobs more efficiently. Also, it does need special hardware. Your android or IOS smartphone is capable of running it. 

Bottom Line

This is a highly useful solution for both owner-operators as well as carrier companies. It is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system, so you can connect it with your smartphone to check for HOS-based loading opportunities. It is one of the most compliant devices on the FMCSA list. With this installed, you never have to worry about ELD compliance again. 

Best for the Money:
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

  • Simple to install and easy to operate
  • Does not tie you down with a contract
  • Does not have any ongoing subscription fee
  • Compatible with both Android and iOS phones
  • Works with many Garmin dezl GPS truck navigators 

CONS

  • Burdens the cell phone battery
  • Glitches sometimes cause it to freeze or disconnect

What Recent Buyers Report

From what we have read so far, this Garmin device has mixed customer reviews. Some users are extremely satisfied with its performance, especially the no monthly fee part, while others disliked the difficulty in use at first. They report that they initially faced some issues, but they resolved as their learning progressed. All in all, it is a good device from a reputable brand. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Garmin is a world-renowned manufacturer. The Garmin eLog is an excellent way to manage, track, and share hours of service records. It comes with a Garmin eLog compliant ELD App. The device is a one-time purchase, while the app is a free subscription. 

If ELD compliance is your concern, then you can bid it goodbye with this handy device. It plugs into the diagnostic port and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. From there, you can easily operate it via the app. There is no need to contact customer support as this service is a one-time purchase that does not require any additional subscription to use. 

The Garmin elog is one of the first ELDs on the market and one of the few that don’t require a monthly subscription. That’s why it is a favorite. Although the initial cost is a bit high, once you get over it, you essentially rent the device for as long as you like. 

Bottom Line

Yes, there is a learning curve involved with this device, but learning to use it properly is worth it. Unlike the majority of ELDs on the market, this device does not have any additional cost. Hence, it is one of the most affordable devices you can get your hands on. Garmin is a respected name, so you really cannot doubt its quality as well. 

4. ThinAir ELD

ThinAir ELD - Electronic Logging Device (BYOD - Display Not Included), DOT Compliant, IFTA, DVIR (with 9-Pin Cable)

PROS

  • Backed by a 24/7 support
  • HOS web portal facilitates managers
  • Improves the overall driving experience
  • Generates complete DVIR reports on the field
  • Offers monthly, semi-yearly, and yearly subscription plans

CONS

  • No set monthly rate available online
  • Requires registration for switching between vehicles

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyer reviews, this is one of the easiest units to use. Coming at an affordable price, this device can easily give tough competition to more reputable devices. It features an intuitive app interface with a simple installation process. Users especially mention the highly professional customer support that is always there to help. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this device for its ease of usage. As a BYOD, it connects directly to the vehicle’s diagnostic port. You can easily operate it via the app using your smartphone. The app itself is very simple and comfortable to use. It ensures compliance, enhances safety, and offers productivity optimization.

The unit is designed in compliance with the law in both US and Canada. If you wish to succeed in this business, you have to make sure that the fleet is compliant. And ThinAir ELD does just that. Using it, you can automatically transition duty status, receive voice dictation, generate DVIR reports, and view logbooks in real-time. 

It simplifies the way you do business. The web portal reduces paperwork, creates IFTA reports on-demand, accesses mobile documents, and dispatches mobile staff simply and effortlessly. 

Bottom Line

This plug-in device may require you to have your smartphone but it offers instant connectivity so that it complies with the new ELD mandates in Canada and the US. The simple-to-use device accurately collects all the required information and generates comprehensive DVIR reports that you can customize for pre-trip, post-trip, and ad-hoc inspections.

5. Stoneridge EZ-ELD

EZ-ELD Solution Electronic Logging Device

PROS

  • No hidden fee or contract
  • There is no learning curve involved
  • Comes with a fleet management web dashboard
  • Features a unique Scan and DriveTM truck pairing
  • Monthly subscription includes DVIR and IFTA reporting

CONS

  • Instructions leave a lot to be desired
  • Loses GPS when the engine is powered up or shut down

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are mostly satisfied with their purchase. They report that this device is much easier to use than others thanks to its plug-and-play connectivity. Being both IOS and Android compatible, users have been comfortably using their own smartphones to operate it. Installation is also a breeze, and customers like the scan and drive pairing. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Who thought managing your HOS will ever be this easy? But thanks to the Stoneridge EZ-ELD bespoke “Scan and Drive” driver and truck pairing system, it now is. The system involves scanning a QR code when the driver gets in the truck. They can do so with the free mobile app for Android and IOS smartphones. 

This is the only ELD product on the market with interchangeable truck connectors. It comes with four adapters that you can use to connect the ELD with different trucks in your fleet. This means the device can transfer between different vehicles and drivers without any port or pin.

The web-based back-office software it supports helps efficiently manage the fleet. The office can control, report, or monitor compliance standards during driver service hours. Furthermore, each EZ-ELD provides fully customized HOS, IFTA, and DVIR reporting.

Bottom Line

We believe that Stoneridge EZ-ELD is a fast and reliable solution for driver compliance and fleet safety. Stoneridge is a reputable supplier of OEM parts to the automotive and trucking industries. Their ELD is one of the most straightforward and highly compliant units on the market. Buy it now and feel confident that all your drivers will pass a roadside inspection. 

How to Choose an FMCSA Approved ELD

Having an ELD installed on all your fleet vehicles is mandatory. And since there are no FMCSA-approved ELDs, you have to choose from self-certified models. Yet, not all of them are made equal. Here are some pointers that will help you choose an FMCSA-compliant ELD. 

100% Compliance

If you want to avoid fines during the inspection, be sure to invest in a 100% compliant ELD. After all, it’s not only the driver who pays; your company is also fined, earning a bad name in the process. Also, ELDs are an expensive purchase. You don’t want to invest that much money only to find out that it does not completely comply with FMCSA’s regulations. Therefore, act smart and choose wisely. 

Ease of Usage

Nobody likes using a complicated device that is full of bugs. Your tech department might figure out how to use such a device, but the primary users are your drivers, and using such a device can be frustrating. 

When choosing an ELD, your goal should be a device with an intuitive user interface. It should be so easy to use that a new driver running his first route alone knows how to use it. Otherwise, you risk getting fined as your driver won’t know how to share ELD data with DOT inspectors. 

Support

ELD are electronic devices, and they have a knack for malfunctioning at the worst times. There will be times when you or any of your drivers want to connect with the support staff. So, look for a provider who backs its devices with strong support, like 24/7 email and phone support, fast email response, almost 100% call pick up rate, and multilingual representatives.

Remote Tracking

As a carrier company, you have to keep an eye on your drivers. If any of your drivers are violating the HOS regulation, you have to know. That’s why you need an ELD that allows you to remotely track all the drivers, whether you are at the office, home, or anywhere else. Look for a device that is available on a variety of devices like mobile, desktop, and tablet. A device that supports both Android and iOS is also a good choice. Also, you need to keep an eye on the drivers, so you must choose a device that allows access to many approved parties like managers, owners, and dispatchers. 

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Getting an ELD solution for your fleet is a very important decision. The right product will not only make you FMCSA compliant but also help you streamline operations and maximize profits. But amongst so many providers, how do you find a suitable one for yourself? Well, here are some cautious considerations to keep in mind that will help you choose the right service. 

FMCSA Compliance

The ELD mandate is all about compliance. One thing many ELD buyers don’t know is that there’s no such thing as an FMCSA-approved ELD. All the ELD providers on FMCSA’s list are self-certified, i.e., no one has given them approval; they’ve declared themselves compliant. 

But the fact remains; many self-certified ELDs don’t comply with FMCSA’s extremely complicated ELD regulations. The list of FMCSA certified ELDs is a good place to start, but you have to make sure that your chosen provider is compliant to avoid fines and tickets. 

Cost

ELD installation is not just about the initial installation. First, you have to buy a device and have it installed. Then you have to pay a monthly fee to continue using the service. While some providers are certainly very expensive, some provide quality service at an affordable price. 

In-cab or BYOD

Most ELDs currently available on the market are either Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or in-cab fixed ELD solutions. A BYOD-based ELD system syncs itself with the driver’s existing mobile device while the in-cab utilizes a new display device. But since carriers are responsible for bearing the cost of the ELD mandate, keep your usage in mind. 

ELD Laws

ELD laws were drafted to create a safer and relaxed work environment for drivers. Before their implementation, drivers were overworked. We all know that long-distance or extended periods of commercial driving can be tiring. And fatigued drivers are a major course of commercial vehicle-related road accidents. 

ThinAir ELD

Now, ELD laws require the installation of Electronic Logging Devices that sync with vehicle engines and generate records of duty status (RODS) data more accurately. They apply to most motor carriers and drivers who maintain RODS. They state that: 

  • All commercial drivers who prepare their Hours of Service record must use ELDs.

  • They must use only FMCSA-certified devices for this purpose.

  • There are some performance and design standards that each device must have to be FMCSA certified. 

  • Drivers and carriers must keep the required supporting documents. 

  • Drivers must not be harassed based on ELD data or connected technology. They even provide a recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

Since these are federal laws, all states must comply with them. 

What is the Electronic Logging Mandate?

The Electronic Logging Mandate is a US Federal Government Regulation. It states that the operators of commercial motor vehicles covered by this law install electronic logging devices, or ELDs to record data about vehicle operation and driver activity. 

The vehicle data concerns speed and engine data while the driver activity is their Hours of Service or HOS. It includes driving hours, on-duty hours, and rest time throughout a trip. And, of course, the ELD mandate covers commercial driving operations. 

It replaced both paper logs and Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD). In accordance with the ELD mandate, these are now replaced with Electronic Logging Devices for a more accurate and rigging-free record. 

What is FMCSA Regulations?

FMCSA regulations are the rules and principles for establishing and enforcing safety regulations for commercial motor vehicle operators and drivers. These are the standards that all states follow for the application and testing processes and procedures for all individuals seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Local governments of all the states also enforce different safety programs based on the FMCSA regulations. 

Conclusion

The ELD mandate went into effect in December 2017. The majority of carriers have already implemented it, while others are fast working on getting it done. If you are also looking to install an ELD on your freight vehicles, we would suggest that you start your research from the FMCSA’s ELD compliant list. Although not all the devices they list are 100% compliant, it is a good place to start.

And if you want to be sure, choose from the providers listed above. They are not only FMCSA self-certified but are also completely compliant with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate. 

People Also Ask

FMCSA’s ELD mandate received a lot of attention back when it was implemented. Even today, it is a topic of much confusion. Although FMCSA has published a list of LED-compliant providers on their website, their varying prices and features are still quite confusing for operators. Here are some frequently asked questions about the FMCSA-approved ELD list. 

What is ELD Compliance?

ELD compliance means installing an electronic solution that enables professional truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to record their Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RODS). 

The ELD mandate was first published in December 2015, and the first compliance deadline was December 2017. Today, over three million drivers on the road are ELD compliant, and many more are working towards it. 

When is a Log Book Required?

Usually, all truck drivers are required to install ELDs to maintain their e-logs. However, two conditions exempt the ELD mandate – when a driver stays within a 100 air-mile radius from his office and returns to the office within 12 hours. In such a situation, he should keep a logbook and note the time started, time finished, and the total number of hours worked that day. 

Are All ELDs in the FMCSA’s List 100% Compliant?

No, indeed, not all ELDs in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs are not 100% compliant. There was an instance when an inspector found that a certain was found to be non-compliant. Hence it should not have been self-certified. 

Their solution was outdated and did not even minimally comply with the existing electronic onboard recording device (AOBRD) regulations. So, yes the list is a good place to start but, it is solely up to the carriers to choose a company that complies with the FMCSA ELD regulations. 

Can You Use an ELD That’s Not FMCSA Approved?

Yes, you can use an ELD that is not FMCSA approved. But we advise you not to do so as this will make you non-compliant to the newly imposed FMCSA’s ELD mandate. Be sure to check the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs. Any ELD system that isn’t listed there is certainly not a good choice as not being on the list means non-compliant products. So better save your time and money and get an FMCSA-approved ELD. 

Do FMCSA Approved Devices Cost More?

This is a very common misconception about ELDs. But the fact is that this misconception is not unfounded. Yes, some vendors charge too much for their service. However, not every provider is the same. Some don’t charge as much. They are actually quite budget-friendly and affordable.



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.