Garmin ELD Review – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: June 28, 2021

If you are looking for an efficient and effective electronic logging device for your truck, then you must consider the Garmin ELD. 

This product is popular among truck drivers and fleet owners not only for its impeccable, easy-to-operate interface and features but also for the great cost-effective pricing that makes it a great one-time investment.

If you’re also wondering if you should go for it, read right ahead!

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Supports all 9-pin and 6-pin diagnostic ports
  • Store your records quick and easily on your mobile device
  • No subscription fees needed just a one-off buy
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Garmin Eld

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

  • Easy to install
  • Keeps you in compliance
  • Very cost-effective
  • Fits almost all semi-trucks
  • Compatible with many Garmin dezl GPS truck navigators

CONS

  • Displays a driver status at five mph
  • Software might freeze or disconnect
  • Not compatible with the OPD2 vehicles

Specs and Dimension

Dimensions: 2.7" x 1.7"

Weight: 2.6 oz

Supported Diagnostic Ports: 6-pin J1708, 9-pin J1939 (adapter included)

FMCSA ELD Mandate Compliant: Yes

USB Port Included: yes

Smartphone Compatible: Android and Apple mobile devices with Bluetooth and GPS capability

Supported Operating Systems/Versions: Android 4.1.x or higher, Apple 9+

Main Features

Many features make the Garmin electronic logging device truly stand out among the best ELDs available in the market. Here are some of the best features of the Garmin ELD to help you understand the product better before you invest your money into it.

A One-time Investment

The Garmin ELD is popular among truck drivers and fleet managers because it is a one-time investment. The initial cost of purchasing this logging device is very high. However, there are no monthly subscription fees or any other additional charges, making it a better choice for investment in the long run as compared to the other devices.

Comes with a Garmin E-logging Application

The Garmin ELD digitally records your HOS and on-duty driver service and status and stores it safely on your smartphones for easily accessing it during the inspection. 

The Garmin e-logging application is required for this purpose. This application is very easy to install and has an amazing user interface to make the logging process accurate, simpler, and easier for commercial vehicle drivers.

Provides Compliance With the FMCSA ELD Mandate

The Garmin ELD accurately and automatically logs your Hours of Service (HOS) and displays your on-duty status and the hours left to make sure that you comply with the FMCSA ELD mandate and do not violate the regulations imposed on all commercial vehicle owners across the country.

Safely Maintains and Stores the Log Records 

This e-logging device not only records and stores the current HOS but also keeps a log of the history of the automotive service and stores it safely in places other than the cloud. As a result, it is much easier to retrieve data records immediately during the road inspections through FMCSA webcam services or a USB port.

Pros

There are many benefits to using the Garmin ELD, which makes it one of the best choices for commercial vehicle owners and truck drivers. Many people opt for this product because it undoubtedly carries an edge over some of the best e-logging devices available in the market. Some of the major advantages of this product are:

Fits Almost All Semi-trucks

This stand-alone device can support both nine-pin J1939 and six-pin J1708 diagnostic ports, which means that it can fit almost all semi-trucks. This simple device with an efficient user interface is very easy to install and can be fixed out of the box. It can also be installed on your Volvo truck with a 16-pin diagnostic port, but you may need a 16 to nine-pin adaptor cable for that. 

Very Cost-effective

The greatest benefit of purchasing a Garmin ELD is that you do not need to spend the money on the device after the initial purchase. There are no monthly charges, which means that the slightly expensive cost for purchasing the device is compensated and proves to be a pretty good and cost-effective investment in the long run.

Compatible With Many Garmin dezl GPS Truck Navigators

The Garmin ELD is perfectly compatible with most Garmin dezl GPS truck navigators such as the dezl 580 and 780, as well as dezlCam 785. This means that you do not require a mobile device to run the application. Your HOS and on-duty details are effectively displayed on your navigator screen, making things easier for drivers. 

Compliant

According to the 2018 ELD mandate, all truck owners must keep a digital record of their Hours of Service. This FMCSA-registered ELD makes it easier to automatically log and safely store the record of your HOS and on-duty hours on your smartphones that can be easily accessed for inspection purposes. 

Easy to Install

The Garmin ELD is a stand-alone device that can be used right out of the box. You can easily install this device by plugging in the adaptor at the right diagnostic port. All you have to do is install the free Garmin app, and you are good to go. 

Cons

The Garmin ELD is overall a good product to invest in. However, some customers still face some compatibility and glitch issues while using this logging device. These negative aspects can frustrate buyers even though manufacturers try their best to solve these problems. These problems are:

Not Compatible With the OPD2 Vehicles

The Garmin ELD can be installed in most of the semi-trucks with a six-pin and nine-pin diagnostic adaptor.

However, it is not compatible with the OBD2 vehicles that can eventually cause a problem in managing and streamlining a large fleet.

Displays a Driver Status at Five MPH

Most of the ELDs put you on a driver status after you reach over 15mph.

However, sometimes, due to the internal glitches, the Garmin ELD might display a driver status even at five mph, which annoys drivers, and they need to restart the clock every at on and off-duty times.

Software Might Freeze or Disconnect

Some buyers have complained about the disruption in logging the HOS due to the glitches and connectivity issues in the Garmin ELD software that causes the screen to freeze and disconnect from the Bluetooth device and cause a problem during the inspection.

What is the Garmin ELD Best For?

The Garmin ELD is used by many truck drivers and fleet operators all around the world. It integrates the latest GPS technology and logging programs to help truck drivers record their HOS efficiently and easily. The Garmin ELD is used for many purposes. These are best used for:

Recording HOS and Driver Duty 

To stay in compliance with the FMCSA ELD mandate and prevent the violation of ELD regulations, it is important to keep a log of your Hours of Service to provide a complete record when required. The Garmin ELD provides an easy way to record the HOS and displays the driver's duty on the screen.

Keeping the Logs Safe and Secure

The Garmin ELD guarantees to keep your records safe and secure. Your logs are safely stored on your smartphones using the Garmin E-log software applications and can be easily accessed using FMCSA Bluetooth services or a USB flash drive whenever you need them.

Easy to Use and Value for Money

The Garmin ELD has one of the easiest and simplest user interfaces as compared to other ELDs in the market. Moreover, it is best for a one-time purchase with no additional charges or monthly subscription fees.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying a Garmin ELD?

According to the new compliance rules and regulations, all truck drivers and fleet managers are required to keep a digital record of their daily on-duty hours and produce them on inspection. For this reason, you must purchase an e-logging device such as the Garmin ELD that efficiently records your HOS and stores the data for later access. 

However, investing in a good ELD is important, and you must consider a few things before purchasing the Garmin ELD. These include:

Cost

The Garmin ELD is a bit expensive initially, and some people might find it a bit irrational to spend a lot of money on a logging device. However, you need to understand that it is a one-time investment as it does not come with additional charges or monthly subscription fees, making it more affordable than most of the other ELDs available in the market.

Features

The Garmin ELD is a good device that comes with a lot of amazing features. However, it might not include all the premium features that top ELD devices have. Therefore, you must understand that even though it might not be the highest-quality ELD with the best features, it still provides some really good features for the money.

ELD Software and Application

You must also consider the software that the Garmin ELD uses before investing in the product. The software is easy to use and stores the records in non-cloud platforms to ensure quick access to your records whenever you need.

Comparison Overview

There are many ELDs available on the market with different pricing, features, and functionality. However, the Garmin ELD is recognized as one of the top logging devices in the market among all the other products. To give you a better understanding, let's compare it with ELDs from other top brands. 

Garmin ELD vs Rand McNally

The Garmin ELD is the best choice for long-term investment, while the Rand Mcnally ELD is one of the easiest devices to install. Some similarities and differences between the two are:

Similarities

  • They both can be installed on all fleet sizes

  • Both the devices provide 24-hour services around the clock

  • They provide a fuel tracking system that saves a lot of money for customers

  • They offer compliance logging solutions for all commercial vehicles

Differences

  • The Garmin ELD initially costs a lot but has no monthly charges. The Rand McNally is initially cost-effective, but you may need to pay monthly charges to enjoy some features.

  • The Rand McNally device is easier to install, while the Garmin ELD might need a little more time to get used to.

Garmin ELD vs Keeptruckin

Keep Truckin ELD is easily one of the most popular devices in the market. Here’s how it compares to the Garmin ELD. 

Similarities

  • Both ELDs are easy to set up

  • The two provide the most premium logging and GPS services

  • Both of them can be installed on all types of fleet

Differences

  • The Garmin ELD has a high initial cost but no monthly charges, while the Keeptruckin ELD is free of cost initially, but you need to pay $20 every month to avail of the premium services.

  • The Garmin ELD provides fuel tracking that saves a ton of money, while the Keeptruckin provides the same feature in premium monthly programs.

Garmin ELD Install

Installing the Garmin ELD in your vehicle is very easy. You can set up this device in a few quick steps without any professional assistance. Read the provided manual or go through this section of the article to better understand the procedure: 

 1. Go to the Apple Store or the PlayStore and install the Garmin ELD app.

 2. Open the application and agree to the terms and conditions.

 3. Now, turn off the ignition of your car before plugging in the device onto the diagnostic port on your car's dashboard.

 4. Wait until the blue light flashes. Now turn the lock ring clockwise to secure the device in place.

 5. Press the button on the front and keep pressing for a few seconds until you hear the tone.

 6. Now go to the ELD app on your smartphone and click next.

 7. Go to the Bluetooth settings and connect to the ELD. If you face trouble connecting to your device, try troubleshooting it until it resolves.

 8. Now, manually enter your CVD code.

 9. After entering the code, you must provide the necessary details for setting up the administrator account. This information is very important. We suggest you save this information elsewhere as well for backup purposes.

10. Now, you need to fill in the necessary details to set up your driver's profile.

11. Login to your driver's profile.

Now you are all set to use your Garmin ELD. Be sure to check out the video below to get a better understanding of the installation procedure.

Conclusion

The Garmin ELD is one of the best-selling ELDs in the market. Overall, it is a great product that provides great value for the money and offers all the necessary features for easy and secure HOS logging to help you keep in perfect compliance with the FMCSA ELD mandate.

People Also Ask

The Garmin ELD is one of the most popular e-logging devices because of its excellent features and high functionality. However, there are still some questions that people often ask before investing in it. To answer your queries, we have included this FAQ section for you.

Is Garmin ELD Worth it?

A Garmin ELD is a good choice for your truck as it is not only budget-friendly but also very accurate. With this device, you can rest assured that your logging records are perfectly safe and compliant with the FMCSA mandate. Moreover, these are easy to install and operate. 

Who Makes Garmin ELD?

Garmin ELD is a GPS device manufactured by the leading American technology company, Garmin Ltd, established in Lenexa, Kansas, in 1989. Garmin specializes in GPS technology and is famous for its high-quality and efficient ELDs and has sold around three million GPS devices in 2000. 

When Was Garmin ELD Created?

The Garmin ELD was first introduced by manufacturers on 10 May 2017, while it was first made available in the global markets in the third quarter of 2017. This device was created to provide an effective solution for truck drivers who must record their Hours of Service (HOS).

Is a Garmin ELD Hard to Use?

Not at all; it is one of the most user-friendly devices in the market. It is very easy to install and even easier to operate.

You can learn to operate it yourself using a manual and do not even need a customer service provider to activate the device. All you need to do is log in. 

How Much Does a Garmin ELD Cost?

A Garmin ELD comes within a $200 to $250 price range. Although the device's initial cost might seem a bit high to some people compared to other e-logging devices in the market, the Garmin ELD is a more suitable option for those who prefer a one-time investment.

How Much is the Monthly Cost For a Garmin ELD? 

The Garmin ELD is a one-time investment. This means that once the device is initially purchased, you are not required to pay any kind of monthly subscription fees for using it. Although some people might find the initial cost a bit expensive, the device would cost less than the total monthly charges in the long run.

How to Download Garmin ELD Info to My Computer

You can transfer and download your Garmin elogs into your computer using a USB device or a Bluetooth option. If you are using the USB, carefully plug it into the adapter's USB port and wait until the green light blinks that indicate that the ELD information is being transferred. 

At What Speed Does the Garmin ELD Move to Driving?

The Garmin E-logging device immediately switches to the driving status when the adapter's diagnostic part indicates that the speed of the commercial automobile is greater than or equals to five kilometers per hour. The vehicle is considered stopped when the indicated speed is zero kilometers per hour.

Does the Garmin ELD Have Multiple Driver Options?

You can create multiple driver accounts and log in to the Garmin E-logging device. Although there is no limit to the number of driver profiles that can be created, the Garmin ELD only allows two driver profiles to be logged on at the same time.



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.