Best ELD for Owner Operators (2021)

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What does ELD stand for?

ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. 


What is ELD?

As the name suggests, ELD is an electronic device that records and maintains Hours of Service (HOS) logs for commercial vehicle drivers. The FMSCA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) passed the ELD Mandate in 2012, making the installation of ELD compulsory for all commercial vehicles. This is done to ensure that drivers of commercial vehicles stay on the road within the stipulated hours only and follow all necessary rules and regulations laid down by the Department of Transportation (DoT). Some vehicles have been exempted from this requirement. 

The eld connects to the engine of the vehicle from which it gathers vital data like time, date, location, distance covered, and engine hours. Nowadays, ELDs often provide solutions beyond e-logs like GPS tracking, IFTA reporting, and DVIR. 


Best ELD for Owner Operators

Here are our top nine ELDs for owner operators:

  1. ELD Mandate ELD PT30
  2. Rand McNally ELD 50
  3. Garmin e-Log ELD
  4. Stoneridge EZ ELD
  5. Konexial My20 ELD 
  6. Gorilla Safety ELD 
  7. GPS Trackit ELD 
  8. KeepTruckin ELD 
  9. Samsara ELD 

ELD Mandate is our top pick for owner-operators. The reason is simple – the company offers an efficient eld device with a host of crucial services at an affordable single price. The ELD Mandate eld comes at an upfront payment of $192, with an additional $23 per month. If purchased annually, the eld costs $376 per year. This covers both the hardware and the software. If entered into a 3-year contract, the hardware cost is waived. The owner-operator also has the choice of staying contract-free. 

The device simply needs to be attached to the diagnostic port of the vehicle. It is compatible with all port types. The ELD updates the Hours of Service (HoS) of the driver in real-time. This not only ensures that drivers stick to their duty hours and rest time, but also allows owner-operators to keep track of their fleet’s driving stats. Even when cellular connectivity is lost, the eld stays operative and updates the database once the network returns. The device is also equipped with GPS tracking, allowing the owner to locate each vehicle in real-time. The owner operator can easily access all kinds of information, statistics, and documents through the back-end portal. Furthermore, the device makes IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) reporting a breeze. How? Instead of doing it manually, the driver simply needs to input receipts of fuel purchases from the gas stations. The eld device makes calculations based on fuel used and distances covered thereafter in different jurisdictions, instantly working out the taxes and creating an audit-proof report. This also helps the owner-operator keep track of fuel expenses. Vehicles also require regular inspections for maintenance and timely replacements. The DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report) Forms can be customized as per the owner’s requirements, and the drivers have to send them back in regular intervals. The driver can also attach photos that allow the owner-operator to calculate the cost of repairs according to the extent of damages. 

 

ELD Mandate has emerged as a trusted brand with diligent customer service. It has a 5-star rating on Facebook, and 4.9 stars on both Google Play and TrustPilot. From our perspective, due to the amazing ratings, all features at one price, and industry leading pricing, ELD Mandate is the ELD to pick for all owner operators. 

Learn More: eldmandate.biz/pricing

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    Rand McNally ELD 50 is an easy-to-install, reliable eld. The device connects to the diagnostic  port of the vehicle (both 9-pin and 6-pin). The eld accurately records the HoS logs, even when cellular connectivity is lost. In such cases, the data is stored in its internal storage which can retain up to 2-days of log records. While logs of the last 8 days are visible on the App, the web portal maintains and can display records of the last 6 months. The eld also collects engine data covering 10 diagnostic gauges including average fuel economy, gallons per hour, battery voltage, and oil pressure. Its minimum subscription Compliance plan ($19.99) covers e-logs, instant messaging, and DVIR. For IFTA reporting, the Core Plan ($24.99) must be purchased. The eld itself comes at $149.99. Rand McNally also offers route solutions tailored to the vehicle’s load and dimensions. Other logistical data such as toll routes, overnight parking options, etc. are also available. The eld, however, does come with some problems. Many drivers have faced random disconnects and software issues. The eld is also not compatible with OBDII protocol.

    Garmin’s eld device is a one-time investment, which makes it appealing to many owner-operators. At a flat price of $249.99, the device does not require any monthly subscription. The eld is compatible with both 9-pin and 6-pin diagnostic ports. It records the HoS accurately and allows the owner operator to keep track of the drive status. However, the Garmin ELD has very limited functionality. It can only record HoS logs, and cannot track IFTA or DVIR without compatible Garmin devices (dezl devices). The eld requires an additional cable for 16-pin ports and Volvo trucks and does not work with OBD-II protocol (SAE J1979). The eld has also been troublesome for some drivers as it sometimes puts the vehicle in ‘drive status’ even at 5 mph. Many have also complained about glitches in the app.

    Stoneridge EZ ELD device costs $169. While its monthly subscription is $15, an annual subscription costs $150. The owner-operator is not contract bound and can leave anytime. The device needs to be attached to the diagnostic port and the company offers multiple adaptors to make sure it’s compatible with any given vehicle. The driver simply needs to scan the QR code on the eld to pair it with any smartphone. The eld covers HoS logging, IFTA reports, DVIR, and GPS Tracking. The Track and Trace feature creates monthly reports on mileage and fuel consumption in each state per vehicle. The device can retain 6-months of data. Stoneridge EZ eld works well for fleets with rotating drivers/co-drivers. If the driver steps out of the eld’s Bluetooth range for more than 10 minutes, she/he will be logged out from the app. Many drivers have also reported connectivity issues.  

    Next on the list is Konexial’s compact My20 eld. The device easily fits the standard 9-pin port, but requires an adaptor to connect to a 6-pin or an OBD-II port. While the adaptor comes at an additional cost of $45, the eld itself is priced at $149.99. Konexial offers a variety of fleet management solutions. The company has two subscription plans – My20 TOWER and My20 FLEET. The My20 Tower plan comes at $25/month if subscribed for a year and includes ELD compliance, IFTA reporting, DVIR, GPS tracking, fleet management dashboard, and HOS exemption status options (AG, short-haul, oil-field, etc.). The My20 FLEET plan, priced at $40/month on an annual subscription, also covers fuel tracking, driver behaviour reporting, geofencing, engine diagnostics and fault codes, document scanning, and more. Truck routing, two-way messaging, and POI mapping are some options already available on its free app. A feature that has received considerable attention is the GoLoad – matches drivers with loads in real-time. However, some drivers have complained about connection issues and erratic changes in drive status.

    Gorilla Safety ELD is packed with a wide variety of functionalities. The eld is sturdy and is covered under warranty. Its cheapest subscription plan is the Prime8 ELD which costs $19.99. This is followed by the Xpress Fleet Solution plan ($26.99) and Xtreme Fleet Control Plan ($36.99). Depending on the plan you purchase, the eld will cover basic functions like e-logs, GPS tracking, vehicle management, and DVIR, to more advanced features like IFTA reporting, fuel tracker, DOT inspections, telematics, vehicle inspections, automated alerts, and flexible permissions. The eld subscription is contract-free. The company also offers discounts to veterans (10%) and Uber freight vehicles (20%). Its Compact ELD costs $150 and is compatible with a 9-pin port. The Connect ELD model, on the other hand, costs $250 and can be directly connected to an OBDII port or Volvo/Mack truck’s 16-pin OBDII port. Both these devices can work with other ports, using conversion cables that come at $25. Only Connect ELD is equipped with cellular connectivity. The last 6 months of logs are accessible online at any given time. The owner-operator can keep track of the fleet vehicles and maintain driver data and documents on the web portal. The app now also supports two-way messaging. Despite being offered a range of functionalities and services to choose from, the eld may disappoint on account of the absence of engine diagnostics features (engine fault codes). Some users have also had issues with the app (app freeze, slow updates, etc.). 

    GPS Trackit is another company with an impressive track record when it comes to fleet management solutions. Its monthly plan costs $29.95 per vehicle. The GPS hardware is included in the package which is also contract-free. The company offers 30 days moneyback guarantee for any dissatisfied customer. GPS Trackit eld device can be connected to both JBUS and OBDII ports. E-logs, customized driver alerts, DVIR, GPS tracking, driver behavior, IFTA reporting, and maintenance are some of the features that can be availed. A fuel card integration is also possible to keep track of fuel purchases but must be either Fleetcor or WEX supported. The device also works well with multiple drivers. Some customers have, however, faced issues with the mobile app, in terms of erring functionality and limited data availability as compared to the web portal.  

    KeepTruckin is another widely used eld brand. The company does not list its pricing plans on its website. However, it is known that KeepTruckin offers the eld hardware at $150, with monthly subscription plans ranging between $25 (starter plan) – $40 (pro plan). The eld connects with all standard 6-pin, 9-pin, and OBDII ports. For newer Mack and Volvo trucks as well as vehicles of the model year 2013, the company provides a special cable. The eld is known to be user-friendly, tamper-proof, and efficient at record-keeping. The initial contract period is 12 months, after which it becomes a monthly renewal. The $150 is waived off if entered into a 3-year contract. The $25 Starter Plan includes HOS, GPS tracking, messages and alerts, geofencing, and DVIR. The Pro Plan further covers IFTA, safety compliance, and vehicle diagnostics, with a few other features. The eld accurately records the driver’s HOS, sending drivers timely alerts and helping owner-operators maintain fleet oversight. The eld uses Bluetooth in remote areas with poor cellular connectivity to stay operative. Even when the driver forgets to connect the eld with a mobile phone or the two disconnects accidentally, the eld continues to record. And while KeepTruckin offers a host of features, the device has a few drawbacks. The eld cannot detect a short-haul range exception. Moreover, any changes to the logs can only be made the next day by dispatch. KeepTruckin has a 4.1-star rating on both Google Play and Trust Pilot.

    Samsara ELDs are especially known for the range of fleet management features they support beyond e-logs. The company does not list its pricing, and quotations need to be requested. While the device comes at $99, the subscription plan begins from $30 upwards per month depending on the features chosen. The company requires a minimum 3-year contract. Samsara ELD runs on a cloud-based IoT system. The eld connects to the diagnostic port of the vehicle, generally located under the dashboard, and cables are provided depending on the vehicle type. E-logging, dispatch and routing solutions, GPS tracking, WiFi hotspots, IFTA reporting, DVIR, reefer monitoring, and vehicle diagnostics are some of its most popular elements. The choice of having in-cab WiFi hotspot reduces dependence on cellular plans and preserves battery power as Bluetooth connectivity tends to be more draining. The DVIR forms can be customized and drivers can upload important documents to the central system. The owner-operators can keep a track of every fleet vehicle, its HoS, and other vital stats, via its dashboard. Some recurring complaints include regular app crashes on tablets, rigid eld contract, hardware issues, and insecure mounting. 

    Best ELD for Trucks

    This article discusses the nine best eld for trucks. ELD Mandate leads the race with its compact eld that offers all vital features, at an industry leading price. Stay ELD compliant with ease! 

    Followed by: Rand McNally ELD 50, Stoneridge EZ ELD, My2o ELD, Gorilla Safety ELD, GPS Trackit ELD, KeepTruckin ELD, Samsara ELD

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