As an owner-operator who has to control the expenses of your trucking business for cost-cutting constantly, isn’t additional financial stress the last thing you can wish for? But it’s also a fact that using an ELD for owner operator has been made mandatory for most commercial vehicles since 2019 in the United States.
As per government officials, an ELD mandate is the best way to automate drivers’ time on and off duty to make work safer for them. It also makes it easier to share data and meet compliance with the Department of Transportation.
While it’s comparatively more convenient for larger organizations to have the necessary resources for making this transition easy, it’s the owner-operators who have to bear extra financial stress on top of finding the best device for them. Getting a device that not only meets the compliance requirements but also passes quality standards and fits your budget takes a lot of research and time.
But now you don’t have to worry…
Because we have conducted thorough research and as a result, we have curated a list of the best ELD devices available in the market that will also not burn a hole in your pocket. But before that, let’s briefly understand what ELD devices are and the factors to consider while finding the best one for your trucking business.
What Is An ELD And Is It Mandatory For You?
An electronic logging device (ELD) is hardware that is attached to your vehicle to automatically record your hours of service (HOS). It was mandated in December 2019 with an intention of creating a safer work environment for drivers, through accurate and automatic recording of drivers’ on and off-duty time. As well as making it easier to manage and share data in compliance with the Department of Transportation’s Hours of Service rules.
The ELD mandate only applies to carriers and drivers who are required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RoDS), in accordance with US federal hours of service regulations. Those who fail to comply will be penalized with fines, forced out of service, and CSA points. To stay in compliance, you should make sure you understand all of the hours of service violations you could potentially get.
Important Factors That Help You Find The Best ELD For Your Vehicle:
There are many factors that get in the way to determine whether the device you are choosing will be suitable for your truck or not. But the most important factor to be considered before others is whether the ELD you are thinking of buying is among the FMCSA’s list of approved devices or not. On failing, you can face heavy fines and penalties.
Next, you would like to make sure that the product is within your budget and is compatible with the other devices you use on a regular basis while driving. Hence, it’s vital that you finalize a device that is up-to-date with all the federal requirements as well as the latest features to optimize your expenses on supporting tools and wires.
1. FMCSA Approval:
The first and the wisest thing to check while looking for the best ELD for owner-operators is to check whether it qualifies for ELD mandate and is FMCSA certified or not. Therefore, you must check if the device is on the FMCSA list.
You should consider replacing your uncertified ELD as it will not only cost more money but can also cause you a penalty or a citation.
You would definitely want to make sure that the device fits your budget and doesn’t have any hidden fees. Think of an ELD as more of an investment than an expense as in the long run, it’s going to save you money by avoiding fines and violations and also help you improve your CSA score. The prices can also vary depending on the fact whether it’s a one-time-price device or it has monthly service fees and costs.
You can choose to pay an up-front cost which is reasonable and then gradually move to pay a monthly cost which eases out the stress of paying a huge amount at once. The installation of ELD devices varies. If you are choosing to save money on e-logs, you can buy a device you can install by yourself. You can also filter out your options by banking on service providers offering free installation.
3. Dedicated e-Log or BYOD:
ELD requirements may vary from business to business. So, it’s only better you explore the two major options when it comes to selecting the type of your ELD between a dedicated one or a BYOD.
A dedicated electronic logging provider offers everything that you need from their side including ELD software and viewing platforms such as mobile devices or tablets. Many ELD providers might provide the equipment for free or at discounted rates
On the other hand, BYOD ELD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) systems allow you to use your own devices, like tablets or smartphones. Here, all you need is to purchase the system and link it to your mobile device. It will save you some money.
But the drawback is that you need to pay an additional fee for a cellular connection and it might also be distracting for you as you will be using your mobile devices along with accessing the ELD when driving.
One of the best ways to save cost while buying an ELD for your truck is to search for solutions that are compatible with your existing resources like smartphones, tablet devices, and other similar devices. It will be both: cost-saving on having to buy new devices and if the ELD is compatible with the existing devices it would be easier for you to operate it.
5. Technical Support:
You are likely to encounter technical issues while on the road hence the device should have 24/7 support. So, your truck can get back on the road as the customer service team will be able to promptly troubleshoot the issue.
6. Cloud-based solution:
Having a cloud-based solution will make your life a lot easier as data stored in the cloud-based solution can be accessed through any device. It also ensures that any crucial information such as Hours of Service data is safely recorded and stored and is not prone to data loss even if the smartphone or tablet malfunctions. In addition, loud-based ELD solutions can automatically store data whenever a connection is established in areas with lesser or no cellular coverage.
It is advisable to choose a solution that can be customized to fit the needs of your trucking business. A comprehensive solution with a lot of features may sound like a good deal but it might not be the solution for your business. You will also need a solution that can be expanded or upgraded in the future. It would be a good idea if you choose a service that is flexible and can adapt and evolve as and when necessary.
Best ELD for owner-operators:
1. EROAD EHUBO ELD:
EROAD Ehubo is FMCSA compliant and has a full-packed IFTA reporting feature. You can easily log your “personal conveyance” time without stressing about HOS requirements.
- The compact and single in-vehicle unit
- Location tracking
- IFTA reporting
- Safety management and risk alerts
- Geolocation capabilities
- Project time monitoring
- Location tracking
- The easy installation process (under 2 minutes)
- PAYD or “Pay as you Drive” pricing plan
- DVIR Reporting System
- GPS Tracking
- Easy To Use
2. Matrack ELD:
Matrack ELD is a reliable and easy-to-use device. Along with the dependable ELD device, the provider also offers a seamless, intuitive, and user-friendly app. With a free ELD device, low subscription cost, no contracts, lifetime warranty, and more, Matrack ELD is one of the best in the current market.
Matrack ELD is in complete compliance with FMCSA guidelines, thereby making it most preferred by drivers who are required to comply with the ELD mandate.
- FMCSA and DoT compliance
- Automated and accurate HoS logs
- Easy DoT log transfer on inspections
- Accurate travel logs
- Idle time tracking
- Real-time safety management and risk alerts
- Automated reporting
- Accident reporting
- IFTA calculations
- Fuel and vehicle maintenance management
- Historical records, easy storage, and retrieval of data
- Voice-enabled interface
3. GPS Trackit ELD:
GPS Trackit ELD is also a good option for owner-operators who do not want to be stuck with a contract. The hardware is simple plug-in-play and FMCSA compliant and comes with a software application that can be downloaded on the device of your choice.
- Generate and Transmit Reports
- Saves Time and Reduces Errors
- Store and retrieve data easily
- Track HoS Status of All Vehicles
- Minimize Violations
- Customizable alerts make it easy to highlight important details
- You can supply your own hardware if you want
- No contracts needed
4. Gorilla Safety ELD:
Gorilla Safety is the comparatively newer service provider in ELD and fleet management industry. However, if you are looking for an ELD that also helps in proper document management, then Gorilla Safety ELD is the right option for you.
- Location tracking accurate to one mile
- Easier driver-mechanic communication
- Immediate help in case of an accident
- Schedule Mechanic inspections
- Easy documentation of data and records
5. My20 ELD Device:
If you are finding eld devices too pricey for owner-operators, you should consider the Konexial My20 ELD. Konexial is one of the major ELD providers in the U.S. e-log market. This ELD provider’s monthly subscription service packages are pocket-friendly and the company offers its e-log solution hardware on hire terms as well.
- Location tracking accurate to one mile
- Quick install and easy to use
- No contract required
- 100% FMCSA approved
- DOT certified
- Only ELD with GoLoad – direct shipper loads.
- No additional hardware needed to operate
- One-year warranty available
- IFTA mileage included
- Konexial will repair or replace your ELD as long as you maintain your monthly service
6. KeepTruckin ELD:
Trusted by thousands of truckers, KeepTruckin ELD is best known for its interface which is user-friendly and cost-effective as well. It comes with an intuitive driver app that helps them improve overall efficiency. The services provided by KeepTruckin are for vehicles of all sizes and can be enjoyed for several commercial and fleet tracking purposes too. Given the elaborate range of features and added services it offers, it is one of the best in its price range.
- FMCSA and DoT compliance
- IFTA fuel tax reporting
- Intuitive Driver app and Driver coaching
- Vehicle Inspections and Diagnostics
- Trailer and Equipment Tracking
- In-Cab Wi-Fi Hotspot
- 24/7 tech support
7. Rand McNally ELD 50:
The Rand McNally ELD 50 is great for its easy installation and user-friendly interface. It is a compact device equipped with useful features. Rand McNally essentially has a plug-and-play installation and does not require any expert help. This ELD is also capable of creating comprehensive DVIR reports in addition to the standard ELD functionality. Also, the device can collect logs when you are out of wireless network coverage.
- Easy installation
- Free trial
- Two way messaging
- IFTA fuel tracking
- Workflow reporting
- DVIR stores a lot of information, so users don’t have to worry about data being overwritten
- Use gauges feature to show current engine stats in a customizable dashboard and allow drivers to diagnose engine problems quickly
- Easy to install
- Simple to operate
8. Samsara ELD:
Samsara ELD is an amazing option for its fleet management features as it is an ideal choice for both experienced and new to the field. You do not need to purchase a Field Management System (FMS) to be able to use Samsara. As far as ELD services go, Samsara is one of the most reliable ones in the market. Samsara’s ELD services are dependable even when there is no coverage as it provides WiFi and hotspot facilities.
- Asset tracking
- Fuel cost management
- Data visualization
- Driver and Customer management
- Emergency dispatch
- Audit trail
- Easy learning curve
- Easy to upgrade
- Strong support options
- Comparatively easy to use
- A modern and intuitive design
- “Plug and Play” hardware
- Easy to install
- 24/7 U.S.-based phone support service
9. Stoneridge EZ-ELD Device:
The Stoneridge EZ-ELD is an excellent choice for an owner-operator. This eld for owner-operators is certified by FMCSA. The solution comes with several adapters for installation on various trucks.
- Easy to use and install
- FMCSA-certified to provide total control of federally mandated compliance obligations
- Multiple adaptors connect to it and can be easily switched between vehicles
- Capable of storing up to six months of data
- Allows users to view timesheet calendars for up to thirty days at a time
- IFTA & vehicle inspection are included in the package
There are positives and negatives associated with each ELD device in the market. The key here is to go for a device that best fits owner-operator needs. If you manage a fleet, there are additional features to consider keeping in mind Fleet Management System as not all of them are great for smaller fleets equipped for larger ones.
Your final decision should depend on price and available features. The ideal machine should be easy to install and use while competent, readily available customer support is also a must.
Hence, it’s important to do your research first, and compare models to find the best fit. Do not overlook the service provider as prompt and reliable services go long way when it’s about a device integral to your business.
We hope this comprehensive guide, covering the major aspects of buying an ELD for your trucking business will help you make an informed and practical decision.