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Best Electronic Logging Devices for Owner-Operators

Electronic logging devices (known commonly as ELDs) track hours of service, help improve your CSA score (calculated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and improve communication between each step of the supply chain. Each ELD on the market offers something different to owner-operators. Some offer the best prices, while others focus on accurate, real-time GPS tracking. The purpose of this article is to help owner-operators find the best ELD match for the best results. 

What makes a good ELD?

An ELD synchronizes with the vehicle’s engine to record miles, date, time, location, and vehicle identification information. Some ELDs offer additional features such as driver safety information, which records if the driver brakes abruptly or accelerates too quickly. Although each ELD offers something unique, there are several features that every ELD should have.  

Every ELD should be self-certified in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards. This ensures the company holds its devices to the highest ELD standard and remain compliant with the federal ELD mandate. 

A good ELD is easy to use, intuitive and headache-free. As an owner-operator, you should be able to trust that your device is error-free and simple to use.

Finally, the best ELD devices have North American support. Regardless of where the company is based, it should have a local support team situated in North America to provide fast, efficient support when there’s a problem. 

Three best ELDs for owner-operators 

The best ELD for you is the one that meets your needs without exceeding your budget. We’ve included some solid options here, but when buying your ELD, remember to consider your wants, needs and budget limitations. 

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1. Blue Ink BIT ELD

The Blue Ink BIT ELD advertises to smaller fleets that have limited resources. Blue Ink is contract-free and doesn’t require a monthly subscription; instead, the owner-operator pays a one-time fee of $295. Blue Ink’s affordable plan makes it an attainable option for owner-operators with small fleets. Blue Ink also has an easy-to-use app that pairs with the ELD. In terms of extra features, it offers tire pressure and air scale sensors. 

2. Garmin eLog

Garmin offers an affordable ELD for small fleets. The device is $250 per unit (including the ELD device, an adaptor and manual) with no monthly fees, making it less expensive than other ELD options for small fleet managers and operators. The chief appeal of Garmin is its easy installation. In total, the installation should take only a couple of minutes. Garmin is also a trusted GPS brand, which ensures consistent fleet tracking. 

3. Stoneridge EZ ELD

Stoneridge markets specifically to small owner-operators and individual truckers. The device focuses on reducing emissions by monitoring idle time and increasing fuel efficiency. To buy the product, buyers pay an up-front cost of $169 plus a monthly subscription fee of $15. Even though you pay a monthly subscription cost, there’s no contract, which means you can cancel at any time.  

Stoneridge has a unique pairing system called “Scan and Drive,” which pulls up a QR code for drivers to scan as soon as they get into the vehicle. This allows for easy iOS and Android pairing, increasing the usability of the device. 

Bottom line 

Owner-operators are in a unique position to be equipped with usable, intuitive and affordable ELD options. The Blue Ink BIT ELD, Garmin eLog and Stoneridge EZ ELD all market toward smaller fleets and provide personalized customer service tailored to the individual. For more options, check out FreightWaves’ full list of ELD reviews.