In 2019, an ELD mandate made it necessary for all commercial vehicles to have ELD devices. When this happened the market began seeing an influx of products that promised to stay in compliance with FMCSA regulations and promote safety.
Over the last few years, more devices have come onto the market. While these new devices have improved with features and functionality, it can make it hard to wade through the options to see which best suits a small fleet. The good news is, that we’ve done the work for you! If you’re a fleet manager looking for the best ELD devices for small fleets and are looking to boost your team’s performance, you’ve come to the right place!
Quicklook: Best ELD Devices for Small Fleets
- Best for Reputation: Trimble ELD
- Best For Ease of Use: Motive ELD (formerly KeepTruckin)
- Best For Fleet Management: Samsara ELD
- Best For Budget-Conscious Managers: EROAD ELD
- Best For EDL Compliance: Linxup ELD
- Best For Those With Devices: GPSTab ELD
- Best For Individual Owner-Operators: Konexial My20 ELD
- Best For Simple Information Logging: BigRoad Dashlink ELD
Best ELD for Small Fleets
Finding the best ELD for small fleets can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. The following article will break down the top 8 ELD devices on the market today so you can make a well-informed decision when choosing your ELD provider.
The Trimble ELD is one of the most well-known and trusted ELDs available. While it has the standard features that allow you to stay in compliance, its focus was on creating a tool that was driver-friendly. With an easy-to-use interface, drivers won’t have to struggle to become tech experts. Instead, they can focus on the road, where they shine. The Trimble ELD gathers all the data fleet managers need and provides an in-depth look at fuel consumption and other great features, all while keeping things simple for small businesses to easily integrate into their day-to-day operations.
Best For: Reputation
- Helps drivers focus on driving
- Easy to use technology
- Advanced GPS
- Reports engine status
- Reports fuel consumption
- Hardware costs and monthly costs can be slightly higher than other options
The Motive ELD is a top-rated ELD compliance software because it’s so easy to use. Formerly KeepTruckin, Drivers who have been on the road for decades have seen many changes within the industry and the introduction of technology to replace their trusted logbooks was quite the adjustment. With their new and improved Motive Driver App, this all-in-one app includes offers ELD compliance, IFTA reporting, and CSA insights to deliver the best value for its money.
Best For: Ease of use
- Reduced fuel wastage
- Vehicle diagnostics
- Reduced liabilities
- Location tracking
- Better route management
- HOS alerts
- Quality customer service
- No international integration
- Annotation notes for edits are difficult for some
- Each driver needs a smart device
Pricing: Request a custom quote
Samsara offers a quality product that’s simple to use. Founded in 2015, Samsara has quickly become one of the best ELD for small fleets due to its features. They offer one of the most comprehensive fleet management programs, including reefer management and trailer tracking.
Best For: Fleet management
- Easy set up process
- Helpful staff
- Intuitive app
- Clear fleet visibility
- Video monitoring of road
- Real-time vehicle diagnostics
- Plug and play hardware
- Edits difficult to make
- System updates frequently causing device to restart
- Filtering reports can be challenging
- Data connection drops occasionally
- Hardware not very durable
- $129 for hardware
- $30 starting price for monthly service
This device may not have all of the features some of the pricier options carry, but it makes up for it with accuracy, durability, dependability, and affordability. With no upfront payment required for the device and affordable monthly plans, the Eroad ELD is perfect for those looking for an affordable option.
Best For: Budget-conscious managers
- Integrated tax/miles tracking
- Excellent support team
- In-vehicle unit
- Easy retrieval of document for DOT inspection
- Real-time HOS violation reports
- Small screen
- Navigation not user-friendly when moving through sections
- No ELD GPS tracking
The Linxup has a convenient ELD GPS tracking system that sends out alerts and detailed reports in a timely manner. Its features are designed to do more than keep you compliant with the ELD mandate. This device keeps you updated on what your drivers are doing at all times so you can increase the efficiency of your fleets.
Best For: EDL compliance
- Designed to help CSA scores
- Durable hardware
- Free trial offered
- Monitors driver behavior
- Sends violation alerts
- Notifies of vehicle malfunctions
- Summaries of stops and idling activity
- Cannot use your own devices
- Non-compatible with third-party tablets
- IFTA additional cost
- No off-line tracking
- $300 for hardware
- $29.99 to $49.99 monthly
The GPSTab ELD cloud-based app was designed by truckers for truckers. There is no ELD device so you can connect to the app through any existing mobile device and save thousands of dollars. With a low monthly price and compatibility with almost any existing operating system, this app is hard to beat.
Best For: Those equipped with mobile devices
- Truck diagnostics
- 24/7 customer service
- Free trial offer
- In person and online training
- Video tutorials
- Asset tracking
- Driver management
- IFTA reporting
- Mobile access
- Must have own device
- Buggy and crashes occasionally
- Starts at $29 per month
Konexial MY20 ELD
Konexial MY20 has designed ELD software that works with your Apple or Android device. The app is easy to download and is very user-friendly. This is the perfect device for independent drivers who need to keep track of their information and have it readily available for DOT audits.
Best For: Individual Owner-Operators
- Simple installation
- Excellent privacy and security
- Route mapping and navigation
- Supports all ELD documents
- App compatible with iOS and Android
- Delayed connection
- Short battery-life
- Pricey subscription cost
- $149 to $219 for hardware
- $35 to $150 per month for subscription
- $300 to $600 per year for subscription
BigRoad DashLink ELD
If you just want an ELD device without all the bells and whistles, this is the option for you. The BigRoad DashLink is a quick and affordable way to meet ELD mandate requirements. There are no upfront costs and driver duty status, and drive time is automatically recorded to ensure HOS compliance.
Best For: Simple information logging
- Easy installation
- Two-way messaging
- Document scanning
- Low cost
- No idling reports
- No MPG and engine fault codes
- Lacks DVR tracking and alerts
- Easily disabled
Pricing: $40 per month, $1440 per year w/device
What Is an ELD and How Does It Work?
An ELD, or electronic logging device, is the hardware used for commercial vehicles to record driving time. You plug in directly into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) port to gather data on the engine, location, speed, and more. The FMCSA issued an ELD mandate requiring most commercial vehicles to be equipped with an ELD.
What Makes a Good ELD Device?
While there are so many benefits that come with ELD devices, the one that makes the most sense to us is keeping drivers focusing on what they do best — driving. That’s why our top choice is the Trimble ELD. And while these devices are all packed with a range of benefits, while doing your research keep in mind what’s important to your business operation. Is it safety, compliance, GPS tracking, or other key features? There’s no right or wrong amount of things to look for in a device, but you should always consider the brand reputation – like Trimble’s – when you’re making your selection.
ELD compliance with FMCSA regulations ensures you won’t be in violation of any rules and subsequently fined and required to shell out more money to become compliant. A self-certified device shows the ELD provider has tested the product and found that it meets FMCSA requirements. But these providers may not necessarily be aware of all the tests that should be completed.
A third-party company specializing in ELD compliance can conduct a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that’s unbiased. The procedures they use for testing should address your fleet’s operational requirements in relation to the ELD mandate. If no third-party testing was done and the device isn’t registered as compliant it’s best to avoid using it.
This is especially true for drivers crossing the US and Canadian borders. Drivers from both countries are required to follow the ELD mandate both countries have in place, so they can get in and out of the country they traveled to without any issues.
ELDs make DOT inspections faster and easier for both the driver and examiner. Human error is significantly reduced as the driver isn’t required to keep a manual record of the information needed for the inspection, and pages cannot be misplaced. The inspector doesn’t have to rifle through logbooks and decipher messy handwriting as everything they need is stored digitally in a central location.
Drivers stopped for DOT inspections that aren’t in ELD compliance, will receive a citation for not having the proper record of duty status. The driver will then be placed out of service (OOS) for ten hours, or eight if it’s a passenger vehicle. Once the OOS period is over the driver can complete the trip using paper logs.
If the driver is dispatched without an ELD after reaching their final destination they will be subject to the OOS period again. Any violations incurred will be recorded against the carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores.
Simple Logbook Edits
Drivers can fix mistakes and input missing information into their logbooks as long as they are acting within the FMCSA rules. Editing the information doesn’t override or eliminate the original record, it corrects the information and is accompanied by an annotation stating why the edit was made. A good ELD device will be easy to navigate and make editing a simple task.
Under the ELD mandate the following edits are restricted:
- Drive time
- Turning the engine on and off
- ELD malfunctions
- Log-in and log-out activity
Newest User-Friendly Technology
The best ELD devices contain the most up-to-date software and user-friendly interfaces. This software gives you access to an abundance of data that was previously unavailable and allows fleet managers to monitor the efficiency of their vehicles and crews.
The best ELD devices for small fleets allow you to view engine diagnostics so you can get ahead of any potential issues and save on maintenance and repair costs. Access to driver behavior makes managing and training simpler as you have data that you can speak to. Drivers who are speeding can be coached and in turn, your fuel spending can decrease.
Customers who are waiting for a delivery can be contacted and given an accurate arrival time using the ELD GPS tracking system. ELDs can also determine the quickest or best route for deliveries to ensure the goods make it to their destination safely.
These features and more are easily accessed on newer devices. If you have older devices make sure updates can be pushed through to keep them FMCSA compliant.
Top Security Features
Cyber security is a real concern for ELD devices as they contain important data and require internet connectivity to transmit and record information. The ELD mandate requires security controls like encryption when the vehicle is resting, on the move, or the device is being sent somewhere.
All communication with FMCSA servers must be encrypted as well as any emails sent. There is concern regarding hackers getting access to a driver’s CDL number, name, and other personal information. Before committing to a device for your fleet, ask about the security measures in place for protecting the company and the driver.
When looking for an ELD for your small fleet, price is typically a key factor in selecting a provider. On top of the expensive costs of the hardware and software, many ELD providers require a monthly subscription or contract for a specified amount of time. Do your research and find one within your business budget that has low monthly payments or a small upfront fee.
Cloud-based ELDs are very reliable in comparison to hard-wired, Bluetooth, or other ELD solutions. There’s no pairing process or back office intervention.
The battery life of the ELD device lasts longer due to the reduction in power consumption. They can usually be used on different platforms like iOS and Android, and the logs are accurate even when operating different vehicles.
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation
ELDs keep a record of hours of service (HOS), GPS tracking, mileage, fuel usage, vehicle identification, and engine power-ups and shutdowns. Having this information on hand allows for a comprehensive evaluation of all the safety data needed to stay compliant with the ELD mandate.
It’s well known that tired drivers can cause accidents, especially when traveling long distances. Paper logbooks aren’t always accurate due to drivers miscalculating hours, and pressure from some employers to manipulate the time spent on the road.
ELD devices will automatically ensure accuracy, and many devices will shut the driver’s route down once they’ve reached their HOS limit. Tracking mileage and fuel usage as well as obtaining engine diagnostics all help keep the vehicle in top condition.
Drivers can be notified when it’s time for an oil change and being aware of where the driver’s location can allow dispatchers to facilitate pick-ups and drop-offs that require immediate attention. The benefits of having access to this information are priceless.
Stay Safe and Compliant with ELD Devices
If you have a small fleet and want to maximize its efficiency, an ELD device from Trimble can help you not only stay compliant but reduce safety issues and improve your operation. Not only do ELD devices help manage and monitor your driver’s activities, they also offer real-time navigation and have safety features that are geared toward making your fleet one of the safest ones possible.