Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are electronic hardware mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). They connect to the vehicle’s engine to record driving hours and transmit this data to a monitor or mobile device for the driver to see and print hour logs.
Whether you’re an owner operator or plan to establish your own hot shot trucking business, you must install an ELD device in your vehicle.
The table below shows a quick comparison of the best ELD devices and apps for hot shot trucks:
|ELD||Upfront Cost||Ongoing Costs (From)|
|Garmin eLog||$249.99||No ongoing costs|
|BigRoad||$0||$19.50/month (Billed annually)|
|Switchboard||$249.99||$20/month (Free version available)|
|Blue Ink Tech||$295||No ongoing costs|
Note: All ELDs in the table above were selected based on user ratings and reliability information sourced from various forums, surveys, and review websites, including Trustpilot and Capterra. Pricing information was sourced from the official website or other official sources for each ELD provider is intended per vehicle, and is correct as of June 2022. Actual costs may vary. Services are listed in no particular order.
1. Garmin eLog
- Best for: Subscription-free use
Garmin eLog is the best subscription-free ELD for hot shot trucking if you want to avoid the financial burden of ongoing monthly costs. The device features a simple setup and hours of service (HOS) recording compliant with the FMCSA ELD mandates.
The eLog transmits all data to a mobile app; alternatively, you can pair it with a Garmin dēzl™ navigator. This device is also compatible with inspection via FMCSA web services over Bluetooth or through the USB port.
Garmin eLog costs $249.99 (also payable in four interest-free installments with Klarna). The app is free to use, and there are no hidden ongoing costs.
Website: Garmin eLog
- Best for: International hot shot trucking
For years, KeepTruckin has been one of the most popular ELDs for hot shot. While the service didn’t lose popularity, it has been rebranded into Motive. The plans and pricing didn’t change much, though.
Motive charges $150 for its ELD hardware and an ongoing fee starting at $25 per month for the software.
The app is intuitive to use, displaying a convenient HOS countdown. This helps drivers calculate available drive time and find a park to place before violating the code. Roadside inspections are also made easy, thanks to the Inspection Mode.
But the best thing is that Motive ELD is not only FMCSA-registered; it is also certified in Canada, ensuring compliance across North America.
- Best for: Fleet management
With impeccable fleet management features, Samsara is an excellent choice for hot shot trucking companies.
The brand’s solution consists of a driver app compatible with all Android and iOS devices. A proprietary gateway device, which costs around $99 and comes with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. This makes it easy to access the logs even in areas with no cellular reception.
By saving all logged data in a cloud, Samsara also enables compliance managers to review and suggest driver log edits. These features make Samsara one of the best ELD for hot shot trucking companies of all sizes.
4. EROAD Ehubo
- Best for: Short-haul drivers
Hot shot truck drivers running short-haul rides are exempt from the ELD mandate; however, they are still required to keep records of duty statuses.
Giving drivers the possibility to use the software alone, EROAD Ehubo is one of the best ELDs for short-haul hot shot trucking.
Plans with no hardware purchase start at $35 per month. The monitoring software incorporates a Smart Short Haul feature that changes the rulesets and only records what’s needed for the drivers to stay in compliance.
For long-haul trucking, owner operators or businesses can opt for the complete solution that includes the hardware. EROAD doesn’t disclose the hardware cost on its website, but the software plans start at $25 per month.
- Best for: Fleet owners
BigRoad’s ELD package, called Dashlink, is one of the most popular ELDs on the market. However, that’s not the best offer from the brand.
The best offer is the Fleet Management bundle that makes BigRoad the best ELD for hot shot fleet owners.
With no upfront costs and ongoing costs of only $36 per month, the service provider offers the Dashlink ELD package, seamless vehicle tracking via GPS, driver, and vehicle safety monitoring, and IFTA mileage reporting.
The bundle also includes driving behavior monitoring, so you can keep an eye on your employees.
Owner operators who only need Dashlink will also get the hardware included in a bundle. There are no upfront costs, and the monthly fee is only $19.50 – billed annually.
6. Verizon Connect
- Best for: Mobile tracking
Verizon Connect offers one of the most expensive ELD options when it comes to ongoing costs. However, they are the best ELD for mobile tracking – their mobile app is one of the most accurate around, and you can use it with your own device.
This cuts off upfront costs since Verizon Connect only provides the software. Monthly costs start at $45, but the app is very easy to use.
The app also syncs with fleet management software automatically, giving managers the possibility to check the logs at any time.
If you don’t have a GPS tracker, you can buy one from the brand. Hardware prices vary based on the fleet size, but you might get a better monthly deal when opting for a complete package.
Website: Verizon Connect
- Best for: Startups
Switchboard competes with Garmin when it comes to the best ELD for hot shot trucking startups. Whether you have a small fleet or just one truck, this is one of the cheapest solutions.
Owner operators on a budget can benefit from the free ELD software. The app is easy to use and records hours of compliance. There is a log editing option, too, and all users get 24/7 support.
Fleet owners get everything included in the Starter package, plus automated IFTA reporting, driver behavior monitoring, log editing, GPS fleet tracking, and vehicle diagnosis. No matter what plan you opt for, add-ons include a Switchboard tablet, and a weigh station bypass.
Switchboard’s software only works with the proprietary tracking device, which costs $249.99. Considering the free owner operator plan, Switchboard might just have an edge over Garmin.
8. Blue Ink Tech
- Best for: Independent drivers
Blue Ink Tech might not have the bells and whistles other services bring, but it’s one of the best ELDs for independent hot shot trucking.
Much like Garmin and Switchboard, it comes with no ongoing costs. The device is more expensive compared to both Garmin and Switchboard – it costs $295. However, you can use it with Blue Ink’s proprietary app or with software from another provider.
The Blue Ink Tech app works with all Android and iOS devices and features an intuitive interface. It also connects automatically to whatever truck the driver is using for the day, making it a great choice for independent drivers working on multiple trucks.
Website: Blue Ink Tech
9. Gorilla Safety
- Best for: Document management
Gorilla Safety is one of the best ELD software for hot shot trucking if you’re looking for seamless document management.
The company’s aim is to make the transition from paper to paperless logging as easy as possible. The software is intuitive, cheap, and comes with a variety of features.
Monthly plans start at $19.99 for owner operators and independent contractors. Fleet solutions are also affordable, varying from $26.99 to $36.99 per month.
Gorilla Safety’s software works with most ELD devices, or you can buy one from the brand. Hardware prices vary from $150 to $250.
Website: Gorilla Safety
- Best for: Customizable plans
Azuga is another top ELD provider for hot shot trucking companies. It has some basic plans and bundles, but most users appreciate Azuga’s services for its plan customization options.
This is one of the few ELD companies that provide a free device with their software. Prices start at $25 for independent contractors and owner operators. However, this plan doesn’t include the logging device, which you’ll have to buy separately.
That said, this is a great option for those who already own the logging hardware.
Drivers who don’t own the hardware can receive it for free with one of the more expensive plans. Expect to pay at least $30 for this option.
Before choosing any plan, however, it is a good idea to apply for a personalized quote. Azuga’s plans are customizable, and you could be offered a better deal through a direct quote.
11. Rand McNally
- Best for: Portable hardware
Rand McNally is an excellent choice for independent contractors who want to use the same logging device regardless of the truck they’re driving.
The Link hardware from the brand is one of the best portable ELDs on the market. The 9-pin connector is easy to plug into the truck’s J-Bus port and transmits the data to a proprietary app.
As you’d expect, the app works on all Android and iOS devices and comes at an affordable price.
A logging device costs $179.99, and you can pair it with a 6-pin to 9-pin converter for seamless use in all vehicles. Once you’ve plugged in the device and downloaded the Driver app, connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth for log registration. No doubt, one of the easiest-to-use systems.
Website: Rand McNally
12. Guardian eLog
- Best for: Hot shot teams
When comparing ELD services, you should know that most provide their pricing per truck and one user. Plus, most companies charge hidden fees for connectors and other components.
This is where Guardian eLog steps in. Devices cost around $800, but you can benefit from discounts if you need more than ten. Ongoing service prices start at $45 per month for up to ten users, with a 4-year contract.
No contract options start at $65 per month. This makes Guardian eLog the best ELD for hot shot trucking teams.
While Guardian is a Canada-based company, the eLog provider offers compliance solutions to drivers across all North America, including the United States.
- Best for: Drivers on a budget
One of the best ELD solutions for new hot shot drivers, Matrack includes everything you need in its monthly bundle.
The company offers a plug-and-play logging device that is easy to install. This hardware transmits data to an app compatible with Android and iOS devices. Prices start at $14.95 per month and include ELD logging, IFTA, and fleet management options.
Each plan can be used by up to two drivers, and there is no minimum contract. This makes Matrack a great option for hot shot drivers on a budget.
- Best for: Paperless DVIRs
One of the best ELDs for large fleets, Omnitracs is similar to Guardian as far as pricing is concerned. The hardware costs $799, payable upfront, but monthly plans are more affordable, starting at $27.
All ELD plans include paperless driver inspection reports that make vehicle and compliance inspections as seamless as possible.
Short-haul drivers can also opt for a dedicated plan that logs the driving hours. It has no other bells and whistles, but it only costs $24 per month.
- Best for: Carriers and shippers
BridgeHaul is an excellent ELD for hot shot carriers but also for shippers and owner operators. Cheap pricing plans and free add-ons make it a winner.
Plans start at $17.50 per month for both owner operators and carriers. The former category gets a free app, whereas the latter is a free flat management plan. Both plans include the hardware lease, so there are no upfront costs.
Shippers pay a fixed percentage per load, although contract pricing is also available. However, carriers must contact the company and ask for a quote.
- Best for: Multiple truck use
If you’re looking for the best OBD2 ELD device that also works with 6-pin or 9-pin trucks, the EZ-ELD from Stoneridge is an excellent choice.
Costing only $169, it is one of the most affordable ELDs on the market. The only downside is that you can only use it with the proprietary app, which comes with a monthly plan starting at $15 per month. However, there are perks in the bundle.
The device comes with free training, installation, and setup. You get unlimited drivers per device, a unique truck pairing feature, and six months of cloud data storage. There are also no hidden fees and no contract, and you also get seamless HOS, IFTA, and DVIR reporting.
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