Full Review of Garmin ELD in 2019 | Pricing & Features

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It is always advisable to find out more information about a product and that applies to Garmin ELD as well. Having in mind that there are a lot of GPS products on the market, it is always advisable to read our Garmin ELD review before making any purchasing decision. 

Being a company with rich experience on truckers issues, ELD solutions have been designed with the needs of drivers and the driver in mind. That also applies to Garmin ELD.

This American technology company, Garmin LTD was founded back in 1989 in Lenexa, Kansas. It mainly specializes in GPS technology. By 2000, the company had sold over 3 million GPS devices.

Garmin ELD’s initial price ranges from  $249.99, with no monthly cost. A Garmin eLog that is fist-sized provides logs that are ELD compliant and can be accessed locally through Bluetooth and USB for inspections to be done by the roadside. A mobile app that is free to download enables drivers to manually key-in their on-duty status. The drivers can also see their remaining available hours easily.

Key Specifications

Manufacturer Main Features Devices Supported Cost
  • Rubber cap. Lift to reveal the pairing button and USB port.
  • Navigation
  • Document Scanning
  • Lock ring. Secures the device to the vehicle diagnostic port.
Type: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

OS: Andriod and iOS

Simple one-time purchase: $249.99

(No subscription fees)

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Brand Overview

Garmin ELDGarmin ELD refers to an FMCSA registered electronic logging device that is eLog compliant. Also, it is a simple one-time purchase that has no subscription fees. I find it a good idea for finding out more about a manufacturer and checking any industry experience before purchasing an ELD. Mostly, it is aimed for owner-operators, truckers, and owners of fleets who need or want to keep the right track of Hours of Service (HOS).

 I find it quite an essential gadget. For instance, not only do the users navigate through the gadget’s means, but they also stay alert all the time to their HOS. This makes the Garmin ELD an excellent option for drivers of trucks who seek a compliance solution that is simple, yet complete.

Garmin ELD makes it possible for people to check the remaining hours for driving by either day or week. That tells you that you don’t need to worry about your records. Garmin ELD application is securely stored on the smartphone to ensure easy access for inspection though the Web Service of FMCSA, either over Bluetooth or the device’s USB port. 

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Garmin ELD Features and Components

It is important to remember that Garmin ELD is not purposely to be a state-of-the-art product. Instead, it is a logging device meant to help drivers in complying with the mandate of FMCSA ELD. Therefore, you should not expect to obtain an e-log device that is complete with specific features discussed earlier.

Key features of Garmin ELD 

  • Garmin ELDPairing Button-through holding the button, pairing mode is activated
  • Rubber cap- When the cap is lifted, you reveal the pairing button and the USB port
  • USB port- It allows one to move files to the storage device
  • Lock ring- It ensures the security of the device to the vehicle diagnostic port or adapter cable
  • Light ring- the ring is capable of illuminating light blue. Also, it flashes dark blue upon switching to the pairing mode. Upon connecting to the device through Bluetooth, illumination of the dark blue occurs. A green light is an indication that the USB is ready for use. It flashes red upon the detection of an error.
  • Garmin eLog App- Another critical component of Garmin ELD to consider is the Garmin eLog App. This must be downloaded and installed to begin recording the information about driving. This application has to be paired with the Garmin eLog compliant ELD. It allows you to record safely and your personal information is not submitted unless you decide to share on your own through the port for the ELD USB. 

All records for ELD are stored securely on the smartphone, which needs a phone that is GPS and Bluetooth-enabled, which should be separately sold. 

There is a local storing of the records, implying that they will not end up in the cloud. That can be quite a big issue when stopping at locations without towers for cell phones around. Garmin eLog App has proven to be compatible with both the iPhone and Android smartphones. All that is required is to download the app online. It is free to either a compatible smartphone or tablet to see the completion of your compliance solution.

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Pros of using Garmin ELD

Before you buy any product or device, you definitely should have a valid and good reason. That applies to any electronic logging device. So, why select Garmin ELD? It is because it has many benefits, with the most important ones outlined below:

  • Being a stand-alone device, it can be used right from the box
  • Its set up is quite simple
  • You have easy access to the status of driver duty
  • Safe storage for your ELD records on your smartphone will be guaranteed, and ready for inspection
  • It fits most of the semi-trucks because it supports both 9-pin J1939 and 6-pin J1708 diagnostic ports
  • You also enjoy complying with the Garmin eLog Compliant ELD, because records of your HOS adhere to the mandate of FMCSA ELD.

Also, it does automatic recording of driving time and provides easy access for setting driver duty status. It also makes it possible for one to quickly check the remaining hours, either by day or week. You should even know that some of Garmin’s GPS devices have capabilities of eLog. That gives another option for completing a solution for the ELD which includes going with navigators for Garmin Dezl trucks. 

Garmin ELD has proven to work with a few Dezl GPS navigators, which consists of the DezlCam 785, Dezl 780 and Dezl 580. Since most of these navigators come with the app already pre-installed, a tablet or mobile device is not necessary at all. 

Another merit is that information on the HOS as well as the status of duty can be directly viewed on the navigator for display. However, you should note that there are certain exceptions on matters of Dezl navigators that need either a smartphone or tablet for you to see the remaining time. Upon a transfer to the smartphone, you will easily view your records at any given moment at your convenience. It also makes it easy to do record retrieval for any inspection carried by the roadside when the need is with a USB flash drive.

By using the above-discussed app, there will be accurate tracking and recording of the driving data by the Garmin eLog. Through the app, you will easily keep track of driving hour On-Duty, until you get to the daily limitation for HOS. You will also have a quick view of either daily or weekly hours left.

The apps enable you to view the number of hours remaining, thus help in avoiding violations to do with HOS. Such things are quite critical for truck drivers, which makes it necessary to have them under total control during driving. Also, fleets are enabled to manage and control several trailers and shipments at once while working.  

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Cons of Using Garmin ELD

Despite the above-discussed pros to do with the ease to use and set up Garmin ELD, it poses certain challenges for the majority of the people while figuring out the device’s logistics and operations. To begin with, the device is not capable of automatically changing the duty, unless the on-duty driving status is used. You may encounter challenges in remembering to log out of diving all the time.

 Many at times it may catch you off-guard even without the engine and truck stops having to run. For instance, upon a stopover at a fuel pump to make some payment, the status for “driving” begins to work immediately one roll ahead, just several feet. That is, quickly you turn on the engine, it switches to driving. However, editing all device records is not possible, even if it is an error. 

Another common challenge experienced is driver feedback. Some drivers have experienced issues with the status of “Non-Compliance.” Maximum driving hours may show up merely after 10 hours only. That will give you a hard time while trying to explain what occurred. Similarly, it can also add extra mileage, that is not real. Therefore, do not be surprised if your odometer report shows some extra miles.

That apart, more complications are experienced while syncing to another phone or tablet. That could be a significant problem when one has many people attempting to get linked to their mobile devices. The main reason is, it is meant to be connected to just a single Bluetooth device at a go.

All in all, with the above pros and cons, Garmin ELD has many benefits, given its price. Its mode of operation is quite easy. However, it may take a while for one to get used to it. You need to complete specific simple actions every time you drive the vehicle to ensure that information about the HOS is recorded correctly. With that in mind, it is essential that you:

  • Log in through Garmin eLog app
  • Turn on your vehicle’s engine
  • Put the adapter for the Garmin eLog into a diagnostic port
  • Change the status of your duty before driving starts
  • Log out once to stop driving

At any given moment, you can conveniently switch between any of the drivers. They have to be active when driving in a team. You can do this by choosing the icon beside any individual’s name under registration as the active driver. However, before you set it as the active driver, it is compulsory to log in to the app of Garmin eLog. 

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Who can use Garmin ELD?

The Garmin ELD device can be used mostly by operators, truckers, and owners of fleets who need or want to keep sound track of Hours of Service (HOS). By using it, their hours of service (HOS) recording complies with the ELD mandate.  

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Garmin ELD has no subscription fee and has a simple one-time purchase. That makes Garmin ELD a solution for fleets that is quite cost-effective and appealing. Upon purchase, all that one needs to do is install it and keep going. No further subscription fees or operational costs are required. That makes the device quite price competitive and affordable to many people. 

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How to order the device

The device can be ordered online via the Garmin official website. The website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and once you create an account; you can be logging in anytime to check your delivery status. Delivery is made across the globe. Upon making a one-time purchase with no subscription fees, Garmin can be delivered at the client’s convenience.

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How to install

What you should know during installation 

Garmin ELDWhile installing the Garmin ELD, the best thing you should know about the product is its readiness to be used outside the box. The Garmin ELD is made in such a way that, it can fit almost any truck without a hitch. However, certain things should be considered during the installation process of the process in your vehicle.  

You should securely install the logging device to prevent it from interfering with various controls of operation within the vehicle just like the pedals of the feet. This does not only impede the performance of driving but also leads to the collision at times. The connection of the device is made to a diagnostic port, with location varying in various vehicles. This can be done using two options:

  • Installation in a J1708 Port- to carry this out, you need first to turn off the vehicle before anything else is done. The e-log should then be connected to the nine-pin side of the adapter cable. Ensure that the arrow on the clock ring is aligned with the adapter cable’s channel. That should be followed by turning the device’s lock ring clockwise to ensure that it locks well into the adapter cable. After this, insert the six-pin side of the adapter cable into the J1708 port. A clockwise turn of the lock ensures that it is locked into the vehicle port. 
  • Installation in a J1939 Port- Before the device is installed; it is recommended that you turn off your vehicle. That is followed by connecting it to the diagnostic pin made of nine pins to ensure that the arrow for the lock ring is well aligned with the channel on the diagnostic pot. Finally, you should lock the ring that is preceding into the J1939 diagnostic port through moving it clockwise.

What to do after installation 

Garmin ELDAfter installation, the Garmin ELD adapter should then be set up. The adapter should be paired with the Garmin ELD app. Otherwise, the device functionality will be limited, and no compliance with the ELD mandate will be guaranteed. 

You can apply any of these two options:

  • Opening the Garmin ELD app on a Dezl android that is compatible. That will help in viewing information about the HOS, changing statuses of duty, and related activities.
  •  The Garmin ELD app can be downloaded from the app store on the smartphone. That helps in ensuring the compatibility of the mobile device.  

The app has particular instructions that should be followed for configuration and setting up the Garmin eLog system to be successful as well as the administrator account and driver profiles.

What to do upon installation

Upon installation, you should use these operation guidelines daily for effective and efficient use of the eLog system. Always ensure that:

  • There is secure mounting of the device hosting the Garmin app in the vehicle, and while seating, you can see the screen.
  • Bluetooth wireless and location services technology is well enabled on your device while using the Garmin adapter
  • The Garmin eLog application runs well before the vehicle starts
  • You log in to the app before the engine is turned on and logged out after it is turned off each workday. 
  • Review and claim all recorded logs for drivers who are not identified
  • Upon completion of the workday, you have certified your records and submitted them to your motor carrier. 
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Customer support

For more information and inquiries about Garmin ELD, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are among the social media platforms that can help you. The site will also give various perceptions and thoughts from previously done Garmin ELD review. 

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Others to know

When searching for a new ELD device or maybe you want to replace another device that already existed, you should purpose to choose the best ELD. 

After a proper Garmin ELD review, I have realized that Garmin provides a wide variety of tools that deal with GPS. These help in aviation, marine, fitness, and outdoor activities. Therefore, the company does not only provide Garmin ELD and related devices, but it also produces smartwatches and activity trackers.

Further, I have realized that the Garmin ELD app is capable of recording diagnostic events and malfunctions. That is upon detection of critical functions by the app that does not conform to specifications by the FMCSA. Upon detection of any malfunction, the motor and driver carrier carry out specific responsibilities as per the FMCSA guidelines and directions. 

It is the driver’s responsibility to note the ELD’s malfunction immediately and given a notice that is written to the motor carrier about the failure within 24 hours.  

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Garmin ELD clients required to provide any specific viewing inspection information?

Yes, an authorized safety official may need to view all information that a client recorded through the Garmin eLog system. It should be done for the current period of 24 hours and any previous seven consecutive days. You can access this information at any time on the Garmin eLog app. To do this, from the Garmin eLog app, choose the Inspection option. 

Which information is required when using the Garmin eLog adapter?

The vehicle should have the following documentation.

Garmin eLog Owner’s Manual 

Manual belonging to the owner is included as part of the Garmin eLog app. You can easily view the manual for the owner by selecting the settings option, followed by the View Online Help option. 

Record of Duty Status (RODS) sheets

The driver should possess enough blank paper RODS graph-grids that are enough for recording status of duty as well as other related information for at least eight days.

Garmin eLog Driver Reference Guide

It is required that you always keep a printed copy of the reference guide for the driver in your vehicle. This reference guide gives a list of options for data transfer as well as requirements for malfunction reporting, instructions, and procedures for keeping records for the Garmin eLog adapter. 

Can one transfer data? And if yes, what is the process of transferring data to an inspector by use of a USB Device?

Yes, data can be transferred to a device of USB mass storage to hand it to a safety officer who is authorized. The adapter for Garmin eLog is capable of supporting devices with USB mass storage, which are formatted by the use of the FAT32 file system. 

Select the Inspection option from the Garmin eLog app.

Choose the option: For an Android device, select > Yes For an Apple Device, select Send Report> Yes

  1. If need be, enter an annotation
  2. Choose USB
  3. Connect a device for USB mass storage to the Garmin eLog adapter’s USB port. There is a green glow on the adapter when it can readily send the Report for inspection.
  4. Key in your password
  5. Choose to Send to USB Device. There is a notification by the Garmin eLog after the transfer is complete. 
  6. Disconnect the USB mass storage device from the adapter
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From the information provided above, it is evident that Garmin ELD cannot be grouped with other electronic logging gadgets that are top-notch. However, it highly complies with the FMCSA ELD mandate. Garmin ELD’s software is a bit tricky and is susceptible to connection lose to the cell phone. It still has many amazing features and merits as discussed above, such as being affordable and having no subscription fees. Through secure storage of records on a smartphone, easy access for inspection is made possible.

Always remember that you have to install the Garmin eLog app after downloading to a smartphone that is compatible with the compliance solution process to be complete. The app is readily available for both Android and iPhone devices. However, as mentioned earlier, the phone has to be both GPS and Bluetooth enabled.

In your search for an electronic logging device that is budget-friendly and is mainly intended for recording of HOS, consider the Garmin ELD. From my Garmin ELD review, I have seen it useful in checking the remaining hours either by day or week while driving. Garmin ELD will help you remain compliant with ELD regulations at any given moment.

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