Blue Tree Systems ELD


$995                                  $40                                        $1,955


New, modern ELD hardware
Offers relevant features for reefer fleets
Built in navigation provided by Garmin or Tomtom
Can be installed very discreetly, and seems difficult to remove or tamper with


Very expensive
Currently missing features required by the ELD mandate
Have to use multiple versions of product to access all features
Not easy to install


Cost        Hardware      Elog App      Fleet App      Features      Total
1 / 5         3 / 5                 2.5 / 5            2.5 / 5            3.5 / 5           2.5 / 5


Blue Tree Systems (“BTS”) has been a player in the international telematics market for the last two decades. Best known for their reefer monitoring services, BTS has always focused on large fleets. With the introduction of their first Electronic Logging Device, it seems that focus onlarger fleets has remained.


Device / Installation / Connectivity -     3.5 / 5
BTS’s first ELD is meant to be used with either a Garmin or a TomTom display device. The display device connects via WiFi to Blue Tree’s BT500 hardware, which plugs into the vehicle to record motion and engine data. It includes standard features such as logs, DVIRs, messaging, navigation, engine codes, and IFTA.

The app has a nice design with an easy to navigate UI. But there is a major feature required by the ELD mandate that is inexplicably left out. Drivers can’t email or fax their logs from the tablet. The daily recap hours for the upcoming week are strangely hard to find as well. This could disqualify it from being useful.


ELog Mobile App For Drivers - 2 / 5
There is a general purpose Android app that would allow the system to be used on a driver’s personal smartphone or tablet, but it currently has limited features and does not support HOS recording. Until the App supports Hours of Service recording it is basically useless to anyone interested in BTS as an Elog or ELD solution.


Website For Fleet Managers - 2 / 5
Blue Tree’s new fleet management software for back office use is still a work in progress. The new software is web based and much more modern look and feel than their older desktop software.
However, not all functionality has been moved to the new system yet. So fleet managers still have to use the old system to do things such as correcting logs or assigning unlogged driving. The older software is dated and clunky. For fleet managers new to fleet management software solutions being more or less required to navigate between two versions of the same system that do not look, feel or function like each other is difficult and frustrating.


Cost - 1.5 / 5
With an upfront cost of almost $1,000, Blue Tree Systems is one of the most expensive ELD solutions on the market. For that price, A customer receives the BT500 hardware and a Garmin device. For customers that would prefer to the pair the BT500 with the Tomtom display, the upfront price is even higher.

BTS’s monthly service fees are in the higher range of the market as well, coming in at $40 per month. With the high upfront cost and comparatively expensive MRC (monthly recurring charge).

There are financing options available for Fleets that want the BTS system installed in their trucks but can’t afford the upfront cost. One such option provides both the hardware and the software for no money down and $60 per month on a five year contract.


Additional Features / Comparison to Market - 3.5 / 5
BTS’s ELD solution does have some interesting features that might make it worth the price tag for certain fleets.

First, the unit can be installed completely behind the dashboard, making it completely hidden and resistant to tampering. Not many products on the market are designed to work well when completely hidden under the dash panels, so this is an interesting advantage for fleets worried about theft or drivers disabling their e-logs.

The fact that the system runs on Garmin and TomTom gives the driver built-in, truck-specific navigation.

The app also has some interesting tools like Hours of Service coaching which is designed to help a driver plan their day and get the most out of their driving and on duty time.

Being a long-time player in the industry also means Blue Tree tends to have existing integrations with a lot of major software providers like TMW, McLeod, etc.


Conclusion - 2.5 / 5
The upfront and monthly price points for the BTS system will make it an unlikely option for most small or mid-sized fleets that can find better deals elsewhere from other competitors. Larger Reefer fleets will want to give BTS a serious look.

However, until the new software is fully functional and free of bugs, many fleet managers might look elsewhere. The functionality will need to expand significantly to justify the high cost. Until that time, it is extremely expensive for what is currently offered.


Display Device
Type: Dedicated / Proprietary
OS: Android


Two-way messaging
Engine Info (MPGs, faults, etc)
Document Scanning
Drivers can make log corrections


Price per unit
Up-front cost: 995
Monthly cost: 40
3-year Total Cost: 1955

JJ Keller ELog

$200-$550 $25-$60 $800-$1,990


JJ Keller is the industry leader in DOT compliance
No contract necessary, pay-as-you-go pricing
Fleet management web software that is good for compliance management


Limited telematics features
Fleet management web software is dated
Convoluted and confusing pricing


Cost Hardware Elog App Fleet App Features Total
3 / 5 3.5 / 5 3.5 / 5 3.5 / 5 3.5 / 5 3.4 / 5


J.J. Keller has historically been the major name brand in DOT (Department of Transportation) compliance. Their ELog ELD is a simple device that is part of their larger Encompass compliance management software. ELog will keep you on the right side of DOT regs, but it does not have a lot of flashy features beyond that.

J.J. Keller is a very respected name in trucking compliance. They essentially invented the paper logbook back in the 50s and are updating and reinventing themselves to offer an ELD product. Their ELog product is an optional add-on to their larger compliance system, Encompass. Encompass is a full fledged compliance management tool that handles everything from logs, to driver qualification files, to preventative maintenance and much much more.

Customers who use their ELog ELD system will automatically become Encompass users as well, with this integrated suite of compliance tools.
Pricing is complex and confusing. ELog looks fairly inexpensive initially, but there are other charges that can greatly increase the price. To get clarity about the real cost, get an official quote from J.J. Keller.


Cost - 3 / 5

JJ Keller provides several different options for the driver or manager to choose from and it can make their pricing confusing and price range very wide. Pricing is structured as follows, upfront fee for hardware and upfront fee for training and implementation, plus monthly charge. More explicitly, pricing works as follows..


Up Front

The black box that plugs into the truck is $200 (financing options available).

If you provide your own device or use the driver’s, that will likely be free or very cheap to get the hardware (with two year contract).  If you want to use J.J. Keller’s official tablet, that is $349.

One-time training and implementation fee. This depends on the size of your fleet can easily come to several thousand dollars.



$25.50/mo per vehicle, if you provide your own display device...

Or $59/mo per vehicle if you use the official J.J. Keller provided tablet.

Extra drivers are $3.50/mo (if you have more drivers than vehicles)

If you want to track DVIR records and other compliance info on trailers, it is $3.50/mo additional for each trailer as well.

If you want ALK Co-Pilot GPS navigation for drivers on the device that is $10/mo


Example of costs

Potential customers for JJ Keller ELogs can take into consideration that the least expensive option would be to have drivers use their own smartphones, then pay $200 for the Elog box up front and $25/mo, giving a total 2-year cost of only $800 per device.

Or on the more expensive side the potential customer could use the official J.J. Keller tablet and add Co-Pilot Navigation, and pay $550 up front and $60/mo. This gives a very large 2-year cost of right under $2,000.

In any of the scenarios above the potential customer also needs to consider the cost of extra drivers, trailers, and the implementation/training fee.

All around, while JJ Keller looks like a budget option on paper, the actual costs can quickly get very high, requiring potential customers to include more different payments than for other offerings to avoid under budgeting.


Device / Installation / Connectivity - 3.5 / 5

The Elog device itself is a simple “black box” that plugs into the truck’s diagnostic port, and communicates with a display device via Bluetooth. It can be installed quickly and without much hassle by a driver or fleet manager.

The display can be any Android or Apple smartphone or tablet. The device can be provided by the trucking company, or the drivers could use their own. Or for fleets that want an all-in-one solution, J.J. Keller can provide a tablet to use with the system.


ELog Mobile App For Drivers - 3.5 / 5

The device itself is a simple solution, focused on compliance, without many features. Logs and DVIRs are included. Navigation is an add-on, as is GPS tracking in the back office. There is no messaging feature, or engine diagnostics, or document scanning abilities. Driver’s cannot currently email logs from the device.


Website For Fleet Managers - 3.5 / 5

The Encompass back office system is rich with excellent compliance tools, but the interface is dated, old fashioned, and not user friendly.. The features and capabilities may change as software is updated to comply with the mandate, but as of Q1 2017 the system comprises a fairly basic device, geared at compliance, not fleet management. The system does not offer the best bang for the buck.


Conclusion - 3.4 / 5

Elog with Encompass is a solid product from an industry leader. If you want to know you’ve got the top name in regulatory compliance behind you, J.J. Keller has a good solid name in regulatory compliance, a reputation earned over decades for paper logs. (Similar in some ways to Rand McNally, the provider of paper maps that is now making ELog devices).

For fleets looking to go beyond logs and improve compliance across the board, Encompass may be especially appealing. But evaluate the pricing carefully, and consider bang-for-buck before standardizing on these offerings.


Display Device
Type: BYOD
OS: Android & iOS


Editable Logs


Price per unit
Up-front cost: $200
Monthly cost: $40
2-year Total Cost: $1180

Teletrac Navman

$0 $60 $1440


Early industry leader
No upfront cost


Faulty hardware
Cheap displays
Driver app is slow and difficult to use
Fleet manager app is poorly designed and not intuitive
Bad customer support, according to reviews


Cost Hardware Elog App Fleet App Support Total
3.5 / 5 2.5 / 5 3  / 5 3.5 / 5 2.5 / 5 3 / 5


Teletrac is one of the oldest and most well-known fleet management and telematics providers. Teletrac is also one of the first companies to sell Electronic Logging Devices to Clients. Despite their great history and name recognition, Teletrac’s ELD solution is one of the more frustrating and flawed products we’ve reviewed because of faulty hardware, a hard to use interface, and customer support that has left a number of other reviewers and commenters unsatisfied.


Cost - 3.5 / 5
Teletrac charges a fixed monthly amount per unit, with no up-front costs. No upfront costs is great for Fleets with limited cash resources. But at $60 per month, the monthly service fee is considerably more expensive than competitors that let drivers bring their own devices.


Device / Installation / Connectivity - 2.5 / 5
The hardware is poorly made and prone to failure. Another Product Reviewer noted that it was not uncommon for up to 15% of Teletrac units to be malfunctioning at any given time. The display devices are particularly bad especially when comparing screen quality with cheap Android phones whose displays are noticeably sharper and brighter. The hardware problems are so significant that industry talk has predicted Teletrac is going to stop making hardware all together.


ELog Mobile App For Drivers - 3 / 5
Teletrac’s Elog App for Drivers is hard for drivers to learn and frustrating to use. It is difficult for drivers to learn to navigate the app quickly because nothing about the app is intuitive. Even after a driver has learned to use the app, use is still slow and clunky.


Website For Fleet Managers - 3.5 / 5
Fleet Managers don’t fare much better navigating the web dashboard than drivers do with the mobile app. The Web Dashboard is also clunky, difficult to navigate and confusing, compared to other ELD interfaces for Fleet Managers.


Additional Features / Comparison to Market - 2.5 / 5
Many reviewers have complained that Teletrac’s customer support was close to non-existent. Amongst the chief complaints were that many of tech support representatives did not have any solid understanding of HOS (Hours of Service) rules, and seemed to have almost no actual hands on experience with the devices they were responsible for getting to work so truckers and Fleet Managers can have minimum downtime on devices.


Conclusion - 3 / 5
It is difficult to recommend this product to readers in good faith given the current state of product. Too many problems, too many headaches, too much downtime. The hardware quits working too often, the driver’s app is difficult to navigate and the web dashboard is not intuitive. In summary, the combination of bad hardware, hard to use software, and insufficient customer support makes it difficult to recommend Teletrac Navman as of January 2017. And the two year cost of $1,440 is the highest, so this is not a good value proposition.



Display Device Type:        Dedicated / Proprietary


Two-way messaging
Engine Info (MPGs, faults, etc)


Price per unit
Up-front cost: $0
Monthly cost: $69
2-year Total Cost: $1440 (the highest of any ELD product)

Gorilla Safety ELD

$175 $24 $751


Easy to Install
Integrated Fleet Safety Features
Low Monthly Cost


No Messaging
No Engine Diagnostics
Editing Driver Logs is Confusing


Cost Hardware Elog App Fleet App Features Total
4 / 5 3.5 / 5 3.5  / 5 3.5 / 5 4.5 / 5 3.8 / 5


Gorilla Safety is a relatively new player in the ELD and Fleet Management fields. Gorilla was founded in November of 2013 as a fleet safety and risk management focused business. The founders started the business with overall safety in mind with modules designed to help fleets with CSA scores, accident investigations, repair and maintenance programs, and driver training. As the requirements for ELD were published, Gorilla was one of the first companies to begin full development in this space and one of the first companies to integrate the ELD with full fleet management solutions.


Cost – 4 / 5
Gorilla Safety’s ELD cost $175 upfront for the hardware. Customers must enter a minimum 3-year service agreement with a cost of $24 to $30 per month depending on premium features like IFTA reporting. The upfront cost and the monthly cost are both at the low end of the range for ELD offerings. However, there are other options that offer more user friendly driver logs and more advanced fleet management features.

For Fleets that are looking for a way to also organize their safety records and compliance processes, Gorilla Safety offers features including Accident Scene Management tools and a patented Closed-Loop Inspection Process including the mechanic, document management system, remote write-up program and more, which we will discuss in more detail below.


Device / Installation / Connectivity – 3.5 / 5
The Gorilla ELD is a small black box that connects to a truck’s diagnostic port using a 6-pin or 9-pin adapter. The plug n’ play device is easy to install, taking less than 5 minutes. Mysteriously, Gorilla’s ELD does not support a few basic features that you see in almost every other device on the market. For example, the device does not capture engine diagnostic info such as fault code. Gorilla has not state whether updates will be coming in the form of new ELD hardware or via software update.


ELog Mobile App For Drivers – 3.5 / 5
Gorilla’s Prime8 mobile app is a basic Elog App that runs on both iOS or Android. The App has a nice aesthetic but functionality and UI/UX leaves much to be desired. Some reviewers found it confusing to edit driver logs in the mobile app and Gorilla Safety is the only Elog we have reviewed that didn’t allow for 2-way messaging; or even one-way messaging. Drivers also do not get an easy view of all their recap hours for each day of the upcoming week, only today and tomorrow.

Some of these missing features might disqualify the app, but Gorilla also includes a very unique set of safety and fleet management tools that we discuss in the features section that are not found in other ELDs. The mobile app also includes an accident coaching feature that walks the driver through everything they need to do in the event of an accident. It will prompt a driver to take pictures of damage, record witness contact info, note police report details, and even capture audio statements from witnesses, all of which might prove useful in the future, especially for accident prone drivers.


Website For Fleet Managers – 3.5 / 5
Gorilla’s Web Dashboard has the ability to store Driver Qualification documents, maintenance inspection dates, and other clerical items required for safety and compliance. The system provides alerts when documents are expiring, when inspections need to be performed, and when other compliance events occur. Policy and training documents can also be sent to the driver’s ELD for review and signature, which provides an electronic record of acceptance.

The big weakness of Gorilla Safety is that, there is not currently an easy way to allocate un-logged driving to specific drivers. It is a very slow, manual process to make those kind of log corrections or additions, making it less likely for Fleets to maintain accurate records.


Additional Features / Comparison to Market – 4.5 / 5
Gorilla’s Prime8 offering includes a few safety and fleet management tools to look at defects and track time spent on inspection. The Prime8 DVIR feature uses GPS to record how long a driver spends on his inspection, and purportedly to ensure he physically visited all important inspection points on the truck. Defects found during an inspection automatically create a maintenance work-order for back office staff to view and address. The Gorilla system tracks and manages the process from inspection, to defect report, to repair, to sign off.


Conclusion – 3 / 5
Gorilla is not the best ELD currently available, nor is it even the best ELD in its price range. As stated above, there are other offerings that have no upfront cost and a lower monthly price that offer better HOS and Fleet Management features. However, Gorilla Safety might be of interest because of some expanded safety and compliance features that most other ELDs cannot boast, but these features will not be needed by all Fleets.


Display Device Type:       BYOD (Bring your own device)
OS:                                   Android and iOS


Patented DVIR
Enhanced Compliance and Safety Features
Drivers can make log corrections, but it is not easy


Price per unit
Up-front cost: $175
Monthly cost: $24-$30
2-year Total Cost: $751


BigRoad Dashlink

$0 $25 $600



  • No upfront cost
  • Simple installation
  • User-friendly software


  • Certain functions hard to navigate to in Driver App
  • Web app for dispatchers in need of redesign and makeover
  • Google Maps plugin is not useful, does not provide navigation


Cost Hardware Elog App Fleet App Support Total
4.5 / 5 4 / 5 3.5  / 5 3./ 5 4 / 5 3.8 / 5



BigRoad is one of the first electronic logbook (E-log) apps to launch in the App store back in 2012.  It has received positive feedback from truckers who own their own trucks. The app is free to download but there is a charge for each person who can access the data, whether a truck driver or a dispatcher.  

BigRoad’s Dashlink is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) that connects to a truck’s diagnostic port and sends information automatically back to the BigRoad App. DashLink has a separate monthly charge.When used together, BigRoad’s E-log App and Dashlink ELD provide a good solution at a fair price for trucker’s looking to get compliant with 2017’s ELD Mandate.


ELog Mobile App For Drivers - 3.5 / 5

Ratings are one way to sort the wheat from the chaff with respect to what apps and devices make the cut and are worthy of consideration. BigRoad’s E-log App is rated 4.5 stars, which makes it one of the top rated Electronic Logbooks currently available to truck drivers.  BigRoad is available for iOS and Android devices and is available to download for free in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.  

Given that most E-log Apps are rated under 4 stars, BigRoad’s user rating means it’s definitely worth consideration.  The biggest reason that BigRoad gets high ratings from drivers is that it is simple to learn and easy to use  - and that is why the app has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.  BigRoad can be used as a stand-alone App or with BigRoad’s Dashlink ELD which sends data back to the app from the engine.  Since it is already popular amongst many drivers, it is definitely one of the apps the owner or manager of a small fleet should consider when switching over to Elogs in 2017.  

The user-friendly app keeps it simple providing basic functions like HOS time remaining display, easy to view Recap hours, E-logs that can be edited by the driver, etc. BigRoad provides the basic functions very well. The big button at the top left of the screen that allows drivers to choose their current status is a favorite amongst users.  

The app’s non-core features are not as strong or useful.  There is a Google Map display that shows location, satellite imagery, night view and traffic, but does not provide navigation. It is seemingly more decorative than functional.

 BigRoad’s two-way messaging works well allowing drivers to communicate via text with dispatch and other company drivers. From the messaging screen, drivers have the ability to start a new chat, check-in at their current location and email the check-in, and upload documents that can be sent to dispatch or anyone else via email.

Drivers using the BigRoad App don’t have to stress during an inspection as they have multiple options to produce their logs from the device including email, fax and print. The inspection form allowing a driver to certify that an inspection was done and comment on any defects is very basic compared to some of the competitors but it works fine.


Website For Fleet Managers - 3 / 5

BigRoad’s Web Application / Dashboard looks like it was designed a decade ago.  The User Interface is definitely dated but the user experience isn’t bad at all.  Like the BigRoad E-log mobile app the web dashboard is pretty simple providing the basic tools of fleet management.  The dashboard  gives fleet managers, owners and dispatchers real-time GPS locations and tracking for all of the trucks using BigRoad.  The Web App also lets dispatchers send and receive messages from each of the fleet drivers using BigRoad’s E-log App. HOS Reports and Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports are simple to access and easy to view.  

There are also a few reports that show things like miles per state for IFTA reporting. Missing are many of the more advanced management features like idling reports, MPG and engine fault codes, DVIR tracking and alerts, Macros/Workflow, and official out-of-the-box TMS integrations.


Additional Features / Comparison to Market - 4 / 5

One of the nicer features of the BigRoad dashboard is the report showing miles per state for IFTA reporting purposes.  There are several features that some of the more expensive competitors provide that are noticeably missing from BigRoad’s offering including engine diagnostic fault codes, miles per gallon (MPG) and truck idling reports, and the ability to get DVIR alerts.


Device / Installation / Connectivity - 4 / 5

The Dashlink is a plug n’ play Electronic Logging Device that can be self-installed in 15 minutes or less.  The device itself is a small black box that connects to a truck’s JBUS diagnostic port via an adapter.  Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, BigRoad will provide the correct cable to connect the device, usually a 6-pin or 9-pin plug.  

The Dashlink does not have 3g wireless connectivity itself, but instead uses bluetooth to send information to the BigRoad E-log App.  There is no additional hardware provided by BigRoad as it is BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device.”  The E-log App that the engine data is transferred back to from the ELD can be downloaded on any Apple or Android device, giving owner operators and fleet managers plenty of flexibility and options.


Cost - 4.5 / 5
BigRoad charges for access on a monthly basis, but not for the app itself. BigRoad costs $15 per driver or office user per month for access. However, this bare bones level does not make it a true or complete electronic logging device. To do this, you need to also pay $10 per truck per month for the Dashlink ELD.  The cost will thus be about $25 per month per truck plus the one time cost of the mounting device).

BigRoad, at $25 per truck per month, is a pretty reasonably priced option, as long as you don’t need more than one other person looking at the data!


Conclusion - 3.8 / 5

BigRoad is an affordable solution at $25 per truck per month and only have one person who needs to access the data. On initial use, it seems simple and functional. It’s kind of bare bones, but it does enable you to have log compliance at a price point that won’t drive you crazy.

However, if you or your company need a full-featured telematics, or a better Return On Investment, there are probably much better options.

Summing Up - BigRoad is low cost, entry level toe in the water of Fleet Management and get compliant with the ELD Mandate , learn the basics, and then based on the experience, upgrade to a better, more full-featured system. It’s a decent choice for owner-owned trucks. The support team has a decent reputation.




Display Device
Type: BYOD (Bring your own device)
OS: Android and iOS


                 Two-way messaging
                 Document Scanning
                Drivers can make log corrections


Up-front cost: $0

Monthly cost: $25

2-year Total Cost: $600