To choose an electronic mileage log app or hardware – that's the question I want to answer here.
I've tried hundreds of mileage log app and electronic logbooks in my work over the last 10 years, and have collected the advantages and disadvantages for you here.
A quick search in Google shows many different electronic logbooks. They all say that they are 100% automatic. But what are the differences? And which technologies are better?
App versus Hardware
• Mileage Log app, is an app you download and install on your Smartphone.
• Hardware installed in your car that generates routes for your Mileage Log.
Mileage Log App
A Mileage Log App is cheap or even free. But they are often equally limited in both quality and features. The good thing is that they are easily accessible. And if it is well made, it is easy to get started using it.
GPS technology and Apps
Logbook app uses your phone's GPS to log one's position data, where you are driving / have driven.
Some Apps take a coordinate when driving commences and once again when the driving comes to an end. This way it calculates the distance from the Google Directory. Other Apps calculate a detailed route by using the phone's GPS during the whole trip.
Using 'reverse GEO tagging' it converts the start and end coordinates to an address. That way, your driving trips are displayed and you can print a report from it.
Free Mileage Log Apps are found in a great many variants on Google Play or iStore. It is easy to develop Apps today, and it has evolved into a jungle to navigate in for normal people.
I have reviewed over 100 and the result is that a free App is poorly made and also works very poorly. They are not reliable and you can really just as well do your mileage log manually. Furthermore, this type of Apps are never or rarely updated.
Smart Phones and Apps
The quality of Mileage Apps are never better than the phone, it runs on. And it's also dependent on the person who uses it. A prerequisite is of course that the phone is turned on and has a good battery or power supply. Apps that use GPS requires a lot of battery and your phone runs dry faster.
Apps is dependent on the person who will use it, it does not run by itself – unfortunately. So it takes some discipline to get it functioning at its best. One must remember to turn on the app every time you are on a business trip. If you forget just the smallest trips it makes a big difference. We who have tried the difference between apps and hardware that logs all your trips are very much aware of this. Read my review of the pros and cons of hardware here or insights on the OBD II standard here.
Doing the mileage log is a process you most likely want to get rid of, and would rather not think about more than the few times a year you have to turn it in. Therefore, we often see people forgetting or being too late in the process with the App and they are faced with few or no routes at all. Not even the manual ones, since they have relied on the App. Then it would have been better to record it manually the old fashioned way, or ensure that all trips are logged via a hardware.
Advantages and disadvantages of Apps
- Large selection
- Easy editing of routes
- Often poor quality
- Drains power
- Manual start / stop of routes
- Is often "forgotten"
- Poor quality of routes
- Lack routes
Recommendation: App solution can be used for small driving needs and high discipline using smartphones.
App and Hardware in one solution
Mileage Log book is an easy, simple and user-friendly driver's log: