Maximizing your deductions at tax time will save you a ton of money, but in order to do that, you’ll need the best mileage tracking app. We tried all of the top mileage tracking apps, and all of our favorites are listed below. Mileage trackers are helpful for rideshare drivers and food delivery service workers as well!
Why Use a Mileage Tracking App?
The IRS Standard Mileage Deduction for business use in 2021 is 56 cents per mile (down from 2020’s 57.5). And since rideshare drivers are independent contractors and most will take the Standard Mileage Deduction each year, it’s important to track these miles in a way that is IRS compliant.
People working gig jobs like Uber often put as much as 1000 business miles a week on their vehicle so keeping accurate track of these miles is extremely important. Plus, as long as you’re making trips for work purposes, you can deduct business mileage.
Curious as to what mileage you can actually deduct? Take a look at our video on mileage deduction below:
- Picking up and dropping off riders
- Delivery runs
- Grocery pick ups and drop offs with Instacart
If you drive for Uber or Lyft full time and put 50,000 miles a year on your vehicle, that would translate to a $28,000 deduction on their Schedule C (2021 numbers), vastly lowering your tax liability for Federal, State, and SECA taxes. Translation: you’ll pay a lot less in taxes if you do a great job tracking ALL your miles using a mileage tracker!
While Uber and Lyft do provide you with a mileage total on your tax summary at the end of the year, they’re not tracking all your rideshare miles especially if you drive for both apps and tend to switch often.
Since you can deduct mileage, you’ll want to track every single mile that you drive for each company. You should also track miles that are outside of rideshare driving but related to you driving for Uber or Lyft, as well as the apps listed on our best food delivery services to work for.
For example, track your mileage when you drive to a local Greenlight Hub, when you go to Best Buy to get a dash cam, or when you’re getting a car wash.
5 Best Mileage Trackers
Now that you understand just why mileage tracking is so important, regardless of if you drive for Uber, Lyft or another company or drive delivery for Instacart, DoorDash, etc., it’s time to break down your best mileage tracker app options.
All of the mileage tracking apps listed below are available for Android and iOS. And the apps below were chosen for their features, accuracy, mobile data usage, user interface, and cost. The RSG team tested them in March 2021.
Some of the links listed below are affiliate links, so if you use our link and download the app or sign up for mileage tracking, we may receive a commission.
This is a great way to support the site as some of the apps like Stride Tax are free to you and we receive a small commission if you use our link, so win-win!
Stride is a free mileage and expense-tracking app that works in conjunction with Stride’s other services, like health insurance and tax-prep assistance. In addition to offering portals to Stride’s other products, it offers a mileage and expense-tracking function.
I was able to download and install the app easily and quickly with both my iPhone 11 and a Galaxy Android tablet. It’s a simple and clear app, and it offers enough features—mileage and expense tracking—to keep it worth using.
Stride is also free—you can record unlimited trips. The only downside? You have to open the app and manually start and end each trip—you can’t link it to the gig companies or have it use your device’s motion sensors to do it automatically. Bummer. At least you can link it to your bank securely through Plaid and help track expenses.
Accuracy was as good as my car’s odometer, if not better—all these apps use GPS (or Uber/Lyft data)–certainly good enough for an IRS auditor.
I think Stride’s a good app, well designed and intuitive to use…but—and as they used to say about J-Lo, it’s a big but—the manual trip-recording thing is a big turn-off for me. I’d either forget to use it, or forget to turn it off, or just be too busy with all the other apps we have manage as gig workers. But if you can handle that, go for it.
Here’s what Stride looks like in action:
What is it with these start-ups? Do they get charged extra for using too many vowels? Anyway, like almost everyone, Hurdlr offers its expense/mileage tracking app on the “freemium” model—start out with the limited-feature free version, get hooked and upgrade to the $60/year or $8/month “Premium” plan and take advantage of expanded features.
The Free plan offers enough for a simple operation like an Uber driver or Instacart shopper. It automatically detects trips and lets you link your bank and credit-card account so you can download transactions and categorize them for expenses. I liked the Tinder-like swiping system to categorize trips for Uber, Lyft or any other business you may be in (there’s an option to create custom business, like “freelance writing” or “raising polecats in my bathtub”).
Even the free version, on both Android and iOS, were easy to install and get started with. Once logged on, I really liked all the free features and ease of use of its Tinder-like swiping system (it made me want to get a Tinder account, but…you know…the wife…) to categorize trips for Uber, Lyft or any other business you may be in, including categories you can create, like “freelance writing” or “bathtub polecat rancher.”
Related article: What to do if you forgot to track mileage last year
Accuracy for Hurdler was just fine, coming within one percent of Google maps, and far more accurate than my car’s odometer.
I liked Hurdlr, and it may be the one I’d be most likely to use. However, the Free version may not be as good as other free mileage apps I tested here. On the other hand, the Premium version is tough to beat. And of course, it’s tax-deductible if you do pay for a premium mileage tracker.
Not sure what’s tax-deductible? Take a look at our rideshare and delivery driver tax guide here.
Gridwise is a stylish-looking app that offers a wide range of services for rideshare drivers. It tracks mileage, of course, but it also links with Uber and Lyft provides localized event, airport and other demand information, along with mileage tracking.
Gridwise is easy to install and use. It’s pretty standard app fare, but there’s one key difference between Gridwise and the other apps—it only displays data it pulls in from the gig services. That means you can’t automatically add trips from other freelance jobs, like freelance writing, that don’t require driving. It’s clearly aimed at rideshare and delivery drivers working for one of their enumerated services.
As for accuracy, you can’t go wrong with any of these apps I tested. They all either use Google (or Apple) Maps or Uber/Lyft data combined with GPS. Gridwise is no different, and since my car’s speedometer is about 2-4 percent off (I checked it against a GPS), Gridwise’s accuracy is likely plenty accurate for the IRS.
I liked Gridwise and it might be my pick for best free app. It links your Uber and Lyft accounts and has lots of handy tips and tricks for new drivers. But it only shows trips recorded by the gig companies, which makes it a deal killer for someone in my situation.
4) Everlance Mileage Tracker
Everlance is an app platform that strives to provide an all-in-one solution for gig-work expense tracking. It provides a limited number of tracking (30 trips) and some features at no cost, but offers a full-featured experience at a “premium” ($60/ year) and “premium plus” ($120/year). The premium features include unlimited trips, automatic or manual trip detection, downloadable Excel or PDF reports and unlimited receipt uploads.
One interesting (beta) feature is “the Vault,” a free bank account (with FDIC-insured NBCK Bank) linked to the app that automatically calculates and sets aside enough dough to pay The Man his quarterly tax dues.
Using Everlance is similarly seamless and easy to figure out as the other platforms. It offers automatic tracking, so no need to log in each time to start or end a trip, and it’s easy to both find and classify past trips. While the premium app offers to link to your bank or credit accounts to simplify expensing, it won’t link to your Uber/Lyft accounts.
My (limited) testing of Everlance showed very similar mileages to Google maps, so accuracy should be on par with the rest of the apps.
Overall, I thought Everlance was well-executed and easy to use, but the features of the free and even premium versions just didn’t measure up to some of the other apps’.
At last, we come to the granddaddy of all the parasitic rideshare businesses, SherpaShare. Started in 2014 by Ryder Pearce and Jianming Zhou, SherpaShare bills itself as the “ultimate rideshare driver assistant.” What it does on your phone is provide the tools to not only categorize your mileage, trips and expenses, but also maximizes earnings by alerting you of local events and “hotspot” info generated by both passengers and drivers.
I actually signed up with Sherpa in 2014, if you can believe it (I also worked with another one of Ryder’s start-ups, YoGov, which you can read about here). So I’m partial towards a service I remember from my salad days as a rideshare driver, when you could clear a few hundred bucks in four or five hours on a busy Friday night. But it’s also easy and intuitive to use, with a simple interface that’s easy to personalize. It works in the background—honestly, I think you could just open it once a year, or never—there’s also a desktop site that aggregates your trip info.
Sorry Android users—no Sherpa for you.
As for the efficacy of the heat maps…well, I haven’t driven much since last March, so I’m not that up on the latest strategies and tricks of the trade. But I do know that driving hither and yon based on old data usually doesn’t work well for me—if you’ve figured out how to make stuff like heat maps and event info turn into cold, hard cash, let us know in the comments.
Accuracy? If you’ve read this far you should know I don’t think it’s an issue with these apps, and SherpaShare is no different. It just downloads the Uber and Lyft data, checking it against the trip data it’s generated by being in your car. The trips I looked at seemed spot on.
SherpaShare is a great way to track those basic expenses, as it’s so easy to use. It also gives you a back-up record of your work history, never a bad thing. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? I couldn’t even find a way to give Ryder my money (not that I necessarily want to give you money, Ryder).
Honorable Mentions for Other Mileage Tracking Apps
The below apps did not make our ‘best mileage tracking apps in 2021’ list, but we have previously reviewed them and they are still apps you should check out! You may find the apps below, previously reviewed by RSG contributor Christian Perea, work better for you and your situation.
TripLog’s basic features are free. Advanced features, such as Bluetooth “autostart” and automatic daily cloud backup, come at a nominal price. You can also use TripLog 2.0 to estimate your gas mileage and find the best gas prices. Of all the mileage tracking apps available, TripLog is the best mileage tracking app for those who want to control WHEN it will start tracking your trips.
The app has a few autostart options like MagicTrip which monitors your speed in the background and kicks in after 1-2 minutes of driving but shuts off after you have been inactive for 5 minutes. Another option is to use your car Bluetooth where tracking will start as soon as you drive over 5 MPH and stop when you disconnect for your vehicle’s Bluetooth.
Plug and Go is actually my favorite option because mileage tracking starts when you plug your phone into your car charger and start driving over 5 MPH.
The app is a big upgrade from the previous version and it looks a lot better. They used the 2nd least amount of mobile data in my test and had minimal impact on my battery since I set it to only track my miles when my phone was plugged in AND I was moving more than 5mph.
Like Hurdlr, you can purchase a premium package that will unlock features like automatic mileage tracking.
MileIQ allows you to track up to 40 trips for free per month. After that, you’ll pay $5.99 per month or $60 per year to use the app. Most rideshare drivers will go through those 40 trips very quickly but if you drive for other reasons (perhaps as a Realtor) than you’ll probably be able to get away with the free version.
This app has a Drive Detection feature which will kick in after you drive at least a half mile, and you also have the option to enter a trip manually.
MileIQ was the least accurate (103.6 miles of 129 odometer miles traveled) while also using the most cell phone data in my test. It also used a lot of battery. I found this irritating because MileIQ literally had one job to do!
One nice feature that I enjoyed with MileIQ was that it allowed me to “link” separate trips together while driving for business. This is nice because I often stop to take a break and the automatic mileage tracking function ends up making it two trips.
Aside from that though, it doesn’t really offer any features that none of the other apps have and it wouldn’t show me the “lines” of where I drove like Stride Tax or Everlance would.
As a standalone mileage tracking app MileIQ should be able to display this! Maybe my phone just didn’t like this app but I shouldn’t have to spend 30 minutes setting up a mileage tracking app that I pay for. Especially if I can just get a free app that does it without any headache. It’s $6/month.
QuickBooks Self-Employed may be known as a bookkeeping app but what is less known is that it also has a built-in automatic mileage tracker that is very good. In my test, the entire app used only 2.73 MB of mobile data while only eating through an average of 0.04% of my phones battery per hour. It also beat every app on accuracy and mobile data usage.
You can set QuickBooks Self-Employed to automatically track your mileage and then categorize each trip as business or personal. You can also increase its accuracy in the settings tab but it will suck up more battery. If you mix a lot of personal and business trips, the categorization feature will make tracking your business miles a lot easier.
At the end of the tax year, QuickBooks Self-Employed will also automatically compare your business miles with all of your actual expenses and recommend whichever deduction is greater between mileage and actual expenses. So for those in a nicer car with higher maintenance costs, this is a great way to compare the two without any additional effort.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Does Pretty Much Everything
One of the reasons that QuickBooks Self-Employed is at the top of this list is that it’s just so comprehensive. Additionally, if you use our Rakuten promo code, you can get cash back by using QuickBooks. It does the best job of syncing with banks, monitoring expenses, and automating my bookkeeping as a driver.
I’ve personally automated most of my recurring expenses by now and the result is that at the end of the week I spend maybe 15 minutes categorizing my business miles and transactions. QuickBooks Self-Employed starts at $7.50/month, but there are often discounts through the Uber driver and/or Lyft driver portals. If you’re serious about really maximizing your rideshare profits, this is one app you should definitely check out.
Related article: Essential gear every Uber driver should have
The Best Mileage Tracker for You
There’s a lot not to like about the world we live in, or our chosen occupation, but there are some gems mixed into the guano. A worker with little or no understanding of computer science can use some pretty high-level data-analysis tools to help with finding business, tracking expenses or calculating his real cost of doing business without spending a dime, or, if they want more features, for just one or two bucks a week.
My MO the last seven years has been to laboriously input my trip info into huge Excel spreadsheets every day—any one of these apps is a huge improvement.
If I had to pick a favorite, it’d probably be Hurdlr. It may lack a critical vowel, but it makes up for it with its free semi-auto tracking (meaning the app records and classifies all trips as “business,” so you have to go back in and re-classify each one manually), bank/credit account linking and linking to Uber/Lyft.
I think it’s likely the best “premium” plan as well, though Sherpa is a close second for both the free and premium versions.
However, just because I like Hurdlr doesn’t mean you will! Many on the RSG team also like Stride for various reasons. Managing Editor Melissa, for example, doesn’t love the manual input part of Stride, but she loves how easy and clean the app is. She says: “when I’m on the road, I just want to click two buttons quickly (opening the app and starting the trip!) and get going. I personally don’t need a ton of stats or data – I just want to track and be done.”
If you’re not sure which app is best for you, take a look at our reviews and download some of the apps mentioned (including the honorable mentions). Test them out – and let us know which one is your favorite!
Note from author—I want to apologize in advance! These apps are complex and have many features, so if I made any errors or omitted information about your app or company, please post in the comments below or email us: [email protected]
-Gabe @ RSG
Drivers, what’s your favorite mileage tracking app and why?
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