If you’re a delivery driver, you know the drill: your alarm goes off, and you already know you’re in for a long day. As you drink your first cup of coffee, you’re picturing the routes you’ll take and wondering what surprises the day has in store.
Maybe you’ve been using Waze or Google Maps route planner to organize your routes for the day. But there are much better options! Today’s mobile-device based delivery route planning apps make it easy to plan multi-stop routes, with built-in route optimization that helps you deliver faster and cheaper. In this post, we review eight of the best to help you choose the one that works for you.
What are the benefits of a delivery route planner app?
Even for delivery drivers who excel at knowing their neighborhoods, a route planner app can still help you spend less time on the road while enabling quicker delivery times. Why? There is a big difference between delivery route planning and route optimization. Plenty of navigation apps can plan a speedy route from A to B, but very few of them can automatically arrange a higher number of stops in the most efficient sequence to minimize your time on the road.
Route optimization software takes address data, delivery time windows, expected arrival times and stop duration, and even shift and break times, and crunches it all to produce the most efficient, fastest route. That means you can get the job done faster, reduce errors and delays, and deliver on time to happy customers.
Some driver apps, like Routific, are linked to web-based route optimization software that fleet managers or dispatchers can use to manage all their last mile delivery operations, including planning routes and dispatching them to drivers.
If you’re driving for a delivery business that does its own planning, you don’t have much choice about which app to use. But if you’re an individual driver and have to plan your own multi-stop delivery routes, having a phone-based app at your fingertips can make a huge difference to your day.
The best delivery route planning apps for drivers
We put a bunch of driver apps to the test to find the best delivery route planner app for your multi-stop route planning needs. Most of these maps are available on both iOS and Android app stores. For our tests we used an iPhone 11, and for each app we used as many stops as possible to uncover how it would perform.
By the way, if you’re looking for a free route planner? You’re out of luck. You can do extremely basic route planning with a free app like Google Maps or Waze, but the route optimization apps we’re reviewing here do a lot more than that. They’re basically full-on delivery management systems for your phone. Most of them cost around $10-$20 a month (the costs may vary between countries). If the time and gas money you save by using them isn’t enough to justify the cost, check out our post on how to optimize delivery routes with Google Maps.
Our top pick: Route4Me
Route4Me is one of our picks for the best route optimization software on desktop, and to be honest the new version of their mobile app (updated in March 2023) is better and more up-to-date. It’s a great, powerful standalone delivery route planning app that’s easy to use. It took us just a few minutes to sign up, upload a spreadsheet with all our stops from iCloud and create an optimized route (we did have to commit to a $10.99 per month subscription first, though). If you’re driving long routes every day and the addresses are already in a spreadsheet, it’s definitely easier to do it this way rather than add addresses one at a time.
You have a choice of whether to optimize your route for time or distance, and when you get on the road you can also choose your own favorite navigation app — so if you’re a Waze or Google Maps fan, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits. You can share your ETA with customers via text message as well, to avoid having to deal with phone calls on the road.
Once you’re on the road, Route4Me also has great proof-of-delivery features. You can easily upload pictures, get a signature, scan a barcode and make any notes you need before marking a stop as done.
Platforms: Android, iOS
US App Store: 4.5 stars, 9,000+ reviews
Play Store: 4.4 stars, 13,000+ reviews
Price: $10.99 per month
✅ Easy to use, very full feature set.
❌ We didn’t find any negatives.
Circuit Route Planner is easy to use, even for beginners. You can add destinations using postcodes, camera scan or voice search, and mark priority stops before you head out for the day. It also has a helpful “load vehicle” feature which lets you note exactly where in your vehicle the package for each stop is loaded. That’s a great way to improve efficiency and save time at each stop!
On the downside, if you’re driving long delivery routes and would prefer to upload addresses directly from a spreadsheet, Circuit only allows that on the Android app. And you can add notes about each stop, but there are no proof of delivery features like photo capture or signatures.
We also found that doing anything on the app was a chore when our network connectivity wasn’t strong. If you’re in a city where lightning-fast data is a given this won’t be a problem, but if you ever struggle with a slow mobile data connection then this will frustrate you. That said, Circuit is a good choice for drivers who want an easy way to plan their most efficient routes.
Platforms: Android, iOS
US App Store: 4.7 stars, 4,000+ reviews
Play Store: 4.7 stars, 110,000+ reviews
Price: Free up to 10 stops per route, then $20 per month for up to 500 stops. Varies by country.
✅ Efficient, effective and simple route planning app.
❌ Can be slow, and doesn’t support spreadsheet upload. Expensive.
MyWay is for any route planning need, including car, truck, bicycle and even walking routes. The interface is clean and user-friendly, and you can import data directly into the app from a spreadsheet, or cut and paste from another app. Deliveries can be ranked within time windows or by priority level.
MyWay takes historical and real-time traffic data, road closures, and weather conditions into account when creating a route plan, which is great. But even on an iPhone with the latest version of iOS installed, MyWay Route Planner was slower than other apps, and it froze on us. Twice. We ended up having to delete and reinstall the app from scratch to get it going again. There’s also no Android version yet, although their website says one is coming soon.
Platforms: iOS only
US App Store: 4.8 stars, 700+ reviews
Price: Free for up to 20 stops, $10.99 per month for up to 200 stops. Varies by country.
✅ Easy to identify and fix wrong addresses.
❌ iPhone only, app is buggy.
4. Upper Route Planner
Upper actually has two apps, which can be confusing! Upper Route Planner is a standalone app you can use as an individual driver. Upper for Driver, on the other hand, is a dispatch and driver tracking app for delivery services that use Upper’s browser-based central route planning software. If you’re a driver planning your own multi-stop routes, Upper Route Planner is the one you want.
The app itself is very similar to others in features and ease of use. We found its interface a little clunkier than Route4Me’s or Circuit’s. It does allow for uploading a list of addresses from a spreadsheet, unlike Circuit — but the whole process is quite complicated and involves having to use a separate browser, so if spreadsheet upload is something you want, Route4Me is a better option.
Upper can also be slow, especially when planning longer routes. It’s also not easy to edit routes once they’ve been planned.
For turn-by-turn directions, Upper offers you the choice of navigating with Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, Maps.me or Yandex.
Platforms: Android, iOS
US App Store: 4.4 stars, 1,200+ reviews
Play Store: 3.9 stars, 100+ reviews
Price: $25.99 per month.
✅ Simple, offers spreadsheet upload.
❌ Slows down when planning longer routes, expensive.
RoadWarrior is a popular multi stop route planner and route optimizer. You can choose to optimize your route by distance or by time, avoid highways and tolls, and specify whether you’re driving, cycling or walking.
It’s relatively easy to add stops using the address search, but there’s no spreadsheet upload option, and having experienced that convenience we missed it. (The desktop RoadWarrior Flex app allows upload of spreadsheets and Fedex manifests, but that’s a more expensive app for more complex delivery management business needs).
You can specify time windows or open hours and set a priority for each stop, which is handy, and it’s also easy to re-order stops if necessary.
Considering all these great features for delivery drivers, we were baffled that there are no proof of delivery options. You can make notes on a stop or click an icon to check in, but there’s no option to take a photo, scan a barcode or get a signature.
You can plan a route with up to 8 stops using the free version, but if you want unlimited stops you will need to take out a pro subscription.
Platforms: Android, iOS
US App Store: 4.6 stars, 3,000+ reviews
Play Store: 4 stars, 8,000+ reviews
Price: $13.49 per month or $134.99 per year.
✅ Good optimization options
❌ Can be confusing
Zeo is one of the newer route planners on the block, with a feature set to rival Route4Me — but in our tests it seems like they’re still ironing out some kinks. We had to sign up for a premium subscription to start our 7-day free trial, but the minute we tried to start navigating a route we got asked to pay again. We had to close and restart the app a few times before it worked properly.
The app has all the functions a delivery driver could ask for: you can upload stops from a spreadsheet with all notes attached, choose your navigation app, capture signature or photo of proof of delivery and download a route summary at the end of the day.
If you’re adding addresses one by one, there’s a “parcel details” option like Circuit’s which allows you to note the position of each parcel in your vehicle and take a picture. You can also scan a barcode, add notes or customer details and set up a time slot.
Overall, Zeo offers a fantastic feature set but we found it a little more difficult to use than Route4Me – at twice the price.
Platforms: Android, iOS
US App Store: 4.4 stars, 50+ reviews
Play Store: 4.5 stars, 22,000+ reviews
Price: $21.99 per month or $219.99 per year.
✅ Great feature set.
❌ Can be confusing and buggy.
At Routific, we don’t have our own standalone driver app (yet). But if you’re a delivery driver working with a dispatcher who needs easy, effective route optimization with a full set of route management features, they should check out our free 7-day trial. We don’t ask for any credit card details upfront, so it really IS a free trial!
The combination of Routific’s browser-based route optimization software and our mobile app allows delivery and field service dispatchers to manage multiple routes, drivers and vehicle types all on one day. GPS tracking makes it easy to follow driver progress and reassign stops if needed — and customer notifications are all sent from the dispatch app, so drivers can concentrate on their driving.
Our route optimization algorithm is developed with driver happiness in mind. We know how annoying it is to see your colleagues on the same route, so our routes are optimized to avoid criss-crossing and overlaps. We also enable dispatchers to assign drivers to the territories they’re most familiar with.
What about other route planning software?
What about other apps like RouteXL, Onfleet or Optimoroute? These all offer route optimization software for delivery routes — but they don’t have standalone driver apps. Like with Routific, you can only use their driver apps if invited by an organisation that’s already using the software. For that reason we haven’t reviewed them here.
Andrea Slater-Smith is a senior content specialist for B2B copy agency Flowmesh. Andrea has a background in tech PR, publishing, and raising two high-maintenance dogs. She gets a real kick out of helping businesses find and tell their stories.
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