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Connected vs. Manual Loggers: What’s the Best Solution for Your Business?

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Image of an EDL-NET Temp/RH logger from Marathon Products.Learn about the difference between connected manual loggers and how to step up your monitoring efforts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Monitoring environmental conditions is integral to the cold chain supply 
  • Manual logging is simple, cheap, and enables you to measure temperature readings using a thermometer
  • However, it’s time-consuming, prone to human error, and inefficient for large-scale applications and frequent data recording
  • Connected loggers overcome these limitations by providing automatic monitoring, real-time visibility, and better precision

Measuring environmental conditions such as pressure, humidity, and temperature within a specified critical control range is required for healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food production companies. Regulatory authorities have raised the bar on product quality, reliability, and safety requirements. 

To keep up with compliance requirements, organizations in the cold supply chain must abandon traditional manual loggers in favor of efficient and real-time monitoring equipment-connected loggers. Here’s why.

Manual loggers

Manual logging involves monitoring temperature using a thermometer, then recording the readings on a paper log sheet. It is the simplest way to monitor temperature and doesn’t require significant capital investments. It is very convenient and doesn’t require sophisticated equipment – any thermometer will do.

The practice of manual loggers is not without fault. While it can be practical to monitor a small area using manual loggers, they’re inefficient in large-scale applications with several monitoring points. Using manual loggers to monitor difficult-to-access areas such as shipping containers is also impractical. Manual logging is also prone to human error and isn’t ideal for frequent data collection. These limitations can be overcome by using connected loggers.

Connected loggers

Connected loggers automatically monitor and record temperature over time. They consist of a built-in sensor for data collection, memory for data storage, and a microprocessor. Other features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, alarm capability, start and stop push buttons, and a visual display.

They also offer excellent deployment flexibility, enabling you to monitor temperature remotely in real-time through a web-based platform, and are easy to fit in small spaces due to their compact size. Below, we look at how connected loggers give you a competitive advantage.

Advantages of connected loggers over manual loggers

Better data tracking, visibility, storage, and precision are just some of the advantages over manual loggers. Connected loggers equip businesses with more reliable data for analysis while facilitating efficient resource allocation. With this new data logging technology, businesses can proactively monitor environmental conditions, improving product quality and compliance.

Data tracking and real-time visibility

Connected loggers are excellent for applications that require frequent data collection. Take, for example, vaccine monitoring in the pharmaceutical industry. The CDC recommends recording the temperature of vaccine refrigerators at least once every half hour. It’s highly inefficient to use manual logging for such an application. 

Digital data loggers can collect data at 10-second intervals – impossible for manual logging. This makes them ideal for monitoring areas with high-temperature fluctuations. Similarly, they are excellent tools for measuring how temperature variations affect product quality. With connected loggers, you can make accurate data-driven decisions, improve product quality, and reduce the risk of product recalls.

Additionally, you can integrate connected loggers with software programs for real-time monitoring and analysis. Connected loggers present data in graphical and tabular formats for easy analysis. Users can view and analyze temperature readings from a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or any internet-enabled device at any time, anywhere in the world.

Real-time visibility reduces costs and builds trust with stakeholders as information becomes more reliable and transparent. Multiple users can access the data, significantly reducing information asymmetry between stakeholders. Moreover, connected loggers have time stamps, which is extremely helpful for organizing or accessing the data later.

Beyond data tracking and real-time visibility, connected loggers provide massive storage capabilities. They come with non-volatile memory, ensuring you don’t lose data during power outages, network disruptions, or when the battery runs out. Businesses can store several years’ worth of temperature data with connected loggers – a feat not easily achievable with manual loggers.


Connected loggers have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, making them ideal for remote deployment. They are an excellent option for growing and dynamic companies that want to scale their business. When opening a new warehouse or distribution route, such businesses can simply add data loggers to the new monitoring points and then integrate them into the existing network via the monitoring software.

With manual logging, a company would need to hire more staff to monitor new points. Even then, they would still have the issue of human error and inaccurate readings on their hands. Also, it wouldn’t be the most efficient use of their staff’s time or skills.


Data integrity is a challenge with manual logging. For starters, flawed monitoring devices can yield inaccurate results. Even with proper equipment, there’s still the possibility of human error. Inaccurate data distorts data analytics, makes compliance harder, and hurts your business’s chances of success.

Connected loggers have built-in sensors, ensuring a high level of precision. However, incorrect sensor calibration can yield inaccurate temperature readings. It’s essential to keep an eye on the sensor’s calibration using the integrated software and make adjustments immediately after detecting a problem.

Alarm notifications

Connected loggers come with customizable alarm capabilities, providing instant notification when the temperature in your facility exceeds preset limits. Some devices, like Marathon Products’ Echo, have LED alarms that send audiovisual alerts when the temperature goes beyond your specified threshold. More sophisticated data loggers, such as the EDL-Net Temp/RH, send instant alarm notifications via SMS, email, or phone to your response personnel, enabling them to take swift corrective measures.

Alarm notifications help businesses proactively monitor and control environmental conditions before problems arise. This is especially useful for organizations with strict compliance requirements.

Simply put, manual loggers are outdated, and businesses must adopt connected loggers to stay competitive. Marathon Products can aid your transition to connected loggers.

Level up your monitoring efforts with Marathon Products’ connected loggers

Marathon Products is a leading producer of high-quality connected loggers. With over 30 years of experience, we understand the needs of the cold supply chain better than most. Our data loggers are ideal for a wide range of applications and have been tested for reliability and efficiency. They help reduce costs, decrease error rates, control temperature conditions, improve product quality, and conduct real-time analysis and reporting. 

Get in touch via email at or call us at (800) 858-6872 to learn how we can develop a custom monitoring solution for your business.

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