Best Route Optimization Software In 2023: Review

February 24, 2023
Illustration. A man with a magnifying glass considers a vertical display featuring stylized logos of different route planning apps.

Is delivery route planning stressing you out? Are you wrestling with excel spreadsheets, rising delivery costs and increasing customer expectations? Do your drivers complain about impractical routes? If your answer to any of those questions is yes – it’s time to streamline and automate your planning with route optimization software!

In this post you can find detailed reviews of the best route optimization apps for delivery services that we’ve tested in the past year. We’ve included notes about which users each one will suit best, and brief overviews of some other route planning apps that didn’t make the cut. 

Why should you trust our advice about the best routing software? At Routific, route optimization is what we do every day. We’ve been in the last-mile delivery industry for over a decade, and we've spoken to hundreds of delivery businesses. Things are changing fast, and we learn new things every day — so these reviews are based on what we’ve learned from real people running real businesses. Just like you. 

Obligatory disclaimer that while we tried to stay as objective as possible, we do acknowledge the bias that we have. Our goal is to provide a helpful guide so can find the right software for your business.

What’s the difference between route planning and route optimization?

Do you need a route planner app, or a route optimization app? What’s the difference, anyway? We’ve written a whole article about the difference between route planning and route optimization, but basically: route planning is the part of delivery operations that starts with collecting orders and addresses and continues through optimizing routes, inspecting and editing those routes, dispatching the routes to drivers, and finally communicating ETAs to customers. Route optimization is about finding the most efficient, cost-effective sequence of stops for completing the plan. 

Route optimization exists because planning efficient multi-stop routes is really, really hard. Experienced drivers know the best routes for getting from one place to another in their cities. But with every stop you add, creating an efficient sequence gets more difficult. With 20 or more stops, there are hundreds or thousands of good-enough routes to choose from — so how do you choose the best? Route optimization algorithms can compare billions of possibilities to come up with the most efficient routes. It takes a lot of computing power, though — which is why it’s only in the past decade or so that route optimization has become accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

The benefits of route optimization

The main reasons to use route optimization are related to efficiency gains:

  • Shorter routes means less distance driven, which means lower operating costs because you’re using less fuel and fewer driver hours.
  • Less time spent in the back office on route planning means drivers can get on the road faster.
  • Accurate ETAs increase the number of on-time deliveries and boost customer satisfaction. 

How we tested routing software for this review

We tested all these apps ourselves in free trial mode, using 250-700 stops for each test, depending on the limitations of the trial. This is a fair representation of the workload a typical medium-sized delivery business would face in a day.

If we’ve included an app in our “best of” list, it will have at least the following key features, which are now expected:

  • Optimization for multiple vehicles and routes.
  • Quick dispatch to a driver mobile app.
  • The ability to send customer notification about ETAs and completed deliveries.

In our tests we looked at features which differ from one route planning solution to another, and make a good basis for comparison:

  • Ease of use: How easy is it to get started and figure out how to use the software productively?
  • Speed: How long did it take to get routes ready for dispatch?
  • Route efficiency: What’s the total length of all the optimized routes? Shorter driving distance means lower fuel costs and wage bills, so route efficiency is a critical metric. 
  • Route acceptability: Do the routes make sense to dispatchers and delivery drivers?
  • User ratings: We looked at ratings on Capterra, an independent software review site owned by Gartner. 

Why is route acceptability an important part of route optimization?

A good route is much more than just the most mathematically efficient route. Delivery drivers have to navigate these routes in the real world, and they really hate “spaghetti routes” which overlap and criss-cross each other. Even if the algorithm says it’s efficient, to a human eye these routes look wasteful and stupid. If I see another driver from my company entering the area I’m just leaving, I’m going to have a tough time believing it wouldn’t have been more efficient to put all the deliveries for that area on the same vehicle.

This mismatch between mathematical efficiency and common sense can cause drivers to lose faith in routing software. Then you get, at best, lots of grumbling — and at worst, people override the system and plan their own routes. That’s why, as we refine our algorithms at Routific, we aim for cleanly clustered routes with high driver acceptability. Call it adding driver intelligence to artificial intelligence 🙂.

Routific: Best for medium-sized local delivery businesses

Routific screenshot showing cleanly clustered optimized routes.

Routific is route optimization software that’s specifically built to be easy to use, while also including dispatcher-friendly features like the ability to edit routes and a timeline view so it’s easy to track progress through the day. Our main focus is small to medium-sized local delivery businesses, although sales teams and service organizations like landscapers or maintenance companies also use us as a route planning app. 

We optimize routes for both pure efficiency (shortest distance) and driver acceptability. Our customers respect their drivers and want to offer great working conditions, so we also make it easy to schedule flexible driver breaks, reassign stops between drivers and send updated route details if anything changes.

Ease of use: Excellent.

Speed: A few minutes to upload and optimize all stops. 

Route efficiency: Routific’s routes were 15% shorter than Circuit’s, 2% longer than Upper’s and 6% longer than Route4Me’s. 

Route acceptability: High. Routific showed by far the most cleanly clustered routes, with little overlap.

User ratings: 4.9 (105 reviews)

Cost: Starts at $39 per vehicle per month, or $59 per vehicle per month for GPS tracking and proof of delivery features. Automated customer notifications via email or SMS are $19 per vehicle per month. Per-stop pricing is also available. 

Circuit for Teams: Best for small businesses with simple routing needs

Circuit for Teams screenshot showing overlapping routes

Circuit began as a popular standalone route planner app for single drivers, well reviewed on both iOS and Android platforms. More recently, they’ve expanded their offering to include Circuit for Teams, which enables route planning and dispatch for multiple vehicles. 

Their browser-based app is impressively easy to use. This makes it a good match for small businesses where one person might have to handle multiple roles, including route planning and delivery management.  On the downside, their routing engine is lackluster, yielding messy, tangled routes. It’s also not possible to edit routes or view overall distance and time metrics, which makes it less attractive for route managers who have to track multiple routes and vehicles at the same time.

Ease of use: Excellent.

Speed: It took a few minutes to upload and optimize stops, but we were frustrated by the inability to edit routes before dispatch and the lack of a timeline view.

Route efficiency: Circuit doesn’t give overall metrics so we had to manually add up the numbers for each individual route. Overall, the routes are 15% longer than Routific’s and much messier. 

Route acceptability: Not great, with overlapping routes and multiple drivers visiting the same area.

User ratings: 4.8 (26 reviews)

Cost: Starts at $100/month for three drivers, or $200/month for five drivers, customer notifications and proof of delivery options. Driver analytics are included on the $500/month pro plan, which includes up to 10 drivers.

Onfleet:  Best for mid-market and enterprise

Onfleet screenshot showing a large number of stop pins, a few of them linked by a single route.

Onfleet bills itself as a “complete toolkit for last mile delivery”. They offer a full set of features you’d hope to find in delivery management software — the feature that enables automated driver assignment makes it a good option for on-demand courier businesses. There’s also a live chat option inside the driver app, which dispatchers and drivers particularly like. 

Route optimization was included as a paid add-on in 2016, and it’s now standard on all price tiers. Unfortunately the route planning functions are very difficult to use. The interface doesn’t show actual routes, just a collection of pins; there’s no color coding. Combined with the lack of metrics, this made it impossible for us to tell how good Onfleet’s routes actually were. The lack of a timeline view also makes it difficult for dispatchers to monitor progress in real time. 

The steep learning curve, combined with its high cost, make Onfleet more suitable for mid-market to enterprise-level companies. It also has a fuller feature set, including barcode scanning, than Routific or Circuit.

Ease of use: Difficult.

Speed:  Actual optimization was fast, but it took us a long time to get there because of the steep learning curve. 

Route efficiency: Onfleet doesn’t give data on route length, so there’s no way to tell.

Route acceptability: Only shows one route at a time, so there’s no way to tell. 

User ratings: 4.7 (85 reviews)

Cost: Onfleet has significantly increased its pricing since we last reviewed it in early 2022. The base tier is now $500/month up to 2,000 delivery or pickup tasks. For $1,150/month you get 2,500 tasks, API and barcode scanning.

OptimoRoute: Best for field sales and service businesses

optimoroute screenshot

OptimoRoute is a powerful routing app with a lot of flexibility and control for you to set up your routes exactly as you wish. It does, however, require some time to learn and understand.

You can set up individual driver profiles with their own shift schedules (including breaks and overtime), start/end locations, skills (if you’re in the field service industry), vehicle types, service areas you want them to stay in, and even cost and speed settings. You can also set up multiple capacity constraints (e.g. weight & volume). Like Routific, OptimoRoute doesn’t include barcode scanning or order taking functionality. 

We couldn’t test as thoroughly as we would have liked, because OptimoRoute limits free trials to 250 stops. Given that limitation, the route optimization was fast — but there was lots of overlap between routes and it was difficult to make manual edits. 

Ease of use: Moderate.

Speed: Optimized in seconds, but it was hard to make manual edits so time to dispatch was a bit longer.

Route efficiency: Similar to Routific.

Route acceptability: Lots of overlapping and criss-crossing routes.

User ratings: Capterra rating: 4.5 (136 reviews)

Cost: If you sign up for a full year, pricing starts at $35 per vehicle per month with a limit of 700 orders, or $44 per month for up to 1,000 orders, real-time tracking and proof of delivery. Custom pricing for more complex needs is also available. 

Route4Me: Best if you need maximum flexibility

route4me screenshot

Route4Me is one of the original route planning and route optimization tools, with a well-developed marketplace of add-on features so that you customize it to your needs. For example, you can add on support for curbside pickup, avoiding left or right turns, or for allocating stops to time windows. 

There are some things about it we found strange, though. Route4Me automatically optimizes its routes to use the smallest possible number of vehicles, and this setting can’t be changed. This makes things awkward if you have your own fleet and drivers — Route4Me could leave one driver sitting idle while another works overtime. We also found their ETA estimations unrealistic. For example, on one route section that Routific and Google Maps both estimated would take 18-19 minutes, Route4Me estimated just 10 minutes. Journey times are routinely underestimated, which can lead to lots of late deliveries and a very poor customer experience.

Ease of use: Moderate.

Speed: Quick to optimize, but lots of extra work needed to get realistic routes ready for dispatch. 

Route efficiency: Slightly shorter routes than Routific’s.

Route acceptability: Lots of overlapping spaghetti routes.

User ratings: 4.4 (336 reviews)

Cost: starts at $319 per month if you want to include route optimization. Features like customer notifications and delivery time windows are add-ons that will increase the cost. Adding time windows, for example, will cost an extra $79 per month. There are no proof of delivery features.

Other route optimization apps

We reviewed several other apps that we don’t feel comfortable including in our list of the best routing software, but they may work for certain use cases. Here’s a quick roundup of the rest.


RouteXL is one of the oldest simple route optimization apps around, and it shows. The interface feels a little old and clunky, and it can only optimize one route at a time, which means you miss out on the benefits of multi-vehicle optimization. That said, if you’re a one-vehicle business with a limited number of stops to handle, this might be an option worth testing.

Ease of use: Moderate.

Speed: A couple of minutes to upload and optimize stops.

Route efficiency: Difficult to assess because of the 20-stop limit.

Route acceptability: Impossible to assess since it can only optimize one route at a time.

User ratings: 3.5 (2 reviews)

Cost: Free up to 20 stops, or from € 35 EUR/month (around $40) for a 100-stop package. 

Speedy Route

Speedy Route is a bare-bones route optimizer that’s good for simple use cases. The web app is attractive and easy to use and optimization is relatively fast (it’s free up to 10 stops). You can’t dispatch routes to drivers from the app, though – you have to export to a spreadsheet file or print it out. There are also no extra features like customer notifications, tracking, or proof of delivery. If you need nothing more than simple optimization, this might be a good option to test.

Ease of use: Easy.

Speed: Fast optimization, but no route editing or dispatch.

Route efficiency: Difficult to assess because of the 10-stop limit on the free trial.

Route acceptability: Impossible to assess because of the 10-stop limit.

User ratings: 3.8 (6 reviews)

Cost: Starts at $69/month for 5 drivers and up to 500 stops.


Upper is a newer route planner app that’s easy to use, with a friendly web-based route optimization tool that can handle up to 500 addresses. It doesn’t really have anything to make it stand out from the competition, though: it’s slower and offers fewer features than Routific for a similar price, it’s less easy to use than Circuit, and it can’t match the feature set of Onfleet or Optimoroute.  That said, there’s no reason not to use Upper if you like the interface and it works for your purposes.

Ease of use: Easy. 

Speed: Optimizing 350 stops took 5 minutes, compared to 20 seconds for Routific. The workflow also felt slow and clunky in general.

Route efficiency: On par with Routific.

Route acceptability: Spaghetti routes with lots of overlap and criss-crossing.

User ratings: 5.0 (1 review)

Cost: Starts at $100/month for up to three drivers, or $200/month for up to 5 drivers. 

Routific honeycomb logo mark

The easiest-to-use route optimization platform for growing delivery businesses.

Portrait of Pam Sykes
Pam Sykes
Pam Sykes has a PhD in History and a background in Journalism. She is the Lead Content Strategist at Routific with a focus on delivery management, delivery experience, route planning, and the last-mile industry in general. She has a passion to help delivery businesses scale with her craft of storytelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Waze do route optimization?

Waze is a really popular navigation app for finding the best route from Point A to Point B, but you can’t use it to plan multi-stop routes, or to optimize a sequence of stops to get the shortest route. If you love Waze but need route optimization, the best option is to use routing software like Routific, which will send auto-optimized routes to a driver app you can download on your mobile device. Then you can choose Waze or Google Maps for point-to-point navigation.

What is the best free route optimizer?

You can optimize up to 10 stops for free using SpeedyRoute. If you need to optimize a longer route, or one that uses multiple vehicles, you can try a 7-day free trial using an app like Routific. There are no free route optimizers that are suitable for regular route planning.