Samsara Fleet Management provides a wireless software for any size fleet, with a variety of features collected into a main dashboard that managers can use to view data on all of their vehicles. Standout functions include fuel use, driver messaging, and safety features, making this offering a great pick for the transportation industry. Prices are very competitive and coverage is international but doesn't include parts or tire management.
In this review:
Samsara Review Summary
If you're looking for a high quality fleet tracking solution from one of the most widely trusted names in the business, then Samsara is a strong choice. Our researchers gave it a 4.7/5 score, tying with Verizon for the highest score given to any top fleet management system (FMS). Standout features include highly efficient route optimization and customizable driver management tools, all with 24/7 support.
- Easy learning curve
- Best driver messaging features
- Strong 24/7 support options
- Contracts are 3-5 years long
- Must install system yourself
- No option for hardwired units
Thanks to its huge array of features, Samsara customers' industries include a broad range, covering commercial motor vehicles and including construction, passenger transit, food and beverage, state and local government, trailers, and refrigerated units. School bus transportation is another industry Samsara serves, and they added a software integration in 2020 that helps to keep students safe and streamline parent communication while the vehicles are on route.
Once logged in to the Samara Fleet Management System, managers can see the centralized map of their vehicles and where each one is, in real time. A “helicopter view” allows managers to see each individual vehicle travel down a Google Maps-style photoreal map of the landscape, while a list of vehicle diagnostics to the left logs engine speed, fuel rate, and even ambient air temperature. Clicking on each statistic pulls up a chart showing the highs and lows of that stat across the previous 24 hours.
The service's top features include driver safety, fuel tracking, routing and dispatch, time on site, and ELD compliance. Plus, Samsara includes integrations for TMS, CRM, route planning, payroll, inventory, work order, and fuel cards, supported by companies including McLeod, Fleetio, Wex, Comdata, ESRI, TMW, ProMiles, and SafeStop, among others.
The mobile Samsara Driver App displays relevant data and allows drivers to manage their hours of service through their tablet or phone. New features are constantly being added to the mobile app: As of October 2022, remote driver sign-out capability and the ability to pre-populate shipping IDs were among the most recent additions.
The Samara fleet management system's main hardware device is the “Vehicle Gateway,” a small, brick-shaped plug-and-play device with a built-in WiFi hotspot and one-year warranty. It must be installed in each vehicle by operators, though the process is a simple one.
Samsara's costs can scale smartly to match the particular needs of your business. We recommend you compare costs in moments using our own Personalized Samsara Fleet Management Quotes form, to see custom pricing for your own business needs.
Samsara Fleet Tracking Plans and Pricing
Samsara's pricing comes in two parts: An upfront investment in the hardware device and a monthly cost for the software license.
Samsara offers a free trial: They’ll mail their hardware units for free, allowing fleet managers to install the devices and try out the software for 30 days. After that, you’ll pay “per-device, per-year” — in other words, multiply the vehicles in your fleet by the number of years during which you’ll need an FMS in order to ballpark how much you’ll pay. The contracts are available in 3, 5, and 7-year terms, with discounts available for those who sign up for longer stints with the service.
All Samsara fleet hardware will stop working if its license expires, so the license is effectively a subscription to the hardware as well as the software and firmware that keep the system running.
Expect the Samsara fleet management cost to fall into the mid-range typical for a fleet management system: Its average monthly software license costs between $27 and $33 per month, while typical hardware costs range between $100 and $150, depending on the length of the contract. Get a free price quote to find out how much a Samsara set-up could cost for your fleet.
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Who is this provider most suitable for?
Free Trial or Demo
Verizon Connect Reveal
Great for established, large businesses
Best for data-hungry companies
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30-day free trial; hardware and software
Free online demo
Free online demo
As with any FMS, the most accurate way to get a price for your specific fleet is to get a customized quote, and the fastest way to get one (and compare it with other top FMS vendors) is through our comparison form.
Samsara Fleet Tracking: Top Features
Samsara Route Optimization
Samsara earned its stellar 4.9/5 research score for tracking due to its custom locations, detailed reports, and adjustable alerts. Managers can build new routes, set them up for repeat use, and gain driver insights with route analytics. Arrival and departure times can be scheduled in advance, with as many stops as needed. Route optimization can be activated for trips with up to 20 stops, and will re-order stops to minimize physical distance travelled.
Webhooks can be created to send any needed alerts, letting enterprising employees build their own integrations to trigger a special alert event, letting managers know when any vehicle has arrived as a set location or if a container temperature has risen beyond a set parameter.
Verizon Connect is the only service to offer better tracking tools with a 5/5 score, and the difference lies in the time it takes to refresh tracking data: Verizon promises a 30-second refresh time, while Samsara offers between 30 seconds and one minute. Both services offer a terrific range of tools, however.
Samsara Driver Management
Samsara's driver tools earned a perfect 5-point score from our researchers, with standout features in this category including granular driver history data (Start and end location, vehicle and trailer, driver name, and distance are all logged for each trip), driver messaging, driver ID, and safety features.
Driver ID can be tracked with two different methods: First, drivers can log into their own driver portal to manually log their trips or vehicles used. Second, the Samsara Driver ID token can be used as a keychain that automatically pairs a driver with the vehicle they use for each trip, but it will cost an additional $9.99 each. (Verizon also charges extra for automatic IDs, although Lytx and Teletrac Navman Director include it with their main plans.) Drivers can also be statically assigned to vehicles if they rarely use a different one.
Harsh events, from driver braking to rapid acceleration to excessive speed, are automatically tracked by the Samsara fleet management system, and can be easily pulled up for each vehicle by the fleet manager. This feature allows managers to identify and address recurring issues, leading to greater safety. With a dash cam hardware addition, drivers can also be warned of a harsh driving event in real-time with an audio alert.
Samsara Vehicle Management
Samsara holds another perfect 5-star score for vehicle management tools, matching Verizon's FMS and beating all the other top options, even Azuga's 4.8 stars and Spireon's 4.5/5 stars. Samsara offers extensive tools for fuel tracking, vehicle hardware diagnostics, maintenance scheduling and records, theft prevention, and DVIR reporting.
Fuel management tools are one key benefit for Samsara: Users can track data including current fuel level, fuel used, fuel efficiency, estimated cost, engine run time, and idle time, all of which can be compiled into a Fuel Usage report logging any custom time period, from hours, to a day, week, or month. Data provided by a Samsara FMS helped one company, Sam’s Well Drilling, realize that running its rigs 100 RPMs slower would save it $480k per year in fuel expenses. With the shipping industry projected to be seeing lean times across all of 2023, those savings are even more essential.
Speed tracking is also included, with any segments of speeding highlighted in red on the map, alongide the posted speed limit and the vehicle's actual speed. Since speeding is behind nearly a third of all traffic accidents, it's a big sign of poor driving behavior and is a top factor in the Safety Score that Samsara offers for tracking driving habits.
Samsara GPS Tracking
Samsara's GPS abilities fall into the same category as the route optimization tools for our researchers, earning the same 4.9/5 score mentioned earlier in this review. Active tracking tools will log an entire fleet's location in real-time up to the minute, with notifications to point out when anything is amiss.
The service is fully compliant with the government's Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, unlike some services, including Quartix and Fleetio.
A “Time on Site” feature presents fleet managers with a heat map of the areas at which drivers spend the most time overall. Managers can easily tell which locations their business serves most often, and how much time drivers take to arrive at their destinations as well as how long they spend at each one. Managers can also set up geofencing alerts, letting them be notified whenever a vehicle enters or leaves a specific geographic area.
Samsara Dash Cams
In addition to the FMS, Samsara offers two high-definition dash cams. The CM31 is front-facing, covering the road ahead, while the CM32 is dual-facing, covering both the driver (with an infrared LED to counter poor lighting) and the road. The cameras automatically upload footage to the cloud, and at any given time hold the past 24 hours of footage (extended to 48 hours for the CM32) allowing fleet managers to comb through for footage they need to keep.
Check out dash cam quotes here if you're interested in boosting your FMS capability.
Samsara’s raft of vehicle hardware and software includes plenty of other services that are integral to specific businesses.
- Truckers with refrigerated units to worry about can look into reefer monitoring systems, which include Samsara temperature sensors in the cargo area.
- Those with trailers can make use of Samsara's trailer tracking software.
- School bus drivers are covered under Samsara’s K-12 solutions.
- Government, transit and construction vehicles all have their own solutions as well
- Following a March 2022 update, public works fleets (like snowplows) can now track which streets they have traversed, using a coverage map updated in real-time.
In other words, Samsara has something for everyone.
Samsara ELD Compliance
Almost all commercial motor vehicles in the US are now required to use an electronic logging device to track their hours of service.
The Samsara Driver App allows drivers to view the FMCSA-regulation-compliant data of their hours of service that has been recorded by devices with access to their vehicle engines. The drivers won’t need any special hardware to view the reports, just an Android or iOS tablet or phone.
Since drivers will have Samsara’s automatically compiled report in front of them, they’ll be able to avoid the recent ELD regulatory fines when pulled over for a roadside inspection. Operators will have access to all their driver's HOS and records of duty status on the same platform as their drivers' GPS data, sensor data, DVIRs, and documents, making any audits painless. Or as painless as an audit can be, at least.
Samsara Set Up and Customer Support
Setting up Samsara fleet management is simple, since the basic FMS devices can easily plug into each vehicle’s dash.
Customer support for Samsara’s clients comes in a variety of forms: Support staff are available through a phone call or through email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Clients with specific concerns may submit a support ticket through the website. For less pressing issues, an FAQ and additional online materials can walk managers through various solutions.
While discussing the set-up, be sure to confirm that all the features you’ll need are compatible with your vehicles’ makes and models — some features might work while others won’t, and you want to discover any incompatibility before the contracts are inked, not after.
Support & Training
- Email: email@example.com
- Live Online Support (clients can submit support tickets for specific cases)
- Online Training Manuals
- 24hr M-F; 8am–5pm PST Sat-Sun
- On-site Training
- Live Online
Samsara High Value Asset Tracking
Samsara's asset tracking solutions go beyond the fleet to help managers keep tabs on all their high-value equipment. From the dashboard, managers can search their assets by name, by location or by type of asset in order to ensure everything is where it should be. By tracking all assets in real-time, operations can be both more secure and more streamlined, improving efficiency and revenue.
Alerts can be set to warn managers if a powered or unpowered asset should enter an unauthorized, geofenced location, deterring theft.
Similarly, alerts can be set for any powered assets, letting managers know when they're turned on, and how long they run. Powered asset trackers are ruggedized, waterproof, and come with a backup lithium-ion battery in addition to charging through a direct power source. Unpowered asset trackers' batteries can last up to 3 years, assuming about two check-ins per day.
Interested in tracking high value assets as well as your fleet of vehicles? Check Samsara's free asset tracking price quotes here.
How We Reviewed Samsara
Our research team picked out six key scoring categories, based on what fleet managers told us were important to them, then used these categories to test and rank all the best fleet management systems in the industry, on a five-point scale. Whenever our review mention ratings that look something like “4.5/5,” it is referencing this internal research. Here's each of our analysis categories and what it covers:
- Price: How much the user pays (plans, free trials, contract length, and more)
- Tracking: GPS tracking features, including route optimization
- Driver management: Safety tracking, crash reporting, and other features tracking drivers themselves
- Vehicle management: Theft prevention, fuel tracking, maintenance scheduling, and other vehicle-specific features
- General product features: Includes apps, compliance measures, and integrations
- Support: Support hours and types of support (phone, email, or live chat)
Once our team has scored each fleet management provider across all of these categories, they can also calculate an overall score for the company's services, to reflect the overall value of each company's offering. Some scoring categories are weighted more heavily than others, to reflect what fleet managers told us was more important to them, such as good value pricing.
Scores are never conflated with any affiliate partnerships we might have in place: we receive fees from some providers to thank us when we make introductions to their software, but all our testing is impartial, and high scores cannot be bought. Samsara scores a 4.7/5 overall, reflecting that it is one of the leading providers in the industry.
Verdict: Samsara Is a Great Pick for Any Fleet
Granted, Samsara doesn’t cover every possible feature: Its tire and parts management options are a notable exception. However, for any fleet manager in need of a reliable and understandable FMS, Samsara is one of the best.
Plus, if your business could benefit from integrated field service management and asset tracking too, you'll be able to get all three from the same supplier.
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