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Samsara Fleet Management Review

July 16, 2018

12:17 pm

Samsara Fleet Management logo
  • Established: 2015
  • HQ: San Francisco, USA
  • ELD Compliant
  • Intuitive Interface
  • Easy Installation
  • 360 Support & Training
  • Free Trial

All the common features, with an uncommonly easy-to-use interface.

Samsara Fleet Management provides wireless software solutions to vehicle operations. Their FMS offers a variety of features, all of which are collected into a main dashboard which fleet managers can use to view data on all of their vehicles.

  • Serves any size fleet: Samsara’s FMS covers small, medium, and large
  • Prices are comparable to the average FMS vendor
  • Service coverage is international, but does not include parts management or tire management options

Samsara also offer high value asset tracking in addition to vehicle tracking.

Samsara’s customers are broad, covering commercial motor vehicles and including school buses, construction, passenger transit, food and beverage, state and local government, trailers, and refrigerated units.

Software: 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” even allows managers to see each individual vehicle travel down a Google Maps-style photoreal map of the landscape.

To the left-hand side is a list of vehicle diagnostics: Engine speed, fuel rate, even ambient air temperature. Samsara’s compact, easy-to-navigate dashboard is one of its strengths. Clicking on each statistic pulls up a chart showing the highs and lows of that stat across the previous 24 hours.

samsara fleet gps tracker

Hardware: The Samara fleet management system includes plug-and-play hardware devices that must be installed in each vehicle by operators, though the process is a simple one. These devices come with a one-year warranty.

Pricing: Samsara’s pricing comes in two parts: An upfront investment in the hardware device and a monthly cost for the software license. Samsara doesn’t make their prices public, but you can expect costs to start at around $100 per hardware unit and $30 per vehicle per month (paid yearly) for software use.

Top Features: These include driver safety, fuel tracking, routing and dispatch, time on site, mobile app, ELD compliance.

Integrations: Samsara’s open architecture allows it to partner with a massive number of additional companies and services. You’ll be able to integrate Samsara fleet management with functions including TMS, CRM, route planning, payroll, inventory, work order, and fuel cards. Companies in Samsara’s app marketplace include McLeod, Fleetio, Wex, Comdata, ESRI, TMW, ProMiles, and SafeStop, among others.

Ease of Use: Samsara’s design makes it easier to understand and learn than many other FMS interfaces, with intuitive controls and menus for managers to locate what they need. Drivers, meanwhile, will receive their own mobile app in the form of the Samsara Driver App, which displays relevant data and allows drivers to manage their hours of service through their tablet or phone.

Read on for our full review, which lists which core features you’ll find with Samsara fleet tracking, as well as their customer support options and pricing details available from this fleet management provider.


In this review:


See how Samsara compares to other industry-leading
fleet management and vehicle tracking providers.


Samsara Fleet Tracking Plans and Pricing

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 1, 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 cost for a Samsara FMS to fall into the mid-range typical for a fleet management system. 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 is through our comparison form.


Samsara Fleet Tracking: Core Features

Driver Safety

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.

Fuel Tracking

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.

Samsara Fleet Management Map

Routing & Dispatch

Samsara lets fleet managers communicate with their vehicles in real time, through a messaging app. They can confirm they’ve reached a destination and dispatch them on the next task, reroute vehicles or guide lost drivers step-by-step over the phone. Managers can then compile the data into reports that cover each vehicle’s total stops, missed stops, and early/late stops, giving each vehicle an at-a-glance performance score.

A route analytics section on the fleet manager dashboard will also display the contrast between the route managers planned for, and the route that drivers ended up taking in reality. Managers can use the information to adjust future routes to account for the times and routes that their drivers need. Samsara’s online FAQ page can further help fleet managers understand how to optimize routes through their FMS dashboard.

Time on Site

This 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.

Mobile Options

The Samsara FMS dashboard is designed for desktop use but all dashboard features can be accessed on mobile devices. The mobile interface does have a more limited functionality however.

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Dash Cam

In addition to the FMS, Samsara offers CM22, a high-definition dash cam that’s dual-facing, covering both the driver (with an infrared LED to counter poor lighting) and the road, automatically uploading needed footage to the cloud.

It also offers CM12, a similar high-def dash cam that is front-facing: It only covers the road, not the driver. At any given time, the CM12 retains the past 24 hours of footage, allowing fleet managers to comb through for any footage they need to keep. The CM22 holds 48 hours of footage.

Industry-Specific Solutions

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

In other words, Samsara has something for everyone.


Samsara ELD Compliance

Almost all commercial motor vehicles in the US have been 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 during weekdays, and from 8am until 5pm Saturday and Sunday. 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

Support options

  • Phone
  • Email: support@samsara.com
  • Live Online Support (clients can submit support tickets for specific cases)
  • Online Training Manuals
  • Webinars
  • 24hr M-F; 8am–5pm PST Sat-Sun

Training options

  • On-site Training
  • Documentation
  • Webinars
  • 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.

Samsara asset trackerAlerts can be set to warn managers if an 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.

Interested in tracking high value assets as well as your fleet of vehicles? Get asset tracking price quotes here.


The Verdict

Samsara fleet management is Tech.Co approved: The system covers the most popular and necessary FMS features — routing and dispatch, fuel tracking, ELD compliance, and driver safety, among others. More importantly, it packages these features in a simple, easy-to-understand dashboard that fleet managers can use without a steep learning curve.

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.

Start comparing the Samsara FMS with other top
fleet management providers today.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.