business.com receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure
BDC Hamburger Icon

MENU

Close
BDC Logo
Search Icon
Updated Mar 12, 2024

Samsara Fleet Management Review and Pricing

Mark Fairlie
Mark Fairlie, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Verified CheckEditor Verified
Verified Check
Editor Verified
Close
A business.com editor verified this analysis to ensure it meets our standards for accuracy, expertise and integrity.

Table of Contents

Open row
Editors Score:9/10
Samsara's GPS fleet management platform is ideal for businesses that want to consider sustainability. You can boost fuel efficiency with Samsara's tools and start gradually switching to an all-electric fleet with this intuitive service.
Thumbs Up Pros
  • Samsara helps you overcome the challenges businesses face in reducing the environmental impacts of transport.
  • The company offers near enterprise-level driver and vehicle monitoring while keeping its system very easy to use.
  • The platform’s very well-thought-out dashboard is straightforward enough for new users to master quickly.
Thumbs Down Cons
  • You have to commit to Samara’s service for three years and no free trial is available.
  • You can’t use hard-wired GPS tracking units, which are more secure.
  • Some of the available app integrations require extra fees.
Editor's Rating9/10

Samsara provides managers and decision-makers with the tools, data and analysis they need to begin switching to electric and hybrid vehicles, which is why Samsara is our choice for the best GPS fleet management system for businesses interested in sustainability. Samsara boasts a full-featured, user-friendly, intuitive GPS fleet management platform that’s just as capable of monitoring electric and hybrid vehicles as internal combustion engine (ICE) ones. As with competing platforms, the service helps you save money, reduce fuel costs, get more life out of your vehicles and improve driver safety. 

Samsara Editor’s Score: 9/10

Samsara Editor's Rating:

9 / 10

Contract length
8.0/10
Price
8.0/10
Refresh rate
10/10
Customer service
9.0/10
Hardware type
9.0/10
Functionality
10/10

Why We Chose Samsara for Sustainability

Generous government grants and incentives are making it an excellent time for fleets to go green. For example, Utah’s Clean Fleet Program offers to reimburse companies for up to 45 percent of the cost of replacing a diesel truck with an all-electric one. But changing a fleet from all ICE vehicles to all-electric and hybrid ones is not straightforward. 

We were impressed with how Samsara has evolved to support green initiatives. Samsara is unique in that it helps fleet managers plan the order in which they replace aging, less-economical and polluting ICE vehicles with eco-friendly alternatives. We love that the platform’s dashboard shows how much you’ll save in fuel costs and emissions if you switch to electric or hybrid models for each current ICE vehicle.

Samsara’s numerous sustainability-driven functions are not just add-ons; they’re built into the system’s core. You can monitor the performance of your electric and hybrid vehicles as you would for ICE models to help lower fuel use and extend the lifetimes of your vehicles with predictive and proactive maintenance. At the same time, Samsara can fulfill traditional fleet management needs and competes very well with other providers in every essential aspect, including driver safety. This vendor is unique because it is committed to staying relevant and useful as the world moves away from gasoline and diesel.

Did You Know?Did you know
Samsara achieved a net-zero carbon footprint for its own emissions in 2019. Learn how to reduce your business's carbon footprint by moving toward zero waste and more.

Samsara driver efficiency reporting

Samsara’s sustainability functions include real-time visibility into fuel data to help you reduce emissions and lower overhead costs. Source: Samsara

What We Like About Samsara

  • Samsara helps businesses overcome the challenges of reducing the environmental impacts of transport.
  • The company offers near-enterprise-level driver and vehicle monitoring while keeping its system very easy to use.
  • The platform’s well-thought-out dashboard is straightforward enough for new users to master quickly.

What We Don’t Like About Samsara

  • You must commit to Samsara’s service for three to five years.
  • If your fleet has 10 or fewer vehicles, you must pay upfront for a year’s service.
  • Some of the available app integrations cost extra.

Ease of Use

When you open Samsara’s desktop dashboard, you can easily access the compliance, safety, maintenance, dispatch, fuel and energy, documentation and reports controls via the tabs on the left of the screen. We like that when you select a tab, the navigation bar remains visible. The dashboard has a landscape configuration, and the clickable elements are well spaced and presented clearly. Overall, we found the system straightforward to use.

We like that the customizable dashboard leads you into the platform’s primary functionality quickly and intuitively. You can set up advanced alerts for more than 15 categories, establish key performance indicators and monitor real-time driver behavior. We also appreciated the ability to review driver videos, set up geofences, and manage fleet maintenance and dispatches.

Samsara dashboard

Samsara’s clear, functional dashboard greets fleet managers with relevant data. Source: Samsara

Samsara Features

Samsara is a full-featured GPS fleet management system that helps companies target sustainability as they transition to an electric fleet. Below are some of our favorite features related to sustainability and the service in general.

Guidance for Transition to EVs and Hybrids

We love the EV Suitability function in Samsara’s Reports section, which helps fleet managers plan for a transition to electric vehicles (EVs). They can determine which vehicles should be replaced first using four criteria: 

  • Maximum lifetime mileage
  • Average fuel efficiency
  • Average daily range 
  • Maximum daily range

You can customize your electrification criteria, account for light- and heavy-duty vehicles, and filter results by specific tags or periods for a more customized analysis.

In this process, you’ll switch to a broad fleet overview to evaluate which vehicles are most suitable for electrification. You’ll see how each performs against the various criteria and view an estimate of average fuel and emissions savings. Samsara will rate each vehicle from “not suitable” for electrification (if less than 15 percent of your qualifying criteria are met) to “excellent” (if 80 percent or more of your criteria are met), with “good” and “okay” ratings for vehicles that fall in between. You may decide that investing in a new vehicle is economically worthwhile if doing so offers fuel savings of $25,000 or more per year.

We also like that you can access information such as charging trends to show how many times an EV or hybrid vehicle has been charged, for how long, and the total kilowatt-hours (kWh) charged. The vehicle diagnostic report includes a battery health algorithm that can alert you to excessive battery degradation.

Samsara EV sustainability report

Samsara’s EV Suitability report helps managers decide where electric vehicles may be better to use than ICE vehicles. Source: Samsara

General Fleet Reporting

Running reports with Samsara is straightforward. You select whether you want a report on a driver or a vehicle/asset and then choose the aspects you want to include. You set the start and end dates for the period you’re interested in, and click Run.

You can run reports on the following fleet components:

  • Activity and fuel: The system monitors 27 factors, including fuel consumption and its cost, high engine torque, idle time, distance, driver efficiency, coasting, time in cruise control, engine idle time and more. EV and hybrid monitoring metrics include the total distance traveled using electric power and energy consumed in kWh per vehicle.
  • Safety: This report includes 21 categories, including acceleration, braking, speeding, harsh turn counts, maximum speed, safety score, acceleration count, braking count and more.
  • Compliance: This report tracks when drivers are on and off duty, time spent driving on company business, personal driving, time in the sleeper berth and more.
  • Maintenance: This report delivers driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) information, including safe and unsafe submitted DVIRs.

Additionally, Samsara’s Planned vs. Actual report is noteworthy. This handy feature calculates a route’s pre-calculated time and distance versus the actual time and distance the route took. We love how this data helps small businesses identify how much fuel could be saved by selecting optimal routes. It’s a great opportunity to maximize your return on investment and fleet performance by identifying opportunities for training and general improvement.

We were impressed that the platform involves both fleet managers and drivers in general fleet reporting. The platform can create customized forms or send preexisting forms that drivers can access via their app. Drivers can use these forms to report incidents such as oil leaks, and managers can use these reports to assign repairs. 

FYIDid you know
Whether you buy or lease a company car, your organization is responsible for executing maintenance. However, many upkeep expenses may be covered under a lease.

Samsara in-depth reporting

Samsara gives users some of the most in-depth fleet and driver management reporting on the market. Source: Samsara

Alerts and Notifications

When you implement the Samsara system, there are 34 built-in alerts you must switch on to activate. These alerts cover events such as dashcam disconnection, vehicle fault codes, unsafe driving (including speeding and abrupt braking or hard cornering) and hours-of-service violations. You can also receive alerts on compliance-related events, device health, driver behavior, equipment, location and routing, maintenance, safety and security.

We were impressed by the flexibility of the alerts and notifications on the platform. Alerts always appear on your Samsara dashboard, but we like that you can also get them via email, text message and push notification. You can send alerts to individual users, groups and even additional contacts not on the Samsara dashboard. (For example, you can send a text message to a customer when a truck enters their specific geofenced area.)

You can also choose to receive an alert when an EV battery charge level goes up or down by a value you specify.

Tracking and Dashcam Equipment

Samsara’s GPS tracking unit sensors record and transmit driver and vehicle data to your dashboard via a 4G cellular signal or a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. They send information on all vehicles to your desktop and app dashboards every second — significantly faster than many competitors we reviewed. In comparison, FleetUp and Force by Mojio update every 10 seconds, Verizon Connect refreshes every 30 seconds, and Azuga does so every 30 to 120 seconds, depending on your plan. Our Motive review reveals that its 1-to-3-second refresh rate is Samsara’s closest competitor.

There’s a dual-facing dashcam (with one camera monitoring the driver’s cab) and a single-facing dashcam that records only the driver’s view. These dashcam features impressed us: 

  • AI-powered functionality: We like how Samsara has incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) into its cameras. These high-definition AI cameras detect and film events such as driving erratically or blowing through a stop sign. The recorded video is then sent back to the Samsara platform, where it can be accessed easily. We appreciate that you can use these videos to help drivers eliminate bad habits and defend against insurance claims. 
  • Night vision: Impressively, the cameras are also equipped with highly effective night-vision technology, which captures a lot of detail even when it’s dark. 
  • Driver alert function: The dashcam’s driver alert function detects if a driver is distracted or engages in dangerous behavior and issues an audible warning. The system records the incident for fleet managers to review. 
  • Panic buttons: Panic buttons can send video back to the base if a driver gets into a compromising or emergency situation. 
  • Livestream: Administrators can use the livestream function to remotely watch whatever the dashcam is recording live and hear audio. Each dashcam can livestream for five minutes a month, but you can obtain more time by purchasing Samsara’s livestreaming license for an additional cost.
  • High-quality video: The system allows up to 19 hours of 1080p recording for front-facing AI dashcams and 33 hours for dual-facing AI dashcams. We like that managers can balance recording time versus picture quality in the dashboard. 
  • Camera health monitoring: The system can detect “camera health” — specifically, whether there is misalignment in a camera’s images and videos or whether there are lens obstructions. 
Did You Know?Did you know
Samsara offers both hardwired and plug-and-play equipment. Generally, customers with older fleets or companies concerned about drivers removing the plug-and-play units choose the hardwired option.

Samsara dashcam

Samsara has two types of dashcams, including one with dual cameras. Source: Samsara

Live Vehicle and Asset Tracking

Select the Fleet tab on the Samsara dashboard to see where all your vehicles are at any time. Drilling down further, select the dots on the map to view the precise locations and data, like the driver name and vehicle identifier. Additional tracking features include the following:

  • Second-by-second tracking: We love that Samsara offers second-by-second tracking, so what you see on the map is close to a real-time view. This functionality sets Samsara apart from other providers with slower refresh rates. 
  • Multiple map views: You can choose the default map view or a terrain or satellite view. We like that you can overlay current traffic to see your drivers’ local conditions.
  • Driver guidance: If a driver has trouble reaching their destination, you can guide them via the mobile app. You can also warn drivers of traffic jams or bad weather so they can choose a different route. You can even share the live map with customers so they can see where the vehicle is and when it’s expected to arrive.
  • Auto immobilization: We love Samsara’s auto immobilization feature, which can shut down a vehicle if the onboard unit detects tampering, even without a cellular data connection.
TipBottom line
If you run a service business — like electrical work, plumbing or HVAC — check out our Force review. This platform is specifically designed to support these kinds of companies.

Samsara live GPS mapping

Samsara’s live GPS mapping lets you see all of your vehicles’ locations in real time. Source: Samsara

Mobile App

Samsara has two apps: Samsara Fleet for fleet managers, and Samsara Driver for drivers. Both are available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

  • Samsara Fleet: With Samsara Fleet, you can update drivers’ schedules, add new jobs and adjust job schedules; they’ll see all of the changes in their app. We appreciate that the Fleet app offers the same functionality as the desktop dashboard. You can see where your fleet and individual vehicles are at any time, share driver locations with delivery recipients, receive notifications, and message team members, including other administrators. This functionality is great for small business owners and fleet managers who aren’t always in the office.
  • Samsara Driver: Samsara Driver streamlines driver tasks with guided workflows, route and job information, electronic DVIRs and inspection reports, hours-of-service tracking, electronic logging device (ELD) data and routing information. It also enables two-way messaging with fleet managers. We like the workflow automation function that, for example, can remind drivers of end-of-day tasks or specific documents they must collect on a job.

Samsara Fleet mobile app

The Samsara Fleet mobile app helps managers monitor fleets while on the go. Source: Samsara

Geofencing

Want to know whether a vehicle or asset enters or leaves a particular area? With Samsara, you can define these areas as geofences and get alerts when the parameters are crossed. Here are some common geofence uses:

  • Unauthorized usage: A geofence can mark the area where your fleet is expected to be. If a vehicle or asset leaves the area you’ve set as a geofence, that could indicate it’s been stolen.
  • Compliance: With the help of geofences, you can monitor and enforce compliance with regulations related to restricted areas, such as when vehicles are transporting hazardous materials.
  • Client arrival and delivery information: You can trigger an alert when a vehicle gets close to its destination so that, for example, a receiving warehouse can be ready for arrival. This feature gives on-site staffers time to prepare and can reduce the time needed for loading and unloading goods. With Samsara’s platform, you can add regular destinations to your address book so your contacts receive a geofencing alert when your vehicle is near their premises.

You can be extremely precise with geofencing, programming up to 40 vertices per area. They can be particularly useful in situations like yard moves (very short, low-speed journeys in confined areas such as warehouse facilities and freight yards), which sometimes must be flagged on ELD logs. 

Large Marketplace and API Integrations

Samsara has one of the largest third-party marketplaces of all the GPS systems we reviewed, with 200 available integrations. As our Azuga review notes, that vendor also has an impressive application programming interface (API), but Samsara’s marketplace is a bit more extensive.

Standout examples include apps from Ford and General Motors that allow companies to access manufacturer-grade data for more efficient fleet management. We like that you can choose from apps that help you improve compliance, routing and dispatch, and fleet safety. However, be aware that some have separate costs.

Some available apps can help you reward good driving behavior and score lower insurance premiums. As you choose business insurance for your company, specifically commercial auto insurance, see if the insurer’s app integrates with the Samsara system. This synergy can benefit small businesses that are looking to cut costs and simplify operations.=

We liked that with Samsara’s API, you can integrate all fleet data into other business apps and software programs for an interconnected technology suite that streamlines operations. Prebuilt webhooks can help you integrate system notifications into other technology solutions. 

Samsara full rest API

Samsara offers a full REST API option for integration with other software and apps. Source: Samsara

Samsara Pricing

Below, we’ve outlined how much Samsara charges companies with fleets of 10 or fewer vehicles for the necessary hardware and three years of annual licenses. (You must obtain a custom quote for fleets with 11 or more vehicles.)

  • Vehicle IOT Gateway: $1,584
  • Dual-facing AI dashcam: $2,160
  • Front-facing AI dashcam: $1,584
  • Unpowered Asset Gateway: $432
  • Powered Asset Gateway: $558
  • Powered Asset Gateway Plus: $756

These prices include the hardware, cloud software, cables, ongoing firmware updates and cellular data connectivity for cellular gateways. On a monthly basis, this is more expensive than other providers. Check out our review of ClearPathGPS and our GPS Trackit review; both companies have different pricing models and charge a lot less than Samsara.

If your fleet has 10 or fewer vehicles, you must pay for the equipment and three-year annual fees in full upfront. If you have 11 or more vehicles, you can pay monthly, but you must speak to a Samsara representative to get a price quote. To get the best deal, it may be worth getting quotes from two or three other providers and asking Samsara to do better.

Samsara offers a 30-day money-back return period for new customers, which we appreciate considering the minimum contract term is 36 months.

Implementation and Onboarding

We love that getting started with Samsara is extremely straightforward. You have access to a customer success team for 30 days after sign-up. After you sign up for the service, you do the following:

  • Create an online account
  • Download the apps
  • Set up administrator accounts and driver and vehicle files
  • Install the GPS tracking unit, dashcam and any other hardware you’ve ordered

Installing the equipment shouldn’t take long, and you can speed up the process by using the Samsara Fleet app. Implementation is as simple as plugging in the device and pairing it with the software.

That said, if your business wants to use the API to develop integrations between Samsara and other software, you may add significant time to your implementation period. The Samsara website includes product tours, webinars and a video library to assist with onboarding.

Samsara plug-and-play connectivity

Samsara facilitates plug-and-play vehicle and asset connectivity. Source: Samsara

Customer Support

Samsara provides 24/7 support, but if you want to speak with a representative over the phone, finding the support number on the company’s website is not easy. Instead, the vendor first pushes you toward its live chat and ticketing functions.

For self-help, Samsara’s online knowledge base is extensive, giving customers in-depth instructions, tips and advice on various topics, including hardware, compliance, workflows and telematics. There’s also an extensive video library with product tours and installation guides. Only Azuga’s and Verizon Connect’s knowledge bases are as large. (Learn more in our comprehensive review of Verizon Connect.)

Notably, Samsara is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives the company an A+ rating. That’s remarkable, because it’s the top rating from the BBB, and many of the company’s rivals aren’t accredited at all. This rating is an excellent indicator of how well Samsara serves small businesses. Plus, online customer reviews score the service highly, with an average rating of around 80 percent.

FYIDid you know
While we appreciate that Samsara offers 24/7 customer service, read our FleetUp review to learn why we named FleetUp the best GPS fleet management provider for businesses that prioritize customer support.

Limitations

Although Samsara has many upsides, we identified the following limitations: 

  • Long-contract requirement: While we appreciate Samsara’s free trial offer — which can, to our understanding, go up to 60 days — the requirement to sign up for a three- to five-year contract is a serious commitment. Also, the requirement for businesses with 10 or fewer vehicles to pay for equipment and airtime in advance may dissuade these companies.
  • Add-on costs: Although Samsara’s app marketplace is comprehensive, many apps — particularly those related to maintenance and tire monitoring — cost extra. These added costs can limit the system’s potential for small businesses on a budget.

Methodology

During our search for the best GPS fleet management services, we examined a range of vendors, taking a close look at features that help improve driver safety, reduce transportation time, allow near-real-time driver and vehicle monitoring and tracking, and increase fuel efficiency. To help you choose the right fleet management system, we evaluated each vendor’s implementation process, pricing, refresh rate, customer service and equipment, and more. We named Samsara the top vendor in this sector for businesses that want to prioritize sustainability because the company emphasizes fuel efficiency improvements and helps guide businesses through the process of transitioning from a gas-powered fleet to a hybrid and electric one.

Samsara FAQs

No. Samsara's dashcams record when a vehicle is traveling 5 mph or more. They record for a further 10 minutes when a trip has ended. The dashcams also send a still image to the Samsara cloud every two minutes, and you can access these photos via your dashboard. There are also livestreaming capabilities.
Samsara's AI-powered dashcams are designed to detect policy violations (e.g., not wearing a seat belt), tailgating, distracted driving and sudden events (e.g., turning, acceleration, braking and crashes).
Samsara's GPS tracking feature tracks drivers and their vehicles in real time using the company's Vehicle Gateway service. Fleet managers can monitor vehicles' current locations and send links to customers, showing them this information and providing an ETA. This tool also tracks fuel usage, sets geofences to prevent unauthorized activity, creates more efficient routes, and helps reduce your fleet's idle time by sending alerts when engines are idling.
Although Samsara's GPS fleet tracking software is suitable for all small and midsize businesses, it specializes in working with the transportation and logistics, construction, food and beverage, passenger transit and utility industries. The company also focuses on field services firms, government agencies, K-12 schools and higher education establishments. It provides an enterprise solution for larger organizations.

Bottom Line

We recommend Samsara for …

  • Companies that want to transition to electric vehicles.
  • Businesses that want to track equipment and assets on the same platform as their vehicles.
  • Organizations that want to send customers live vehicle location maps and ETAs.

We don’t recommend Samsara for …

  • Businesses that don’t want to pay extra for features that other fleet tracking services offer as part of their subscription fee.
  • Companies on a budget that don’t want to commit to three years of service and pay extra app fees.
Mark Fairlie
Mark Fairlie, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Mark Fairlie brings decades of expertise in telecommunications and telemarketing to the forefront as the former business owner of a direct marketing company. Also well-versed in a variety of other B2B topics, such as taxation, investments and cybersecurity, he now advises fellow entrepreneurs on the best business practices. With a background in advertising and sales, Fairlie made his mark as the former co-owner of Meridian Delta, which saw a successful transition of ownership in 2015. Through this journey, Fairlie gained invaluable hands-on experience in everything from founding a business to expanding and selling it. Since then, Fairlie has embarked on new ventures, launching a second marketing company and establishing a thriving sole proprietorship.
Editor's Rating9/10
BDC Logo

Get Weekly 5-Minute Business Advice

B. newsletter is your digest of bite-sized news, thought & brand leadership, and entertainment. All in one email.

Back to top