Samsara Vehicle Tracking Review 2020

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By Julia Watts | Content Manager

Drive excellence and efficiency for your business with one of the finest fleet management solutions on the market


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Pros

  • Excellent route optimisation functionality makes Samsara the best option for tranportation industries
  • Offers features tailored to improving driver safety
  • Live tracking at its quickest, with data refreshing every 30 to 60 seconds
  • Scored 7.5/10 in our cost analysis – you get a lot of bang for your buck…

Cons

  • …but it's definitely not the cheapest system we've seen
  • Promotes self-installation, which could prove difficult for those without technical knowledge
  • Longer contract lengths could turn off newer businesses
At a glance: Samsara is one of the very best vehicle tracking systems available. While we'd recommend it to fleets across all sectors, its incredible route optimisation and safety features make it a particularly good fit for the transportation industry.

Founded just four years ago, Samsara’s ambition is palpable. With a growing team of 700 employees and more than 5,000 customers, Samsara has emerged as a major player in the world of fleet management.

But is it right for your business? To help you find out, we conducted extensive research into the vehicle tracking space and its top companies – Samsara included. And it's fair to say that this sleek, intuitive system fared incredibly well under our unflinching analysis.

To find out what we found out, just read on – or, if you'd like to compare free, no-obligation quotes from top vehicle tracking companies right away, simply answer a few questions about your fleet, and you'll hear from the providers that best suit your unique needs.

Quick facts

  • Founded in 2015 by Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket
  • Headquartered in San Francisco
  • Opened a London office in 2018
  • Has raised nearly £200 million in funding so far

samsara vehicle tracking interface
Samsara’s innovative software puts the ‘King’ in vehicle tracking

What are Samsara's best features?

Samsara, in its own words, is a “complete fleet management software solution.” With a range of intelligent tracking devices, safety cameras, and industry-leading reporting features, Samsara gives you ultimate control over your fleet.

But here are some of the very best things about it:

Super fast data refresh

Samsara is about as close to real-time tracking as you can get, with data typically refreshing every 30 to 60 seconds. What does this mean in practice? Essentially, you can see fresh information about your vehicles' locations and statuses every half a minute. With data refresh that frequent, you don't need to worry that what you're looking at has gone out of date because, well, it won't have had time to.

You might wonder why this gives Samsara so many brownie points. Well, 30 seconds is actually the fastest refresh time we encountered during the entirety of our research. By comparison, most of the UK's top-rated vehicle tracking systems offer refresh times of between one and five minutes, making Samsara a real leader in this respect.

Incredible route optimisation

Why is effective route optimisation so important? Because it helps you to boost productivity and efficiency (in other words, get more jobs done in less time, and by covering a shorter distance), in turn cutting operational costs.

During our research, Samsara absolutely shone when it came to route optimisation. Simply input all of the jobs you need completing, hit ‘Optimise Route‘, and sit back; for Samsara will…

  1. Determine the order in which the jobs should be completed to cover the shortest distance, keeping the start location and last job fixed
  2. Use your drivers' average stop duration (or a default of 30 minutes if there's no recent data) to plan a departure time for each job
  3. Analyse expected travel conditions at each predicted departure time to calculate the estimated travel time between jobs

In other words, Samsara can automatically build an optimised itinerary for you.

Need your jobs to be completed in a certain order? No problem – the ‘Calculate Departure Times‘ button can do all of the above without changing the order of your jobs.

As if that wasn't enough, Samsara's ‘Routes Planned vs. Actual‘ report can also compare the time and distance your drivers actually took to complete their jobs against the time and distance pre-calculated for them, so you can identify opportunities for improvement, or even driver training or coaching.

Safety features for drivers and vehicles

Want to keep your vehicles in top condition? Samsara's maintenance reports give an overview of your fleet's mechanical health, keeping you informed of when vehicles need inspections, services, and even insurance renewals.

Samsara also helps keeps your drivers on the right track, recording incidents of speeding and harsh events (harsh acceleration, harsh braking, harsh turning, and, of course, crashes) and giving each driver a daily safety score based on this data. As a result, you'll know when someone needs a bit of coaching in good driving practices.

If you choose, these scores can even be ranked on a leaderboard so your drivers can see who's the best and who's the… well, rest. Nothing like a bit of competition to inspire better performance!

What's more, Samsara’s dash cams are among the cleverest on the market. These nifty little devices capture what’s going on inside and in front of your vehicle.

So how do they work? Well, sensors identify unsafe driving, and automatically upload footage of any incidents recorded to your dashboard. Meanwhile, the dodgy driver is told instantly by an in-cab voice alert.

Uniquely, Samsara's driver messaging system also comes with safety in mind. It's the only system on the market that won't let drivers open their messages while driving – they must be safely pulled over first.

Detailed fuel reports

Perhaps second only to Movolytics‘ patented fuel technology, Samsara's fuel monitoring functionality is excellent. Run by the hour, day, week, month, or any custom time period that your heart desires, it gives a range of information designed to help you maximise fuel efficiency and cut fuel costs.

For each vehicle, Samsara can show you the vehicle name, its current driver, plus…

  • Its current fuel level
  • The amount of fuel it has used in a specific timeframe
  • Its fuel efficiency (how many miles the vehicle can travel per gallon of fuel)
  • The estimated cost (how much this vehicle's fuel is likely to be costing your business, based on the national average price of fuel. Importantly, this figure is updated frequently).
  • Its engine run time (the amount of time for which the vehicle is running or the PTO is operating)
  • Its idle time (the amount of time for which the engine is on but the vehicle is not moving)

With fuel economy a huge concern in terms of both saving cash and saving the planet, this comprehensive reporting could give the insight you need to cut back on the amount of fuel your fleet guzzles.

Not sure if Samsara vehicle tracking is right for you?

Try its free Return on Investment (ROI) calculator to see how your business could profit.

Or, get quotes from Samsara and other top vehicle tracking suppliers by filling in our free webform.


How much does Samsara cost?

With Samsara, you'll pay a single, upfront fee for each of your vehicle tracking devices (that is, the hardware), and an ongoing monthly fee to license the software. These are Samsara's price ranges:

Hardware£99 to £359 per device
Software license£10.83 to £23.75 per vehicle, per month

We know; those are some wide ranges! By industry standards alone, £10.83 is very cheap, while £23.75 is just creeping towards expensive – but considering how wonderfully sophisticated and comprehensive Samsara is, we're actually surprised that it doesn't cost more than it does. You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck here.

In terms of the hardware, the range Samsara gives is pretty standard. And, while paying an additonal fee for hardware might not feel great (some suppliers, including Quartix, RAM Tracking, and Movolytics, don't charge upfront for theirs), it does give you ownership of what, over time, can become a valuable asset.

Sadly, we can't say exactly what Samsara would charge you, as that'll depend on the size of your business, the contract length you settle on, and the exact products and level of service you choose.

What we can do, though, is go one better – and help you to compare tailored quotes direct from multiple suppliers, for free!

Just answer a few quick questions about your fleet and the kind of vehicle tracking system you’re looking for, we'll match you with the suppliers that can best cater to your needs. They'll then be in touch with bespoke, no-obligation quotes and info. That's right – we do the hard work, so you get the best deal.


Is Samsara right for my business?

Samsara can do a lot, that's for sure – but is it the answer to your vehicle tracking needs? Check the statements that apply to you to find out…

“My fleet operates in the transportation industry”

Whether your vehicles transport goods or people, Samsara is a fantastic option for you. With market-leading route optimisation features designed to help boost productivity and efficiency – plus sophisticated reporting that can help you keep your vehicles in tip top condition and ensure your employees are driving safely and economically – Samsara can help you cut costs and supercharge your transportation operations.

“I want a comprehensive system with a variety of functions”

Good news, you're in the right place! Samsara is comprehensive and sophisticated (but also intuitive and easy to use – not a common combination!). Besides what we've already covered, you can use Samsara to:

  • Set up a variety of real-time alerts; including for geofences, idling, harsh events, devices being unplugged, and more
  • View information on vehicle condition; including fuel level, battery voltage, odometer reading, engine light status, and DTC fault codes
  • Message your drivers directly
  • Keep on top of the whereabouts of your business' inventory and tools with Samsara's asset tracking software
  • View DVIRs (driver vehicle inspection reports) completed by your drivers via the Samsara app
  • Integrate with fuel cards from WEX, Fuelman, Comdata, and ProMiles

And more!

“My business is brand new, and I'm looking for my first vehicle tracking system”

Though it's a truly impressive system, Samsara might not be the right vehicle tracking option if you're just starting out. For a start, its average contract length is three to five years – whereas we advise newer, smaller businesses to seek out shorter contracts (say, 12 months long) as they give you the flexibility to upgrade your package or change suppliers sooner if needed. That said, Samsara does offer a 30-day free trial, so you can try it out before signing the dotted line.

Secondly, a small business might find Samsara a tad expensive. Don't get us wrong; Samsara's prices are fantastic if you plan to make use of its comprehensive range of advanced reporting and functionality. But smaller businesses may find that they don't actually need everything the system can offer right away. You don't want to end up paying for features you don't use.

Of course, Samsara's starting price of £10.83 per vehicle, per month is cheap by anyone's standards – but we can't guarantee that that's the price you'll be offered. You'll need to pay for hardware separately, too.

Finally, it's worth being aware that, in order to set up alerts, you'll need to manually configure them. Which is fine – if someone on your team has that technical know-how.

That said, Samsara is very easy to use, despite how advanced it is – and the company provides a brilliant online knowledge centre to help you get to grips with the system quickly.


What do Samsara's customer reviews say?

You can’t make the right purchasing decision without knowing what other UK businesses are saying about a product. Customer reviews are a great way of getting an idea of what a company is really like. So how does Samsara square up?

Well for starters, it boasts a ‘Great’ Trustpilot rating of 8.5/10. 76% of reviewers gave it an ‘Excellent’ rating of five stars, with another 10% recommending it with four stars. 3% were neutral, while the remaining 11% weren’t too happy, opting for two stars or below.

So what are the reviews saying? Well, there’s the good:

“The entire team at Samsara has been helpful, responsive, and honestly proactive in providing a solid platform. The consistent release methodology and useful features provide endless opportunities for growth.

“Thank you for all you do!”

  • Michael A, Samsara customer

Then, of course, there’s the not so good:

“The durability in the hardware could use a little upgrade. They are great at swapping out defective units (or ones that go bad after a time), but it feels like we are doing this far too often in some of our trucks.

“Now we run a LOT of units and have over 60 units in various construction grade environments, but it still feels like we are replacing units too often.”

  • Jim M, Samsara customer

Other reviews mentioned that the mobile app could at times be a bit glitchy, and that regular updates tended to slow things down. But by and large, Samsara are widely praised, with customer service and dashboard ease of use getting the biggest plaudits.

By now, there’s probably just one thing left on your mind. How much does Samsara actually cost? Let’s dive deeper.


Expert verdict

In the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, ‘Samsara’ refers to a constant cycle of motion and change – the ever-turning wheel of life.

And we reckon that sums up the company pretty well. It’s constantly innovating its approach, to help ensure your business is getting the most advanced vehicle tracking tech money can buy. And it’s helping to empower you to keep the wheels of your vehicles – and your business – turning.

Compare GPS vehicle tracking quotes for your fleet Get quotes

What other vehicle tracking systems could I consider?

Still not sure whether Samsara is right for you? Try comparing it to other top suppliers by checking out our reviews:

Verizon ConnectRead review
QuartixRead review
MovolyticsRead review
RAM TrackingRead review
Teletrac NavmanRead review

How we analyse and rate vehicle tracking providers

At Expert Market, it's our aim to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and transparent product and service reviews possible. So, to help you better understand the best vehicle tracking options out there, we've conducted in-depth, extensive research into the vehicle tracking market and its top companies. Here's how we did it:

Independent researchersWe worked with 2 independent researchers

survey…who surveyed 200 companies like yours, gaining insight into what they want most from vehicle tracking…

Ratings…and rated each provider based on 500 different areas of investigation – covering everything including customer support, key features, prices, add-ons, and more.

 

We take the integrity of our research seriously. If you've got any questions at all about our research process, feel free to get in touch with Julia, our vehicle tracking specialist, at julia.watts@expertmarket.co.uk.

Julia Watts Content Manager

Specializing in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.

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