Samsara ELD Review: Unbiased Expert Analysis for 2023

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Written By Randall Henson
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In the world of electronic logging devices (ELDs), Samsara has emerged as a leading provider, offering advanced solutions for fleet management and compliance. This article dives into a comprehensive review of Samsara’s ELD, discussing its features, benefits, and shortcomings, in order to provide valuable insights for potential users and fleet managers.

Samsara’s ELD is designed to cater to the needs of fleets from various industries, including transportation, delivery, and construction. With its focus on cloud-based technology, Samsara allows for seamless integration of ELD data with other aspects of fleet management such as vehicle diagnostics, driver safety, and asset tracking. By equipping businesses with the necessary tools to improve efficiency, safety, and compliance, Samsara ELD has firmly established itself as a competitive force within the ELD market.

In this review, we will examine Samsara ELD’s ease of installation, user interface, pricing model, and customer support. By weighing its pros and cons, our goal is to equip you with the information needed to decide whether Samsara’s ELD solution is the right fit for your fleet.

Samsara ELD Overview

ELD Compliance

Samsara ELD is a compliant electronic logging device designed to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. It simplifies compliance with:

  • Hours of Service (HOS) tracking
  • Record of Duty Status (RODS) updates
  • Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs)

The Samsara ELD interface is user-friendly, making it easier for drivers and fleet managers to record and track necessary data.

Fleet Management

Samsara’s platform offers comprehensive fleet management solutions for trucks and fleets of various sizes. The platform provides real-time GPS fleet tracking, helping with:

  • Vehicle utilization
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Preventive maintenance

Fleet managers can access the platform through a web-based dashboard, which enables easy monitoring and controlling of their fleet operations.

Samsara Driver App

The Samsara Driver App is a crucial component of the Samsara ELD system. It’s designed for drivers to help them with compliance, communication, and navigation. Key features include:

  • Automated HOS tracking
  • Real-time messaging
  • Document management

The app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices, making it easily accessible for drivers with their smartphones and tablets.

Features and Benefits

Real-Time Tracking

This Samsara ELD system offers real-time tracking through GPS and GPRS tracking technologies, which enable fleet managers to keep track of their vehicles with high precision. This allows for improved efficiency in route planning and decision-making based on accurate vehicle location data.

Vehicle Diagnostics

The device provides advanced vehicle diagnostics by gathering and analyzing data from the vehicle’s Engine Control Module (ECM). This includes information on fuel consumption, speed, and vehicle health. Fleet operators can receive alerts for any issues that arise, such as excessive idling or low battery voltage. This feature helps implement proactive maintenance and prevent costly breakdowns.


Geofencing adds an extra layer of security and control for fleet management. With this feature, you can create custom virtual perimeters on a map (geofences) and monitor when vehicles enter or exit these boundaries.

You can set up geofences for specific locations, such as warehouses or job sites, and receive real-time alerts when a vehicle crosses into the defined area. This helps improve driver accountability and ensure that assets are being utilized according to company standards.

Driver Coaching

Samsara ELD offers tools for driver coaching that focus on safety and efficiency:

  • Speed monitoring: The system monitors driver speed against posted speed limits, sending real-time alerts when a driver exceeds the limit.
  • Driver scorecards: Fleet managers can track individual driver performance, analyzing data such as harsh braking, acceleration, and cornering events.
  • In-cab coaching: The Samsara ELD system can deliver in-cab feedback to drivers, notifying them of critical events and promoting safer driving habits.

This driver coaching feature helps reduce accident risk and improve overall fleet safety while optimizing fuel consumption and increasing operational efficiency.

The Samsara ELD system also integrates well with various IoT and telematics devices, making it an excellent choice for large fleets looking to streamline their operations and leverage data to make informed business decisions.

Hardware and Software

Compatible Devices

Samsara ELD is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) system, compatible with multiple devices:

  • Android smartphones and tablets
  • iPhones and iPads (iOS)

The service integrates with various vehicle models via an OBD-II port, J1939, or J1708 connector.


Installing the Samsara ELD hardware is straightforward:

  1. Locate the vehicle’s diagnostic port
  2. Connect the Samsara ELD device to the port
  3. Secure the device using the provided cable

After installing the hardware, users need to download and install the Samsara Driver app on their compatible device.

Mobile App

Key features of the Samsara Driver mobile app include:

  • HOS tracking and automatic log updates
  • DVIRs submission
  • Document scanning
  • Two-way messaging

The app provides real-time data to fleets, helping manage operations efficiently.

Wireless Sensors

Samsara ELD offers wireless sensor integration:

  • Temperature sensors: Ensure temperature-sensitive cargo is maintained
  • Door sensors: Improve security by monitoring trailer door statuses
  • Cargo sensors: Track load/unload events for better supply chain management

These sensors utilize a Wi-Fi hotspot, sending data to the cloud, making it accessible through the Samsara dashboard.

Pricing and Costs

Monthly Fees

Samsara ELD offers different pricing plans to cater to various fleet sizes and specific needs. They provide both monthly and yearly subscriptions, with the following options:

  • Basic Plan: Suitable for smaller fleets, this plan includes core ELD functionalities and compliance features.
  • Pro Plan: Designed for larger fleets and those requiring advanced functionalities, the Pro Plan offers additional features like route optimization, fleet analytics, and maintenance scheduling.

It’s essential to contact Samsara directly for the most up-to-date and tailored pricing information for your needs.


When comparing the pricing of Samsara ELD against similar solutions, it can be seen as a mid-range option. While not the cheapest product on the market, its range of features and user-friendly interface adds value to the overall cost. Affordability will depend on the required plan and individual fleet needs.

Return on Investment

Investing in Samsara ELD can have a positive impact on a fleet’s overall operations, including:

  • Improved driver safety: Samsara’s driver coaching tools can help decrease accident rates and reduce associated costs.
  • Enhanced fuel efficiency: The platform’s analytics features provide insights that can help optimize fuel usage and minimize costs.
  • Streamlined fleet maintenance: By scheduling routine maintenance, fleets can avoid unexpected breakdowns and expensive repairs.

The return on investment for Samsara ELD will vary depending on the specific fleet and subscription chosen, but the platform’s features can significantly contribute to cost savings and overall efficiency.

Compliance and Regulations

ELD Mandate

Samsara’s ELD solution helps fleets meet the requirements of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The ELD solution connects with the vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time and ensure accurate Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. Some relevant features of Samsara’s ELD system include:

  • Automatic logging of driving time
  • Alerts for potential HOS violations
  • Seamless transmission of ELD data during roadside inspections
  • Secure data storage

Hours of Service

Being compliant with HOS regulations is crucial for trucking companies to avoid fines and penalties. Samsara ELD automatically tracks drivers’ time and status, making it easier for them to follow HOS rules. The system also provides:

  • Real-time monitoring of driving hours and rest breaks
  • Customizable alerts for approaching HOS limits
  • Editable logs with required annotations
  • Easy access to logs through the Samsara Driver App


Samsara ELD offers a comprehensive approach to managing the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reporting requirements for fleets. The platform simplifies the collection of data needed for IFTA reporting. Some of the IFTA-related features include:

  • Automatic capturing of GPS location and odometer readings
  • Tracking of fuel receipts and purchases
  • Detailed mileage reports by state
  • Assistance in calculating IFTA taxes


The Samsara ELD solution includes a digital vehicle inspection report (DVIR) functionality to streamline vehicle maintenance and safety checks. DVIRs can be completed and submitted through the Samsara Driver App, ensuring vehicles’ safety and functionality. Key elements of Samsara’s DVIR solution are:

  • Customizable pre-trip and post-trip inspection checklists
  • Prompt submission of DVIRs to supervisors
  • Real-time notifications for defects
  • Integration with maintenance workflows to maximize uptime

Additional Services

Reefer Monitoring

Samsara provides Reefer Monitoring services to ensure temperature-sensitive cargo maintains the required conditions. This service integrates with the Samsara Driver App and allows dispatch and maintenance teams to monitor real-time temperature data, receive alerts in case of deviations, and maintain compliance with regulations.

  • Real-time temperature data
  • Geofencing for temperature-controlled zones
  • Compliance with FDA regulations

Asset Tracking

With Samsara’s Asset Tracking feature, fleets can keep tabs on their trailers and other assets through real-time geolocation, improving utilization and reducing theft risks. The Trailer Tracker hardware is easy to install and works with the Samsara Driver App and Fleet Management Systems.

  • Real-time geolocation through trailer tracking
  • Improved asset utilization
  • Theft prevention and recovery

Panic Button

Samsara offers a Panic Button that can be installed in vehicles to improve driver safety. Pressing the button sends an instant alert to dispatch teams, allowing them to respond quickly to emergencies or potential threats.

  • Enhances driver safety
  • Quick response from dispatch teams
  • Instill confidence in drivers

Two-Way Messaging

The Samsara Driver App enables Two-Way Messaging for streamlined communication between drivers and dispatch personnel. This feature reduces the need for phone calls, making communication more efficient and less distracting to drivers.

  • Efficient communication with dispatch teams
  • Minimizes driving distractions
  • Integration with Samsara Fleet Management Systems

ELD Provider

Samsara is an ELD provider, offering a compliant Electronic Logging Device solution that connects to the Driver App and Fleet Management Systems. This service makes it easy to manage Hours of Service, track vehicle inspections, and manage driver performance data.

  • Compliant with ELD regulations
  • Ease of use with the Samsara Driver App
  • Centralized data in Fleet Management Systems

Samsara Dash Cams and Customer Support further enhance the overall fleet management experience, providing comprehensive solutions for various fleet needs.

Comparisons and Competitors


Omnitracs is a well-established competitor in the ELD market. Their products offer features such as fuel monitoring, reefer monitoring, and alerts. Comparatively, Samsara ELD’s modern and intuitive design allows for easier use and improved access to necessary information.

While both companies provide essential services, there are some differences to consider:

FeatureSamsara ELDOmnitracs
Fuel Monitoring
Reefer Monitoring
Garmin IntegrationX


Garmin is another competitor in the ELD market known for their robust GPS navigation systems. Samsara ELD has a distinctive advantage in combining their telematics with a modern and intuitive design.

Here are a few points of comparison between Samsara ELD and Garmin:

  • While Garmin does not offer direct reefer monitoring solutions, their strong integration capabilities with other systems cater to the need for temperature management solutions.
  • Garmin is compatible with other ELD providers, allowing for flexibility in fleet management.

Case Studies and Success Stories

One case study involving a small fleet of 10 trucks showcases the benefits of using Samsara ELD. The fleet owner decided to give Samsara ELD a try in order to stay compliant with HOS regulations. Over the course of their trial, they noticed that the installation was quick and the device was user-friendly. The drivers could now focus on the road rather than worrying about paper logs, and the fleet owner found that the real-time tracking feature improved overall operations. As a result, their trucking business experienced increased efficiency while still adhering to regulations.

Another success story involves a company with a larger fleet size, operating in the environmentally-conscious sustainability sector. This company adopted Samsara ELD as part of their commitment to maintaining sustainable practices. With the device’s real-time tracking capability, they were able to optimize routing and reduce fuel consumption. This not only lowered their carbon footprint but also led to financial savings that they could reinvest into the growth of their business.

In a different industry, a construction company with a mid-sized fleet also found value in using Samsara ELD. They were especially interested in the real-time tracking and geofencing features offered by the system in order to maintain a close watch on their expensive equipment. In addition to improving security, their operations became more organized and streamlined, paving the way for future growth.

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