We reviewed the top vendors of GPS fleet tracking products in North America, then chose the best in four different categories. Read our analysis to decide which one is best for you.
Best Safety Features: Geotab
- Geotab is our pick as the GPS vendor with the best safety features.
- Geotab’s GPS fleet tracking solutions enable you to manage driver log reports and vehicle inspections all in one platform.
- This article is for fleet managers who want to better understand Geotab’s fleet tracking offering.
GeoTab lets you track driver Hours of Service so that you can ensure that you are compliant with HOS regulations, reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. It will also manage diagnostic trouble codes and engine faults, get you automatic odometer readings (synced every day at midnight), and report on fuel theft. As the incumbent leader, Geotab is well regarded in the industry for its engineering capabilities. Geotab can be integrated with Garmin, supporting 16 hour days, truck routing, driver e-logs, road speed change alerts, advanced sharp turn alerts, stop light camera warnings, recorded duty status changes, drive and duty time audits, messaging, and adverse weather condition support. Geotab is typically on the pricey side of the market. The product is sold exclusively through distributors, and not directly to customers. This means you can’t just go to their site and buy the product.
Best Integrations: Samsara
- Samsara is our pick as the GPS vendor with the best 3rd Party integrations.
- Samsara’s GPS fleet tracking solutions can be customized with add-ons for dash cameras and other extensions.
- This article is for fleet managers who want to better understand Samsara’s fleet tracking offering.
After conducting extensive research, we found Samsara has the best integrations for large fleets. Their marketplace third-party integration capabilities allow users to seamlessly integrate Samsara with their other business partners. Samsara also offers ELD, IFTA, and DVIR integrations. Integration partners include UpKeep for DVIR, Fleetio for dash cameras, WinSped TMS, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and some vehicle OEMs. Large business fleet customers who need these integrations typically have existing routing/dispatch and other business operations already running on these legacy software applications. However, fleets which do not currently run dispatch software are better served by avoiding lock-in, and starting fresh with a GPS vendor which offers an open API.
Best ELD for Trucking: KeepTruckin
- KeepTruckin is our pick as the GPS vendor with the best ELD for Long Haul Trucking.
- KeepTruckin’s ELD app is highly rated on app stores.
- Commercial drivers cite the ease of use and intuitive feel of the apps.
- This article is for fleet managers who want to better understand KeepTruckin’s fleet tracking offering.
After conducting extensive research, we found KeepTruckin has the best ELD for long haul transportation. Their mobile apps are highly rated, and their new forays into freight tracking, load management and a load board and marketplace put KeepTruckin directly into the sights of JB Hunt, Uber Freight and other leading load marketplaces. KeepTruckin’s new Smart Load Board is available free to all ELD customers. With their emphasis on mobile apps and ease of use, KeepTruckin is well poised to serve owner/operated long haul carriers, who are the largest segment of the trucking business.
Best GPS for Small Business: Momentum IoT
- Momentum IoT is our pick as the vendor with the best GPS for Small Business.
- Momentum’s product and mobile apps are highly rated in third-party reviews.
- This article is for fleet managers who want to better understand Momentum IoT’s fleet tracking offering.
We found Momentum IoT has the best GPS for Small Business, particularly field service fleets. Their ease of installation and setup set them apart. Their mobile apps are highly rated. Momentum’s 10-second breadcrumbs, geofence, speed, and idling alerts, trips, monitors and reports meet and exceed the needs of most small businesses, while their policy of no minimum fleet size and no contracts make them easy to work with. Momentum lets you see their full application with a Free Instant Demo, and they provide a free trial device with a valid credit card. Momentum does not offer dash cameras or ELD. They offer no custom integrations, but their well-documented API and webhooks enable open data portability. For small to mid-sized fleets which are not currently using an enterprise workforce management platform, Momentum should be strongly considered.
PROS AND CONS OF TRACKING YOUR FLEET VIA GPS
Fleet managers should understand both the advantages and limitations of using GPS fleet tracking in their businesses. Weigh the pros and cons to determine if these services are right for your business.
GPS tracking and telematics help you stay in control, by knowing where your vehicles and equipment are and where they are going. These tools also help you manage both equipment and employees to increase profitability and gain insight.
For example, GPS telematics can help you get trucks and equipment to and from multiple jobs faster, so you can take on more jobs in a day. Depending on the system you buy, you can track fuel costs, or idle time, or speeds. You can also send and receive alerts when vehicles enter or exit locations.
The cons of GPS fleet tracking include: potentially adverse affect on employee morale and significant upfront costs. Managers implementing GPS tracking for the first time in their businesses need to be aware of the employee perceptions of how these devices will be used.
Managers who proactively explain the uses of these tools usually do better with morale. For example, tell drivers you are managing only by exception, when the data shows repeated trends and not single isolated issues which can be explained away. It’s one thing to know that an employee had to accelerate one time to avoid an accident merging on the freeway, and it’s another to know that the employee has had 15 different high speed events this month, or a dozen 30+ minute idling events this month.
Some managers implement a rewards system to give the best employees perks or prizes based on safer driving, turning GPS trend data into a boost for morale. Show employees that you trust them with your actions, and only go negative based on trends in data, rather than single events.
As for the upfront cost, some of the newer GPS telematics providers are addressing this issue with $0 up-front pricing and contract flexibility.
Key takeaway: The Pros outweigh the Cons with GPS fleet tracking, and smart managers can take steps to decrease the costs.
GPS TELEMATICS PRICES
We looked at available pricing from 36 GPS Telematics vendors serving North America. More than half of the vendors we covered do not publish prices. In those cases, we used pricing available from market sources including reviews, analysts and other competitive sites.
Pricing typically starts at $45-$90 for one hardware device (with volume-based discounts) and $12 to $25 a month for subscriptions (with discounts if you sign a 1-3 year contract). Some plans allow you to rent the hardware for an additional monthly fee.
Additional features and capabilities, such as ELD, dash cameras, and integrations, often cost more or are sold as premiums. Some vendors offer different hardware depending on the use. Some restrict capabilities, or block open data use via API.
Most GPS vendors charge an up-front amount for hardware, and additionally, a monthly airtime cost. Many of these offer yearly, 2-year, or 3-year contracts, which typically reduce the monthly cost in exchange for an up-front commitment and payment. Two vendors we found, Force by Mojio and Momentum IoT, offer monthly pricing, with no hardware cost and no up-front commitment.
Contract flexibility is a key consideration in evaluating vendors. In cases where you buy the hardware, network sunsets are also a crucial buying decision.
Some companies also offer free trials or money-back guarantees.
REVIEWS AND ANALYSIS
There are many sources for Reviews and Independent Analysis of GPS Telematics providers, including: Capterra, Yelp, and Google Reviews. We included these in our analysis. Some of our favorite independent reviews are at: Investopedia, G2’s Fleet Tracking Review, Fleet Management Weekly, IoT Innovator, and Digital.com.
We subjected 36 GPS Telematics providers to our analysis. Each one was evaluated by:
- Overall Features and Capabilities
- Mobile Apps, iOS/Android, Push and Alerts
- Pricing: Up-front, Monthly
- Flexibility: Contracts, Networks
- Reputation: Analysts and Awards
- Reviews: Customers and Complaints
Some of the companies we considered in this analysis:
- Budget GPS
- ClearPath GPS
- Force by Mojio
- GPS and Fleet
- GPS Insight
- InTouch GPS
- Momentum IoT
- Rhino Fleet Tracking
- Synovia Solutions
- Teletrac Navman
- US Fleet Tracking
- Verizon Connect
- Workwave GPS
What are the most important considerations in choosing a GPS provider?
Obviously, they have to offer satellite GPS plus cellular backhaul for real-time tracking, with dots on a map presented in an application. Ideally, that’s a Google map, with both road, traffic, and satellite views. Optionally, some vendors even provide weather at the location of the equipment. You would be surprised at how many vendors claim to offer fleet tracking with either a Bluetooth-only dongle connected to an app on your phone, or just an app, or a self-powered device. Sure, these have their place, but these technologies are not yet able to offer robust, real-time fleet tracking for most common use cases. Don’t be fooled.
What other features are important?
The frequency of GPS breadcrumbs is important. We’ve seen this range between 10 seconds (best in class) to 10 minutes (which is not ideal). We’ve seen some products marketed as fleet tracking solutions which only check in once a day. That’s not acceptable for basic fleet management.
Some GPS vendors are still selling 3G in North America. Since the major carriers have already declared their intention to stop supporting 3G, buying 3G devices can be a problem in multiple ways. First, you own a device which is about to become useless. Second, the vendor may lock you in to a long-term contract, making this doubly bad. You could be on the hook to pay for service on a device that doesn’t work. Of course, the vendor’s goal will be to “upgrade” you into a newer hardware. This will come with a new cost, not to mention the unneeded work of uninstalling and reinstalling hardware. Do yourself a favor and get 4G devices, and strongly consider zero hardware or rental models, which shift the network sunset burden onto the vendor.
Looking at the reviews on the app stores is absolutely critical. See if the vendor is adding new versions, and has done so in at least the last 6 months by looking at the version history. This tells you they are capturing bugs and releasing fixes. As a side benefit, you may also see the app screenshots.
It’s a good sign if a GPS Telematics vendor will let you sign up for a free demo. This is not a sales demo, which is just an excuse to get you on the phone with a salesman. What you want is to view the software, not to get a sales pitch. It’s even better if you can get a free hardware trial.
Industries which benefit from GPS
Most people think of big rigs and long-haul interstate trucking fleets, but both the types of vehicles and the industries which use GPS are rapidly expanding. GPS trackers are in every moving asset, from the e-bikes and scooters on many city streets to backhoes and heavy equipment. Businesses which are increasingly using GPS are: construction, landscaping, plumbing/HVAC, towing, farms and agriculture, government, sanitation and public safety, including sheriff’s offices and EMT, oil mining and gas, food and beverage, ATV and rental fleets, and many more.
Certain industries have seen regulatory requirements drive usage, such as electronic logging devices (ELD) in trucking. While ELD is one example, there are many more. Increasingly, safety considerations and proof or service are driving use. Environmental concern has driven idle time tracking. GPS hardware is now required in vehicles transporting cannabis for commercial purposes in California and Oklahoma, with other states poised to follow.
While “hacking a vehicle” has tapped into fears, it’s not really the big issue. Vendors typically are only reading diagnostic data, and their devices are not capable of doing things like disabling a vehicle through that diagnostic port. We suggest that your vendor should encrypt all data between servers and devices. Additionally, privacy and personal use of driving data and locations are also important considerations. Your vendor should enable users with different levels of permission, which you can manage so that employees only see the data and vehicles that are within their proper purview.
Smaller and lower cost equipment is increasingly on the horizon. Pricing and battery life have been the primary drivers of what is a suitable asset for tracking. But as costs decline and batteries improve, more and more assets become trackable. We’ve already seen scooters become a billion dollar global business. Who knows? Maybe hammers and tools are next.