Security. It’s on everyone’s mind these days. With the news filled with stories about home invasions, terrorist attacks, and other forms of violence, everyone with a yard, whether they rent or own, must focus on creating a defensible space for themselves.
One of the easiest ways to add a layer of defense to your property is to install an outdoor motion sensor light. If you rent, you may need permission from your owner or landlord to do so, but the investment is always worth it. When properly place, you can flood your property with light that is bright enough to detect a possible intrusion.
What Are the Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights?
Any outdoor motion sensor light is better than nothing. With that said, there are some models that are more effective, more sensitive, and provide a higher lumens rating than others. These are the top-rated models that you’ll want to consider installing today.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Brightness (Lumens)||Price|
|LeonLite 20W Dual-Head Motion Activated LED Light|| 4.3 ||1600|| $$$
|URPOWER Solar LED Wireless Motion Sensor Lights|| 4.5 ||800|| $$$
|Heath Zenith Heavy Duty Motion Sensor Light|| 4.0 ||1600|| $$
|Hyperikon LED Security Light|| 4.4 ||1800|| $$$
|Mr Beams Weatherproof Wireless LED Spotlight|| 4.3 ||300|| $$
|Sansi LED Security Motion Sensor Outdoor Light|| 4.8 ||3400|| $$$$
|Fulcrum LIGHT IT Motion Sensor Light|| 4.1 ||500|| $
|SC Lighting UL-Listed Outdoor LED Light|| 4.1 ||3090|| $$$
|Home Zone Motion Activated LED Security Light|| 4.3 ||2500|| $$$
|Heath Zenith Four-Sided Motion Activated Coach Light|| 4.4 ||1100|| $$
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Brightness (Lumens)||Price|
The Difference Between Security and Safety
When discussing the pros and cons of installing a motion sensor light, the terms “safety” and “security” are often used interchangeably. Choosing the best light for your specific needs requires that each term be used with specificity.
If you want a motion sensor light to improve the security of your home, then you are going to need a light that can illuminate all vulnerable areas of your property. This may include behind bushes, around landscaped items, and areas of open space that may be easy for an intruder to access. The parallel motion of the intruder will set the motion detector off, creating a floodlight effect that will hopefully drive that person away.
Motion sensor lights that are designed for safety will also illuminate dark areas of your property, but do so to illuminate hazards that may be present. The last thing you want to do is trip over something you can’t see in the dark and hurt yourself. A late-night hospital trip is never fun… or cheap.
Safety lights tend to be priced less than security lights, so it can be tempting to pay less and feel like you’re receiving an adequate result. You’re not. Security lights can provide safety, but safety lights are not a substitute for proper property security.
What Are the Different Types of Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights?
There are two basic types of outdoor motion sensor lights that are sold right now.
- Active-motion sensor lights.
- Passive-motion sensor lights.
Active-motion sensors act a lot like sonar. They send out signals that detect movement within a defined area. Usually provided in the form of an ultra-high frequency sound wave, microwave, or an infrared light wave, the light will trigger when disruptions within the energy field are detected.
The signal changes from a wave bouncing off a person or animal in a yard will create a change in the timing that the device receives. That trips a notice in the light that tells it to turn on.
The benefit of using active-motion sensors is that they are highly sensitive. They do an excellent job of detecting forward motion compared to passive-motion sensors to repel a straight-on attack. The disadvantage is that any disruption of the energy field will trigger the light, so something as simple as a leaf blowing in the wind might make the security light trigger.
Passive-motion sensors don’t send out any signals to create an energy field. It receives signals, so what it is attempting to do is locate changes to heat patterns that are in its designated detection area. If an object does not expel heat, then it will not trigger the light to turn on.
The benefit of using a passive-motion sensor is that you can often program them to ignore small body heat signals so the light only turns on when it detects a human target. In windy areas, the light doesn’t trigger with tree movement either. The disadvantage is that a person who disguises their heat signature can thwart this home-defense option.
Some outdoor motion sensor lights promote the fact that they are equipped with active and passive detection technologies. This is a disadvantage. It reduces the number of false alarms because both sensors must be triggered for the light to activate. It also enhances the security vulnerabilities of this technology.
What to Consider When Purchasing the Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
There are four facets of consideration that must be evaluated when reading through the best outdoor motion sensor light reviews.
- Detection Area.
The brightness of the motion sensor light will determine how much light will illuminate your property. Lumens are the best measurement for this feature, but many of the lights in this category measure brightness through wattage. If you want a security light, a minimum of 300 watts is required. Safety lights are beneficial at 150 watts. Anything less than 150 watts will provide limited coverage, which may be helpful to those who do not have a high visibility requirement.
The range of the motion sensor is a description of the size of the zone it can create. A bigger range is typically a higher price, but will give you a larger area of protection with this technology. Motion sensors that have a large range tend to be prone to false alarms as well, but for some, it is better to be safe than sorry. An adjustable range feature is nice to have because it will let you create an “away” setting and a “home” setting for better property protection.
The detection zone is a measurement of the degrees of protection the motion sensor light can provide. The best in this category will have 270 degrees of protection. For many homes, a 180-degree zone of protection is adequate to detect a potential intruder.
Some companies are producing 360-degree motion sensors, but this type of light usually requires a ceiling or canopy installation. It is more of a specialty product that most homeowners will not need.
The installation of the motion sensor light must also be considered. Although most lights can be installed in a few minutes with a handful of common tools, such as a screwdriver and a drill, there are some specialty considerations that may be required. It is helpful to have silicone caulk to increase the weather resistance of the light. Some lights may require special tools that would require a separate purchase.
What Are the Benefits of Dimming Technologies on Motion Sensor Lights?
Some motion sensor lights work with bulbs that can produce variable outputs. This gives you the option of being able to dim the lights to a specific brightness from its primary setting. You receive a specific light setting for when you enter into the field of detection of your newly installed light.
For many outdoor motion sensor lights, this feature tends to be more of an annoyance than a benefit. You need to manually set the brightness level and have no option for multiple settings. You might like a dimmer setting for when you’re using your backyard, for example, but need to have the bright setting engaged as a security option.
If the motion sensor light has a remote that allows you to adjust this setting, then it can be useful if you use your backyard or another area of your property in the evening hours. Set the brightness level for your comfort, and then reset it to a security level when it comes time to go to bed.
What About Wireless Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights?
Many outdoor motion sensor lights are all-in-one units that have the sensor attached to the light housing. This makes for an easier installation, but limits the effectiveness of this technology as a security option.
That’s why a security light that allows you to wirelessly add more sensors to the main hub can be a wise investment. You just setup the sensors around your property and they’ll talk to each other using your Wi-Fi or a directly wired connection. If an intruder triggers the sensor at any point on your property, then the motion sensor light comes on. That can deter a threat immediately.
What Are the Prices of the Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights?
Outdoor motion sensor lights are a highly affordable addition to add to any home. If you need to cover a limited and specific area, there are several entry-level models that are priced at less than $50 right now.
If you need a security light that can provide an entire yard with bright illumination, expect to pay between $150-$250 for that option.
Commercial-quality outdoor motion sensor lights can be priced above $1,000, but these lights are typically used for rural properties with acreage to protect.
The average homeowner or renter in the city can usually find a great outdoor motion sensor light to fit their needs for $100 or less.
Reviews: 10 Magnificent Motion Sensor Lights
The ease of installation was what drew us to this little motion sensor light. It installs on a standard fixture, offers a bronze or white look, and has a 2-head or 3-head design to give you good coverage. The sensing angle for this light is 180 degrees, with a maximum sensing distance of 70 feet. You can let the light turn on and off automatically at pre-determined times. Instead of using floodlights, this model utilizes LED lighting, so you save money with every activation. It may even qualify for certain local rebate programs. It’s backed by a 5-year warranty.
These solar lights give you a wireless and waterproof option to protect your property. They come in a 2-pack or 4-pack and install in just seconds. You don’t need to mess around with your electrical grid. Just place the light where you need the added security or some extra safety and you’re ready to go. The sensing angle on this model is 120 degrees and it offers a sensing range of 10 feet, so you must be strategic with your placement. Rated IP64, you’ll receive up to 12 hours of continuous lighting after sunset with a full charge.
If you need a heavy-duty motion sensor light, but your budget is extra tight, then this is a solid option to consider. It offers a 70-foot detection range and users can adjust the sensitivity on the fixture. The timer has three settings for providing light once activated: 1 minute, 5 minutes, and 20 minutes. There’s also a test setting to use to see if your flood bulbs are working. It requires two 120-watt Par 38 bulbs to operate correctly. With 150 degrees of motion for less than the cost of dinner out with the family, home security has never been easier.
If you want to own an affordable outdoor motion sensor light that won’t kill your budget, this LED model deserves a closer look. With 1, 2, or 3-head options available, you have a permanent light to protect your property that can be as bright as 1800 lumens. The head is adjustable on this light and its IP65 rating gives you some added protection. It offers a detection range of 50 feet, with a motion range of 150 degrees. It will sense light levels as well, removing the need to set a timer. Add in the 5-year unlimited warranty and this is an upgrade that makes a lot of sense.
Although this outdoor motion sensor light only has one head and limited lumens, it still provides homeowners and renters with the outdoor safety they may need. The LEDs are surprisingly bright for 300 lumens, so you can have outdoor lighting in any climate without difficulty. They come as a singular light or in 3-packs and 4-packs, depending on what you want to do with this light. Available in black or white, make them a landscaping feature or make sure darkened corners can be safe when you access them with this light.
This flood bulb waterproof motion sensor light offers 3400 lumens through a 250W incandescent equivalent lighting experience. The flood lighting is produced by a series of LEDs, giving you a solid light source to detect a possible intruder. You can use the motion sensor mode or manual mode to provide the light that you need. It’s an energy-efficient design that gives any home a modern look that won’t cost a fortune in utility costs over the years. It’s available in black or white and installs quickly on a standard fixture.
This unique motion sensor weatherproof light does a good job of bathing a porch in blue-white light. Its design uses 6 LEDs and the fixture rotates the beam toward where movement has been detected. Photocell technologies in the fixture prevent daylight activation. At night, you’ll receive a 25-foot detection range and a 100-degree detection angle. The light is powered by 4 C batteries, however, and they don’t come in the box. This is the best motion sensor light option for renters, but for homeowners who want comprehensive security, this light is more for personal use.
We loved this compact outdoor motion sensor light because of its flexibility. You can set the sensing adjustability on this model from 7 feet to 59 feet. Time adjustability goes from 10 seconds to 10 minutes. You receive up 240 degrees of detection once installed with this passive infrared motion sensor as well. The light has photocells to recognize day from night so it only triggers in the dark. The lens is designed not to fade over time either, so your light stays crystal clear over the life of the light. With a wide throw distribution, this is an excellent and affordable security option.
With 2500 lumens of security or safety support, this outdoor motion sensor light only uses 36 watts and provides 180 degrees of motion detection. You can adjust the detection distance up to 50 feet as well. The aluminum frame looks nice and resists the elements while the LED lighting provides an excellent white light experience. There is a manual override function included if needed so the light can always be on if needed. It’s effective, affordable, and works with any standard installation point.
Not every outdoor motion sensor light needs to be a landscaping addition or security feature. Decorative lighting can give a nice touch to any property as well, especially with how easy these lights are to install. This Charleston coach lantern comes in 4 different styles and provides 150 degrees of motion detection. The range is up to 30 feet and the results are consistent with the 4-sided detection design. You can use LED bulbs in this product and there are 3 settings for time length to use. They’re easy to install and look fantastic.
The best outdoor motion sensor lights can improve the look of your property, provide additional safety features, or increase your home security. Some can provide all 3 benefits. Find the model that meets your needs today and you won’t have to worry about what might be lurking out there in the dark anymore.