LAST UPDATED: December 5, 2019
Best Motion Sensor Lights: Stay a Step Ahead of Intruders
Take your home’s security to the next level with indoor and outdoor motion sensor lights
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON December 5, 2019
Your home is your sanctuary, and that's why its security is paramount. When you’re safe, you have peace of mind. While you may be vigilant, you can’t watch every nook and cranny on your property at all times. Motion sensor lights keep your mind at ease because they alert you when someone comes near your home. Below we shed some light on the best motion sensor lights that can help you deter intruders in and around your home.
Use this light to illuminate entrances and outdoor areas with up to 100 lumens of LED light. It stays on as long as there is motion in the illuminated area. It has a long lifespan of 100,000 hours.
There are six powerful LED chips in this weatherproofed light which makes it a great option for outdoor use. It has a 25-foot detection range and 100-degree coverage. It can illuminate a large area. It features photocells which ensure it only produces light when it gets dark.
It is not entirely water-resistant and its interior components rust when exposed to water. Its motion-detection capability is slow. The light dispersion is slightly skewed; there are dark spots in some areas.
Position each of these lights in a spot inside your house and they’ll serve you for up to 10,000 hours. Each produces up to 20 lumens of light whenever it detects motion 7-10 feet away.
Each of the lights has a dusk-to-dawn sensor and automatically powers on at dusk. They work great in extreme temperatures (from -20° C up to 40° C). The lights have both 3M adhesive pads and magnets, so you can stick them on walls or metallic surfaces.
You may have to keep replacing their batteries every now and then. The lights damage paint when you remove them from a wall. They don’t stay on for long before they turn off. There’s a slight delay before they power on.
This light features DualBrite technology. It serves as a night light and produces soft light. When it detects motion, it emits powerful, bright light. Its manual override allows you to switch it on and off.
It has a 100-foot detection range and the light it produces covers up to 21,000 square feet. Both of the lights are adjustable and allow you to direct the light to the specific area you want. They feature dusk-to-dawn sensors and switch on automatically at dusk.
Sometimes the on and off function is erratic and the light might stay on longer than expected. LED bulb replacement might be a problem since the light fixture is not compatible with a wide range of LED bulbs on the market.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a Motion Sensor Light
- Optimal home security. Since the lights only come on when motion is detected, they can alert you of the presence of intruders lurking on your property. Also, a dedicated security system acts as a theft deterrent and they will probably run as soon as the lights come on.
- Illuminates footpaths and driveways. If you install automatic motion sensors outdoors, the lights will come on every time you get on the driveway and stay on until you make your way out of the range. This can help prevent injury when walking in the dark.
- Reduce utility bills. Security lights left running often reflect on your utility bills. You also have to spend more money replacing the bulbs that drain out. Motion sensor lights help you reduce your energy consumption since they only come on when needed.
- Hands-free operation. You needn’t flick any switch to activate an automatic motion sensor. This will be convenient when you come home with your hands full of groceries, or when you need to take out the trash or let your dog out at night.
Types of Motion Sensor Lights
Passive infrared sensors are the most common types of motion sensors available. It uses electronic sensors to detect body heat or infrared light radiating from the objects within its range. These types of sensors only detect movement and can’t be used to identify the exact objects that moved. This is why they can be easily triggered by objects blown in by the wind or nocturnal animals moving around.
Ultrasonic motion sensors emit ultrasonic frequencies, which are out of the range of the human ear. It detects objects within its field of view when the ultrasonic frequencies are bounced back from the object within its range. It’s best used outdoors where there’s wider coverage since the frequencies can be easily triggered by reflections of sounds from corners.
Microwave motion sensors are more expensive as they cover a wide area than the alternatives. The sensors use electromagnetic radiation to detect motion and can be used to tell the amount of time spent by the object in the field of view. They are hardly affected by harsh outdoor environments, be it wind, rain, snow, or sound vibrations from corners. This reduces the chances of false triggers.
Heath Zenith is a Kentucky-based manufacturer and marketer of home lighting equipment and security accessories. The company has more than 100 years of experience in designing some of the best doorbell videos, decorative lighting, and security lighting. Its products are sold in more than 10,000 retail outlets worldwide. Some of its top products are the Heath Zenith Motion Sensing Security Light and the HZ-5411 Motion Sensor Security Light.
David Levine and Mike Recher founded Mr. Beams in 2004 as a manufacturer of simple lighting solutions. It currently designs more than 30 lighting products for home security and convenience, and are both solar- and battery-powered. One of its best battery-operated security lights is the Mr. Beams MB980 Motion-Sensing LED.
Ring is a California-based designer of security equipment for indoor and outdoor spaces. Jamie Siminoff is the brains behind the inventions that aim to make neighborhoods safer. Check out the Ring Floodlight Security Cam, which combines motion sensor lights, a camera, and a siren to alert you of intruders.
Motion Sensor Light Pricing
- Under $30: Just as with any other lighting system, the cheaper the motion sensor light, the shorter its lifespan. However, this doesn't mean that you won’t get something with a good range of about 50 feet and enough brightness for outdoor use. Also, most options here are battery-powered.
- $30 and up: Most units here have a better range and can take less than ten seconds to detect objects within the field of view. They also have energy-efficient designs, which can run on solar power. The higher-end versions have built-in cameras that take clear images of the objects.
The area covered by the motion sensor is controlled by the level of brightness of the lights and the sensitivity. This is why you should consider whether the lights are for indoor or outdoor use. For indoor use, a range of about 10 feet is enough. However, if you plan to light up a larger area like a driveway or an entire garden, then you need something that can produce a 50-foot beam or more.
Motion sensor lights can either run on batteries, solar power, or electricity. Batteries are the best since you don’t have to worry about unplugging and recharging the lights every few hours. Solar power is cheap but isn’t as dependable due to weather changes. Electrical powered sensors need to be connected to an electrical outlet, which means you have to do some rewiring.
The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens. If you need to illuminate a large outdoor space, you need a unit that produces anything over 100 lumens. LED bulbs score higher than incandescent bulbs when it comes to the level of brightness and are the best for outdoor motion sensor lights.
- Lighting Type: You can either get a spotlight or a wider beam without compromising on the sensor range. A wider beam will be better if you’d like to light the path, while a spotlight is better suited for indoor use where there’s sufficient light.
- Adjustable Timing: It would be convenient to know the time the lights stay on when motion is detected and if you can change the settings to suit your preferences. Most lights can stay on for about five minutes before shutting off, but you should be able to prolong or shorten the time if need be.
Best Motion Sensor Light Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Using six LED bulbs, the Fulcrum Motion Sensor Light is a wireless motion detector light that allows you to rotate the light as required. The 252-lumen bulbs emit a brilliant, glare-free floodlight to cover a wide area and last for over 100,000 hours.
The sensor has a 25-foot motion detection range at an angle of 100 degrees. During the daytime, photocell technology helps to automatically switch off motion detection to reduce energy consumption and reactivates it at night. It, however, only turns on the lights when a moving heat source is detected. Installing the light is fairly easy if you have a screwdriver, and it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Moreover, the unit is sealed against moisture and runs on four C batteries.
Unfortunately, the lamp is not 100-percent water resistant, and the internal components may rust when used outdoors. In addition, its motion detection speed is relatively slow in comparison to higher-priced motion detectors. Also, with time, you may notice a reduction in the beam size since some of the bulbs may develop dark spots.
If you are looking for an indoor motion sensor that emits a warm white light, then this circular URPOWER motion sensor is a good option. It comes with three lamps, each with six LED bulbs that push out 20 lumens of light.
The bulbs can run for 10,000 hours and can detect motion within a 10-foot range. To save the battery, the lights automatically shut off if there’s no motion detected for about 15 to 30 seconds. In addition, this model is battery powered with three AAA batteries, and you can install them with the help of 3M adhesive tape without fear of heat, water, or environmental damage.
The downsides are few but worth mentioning. First, the batteries get drained easily since it doesn't have an effective auto-shut-off feature that reduces energy consumption. At times, the lights may turn off sooner than expected. Also, you may experience some slight delay before the lights turn on.
The Heath Zenith Security Lights are paired to increase the range of motion detection. These LED lamps are hooked to swiveling arms that allow you to point the light in any direction that you please.
The sensor maintains a 240-degree motion detection angle and detects moving objects at a range of 100 feet. Heath Zenith integrates two-level DualBrite lighting, where you get soft-accent lighting at night to aid in visibility and it brightens to full power when motion is detected. To save on energy, the unit has a built-in photocell that automatically switches off the bulbs in the daytime. The auto-mode can be overridden by a manual switch only at night.
However, there are a few nagging issues with this model. First, the auto-mode function may at times be erratic and switch the lights on or off sooner than expected. In addition, it’s a bit difficult to get LED bulb replacements for the model since they have a unique design.
- To make the best use of outdoor motion sensor lights, install them at vulnerable entry points of your house. Get enough lights to cover your home’s perimeter so you don’t have any dark spots.
- You will save on lighting maintenance costs if you get lights with LEDs, since they light up to full capacity, use very little energy, and are more durable compared to other lights.
- Protect your motion sensor light by angling it downwards to prevent rainwater from seeping into the interior. You can also steer clear of water damage by getting sealed bulbs. Alternatively, you can install protective shades above the lights.
- Adjust the detection range and angle to minimize false alarms triggered by non-threatening things like trees and leaves. Also, ensure the lights do not cast their light in areas that pose no threat.
Q: Do motion sensor lights need to be cleaned?
A: Dirty motion sensor lights are not able to accurately detect motion. That’s why it is so important to clean your lights occasionally. Use a soft cloth and window cleaner to clean the lens of the light fixture.
Q: Will a power outage affect my motion sensor light?
A: A power outage has different effects on motion sensor lights. It might affect the light switch or circuit breaker, causing the lights to either stay on or go off permanently.
Q: How do motion sensor lights work?
A: Motion sensor lights have motion detectors that detect infrared waves. Infrared waves are heat waves emitted by moving objects, like human beings. The detectors automatically switch on the lights once they sense motion and switch them off if there’s no motion for some time.
The Fulcrum Motion Sensor Light impresses with its durability, ease of installation, and functionality.
For a budget option with bright light, consider the URPOWER Motion Sensor Lights