Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights 2022
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Whether you want to protect your property or make it safer to navigate after dark, trust these expert-recommended outdoor security lights.
Need a cheap and easy way to deter intruders? Outdoor motion sensor lights definitely fit the bill. For homeowners, motion sensor lights provide a line of sight on potential intruders without running up costly energy bills.
Outdoor motion sensor lights also illuminate walkways, stairs, or entryways that pose a safety risk after dark. This wide array of applications is why outdoor motion sensor lights run the gamut from brilliant floodlights to low-profile solar solutions. Let’s shine a light on what to consider in an outdoor motion sensor light for your home.
▶ Range & Angle: The range of an outdoor motion sensor light refers to how far away an object or movement can be to trigger the light. Detection ranges are typically 20 to 100 feet, and some motion sensor lights let you customize the distance. The angle of detection usually falls within 180 degrees horizontally, and some models are adjustable.
▶ Brightness: You might assume that brighter is better, but that’s not always the case with outdoor motion sensor lights. Whereas a lumen rating between 6,000 to 10,000 lumens lights up your entire yard, stairway or pathway lights can go as low as 100 to 200 lumens and still provide optimal illumination.
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▶ Power Source: There are various ways you can power outdoor motion sensor lights, including hardwired electric, solar power, batteries, or plug-in electric. Hardwired lights require professional installation to wire directly into your home’s electrical system, whereas plug-in models have a standard power cord that plugs into an outlet.
I determined the best outdoor motion sensor lights after a thorough evaluation of lights currently on the market, testing in the field, and reviews from homeowners and renters. I factored in the range of detection, durability, brightness, and power source to make these recommendations.
LeonLite’s LED security light proves three heads are better than one. This durable motion sensor light earns my top recommendation due to its three adjustable, bright LEDs; customizable motion detection sensitivity; and efficiency that’s eligible for energy rebates. However, professional installation is recommended because the included instructions are inadequate for most homeowners.
Mr. Beams spotlight won’t illuminate a big yard, but it’s a solid security lighting solution if you’re looking to brighten up a dark corner. Because this wireless outdoor motion sensor light is battery-powered, it’s easy to install and can mount anywhere. However, I wasn’t able to verify the IP rating, and some homeowners in wet climates report corrosion inside the battery compartment.
Although this light is hardwired, the Ring Floodlight is anything but old school. Download the Ring app and control this smart floodlight remotely or through Alexa voice commands. The light also has superior motion detection with nearly 70 feet and a 180-degree radius. The downside? You get what you pay for, so Ring’s extra functionalities drive up the price.
Hmcity’s solar-powered motion sensor light is durable and affordable, with a 270-degree detection angle. The solar light is also effortless to install. However, Hmcity doesn’t disclose how many lumens these lights generate, so confine them to illuminating small spaces.
Lutec’s Motion-Activated Dual-Head Floodlight allows homeowners to choose halogen or LED replacement bulbs, which is a refreshingly affordable approach compared to the models that come with non-replaceable bulbs. You can adjust the heads a full 360 degrees and select from three motion detection ranges, between 20 to 70 feet. Lutec doesn’t specify an IP rating for the floodlight, and some users complain of unreliable motion detection.
In terms of brilliance for the buck, Lepower really delivers. With three adjustable brilliant LED heads and a whopping 72-foot detection range, this motion sensor light rivals the top pick on our list. However, customers report spotty motion detection and less energy efficiency, because the LEDs remain on for up to ten minutes after activation.
Although the Baxia Technology’s limited range (just 10 to 16 feet) seems like a drawback, it’s this motion sensor light’s superpower. Perfect for illuminating walkways and stairs, this solar-powered light set is low-profile and easy to mount. An IP65 waterproof rating proves Baxia Technology is as serious about durability as they are about affordability.
The Sengled Motion Sensor Light Bulb is a great solution for homeowners with an existing light fixture. As simple as screwing in a bulb, this floodlight offers 30 feet of detection and 1,500 lumens. However, because the motion detection sensor is at the tip of the bulb, Sengled lights can’t be used in certain fixtures.
PM: What’s your preferred power source for an outdoor motion sensor light?KW: My preferred power source for an outdoor motion sensor light really depends on what I’m using it for. If I’m lighting up a long driveway or front yard for security reasons, I prefer a hardwired model that will give reliable, bright light. If I am lighting a pathway or an entryway for safety reasons, I’m likely to choose an easy-to-install solar-powered motion sensor light.
PM: Are smart outdoor motion sensor lights worth it? K.W.: If you already have a smart home security system, adding a compatible smart outdoor motion sensor light might be tempting. However, because outdoor motion sensor lights have limited functionality, it might be an expense that doesn’t pay off. Look instead for smart outdoor home security cameras that incorporate motion sensor lights.
PM: Where’s the best place to install outdoor motion sensor lights?KW: I’d advise mounting outdoor motion sensor lights to cover all the possible approaches to your home, including walkways, driveways, decks, patios, and gates. Be sure to install motion sensor lights at least 6 to 10 feet above the ground and angled so that coverage reaches any dark corners.
Kaz Weida is a former educator turned freelance journalist who started off producing reviews and guides in the home security and telecom industry in 2015; she has tested, researched, and reviewed more products than she count, be it air quality monitors or kids GPS trackers. Kaz had bylines in a wide array of publications and sites including HuffPost, BlogHer, SheKnows, SafeWise, CableTV, and Rosetta Stone, and her work has been featured in Medium, Womens E News, Scary Mommy, and Salt Lake City Weekly. When she's not at her desk, Kaz is in the kitchen crafting and photographing cocktails.
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