Provides 8 hours of light after dusk. Especially bright light when motion sensor activates. Dim standby mode. Simple to install. Senses motion 26 feet away. Waterproof. Includes 4 solar lights.
Additional mounting options would have been appreciated.
Affordable. Turns any light fixture into a motion-sensing light. Range of 30 feet. Features always-on, motion-detection, and dusk-to-dawn modes. Available in 2 brightness levels. Includes 2 bulbs.
Relatively narrow radius to activate light.
Inexpensive. Senses motion up to 75 feet away. Extremely bright. Features 3 heads per fixture. Features always-on, motion-detecting, and dusk-to-dawn modes. Available in white, black, and brown.
Does not include mounting hardware.
Highly adjustable pair of heads. Senses motion up to 70 feet away. Bright light. Features test and security modes. Weather-resistant. Available in white and bronze. Simple to install.
Lightbulbs not included.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re a homeowner considering outdoor lighting, you have a broad range of options to compare. Since you might not need illumination all the time, or all through the night, motion sensor lights provide an efficient solution.
Activated with movement, motion sensor lights are only on when you need them. They’re ideal for walkways, driveways, and near garages. Some homeowners even install them at every exit of their home. Perhaps what’s most attractive about motion sensor lights, compared to regular ones, is that they don’t produce overwhelming illumination in the dead of night, which can be an eyesore to you as well as your neighbors.
The most common areas where motion sensor lights are installed are the garage and driveway. After all, they’re high-traffic areas, as we pass through them to leave and return from work or take out the garbage.
Many homeowners also install motion sensor lights at the front door, as well as other exits. If you have a patio or pool area, it’s also helpful to install the lights around these areas to enjoy late evenings outside.
The vast majority of motion sensor lights use LEDs, which are well-liked for their reliability and brightness. While LEDs are known for their ultra-bright white illumination (compared to the yellow undertones of some incandescent light bulbs) there are now LEDs available in more than one color. Some motion sensor lights, for example, are available in daylight as well as warm white light.
Motion sensor lights draw power from UV rays, AC outlets, or batteries, or they can be hardwired into your home’s electrical system. For the most part, any of these will work in your home, but each comes with a caveat.
Solar: If you’re looking for the most energy-efficient option, solar lights are ideal, but they might not be as efficient on very cloudy days or in shady areas.
AC: Motion sensor lights that plug into AC outlets may require an extension cord, but the power cord can be a bit of an eyesore for some people.
Battery: While battery-powered lights won’t draw power from your home, it can be costly to buy batteries on a regular basis.
Hardwired: The motion sensor lights that can be hardwired are the most reliable, and they don’t pose the issues that solar-, battery-, or AC-powered lights do. For these, however, you’ll probably need to hire a licensed electrician, which is an added cost to your overall investment.
Motion sensor lights come in a variety of designs. Single-head models have one light for illumination and often cast light in a smaller radius and at a shorter distance. Dual-head motion sensor lights tend to cast light farther in more directions.
Some motion sensor lights have adjustable heads that can be tilted in various directions. They can either have a multidirectional tilt or be limited to up and down or left and right. Adjustability is an attractive feature in these lights, especially since you probably have a specific area you intend to light. Those that don’t have any directional adjustability can be effective as well, though you’ll need to install them at the right height for the best illumination.
Because motion sensor lights are engineered for outdoor use, it comes as no surprise that they are weatherproof. They’ll hold up against all conditions: rain, hail, sleet, and snow. And it’s not just harsh winter weather that they can handle: motion sensor lights can also withstand humidity, high heat, and exposure to UV light.
Time: Illumination time in motion sensor lights refers to how long the lights stay on once activated. In some models, you can set timers for anywhere between 20 seconds and 3 minutes. In others, there is a set time, usually around a minute, that the light will stay on.
Note that just because you stay within range of the sensor, it doesn’t mean the light will stay on continuously. If you remain motionless in the area, the light will shut off until it is activated by motion again. This is especially important to take into consideration when you’re shopping for outdoor lighting. In some areas, such as your patio or covered porch, you might be better served by regular outdoor lighting fixtures.
Range: Illumination range varies considerably with motion sensor lights. On average, they cast light as far as 10 to 25 feet. The shape of your motion sensor lights may also play a role in the illumination range, with certain rectangular lights casting a wider light than round ones. Of course, it depends on the fixture’s design, but it’s still something to consider.
Another thing to consider when comparing motion sensor lights is how large of an area you intend to illuminate. In some cases, installing a single motion sensor light might not be enough. Rather, to achieve the full illumination range you desire, you may need to install more than one light. Some homeowners, for example, install motion sensor lights at opposite corners of a double garage, as opposed to a dual-light model in the middle of it.
Motion sensor lights cost between $20 and $100, so they’re a budget-friendly option for all homeowners. The price depends on the number of lights in a set and the number of features they have.
Inexpensive: Motion sensor lights priced between $20 and $40 can include sets of single lights, as well as some dual lights. They might not be as durable as other options, but they’ll certainly last for a couple of years.
Mid-range: Spend between $40 and $65 on motion sensor lights and you’ll find sets and models with a broad range of features. These can be adjusted to your preferences, thus offering an exceptional lighting experience.
Expensive: Those lights at the top of the price range, closer to $100, include more adjustability features and timer settings. Motion sensor lights in this category also include some models intended for commercial use.
Note where the light is cast. If your home is close to your neighbor’s, be mindful that a motion sensor light could cast unwanted light on their property. If you’re not sure whether it will be an issue, talk to your neighbor to avoid any complications.
Add motion sensor lights to your registry. Motion sensor lights make unique gifts for newly engaged couples or new homeowners.
Save the warranty information. Most motion sensor lights come with a warranty, so be sure to save your receipt and purchase information. You might also need to register your product with the manufacturer.
Q. Will motion sensor lights add value to my home?
A. They certainly can, especially if you’re about to put your house on the market. Not only do they add to your home’s overall energy rating, motion sensor lights also illuminate your home for evening showings. It’s also an expense the new owners can cross off their list.
Q. Will animals set off motion sensor lights?
A. They will. If you live near a wooded area, you have a lot of wildlife near you, or you install the lights near awnings and gutters where birds can build nests, expect to see your lights activated more often. Flying insects can also turn on the lights.
Q. Do motion sensor lights improve the security of my home?
A. Motion sensor lights attract attention, so they can be effective at fending off intruders. When they’re installed near security cameras, the added light can help improve the video resolution as well. Motion sensor lights can also give you a heads-up that unwanted visitors have entered the perimeter even if you don’t hear or see them.