Picking a motion sensor can be tricky. There are dozens of different makes and models on the market, and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re using an outdoor sensor, you want something that will be able to hold up to all kinds of weather, whereas if you’re using a sensor inside, you may want something discreet that won’t clash with your decoration. Motion sensors also have different detection area sizes and different alert types.
SafeWise recommends installing motion activated lights in and around your home to help thwart a break-in. With the long list of motion sensor lights on the market, it will be important for you to find one that best fits your needs and your budget. Below, we’ve identified eight affordable motion-activated lights that each offer a unique advantage to help you decide what will work best for your property.
1. MAXSA Innovations Security Spotlight, $44
Unique Advantage: Dual light heads offer maximum security
The solar powered MAXSA Innovations Motion-Activated Dual Head LED Security Spotlight is ideal for sheds, decks, garages, and walkways. It can detect motion up to 40 feet away, and comes with four super bright 0.5 watt LED lights that give off 160 Lumens. What we especially like about this product is its dual adjustable light heads allow you to secure two areas at once. For example, one light head can illuminate your deck and the other can spotlight your grill. This DIY motion light is the most expensive on our list, but it’s a solid value for those who want the convenience, flexibility, and security of dual lights.
2. First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket, $21
Unique Advantage: Easy to install and portable
One of the biggest advantages of the First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket is its simple installation. The First Alert screws into an existing light socket and then a light bulb screws into the First Alert. The product converts nearly any indoor fixture into a motion light that senses movement in a 360 degree radius, up to 12 feet. As a bonus, this motion sensor is easy to take with you if you move.
3. Frostfire Bright Solar Powered Motion Sensor Light, $14
Unique Advantage: Budget friendly and sleek
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, unobtrusive, and powerful motion sensor light, the Frostfire Bright LED Wireless Solar Powered Motion Sensor Light is a solid choice. It’s a 16 LED outdoor light that’s waterproof, heatproof, and made of high impact plastic, so it’s not only bright, it’s also durable. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, one of the perks of this motion light is its price point, which allows you to purchase a handful of lights to help secure multiple areas of your property. Whether you use the light to illuminate a dark walkway for safety or as security lighting that helps scare off a would-be burglar, you’ll appreciate that the light stays on a dimly lit mode. Once motion is detected within a three meter activation zone, the light illuminates.
4. Sunforce LED Solar Motion Light, $34
Unique Advantage: Adjusts to user’s preferences
The Sunforce LED Solar Motion Light can be adjusted to your personal preferences. You can program what level of darkness activates the light, how long the light stays on once activated, its sensitivity, and the range of motion detection. The light uses a solar panel that converts sunlight into an electric current, and stores the power in the unit’s battery, so you don’t have to use your home’s power to run these lights. Even if the sun doesn’t shine all day, as long as the battery is charged, the motion light will activate. When it does, it gives off a Lumen output of 850.
5. Heath Zenith Bayside Security Light, $36
Unique Advantage: Blends in with home’s décor
If you want to startle the bad guy without taking away from your home’s attractiveness, the Heath Zenith Bayside Mission Style Motion Sensing Decorative Security Light may be the answer. This light requires hardwiring, but offers an impressive 30 foot detection range and just one 60 watt bulb. Ideal for around garages, decks, and front doors, the pleasant looking motion light comes in black or matte white finish so it will compliment your home’s aesthetics instead of detract from them.
6. Interlogix Indoor Wireless Pet Immune SAW PIR Detector, $34
Unique Advantage: Wireless – battery operated
The Interlogix Indoor SAW PIR Detector’s sleek, wireless design allows the detector to be set up almost anywhere without looking out-of-place or messy. The detector is also pretty easy to install, and the low battery alerts give users ample time to put in a fresh battery, minimizing downtime. Finally, as the name suggests, the sensor is immune to pets weighing up to 40 pounds, which helps prevent frustrating false alarms. This sensor does need to be integrated with a security system or control panel — it’s not meant to be a stand-alone device. As a result, it’s definitely not the cheapest setup on the market. Additionally, the SAW PIR Detector runs off of batteries and does not have a wall plug or charging option, meaning you’ll have to pay for replacement batteries.
This is a great detector for users that have or would like to have professionally monitored home security services, as the device is compatible with several big-name security provider systems. It can also be linked to a self-monitored system with a little extra effort.
7. Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor, $40
Unique Advantage: Easy integration with home automation devices
Marketed as a smart motion detector, the Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor offers easy integration with existing home automation devices. Paired with If This Then That (IFTTT) technology, the motion sensor can be programmed to a range of actions upon sensing movement, including sending a text alert or turning on lights. This does mean, as with many smart devices, that the SmartThings Motion Sensor requires a smart hub to connect with a smart home network. Users who don’t already have a hub will have to foot that additional cost.
The SmartThings Motion Sensor is a solid DIY home security choice for fans of integrated automation. Beyond its security applications, the sensor can also be used to trigger other smart devices, making this a more dynamic investment for those with compatible gadgets.
8. 1byone Safety Driveway Patrol, $25
Unique Advantage: Can cover multiple areas
1byone’s Safety Driveway Patrol is a durable outdoor alarm system with two weatherproof motion sensor panels. The Driveway Patrol unit has three chime options, and the speaker is about the same size as a baby monitor, meaning it can be covertly positioned without looking out of place. Since this system comes with two sensors — and can easily network with up to six total pieces — the alarm is able to cover multiple areas at once. The biggest problem with this alarm is that movements in nature easily trigger it — the sensitive detectors pick up on nearly any movement, including that of birds, insects, and even tree branches moving in the wind. Secondly, the Driveway Patrol does not have any outdoor light or sound features included. So while the sensor will alert you to incoming visitors, it may not deter possible intruders.
The 1byone Safety Driveway Patrol is great for monitoring multiple outdoor areas at the same time. As well, the device would work nicely in a home or office setting where residents or workers might want to know if guests or clients were inbound.
A higher priced option:
RAB Super Stealth, $85
Unique Advantage: Industrial grade material and 60-foot detection area
The RAB Super Stealth is one of the sturdiest motion-activated floodlights available. This industrial-grade motion lighting system offers a 60-foot detection area, and the motion detector senses 180 degrees out and 360 degrees down. Secondary sensors monitor behind and below the light. It’s also protected from power surges and radio frequency interference. The RAB Super Stealth is a big light, so it’s not a great choice for those wanting small or discreet sensors. The cost is also relatively high, with a single unit running about $90. You’ll need to be handy with a drill to get this light installed, because the RAB must be wired into a hardline and its mount must be securely fastened into a sturdy surface.
The RAB Super Stealth has high ratings as an outdoor motion sensor light. It’s a great light for rural living or for anyone concerned with home security. It’s bright, extremely durable, and could go a long way in scaring off potential intruders before they even make it past the front yard.
Installing motion activated lights is an easy weekend project that can help discourage a break-in and make the area surrounding your home safer. Ultimately, the motion sensor you choose will come down to your needs. Take some time to figure out exactly what you want from a motion sensor device, and then give one of these home security sensors a try. To help make your home even more secure, consider getting a monitored home security system.
Check out our complete Motion Sensor Guide