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Best Motion Detector Lights

Check out these motion detector lights with weatherproofing and smart tech compatibility.
Written by | Updated July 22, 2020
Best overall
Leonlite-Dual-LightLeonlite
  • Senses motion 60 feet away
  • Produces up to 1,400 lumens
  • Withstands extreme temps
  • Senses motion 60 feet away
  • Produces up to 1,400 lumens
  • Withstands extreme temps
Most versatile
maxsa-innovations-dual-head-security-spotlightMAXSA
  • 160 lumens
  • Detects motion up to 40 feet away
  • Solar-powered
  • 160 lumens
  • Detects motion up to 40 feet away
  • Solar-powered
Best path lights
Baxia Solar Motion LightBaxia Technology
  • Best weatherproofing on list
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Affordable
  • Best weatherproofing on list
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Affordable
Brightest solar light
Rugged-Solar-Flood-LightRuggedGrade Solar Flare Light
  • Sturdy, weatherproof construction
  • Dimming feature
  • High price tag
  • Sturdy, weatherproof construction
  • Dimming feature
  • High price tag
Budget pick
Mr Beams Outdoor SpotlightMr Beams Wireless Outdoor Spotlight
  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off
  • Touchy sensor
  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off
  • Touchy sensor

Bottom line: The Leonlite outdoor light shines

The LeonLight is the brightest star in our lineup of motion detector lights. It has powerful dual LED outdoor security lights and a durable design that withstands tough weather and temperatures. 

Its motion sensor can detect activity from 60 feet away with a 180-degrees sensing angle. When something triggers the LED motion light, its powerful dual heads produce up to 1,400 lumens (about the same brightness as your car’s headlights). The LeonLite is the brightest of the bunch, making it one of the best flood lights if you live in a dark or rural area.

Compare the top motion sensor lights

List price*
Motion detection range
Lumens
Power source
Temperature and weather resistant
Best overall
Most versatile
Best path lights
Brightest solar light
Budget pick
Leonlite Dual-Head Motion-Activated Security Light MAXSA Motion-Activated Security Spotlight Baxia Technology Solar Motion Sensor Lights RuggedGrade Solar Flood Light Mr Beams Wireless Spotlight
Leonlite-Dual-Light maxsa-innovations-dual-head-security-spotlight Baxia Solar Motion Light Rugged-Solar-Flood-Light Mr Beams Outdoor Spotlight
$37.55 $63.60 $39.99 $79.99 $19.99
70 ft.
180°
40 ft.
180°
16 ft.
120°
16 ft. 30 ft.
1,400 160 400 1,000 200
Wired Battery or Solar Battery or Solar Battery or Solar Battery
Yes
Yes
Yes
Weatherproof only Weatherproof only
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/30/20 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our approach

We delved into industry research and reviews from real users to evaluate product performance, features, and specs. We also explored the FCC rules for LED lighting and consulted expert reviews to help us determine the best motion sensor lights.

We picked our top five after looking at more than 15 products. We then compared them to learn about their effectiveness, reliability, customer satisfaction, and affordability.

  • 12 hours researched
  • 17 products considered
  • 2,700+ customer reviews
  • 8 coffees consumed

Best motion detector lights reviews

1. Leonlite Dual-Head Motion-Activated Outdoor Security Light: Best overall

Leonlite-Dual-Light

Leonlite Dual-Head Motion-Activated Outdoor Security Light

This LeonLite motion detector light strikes a balance between power and energy efficiency. 

Usually, when you think of energy efficiency, solar lights probably jump to mind. But this hardwired motion light gives them a run for their money. The LeonLite Motion-Activated Security Light is eligible for state and national energy rebate programs, and it can save you up to 87.5% on your outdoor lighting electricity bill. Think of them as outdoor lights that are good for the outdoors.

On top of shaving a little off your power bill, this is the brightest LED motion light in our lineup. The motion sensors detect action from up to 60 feet away, its powerful dual flood lights produce up to 1,400 lumens, about the same as a car’s headlights. So whether you’re trying to light up your dark backyard or show intruders you are home, this light is hard to ignore.

Pros

  • Comes in multiple finishes
  • Durable, weatherproof housing
  • Delivers bright, adjustable security lighting

Cons

  • Tricky installation
  • Goes on and off sporadically

2. MAXSA Motion-Activated Security Outdoor Spotlight: Most versatile

maxsa-innovations-dual-head-security-spotlight

MAXSA Motion-Activated Security Outdoor Spotlight

The solar powered MAXSA Security Spotlight is ideal for sheds, decks, garages, and walkways. We like that its two floodlights are positionable to light more than one area. It can detect motion up to 40 feet away, which is pretty respectable, but not as sensitive as our top pick from Leonlite.

It comes with four bright 0.5 watt LED lights that give off 160 lumens. This is bright enough to light your way temporarily when you get home, but not strong enough for nighttime projects in the yard. It’s easy to install because it use a solar panel for power, so there’s no need to call an electrician to install this security light on your siding, doors, or garage. While the solar panel is a nice way to recharge the batteries, it makes this light more expensive than the competition.

This motion-activated light has the weakest weatherproofing in our review. While the light’s casing can deflect occasional water splashes, it doesn’t hold up well to constant precipitation like rain and snow. We recommend installing the light under an overhanging roof if possible.

Pros

  • Detects motion up to 40 feet
  • Installs quickly
  • Monitors more than one area at once

Cons

  • Costs more
  • Weak weatherproofing

3. Baxia Technology Solar Motion Sensor Lights: Best path lights

Baxia Solar Motion Light

Baxia Technology Solar Motion Sensor Lights

Baxia’s motion sensor lights are an ideal option for path lights because they come in a four-pack. This allows you to line a path or steps at regular intervals for excellent lighting coverage. While you can also mount them higher up on a wall, we think these lights are perfect for paths.

While you can’t reposition the lights like on our top two picks, the top-mounted solar panels help make for reliable nighttime lighting without fussy wiring. The integrated passive infrared (PIR) sensor spots heat sources like a warm body, so these lights won’t trigger when falling leaves drift past them.

We like that these lights are so affordable, about $10 apiece, though you need to buy four at a time since they don’t come in smaller packs. They also have some of the best weatherproof rating of any light on our list. These lights are water resistant and can withstand both extreme cold and extreme heat. Best of all, they come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • PIR sensor that detects body heat
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • No dimming mode
  • Inconsistent quality

4. RuggedGrade Solar Flood Light: Brightest solar light

Rugged-Solar-Flood-Light

RuggedGrade Solar Flood Light

The RuggedGrade Solar Flood Light uses solar power to charge during the day, so you don’t need to change batteries—just hook up the solar power cable and panel to keep this floodlight bright and ready for action. There’s even a long power cable so you have more options for optimal solar panel placement.

With 1,000 lumens, this is the brightest solar motion light on our list, allowing it to outshine the competition from MAXSA and Baxia Technology. Its brightness helps scares away burglars and safely lights your way when you’re outside at night. We also like that there are multiple dimming settings in case you want less powerful lighting for improved battery life.

This is the most expensive motion detector light on our list, but we think it’s worth the investment for excellent solar charging and bright lighting.

Pros

  • Dimming feature
  • Great customer reviews
  • Sturdy, weatherproof construction

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Delayed motion sensor activation

5. Mr Beams Wireless Outdoor Spotlight: Budget pick

Mr Beams Outdoor Spotlight

Mr Beams Wireless Outdoor Spotlight

Whether you’re looking to enhance home security or add extra safety to dark entryways, this light fits just about anywhere. Even though it may be small, the Mr Beams Wireless LED Spotlight provides up to 200 lumens of bright LED light. This motion-activated security spotlight packs a powerful punch that won’t bust your budget.

This durable motion detecting spotlight is so affordable you may want to buy multiple units for all your outdoor lighting needs.  You can pick up one Mr Beams Spotlight for around $20 or get a two-pack for about $33.

The Mr Beams Spotlight claims to be waterproof, but customers have found corrosion inside the sensors due to moisture, so it’s something to consider if you live in a moist climate.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off
  • UV light sensor

Cons

  • Touchy sensor
  • Inconsistent quality

Final word

If you want to improve nighttime security in your yard, motion sensor lights are both effective and affordable. Out top pick, the Leonlite, has two bright LED flood lights that you can position for the best lighting in your situation. The bright lights get power directly from your home, so you don’t need to rely on sunny days and solar panels for it to work. It’s a little harder to install than a battery-powered light, but think it’s worth the effort.

Motion detector lights are a great addition to any home security strategy but there are always ways to improve. After you check out our FAQ section, head over to our guide to home security for more ideas on how to protect your home.

Motion sensor light FAQ

Why do I want motion detector lights?

Indoor or outdoor, motion sensor lights provide security, convenience, and energy efficiency. There may be one main reason you’re looking for motion-activated lighting, or you may want to take advantage of all the benefits. Your primary reason will help you figure out the answers to other questions, like what type of bulb to get.

For security, you might want an outdoor motion sensor lights that’s surprise an intruders and scare them off. On the other hand, a motion light that makes sure you don’t get tripped up on your way into the house can be less powerful.

What type of lightbulb should I get?

Many outdoor motion sensor lights use LED to help save on electricity and minimize the chance of fire from a traditional, incandescent bulb that gets hot while in use.

The downside is that LED security lights are often dimmer, which can be a deal breaker if you want to illuminate a big area or startle trespassers. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy and need to be replaced more often, but they tend to be much brighter.

Because you’re looking for motion sensor lighting, you should have less worry about incandescent lights heating up from being left on too long.

How much area should my motion detector lights cover?

The amount of coverage provided by a motion light is determined by the motion sensor range and the brightness of the light bulbs. If you’re looking to light up a small area like the front porch, you may only need a motion sensor with a range of a few feet.

But if you want to illuminate a larger area like an entire backyard, you might want LED security lights with a range of 70 feet or more. You can also power up the reach of your motion light with bright bulbs that use more lumens. Small areas can get by with as little as 42 lumens, while floodlights can produce up to 3,400.

What type of power source is best?

You can get motion sensor light fixtures that are hardwired, battery powered, or solar powered. The benefit of lights that use battery power or a solar panel is that you don’t have to install them near an electrical outlet. But solar panels need to be affixed where they’ll get enough sunlight for a full charge.

The drawbacks with battery and solar power are that your security can be compromised due to a dead battery or a cloudy day. You also sacrifice brightness with those power sources, as the brightest lights tend to use hardwiring.

If you do go with hardwired motion lights, be sure to plan ahead in case you need to run wires through walls or secure extension cords. 

Can I add motion sensor lights to my security system?

You should be able to add motion sensor lights to an existing home security system. Contact your security provider to find out if motion sensor lights are available. If the company you use doesn’t offer motion lights, find out if the system is compatible with any third-party motion sensor lights.

The benefit of having motion lights integrated into your security system is the convenience of mobile alerts when the lights are activated. Plus, if you have security cameras, the lights can help you get better footage in low-light situations.

Do motion sensor lights deter burglars?

Motion lights deter nighttime burglars for these reasons:

  • Burglars won’t have the cover of darkness to approach the house.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell if someone turned on the light manually.
  • If anyone inside the home (or even a neighbor) also saw the light come on, there’s a good chance they’ll look for suspicious activity.
  • The motion light might set off a secondary, furry alarm that wakes up the family with barking.

Still, if a burglar knows the house is empty and that neighbors don’t have a good view, they might take the risk anyway, or they might come back during the day when the lights don’t affect your security. This is why it’s important to use other security measures like locks, security systems, and security cameras to fortify your home against intruders.

Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/30/20 at 12:30 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of this date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any prices and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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