1. Home
  2. Safety News
  3. Best Motion Detector Lights

Best Motion Detector Lights

Check out these motion detector lights with weatherproofing and smart tech compatibility.
Written by | Updated October 2, 2020
Best overall
LeonLite motion sensor flood lightLeonLite
  • Senses motion 70 feet away
  • Produces up to 1,800 lumens
  • Senses motion 70 feet away
  • Produces up to 1,800 lumens
Most versatile
maxsa-innovations-dual-head-security-spotlightMaxsa
  • Detects motion up to 40 feet away
  • Solar-powered
  • Detects motion up to 40 feet away
  • Solar-powered
Best path lights
Baxia Solar Motion LightBaxia Technology
  • Best weatherproofing on list
  • Affordable
  • Best weatherproofing on list
  • Affordable
Best motion sensor bulb
Sengled Smartsense A19 light bulbSengled
  • Screws into light socket
  • Turns off during the day
  • Screws into light socket
  • Turns off during the day
Budget pick
Mr Beams Outdoor SpotlightMr Beams
  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off
  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off

Bottom line: The LeonLite outdoor light shines

The LeonLite 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 70 feet away with a 180-degrees sensing angle. When something triggers the LED motion light, its powerful dual heads produce up to 1,800 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
Weather resistance
Best overall
Most versatile
Best path lights
Best motion sensor light bulb
Budget pick
LeonLite LED Security Lights Maxsa Motion-Activated Security Spotlight Baxia Technology Solar Motion Sensor Lights Sengled Smartsense Mr Beams Wireless Spotlight
LeonLite motion sensor flood light maxsa-innovations-dual-head-security-spotlight Baxia Solar Motion Light Sengled Smartsense A19 light bulb Mr Beams Outdoor Spotlight
$42.99 $56.99 $59.99 (4-pack) $16.99 (2-pack) $17.99
70 ft.
180°
40 ft.
180°
16 ft.
120°
30 ft.
100º
30 ft.
120º
1,800 220 400 1,200 per bulb 200
Wired Battery or solar Battery or solar Light socket Battery
IP65 IP44 IP65 IP20 IPX6
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 10/02/2020 at 12:00 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 20 products. We then compared them to learn about their effectiveness, reliability, customer satisfaction, and affordability.

  • 16 hours researched
  • 25 products considered
  • 2,700+ customer reviews
  • 8 coffees consumed

Best motion detector lights reviews

1. LeonLite LED Security Lights: Best overall

LeonLite motion sensor flood light

LeonLite

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

When you think of energy efficiency, solar lights probably jump to mind. 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 86.7% on your outdoor lighting electricity bill. Think of them as outdoor lights that are good for the outdoors and your wallet.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Tricky installation
  • Goes on and off sporadically

On top of shaving a little off your power bill, this is the brightest LED motion light in our lineup. And the motion sensors detect action from up to 70 feet away. Its powerful dual flood lights produce up to 1,800 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.

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 0.3 watt LED lights that give off 220 lumens. This is bright enough to light your way temporarily when you get home but not strong enough for nighttime projects in the yard.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Costs more
  • Weak weatherproofing

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.

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 full 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 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • No dimming mode
  • Inconsistent quality

We like that these lights are so affordable, about $15 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 ratings 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.

4. Sengled Smartsense: Best motion sensor light bulb

Sengled Smartsense A19 light bulb

Sengled Smartsense

These Sengled Smartsense motion sensor lightbulbs are an excellent option for folks with existing flood light fixtures. Because they screw into a standard light socket, they’re a breeze to install. Since you don’t need to replace a light fixture, these bulbs are an affordable way to get motion detection lighting.

At 1,200 lumens apiece, these are some of the bright motion sensor lights on our list, allowing them to outshine all but our top pick—though it’s easily brighter than the LeonLite if you put both bulbs in the same fixture.

Pros

  • Screws into existing light socket
  • Turns off automatically during the day
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Requires specific fixture

While these bulbs are affordable, they’re only effective when you put them in the right type of light fixture—since the motion detector is on the tip of the light bulbs. If you don’t have a downward-facing light fixture or an adjustable flood light, they won’t spot motion as people approach.

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 $40.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Auto shut-off
  • Daylight sensor

Cons

  • Touchy sensor
  • Inconsistent quality

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.

More brands we’re considering

We’re currently evaluating some motion sensor lighting products from the following brands:

Ring

Amazon-owned Ring is most famous for its video doorbells, but it also makes smart lighting products, including several types of Ring motion detector lights. While most of these products don’t necessarily require a smartphone app to work as motion sensor lights, the app is the best feature overall.

While we like that you can use the app to set schedules and customize settings, you need to buy a hub (around $50) to unlock app functionality, making Ring Smart Lights more expensive than typical motion sensor lights.

Ring's smart lighting technology

Ring purchased Mr Beams in 2017 and uses the same technology in its own smart lighting products. Unfortunately, Mr Beams lights and Ring lights aren't compatible with each other.

Philips Hue

Philips Hue is a juggernaut of smart lighting and it’s steadily growing a massive selection of attractive outdoor lights. While it sells some of the best outdoor security lights, smart floodlight bulbs, and even a color-changing floodlight, it’s also supremely expensive compared to our top picks.

This is especially true since Hue lights require a hub (about $60 if you don’t buy it in a starter kit) and don’t have built-in motion detectors. Instead, you need to buy the Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor (about $50) for any of the outdoor lights to turn on when there’s motion. Philips Hue is generally not affordable enough for most folks, but is definitely a high-end splurge.

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 for your needs.

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 we 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. 

How much weatherproofing do I need?

In order to deflect raindrops and protect the electrical components inside, a motion sensor light should have an ingress protection rating of IP44 or higher. If the rating is lower, the light needs an enclosure for outdoor operation.

What is an ingress protection rating?

Ingress protection ratings define how well a device prevents solids and liquids from making their way inside a product’s casing where they can damage sensitive components. Every IP rating uses two digits to express this with the first digit signifying solids (fingers, dust) and the second meaning liquids (water). Higher numbers mean greater resistance.1

  • Solids ratings range from 0–6.
  • Liquids ratings range from 0–8.
  • An X in either field means it’s untested in that category.

For example, an IP68 rating totally protects against dust and full immersion in water.

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.

Sources

  1. DSM&T Co. Inc., “IP Rating Chart,” July 2012. Accessed October 2, 2020.

Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 10/02/2020 at 12:00 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

Share this article.
  • Grace

    I am not good with software, so I hope this is not the 3rd time I am sending these questions in. I kept getting interrupted. And I can’t find any information saved to my account. I am desperately in need of 4-5 motion-detection, dusk-to dawn flood lights where I can change the bulbs myself. I need them to be hard-wired and to be able to over-ride the motion sensor at night just in case I need to turn the light on at night a few minutes. I need both wall and eve-mounts. I need very bright lights and prefer Daylight (5,000. I do not need dual-bright. I would like to be able to set the time the motion sensor stays on to 10 minutes or more. (Some only stay on for three minutes). I can’t afford to hire an electrician to replace an entire light just because the LED integrated bulb went out. I have not had very good luck with LED bulbs of all kinds at all. I need lots of light for outside corners of my house, so I need a wide-angle(240-270 degree) light or even to put 2 sets of flood lights together on one motion detector. In the last few years, the ones I have bought at big box stores are not holding up at all. I just found a great brand of motion-lights that costs almost $200.00. That is pretty steep for me, but they have a 10-year warranty. They use PAR38 fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs, and halogen bulbs. ( I am trying to stay away from halogen bulbs as they have started breaking real easy and the heat is a problem). However, these more expensive lights will not accept led bulbs. The led bulbs eventually destroy their motion sensor.
    The manufacturer, of course, does not sell light bulbs. In the box stores, I get laughed at asking for incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. They say they are going away real fast. If I can’t buy bulbs for these new motion lights, what good is the ten-year warranty? I need the lights up as soon as possible, and don’t know how to choose.

    Would anyone know of a good light priced somewhere between the big box store lights and these expensive lights that are good?

    I also need one indoor garage ceiling light, (ceiling mount, light switch controlled, 4 feet long, with 2 (5,000) Daylight bulbs). I didn’t realize when I had this light installed, it was an integrated led light. It was made to hang from the ceiling by chains, but the electrician was able to mount it flush with the ceiling. The bulbs went out before the 5-year warranty on the light is up. I am hoping an electrician can add a motion sensor to the new one too. I am also hoping I can find one that doesn’t have a cover over the light bulbs blocking out a lot of the light. Or if it does have a cover, it won’t block out much of the light. I sure appreciate any help you can give me.
    Grace