The 10 Best Motion Lights
This wiki has been updated 36 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Motion lights can make an attractive and useful addition to outdoor spaces, like front porches, driveways and backyard patios, as well as indoor areas, like bathrooms, staircases, closets and under cabinets. Our selections for this category include a variety of hardwired and battery-powered options, along with several environmentally-friendly offerings with built-in solar panels. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 15, 2021:
This list was still in pretty good shape, but that didn’t stop us from finding a few places to brush up on things, beginning with removing Fulcrum Light It! and Oria Sensor from our list, both due to availability issues.
To replace our lost option from Oria – which was a battery-powered under-cabinet light – we added the Gonoto Wireless ELD-LMSCL-4-NW to our list, which is available in 3,000- and 4,000-Kelvin color temperatures, and crams 84 LEDs into its slim, 16-inch housing. We liked that this option included an integrated, 2-1/2-amp-hour battery, but weren’t the biggest fans of needing to charge it via USB, which could be a major inconvenience if, for example, you permanently installed the fixture in a closet or somewhere else that isn’t in close proximity to a USB port.
We loved that the flexible bracket on the DrawGreen BZ-B2 – which, like the DrawGreen Solar Security DG08-S2-W, boasts a 1,400-lumen output – could wrap around a branch without doing damage, which campers and tree huggers at large are likely to see as a boon. Its aluminum-alloy housing was also a nice touch, in a category where plastic housings run rampant.
Last but not least, we replaced the Juslit S17066 with the Juslit S17067. We liked that this new version put out 1,200 lumens, which is twice as much as its predecessor’s 600, but it has to be said: In addition to being twice as bright, the new model is also twice as big and twice as expensive. So, if you’re looking to install one and only one fixture and you want it to be as bright as possible, then go with the S17067. But, if you’re open to installing multiple fixtures, you might want to give some thought to picking up several S17066’s instead; your cost will stay relatively the same, you’ll wind up with better light distribution, and since you’re dealing with wireless fixtures, your installation time won’t even be all that much more.
March 04, 2020:
During this busy round of updates, we removed the Warmoon Flood, Avanterk LE-002 Solar, Versonel Nightwatcher and Litom Bright, due to availability issues. We also replaced the Mr. Beams MB363 and UrPower 4 Pack with their successors, the Mr. Beams MB360XT and UrPower SL-30. Some of our other new additions include the Baxia Waterproof GLS-US-100SL-4P-US, which boasts a 100-LED design and 2,000-lumen output; the DrawGreen Solar Security DG08-S2-W, which can illuminate a 2,300-square-feet area and features an IP66 dust and water resistance; and the Juslit S17066, which has a notable, 270-degree illumination range that users looking to illuminate tall rooms or staircases will appreciate.
A few factors to keep an eye out for in this cateory:
Output: Look for the rated lumen output of each option to get an idea of how bright they are. While smaller models like the Mr. Beams MB360XT emits only 200 lumens, others like the Baxia Waterproof GLS-US-100SL-4P-US can put out 2,000 lumens – obviously, a massive difference. More isn’t necessarily better in this respect, users looking to light up small spaces like closets or storage sheds might actually be concerned about making the environment uncomfortably bright, but how much is always relevant, so be mindful of this metric.
Field of Illumination: This basically describes the area a given fixture will light up. It’s something that’s primarily described in degrees, which lets you know how narrow or wide the beam emitted is, but also in terms of distance, letting you know how far it gets. Some companies simplify things significantly by reporting the total area their offerings can light up. The Mr. Beams MB360XT and DrawGreen Solar Security DG08-S2-W, for example, can purportedly light up a 600-square-feet and 2,300-square-feet area, respectively.
This is also another case of more-isn’t-necessarily-better. Users installing feature lighting, or looking to illuminate a specific area like a side door, might actually prefer a narrower field and higher concentration of light. If you are looking for a wider field of illumination, we suggest you start by checking out the Juslit S17066 and UrPower SL-30, which boast a 270-degree field of illumination that bests many of their competitors by 150 degrees.
Power Source: While hardwired options on our rankings are still represented by the Heath Zenith 4150, during this round of updates we endeavoured to include more solar-powered options like the Baxia Waterproof GLS-US-100SL-4P-US and DrawGreen Solar Security DG08-S2-W, as well as some battery-powered choices like the Oria Sensor and Mr. Beams MB360XT, which can easily be supplied by rechargeable AAA or D-cell batteries. Not only are these options energy efficient, but they also have the potential to save you considerable money on utilities over the years.
Sengled Smart LED PAR38 Bulb If your home's already equipped with a Zigbee hub, and you've got switch-controlled coach lights or pot lights installed outside, you might not need to worry about installing any new fixtures — if you've got a bulb like this in your corner. In addition to having a built-in sensor, you can even adjust its settings based on ambient light levels. sengled.com
Ring Smart Lighting A simple motion light is often all you need to combat unwanted darkness automatically, but another solution that might be worth considering is investing in fixtures that link up with your smart home system. Ring's offerings include floodlights, path lights and step lights — all of which can be scheduled or controlled remotely via app. And, they also sell motion sensors, so you can incorporate that functionality, as well. ring.com
A Safe And Secure Home
A properly secured home is ready to ward off would be thieves before they even attempt to break into the home.
Home security is about more than simply preventing unwanted trespassers from entering your home, it is about making yourself and your family feel safer and secure while within your property. Home security should bring as much peace of mind as it does prevention from invasion and burglary.
Ideal home security means windows strengthened against the damage caused by a thief's hammer and against shattering when struck by windblown debris during a storm. You can choose security window films that will do wonders to enhance the tensile strength of your existing glass windows at minimal cost and without noticeably altering their appearance or function. A secure home is one that has a camera or two (or four) recording the points of entry outside, so you can always see who has tried to get into your home. And it means an alarm system that will promptly contact the authorities in the event of a break in or a fire (and that you can use to summon help in the even of a medical emergency, as well, with the mere push of a button).
A properly secured home is ready to ward off would be thieves before they even attempt to break into the home. If you have an alarm system, go ahead and make that clear to the world by using signs in the yard and on the doors and windows, and through the installation of visible hardware like motion detectors, cameras, and speakers ready to blare out the alarm.
One of the simplest, most affordable and most effective ways to keep unwanted people from coming near your house is to install bright, responsive motion lights. When a would be thief finds himself or herself suddenly bathed in light pouring forth from your property, they will likely take to their heels with alacrity, abandoning any nefarious plans they had involving your belongings.
Motion Lights For Added Security
Motion lights can be quite expensive, but they can also be quite affordable -- when it comes to choosing a motion light for your property, price need not be an obstacle. However, the more you spend, the more range you tend to get. And that is true in two ways: the high end motion lights available today not only pack in the lumens, creating a bright, wide field of light, but they also boast a larger detection capability.
A hard lined light will never run out of power, but also requires a much more involved and expensive installation, and can't easily be moved later.
You can get motion triggered lights that can "watch" an area larger than two hundred feet in span and dozens of feet in depth, effectively surveying entire yards for many properties, and creating a wide swath of surveyed area no matter how large your yard (or the lot behind your business or the alley behind your restaurant) may be.
Some motion lights are designed to look like stylish outdoor light fixtures while others have the purpose built appearance of a spotlight. You will have to choose between balancing aesthetics and function, because often the handsome wall sconce style of motion light puts out much less light, creating less of a deterrent to crooks approaching in the dark. You will also have to select whether you want a motion light connected directly to AC power or if you prefer a battery or solar powered unit. A hard lined light will never run out of power, but also requires a much more involved and expensive installation, and can't easily be moved later.
As to where your motion lights should cast their beams, that depends on your property both in terms of its physical layout and its situation in the neighborhood. If streetlights illuminate your yard and front door all through the night, a motion light might be a good idea out back but is pointless in the front. If your house is set well back from the road, however, you might want motion lights not only poised and ready near the front door but also set up along the driveway and/or walkway, too. Motion lights are a good idea for secluded parking areas, for the offset mailbox, and for any side or rear entrances that might look tempting to a criminal lurking in the darkness.
Motion Lights For Your Convenience
Most neighborhoods in America are safe and sound places to live, and it's more likely that the biggest issues you'll face at home is spilling garbage as you try to load the trash can in the dark, rather than having a burglar slink around your property in the gloaming. Installing motion lights around the exterior of your home in those areas you frequent after dark can make your life much more convenient, and can make things safer, too. When you can see where you're going when you step out the side or back door, you reduce the risk of tripping and hurting an ankle or spilling whatever you have in your arms.
It's a good idea to install motion lights near doors where you pause to let yourself in with a door key and near trash cans, at the minimum. You'll appreciate the lights the first time you effortlessly locate the right key and get it into the door's lock without a moment's delay. You'll also be pleased whenever your motion lights scare away raccoons or other pesky visitors slinking around your trash cans, not to mention the ease you'll enjoy separating the recycling from the garbage thanks to the new lights.
Motion lights are also a good idea for anyway walkways or steps that are often used after dark and that can present a hazard to navigate after dark, especially to visitors or delivery people not familiar with your property.