Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights 2022

Updated: 04/22/2022
motion sensor light on wall

Motion sensor lights can drastically improve your home security and illuminate your house’s yard and driveway for easy navigation at night. Outdoor motion sensor lights only turn on when it detects nearby movement, making them a cost-effective and must-have investment for your property.

There are many types of motion sensor lights, including hardwired, battery operated and solar powered. They also come in various designs for different applications such as floodlights mainly for security and porch lights for decoration.

Here are some of the best outdoor motion sensor lights we have reviewed and picked for you. If you want to learn more about motion-activated lights, keep reading and dive into the definitive guide all about motion sensor lights below.

Best Hardwired: Amico 3 Head LED Security Lights

Our Pick

Amico 3 Head LED Security Lights with Motion Sensor

Best Hardwired Motion Sensor Floodlight

Easy installation for DIYers. Three working modes included: Motion detection, Dusk to Dawn, and Always ON manual mode. 3 security light heads adjustable design suitable for every application.

The Amico 3 head LED floodlight is one of the optimal security lights for your outdoor garage and driveway. The floodlight outputs up to 4000 lumens of excellent brightness that can cover every corner of your front yard. The motion-activated light can save your electricity bill by up to 80% compared to equivalent halogen bulbs 200W.

The Amico 3 LED security lights can detect motion with 180 degrees angle, up to a max 75 feet coverage. The motion sensor floodlight allows you to switch from motion detection mode, dusk to dawn mode and always-ON mode and set a timer from 1, 3, to 10mins.

The three aluminum head is corrosion and rust-resistant and is adjustable for rotating at your preferred position. With the IP65 waterproof design, the Amico 3 head security floodlight is the best and most durable hardwired outdoor motion sensor light for your home.

What We Like

  • Flexible working mode: Motion Activated, Dusk to Dawn, Manual Mode
  • Up to 75 feet detection range

What We Don’t Like

  • Light is too bright for some application

Best Battery-Operated: Mr. Beams Outdoor Spotlight

Our Pick

Mr. Beams MB360XT Motion-Sensor-Activated LED Spotlight

Best Battery-Operated Spotlight

Battery-operated powered by 3 D-cell batteries that can last for 1 year with 10 activations a day. Detects motion up to 30 feet with 200 lumens of bright outdoor lighting.

The Mr. Beams MB360XT LED motion-activated spotlight is one of the best-sellers. The wireless spotlight is powered by 3 D-cell batteries and can last 1 year with an average use of 8-10 activations a day. The spotlight can provide 200 lumens of bright outdoor security lighting with a wider coverage area of 600 square feet, thanks to its reflective face.

The Mr. Beams MB360XT spotlight can detect motions from 120 degrees from the motion sensor on the face of the light up to 30 feet away. The photocell only activates at night and lasts as long as there is motion detected and will be auto-off after 20 seconds.

The spotlight is IPx6 rating certified and built for outdoor use with its patented design, allowing the spotlight to be durable enough for outdoor elements.

What We Like

  • Easy installation
  • Works perfect for what it’s designed for

What We Don’t Like

  • 200 lumens is not bright enough for every user

Upgrade Pick

Mr. Beams High Performance Security Light

Best Battery-Operated Floodlight

Battery-operated powered by 4 D-cell batteries that can last for 1 year with 10 activations a day. Detects motion up to 30 feet with 500 lumens of bright outdoor lighting.

Best Solar-Powered: HMCITY Outdoor Solar Lights

Top Pick

HMCITY Outdoor Solar Lights

Best Solar Motion Sensor Light

Very budget-friendly and powerful solar lights with wide 270° lighting coverage and come in two packs. Can detect motion within up to 26 feet. Versatile with 3 working modes included.

The HMCITY outdoor solar lights are very budget-friendly and powerful. The two-pack solar-powered outdoor motion sensor light does not require any wiring or battery, making them great for outdoor use where you can get sufficient sunlight.

These solar motion sensor lights can detect up to 26 feet with a 120 degrees sensing angle. With the two-pack size, you can easily cover your entire yard with no effort. The HMCITY solar lights are now upgraded with a light reflector, providing brighter illumination with a 270 degrees wide coverage angle.

Users can freely choose from the 3 working modes that suit their best needs: 1. motion detection mode where the light only gets activated when the sensor detects motion2. Light always on all night 3. Light dim on all night and get brighter when motion detected

What We Like

  • Extremely cost-friendly
  • Versatile working mode for users

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit small in size for some users but the light is powerful though

Best Light Bulb: Aukora Motion Sensor Light Bulb

Aukora Motion Sensor Light Bulb

Best Motion Sensor Light Bulb

1000 Lumens bright cool-white or warm-white illumination for indoor and outdoor use. With dusk to dawn feature that only gets activated at night.

The Aukora motion sensor light bulb allows you to install the PIR light bulb directly into the most normal medium base socket for easy installation. The light bulbs are great for indoor and outdoor use where you already have an existing socket and want to enjoy the hands-free motion-activated light while saving energy up to 90%.

With the built-in dusk to dawn sensor, the light bulb will only get triggered by movement at night and last about 40 seconds and then automatically turn off.

With the 1000 lumens bright light equivalent to 100-watt incandescents, the Aukora motion sensor light bulb can be used almost everywhere, such as outdoor porch lights, garage lights, and corridor lights.

What We Like

  • Motion sensor light bulb is a real problem solver
  • Quick installation

What We Don’t Like

  • Inconsistent quality

Best Porch Light: Lamomo Motion Sensor Porch Light

Lamomo Motion Sensor Porch Light

Best Motion Sensor Porch Light

Versatile outdoor porch light with 3 modes: dusk to dawn mode, motion detection mode and dimming+motion detection mode. Adjustable dimming light from 0 to 50% for saving more energy.

The Lamomo outdoor motion sensor porch light is extremely versatile with 3 modes. The dusk to dawn mode allows the light to be always OFF at daytime and always ON at night. The Auto Mode turns on the light for 60 seconds at night when motion is detected. The Auto + mode turns on the light at 25% brightness(dimming) at dusk when no motion is detected and turns to 100% brightness once motion is detected. Users can set the illumination time from 20s to 180s and the dimming light brightness from 0%-50%.

The pre-assembled outdoor wall lantern is easy to install and highly durable with heavy-duty, rugged, high-quality aluminum and clear seeded glass panels for outdoor weather resistance.

The motion sensor on the light fixtures has a larger motion detection range up to 40FT and 180° angle, which is wide enough for normal daily use.

What We Like

  • Equipped with a better motion sensor
  • Adjustable modes for further customization

What We Don’t Like

  • The 10.6in type is not big, but you can purchase the 13.4in instead

Best Smart: Ring Smart Lighting Floodlight

Top Pick

Ring Smart Battery Powered Motion Sensor Floodlight

Best Smart Motion Sensor Light

With the Ring Bridge, you can easily connect the Ring smart light family, pair with doorbells and cameras, and control them all via the Ring app on your phone or Alexa-enabled devices.

The Ring Smart Lighting start kit includes a battery-operated motion sensor floodlight that outputs 600 lumens of brightness and a Ring bridge for connecting the motion sensor lights to other Ring products like doorbells and cameras. You can pair and group them together, get notifications of events, and control the light, motion and brightness settings via the Ring app on your phone and tablets or via Alexa-enabled devices.

The battery-powered smart lighting is easy to install and weather resistant for placing them outside without worrying about the weather elements.

What We Like

  • Overall a great product and almost perfect

What We Don’t Like

  • Batteries won’t last long
  • 600 lumens not satisfying every customer

The smart motion light kit is also available in hardwired type and solar-powered type, see also:

Why You Should Trust Us

Outdoor motion sensor lights are an essential part of your home’s nighttime security, and it’s critical to spend time researching and pick the best light for your house.

We’ve reviewed dozens of motion sensor lights, compared product specs and user reviews. Having written the guide for motion sensors and motion sensor light switches, we know the key factors to look for in picking the best outdoor motion sensor lights for security and illumination performance.

Here is a comprehensive guide on motion sensor lights that can help solve your buying concerns and common problems.

What Is a Motion Sensor Light

A motion sensor light is a light controlled by a built-in motion sensor, so the light becomes motion-activated and only gets triggered when the motion sensor detects nearby human movement. Motion sensor lights are turned off when there are no people around to reduce energy waste. These lights are often used as outdoor security lights as well for their ability to detect suspicious human activities.  

Types of Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights

Outdoor motion sensor lights come in various styles, including porch lights, security floodlights, and even PIR sensor light bulbs. They are very flexible with power sources, and you can choose from hardwired, battery-operated to solar-powered lights that best suit your demand.

Hardwired Motion Sensor Light

Hardwired motion sensor lights are powered by AC voltage so they can provide the most bright illumination around 3000 to 4000 lumens with consistent performance. If you have wirings available outside your property, hardwired motion sensor lights are your first choice.

Battery Operated Motion Sensor Light

Battery-operated motion sensor lights use 3 or 4 D-cell batteries for power supply so they can be mounted wherever the motion sensor light is needed. Usually, the battery-powered motion sensor light can last for 1 year with an average of 8 to 10 activations a day, but the lumens it provides is relatively small, around 500 for the balance of battery lifespan and proper illumination.

Solar Motion Sensor Light

Solar motion sensor lights are solar-powered without the need for extra batteries or wirings. They absorb sunlight and charge into the built-in battery to illuminate at night. If your house can get sufficient sunlight during the day, solar motion sensor lights can provide excellent performance and they are the most eco and budget friendly solution for your outdoor lighting.

Motion Sensor Floodlight

Motion sensor floodlights are the most commonly used motion sensor lights. Floodlights are broad-beamed, high-intensity artificial lights that can spread the lighting to illuminate a wide range of outdoor fields.

Motion sensor floodlights usually consist of 2 or 3 adjustable heads to provide sufficient lighting, and motion sensor floodlights are used as the outdoor security lights for most of the time.

Motion Sensor Spotlight

Motion sensor spotlights project a bright beam of light, so they are often used to spot a specific area such as front doors, doorways and corridors. Motion sensor spotlights are usually wireless and battery operated for easy installation without wirings.

Motion Sensor Porch Light

Motion sensor porch lights are wall-mounted, and they are good decoration lightings for your house. The motion sensor is built on the top of the lantern to detect a wide range of movement.

Motion Sensor Light Bulb

Motion sensor light bulbs are a great work-a-around solution where you want to enjoy motion-activated lighting without much adjustment for installation. The motion sensor light bulb has a PIR motion sensor built-in at the tip of the bulb so that the light bulb can detect motion towards the motion sensor. You can install the light bulb directly to standard sockets and instantly get it working. It’s recommended to point the light bulb towards where you want to detect motion or the sensor can only detect human movement downside. And don’t install the light bulb in a total enclosed fixture that would block the sensor from detecting motion.

Not to get confused that a motion sensor light does not require a motion sensor light bulb. A motion sensor light requires only a regular light bulb, or a dimming light bulb if the dimming feature is enabled. 

Why Use Motion Sensor Lights

Outdoor motion sensor light provides illumination to your yard, driveway and garage. It’s more convenient to have motion-activated than manual controlled lighting for outdoor use because you don’t want to bother turning ON and OFF the light every time and you certainly don’t know when you will gtt a visitor from outside. 

Motion sensor lights can save energy up to 80% energy compared to normal halogen light, and it’s a waste of electricity to keep the light ON all night when there are no people around.

Outdoor motion sensor lights are used as the outdoor security lights as well and they can help deter crime and burglars. Burglars are highly likely to startle and give up the crime when the motion sensor detects their existence and suddenly turns ON. The sufficient lighting removes the dark cloaks and makes the intruders hard to hide their identity. And the burglars won’t know whether there is a security camera along with the motion sensor light that might have already caught their face and sent alarms.

How Do Motion Sensor Lights Work

Most outdoor motion sensor lights use PIR motion sensors as the motion detector because PIR motion sensors are durable, cheap and only consume very little power which is highly suitable for outdoor usage especially when the motion sensor light is battery or solar powered. And PIR motion sensors are more sensitive to human motions based on temperature differences than other motion sensors such as ultrasonic and microwave sensors.

When the PIR motion sensor detects people around, the motion sensor will turn on the light. Usually, the light can last 20 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the timer setting and then automatically turn off the light. The outdoor passive infrared motion sensor can detect motion up to 100 feet(30 meters), usually within the detection range from 20 feet to 70 feet. Many motion sensor lights allow users to adjust the detecting range, also known as sensor sensitivity, from low to high on the light for the best detection performance.

To further save energy and make the motion sensor lights only work at night, motion sensor lights would contain a light sensor so the lights can only get triggered at night to avoid electricity waste in the daytime. These lights are called dusk to dawn motion sensor lights. 

There is often a pre-set LUX value, which roughly represents the environmental brightness, so the motion sensor lights cannot turn on when the ambient light is higher than the LUX setting. Some dusk to dawn motion sensor lights allow users to adjust the LUX value for detailed modification.

A small number of motion sensor lights allow users to override the motion detection to manually keep the light ON or OFF with a switch. This can be useful for many homeowners, but not many motion sensor lights have the override function built-in.

Where to Place Motion Sensor Lights

You can place the motion sensor lights wherever needed, whether for illumination at night or security detection for burglars. Common places we recommend to install the lights are: above the garage, walkways, all home entrances including front/back doors and windows, and open areas around your house.

Generally, it’s recommended to install the motion sensor light 6 feet to 10 feet for the best result. 6 feet is about a man’s height and you don’t want to place the sensor below that. And the sensor might lose detection range if it’s placed higher than 10 feet. Anyway, you should follow the instruction of your motion sensor lights for the recommended installation height for each model.

Another thing to notice is that you should point the motion sensor to the position where you want the motion sensor to detect. Also, the PIR motion sensor is more sensitive to movement across the sensor and less sensitive to movement towards the sensor according to how PIR sensor works, so it’s best to place the motion sensor light at the side of the walkway, for example, rather than directly towards the walkway.

Motion Sensor Light FAQ

How to Keep Motion Sensor Lights On

If you want to keep your outdoor motion sensor light on, for example, leave the outdoor lights ON all night long to illuminate your yard, you should consider buying a light available with such a feature in the first place. 

Most dusk to dawn motion sensor lights allow you to keep the light on all night, and other motion sensor lights might provide a manual override feature that allows you to manually keep the light on.

If your current light does not have such features but has a switch to turn ON/OFF the power, you can try to turn the light ON, OFF, ON quickly to override the motion sensor and keep the light on. This method will work for some motion sensor lights, worth a try.

If you have electric skills, you can manually add a switch parallel to the lights to power the light individually by simply taking the hot circuit to the sensor and to the light switch in parallel. So you can use the light switch to always power the light and keep them on, but you are not able to turn the light off manually when the motion sensor has been detecting motion and powering the light on its side.

How to Turn off Motion Sensor Lights

If your motion sensor light does not have a manual override feature, then you have to wait for the timer(time delay) to expire, and the light will automatically turn off.

If you want to keep the light off, you can disable the motion detection function on the light if it’s able to do so. Or you can completely mask the motion sensor to keep the light off as the sensor cannot detect motion.

How to Fix a Motion Sensor Light That Stays On

First, check whether the light is set to Always On mode. For example, some dusk to dawn motion sensor lights allow you to keep the light on all night with one of its working modes. Try switching to motion detection mode and see if the light can turn off.

If your light still stays on, it’s possible that the motion sensor is constantly detecting motion that you are unaware of, such as the moving cars or heat sources near the light. Try pointing the light to other positions or masking the motion sensor to see if the light is still on. If the light can auto turn off when facing other directions, then it’s highly possible that the motion sensor has been detecting distraction heat sources.

Another reason is that the timer is set too long that it seems the light stays on without turning off. Try setting a minimum time delay, such as 20 seconds to see if the light will turn off.

Finally, the motion sensor might get overridden, so the light is always powered. Unplug and reset the light to see if it will get back to normal.

Why Are Motion Sensor Lights Flashing

When your motion sensor light keeps flashing ON and OFF and flickering, it’s usually not the problem of the motion sensor because the PIR motion sensor used on the lights is very durable and will keep the light ON for a while and does not simply switch from ON and OFF instantly.

The repeatedly flashing is often caused by the light bulb and electric circuit. Check the following for possible causes:

  • The light bulb is bad. It is the most straightforward reason that causes the flickering. Try replacing it with another light bulb.
  • The connection between the light bulb and the light fixture is not stable. Try reinstalling the light bulb. 
  • The circuit itself is faulty, which may also cause the light to turn ON by itself, bypassing triggering from the motion detection. Try replacing it with a regular light fixture to see if it flashes as well.

How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light

Fully unplug the light or turn off the breaker for at least 30 seconds, then most motion sensor lights will be successfully reset to the default setting.

Can Animals Trigger Motion Sensor Lights

Yes, as most outdoor motion sensor lights utilize PIR motion sensor, which detects motion by infrared, or simply put, heat changes, so animals can trigger the lights if they have near-human body temperature.

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