Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
- Best Hardwired: Amico 3 Head LED Security Lights
- Best Battery-Operated: Mr. Beams Outdoor Spotlight
- Best Solar-Powered: HMCITY Outdoor Solar Lights
- Best Light Bulb: Aukora Motion Sensor Light Bulb
- Best Porch Light: Lamomo Motion Sensor Porch Light
- Best Smart: Ring Smart Lighting Floodlight
- Outdoor Motion Sensor Light Buying Guide
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
Outdoor Motion Sensor Light Buying Guide
Outdoor motion sensor lights are an essential part of your home. Motion-activated lights automate your outdoor lighting, help you save energy and electric bills, and deter intruders as a security light. It's critical to spend time researching and picking the best light for your house.
We've reviewed dozens of outdoor motion sensor lights and compared product specs and user reviews. With the key factors of security, illumination performance, and home automation in mind, we're confident that the best lights we picked would fit most people's diverse needs and home applications.
If you might want to research for yourself, here is a comprehensive guide on outdoor motion sensor lights that can help solve your buying concerns and common problems.
- What Is an Outdoor Motion Sensor Light
- How Do Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Work
- Types of Power Sources
- Types of Light Fixtures
- Features of outdoor motion sensor lights
- Why Use Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
- Where to Place Motion Sensor Lights
- Outdoor Motion Sensor Light FAQs
What Is an Outdoor Motion Sensor Light
An outdoor motion sensor light is a motion-activated light especially made for outdoor usage to stand weather conditions like rain and snow. Motion lights use a built-in motion sensor to detect people and moving objects nearby to automate the lights. The lights automatically turn on when the motion sensor detects nearby movement and automatically turn off while the detecting area is empty.
Motion sensor lights are highly suitable for outdoor use as they can automate the lighting without you touching a thing and can save huge energy by only turning on when needed at night. These lights are primarily used as outdoor security lights as well for their ability to detect suspicious human activities and deter intruders.
How Do Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Work
Most outdoor motion sensor lights use PIR motion sensors to detect people's movement. PIR motion sensors are the most utilized type of sensor for outdoor motion sensor lights because they are extremely reliable, energy-efficient, and durable. Another advantage is that PIR sensors mainly detect human movement and presence based on the infrared radiation emitted from warm bodies, whereas ultrasonic and microwave sensors may detect any moving objects, not limited to humans. As PIR motion sensors passively receive signals without emitting, they consume very little energy for detection, making them favorably suitable for battery-operated and solar-powered lights.
It's worth noting that, besides people, PIR motion sensors can also be activated by infrared emitted from cars passing by, wild animals, hot wind from nature or HVAC, or even spiders and big bugs that crawl across the sensor may trigger the detector. Natural light or light from hot bulbs may also trigger the motion detector(Flashlights or artificial light like LED cannot trigger because they do not emit infrared).
Another thing to notice is that the PIR sensors can only detect moving, warm bodies by telling the differences in the infrared signals caused when the object is moving. They cannot detect a person's presence or get activated when the people in the area are static and not moving, like reading or sleeping.
When the PIR motion sensor detects a valid motion signal, the motion sensor supplies power to turn the light on. Usually, the light can last 20 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the timer setting and then automatically turn off. 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.
To further save energy and make them only work at night, many motion sensor lights would utilize a photocell/light sensor to detect ambient light level, so the lights can only get triggered at night to avoid electricity waste in the daytime. These lights are also called dusk to dawn motion sensor lights.
Types of Power Sources
Outdoor motion sensor lights are very flexible with power sources and you can almost get one that best suit your demands. Usually, there are hardwired, battery-operated, solar-powered motion sensor lights available on the market.
Hardwired Motion Sensor Light
Hardwired motion sensor lights require wiring for power. They are powered by AC voltage directly from your house, so hardwired lights can provide the most bright illumination, from 1000 to 4000 lumens. Most security lights are hardwired because they require strong and reliable light to spot the detection zone.
Hardwired motion sensor lights could always be your first choice if you have wirings available outside your property because they provide the most consistent performance. Once installed and configured, you don't need to worry about a thing.
Battery Operated Motion Sensor Light
Battery-operated motion sensor lights use 3 or 4 D-cell batteries for power so they can be mounted wherever the motion sensor light is needed. Usually, the battery-powered motion sensor light can last for about 1 year with an average of 8 to 10 activations a day. But the lumens it provides would be 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 wiring. They absorb sunlight and charge into the built-in battery to store the energy produced in the daytime for use 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. Compared to a regular solar light, a motion sensor solar light works best as it won't turn on the whole night wasting power and requires less time for charging.
Plug-in Motion Sensor Light
Plug-in motion sensor lights for outdoors are mainly motion sensor light bulbs or sockets that you can directly plug in and use. They don't require tricky installation as long as you get a socket available. Plug-in motion sensor lights are mostly used indoors though, such as night lights. When purchasing an outdoor motion sensor light bulb, do pay attention that the product is listed for outdoor usage.
Types of Light Fixtures
Outdoor motion sensor lights come in various styles, including porch lights, security floodlights, and even motion sensor light bulbs.
Motion Sensor Floodlight
Motion sensor floodlights are the most commonly used outdoor 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 outdoor security lights most of the time.
Motion Sensor Spotlight
Outdoor motion sensor spotlights are often used to spot a specific area such as front doors, doorways, and corridors because spotlights project a bright beam of light. Most motion sensor spotlights are wireless and battery-operated for easy installation without limitation of wiring.
Motion Sensor Porch Light
Motion sensor porch lights are wall-mounted and are good decorative lighting for your house. The motion sensor is built on the top of the lantern to detect a wide range of movement, so you don't have to add another motion sensor to control your regular porch light. The best thing is they look nice with colorful bulbs at night.
Motion Sensor Light Bulb
Motion sensor light bulbs are a great workaround solution when you want to enjoy motion-activated lighting without much adjustment for installation. A motion sensor light bulb has a PIR motion sensor built in at the tip of the bulb so that the light bulb itself can detect motion towards the motion sensor.
You can install the light bulb directly into standard sockets and instantly get it working. It's recommended to point the light bulb towards where you want to detect motion if it's possible to adjust the socket. Otherwise, the sensor can only detect human movement downside. Don't install the light bulb in a totally enclosed fixture because it would block the sensor from detecting motion signals. Some motion sensor bulb also has photocell built-in to only function at night.
Not to get confused that a motion sensor light does not require a motion sensor light bulb. Any bulb can work with a motion sensor light, even a dimming light bulb, except that it will not dim and only work at full capacity.
Motion Sensor Light Socket
A motion sensor light socket has the PIR sensor built in the socket. You can simply remove your bulb, plug the socket in and screw your bulb back in. Now you get your existing light motion activated without much work. A motion sensor socket is similar to a motion sensor bulb. The difference is that with a motion sensor light socket, you can use any type of bulb.
Features of outdoor motion sensor lights
Sensitivity, on time, and LUX are the three main features of all outdoor motion sensor lights. You can usually find dials or knobs labeled as SENS, TIME, and LUX on the bottom of the motion sensor.
There are also some additional features, such as dusk to dawn and manual override, which we'll also cover.
Sensitivity & Range
The sensitivity controls how sensitive or how far the motion sensor is able to detect moving objects. With a higher sensitivity, the motion sensor can detect and cover a larger range and detect more minor movements.
You can usually find the sensitivity setting labeled as "SENS" or "Range" on the back of the sensor, but they are basically the same thing. The "H" is for high sensitivity, and the "LO" is for low sensitivity.
Generally, most outdoor motion sensor lights can detect motion within the detection range from 20 feet to 70 feet; some can cover up to 100 feet(30 meters). The detecting range may vary drastically among manufacturers and models. Do refer to your product instruction for final confirmation.
Adjusting the optimal sensitivity is critical, as it hugely impacts motion detecting performance. If the sensitivity is too high, the light may get activated by non-human moving objects like animals or cars and falsely turn on. If the sensitivity is too low, the light cannot turn on as soon as people enter the space.
The on-time, time delay, or time setting controls how long the light stays on after the sensor no longer detects movement. On-time helps keep the light consistent and reduces potential false-offs. You can adjust the "TIME" dial knob, CW or CCW, to increase or decrease the time duration.
The timer starts to count down after the sensor cannot detect a movement and resets if the sensor detects a new activity during the countdown. The light will turn off if no motion has been detected during the entire on-time duration. For example, even with a 30-second setting, the light can stay on as long as people are frequently triggering the motion sensor by moving across or in and out.
Most outdoor motion sensor lights allow you to set the on-time from 30 seconds to 30 minutes and many homeowners find 5 to 10 minutes time setting works best.
Ambient light or LUX setting allows users to adjust the light sensor to make the motion sensor light only work when the environment is dark. LUX is the unit of illuminance that is used to measure the intensity of light. In other words, it indicates the ambient light level in the environment. The higher the LUX value, the brighter the environment.
PIR motion sensor lights detect only infrared emitted from warm bodies, so they don't require any light for motion detection and can work 24/7, day and night. With an integrated photocell/light sensor to detect the ambient brightness, the light will only turn on when the ambient light level is below the selected LUX value. This can hugely reduce energy waste in the daytime when there is enough natural light.
You can change the LUX value on the "LUX" dial knob on the back of the sensor. Some lights might have labels with specific LUX values like 15LUX, 25LUX, or 35LUX. Some lights have a "sun" icon, meaning the light can operate at any light level, and a "moon" icon, meaning the light will only work at night.
Dusk to Dawn
The dusk to dawn is a more sophisticated extension feature coming from the LUX setting. Typically dusk to dawn means the motion sensor light only works during dusk to dawn, after sunset and before sunrise. The motion sensor light will keep off during the daytime and only work at night.
Manufacturers have added more useful features in addition to the typical dusk to dawn feature. For example, users could choose the light to stay on at a dimmed level the entire night and turn full brightness when it detects a person nearby.
Lumens means how much light you are getting from the bulb. The more lumens, the brighter the light. The difference between Lumens and Lux is that you need to take space into consideration. For example, for a 1000 lumens bulb to light up an area of 1 square meter, you get an illuminance of 1000 LUX. The same 1000 lumens bulb to light up an area of 10 square meters, you get an illuminance of 100 LUX. To illuminate a large space like your backyard or garden, you generally need more lumens.
As for outdoor lights, you might usually find their brightness range from 200 lumens to 4000 lumens. Battery-operated, solar-powered spotlights tend to have lower lumens from 200 to 1000, which is enough to light up pathways and small areas. In comparison, hardwired lights have a higher range from 700 to 2000 lumens and can provide up to 4000 lumens light, which is enough to light up your entire garden and yard.
When purchasing outdoor lights, think of lumens, not watts. Think about how bright you want the light to be and for what purpose. For instance, a standard flashlight is commonly 200 lumens. For security lights, it's better to start from 700 lumens, and 2500 lumens can be a sweet spot, which is similar to a car headlight, focusing flashlight for searching, and enough to light up a small room.
For the color temperature of the light, you usually get two options, cool white and warm white. For landscaping and decoration purposes, a cozy, calming warm white is gentle and relaxing to the eye, creating an atmosphere. Cool white is a better choice if you need a security light or purely for illumination.
A small number of outdoor motion sensor lights allow users to override the motion detection function so they can manually control the light. It is often achieved by adding an extra switch to temporarily bypass the motion detector.
The manual override feature can be super helpful for many homeowners who want to keep their lights on, but not many motion sensor lights have the override function built-in.
Why Use Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
Actually, motion sensor lights are maybe the best types of outdoor lights. The main benefits include adding convenience with 100% hands-free lighting automation, saving your electric bills, and improving your home's overall security.
Outdoor motion sensor lights require no touch and provide automatic illumination to your yard, driveway, and garage. They can welcome you home with a well-lit front yard when you get back from work.
Motion-activated lights are also very friendly to the elderly, kids, and the disabled by providing illuminance to assist navigation at night, prevent injuries and scare away animals for safety.
Reduce Energy Waste
Motion sensor lights can save energy up to 80% of energy compared to normal halogen lights. It's a waste of electricity to keep the light on all night to light up an empty yard.
Keeping the lights off can also help reduce carbon emissions and other harmful greenhouse gases to protect the environment and save the planet.
Plus, a PIR motion sensor has very little power consumption. It only consumes 1 to 2w in standby mode, which is peanuts compared to the power consumption of the light.
Outdoor motion sensor lights are primarily used as home security lights and 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 light. Sufficient lighting removes the dark cloaks and makes intruders hard to hide their identity. And 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. The sudden light might also alert neighbors or homeowners about suspicious activity outside your home. A reliable security light can scare away most intruders.
Many homeowners prefer to keep the porch light on all night to alert burglars that make it appear as if someone is home, but it's not wise. On the contrary, leaving the porch lights on all night will make intruders think you are not home. Using a motion sensor light that turns on when intruders go near is the best option.
Where to Place Motion Sensor Lights
You can place the motion sensor lights wherever needed, whether for illumination at night, outdoor lighting decoration, or security detection against burglars. Common places we recommend installing outdoor motion sensor 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 above the ground for the best performance. 6 feet is about a man's height so you don't want to place the sensor below that. The sensor might lose detecting ability when placed higher than 10 feet. For the recommended installation height, refer to the instruction manual for final confirmation.
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 it.
Outdoor Motion Sensor Light FAQs
How to Keep Motion Sensor Lights On
If you want to keep your outdoor motion sensor light on, 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 some motion sensor lights provide a manual override feature that allows users to manually control the light.
If your motion sensor light does not have such features, but you have a switch to turn ON/OFF the power to the light, 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. Additionally, if you have electric skills, you can rewire the switch to supply power directly to the light, parallel to the motion sensor, so that you can keep the light on by simply flipping the switch.
How to Turn off Motion Sensor Lights
If your motion sensor light does not have a manual override feature, you have to wait for the timer(time delay) to expire, and then the light will automatically turn off. Or you might want to adjust to a shorter time duration for the light to turn off quicker.
If you want to keep the light off for a longer time, you can disable the motion detection function on the light if the light has such a function. Or you can completely mask the motion sensor to keep the light off as the sensor can no longer detect motion and remove the mask when you want it to detect motion again.
Does Motion Sensor Light Need a Switch
A motion sensor light does not need a switch, but adding a switch can significantly expand its capabilities. The foremost benefit is that you can at least turn off the light when needed. With proper wiring and setup, you can even manually keep the light on or off like a standard light.
How to Fix a Motion Sensor Light That Stays On
Several things can cause your motion detector to stay on and not turn off. First, check whether the light is purposely set to on mode. For example, some dusk to dawn motion sensor lights allow the light to stay on all night. Try switching to motion detection mode and see if the light can turn off. Or the light sensor may be covered by dust and think it's already night. Try cleaning the sensors with a soft cloth to wipe down the dust or debris.
If the light still stays on, it's possible that the motion sensor is constantly detecting motion you are unaware of, such as moving cars or heat sources near the light. Try pointing the light to other positions, selecting a low sensitivity, or masking part of the sensor to see if the light can turn off.
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 can turn off quickly.
Finally, the motion sensor might get overridden or stuck in on mode due to things like power outages. Turn off the power for 1 minute and reset the light to see if it will return 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 sensor because PIR motion sensors are very durable and not likely to fail. And the light will keep on at least for a while until the time delay expires and would not simply switch on and off instantly.
If the light is flickering rather than flashing, the flickering is often caused by the light bulb and electric circuit. Check the following for possible causes:
- The light bulb is bad or incompatible. 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, for instance, a loose wiring connection that might cause voltage changes/fluctuation. LED bulbs are sensitive to voltage changes and might flicker.
- A faulty circuit may also cause the light to flicker. Try replacing it with a new light to see if it also flashes.
How to Reset a Motion Sensor Light
Fully unplug the light or turn off the breaker for at least 30 seconds. Most motion sensor lights will be successfully reset to the default setting.
Can Animals Trigger Motion Sensor Lights
Yes, animals can trigger motion sensor lights as most outdoor motion sensor lights utilize a PIR motion sensor, which registers a motion by infrared or, simply put, heat/temperature changes. An outdoor motion sensor light is also commonly used by homeowners to scare away small to mid-sized animals.
Why Do Motion Sensors Cause False Detection
Most of the time, the false detection is caused by improper installation and lack of adjustment. PIR motion sensors are quite reliable and durable, and false detection usually means the sensor does detect some kind of movement, maybe from a car or animals outside the scope of the zone.
What Light Bulb Is Best for Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
Any light bulb can work with outdoor motion sensor lights because they do not require special bulbs. You can use an incandescent bulb, CLF, or LED light as long as it's compatible with the light model.
Usually, LEDs are the popular and default option. If you have already bought the light, use the same type of bulb and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. You can even use a dimmable bulb with a motion sensor light, but the bulb would just work at its full capacity without dimming.
Do Motion Sensor Lights Wear Out
The PIR motion sensor normally doesn't wear out and can work as long as other electronics. It's the lens that is exposed to weather conditions like sunlight, dust, and rain that gets damaged. In conclusion, the motion sensor does wear out, but with proper installation, it can work for up to 10 years without a problem.
Can You Turn Any Light Into a Motion Light
If you want to keep the existing light while making it motion-activated, you can add a motion detector to turn it into a motion sensor light. But it does require some wiring and conditions. Or you can use an outdoor motion sensor bulb or socket, but it is not compatible with all fixtures.
Does Temperature Affect Motion Sensors
Yes, motion sensors are often affected by temperatures. Within its working temperature range, PIR motion sensors work better in cold temperatures and are less accurate in hot temperatures.
Why Is My Outdoor Sensor Light Not Working
Several reasons might cause a motion sensor light to stop working. If it's a new light, check for installation, wirings, and adjustments for the proper setup. If the light was working and suddenly stopped working, try resetting the light to see if it can function normally. A power outage may temporarily cause the light to get stuck and not work.
Also, clean your sensor with a soft cloth and wipe down dust, debris, and spider webs that cover the sensor, which may reduce its ability for detection.
Lastly, check and change the bulb and the light fixture itself. The electronics may get damaged after aging, especially the outdoor ones. If they are broken, replace them with a new one.