When you’re looking for a driveway alarm you want to find something that will work regardless of the weather, and that won’t be going off constantly at the movement of a wild animal or pet. It can be hard to find a balance between safety and overdoing it. Luckily for you, we are here to help!
We know that finding the right alarm for your family, your housing situation, and your lifestyle can be difficult, so we are here to give you all of the information you need to help you make a well-informed choice about the best driveway alarm for your needs.
In this article we will go over some basics of driveway alarm systems, what to look for when purchasing a driveway alarm, how to install these alarms, and what features you may want to add on to your basic system. After that we will give you our top picks so that you can decide which one fits best with your lifestyle.
Navigating your driveway or garage in the dead of night isn’t exactly easy without a hint of lighting. But by using motion sensor lights, finding your way around backyard or front yard areas is a piece of cake. In fact, studies show that homes that use motion sensor lights also have lower rates of burglary as well.
If you want to make your walkways safer and protect your home from unwanted guests, motion sensor lights can help. Keep on reading to see which type of motion sensor lighting might best suit your needs.
Why Should You Install Motion Sensor Lights?
Aside from saving you form a twisted ankle, motion sensor lights add a sense of safety to your home. Many of these outdoor motion sensors double as outdoor security lighting.
Allot of these are available with off-the-grid solar energy, including solar security lights. Over the course of their life spans, these devices can save you thousands on your utility bill.
Nowadays, most garage door openers come with built-in motion sensor lights. So, as soon as you either open or close the garage, a light will come.
In the end, installing motion lights not only gives you peace of mind but helps you avoid injuries.
How do Motion Sensor Lights Work?
Aside from being motion activated, these lights are very similar to traditional setups. It’s just that they use specific wavelength sensors to turn “on and off” the switch, instead of you doing it yourself.
Some of these have infrared motion detectors that act like small electronic eyes which can detect infrared waves. These heat waves are only picked up by warmer things, like people, animals, and cars.
“Unbothered trips,” like a falling stick, won’t set these off because they don’t emit heat waves. However, for traditional outdoor motion sensor lights, these things can activate them. That’s why sometimes you’ll see a street light or porch light all of a sudden light up for no apparent reason.
During the daytime hours, a photocell in each unit deactivates the motion sensor. This prevents the light from turning on, even when it dedicated motion. Not only is this good for your energy bill, but it will help preserve the bulb’s longevity.
If correctly installed, an LED motion sensor light can last decades without being replaced. Because of these photocells prevent unneeded illumination, even incandescent bulbs can last years.
Where to Put Motion Detecting Lights in and Around Your Home and Yard
Anywhere you want instantaneous illumination in your home or yard, consider installing these lights. Garages and pathways are clear choices, but dark hallways are also good places to put these. Especially in attics, motion sensing lights make great additions.
For security purposes, consider putting one or two by your front and back patios. Most motion sensor lights work within a radius of 70 ft, which is ample room to scare off a would-be intruder. Also, placing a few by your garden area can help deter vermin from killing fruiting plants.
What is Passive Infrared (PIR)
PIR is an acronym that’s often found in the description of motion sensor lights. This just means the motion detector uses the infrared technology we discussed earlier.
Because of how precise these are, PIR systems are better for wooded areas. These systems will help cut down on system “trips,” which are common with traditional motion sensing units.
For example, a falling tree branch won’t signal a PIR system to turn on. But if a system just uses disturbance as a trigger, like the ones found in more common motion sensor setups, it will.
How do I Properly Place Motion Sensor Lights?
When deciding where to place these lights, you’ll want to make sure they’re facing a large and uninterpreted area. It’s not a good idea to place one of these behind a tree, shrub, or other body of foliage. A simple wind gust could potentially make the lights go off.
However, having the light aimed at a wide-open landscape, like the one outside a front porch, is perfect. Placing these lights in and around always, garage spaces, and other pathways are easy: Make sure the motion sensor is aimed in the direction of foot traffic.
How do I Install Motion Sensor Lights?
Depending on the brand and type of light you want to install, the installation will vary. However, all will follow similar steps to the ones mentioned below:
Go to the fuse box and switch the area of the house you’re working at to “off”
Unscrew the existing light from its housing
Remove the wire connections; you’ll find a white wire (neutral wire), a green or copper wire (ground wire), and a black or red wire (hot wire) when removing it
Install the adjustable crosspiece from the light package that comes with the motion sensor light; the same sized screws and drivers you used to remove the old one will likely be used for this step
Install the rubber gasket (or gaskets) that comes with the kit around the edge of the new unit
Using wire tape, connect the exposed ends of the new fixture to the ones running from the household
Line up the light assembly, and screw in the outermost housing for the unit; this should include the bulb, the bulb cover, as well as the motion sensor
To ensure no moisture gets into the bulb, you may choose to seal it with a wall-safe sealant or caulk
Afterward, flick back on the fuse for that part of the house
Walk by the sensor and make sure it’s working
For more on how to install motion light sensors, check out this popular YouTube video below:
Additional Information on Motion Sensor Lights
Motion sensor lights can also be used along hiking trails. If you live on the large property, shop around for motion sensor lights that use solar energy.
These lights are perhaps the easiest to install: Place them firmly into the ground, set them to “on,” and walk away. Because they’re powered by the solar panels on top of each unit, they require no in-grid wiring. And because of that, they won’t impact your utility whatsoever.
Some motion sensor lights can operate on plug-in-battery-only power. These, however, are best to only use indoor along hallways or in closet spaces. But if they're solar conducted and outdoor approved, you can install them on your patio areas too.
If you’re looking to add a splash of color, many motion sensors come with different colored LEDs. Some can even be programmed to display a wide array of LEDs throughout the day or night.
Best Motion Sensor Lights Reviews
Because of how fast technology is moving, the market for motion sensor lights has exploded. To save you some time, we’ve combed the internet for the best ones available right now. Here are our picks based on a few different criteria:
1. Best Overall Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
If you want almost nothing on your property to go unnoticed, shop this motion sensor light from RAB.
Using a 360-swivel sensor, the RAB Lighting STL360HB has an industry-best sensor range.
It’s also resistant to certain radio frequencies. Even if you're' next to high-voltage power lines or cell phone towers, it'll work flawlessly.
To protect the unit from damage, each of unit comes standard with over surge protection. Rated to protect surges up to 6,000 volts, things like TVs and coolers will be fried long before this motion sensor.
The entire unit uses black powder coating to protect areas susceptible to rust. The interior light housing is also waterproof.
The 360 sensor can track movement as far away as 70ft in all directions. However, when installed flush against a wall, it’s visual range is reduced to 180 degrees.
For ease of use, this unit from RAB is highly customizable. The unit is adjustable from 100 percent to 30 percent brightness. It also comes with an evening timer for more customization. You can also choose to keep these lights permanently on for up to 8 hours after dusk.
2. Best Budget Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
Don’t let the price tag fool you: the Amico 30W LED Security Light Motion Outdoor is a quality motion sensor at a fraction of what the competition costs.
Using an LED design, this motion sensor light from AMICO never needs to have its bulbs changed. Because it has an entirely LED design, the lifespan of the diodes alone is over 50,000 working hours. To put that into perspective, you’d have to leave this on (continuously) for more than eight years for the bulbs to even have a shot at dying.
The LEDs used are also over 90 percent more efficient than traditional halogen bulbs. The AMICO 30W LED Security Motion Sensor Light isn’t just a great security light, it’s one of the best-LED floodlights on the market.
The installation of the device is incredibly easy. Follow the included instructions, and it mounts without the need for special tools.
The multi-way sensor used comes standard with a photocell to stop accidental “trips." This model from AMICO, too, can be preset to come on after dusk and stay on for a specific time. Once installed, you can also choose to set the delay times between one and ten minutes.
Between the price point, high-quality build, and included 5-year warranty, you should consider this AMICO motion sensor light when cross shopping for others.
3. Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Flood Lights
About: This floodlight from Midland bundles the convenience and safety of an LED motion sensor light into a beautiful package.
Most floodlights get a terrible reputation for being unsightly. Well, Midland 9" High Dusk-to-Dawn LED Motion Sensor Light proves that functionality can be aesthetically pleasing.
Using a Built-in 10 watt LED array, it lights up the area beneath it with an eye-opening 750 lumens. And because they’re LEDs, the light produced by this flood light is incredibly energy efficient.
Moreover, it can be operated in four distinct modes: motion sensor day or night, motion sensor night only, Dusk to dawn mode, light on or off at dawn.
No matter where you want to install it, the black finish backplate, arm and dome steel are all outdoor rated.
4. Best Outdoor Motion Sensor LED Lights
About: Powered by the sun, this off-the-grid LED outdoor lighting is nearly as bright as a star.
This solar powered offering from iThird is a plug-and-play unit. All you have to do is mount it correctly to your wall, patio column, etc., and that’s it.
The unit comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges during the day. Even during an overcast day, it can usually charge to full within 12 hours.
In fact, the company estimates that this unit, when compared to traditional incandescent setups, can save you $1,500 over the course of its lifespan. Suffice to say that the saving will pay for the unit’s slight premium price tag—and then some.
Because it requires no wiring, the iThird 21 LED 330LM Solar Powered Security Lights can be installed in hard-to-light areas that may not be accessible through home wiring. For example, you can mount these on concrete walls where DIY drilling is out of the question.
And with a sensor of around 40 ft, it can adequately light the way for you. Or you know: scare an intruder away.
5. Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Security Lights (With Camera)
About: When you want more blinding floodlights aren’t to ward off introduce, this security-camera-combo from Ring should be on your shopping list.
The Ring Floodlight Camera Motion-Activated HD Security Cam Two-Way Talk and Siren Alarm is well loved by Amazon reviews. Many of the over 2,000 reviewers praise the units “impressive build quality” and “modern-day AI integration.” In addition to recording video, this floodlight is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.
If desired, the floodlight can alert Alexa to an approaching presence. It can also record any movement outside, and save it to Alexa via a cloud connection. And if, somehow, your camera is stolen, don’t worry: Ring will replace it for free. The unit comes with LED bulbs included, which help keep your energy bill.
Aside from having a built-in and programmable siren, this motion sensor also features “two-way talk.” In a nutshell, you’re able to easily drop to any commotion outside via your smartphone, tablet, or Alexa device. This will give you another layer of surveillance that most security flood lights skip on.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights
Adding a motion sensor light anywhere in your home is a good idea. By putting them outside, you can illuminate hard-to-see areas and safeguard your home.
For the best overall motion sensor flood light, you can’t go wrong with the RAB Lighting STL360HB. It provides the best mix of sensor range, brightness, and ease of install of any of the products mentioned.
But for ultimate convenience, consider the iThird 21 LED 330LM Solar Powered Security Lights. It’s quick, and user-friendly install is among the easiest in the market. Plus, it runs entirely on solar energy, which will save you money in the long run.
We hope this guide helped introduce you to the benefits of motion sensor lights, all while narrowing down your shopping time.