Motion Sensor Light Comparison
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Motion Sensor Light Buying Guide
What is a Motion Sensor Light?
A motion sensor light is a light that is battery powered and works by detecting motion within designated ranges. When motion is detected, the light will come on. The light will stay on until no motion is detected for a specific time period, usually 20-40 seconds and then it will shut off again. They are very valuable to have in places where there is not a lot of light.
Motion sensor lights come in many different styles that can work for a number of applications. Some even look like porch lights. There are definitely plenty of styles for you to find the kind that fit what you are looking for.
Types of Motion Sensor Lights
There are many different types of motion sensor lights on the market today. Not all motion sensor lights use the same technology, so knowing the differences between them is beneficial to you when you are sorting through the choices and deciding on the one you want for your needs. There are two basic categories of motion sensor lights:
- Active Motion Sensors – This type of motion sensor light sends out signals comprised of energy. That energy may be in the form of infrared light, microwaves or ultra high frequency sound waves. These energy signals bounce off of different objects like walls and return that signal to the motion sensor. The motion sensor is always measuring how long it takes to send a signal and receive a response. When something moves in between the motion sensor and the objects there will be a discrepancy in the time return and turn the light on because it doesn’t recognize the faster response time.
- Passive Motion Sensors – This type of motion sensor light only receives signals rather than sending them. The scan the areas within their range for heat. Any objects that expel heat (people, larger animals) will trigger the light to come on. Most passive motion sensors are designed to ignore the heat that a small animal would expel or every tiny chipmunk and rat would trigger them.
Which One is better for You?
The determining factor in deciding whether you want an active motion sensor light or a passive motion sensor light is where you will be placing them and what you’re using them for. If your objective is to monitor any and ALL movement in a given area then you will find the active motion sensor lights much more effective at monitoring those movements. Keep in mind that this means the active motion sensors will pick up a bag blowing in the breeze as well as people and animals. If you don’t mind the light coming on more frequently, then this will be fine.
If you are looking to just have the lights triggered when a person is in range, then you will want to go with the passive motion sensor lights. There are dual technology sensor lights that have both types of technology, but they can be a bit more vulnerable from a security standpoint and may not offer you the peace of mind you are seeking.
Motion Sensor Light Features
There are several different features that motion sensor lights that you may want to look for when you start searching for the motion sensor lights you want. Learning about these features will help you when sorting through the available choices.
- Detection Zones – Detection zones are the width of coverage that the motion sensor has. There are many different degrees of width coverage that a motion sensor light may cover. It can be as narrow as 90 degrees, which is good for corners, or broader like 180, 270 or even 360 degrees. 180 degree detection zones are good for flat walls and 270 degrees are better suited for outside corners of buildings and homes. The 360 degree detection zones are usually installed in ceilings. Some models even have adjustable detection zones which is very convenient for those who may not be sure what width detection zone will be best for their needs.
- Range – The range a motion sensor light is capable of determines how far away a person can be before tripping the light. For most, they don’t want the person to be able to get all the way up to the building or home before the light is triggered. Understand that with a large range, there will be some false alarms and the light will be triggered when someone is not approaching the house but maybe just walking by. Most people do not mind the light coming on randomly and in some cases, this can be a good additional deterrent to people messing with your property if they notice that the light comes on frequently. If you’re not sure of the range you want to use, look for motion sensor lights that have adjustable ranges that you can play around with.
- Brightness – Wattage or how bright the motion sensor light is, is another feature that will be different for different models. What you are using the motion light for can play a factor in how bright of a light you want to get. If security is your top thought, you want to find a motion sensor light of at least 300 watts. If you want a motion sensor light for safety and you want to be able to see in that area get at least 150 watts of light. There are motion sensor lights of fewer than 150 watts but those are more for use where you don’t need a lot of visibility or if you are operating under a tight budget and need something less expensive.
- Installation – Ideally you want to find motion sensor lights that are not difficult to install. Most of them have hardware for attaching them included and are not difficult. Before you purchase one particular kind, make sure you read how easy they are to install. If the motion sensor light you are considering involves special tools or installation you may want to reconsider that model unless you don’t mind the extra cost.
Motion sensor lights are used often by homeowners, business owners and others to improve the security and safety of their establishments and homes. With all of the different styles of motion sensor lights on the market, trying to decide which type is the best for your needs can be a real challenge.
With the information we have provided in this buyer’s guide you will be able to sort through all of the choices with confidence and match your needs with the right motion sensor light. Once you have the right knowledge you have the tools you need to make an informed decision that will meet those needs so you do not make a purchase that you will have to return later.
The top rated motion sensor lights that we have reviewed here are some of the best available and fit several different lighting needs. They are customer favorites for their ease of use, range and detection zones as well as ease of installation, not requiring any special tools or installation procedures.
Having motion lights outside your home or business can give the occupants or customers a lot of security, especially at night when everything can look scary. The right motion sensor lights will alert you to anyone who may be wandering around outside and can provide plenty of light to help you get to your car from the house or business safely. Darkened areas can be a real hazard, especially outside of businesses. Provide your customers and employees or family member’s safety, security and peace of mind by having adequate lighting. It’s easy and inexpensive too but well worth it.