Motion Sensor Lighting: Safety and Security Indoors and Out

Adding motion sensor lighting in and around your house provides an automated, hands-free way to turn on lights when you need them, and off when you don’t.

Motion sensor lights are eager helpers and good little guardians. They illuminate the way to your front door when you pull into your driveway, light hallways when you get up in the middle of the night, and turn on lamps when you enter a room.

They also provide safety and home security, powering up exterior floodlights should someone attempt to trespass when it’s dark outside.

In addition, they watch over your budget, dutifully turning themselves off after you’ve entered your home or left a room—saving you money on energy bills. Light-sensing diodes prevent them from switching on during daylight hours.

Plug-and-Play Lighting Solutions

Many motion sensor lights don’t require elaborate setups or wiring; they simply plug into any wall outlet. Battery-operated types can be mounted onto your walls using adhesives, magnets, or screws. 

Sylvania’s LED Motion Sensor Light runs off batteries, is easy to install in any room, and is especially handy for small spaces, such as closets. Cost: $13.

Related: Lighting Isn’t Cheap: Here’s How to Do It Right

Put a Sensor on Anything

Have a lamp in your living room you want to turn on automatically when you walk in? The SensorPlug Motion Sensor Outlet Plug from Andev plugs into any standard wall outlet. In addition to lamps, you can use it with equipment that doesn’t exceed 500 watts, such as fans and radios.

The SensorPlug Motion Sensor Outlet Plug costs between $10 and $20.

Sun Power

If your home gets ample sunlight during the day, install a solar-powered light and avoid the need to do any wiring. Designed for the outdoors, the Solar Security with Motion Detector from Concept helps you save money by not tapping into your home’s electricity.

It uses 32 long-lasting LED lamps, providing bright illumination for places like your driveway and front door. Since only sunlight is needed to recharge the battery, you can attach it anywhere on your property, such as the far end of your yard.

The Concept Solar Security with Motion Detector is available through Amazon at $49. The Solar-Powered 80 LED Security Floodlight, an even brighter light with 80 LED lamps, costs $105 from Smart Home Systems.

Overhead Detection

You can easily add a motion sensor to an existing overhead light fixture by adding adaptive devices, such as the Motion Sensing Light Socket from First Alert. 

Simply screw the motion-sensing light socket into an existing wall or ceiling fixture and add a 25- to 100-watt light bulb. Some motion-dection light sockets won’t support energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, but for rooms that are infrequently used, such as an unfinished basement, it’s a quick solution. The First Alert Motion Sensing Light Socket sells for $25.

Home Automation Sensors

Home automation systems, such as those based on X10 and Z-Wave technology, are great for controlling your thermostat and home entertainment center, but they also are useful for home security purposes. Linked to motion sensor lights, your home automation system can send a signal to have lights turned on when triggered by a timer or by your smartphone. 

The HomeSeer HSM100 sensor is available for Z-Wave systems for $74, and the Eagle Eye Indoor/Outdoor Motion Sensor costs between $18 and $30.