The 9 Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights of 2023 for Your Front Door and Backyard

We like the LeonLite LED Motion Sensor Floodlight for its bright light and adjustable features.

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 Best Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights

Amazon

If you’ve ever forgotten to turn the porch light on and returned home after dark or you’ve taken your dog on a late-night walk, you already understand the benefit of outdoor motion sensor lights. The best outdoor motion sensor lights, which turn on automatically when they sense movement, provide a sense of security and enhance safety around your home overall.

“Burglars won’t find your home an easy target with proper security features, such as motion sensor lights,” says Courtney Klosterman, consumer insights expert with home care and insurance group Hippo. “These lights help add an extra layer of protection to the important entry points of the home.”

To find the best outdoor motion sensor lights for your space, we researched a variety of picks, keeping in mind each pick’s detection range, light beam detection angle, power source, and lumens. In addition to Klosterman, we also consulted Terry McGowan, director of engineering with the American Lighting Association, for additional insight.

Overall, the best outdoor motion sensor light is the LeonLite LED Motion Sensor Floodlight. The fixture provides abundant light and offers you the ability to adjust the features to fit your specific needs.

Here, the best outdoor motion sensor lights.

Best Overall

LEONLITE LED Outdoor Motion Sensor Flood Light

4.7
LEONLITE LED Outdoor Motion Sensor Flood Light

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This outdoor motion sensor light produces a lot of light and features multiple modes and adjustable settings.

Keep in Mind: The detection range may be a little too large if you only want to use it to light up your doorway.

Durable, long-lasting, and offering high light output, the best outdoor motion sensor light is this pick from LeonLite. With a detection range of up to 70 feet, a 180-degree detection angle, and 1,800 lumens of light, this fixture can light up your whole backyard (or at least a large portion of it).

One reason this pick is the best outdoor motion sensor light is you can choose from several modes. The on-time mode lets it work like a normal light without the motion sensor while the auto mode operates the motion sensor. The dusk-to-dawn mode sets it to turn on at dusk and off at dawn, so you’ll always have lighting when you need it. Plus, each lighting mode can be adjusted by a switch on the side.

The detection range is adjustable so you can opt to have it cover a smaller portion of your driveway or yard. The heads can also be rotated 360 degrees to point the light in different directions. You can also set the timer for the motion sensor light from five seconds to five minutes, depending on your preference.

Made of die-cast aluminum, the fixture is durable, waterproof, and resistant to corrosion. The LED bulb will save energy when compared to similar incandescent bulbs and should last up to 50,000 hours. The light’s color temperature is 5,000K for a daylight appearance when turned on. Because it’s hardwired into the home’s electrical system, keep in mind that you may need to have an electrician install this fixture for you.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 59–70 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 180 degrees | Power Source: Hardwired (electric) | Lumens: 1,800

Best Budget

HMCITY Outdoor 120 LED Solar Lights

4.4
HMCITY Outdoor 120 LED Solar Lights

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The lights come in a set of two and feature multiple operating modes.

Keep in Mind: The detection range is only up to 26 feet, which may not be large enough for some areas.

For a less expensive option, the best outdoor motion sensor light is this set by HMCITY. The lights have multiple operating modes and come in a set of two, so you can illuminate more than one part of your home’s exterior, including patio lights.

The lights can be installed on the side of your house, garage, shed, or fence. The solar lights feature three different modes: security mode, permanent on all night, and smart brightness mode. Security mode will turn on only when it senses movement while the permanent setting turns on at night and stays on. The smart brightness setting is on all night and becomes brighter when it senses movement.

The plastic fixture is waterproof and weather-resistant, so it can stand up to the elements and work in all types of weather. The wide light beam angle of 270 degrees helps these motion sensors pick up on movement all around the light. Just keep in mind that the detection range is only up to 26 feet, which may not be far enough for some homes.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 13–26 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 270 degrees | Power Source: Solar (lithium-ion battery) | Lumens: Not listed

Best Splurge

Good Earth Lighting Smart LED Motion Activated Security and Area Flood Light

Good Earth Lighting Smart LED Motion Activated Security and Area Flood Light

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This outdoor motion sensor light can be controlled by your phone and features dual sensors for added security.

Keep in Mind: The lights are sold individually and you may need a few to cover your desired area.

Want an outdoor motion sensor light that can be controlled from your phone? This Good Earth Lighting pick might be the best outdoor motion sensor light for you. The light features smart capabilities and features dual sensors for added security.

Instead of climbing a ladder to control the light, you’ll be able to change settings on your phone through the Good Earth Lighting app. You’ll also be able to use voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, making it even easier to operate. Plus, if your Wi-Fi goes out, it will connect with Bluetooth wireless technology so you’ll still be able to use it.

Unlike some other lights, this model allows you to adjust timer settings from one minute to 10 minutes. You can also choose a detection range between 5 and 100 feet, which comes in handy especially if you end up moving the light to an area that needs more or less light. 

You can also change the light’s brightness from 20 to 100 percent capacity as well as choose between different color temperatures. The light has dual sensors, one with a 240-degree detection range and another 360-degree sensor. The 240-degree sensor will detect motion of up to 100 feet in an outward direction while the 360-degree sensor works when it’s mounted 14 feet above the ground.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 5–100 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 240–360 degrees | Power Source: Hardwired (electric) | Lumens: 2,250

Best LED

LEPOWER 35W LED Security Light Motion Sensor

LEPOWER 35W LED Security Light Motion Sensor

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It had adjustable time settings and you’ll be able to set the direction of each light head for optimal lighting.

Keep in Mind: It does not have a dusk-to-dawn feature, unlike some other lights.

For an LED option, the best outdoor motion sensor light is this pick by LEPOWER. Using just 35 watts of power, this light produces an impressive 3,500 lumens of light, making it an energy-efficient choice for the high amount of light it provides.

The light features a large detection range of 72 feet, so it can cover a generous area of your yard. When the motion sensor security light is triggered, you can set it to stay on for any time between 10 seconds and 10 minutes. You can also adjust the three security light heads and the motion sensor head to point in different directions so it works well for your particular space.

The fixture is made of durable aluminum and should operate for 50,000 hours before you’ll need to replace the outdoor light. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t feature a dusk-to-dawn mode, unlike some other options, so keep that in mind if you prefer that added level of security.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 72 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 180 degrees | Power Source: Hardwired (electric) | Lumens: 3,500

Best Battery-Powered

Beams MB360XT 200 Lumen Battery Powered Motion Sensing LED Spotlight

Beams MB360XT 200 Lumen Battery Powered Motion Sensing LED Spotlight

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This security light is more stylish than many other motion sensor lights and can be installed just about anywhere. It’s also offered individually or as a set, so you can choose how many you need.

Keep in Mind: You can’t override the sensor or turn the lights off unless you remove the batteries.

To add security lighting outside your home without worrying about wires, the best outdoor motion sensor light is this pick by Beams. This security light is more stylish than many other motion sensor lights and can be installed just about anywhere. Plus, it’s also offered individually or as a set, so you can choose how many you need.

Since the lights are battery-powered they’re easy to install just about anywhere. You install this light fixture with screws, so you can put it on garages, doorways, sheds, fences, and even trees. The lights produce 200 lumens of light, which is a moderate amount of light. However, its reflective face helps to spread the light to cover a wider area of up to 600 square feet.

The light can detect movement up to 30 feet away, providing more than adequate coverage for providing light near a doorway or in front of the garage. Just be aware that there’s no switch to override the sensor or turn the lights off so if you don’t want to use them all the time, you’ll have to remove the batteries to stop them from turning on.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 30 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 120 degrees | Power Source: Battery (3 D-cell batteries not included) | Lumens: 200

Best Floodlight

SANSI 45W Motion Sensor Outdoor Floodlight

45W Motion Sensor Outdoor Floodlight

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This fixture can illuminate a large area and can be adjusted in several ways to fit your space.

Keep in Mind: The light may be too intense for smaller areas.

If you want a floodlight style, this SANSI style is the best outdoor motion light for your home. It produces an impressive 6,000 lumens of light, which is enough to illuminate your whole backyard or driveway and then some. Plus, the motion sensor light will be triggered by humans, cars, or animals up to 72 feet away.

With this light, you can choose from four different modes: auto motion sensor, dusk to dawn, on-time, and test mode. The auto motion sensor will turn the light on from one to 10 minutes at night when motion is detected while the on-time mode lets you switch the light on and off like a normal light. The test mode turns the light on for only five seconds when it detects motion during the day or night, and the dusk to dawn mode automatically turns on the light at dusk and off at dawn.

You can also adjust the two security light heads and motion sensor heads to point them in different directions as your space requires, a handy feature as the light may be too intense for some spaces.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 72 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 180 degrees | Power Source: Hardwired (electric) | Lumens: 6,000

Best for Stairs

Mr Beams MB532 Motion-Sensing Step/Stair Light

Mr Beams MB532 Motion-Sensing Step/Stair Light

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The wireless lights are easy to install.

Keep in Mind: They don’t produce as much light as some other options and don’t come with batteries.

These Mr. Beams lights are the best outdoor motion sensor lights if you need to illuminate a stairway. The set, which includes two lights, comes with mounting brackets and screws, making the lights easy to install. Plus, they can be used either inside or outside, thanks to weatherproof housing.

These motion sensor lights produce 35 lumens of light—this is enough to see the step clearly, but it won’t provide as bright of light as many other types of motion sensor fixtures. Each light requires three C-cell batteries, which are not included, so you may want to purchase rechargeable batteries to avoid replacing them often.

These LED lights put out a bright white light and typically one set of batteries will last for one year. An optional GlowMode allows you to have the lights on at a low light level all night to mark the edge of the stairs—the light will then get brighter when someone approaches.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 15 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 120 degrees | Power Source: Battery (6 C-cell batteries not included) | Lumens: 35

Best Stake

LEREKAM Solar Landscape Spotlights

LEREKAM Solar Landscape Spotlights

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: These pathway lights put out a lot of light and are easy to install.

Keep in Mind: They need either two days of full sunlight to charge or eight hours on the provided USB cable, each of which is time-consuming.

These solar-powered lights produce a focused beam of light for a spotlight effect and are the best motion sensor lights if you prefer a stake style. The lights are ideal for illuminating a pathway, whether it’s leading up to your front door or along the driveway.

Producing up to 650 lumens of light, they are brighter than a lot of other pathway lights. However, the lights must be installed in an area with direct sunlight in order to charge properly or the lighting time per charge will be shorter. While it can take two days of sunlight to charge, it can also be charged within eight hours using the included USB cord.

Part of what makes these stake lights some of the best outdoor motion sensor lights are their adjustable features. Using a button on the back of each light, you can choose to have the light off until it senses motion or opt to have the light on at low brightness and then switch to high brightness when it detects motion.

The light fixtures are heat and frost-resistant, so they can keep working through all sorts of weather and in a variety of climates. A large solar panel helps make these lights more efficient, reducing the charging time needed and helping them to work better on cloudy, rainy days.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 26 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 360 degrees | Power Source: Solar (lithium-ion battery included) | Lumens: 650

Best for Front Door

Brightever Motion Sensor Outdoor Wall Lantern

Brightever Motion Sensor Outdoor Wall Lantern

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: These decorative lights are pretty enough to enhance your home’s front door—plus they offer multiple modes to enhance safety and energy savings.

Keep in Mind: They’re more expensive than some other styles.

The best outdoor motion sensor lights to use near the front door should pair function and style, like this pair from Brightever. These decorative lights have a detection range of 40 feet and a detection angle of 220 degrees, so they provide enough coverage for a porch or side-of-the-house entryway.

For maximum versatility and the potential for energy savings, these lights let you choose between three different modes: high, low, and manual. High mode is ideal for security as it stays on all night and becomes more intense when it detects motion. Low mode will leave the lights off and only turn on when something is detected.

With a matte black finish and water ripple glass, these lights offer a stylish update to most motion sensor lights. Though they’re more expensive than some other picks, they’re made of high-quality aluminum. Plus, these fixtures are anti-rust and corrosion-resistant. They also feature high-strength glass to ensure they can hold up to all the elements.

The lights work with all standard-size E26 blubs so you can easily find a replacement bulb when needed. Plus, you can choose a color temperature (such as daylight white or a warmer light) of your choice.

Product Details:

Detection Range: 40 feet | Light Beam Detection Angle: 220 degrees | Power Source: Wired (electric) | Wattage: 100 watts

The Bottom Line

Overall, the best outdoor motion sensor light is the LEONLITE LED Motion Sensor Floodlight because it offers a bright light for illuminating a large area. It also features several different modes and has customizable features, so you can set it however works best for your home.

What to Know About Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Before Shopping

Detection Range

The detection range refers to the measure of how far away motion sensor lights can detect movement and turn on the light. The best outdoor motion sensor lights for a large area, such as your backyard, will have a detection range of 70 feet or more.

If you want to illuminate the area by your door, you’ll most likely want a light with a smaller detection range—this will decrease the number of nuisance turn-ons from animals but will provide enough light for anyone walking toward the door.

“30 to 40 feet works well for most people,” says Terry McGowan, director of engineering with the American Lighting Association.  

Light Beam Detection Angle

The light beam angle is the area in front of the light in which the motion sensor can detect movement. If a light has a 180-degree light beam angle, it can detect movement anywhere in front or to the side of the light (think of a half circle). If the motion sensor light has a smaller light beam angle, it will only detect movement in a limited zone in front of the fixture. 

Power Source

Outdoor motion sensor lights are hardwired, solar-powered, or operated by batteries. Installing a hardwired light may require the help of an electrician, which is something to keep in mind as it’s an additional cost. These lights are typically brighter and often have larger detection ranges/light beam angles.

Solar lights are very easy to install but they need to be placed in areas with direct sunlight. They don’t work as well in some climates with a lot of rain and cloudy weather. Battery-powered lights can be placed anywhere and are typically very easy to install.

Lumens

Lumens are a measure of how bright the light is. More light is not always better, explains McGowan, as you want to make sure your light doesn’t shine into your neighbor’s window. The best outdoor motion sensor lights for your yard will feature lumens that suit the size of your space.

Your Questions, Answered

Where should you install outdoor motion sensor lights?

Outdoor motion sensor lights can be installed anywhere you want light, but there are a few key places to consider installing them if you want to increase security around your home.

“To deter potential intruders, motion sensor lights should be positioned near specific entry points, such as porches, back doors, and driveways,” Klosterman says.

To increase safety at night (especially helpful for older adults), also consider installing motion sensor lights beside pathways and on stairs.

Can you install outdoor motion sensor lights yourself? 

In many cases, you can install outdoor motion sensor lights yourself. Solar-powered and battery-powered units are the best outdoor motion sensor lights to install yourself because you don’t need to hook them up to electricity. Some hardwired lights are also possible to install yourself, though it’s possible you’ll need an electrician.

“In most cases, it’s as simple as replacing an old lighting fixture with a new one,” Klosterman says. “However, if you need to run a new electrical line and install a switch, the job may be better suited for a home pro.”

Can you bypass a motion sensor light?

Some outdoor motion sensor lights include a switch that makes it easy for you to bypass the sensor. Other models only operate with a sensor when they are turned on. Be sure to check whether a light has this feature when you are shopping.

Who We Are

Renee Freemon Mulvihill is a freelance writer specializing in home and garden topics. To write this article, she spent time online researching outdoor motion sensor lights, comparing features, and reading reviews. She also talked to Terry McGowan, director of engineering with the American Lighting Association, and Courtney Klosterman, a consumer insights expert with Hippo, to learn more about how these lights can enhance safety around the home.

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