|Category||Product name||What it looks like||Where to get it|
|Best Motion Sensor Light||RAB Lighting STL360HB Super Stealth||View on Amazon|
|Best LED Flood Light||All-Pro Twin-Head Outdoor Security Round LED Flood Light||View on Amazon|
|Best Solar Flood Light||Robust Solar 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light||View on Amazon|
UNC Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology conducted a study of over 400 incarcerated burglars to uncover what motivates them and if there were any specific deterrents that they encountered. One of the most commonly mentioned deterrents was a lack of hiding spots available on well-lit properties.
After reading this study, I’ve been looking for a decent flood light to light up my back patio and keep potential burglars from sneaking around my back porch. When I googled “best security lights,” I was immediately bombarded with dozens of ads and options to buy. From flood lights and motion sensors to solar, LED, and incandescent lights, I didn’t know the differences between each product. The whole experience left me feeling more in the dark than when I started.
I decided to dig in and find out what all the lighting jargon means and from there shed some light on different types of security lighting. Click here to learn more about the different types of security lighting.
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Motion sensor security lights are a fantastic balance between energy efficiency and security. With motion sensor technology able to sense movement in the darkness, you don’t have to keep your lights running continuously through the night, which will save you energy costs and prolong the life of your bulb. Here are three of our recommended motion sensor security lights:
|Motion Light||RAB Super Stealth||MAXSA Innovations 40218||First Alert PIR725|
|Learn More||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
|Best for||Large outdoor area: Backyard or field||Small to Medium outdoor area: Patio or garage lights||Closed quarters: Porch or hallway|
|Dimensions||13.2 x 10.2 x 6.4 in.||10 x 9 x 8 in.||3 x 8 x 6.1 in.|
|Lumens||1240 LED or 1700 Incandescent||160 LED||Depends on bulb|
|Watts||Supports up to 1000||0.5||Supports up to: 100 watt incandescent or 50 watt fluorescent|
|Bulb||LED or incandescent||LED||LED, incandescent, or fluorescent|
|Motion Range||60 ft. front facing(180 degrees) or 15 ft. behind & underneath (360 degrees)||40 ft.||12 ft. (360 degrees)|
|RAB Super Stealth||MAXSA Innovations 40218||First Alert PIR725|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
|Large outdoor area: Backyard or field||Small to Medium outdoor area: Patio or garage lights||Closed quarters: Porch or hallway|
|13.2 x 10.2 x 6.4 in.||10 x 9 x 8 in.||3 x 8 x 6.1 in.|
|1240 LED or 1700 Incandescent||160 LED||Depends on bulb|
|Supports up to 1000||0.5||Supports up to: 100 watt incandescent or 50 watt fluorescent|
|LED or incandescent||LED||LED, incandescent, or fluorescent|
|60 ft. front facing(180 degrees) or 15 ft. behind & underneath (360 degrees)||40 ft.||12 ft. (360 degrees)|
#1 RAB Super Stealth
#2 MAXSA Innovations 40218
#3 First Alert PIR725
Best security lights: LED flood lights
A “flood light” is any light with a powerful widespread beam, typically used to illuminate large areas, like a yard or playing field. The LED designation simply means that your light fixture is compatible with LED bulbs. Some flood lights can use either LED or incandescent bulbs, but if it’s able to use LED, we recommend going that direction. These flood lights do not come with motion sensor technology. Here are three energy-efficient LED flood lights that we recommend:
|LED Light||All-Pro FTR1740L||All-Pro FSL2030LW||M4 Security LED|
|Learn More||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
|Dimensions||5.9 x 7.2 x 5.5 in.||6.4 x 7.2 x 5.9 in.||6.4 x 4.4 x 4.4 in.|
#1 All-Pro FTR1740L
#2 All-Pro FSL2030LW
#3 M4 Security LED
We like solar flood lights because they’re even more energy efficient than LED. The downside, however, is that they don’t generate as much light and typically have a lower level of lumens. Solar lights are a great choice for smaller areas, like a porch or outside a garage. For backyards, we’d suggest going with something with higher lumens. Below are three solar flood lights that we recommend:
|Solar Light||80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light||Micro Solar 120 LED||Micro Solar 64 LED|
|View Product||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
|Dimensions||8.7 x 6 x 5.8 in.||19.4 x 12.2 x 5.1 in.||12.2 x 8 x 6.5 in.|
#1 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light
#2 Micro Solar 120 LED
#3 Micro Solar 64 LED
Best Security Lights for Outdoors Recap
- RAB Super Stealth motion sensor
- MAXSA Innovations 40218 motion sensor
- First Alert PIR725 motion sensor
- All-Pro FTR1740L LED flood light
- All-Pro FSL2030LW LED flood light
- M4 Security LED outdoor light
- 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light
- Micro Solar 120 LED
- Micro Solar 64 LED
What kind of security lights are out there?
There are countless different types of security lights, configurations, and add-ons out there that allow you to customize your lighting pretty much any way you want it, but we’ll focus on three of the most common: motion sensor lights, LED flood lights, and solar flood lights.
What to look for in a security light
Any light is better than no light at all, but there are a few important factors to consider when you’re shopping around for security lighting. How far from the fixture will it illuminate your property? Should you go with LED or incandescent lighting, and what type of light works best for each area?
LED vs. incandescent
For years, light bulb technology hadn’t moved much beyond the genius of Thomas Edison—a light bulb was a light bulb. It wasn’t until 2002 that the first residential LED bulb became available to consumers, but at a significantly higher price. Nowadays, LED pricing has dropped considerably to become a viable replacement for outdated lighting technology. But what exactly is the difference between LED and incandescent?
- LED lights cost three to five times more money up front—which is why some people avoid them—but they are by far more energy efficient, which saves you money long term on your electric bill and replacement bulbs.
What really makes LEDs stand out is their lifespan. LED lights can last between 20,000 and 50,000 hours, almost 5 times longer than any other type of light bulb.
One knock on LED lighting, however, is that it emits a colder, blue-hued light. This really comes down to personal preference. You can see integral-led.com’s break down of warm light vs cool light.
- Incandescent- Spoiler alert! It takes energy to light up a light bulb. But did you know that with an incandescent bulb, 90 percent of that energy is converted into heat, not light? Incandescent bulbs are cheaper up front but need more energy to emit light and are incredibly inefficient. You’ll change an incandescent bulb 20 times before you’ll need to replace an LED bulb.
If you’re like me, you’ll stand in Wal-Mart or Home Depot and look at prices thinking “Why should I spend $8 on an LED when I can get an incandescent bulb for a dollar?” But are incandescent bulbs really cheaper? Turns out they’re not. Check out this side-by-side comparison:
|Type of Bulb||LED||Incandescent|
|Cost per bulb||$8 or less||$1|
|Average lifespan||25,000 hours||1,200 hours|
|Watt usage||10 W||60W|
|# of bulbs per 25,000 hours||1||21|
|Total cost per 25,000 hours||$8||$21|
|$8 or less||$1|
|25,000 hours||1,200 hours|
You’ll spend almost three times as much replacing incandescent light bulbs in the long run. And that’s assuming LED lights don’t become more affordable. We recommend switching to LED lighting wherever you can, both for indoor lighting and outdoor security lights.
Watts vs. Lumens
Both watts and lumens have been used to measure the amount of light a bulb emits, but it isn’t exactly correct. Watts measure the amount of power needed to illuminate the bulb, while lumens measure the actual light produced by the bulb. To put it in perspective, a 60 watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens.
Incandescent bulbs use far more energy, meaning they require more wattage to produce the same amount of light as an LED bulb. This is why light output—or how bright a light bulb is—is measured in lumens instead of watts. Keep in mind, the more watts a bulb uses, the higher your energy bill will be.
The “range” of a security light refers to two separate functions for your security light. Range of illumination—how far your security light actually casts light into the darkness—depends on the bulb’s lumens, and motion sensor range is how far away a motion sensor will register movement in the darkness.
Range of illumination
Not all security lights need to illuminate an entire yard. Some only need to light up your porch. The best security light changes depending on where you plan to install it. Check your bulb. LED, incandescent, and compact fluorescent bulbs will each be rated by the number of lumens they produce. More lumens equal more light.
If you want widespread light for your backyard or driveway, you need something with high lumens (700+) that can project light further from your fixture. However, if you simply need to light up a porch, you can use an adapter like our #3 option (anchor) for motion sensor lights. Consider your intended location before you choose your security light.
Motion sensor range
Sometimes referred to as detection range, the ideal motion sensor range for an open area security light is at least 40 feet.
Let there be light: Which outdoor security light is best for you?
Take some time to consider what type of security lights will best suit your home. Security lights are quick and easy to install and are proven to be a highly effective crime deterrent. Keep your property well lit and minimize potential hiding spots for burglars. Chances are, if they trigger a security light, they’ll retreat back into the darkness and look for another target.