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Best Security Lights for Outside Your Home

Best Motion Detector Light
RAB Lighting STL360HW Super Stealth
  • 60-foot motion sensor range
  • Up to 1000 watt capacity

RAB Super Stealth

$74.99*

Best LED Floodlight
EATON FTR1740L
  • Two directional bulbs
  • 1,600 lumens

Halo EATON Floodlight

$56.05*

Best Solar Floodlight
Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED
  • 26-foot motion sensor range
  • 2,000 lumens

Luscreal Super Bright LED

$34.99*

Best LED Dusk-to-Dawn Light
Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light
  • 2,200 lumens
  • Two adjustable bulbs

Hykolity Dusk-to-Dawn LED Light

$31.83*

*Standard retail prices as of 8/15/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

UNC Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology conducted a study of over 400 incarcerated burglars to uncover what motivated them and they encountered any specific deterrents.1 One of the most commonly mentioned deterrents was a lack of hiding spots available on well-lit properties.

From floodlights and motion lights to solar, LED, and incandescent lights, the average person may not know the differences between each product. Researching lights may leave you feeling more in the dark than when you started.

We decided to not only recommend the best security lights but to dig in and assemble all the jargon in one place to shed some light on different types of security lighting.

ASL Insider Tip

Lighting and security cameras
Apart from scaring intruders off, having a light on an area watched by security cameras is a good idea. The light’s brightness will make it easier to see anything the camera captures, even if your camera already has night vision. Use a motion light if you don’t want to keep it on all night.

Best motion detector lights

Motion detector security lights are a fantastic balance between energy efficiency and security. Motion sensor technology can sense movement in the darkness, so 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 outdoor motion sensor security lights.

Rank#1 RAB Super Stealth#2 MAXSA Innovations 40218#3 First Alert PIR725 Socket
Product Image
Price*$74.99$54.84$39.99
Best forLarge outdoor area, such as backyard or fieldSmall to medium outdoor area, such as patio or garage Closed quarters, such as a porch or walkway
Dimensions13.1 x 10 x 6.5 in.10 x 9 x 8 in.8.1 x 6.2 x 2.5 in.
LumensDepends on bulb160 LEDDepends on bulb
WattsUp to 1,0000.5Up to 100 watt incandescent or 50 watt fluorescent
Bulb typeLEDLEDIncandescent or fluorescent
Motion Range180° H; 360° V40 ft.12 ft.
Learn MoreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Rank
Product Image
Price*
Best for
Dimensions
Lumens
Watts
Bulb type
Motion Range
Learn More
#1 RAB Super Stealth #2 MAXSA Innovations 40218 #3 First Alert PIR725 Socket
$74.99 $54.84 $39.99
Large outdoor area, such as backyard or field Small to medium outdoor area, such as patio or garage Closed quarters, such as a porch or walkway
13.1 x 10 x 6.5 in. 10 x 9 x 8 in. 8.1 x 6.2 x 2.5 in.
Depends on bulb 160 LED Depends on bulb
Up to 1,000 0.5 Up to 100 watt incandescent or 50 watt fluorescent
LED LED Incandescent or fluorescent
180° H; 360° V 40 ft. 12 ft.
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Standard retail prices as of 8/15/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

#1. RAB Super Stealth

RAM Super Stealth AmazonWe chose the RAB Super Stealth motion sensor light as the best option for a large outdoor area because of its range, versatility, and overall power. The motion sensor reaches out in a 180° arc. With a watt capacity up to 1,000 watts, this motion light projects powerful beams deep into the darkness.
ASL Take Note

RAB warrantyThe product has a 10-year warranty from RAB. But some users said that when they purchased from Amazon, RAB told them the warranty was void since the product came from a third-party seller. Not all users had this experience, though. So before buying this product from Amazon, you may want to check with RAB about what circumstances would void your warranty.

Customer support: (888) 722-1000

Many users note that they’re able to install the light on their own without much electrical experience. Overall, RAB users feel the product is worth the money: the light works well and lasts long for most reviewers.

#2. MAXSA Innovations 40218

MAXSA 40218 Security Spotlight AmazonWe like the motion-activated dual head LED from MAXSA Innovations for lighting small and medium outdoor areas because it produces a lot of light on very little power. It takes only 0.5 watts to power each of these LED bulbs, saving you money on replacement bulbs and energy use in the long run. The motion range extends an impressive 40 feet from the sensor. That’s not as far as the RAB, but it’s perfect for mid-sized areas like a patio or driveway.

The light can be run on solar power, though we saw mixed reviews on how well the solar feature worked. Some users also felt that the light wasn’t bright enough for their needs.

#3. First Alert PIR725

First Alert PIR725We chose the First Alert PIR725 for our best close-quarters option because it’s sleek and inconspicuous and allows you to add security to a porch or walkway without major changes. This motion sensor converts any light socket into a security light without the bulky fixture. It works with standard LED, incandescent, and fluorescent bulbs and has a 360° motion range of 12 feet. Perfect for close-quarter security lighting like in a shed or barn.

 

A lot of users also use the First Alert PIR725 lights in the garage for both security and day-to-day coverage when a car or person enters. However, more than one noticed that the light interfered with the garage door opener signal.

Why would you want motion detector lights?

Motion detector lights don’t make sense for everyone. If you live on a crowded, busy street where passersby would set off your motion sensors every few minutes, your neighbors may get annoyed. Or if you want to deter folks from even coming close to your home, you’d probably need a dusk-to-dawn floodlight instead.

Outdoor lights with motion sensors are ideal for places where there isn’t a constant stream of innocuous movement to trigger them. They’re also perfect for gardens in areas with bigger wildlife, like rabbits and deer (a different kind of intruder that’s also deterred by sudden light).

How do motion detector lights work?

A security motion sensor generally uses one of three types of technology:

  • A sensor that uses sound waves
  • A sensor that uses infrared energy
  • A sensor that uses lasers

 

A motion detector light could include any of these sensors. Most lights with motion detectors either use sound wave motion or infrared motion that can detect movement or heat. Laser motion sensors are the kind you usually see in spy movies. They send out a beam of light and trigger the alarm when it’s crossed. None of our recommended lights have laser motion sensors.

Regardless of the motion sensor type, when the light’s tripped, it will turn on, illuminating the area where the movement was sensed.

Best LED floodlights

A floodlight is any light with a powerful, wide beam that’s typically used to illuminate large areas, like a yard or playing field. The LED designation simply means that the light fixture is compatible with LED bulbs.

Some floodlights can use either LED or incandescent bulbs, but we recommend going with LED when possible. These floodlights don’t come with motion sensor technology, so they’re great for busy areas where false alarms might frequently occur.

Here are three energy-efficient LED floodlights that we recommend for outdoor lighting.

Rank#1 Halo EATON FTR1740L #2 All-Pro FSL2030L#3 Lithonia Lighting OLFL
Product Image
Price*$56.05$91.88$52.03
Dimensions5.9 x 7.2 x 5.5 in.6.4 x 7.2 x 5.9 in.7.3 x 6.4 x 4.4 in.
LumensUp to 1,6001,9001,900
Watts11026.125
BulbLEDLEDLED
Learn MoreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Rank
Product Image
Price*
Dimensions
Lumens
Watts
Bulb
Learn More
#1 Halo EATON FTR1740L #2 All-Pro FSL2030L #3 Lithonia Lighting OLFL
$56.05 $91.88 $52.03
5.9 x 7.2 x 5.5 in. 6.4 x 7.2 x 5.9 in. 7.3 x 6.4 x 4.4 in.
Up to 1,600 1,900 1,900
110 26.1 25
LED LED LED
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Standard retail prices as of 8/15/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

#1 Halo EATON FTR1740L

All-Pro FTR1740L AmazonAlthough the FTR1740L has fewer lumens and uses a higher wattage, we rank it as number one simply because it has two directional bulbs instead of one fixed bulb. The ability to cover more area increases its security value over the All-Pro FSL2030L.

The light has to be mounted to a recessed junction box, so if your home doesn’t have one, you may not be able to use this product.

#2 All-Pro FSL2030L

All-Pro FSL2030LW AmazonThe FSL2030L is a better light in all the spec categories, but since it’s a fixed position light and has only one bulb, we’ve knocked it down to number two on our list. If you prefer a brighter, more energy-efficient light, this is the one you want, though you’ll sacrifice some area coverage.

Users reports that All-Pro FSL2030L bulbs are quite bright, maybe even too bright. They’re definitely made for security purposes, not for ambience.

#3 Lithonia Lighting OLFL

M4 Security LED AmazonThe Lithonia Lighting OLFL is similar to the FSL2030L—a fixed floodlight that builds value with energy efficiency. It’s the most energy efficient of our top three. At 1,900 lumens, it emits as much light as the FSL2030L.

Most reviews said that this light didn’t last as long as expected. With a five-year warranty, though, users can order free replacements for failed units.

Best solar floodlights

We like solar floodlights because they’re even more energy efficient than LED lights. On the downside, they don’t generate as much light and may have a lower level of lumens.

In the past, we’ve recommended solar security lights only for smaller areas, like a porch or outside a garage. But lights with solar panels now have higher lumen levels, making them suitable for backyard lighting too. Below are three solar floodlights that we recommend using outdoors.

Rank#1 Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED#2 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light #3 LITOM Original LED Solar Lights Outdoor
Product image
Price*$34.99 (2-pack)$38.99$39.99 (2-pack)
Dimensions10.3 x 5.2 x 2.7 in6.3 x 5.9 x 8.7 in. 6.5 x 4.57 x 2.2 in.
Lumens2,000800526
BulbsLEDLEDLED
Learn moreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Rank
Product image
Price*
Dimensions
Lumens
Bulbs
Learn more
#1 Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED #2 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light #3 LITOM Original LED Solar Lights Outdoor
$34.99 (2-pack) $38.99 $39.99 (2-pack)
10.3 x 5.2 x 2.7 in 6.3 x 5.9 x 8.7 in. 6.5 x 4.57 x 2.2 in.
2,000 800 526
LED LED LED
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Standard retail prices as of 8/15/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

#1 Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED

Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED Solar Motion Sensor Light AmazonThere’s a reason why “super bright” is in the name of this product: it produces up to 2,000 lumens from solar power. It comes with a motion sensor with a range of 26 feet so the light turns on only when it needs to be. With these specs, this solar light should work as a backyard floodlight.

The Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED is small, but reviews report that it really is super bright and covers a large area too.

#2 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light

LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light AmazonA solar light with a motion sensor that can detect between nine and 32 feet and has 800 lumens is pretty impressive. The 80 LED is our number-two solar floodlight pick instead of number one only because the Luscreal Super Bright 100 LED has more than twice as many lumens.

This solar-powered motion light is supposed to be weather- and waterproof. Customer reviews suggest that’s not true for all units. We recommend installing this light in a location that gets direct sunlight but not direct rain.

The sun-powered lithium-ion battery should last two to three years. It’s replaceable, so you don’t have to get rid of the light when the battery goes out.

#3 LITOM Original LED Solar Lights Outdoor

LITOM Original LED Solar Lights Outdoor AmazonThe LITOM Original also has a solar motion sensor that can pick up movement within a 270-degree range—to the sides as well as in front of it. It ranks below the 80 LED because it senses up to only 26 feet away.

This light is designed for easy installation. It’s also supposed to be wall-mounted, but the control switch is on the back. Whoops. To change the settings, you’ll have to first remove it from its mount.

Best LED dusk-to-dawn lights

Dusk-to-dawn lights turn on when it gets dark and turn off when it’s bright. You don’t have to turn them on, and if you live in an area with lots of movement, you also don’t have to endure flickering motion sensor lights.

Dusk-to-dawn lights come in many forms, from mounted lights to light bulbs. Below are three outdoor dusk-to-dawn lights that we recommend:

Rank#1 Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light#2 LEONLITE 30W Dusk to Dawn LED Wall Pack#3 Amico Dusk to Dawn Light LED Outdoor Flood Lighting 20W LED Security Lights
Product image
Price*$31.83$35.99$29.99
Dimensions8.1 x 6.4 x 5.4 in.5.3 x 9 x 3 in.7.3 x 7 x 6.3 in.
Lumens2,2003,3001,800
Watts203020
BulbsLEDLEDLED
Learn moreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Rank
Product image
Price*
Dimensions
Lumens
Watts
Bulbs
Learn more
#1 Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light #2 LEONLITE 30W Dusk to Dawn LED Wall Pack #3 Amico Dusk to Dawn Light LED Outdoor Flood Lighting 20W LED Security Lights
$31.83 $35.99 $29.99
8.1 x 6.4 x 5.4 in. 5.3 x 9 x 3 in. 7.3 x 7 x 6.3 in.
2,200 3,300 1,800
20 30 20
LED LED LED
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Standard retail prices as of 8/15/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

#1 Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light

Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light AmazonThis mounted light is our top dusk-to-dawn option. It’s bright, with 2,200 lumens from 20 watts. It also has two adjustable bulbs that can point in two different directions. Plus it’s waterproof and has a five-year warranty.

The Hykolity 20W Dusk to Dawn LED Security Light has high ratings online. Most customers were pleased with the product and the customer service from Hykolity. Those who gave the light lower ratings did so mostly for sudden light failures and other defects.

#2 LEONLITE 30W Dusk to Dawn LED Wall Pack

LEONLITE 30W Dusk to Dawn LED Wall Pack Light AmazonThe LEONLITE is our number-two option mostly because of its unconventional appearance. It’s definitely more of an eyesore than the Hykolity 20W. But if you’re okay with this boxy, less traditional-looking wall pack light, you can enjoy 3,300 lumens.

The handful of online reviewers of the LEONLITE note its extreme brightness. A negative review states that the buyer wishes it were a motion detector light but doesn’t note any problems with the light’s performance.

#3 Amico Dusk to Dawn Light LED Outdoor Flood Lighting 20W LED Security Lights

Amico Dusk to Dawn Light LED Outdoor Flood Lighting AmazonThese dusk-to-dawn lights are marketed specifically as security lights, and the 1,800 lumens make them more than bright enough to be an intruder deterrent. With two lights attached to one base, you get a wider spread of light.

These lights have a chic look, with rounded corners and a nearly all-white exterior. They’re easy to install, too, according to buyer reviews.

Best home security systems on the market
Vivint
Best home automation & equipment
Frontpoint
Best easy DIY installation
ADT
Best reputation
SimpliSafe
Most flexible contracts
Cove
Great no-contract

How we chose

We then looked at specs and reviews of likely candidates to choose the finalists and their category rankings. The specs we considered including range, watts, lumens, price, appearance, installation, and warranty.

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 much of your property will it illuminate? Should you go with LED or incandescent lighting, and what type of light works best for each area?

What kind of security lights are out there?

There are countless types of security lights, configurations, and add-ons out there that allow you to customize your lighting pretty much any way you want it. We focused on four of the most common:

  1. Motion sensor lights
  2. LED floodlights
  3. Solar floodlights
  4. Dawn-to-dusk lights
LED vs Incandescent

LED vs. incandescent light bulbs

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 at a significantly higher price. Since then, LED pricing has dropped considerably to become a viable replacement for outdated lighting technology. But what’s the difference between LED and incandescent?

ASL Take Note

LED lights cost three to five times more money up front—which is why some people avoid them—but they’re 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 last longer than incandescent light bulbs. Exactly how much longer is determined by the brand of both the LED and incandescent lights.

One knock on LED lighting, however, is that it emits a colder, blue-hued light. Whether that’s an issue comes down to personal preference. You can see integral-led.com’s breakdown of warm light vs. cool light for more information.

ASL Take Note

Incandescent lights
Spoiler alert! It takes energy to light up a light bulb. But did you know that with an incandescent bulb, 90% of that energy is converted into heat, not light?2 Incandescent bulbs are cheaper up front but need more energy to emit light. That makes them incredibly inefficient. You’ll change an incandescent bulb 20 times before you’ll need to replace an LED bulb.

You might stand in Walmart 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 BulbLEDIncandescent
Cost per bulb$8 or less$1
Average lifespan25,000 hours1,200 hours
Watt usage10W60W
# of bulbs per 25,000 hours121
Total cost per 25,000 hours$8$21
Type of Bulb
Cost per bulb
Average lifespan
Watt usage
# of bulbs per 25,000 hours
Total cost per 25,000 hours
LED Incandescent
$8 or less $1
25,000 hours 1,200 hours
10W 60W
1 21
$8 $21

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.

Range

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. Motion sensor range, on the other hand, is how far away a motion sensor registers 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 are rated by the number of lumens they produce.

More lumens equals more light.

If you want widespread light for your backyard or driveway, you need something with high lumens (700+) to project light further from your fixture. However, if you simply need to light up a porch, you can use an adapter like First Alert PIR725 Socket. 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.

Security Light Installation

Installing security lights

Not all outdoor lighting can be installed by a novice installer, but some can. Here are some things to consider with DIY security light installation.

What kind of wall mount does the light use?

Reviews of wall lights often note surprises during mounting. Sometimes the mount can’t be attached to an existing junction box or has to be attached in a recess in the wall. When faced with these obstacles, users sometimes jury-rigged a solution. In other cases, they were forced to return the light.

Read wall lights’ reviews before purchase to avoid mounting snags.

What kind of waterproofing does the light have?

Outdoor lights tend to be waterproof to some extent. But even a waterproofed light can be fallible, and during installation, you may want to add extra coverage—for example, by installing wall lights under a roof eave. You might even add some caulking to the light itself.

Check with an expert electrician before modifying anything. You don’t want to break your light or cause fire hazards.

Our recommendation

Consider what type of security lights will best suit your home. Security lights are quick and easy to install and are a proven 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.

As a recap, here are the lights we recommend:

Contributing author: Brianne Sandorf

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