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The complete guide to buying motion sensor lights

The complete guide to buying motion sensor lights

The motion sensor was invented by Heinrich Hertz. It, later on, became the ship navigation basis. However, currently, motion sensors are being used in personal settings like our homes. Motion sensors can be found in lights, burglar alarms, and a variety of other places. It is even used as security lighting in public and private areas.

How do motion sensor lights work?

There are various styles of motion sensor lights. Each and every motion sensor light works in a slightly different manner from one another.

Passive infrared motion sensors

Passive infrared motion sensors are the most common type of motion sensors available in security and lighting systems. These motion sensors detect infrared radiation (IR). These motion sensors rely primarily on two slots that contain materials that are infrared sensitive. Whenever there is any difference between the slot, a pulse is produced the pulse is considered as a movement. IR is invisible to humans but is perceived as heat. Therefore, a passive infrared motion sensor detects the heat coming from human bodies. Once the motion sensor senses the heat, it sends the signal to the light, which causes a switch in the light.

Since animals emit a different range of heat compared to humans, they cannot activate the infrared detectors.


  • Cost-effective
  • Consumes little energy


  • Quick temperature rise can lead to false alarms

Active motion sensors

Active motion sensors basically use ultrasonic waves. These have a transmitter and receiver. The transmitter sends out signals, and the receiver waits for the signal to return. If a person walks into the room, these waves get disrupted, and the disturbance triggers activation of the lights. You are also referred to as radar-based sensors.


  • Do not differentiate between inanimate objects and living things
  • Useless in outdoor settings. Even a branch sway can trigger it.
  • The bulbs undergo faster degradation.

Microwave sensors

Microwave sensors use microwave radiation to detect any movement. They send out bursts of radio energy and then measure the reflected signal. If they detect any shift in the frequency, the lights are activated. Since microwaves can see through walls, they result in more false alarms. They are good for large spaces which require commercial lighting like parking lots and warehouse lights.

Dual technology sensors

These use more than one type of technology to improve accuracy and reduce cases of false alarms. In this, infrared radiation and microwave technology may be combined into one direction system. To activate the system, both the active and passive sensors need to get ripped. If only the infrared sensor detects the presence of a human being, the microwave sensor must detect a disturbance too. Therefore, a rapid temperature will not trigger the light. In a similar manner, a tree branch fall will also not cause a false alarm to go off.

These provide pretty accurate lighting with fewer mistakes. There is no energy wastage.

The only problem with the censors is that if a person learns how to circumvent one. If a person learns to avoid getting detected by one of the sensors, the lights will not turn on even if the other sensor detects motion.

Advantages of having motion sensor lights

Burglar detection

These are great for deterring would-be thieves. If you have floodlights installed outside your house, anyone who is trying to sneak around will trip them. This is enough to start all the burglars and make him or her run back. This can also be the signal for your neighbors and you to check out what triggered the lights.

Save on energy

Are you a person who most often forgets to switch off the lights? If so, having such lighting can help. LED lights save a lot of energy, but when you pair them with motion sensors, a text experience goes to another level. You also won’t have to turn your outdoor lights for protection. When you do not need them, they will stay off. The energy consumed is absolutely minimal, and you will get a lot of savings by the end of the year.


When you go to the bathroom, you neither have to switch on the light nor do you have to switch off the light. How convenient is that? The moment you step in the hallway, the lights automatically come on for you to move around safely. The systems are also very low maintenance. You can just install them and let them be and enjoy their benefits. These will also save you time in the effort of adding an extra layer of security.


Obviously, motion sensor light would be more expensive than your regular light. If you opt for extra features, the price will rise even further. Some lights have a change of colors, some are more resistant to weather, et cetera depending on the light you opt for, your price may increase.