Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor: The Complete Buying Guide

Lighting the outdoors is a suitable way to improve security and deter crime.

Solar motion sensor lights outdoor will provide light when they detect movement, thereby saving costs.

In this guide, we shall look at the different features and capabilities of these lights for use. At the end of this guide, you will have the confidence to purchase and install these lights at your premises.

Why You Should Invest In Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

To make the outdoor area of your premises safe, you need to invest in this light source. The lights will offer several benefits by deterring falls and intruders while offering more flexibility when doing outdoor tasks.

Here are the reasons why a business or a homeowner should invest in outdoor solar motion sensor lights:

Increase Level Of Security

These lights will light up automatically when they detect movements, such as when someone passes by. This capability will reduce falls or slips when you are approaching a dark area.

Deter Crime

Outdoor solar motion sensor lights will emit a spot of light on a potential intruder. This feature is suitable enough to make them leave the area since it catches them off-guard.

Animal Prevention

Some animals can damage your garden by trampling the garden or eating the flowers. These lights will offer a humane way to scare these animals away throughout the night.

Besides, the lights will not harm the animals but only scare them away.


Since these lights will emit light only when they detect movement, the cost of running them is minimal.

Outdoor solar motion sensor lights also remain on for a specific time, which makes them energy efficient.

Also, they use solar energy to power them, meaning the electricity bills will be low.

Enhance Lighting

These lights will provide light to dark areas like backyards and stairways. This feature will improve the visibility of these areas, thereby offering more security.

Easy To Install

It is simple and easy to install these lights since you have fewer parts to connect. There is also a user manual that will give you step-by-step information on how to install.

Besides, since they do not connect to the main power grid, you can easily reinstall them whenever and wherever.

Flexible Installation Areas

Outdoor solar motion sensor lights require solar energy to power the batteries that will power on the lights. This feature makes it easy to install as all you need is an area at which solar energy will reach.

Environmentally Friendly

Outdoor solar motion sensor lights use solar energy, which is free and in abundance. This capability makes them environmentally friendly and will cost you less to operate.

Features Of The Best Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Depending on the light you choose, they come with different features and capabilities.

Here are some features of the best solar motion sensor light outdoor you can find:

  • Waterproofing and temperature resistance meaning they can operate in tough environments.
  • A high lumen value, averaging 1800 lumens, emits a powerful light when it detects movement.
  • Wide coverage area, up to 40 feet, offers the best security.
  • A dual-head design that extends the functionality of the light by offering 360-degree coverage.
  • An energy Star compliant configuration, making it energy-efficient.
  • Also, you can remotely trigger a loud alarm sound.
  • It can sync with the home security system as they have a video camera.

Types Of Security Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights

Depending on the type of bulb that the light is using, you can find the following types:

  • LED outdoor warning light with motion sensor
  • Fluorescent outdoor solar motion sensor light
  • Incandescent outdoor solar motion sensor light

LED Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

LED Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Pros And Cons Of Incandescent Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

These are the more traditional sources of light to use with a solar motion sensor light outdoor. They are common since they are affordable to buy despite having new and modern lighting technologies.

Incandescent has a wire filament, which, when you heat using electric current to a certain temperature, glows and produces light.

The tungsten is inside a glass bulb with an inert gas that prevents the filament from undergoing oxidation.

Some pros of these lights are:

  • Since manufacturing costs are low, they are affordable to acquire.
  • They also offer a relatively high light output.
  • Rheostats make it easy to dim the lights.
  • They also produce warm colours than LEDs and fluorescents.
  • It provides a warm source of light and switches on instantly.
  • They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Some of the cons include:

  • It will incur high operational costs.
  • They are energy inefficient.
  • Also, they have a short life of about 1000 hours.
  • Since they are fragile, you need to handle them with extra care.
  • When there are small fluctuations with the voltage or extreme weather, they may blast or fuse.
  • They will generate a low lumen value per watt, thus have lower efficacy.

Light Patterns Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The light patterns available are:


This pattern will provide a gentle dispersion of light on an entire area


This pattern will place an intense focus on a specific object or person.

Working Principle Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

This light works by first detecting movement, which will trigger a reaction, and this relies on the type of sensor within the light.

For example, passive infrared solar motion sensor light outdoor do not emit infrared light but receives infrared information.

The infrared detectors sense and pick the infrared light that comes from these moving bodies. These infrared detectors will produce a response when it detects a temperature difference.

The printed circuit boards in these passive infrared outdoor solar motion sensor lights have pyroelectric chips.

Also, the pyroelectric chip on these printed circuit boards will decode and interpret the signal. Then the chips will respond to the change in temperature.

Pyroelectric chips will emit signals when the infrared light surpasses a specific level, activating the light.

Also, infrared light will reach the sensor of the chips through a small window that faces the monitoring area.

The sensors will detect the temperature in a moving body as there will be a change in infrared energy in the area.

This process will occur through the transparent window, and the transparency enhances the effect of the chips. Also, this transparent window will deter elements from the environment from entering the system.

Operation Modes Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

There are three modes of operation that the solar motion sensor light can have, and they include:

Security Mode

In this mode, the solar motion sensor light outdoor automatically turns on and off the lights.

Permanently On

In this mode, the light will permanently remain on throughout the night. When it begins to get dark, they produce light automatically, and when the morning light begins getting visible, it powers off.

Smart Brightness Control

In this mode of operation, the lights will remain on the whole night. When it detects movement, it increases the brightness level.

Installation Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The steps for installing this light are as follows:

Light Selection

First, make sure the solar motion sensor light outdoor comes with the basic kits and user manual.

Examples of the kits you will use include solar panels, light fixtures, fastening equipment, and power cables.

Determining Location

Now you will need to select the location at which you will install the solar panel fixture.

Also, ensure the installation of the solar panel is in a location where it will face the sun.

Another consideration is the length of the power cables, as it will influence where you will install the solar panel.

A majority of these lights come with power cables with an adequate length.

Drilling Holes

Before you drill any holes, mark the area that you are planning to drill with markers. Also, use the mounting bracket to give you a precise location of where the drills will go.

Start by drilling pilot holes on the areas that have marks. Ensure the drill bit is suitable for use on the surface where you are drilling.

Besides, make sure the drill bit has a smaller diameter than that of the mounting hardware.

Solar Panel Installation

After drilling the holes, use drills to place the mounting brackets in place securely. Then you will place the solar panel on the mounting brackets.

Running Electric Cords

In this stage, you will securely run the power cords or tuck them in place. Also, you can hide them under the roof eaves.

Solar Motion Sensor Light Installation

In this step, begin by drilling pilot holes on the area you are planning to install the solar motion sensor light outdoor. Make use of the mounting bracket to guide you on where you will drill.

Drill, place the mounting brackets securely and then install the light. Finish by making adjustments to the system to ensure everything is secure and in place.

Connection Of Electric Cords

Plug in the cable from the solar panel to the light fixture and secure it firmly with cable clips, where necessary.

Uses Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

There are several uses to these lights, and they include:


Providing security is one of the most important uses for these lights. The lights will provide a bright light whenever it detects movement within your premise.

Security Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Security Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor


These will offer a decorative light that offers excellent value. They will also emit a soft light with an eye-catching pattern on walls and floors.

Mounting areas include walls or fences, and they provide an ambient light source outdoors.

Focal Points

These lights can uplift trees, illuminate your garden, or create a focal point within the flower bed.

They are directional, easy to install and relocate. Also, you can have a variety of illumination such as:

  1. White auxiliary light
  2. Yellow high beam
  3. Combination of both


The lights will illuminate walkways attractively and practically. Some will emit a warm and yellow light then become brighter when it detects movement.

Common Type Of Motion Sensor Used In Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

There are several types of motion sensors that you can use, and they include:

Passive Infrared Sensors [PIR]

This sensor detects the skin temperature of a person by emitting black-body radiation at mild wavelengths. The wavelengths will have a contrast to background objects at room temperature.

Also, the name “passive” means they will not produce any energy but rather sense radiation from animals or people.

Active Sensors Or Radar-Based Motion Sensors

These sensors operate by emitting radio waves or microwaves on a location. The waves will reflect towards the detector within the sensor when they hit an object.

Active sensors check for any shift in frequency across the area. When an object moves, the sensor notes that it has hit a moving object, thereby emitting light.

The downside to active sensors is that they will emit light when they hit any moving body. These include small animals or large insects; thus, making them unsuitable for outdoor usage.

Combined Or Hybrid Sensors

These sensors will apply both active and passive sensors.

Also, you can adjust the passive infrared sensors, so they do not sense random objects like moving tree branches.

The sensor will activate when both active and passive sensors detect the movement. This feature will make them good for use in solar motion sensor light outdoor.

Adjustable Passive Infrared Sensors

In some instances, you need to eliminate nuisance trips. Nuisance trips happen when the sensor detects any moving object and emits light, whether relevant or irrelevant.

Being able to adjust these capabilities make this sensor suitable for use outdoors. Most outdoor solar motion sensor lights come with adjustable features.

These features allow you to change operations such as:

  1. Detection range
  2. Delay time
  3. Distance
  4. Light sensitivity

The angle that this sensor covers the range of motion and distance. Besides, adjusting distance influences how near or far the light can detect motion.

Delay time represents how long the lights remain on after detecting motion. The light sensitivity allows you to alter the darkness level suitable for the sensor to detect motion.

Photosensors Or Dusk To Dawn Sensors

These sensors will turn on when it detects a certain level of darkness. Also, they will power off when it begins to get bright in the morning.

This automatic feature makes it easy to operate as manual versions need manual operation.

What Is Detected By Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

These lights will detect movement from people, animals, or objects such as cars. Some sensors have special technology that allows them to ignore the movement of pets.

Motion Detection Distance Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The distance will vary depending on the features of the sensor. Normally, it ranges anywhere between 10 and 70 feet.

Range Angle Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Depending on the model, the range of angle they can cover is between 120 degrees and 360 degrees.

Range Angle of Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

Range Angle of Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

Difference Between Infrared Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor Vs. Radio Frequency Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Infrared solar motion sensor light outdoor will monitor the changes in heat or infrared energy then emits light.

The lights turn on when the sensor detects a change in the infrared spectrum.

Radio frequency solar motion sensor light outdoor will send microwave signals to detect movement.

When objects walk by the waves, the sensor will detect a change in microwave fields. The system then decodes this movement then emit light.

Popular Types Of Active Sensors Applied In Solar Motion Detector Light Outdoor

Examples of active sensors include:


This sensor is the most common active sensor that most solar motion detector light outdoor use. They operate by producing high-frequency sound waves.

It will then trigger the motion detector when it detects a change in sound wave patterns.


Most security systems at home will use this type of active sensor. These sensors detect motion by emitting electromagnetic radiation.

The waves that they emit bounce back to the sensors, and when there is a disruption, it triggers the light.


This sensor will use radio waves and covers a large area. The motion detector lights up when it detects a change in the pattern of the radio wave.

Area Reflective

This technology will use LED lights to send infrared rays. These sensors make use of the reflection of infrared rays to detect a moving object.

Disadvantages Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor With Active Sensor

These sensors will sense any motion, such as large insects, small animals, or objects that the wind blows around.

This feature is unsuitable for outdoor motion sensor lights since it will trigger multiple times with no purpose.

Also, it will make them consume more energy, degrade the bulbs quickly, and be an interruption to you and your neighbours.

Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor With Dual Sensor

These sensors use both active and passive sensors and will trigger alarms when both sensors detect movement.

The advantage that these sensors have is that they lower the chances of false alarms.

Special Features To Consider In Motion Detectors Of Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

These features include:

Wireless Motion Sensors

A sensor that needs no wires means the setup tie is fast, and it needs no drilling. The sensor will wirelessly communicate with your security system.

Besides, they are the most popular sensors in usage today.

Pet Immune Sensors

Some of these sensors will activate when they detect the movement of pets such as cats and dogs. There are passive sensors that allow you to ignore movements from pets.

This feature can ignore animals of a certain weight category but activate when it detects human intruders.

Contact-Sensitive Motion Sensors

These sensors have PIS, and you will install them on windows and doors. They will trigger an alarm when someone opens the door or windows.

Video Capability

This feature makes it possible to integrate the motion sensor with video security systems. It means the camera will make a recording when the sensor is activated, thereby saving memory space.

Also, you will have video evidence when there is a break-in.

When To Replace Battery Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The time to replace batteries is after 1000 cycles or three years.

The Best Place To Install Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Always install in areas that have a clear line of sight, such as:

  • Stairways
  • Decks
  • Patio
  • Swimming pool area
  • Fences and gates
  • Garden paths
  • Around bushes or trees
  • Yards

Recommended IP Rating Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

A high IP rating means the light will have more protection against the elements. The best IP rating is IP64, which provides more protection from moisture and solids.

Weatherproof Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Weatherproof Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Best Light Bulb For Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

LED happens to be the best light bulb for these sensors.

The benefits of LEDs are:

  • They have a long lifespan of around 50000 hours.
  • LEDs are energy-efficient and affordable.
  • They are bright
  • Also, they are durable than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.

Light Brightness Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The level of brightness depends on the lumen value of the bulbs.

A higher lumen value means the light is brighter and how bright you want it to depend on the area of coverage.

A brightness level of between 300 and 700 lumens is suitable for use with this light.

Resetting Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

When the sensor has auto-reset features, it will automatically reset following a power surge. Otherwise, you can manually power off the light, wait for around 30 seconds, then turn the light back on.

Reasons Of Resetting Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light

Here are reasons that may cause you to reset this light fixture:

  • Following a power surge
  • When the sensors are faulty
  • Bad bulbs
  • When there is a power outage

Adjustable Parameters Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

These parameters include:

Illumination Coverage

Some lights enable you to change how wide or narrow the beam of light will illuminate.


You can change the sensitivity of the sensor to minimize nuisance triggers. An example of such a trigger are leaves blowing.

Light Duration

This parameter will allow you to change the length of time the light remains on as it saves the battery.

Maintenance Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Some practices to follow are:

  • Clean the solar panels with soap and water to increase their efficiency.
  • Ensure the connection between the solar panel and sensor light has no breakage.
  • Clean the sensors to increase how sensitive they will be as debris lowers its efficiency.
  • Use genuine parts when repairing or replacing the fixture.

Cost Of Installing Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

It is quite easy to install this fixture as the user manual has all the steps to follow. However, if you need a handyperson, it will cost you between 30 USD and 250 USD.

Preferred Color Temperature Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

These lights can produce both warm and cool colour temperatures. LED lights mostly produce a cool colour temperature, while incandescent bulbs produce warm colour temperatures.

Most people prefer a cool colour temperature as it offers more visibility.

Recommended Number Of Batteries For Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

Installing these lights require you to have multiple batteries. The batteries that these solar lights use come in packs containing several batteries.

These battery packs can have between 8 and 20 batteries, with more batteries offering more value for money.

Lifespan Of Solar Batteries For Solar Motion Detector Light Outdoor

The batteries may last between 6 and 8 hours on a full charge and decrease in winter seasons.

Warranty Period For Batteries Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

The warrant that these batteries come in is an important factor to consider. While most come with a warranty of 12 months, others have a warranty of 36 months.

Throw Of Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Light?

The throw is the distance the beam of light will travel from the lighting fixture. Depending on the model, the throw may be between 45 and 150 feet.

What Can Shorten The Working Time Of Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

A minimal charge time during the day means the working time will be shorter at night.

Factors that will shorten working time are:

  • Weather conditions such as cloudy, snowy, or rainy days.
  • Dust and debris on solar panels block the sun, meaning it absorbs less sunlight

Quality Standards For Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

They include:

  • CE
  • RoHS
  • UL
  • IP
  • ISO9001
  • BIS
  • SAA

Decorative Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor

These lights will offer an appealing and attractive look to the outdoor environment. It means you may use it to light an outdoor event such as a garden party.

They also come in different light patterns, and you can string them together.

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