Best Motion Sensors of 2021

Security systems are the bread and motion sensors are the butter–these two come together to give you and your family the enhanced protection that your home needs. When searching for the best motion sensors for your home, it’s important to consider the type of technology and features.
Updated May 4, 2021
Written By
Jalesa Campbell | Safety and Security Reporter
Evaluated over 90 safety products to help you protect what matters most. Check our Methodology
 

Our Top 11 Picks

What Are Motion Sensors?

Motion sensors are devices made to detect activity and enhance your home’s protection. Whenever a sensor trips, a signal is sent to your security system’s control panel or base station. From there, the monitoring company will contact you, and authorities may be dispatched. 

Compare Motion Sensors

SimpliSafe Motion Sensor

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Wyze Cam V2 with Wyze Sense Starter Kit

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Ring Floodlight (Battery-Powered)

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LITOM Motion Sensor Light

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ADT Motion Sensor

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Govee Motion Sensor

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Mr. Beams Motion Sensing Spotlight

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J.LUMI Motion Sensor with Light

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WJLING Motion Sensor Alarm

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Kangaroo Motion Sensor

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Cove Motion Detector

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Price
Rating
4.54.54.54.544.54.5444N/A
Motion detection range
Up to 26 ft.Not specifiedUp to 30 ft.Up to 26 ft.Up to 40 ft.Up to 328 ft.Up to 30 ft.Up to 50 ft.Up to 328 ft.Up to 15 ft.Up to 45 feet
Power source
AC power cableHardwiredBatterySolarBatteryBatteries or microUSBBatteryNot specifiedBatteryBatteryBattery
Installation type
DIYDIYDIY or Professional DIYProfessionalDIYDIYDIYDIYDIYDIY
Indoor/Outdoor
IndoorOutdoorIndoorOurdoorIndoorIndoor or OutdoorOutdoorIndoorIndoor or OutdoorIndoorIndoor
Lighting
NoYesNoYesNot specifiedYesYesYesYesNoNo
Image capture/video
YesYesNoNoNot specifiedNoNoNoNoNoNo
Siren
NoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Warranty
1-year limited warranty1-year limited warranty3-year limited warranty1 yearNot specifiedLifetime warranty1-year limited warrantyNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedLifetime warranty available

Features to Look for When Buying a Motion Sensor

  • Motion detection range

    Motion sensors can typically detect activity from 15-200 feet, depending on the design. In the traditional sense, motion sensors are designed to detect home intrusions, but some motion sensors are designed for outdoor use to see visitors, too. Make sure you choose a motion sensor with a range that’s appropriate for the room you plan to place it in. The bigger the space, the more sensors you may need.

  • Installation type

    Like ADT, some brands with motion sensors require professional installation for full home security systems, while other brands, like SimpliSafe, allow you to install the sensor on your own. Many motion sensors are wireless, making them easy to install on a wall or set on a level surface.

  • Power source

    Batteries power most motion sensors, but some are solar-powered or use another energy source. Depending on the device, you generally won’t have to hardwire any motion sensors.

  • Lighting

    Many motion sensors feature built-in lighting, like the LITOM motion light, Ring Floodlight Camera, and Govee Motion Sensor. If your sensor picks up activity, the light is triggered, helping to drive criminals away.

  • Image capture/video surveillance

    Some motion sensors snap photos when activity is detected, and some security cameras are designed with activity detection. The Ring Floodlight Camera and the Wyze Cam + Sense Starter Kit are two options that offer video surveillance and motion detection.

  • Siren/ringtone

    A built-in siren or ringtone lets potential intruders know they’ve been spotted. The Ring Spotlight Camera is a good option if you want combined motion detection, lighting and a siren.

Compare Motion Sensors: Our Top 10 Picks

  • Best Motion Sensor for Pet Owners

    SimpliSafe Motion Sensor

    Our rating

    Our take

    Great for pet owners, the SimpliSafe Motion Sensor features a 90-degree field of vision, providing full coverage if placed in a corner. SimpliSafe’s motion sensor was designed with flexibility in mind and can be set on a shelf or hung on a wall. If you have pets under 50 pounds, this device is designed to avoid detecting them to prevent false alarms.

    Stand-out features include

    • Great for indoor monitoring
    • Won’t detect pets under 50 pounds
    • Provides full coverage with a 90-degree field of vision
    • Boasts a 30-foot range for motion detection
  • Best Motion Sensor + Camera Option

    Wyze Cam V2 with Wyze Sense Starter Kit

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Wyze Cam V2 and Sense Starter Kit features motion sensors and a camera. You can easily install sensors on your doors and windows. You’ll also get notifications whenever motion is detected, which you can check out via the corresponding camera. This kit allows you to protect an area of up to 26 feet.

    Stand-out features include

    • Up to 26 ft. of detection range
    • Video surveillance with Wyze Cam V2
    • Access to motion sensor history
  • Best Smart Outdoor Light

    Ring Floodlight (Battery-Powered)

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Ring Floodlight Camera is a motion-activated floodlight and camera in one. It produces 1,800 lumens of light and features an adjustable 270-degree motion sensor to detect any activity within 30 feet. If there’s suspicious activity outside your home, Ring’s outdoor light lets you sound a 110-decibel alarm from your smartphone using the Ring app. The camera, which costs $250, is equipped with 1080p HD video, night vision and a 140-degree field of view.

    Stand-out features include

    • Weather-resistant outdoor light
    • Detects motion within 30 feet
    • Sounds a loud 110-decibel alarm remotely
    • Hardwired outdoor camera floodlight
  • LITOM Motion Sensor Light

    Our rating

    Our take

    Powered by solar energy, the LITOM Wireless Motion Sensor provides a well-lit environment for your home’s outdoor areas. Featuring 24 LED lights, when motion is detected, this sensor will provide ample lighting for up to 20 seconds. 

    Stand-out features include

    • Absorbs sunlight and converts into electricity
    • Designed to illuminate outdoor areas of your home
    • Provides lighting for 20 seconds when motion is detected at night
    • Waterproof design to protect circuit and battery
  • ADT Motion Sensor

    Our rating

    Our take

    Designed to be pet-friendly and customizable, the ADT Motion Sensor provides coverage for large rooms and spaces. It works with your security system to trigger lights if the sensor is tripped. It can also be adjusted so that it won’t trigger when your pets walk by. 

    Stand-out features include

    • Designed for indoor monitoring
    • Provides coverage for a 35- to 40-foot area
    • Provides alerts by phone or email
    • Professional technician can adjust the sensor’s sensitivity for pet owners
  • Showing 5 of 10 items

Different Types of Motion Sensors

There are several different types of motion sensors. Passive infrared motion sensors, which recognize heat signatures, are the most common. Some PIR motion sensors are designed to avoid pets up to a certain weight, making them great for pet owners. The following list outlines several different types of motion sensors:

  • Passive infrared motion sensors detect body heat and movement within the parameters of the sensor. 
  • Microwave motion sensors emit microwave pulses, which can provide more coverage than PIR motion sensors, but they are usually more expensive.
  • Ultrasonic motion sensors emit ultrasonic waves and can calculate the reflection of those waves from a moving object.
  • Dual-technology motion sensors combine different motion-sensing technologies, such as PIR and ultrasonic technologies, in one sensor.

Where to Place Motion Sensors

Most brands advise you to place the motion sensor at a certain height above the floor. It’s also good practice to never place your motion sensor across from a window, in an area where your pets typically travel, or in non-climate-controlled areas (unless the motion sensor is designed for outdoor use or with weatherproof features).

How to Install Motion Sensors

Here are some basic steps to install a wireless motion sensor.

  • Consider placing your motion sensor in a high-traffic area, such as the living room, foyer, or kitchen.
  • Clean the area where you plan to put the motion sensor with a wipe or damp paper towel, and then dry the area.
  • If the motion sensor is adhesible, remove the paper backing from the adhesive.
  • Carefully place and press your sensor in its location.
  • You may want to hold the sensor in place for at least 30 seconds.

Some brands may have additional instructions for testing your motion sensor. You’ll need to follow the instructions for successful use.

Benefits of Motion Sensors

What are the advantages of home security motion detectors?

Home security motion detectors are a main line of defense with your security system, helping to alert you of suspicious movement and activity. Motion sensors that come with lighting can protect your home even further. These lights can deter intruders before they try to enter your home. Some outdoor motion sensors even feature alarms that let you know when activity is detected on your property.

The best motion sensors for your home

Motion sensors play a key role in home protection, but the best one depends on your personal needs. Use this list of the 10 best motion sensors to find the sensor that fits your home size, budget, and needs better than the rest. 


Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

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