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The Best Motion Sensors

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 Jan 28, 2021

A full security system may be the peace of mind you and your loved ones need.

Our Top 10 Picks

What are motion sensors?

Motion sensors are devices made to detect activity. These can be used indoors or outdoors to enhance your home protection. Whenever an indoor sensor is tripped, a signal is sent to your security system’s control panel or base station, and then your monitoring company is notified.

From there, you may be contacted by your monitoring company or the authorities may be dispatched. It’s also important to note that some motion sensors can be self-installed and come with professional monitoring. This gives you the freedom to place them wherever you feel is best in your home.

Compare Motion Sensors

  • simplisafe-motion-sensor-min-300x300
    Simplisafe Motion Sensor
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Up to 26 ft.
    Power source
    AC power cable
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor
    Lighting
    No
    Image capture/video
    Yes
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    1-year limited warranty
  • Wyze Cam with Wyze Sense Starter Kit Logo
    Wyze Cam with Wyze Sense Starter Kit
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Not specified
    Power source
    Hardwired
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Outdoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    Yes
    Siren
    Yes
    Warranty
    1-year limited warranty
  • Ring Floodlight Camera
    Ring Floodlight Camera
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Up to 30 ft.
    Power source
    Battery
    Installation type
    DIY or Professional
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor
    Lighting
    No
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    3-year limited warranty
  • liton-motion-sensor-min-300x300
    LITOM Motion Sensor Light
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Up to 26 ft.
    Power source
    Solar
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Ourdoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    1 year
  • adt-motion-sensor-min-300x372
    ADT Motion Sensor
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4
    Motion detection range
    Up to 40 ft.
    Power source
    Battery
    Installation type
    Professional
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor
    Lighting
    Not specified
    Image capture/video
    Not specified
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    Not specified
  • Govee Motion Sensor Logo
    Govee Motion Sensor
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Up to 328 ft.
    Power source
    Batteries or microUSB
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor or Outdoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    Lifetime warranty
  • beams-motion-sensor-min-300x300
    Mr. Beams Motion Sensing Spotlight
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4.5
    Motion detection range
    Up to 30 ft.
    Power source
    Battery
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Outdoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    1-year limited warranty
  • J.LUMI Motion Sensor with Light Logo
    J.LUMI Motion Sensor with Light
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4
    Motion detection range
    Up to 50 ft.
    Power source
    Not specified
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    Not specified
  • wjling-motion-sensor-min-300x300
    WJLING Motion Sensor Alarm
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4
    Motion detection range
    Up to 328 ft.
    Power source
    Battery
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor or Outdoor
    Lighting
    Yes
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    Not specified
  • kangaroo-motion-sensor-min-300x300
    Kangaroo Motion Sensor
    Price
    -
    Rating
    4
    Motion detection range
    Up to 15 ft.
    Power source
    Battery
    Installation type
    DIY
    Indoor/Outdoor
    Indoor
    Lighting
    No
    Image capture/video
    No
    Siren
    No
    Warranty
    Not specified

Features to Look for When Buying a Motion Sensor

  • Motion Detection Range

    Motion sensors can detect activity anywhere from as little as 15 ft. to over 200 ft. depending on its design. In the traditional sense, motion sensors are designed to detect home intrusions, but you will find some designed for outdoor use to detect visitors. 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

    Many motion sensors are wireless, making them easy to install on a wall or set on a level surface. The installation type will, however, depend on the brand you’re purchasing from. Some brands with motion sensors, like ADT, require professional installation for their full home security systems, while other brands, like SimpliSafe, allow you to install the sensor on your own.

  • Power Source

    Most motion sensors are powered by battery, while you may find some that are solar-powered or can use another source. Depending on the device, you generally won’t have to hardwire any motion sensors. If you purchase a camera that requires hardwiring power, surveillance, and motion detection, then you’ll need to be aware of the device’s installation needs.

  • Lighting

    Today, you can now find motion sensors with built-in lighting like the LITOM motion light, Ring Floodlight Camera, Govee Motion Sensor, and more. Lighting can also be used as a deterrence for lurkers and criminals. If your sensor picks up activity, the light can be triggered, and most criminals don’t want to draw attention to themselves, further helping to drive them away.

  • Image Capture/Video Surveillance

    Another advanced feature you’ll find with some sensors is image capture or video surveillance. There are motion sensors that can 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 capability combined with motion detection.

  • Siren/Ringtone

    One last unique feature you’ll find with some motion detectors is a built-in siren or ringtone. Let lurkers and criminals know they’ve been spotted. The Ring Spotlight Camera is a good option if you want combined motion detection, lighting, and a siren. The WJLING Motion Sensor features 38 ringtones you can choose from.

Compare Motion Sensors: Our Top 10 Picks

  • Best Motion Sensor for Pet Owners
    simplisafe-motion-sensor-min-300x300

    1. Simplisafe Motion Sensor

    Our rating

    Our take

    Great for pet-owners, this SimpliSafe motion sensor has a 90-degree field of vision, providing full coverage if placed in a corner. Made with flexibility for installation, it can be set on a shelf or even hung on a wall. If you have pets under 50 pounds, this device is designed to avoid detecting them and 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

    2. Wyze Cam with Wyze Sense Starter Kit

    Our rating

    Our take

    Get double-the-punch with the Wyze Cam V2 and Sense Starter Kit for protecting your home. You’ll be able to easily install the sensors on your doors or windows. You’ll also get notifications whenever motion is detected and can check your camera. This kit allows you to protect an area of up to 26 ft.

    Stand-out features include

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

    3. Ring Floodlight Camera

    Our rating

    Our take

    The Ring Floodlight Camera is a motion-activated floodlight and camera all in one. It produces 1,800 lumens of light and is designed with an adjustable 270-degree motion sensor to detect any activity within 30 feet. If there’s any suspicious activity outside your home, Ring’s outdoor light allows you to sound a loud 110-decibel alarm from your smartphone using the Ring app. The camera, which costs $249.99, 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
  • liton-motion-sensor-min-300x300

    4. LITOM Motion Sensor Light

    Our rating

    Our take

    Powered by solar energy, the LITOM Wireless Motion Sensor provides a well-lit environment for outdoor areas of your home. Featuring 24 LED lights, when motion is detected, this sensor will provide lighting for up to 20 seconds. This product can be best used for lighting above your garage, steps, corners and more.

    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-min-300x372

    5. ADT Motion Sensor

    Our rating

    Our take

    Designed to be pet-friendly and customizable for your furry friends, the Motion Sensor provides coverage for large rooms and spaces and works with your security system to trigger your lights if the sensor is tripped.

    Stand-out features include

    • Designed for indoor monitoring
    • Provides coverage for a 35-foot to 40-foot area
    • Receive 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

These devices come in different types, depending on the use location and technology. The most common type you’ll find are passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, and this is because they recognize heat signatures. Some PIR motion sensors are designed to avoid pets up to a certain weight, making these great for pet owners. Dual-technology motion sensors can be more superior to their single-technology counterparts as they can help prevent more false alarms with two types, such as combining PIR with microwave technology. We break down several types of motions sensors you’ll find while shopping below:

  • Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors – These are designed to detect body heat and movement within the parameters of the sensor. This is most common technology used in these devices on the market today.
  • Microwave motion sensors – These devices send of microwave pulses, are able to provide more coverage, and are usually more expensive.
  • Ultrasonic motion sensors – These sensors emit ultrasonic waves and can calculate the reflection of those waves from a moving object.
  • Dual-technology motion sensors – These devices combine different motion-sensing technologies, such as PIR and ultrasonic technologies combine in one sensor.

Where to Place Motion Sensors

In general, a motion sensor can be mounted in the corner of a wall or placed in the center of a wall. Most brands will 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 facing a window, in an area where your pets normally 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, kitchen, etc.)
  • Clean the area in which you plan to place the motion sensor with a wipe or damp paper towel and then dry
  • 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
  • And you’re all set and ready to test the sensor

Some brands may have additional instructions for testing your motion sensor. You’ll need to follow their 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. If your security system has door and window detectors, these serve as a line of defense whenever a door or window is opened. If these detectors, however, are not triggered, then that’s when motion sensors do the “heavy lifting” of detecting suspicious activity and triggering the control panel. This is one of the biggest advantages of motion sensors and even around your home.

Another advantage that these sensors can have is if they come with lighting. It’s easy to find flood lights or outdoor lights that come with motion sensing technology. Whenever activity is detected, the lights are triggered and can provide a well-lit path if you’re arriving home late. As a two-fold benefit, these lights can also deter burglars and intruders as they’re caught in their tracks. Some outdoor motion sensors even feature alarms that will let you know when activity has been detected on your property.

 

The best motion sensors for your home

Motion sensors play a key role in home protection. They can work in tandem with your security system as an indoor element or standalone as an outdoor element to deter suspicious activity and keep you alert. With our list of the 10 best motion sensors, you now have a jumpstart on finding one to help guard what matters most.


Jalesa Campbell avatar

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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