How Much Does It Cost to Install Motion Sensor Lights?

Average range: $300 - $400
Average Cost
(LED light installed in a new location)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install Motion Sensor Lights?

Average range: $300 - $400
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(LED light installed in a new location)

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Reviewed by Nieves Martinez. Written by

Outdoor motion sensor lights make your home secure in the evening and nighttime while saving energy. These lights are movement-sensing, so you do not need to physically turn them on and off for guests. They trigger if an intruder approaches.

There are many styles and types of motion sensor lights, which impact installation and the total cost. On average, expect to pay between $300 and $400 to install these security lights. For example, installing a new LED sensor floodlight costs around $370 in total. Prices vary depending on the project type. A simple LED light replacement at an existing electrical box can be completed for $220, while a smart LED light with remote installation in a new location costs around $550.

Motion Sensor Lights Prices

Motion Sensor Lights Costs
National average cost$370
Average range$300-$400
Minimum cost$220
Maximum cost$550

Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Installation Cost by Project Range

LED light replacement at an existing electrical box
Average Cost
LED light installed in a new location
Smart LED light with remote installed in a new location

Motion Sensor Lights Prices by Type of Light

Outdoor motion sensor lights come in several different forms. This includes the bulb type and light type you want to install. For example, using the lights for security may give you a different experience than when used for safety on the stairs. The bulb type also impacts brightness, longevity, and energy usage:

Motion Sensor Lights Cost Chart

Motion Sensor Lights Cost Chart

Type of LightAverage Costs (Material Only)
Spotlight$30 - $60/each
LED$30 - $100/each
Halogen$40 - $60/each
HID$40 - $60/each
Decorative$40 - $100/each
Smart$100 - $300/each

Motion Sensor Spotlight

Motion sensor spotlights are one of the most affordable options to install around your property. They are used for security purposes, designed to shine a bright light on a certain area if anyone passes by, They can be useful for detecting someone walking around the outside of your home. The average costs for these lights range from $30 to $60 each.

LED Sensor Light Price

LED motion sensor lights are fitted with modern LED bulbs, which are more efficient and eco-friendly than classic halogen bulbs. They offer varying degrees of brightness, can be found in different colors and sizes, and are quite affordable overall, costing between $30 and $100 each. You get great value with an LED sensor light because they can last for years without replacement.

Halogen Security Light

Halogen bulbs are more traditional than LEDs but are less energy-efficient. However, they produce the brightest glow. They are ideal for lighting large spaces and work well as floodlights. But they are not as long-lasting as LED bulbs and are harder to find. Expect to pay between $40 and $60 per light.

HID Headlights Price

HID stands for high-intensity discharge, and HID sensor lights are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a compromise between LEDs and halogens. They are less energy-efficient than LEDs but last longer than halogens and do not get as hot. Like halogens, they produce a bright glow, ideal for lighting up large spaces. You pay around $40 to $60 for each HID light.

Decorative Outdoor Motion Sensor Light

Decorative motion sensor lights are designed for decorative and aesthetic qualities, rather than for security purposes or lighting up space. They come in various styles and can be positioned around yards, decks, and doorways. They are a good option to enhance the looks of gardens and yards, and they cost anywhere from $40 to $100 each.

Smart Outdoor Motion Sensor Light

Smart lights are among the most high-tech options you can choose. They come with many extra features like built-in cameras and security alerts, and they have the power to connect with other smart devices around your home for various features. They are useful for security and appeal to those who already have invested in smart home accessories, but they can be expensive at around $100 to $300 each.

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Motion Sensor Lights Cost by Type of Sensor

Motion sensor lights come with many sensor types, different bulbs, and in different sizes and brightness. These sensors can be activated in different ways. Some detect vibrations, while others use thermal sensors to detect body heat. Some sensors are more effective than others in certain situations, and the price of your motion sensor lights is affected by the sensor type you choose. The table below shows common sensor types and average costs:

Sensor Lights Cost Chart

Sensor Lights Cost Chart

Type of SensorAverage Costs (Material Only)
Microwave$30 - $50
Vibration$30 - $50
Passive Infrared$30 - $100
Passive$30 - $100
Automatic$30 - $100
Ultrasonic$40 - $100
Area Reflective$40 - $100
Dual-Technology$50 - $300
Remote$50 - $500
Tomographic$300 - $1,000

Microwave Motion Sensor Price

This sensor emits waves of microwave radiation into the surrounding area, and when something disrupts those waves, the sensor activates the light. Microwave motion sensors are among the most affordable options, and they are relatively reliable but lack the range of other sensors. Expect to pay around $30 to $50 for this light.

Vibration Motion Sensor

A motion sensor light equipped with a vibration sensor activates on vibrations in the surrounding area. If the sensor detects vibrations, it turns on the light. These sensors are useful for monitoring movement around yards and decks, but they do not have a huge range. Each one costs $30 to $50.

Passive Infrared Motion Sensor

Passive infrared sensors are common motion sensor lights. They detect body heat. Each passive infrared sensor contains a film that reacts to infrared radiation. Since people, and other warm-blooded creatures like cats and dogs, are always emitting infrared radiation, these sensors detect intruders easily. They are low-maintenance and last for decades, costing around $30 to $100 each.

Passive Motion Sensor

A passive motion sensor function just like a regular light. You can turn the sensors off in these units, so you can enjoy their glow without worrying about the sensor being activated. Then when you want the extra security, the sensors can be turned back on. Expect to pay around $30 to $100 for these lights.

Automatic Motion Sensor

An automatic motion sensor light is the opposite of a passive motion sensor light. With these units, the light only comes on when the sensor is activated, and you cannot turn the sensor off and enjoy the light’s glow whenever you want. Automatic motion sensors are better suited for security purposes than decoration. They cost between $30 and $100 on average.

Ultrasonic Motion Sensor Price

Ultrasonic sensors make use of sound waves to detect movement around them. They come in active and passive models. The active variants emit ultrasonic sound waves to detect movement nearby, while passive ones listen for sounds and activate when they hear them. However, the waves from an active ultrasonic sensor can be heard by animals like dogs and cats and may bother them. They cost around $40 to $100 each.

Area Reflective Motion Sensor

An area reflective motion sensor works similarly to an infrared sensor. It uses LED light bulbs to emit infrared rays into the surrounding area to detect motion. If any movement is found, the sensor is triggered, and the light is activated. These sensors scan large areas, making them more expensive than other models, with an average price of $40 to $100.

Dual-Technology Motion Sensor

If you want your motion sensor light to be as accurate and reliable as possible, you may want to opt for a dual-technology sensor. This sensor uses two technologies - a mixture of infrared and microwave - to be more accurate, reducing the risk of missed movement or false alerts. For the light to be turned on, both of the sensor technologies must detect some movement. If you get many false alarms with single-sensor types, a dual model might be right for you, and they cost around $50 to $300 each.

Remote Motion Sensor

A remote motion sensor light has a separate sensor to the rest of the unit. You can put the sensor in an area of your yard or around your home and have the light in a separate location. When the sensor detects movement, it wirelessly transmits information to the light, which turns on. This gives you more options for how and where to install the light. This extra level of control comes at a price as remote motion sensor lights cost anywhere from $50 up to $500 each.

Tomographic Motion Sensor

A tomographic motion sensor light makes use of tomographic technology. This works similarly to ultrasonic and microwave sensors, in that radio waves are emitted from the sensor to detect changes and movement. Tomographic sensors are much stronger than ultrasonic and microwave sensors, covering larger areas, making them one of the best choices for security. However, they are mainly used in warehouses and businesses needing serious security systems because they are expensive, costing $300 to $1,000.

Motion Sensor Lights Cost by Power Source

Motion sensor lights can be powered in many different ways. Some have to be hardwired, while others come with batteries that can be replaced or charged. There are eco-friendly, solar-powered lights that draw their energy from the sun. The table below shows different power source types and average costs:

Motion Sensor Lights Prices

Motion Sensor Lights Prices

Power SourceAverage Costs (Material Only)
Hardwired$30 - $200
Battery-Powered$30 - $200
Solar-Powered$50 - $400

Hardwired Motion Sensor Outdoor Light

Hardwired lights cannot run off batteries or solar power and have to be wired into a power supply, providing them with constant electricity at all times. They can be found with wattage from 120 to 400. They have the advantage of never losing power, but they are lengthy and difficult to install. Consult your electrician about which is right for your home and the location you want to install it in. Every area may not be able to accommodate higher wattage lamps. Expect to pay between $30 and $200 for hardwired lights, depending on the sensor size and type, and then up to $300 for installation.

Battery-Powered Motion Sensor Lights Outdoor

Battery-powered motion sensor lights, meanwhile, run off batteries that can be replaced over time or charged back up, depending on the model. Installation is much easier with this light because you do not need to worry about cords or cables. They are easier to install in areas that might be difficult for a hardwired light to access. However, the power eventually runs out, and the batteries need replacing or recharging. The average costs for these lights range from $30 to $200.

Solar Motion Sensor Light Price

Solar motion sensor lights are the most eco-friendly option. They are powered purely by the sun’s power, absorbing sunlight throughout the day to charge and use during the evenings and nights. This light is kinder to the planet and does not need much maintenance, with no need for electricians or battery replacement. They are a good option for decks, gardens, and stairwells, due to their easy installation. On the downside, solar lights tend to be more expensive, costing around $50 to $400 on average.

Cost to Install Motion Sensor Lights

An electrician should install outdoor motion sensor lights. Most electricians charge by the hour, with $70 an hour being the average. However, many have a flat fee for jobs like this, with $150 being the average charge for a direct replacement and $300 for a completely new installation. For an LED spotlight in a new location, the total costs for materials and labor is $370 on average. The same light in a replacement area may cost $220

odern wall lamp with motion and light sensor on the brick wall

Motion Sensor Lights Installation Process

Installing a motion light is similar to installing any other outdoor light. The lights themselves are hardwired to your electrical system. Suppose you are replacing an existing outdoor light. In that case, your electrician will remove and replace the light by unscrewing the old fixture, clipping the wires, making any necessary repairs, wiring the new fixture to the existing box, and screwing it into place. This may take anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

When installing the motion light in a new spot, the electrician needs to run a new line to the location, fish the wires, wire a new box, and finally install the new light. This scenario may take several hours, depending on the location of the new light.

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Where to Install Motion Sensor Lights Outdoor

The placement of the lights is a large determining factor in accuracy and function. This is driven by what you want the lights to do. For example, a security spotlight may be aimed at your driveway to turn on when cars enter. A landscaping light may turn on when people walk down a specific path to illuminate the way.

Ensure that the sensors are facing the direction you expect the movement to come from. Some lights are also positionable, so you could have a light illuminate the way ahead for someone on a pathway or stairs. Keep these things in mind when purchasing the light because you may want to look at fixtures that aim the light separately from the sensor. Or, you may want to look at remote lights that have a sensor that trips a light that is farther away.

In addition, consider the range of the light to ensure that it does not shine into a neighbor’s window at night. The most common places for motion lights are in driveways, gardens, and around doors and entryways to homes.

Pros and Cons of Motion Sensor Lights

Like any technology, motion sensor lights have advantages and disadvantages impacting their use. The lights are convenient because they turn on when they sense movement instead of requiring manual operation. People with their hands full do not need to worry about stumbling in the dark. It also means that no one can approach your home without being illuminated, which may deter would-be thieves.

Because the light does not shine constantly, they provide energy savings. However, some lights are overly sensitive, so they may turn on when the wind blows. Likewise, if you live in an area with wildlife or have an outdoor dog or cat, they could trigger the light when walking past. This leads to higher costs and a bright light, which can be startling if seen from indoors or from neighbors.

Convert a Porch Light to a Motion Sensor

Many homes already have existing porch lights, and it is common for homeowners to consider upgrading to motion sensors. This is a good way to enhance security at your home, reduce light pollution, and save energy. There are various ways to upgrade your existing light.

You may choose to install a new motion sensor bulb with an infrared sensor for $30 on average. Or you can buy a motion sensor kit with a motion-detecting camera. This camera connects to your existing light and turns it on and off when motion is detected. These kits can be purchased for around $50 to $200.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs


Since motion sensor lights are positioned outside, find a model that withstands rain. Typically, motion sensor lights should have an IP rating of 44 or higher. Any lower and they may be at risk of damage, so it would need protective housing. The vast majority of motion sensor lights on the market today are designed to be weather-resistant.

Pet-Immune Motion Detectors

One issue that some homeowners find when installing motion sensor lights is that their pets, such as cats and dogs, accidentally activate them. This leads to frustrating false alarms, but manufacturers are producing more precise motion sensor lights that are not as likely to respond to pet movements. Some come with settings that you can program if you have pets. Expect to pay around $50 extra for one of these models.

Floodlight Arcs

Floodlight arcs illuminate a larger area, making them good for driveways and patios. They install and work like other motion lights and cost around $70 to $90 each.

Outdoor Motion Sensor Light with Remote Control

Many smart motion lights come with a remote control. This gives the user an extra level of control over their lights, allowing them to adjust settings and brightness levels. The precise buttons and functions of each remote vary from model to model, but many come with the option to turn the lights on or off, dim the brightness, turn the sensors on or off, and set timers. These lights start at around $100.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Infrared detectors are sensitive and may be activated by birds, cats, and other animals, particularly in the colder months.
  • If your motion light remains on, it is usually a current issue. Turn off the current for 20 seconds to see if this corrects the problem before calling an electrician.
  • Look for a light with a field of vision of a minimum of 180 degrees for at least 75 feet for the best results.
  • You are unlikely to need a permit to install outdoor motion sensor lights. Some HOAs may object to them, so you may need permission to install them.
  • If you are not replacing an existing light, you can install a new box or purchase a remote light that puts the sensor farther away. Solar lights are another option for this situation.
  • Some sensors detect motion in a field up to 240 degrees, which may be too wide for some homes. If your light goes on too often, consider using electrical tape to block parts of the sensor to reduce the visual field.
  • Motion sensor lights can be installed as part of a new home security system. If you already have a security system, you can add motion sensor lights as an enhancement. Contact your security provider to find out more information and see if their system is compatible with motion sensor lights from other brands.


  • Do motion sensor lights deter crime?

They do not deter all crime but may reduce opportunistic crime or criminals who rely on the dark.

  • How do you reset an outdoor motion sensor light?

To reset a motion sensor light, turn off the circuit breaker that powers it for at least 30 seconds, and then turn it back on. This should work on most hardwired models. For battery models, take out the batteries and then put them back in.

  • Is it better to leave outdoor lights on or off at night?

This depends on personal preference. If you want the lights for security reasons, it is usually best to leave them on.

  • How much area should my motion detector lights cover?

This depends on the size and scope of your property and whether the lights are used for security purposes. Most models cover areas of around 50 to 100 feet, which should suffice in most cases for monitoring doors and entryways into your home. But those with bigger yards or properties may want to opt for a more powerful model.

  • Can you add a motion sensor to an existing outdoor light?

Yes, it is possible to add motion sensor technology to an existing light. You can buy motion-sensing bulbs to fit in the light or get motion sensor kits to attach a sensor or camera to the existing light system.

Cost to install outdoor motion sensor lights varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Outdoor motion sensor light mounted on ceiling
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Cost to install outdoor motion sensor lights varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources