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Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Installation Cost

Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights Installation Cost

National average
$370
(LED light installed in a new location)
Low: $220

(LED light replacement at an existing electrical box)

High: $550

(smart LED light with remote installed in a new location)

Cost to install outdoor motion sensor lights varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from lighting designers in your city.

The average cost of installing motion sensor lights is $370.

In this guide

Pros and cons of motion sensor lights
Types of lights
Type of motion sensor
Location
Power
Installation
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQs

How much does it cost to install motion sensor lights?

Outdoor motion sensor lights can make your home more secure in the evening and nighttime hours, while saving energy at the same time. These lights only turn on when they sense movement, so you do not need to physically turn them on and off for guests. Also, they trigger automatically if an intruder approaches. 

There are many different styles and types of motion sensor lights, which impacts installation and the total cost. The average homeowner installing an LED sensor flood light in a new location will spend around $370 on the project.

Pros and cons of motion sensor lights

Like any technology, motion sensor 1 lights have advantages and disadvantages that impact their use. The lights themselves are convenient because they turn on automatically 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, these lights also provide energy savings. However, some lights can be overly sensitive, which means that they may turn on when the wind blows. Likewise, if you live in an area with a lot of wildlife or have an outdoor dog or cat, they could trigger the light when walking past. This can lead to higher costs as well as a bright light, which can be startling if seen from indoors or by neighbors.

Types of lights

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

Type of lightDescription/useCost
Spotlight

Used for security

Very bright, illuminates a large area

$30 - $60/each
LED

Energy-efficient lighting

May be very bright or dimmer depending on the fixture

May have many small bulbs

Very common and easy to find

$30 - $100/each
Halogen

Very bright light

Gets hot quickly

Good for floods and very large lights

Not energy-efficient

Not common, may be difficult to find

$40 - $60/each
HID

Very bright light

Good for floods and large lights

Not energy-efficient

Not common, may be difficult to find

$40 - $60/each
Decorative

Used for ambiance and landscaping

May be used for safety on decks and near doors

Large range of styles

$40 - $100/each
Remote

Allows you to have the sensor far away from the light

Good for security as a person does not need to get close to turn the light on

$50 - $100/each
Smart

Can come as a motion sensor bulb

Can have additional features like built-in 2 cameras

Can have security alert features that let you know when someone approaches the house

$100 - $300/each


Type of motion sensor

Motion sensor lights come in a wide range of different operations. You need to take these into account when choosing your light because they all work in different ways:

Type of sensorDescriptionCost
Microwave

Covers large areas

Uses microwave pulses to detect motion

$30 - $50
Vibration

Detects movement through vibrations on a sensor

Less accurate far way

$30 - $50
Passive Infrared

Most common sensor

Detects body heat

$30 - $100
PassiveWorks as a regular light when sensor is turned off$30 - $100
AutomaticWorks only on a sensor$30 - $100
Ultrasonic

Sends out pulses that bounce off objects

Light turns on when objects move

$40 - $100
Area ReflectiveUses LED lights to send out infrared rays to detect motion$40 - $100
Dual TechnologyUses two technologies at once to gain greater accuracy$50 - $300


Location

The placement of the lights is a large determining factor in how accurate they are and how well they function. This will be driven in part 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 let you aim the light separately from the sensor. Or, you may want to look at remote lights that have a sensor trip 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.

Power

You also need to pay attention to the power source for the light. Motion lights are available that are solar-powered and do not need to be wired to your home. These make good options for areas that may be difficult to install a traditional light in, such as decks, stairwells, and gardens.

Hardwired lights are available with wattage from 120 to 400. Consult your electrician about which will be right for your home and the location you intend to install it in. Every area may not be able to accommodate higher wattage lamps.

Installation

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

If you are installing the motion light in a new spot, the electrician will need 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.

Labor

An electrician should install outdoor motion sensor lights. Most electricians charge by the hour, with $70 an hour being the average. However, many also 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, this makes the total $370 on average. The same light in a replacement area may cost $220.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Solar Powered Lights

Solar motion detector 1 lights are a great alternative when you need light in an out of the way area or want to save on installation charges. They screw directly to the wall and last 2 to 3 years. They cost about $40 for a pack of two.

Floodlight Arcs

Floodlight 3 arcs illuminate a much larger area, making them good for driveways and patios. They install and work like other motion lights and cost around $70 to $90 each.

Remote Control

Many smart motion lights also have a remote control, which can offer you greater control in how the light is used. These lights start at around $100.

Remote Sensor

It is possible to purchase motion lights that have a remote sensor, which can offer you greater security. The sensor 1 can be placed a great distance from the light, so you do not need to get near the light to trigger it. They cost around $50 to $100 each.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Infrared detectors are very 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 that has 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, however, so you may need permission to install them.
  • If you are not replacing an existing light, you can either install a new box or purchase a remote light that lets you put the sensor farther away. Solar lights are another option for this situation.
  • Some sensors may 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 field of vision.

FAQs

  • 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?

Turn off the light at the breaker for 20 seconds. 

  • 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. ​​

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Sensor 1 Detector: (Also known as Sensor) Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal
glossary term picture Built-in 2 Built-in: An item of furniture, such as a bookcase or set of cabinets, that is built directly into the structure of the room. Built-ins are therefore customized to the room and not detachable
glossary term picture Floodlight 3 Floodlight: A large, artificial light used to provide broad, uniform light to outdoor areas

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.

Outdoor motion sensor light mounted on ceiling

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Batesville, IN
-20%
Bluffton, SC
+1%
Brockton, MA
+38%
Clayton, NC
-31%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Dover, NC
-23%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Newark, NJ
+27%
Oakmont, PA
+7%
Palmdale, CA
+9%
Richmond, KY
-39%
Richmond, TX
+63%
Roswell, GA
0%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
Simi Valley, CA
+1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Sugar Land, TX
+63%
Warren, MI
+13%
Woodway, TX
-14%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources