Motion Detectors Outside: Review & Recommendations

Welcome to our large outdoor motion detector Test 2020, where we present all the outdoor motion detectors we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best outdoor motion detector for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. On this page you will also find some important information that you should pay attention to if you want to buy an outdoor motion detector.

The most important facts in brief

  • Motion detectors are a very useful tool for securing your home. For private use, infrared motion detectors are mainly used.
  • A basic distinction is made between an infrared/PIR motion detector outside, an active/radar motion detector outside and a motion detector outside with camera.
  • Outdoor motion detectors are a power-saving alternative to other lighting, but you should still consider the power consumption of the device when buying it, as the motion detector is active all day long.

Motion detector outside Test: The Ranking

1st place: Slim infrared motion detector IP44

The Slim Infrared Motion Detector for outdoor use, has a twilight switch and is available at a low price. It achieves a 180° degree of detection and the sensor orientation can swivel right, left and up, down, making the detection range easily adjustable.

The model has a range of 12 meters and is also suitable for LED. Due to its modern slim design, the motion detector does not stand out as much from the outside and has small housing dimensions. This motion detector is suitable for wall mounting, which is done by surface mounting.

2nd place: Steinel infrared 603212 motion detector

The infrared motion detector outside from Steinel has a twilight switch and is available at an average price. With a range of 12 metres and a detection angle of 180°, it enables excellent surveillance.

The model is suitable for wall mounting, either surface-mounted or flush-mounted. This outdoor motion detector is also suitable for LED and can be easily connected to a lamp. Customers especially praise the beautiful and simple design and its easy operation.

3rd place: Motion detector outside with solar lamps – iPosible

The outdoor motion detector with solar lamps from iPosible is both waterproof and resistant to heat and frost and is available at an average price.

It has a range of up to approx. 15 metres, a motion detector angle of 120º and a four-sided wide-angle illumination of 270º.

Since this motion detector contains both a silicon solar panel and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 2000 mAh on the outside, it can also function in winter.

In addition, this model does not necessarily require cabling. Furthermore, this motion detector also has three different light modes on the outside, which you can choose between.

Guide: Questions to consider before buying an outdoor motion detector

How does an outdoor motion detector work?

Most outdoor motion detectors work with the help of electronic sensors. These detect movement in their surroundings and then switch on either the camera system, lighting or alarm system.
The motion detector’s sensor is located behind a small protruding dome on the front of the unit.

In an infrared motion detector, there are lenses in the cap that collect the infrared light and transmit it to the sensor. Here you can adjust the sensitivity yourself.

Motion detectors outside are mainly used to increase safety. Furthermore, motion detectors for outdoor use can also serve as energy-saving and helpful lighting for the garden or the path.

Are there motion detectors for outside that are immune to animals?

No motion detector outside can distinguish humans from animals.
Although some providers guarantee that small animals up to 30 kg will not trigger an alarm with the “Pet motion detector outside”, it is usually different.
In most cases, when an outdoor motion detector is advertised as “animal immune” or “pet motion detector outdoor”, it is an infrared motion detector for outdoor use.

An infrared motion detector outside is a sensitive temperature measuring device that works with heat radiation.

It adjusts itself to the background temperature of the room and if an object or person enters the detection area, it immediately notices the difference in heat radiation and thus triggers the alarm.

It is therefore clear that a motion detector is not immune to animals on the outside, as it cannot tell the difference between humans or a pet.

What are the differences between an outdoor motion detector with LED and with an alarm?

An external motion detector equipped with (LED) light triggers the lighting when movement is detected. This type of outdoor motion detector has several advantages.
The areas within the radius of the outdoor motion sensor with LED are automatically illuminated. In addition, the lighting switches off again after a certain period of time, which can be set by the user.
Furthermore, the brightness level can also be individually adjusted on most models. The sensitivity can also be adjusted on almost all models.
Not only are possible burglars deterred by this motion detector variant, but also the own feeling of security is increased by the illuminated path or garden.

A possible disadvantage of the motion detector outside with light is that the sensor will start up when animals are present and this can disturb. Therefore it is important to position the motion sensor well outside.

An outdoor motion sensor with alarm triggers a sound, this sound can vary depending on the model and personal preferences.
If the motion detector has a camera outside, the detector will start flashing in addition to the acoustic signal. This provides a double deterrent to a possible intruder.
This strengthens your own sense of security. Furthermore, this model of motion detector can trigger a silent alarm. This makes sense especially when the homeowner is not present.
The alarm is indicated by a signal that is sent to the smartphone. The burglar does not notice this, but the owner knows that there are people on the premises at the time.
Disadvantages of the motion detector for outside with an alarm are that it is more expensive and in addition, animals can also trigger the alarm.
To give you a good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of a motion sensor with LED and a motion sensor with alarm, we have prepared a short overview table.

How much does an outdoor motion detector cost?

There is a wide price range between the various outdoor motion detectors. The cost varies depending on the quality and model of the outdoor motion detectors.
The price range is approximately between 10 and 150 euros.
The price depends very much on how up-to-date the motion sensor is. New models with many additional functions cost more than older models with basic functions and simple technology.
However, you should not only pay attention to the price, because newer models have a more advanced technology.

Where can I buy an outdoor motion detector?

Motion detectors for outdoor use are available in specialist shops, department stores, electrical stores and many online shops. However, you have the largest selection online and you can also compare the different models better on the Internet.
According to our research, outdoor motion detectors are most often purchased from these online shops:

Amazon.com
ebay.com
Bauhaus.com
Obi.de
Hornbach.com

All outdoor motion detectors that we present on our site have a link to at least one of these shops. If you have found a motion detector you like, you can strike now.

What alternatives are there to an outdoor motion detector?

An alternative to the motion detector for outside is the presence detector. The biggest difference between the two is the sensitivity of the sensors.
While the presence detector reacts to the slightest movement, the motion detector for outdoor use only detects coarse movements and therefore only reacts in emergency situations.
In addition, the presence detector continuously measures brightness, unlike the motion detector outside which only measures it when switched on. This means that the presence detector switches off automatically when the midday sun is strong enough, for example. 

One thing the two have in common is that they both switch light on or activate a different mechanism when motion is detected. However, the location and the conditions under which the light is switched on or off vary here.

Presence detectors are mainly used as ceiling-mounted devices in corridors or office buildings to switch off the light. Thanks to their chessboard-like network that covers the entire room, they can detect the slightest movements that are common in office work.
Here we have picked out another video that explains the differences between presence detectors and motion detectors.

Decision: What types of outdoor motion detectors are available and which one is right for you?

If you want to get an external motion detector there are three alternatives you can choose between.

  • Infrared/PIR motion detector
  • Active/radar motion detectors
  • Motion detector with camera

All three types of outdoor motion sensor each have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you prefer and what you want to use your outdoor motion detector for, a different type will suit you.

With the following section we would like to make this decision easier for you.

How does an infrared motion sensor/PIR work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The infrared motion detector is also called PIR motion detector, which stands for passive infrared.

This motion detector is called “passive” because it does not emit any radiation itself, but reacts to received heat radiation from objects and people in its environment.

In its cap there are lenses which collect the infrared light and transmit it to the sensor. Here you can adjust the sensitivity yourself.

The environment is divided into grids and if there is movement in the detected area, the motion detector detects a difference between the ambient temperature and the body or surface temperature.

A change between cold and warm is detected and followed by an electrical signal.

Advantages

Detection of persons and objects
Exact coverage area
Available in compact designs
Sensitivity adjustable

Disadvantages

Notices no changes behind foreign material
Functional incapacity due to disturbance variable

A disadvantage of the PIR motion detector is that it cannot detect intruders behind foreign material such as glass or walls.

There may also be various interfering variables that affect the functions of the infrared sensor, such as underfloor heating or air conditioning with open windows.

It is therefore important to pay very close attention to the positioning of your motion sensor for outside use.

How does an active/radar motion detector work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An active motion detector, also known as a radar motion detector, works actively by emitting electromagnetic waves or ultrasound, which are then reflected by the environment.

If the sensor detects changes in the returning beams, the detector is activated immediately. The motion detector measures the time difference of the distance.

A radar motion detector is temperature independent and therefore high temperatures cannot trigger false alarms.

Another major advantage of the active motion detector is that it also detects changes caused by foreign materials such as wood or glass.

Furthermore, it can also be easily retrofitted into existing LED lamps, so that it can be turned into an LED spotlight with motion detector.

Advantages

Detection of persons and objects
Perceives changes also through foreign material
Temperature independent
Can be fitted to existing luminaires

Disadvantages

Possible malfunctions due to interference variables
Does not detect stationary objects

A radar motion detector not only detects people but also objects, such as simple movements of wind or bushes.

This can be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage. To avoid these possible disturbance variables, the correct positioning of your motion sensor is very important.

Another disadvantage of the active motion detector is that it does not detect stationary objects.

How does a motion detector with camera work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Motion detectors with camera are often used in professional alarm systems and security technology. Private households, however, rarely use this type of motion detector.

The detection range of the motion sensor with camera is continuously monitored for changes.

The moment the camera with the motion detector detects movement, recording starts. This prevents the data memory from becoming too full and also saves power and time when searching for significant shots.

With its image recordings, this motion detector is a great help for the police in identifying the perpetrator in the event of a burglary.

Furthermore, motion detectors with camera are optimally protected against wetness, as the camera could otherwise take a bad or no picture at all due to too much water.

Advantages

Video recording only when there is movement in the image
Image recordings serve as evidence
Optimal moisture protection

Disadvantages

More expensive
Can cause discomfort

A disadvantage of motion detectors with video surveillance is that they can be more expensive than ordinary motion detectors.

In addition, it is difficult to hide it and therefore it can cause an uncomfortable feeling when visiting and towards neighbours.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate outdoor motion detectors

In the following we will show you on the basis of which aspects you can decide between the multitude of motion detectors outside.

The criteria that you can use to compare the motion detectors outside include

  • Reach
  • Funk
  • Power consumption
  • Time setting
  • Detection angle
  • Montageart

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important for the individual criteria.

Reach

The range determines the outdoor coverage of your motion sensor. Most outdoor motion detectors have a range of between 10 and 20 meters.

But there are also other models that cover a smaller or larger range. Here it is important to decide according to your own needs.

It should be noted that with a greater range, the probability of a false alarm increases.

The reason for this is that the greater the set range, the more sensitivity the sensor of your motion detector outside loses. Thus, for example, even a small animal triggers an alarm.

Therefore, we recommend that you accurately measure the area to be monitored before you buy.

Funk

Motion detectors outside with radio bring many advantages and are therefore highly recommended.

Probably the biggest advantage they offer is the optimal protection against manipulation and the increased security against burglary.

Furthermore, you no longer need to lay cables outside for wireless motion detectors, which also simplifies the installation process.

Of course there are also alternatives to a wireless motion detector for outside, such as an outdoor motion detector with automatic switch.

This is particularly practical and helpful in transit zones, as it automatically switches the light on and off.

Power consumption

In addition to burglary protection, motion detectors are also often used outside as lamps, as they only switch on when someone is nearby, thus saving energy.

Especially motion detectors for outdoor use with a short activity interval are very economical.

Nevertheless, all outdoor motion detectors need energy around the clock, which is why it is important to find out about the energy consumption of the motion detector before you buy.

Besides the normal outdoor motion detector, there is also an outdoor motion detector with solar lights. This is of course even more economical and enables a currentless functioning motion detector.

Logically, an outdoor solar motion detector only makes sense where the sun regularly goes.

Furthermore, LED motion detectors for outdoor use and motion detectors for outdoor use, which are battery operated, are also energy-saving.

Furthermore, the cost of electricity consumption also varies due to the different types of lamps. For this purpose we have prepared a comparison table of the different types of lamps and their costs of use.

Time setting

The motion detector outside with light has a rotary switch with which the time setting can be regulated.

This allows you to individually select the time window within which the lighting should work.

With this variant you can set how long the lighting should stay on without reactivating the sensor by movement.

Normally the time window for most outdoor motion detectors is between five and fifteen minutes. If it is not necessary to leave the lights on for more than five minutes, then it is easy to save energy with shorter intervals.

Detection angle

The angle of coverage is between 90 and 360 degrees depending on the model.

The larger the angle of detection, the safer the motion detector is outside.

An external motion detector with a 360 degree detection angle can register the entire area without creating a blind spot.

Therefore you should pay attention to the best possible coverage area when buying. The angle of coverage and the detection distance are important factors when buying your outdoor motion detector.

Therefore, the principle of quality before price applies here as well, since it is all about your own safety. In house corners, the 240 degree model is ideal because it illuminates two house walls well.

Montageart

Depending on the outdoor motion detector, you can choose between wall or ceiling mounting.

Wherever you want to mount your motion sensor, you must always make sure that the manufacturer has explicitly designated it for such mounting.

If you choose a ceiling detector, you should make sure that it has a 360 degree opening angle so that there are no blind spots. Also, the height of your ceiling plays an important role.

Here, too, it should be noted that the higher the ceiling and the higher the motion detector is mounted outside, the more its sensitivity decreases. The same applies to long and narrow rooms.

The ideal mounting height is usually between 2 to 2.5 metres, but you should consult the operating instructions for the correct height before mounting.

On the other hand, if you decide to mount your motion sensor on the wall for outdoor use, it is often easier and you can install it inconspicuously in the wall like a light switch.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about outdoor motion detectors

At what height should you connect your outdoor motion detector?

As mentioned earlier, outdoor motion detectors perform their duties reliably, especially when they are installed in the right position.

The optimum height for your outdoor motion detector is best found in the operating instructions. The correct height is usually between two and two and a half metres.

Some outdoor motion detectors can also be installed at a height of three and a half metres. However, always remember that the higher the outdoor motion detector is, the more the detection range is reduced.

What is the best way to connect your outdoor motion detector?

Before buying, you should pay close attention to whether the motion detector can be easily mounted outside. It is also important to check that all angles of the desired detection range are covered and that there are no blind spots.

Usually motion detectors are mounted outside on the wall, on the ceiling or next to the front door. If there are blind spots, you can simply use multiple sensors to avoid this.

Whether outdoor motion detectors with cable or without cable, the installation should work smoothly. However, care should be taken with visible cables, as they are easy to cut.

That’s why you better hide these well. An alternative would be an outdoor motion detector with batteries.

What is an undercrawl protection during movement

The sneak-by guard is a useful and great innovation for outdoor motion detectors. It detects the area directly under your outdoor motion sensor, which was often not covered in older models and was therefore a so-called “blind spot”.

Thanks to the undercrawl protection, burglars can no longer crawl under your motion detector for outside, because this area is also included in the “surveillance”.

What is allowed with an outdoor motion detector?

In general, outdoor motion detectors are not subject to strict guidelines, especially if they are only used for lighting.

However, for outdoor motion detectors with a camera, the legal situation looks a little more complicated. Under certain conditions you may film your private property, but not your neighbours’ house or public areas such as streets or sidewalks.

If you want to install an outdoor motion detector with a surveillance camera, you should first seek legal advice.

What do I have to consider for flush-mounted/surface-mounted motion detectors for outdoor use?

There are two different versions of outdoor motion detectors:

  • Motion detector outside flush-mounted
  • Motion detector outside surface-mounted

Depending on the design, there are different types of mounting:

Flush-mounted motion detector outside

This variant of the motion detector outside can be used both as wall installation and ceiling installation. A flush-mounted motion detector for outdoor use with recessed wall mounting is usually used instead of a light switch.

However, the detection range is limited to 180 degrees. For this reason, recessed wall mounting is only suitable in narrow aisles or corridors.

The outdoor motion detector is mounted inside the wall or ceiling using a flush-mounted box.

Surface-mounted motion detector outside

A surface-mounted motion detector for outside is mounted outside the wall. This type is used when there is no false ceiling or when flush mounting is not possible.

We particularly recommend ceiling mounting, as this makes it possible to achieve a 360 degree detection range. Furthermore, if the surface-mounted motion detector is retrofitted, it is easier to install it outdoors.

Motion detector outdoor corner mounting

Mounting bases allow you to mount your outdoor motion detector at either a 90 or 270 degree angle.

Motion detector outside Recessed ceiling mounting

An outdoor motion detector for a recessed ceiling installation is installed in a false ceiling, which means that only a small part of it is visible to the outside.

Wall bracket mounting

The wall bracket mounting is a surface-mounted wall mounting, whereby the motion detector for outside, however, stands away from the wall. The wall bracket is equipped with an articulated element so that it perfectly matches the area to be illuminated.

This type of mounting is often used for the illumination of advertising boards or lettering.

Pendulum mounting

Each model decides individually at what height the motion detector for outdoor use should be mounted. If the ceiling height is higher than the optimum mounting height, this problem can be easily solved with a pendulum mounting.

The pendulum jib reduces the distance between floor and ceiling to achieve the perfect mounting height.

Table of Contents