Motion Detectors: Review & Recommendations

Do you feel insecure and want to know your home is secure when you are not there? Or would you like to upgrade your home technologically and have household appliances such as lamps turn on by themselves when you enter the room? Then a motion detector could be just what you need!

In our motion detector test 2020 we have compiled detailed background information on the subject of motion detectors. Here you will find answers to the most important questions and we will introduce you to various types of motion detectors in more detail. We also reveal some criteria that you should pay attention to when buying.

The most important facts in brief

  • Motion detectors are very useful tools to help secure your home. For private use, infrared motion detectors are mainly used.
  • Whether it is a motion detector for outdoor use, for low power consumption or for video surveillance: there is something for everyone.
  • The detection angle, mounting type, range, mounting method and energy consumption are the most important comparison criteria.

Motion detector test: Editors’ favourites

  • The motion detector with the best performance
  • The classic motion detector
  • The motion detector with the best price-performance ratio
  • The best motion detector for ceiling mounting

The motion detector with the best performance

Like most motion detectors used in private households, the Steinel Infrared 603212 Motion Detector is an infrared motion detector. This detector is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Its range enables it to detect everything within a radius of 12 m. With its 180° detection range, the motion detector offers excellent surveillance. The motion detector is ideally suited for wall mounting. It can be mounted on the surface or flush-mounted.

The classic motion detector

Like most motion detectors used in private households, the Steinel PIR 600310 motion detector is an infrared motion detector. This detector is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

It registers every movement within a radius of maximum 10 m. With the detection angle of 120°, the motion detector offers good surveillance. The motion detector is ideally suited for wall and ceiling mounting and the feed line is surface or flush-mounted.

The motion detector with the best price-performance ratio

Like most motion detectors used in private households, the deleyCON infrared motion detector is an infrared motion detector. This detector is only suitable for indoor use.

Its range enables it to detect everything within a radius of 9 m. With its 160° detection angle, the motion detector offers excellent surveillance. The motion detector is ideally suited for wall mounting. It is flush-mounted.

The best motion detector for ceiling mounting

As with most motion detectors used in private households, the Goobay infrared motion detector is an infrared motion detector. This detector is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

The Goobay infrared motion detector detects everything within a radius of 6 m and is therefore one of the motion detectors with a slightly smaller detection range. With its 360° angle of detection, the Goobay infrared motion detector cannot miss a thing. If you don’t need such a wide angle of coverage, you can buy an anti-glare screen.

This motion detector is mounted on the ceiling. It is mounted on the surface.

Advisor: Questions you should consider before buying a motion detector

For outdoor use, for example, it must be ensured that the device is wind and weatherproof. In addition, the motion detector can also be used as a light switch or you can buy a lighting system with an already integrated motion detector.

Motion detectors that are equipped with a twilight function only switch on when there is insufficient daylight and can save a lot of electricity.

The main advantage of a motion detector with light switch is that burglars are deterred by the light alone and run away. It is also more pleasant for you if the light switches on automatically as soon as you enter the property in the dark.

Did you know that motion detectors are triggered later when you move directly towards the motion detector?

If you again think of the indoor area, you should definitely pay attention to the power consumption of the motion sensor. We have found a particularly energy-saving product of the deleyCon brand for this purpose.

You can also save money by coupling the motion detector to the lighting. The motion detector can also be combined with a twilight sensor indoors. As already explained above, the light switch inside becomes active as soon as the daylight falls below a certain (adjustable) threshold value.

The light remains on for a certain period of time and switches itself off again when this time period has expired. You should also consider whether the motion detector is installed in a damp room and in this case you should rather use a waterproof model.

Some differences that you can see when comparing indoor and outdoor motion detectors are

What is the difference between a motion detector and a presence detector?

The difference lies in the sensitivity of the sensors. Presence detectors register even the smallest changes in the thermal image. They are mainly used for ceiling installation in office buildings and switch off automatically when the light is no longer required.
A presence detector needs the sensitive sensors because it has to detect the smallest movements typical for office work (typing on a keyboard).
Motion detectors, on the other hand, are used for monitoring. The movements to be detected for this purpose are much more unambiguous than a simple typing. This serves the purpose of ensuring that the motion detector only triggers an alarm in real emergencies and not inadvertently.

What does a motion detector cost me?

The price of a motion sensor is between 20 and 100 euros, depending on the make and model.
The price is usually determined by the actuality of the motion detector. The newest models with the most modern technology and several additional functions have higher prices than the older models with simpler techniques and rudimentary functions.
Nevertheless, you should not be too stingy when buying, because after all it is about the security of your house. As motion detectors continue to evolve, the latest models often outperform their predecessors in terms of security.

Benny BraunExpert for safety engineering and security
In the run-up to the project, it is necessary to decide whether for indoors or outdoors and for surface or flush mounting. Almost all motion detectors work in the infrared range and are of very high quality. Highly recommended for large rooms and/or areas are 360 degree devices. In contrast, those with 180 or 90 degrees are very well suited for spot monitoring. These motion detectors are often used to activate lamps in gardens, driveways and garages.

Are there motion detectors that do not react to animals?

There are no motion detectors that can distinguish animals from humans.
A motion detector that is advertised as ‘animal-immune motion detector’ or ‘pet motion detector’ is usually an infrared motion detector. As mentioned above, an infrared motion detector is a very sensitive temperature measuring device that works with heat radiation.
The motion detector detects the background temperature of the room and when an object enters the room there is a difference between the heat radiation of the background and that of the object – the motion detector triggers the alarm. This means that a motion detector cannot distinguish between a pet or a human being.

Where can I buy a motion detector?

You can buy motion detectors in specialist shops as well as in department stores and electrical stores. However, you will find a wider selection on the Internet, the prices are directly comparable and you may even be able to save a few euros.
According to our research, most motion detectors on the internet are currently sold through the following shops:

Amazon
Bauhaus
Hofer
Obi
Hornbach

What brands of motion detectors are available?

There is a wide spectrum when choosing a motion sensor. Popular brands are:

Abus
Albrillo
Gira
Philips
Steinel
Siemens
Conrad
Bush Hunter
Berger

Where can I get LED-suitable motion detectors?

Ordinary LED spotlights with motion detectors, which are available in Amazon or in a DIY store, for example, reach ten meters and are usually of high quality.
The less expensive devices do not have a long service life and are designed more for private households. There are also LED spotlights with a detection range of between 20 and 100 metres, for example from the TosiFlut brand. You should also consider energy efficiency when buying or whether the die-cast housing should be waterproof.

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

You can choose between three different types of motion detectors.

  • Radar motion detector
  • Ultrasonic motion detector
  • Infrared motion detector (PIR)

Both private buildings and private households nowadays almost always have secure entrances. Video surveillance, a security service or devices such as motion detectors provide information about what is happening at the front door.

Motion detectors are used to switch on lights, notice people in rooms or trigger an alarm in the form of sounds or other signals. They can be found as lighting systems, alarm systems, presence detectors and deterrent devices for martens and other animals.

It is important to differentiate between the devices, as the different detectors also have different characteristics. We will introduce you to all the above-mentioned types of motion detectors and clearly show you where their respective Vo

How does a radar motion detector work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A radar motion detector emits electromagnetic waves that are transmitted by a transmitter. All objects in the vicinity reflect this signal and return it to the motion detector. The time difference of the distances is measured.

Thanks to their radar technology, they are very sensitive to movement, whether the object is moving towards or away from the property. They can also react to slight movements of tree bushes or wind.

Advantages

Penetrates foreign materials such as wood, plastic, plaster
Recognition of persons and goods
Movement device detection possible, adjustable sensitivity

Disadvantages

Stationary objects are not recorded
Interference sources can cause malfunctions
Response behaviour depends on size, speed and angle of immersion of the object
inaccurate range

Ideally, the positioning of the motion detector should be well thought out, otherwise messages will be sent that are undesirable and lead to unrest.

It is fascinating that this type of motion detector even detects movements through wood or glass. A major advantage is that this motion detector works independently of weather and temperature.

How does an ultrasonic motion detector work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The ultrasonic motion detector can send and receive signals via ultrasound. Using a transmitter, the signals are sent and with the receiver, reflections from objects in the environment are received again.

All sound waves are perceived by the device as a change in the outside area. This is registered as an interruption of the detection line. If an ultrasonic wave hits an object or obstacle, it is reflected.

Advantages

Can also monitor corridors going around corners

Disadvantages

Not suitable everywhere
the detection range is imprecise

A receiver now processes the received signal. If a frequency shift is detected between the transmitted and received signal, an alarm is triggered.

Since ultrasonic waves are transmitted through the air, the ultrasonic motion detector is not suitable for every area. The motion detector is limited by strong sound sources or by nearby ventilation and radiators.

How does an infrared motion detector work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The most commonly used motion detector is the infrared motion detector. It is often referred to as a PIR sensor (passive infrared) because it does not emit any rays itself, but only infrared rays.

An infrared detector reacts to changes in temperature that appear in its surroundings. When the infrared light is registered as a change by the transmitter, it bypasses directional sectors and accumulates in a multi-lens before reaching the transmitter.

Advantages

Available in compact designs
Exact setting options
Exact coverage areas

Disadvantages

Not suitable everywhere

The environment is not perceived as captured, but divided into a grid. If something moves within a detection area, the surface or body temperature will be different from the ambient temperature. If a change between warm and cold is perceived, an electrical signal is triggered.

Very slow movements are not recognized at all. For example, skin is detected more quickly than clothing, as it blocks out body temperature and heat. Furthermore, underfloor heating can also impair the functionality of the infrared sensor.

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

This type of motion detector is a widely used aid, especially in security technology. They are rarely used in the private environment. Photocells send a permanent image of the detection area and register changes. Surveillance cameras are mainly manufactured for outdoor use, so that they are optimally protected against moisture.

Advantages

Are optimally protected against moisture
recordings serve as evidence
Recording only when moving in the image

Disadvantages

More expensive than conventional motion detectors
may cause discomfort from the camera

A security camera doesn’t just protect you when you go to sleep. It also helps you to catch the culprit. The motion detector only records when there are differences in the image. This can save a lot of power and time for searching for relevant recordings. Furthermore, the data memory is not overfilled.

One of the major disadvantages is that motion detectors with video surveillance can be far more expensive than conventional motion detectors. They are also difficult to hide and can make you feel uncomfortable in your home.

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

In the following we would like to explain in more detail which factors you can use to compare and evaluate motion detectors. This will make your decision easier and show you which device is particularly suitable for you and which is not.

These criteria are as follows:

  • indoor or outdoor
  • Detection angle
  • Montageart
  • Time setting
  • Reach
  • Mounting method
  • Twilight switch
  • Energy consumption

In the following paragraphs you can read what the individual purchase criteria are and how you can classify them.

Motion detector for indoor or outdoor use

You can install your personal motion detector indoors or outdoors, depending on the model. First and foremost, motion detectors are intended for outdoor use and are intended to deter potential thieves.

However, there are also motion detectors that can be mounted outside or inside as automatic and practical light switches. A popular type of light switches with motion detectors are LED motion detector lamps.

The coverage angle

Depending on the model, there are detection angles between 90 and 360 degrees. The best motion detectors have an angle of detection of 360 degrees. They register the entire area and there is no surveillance gap through which a burglar could sneak past.

So make sure you have the best possible detection area, as some devices only cover small areas of 90 degrees. Detection angle and detection distance are decisive factors for a motion detector.

You determine when and where such a product detects movement. A high quality product is recommended. Because reliability is also a weighty criterion for the sensitive applications of motion detectors. The 240 degree model is considered ideal for installation in the corners of a house. It illuminates two house walls.

The mounting method

Depending on the motion detector, it is possible to mount motion detectors either on the wall or on the ceiling.

If you want to mount your motion detector on the wall, you must make sure that the motion detector is labelled as a wall detector by the manufacturer. The height of your ceiling is also very important. The higher it is, the higher the motion sensor hangs and the more the sensitivity of the motion sensor suffers.

Motion detectors lose sensitivity even in long narrow rooms. The height at which the motion detector should be mounted can be found in the operating instructions. This is usually between 2 and 2.5 metres.

Of course you can also mount it higher, but then it loses sensitivity in the detection area. There are also motion detectors that can be mounted directly in the wall so that they are not noticed from the outside.

The time setting

A rotary switch can be used to set the time window within which the lighting should function.

It is determined how long the light in the room should shine without the sensor being reactivated by movement. So you can individually set the time that works best for you.

For most motion detectors, the time window is between five seconds and 15 minutes. Shorter intervals serve to save energy, especially since it is usually not necessary to leave a light switched on for longer than five minutes if, for example, it is only to be used to cross a corridor.

The range

Most motion detectors have a detection range between 10 and 20 meters. It should be noted that a higher range increases the susceptibility to error messages.

The higher the range, the more sensitivity the motion detector loses and it reacts more easily to animals. It is recommended that you measure the area you want to cover within the range before buying.

The mounting method

Depending on the type of installation, a motion detector requires either a surface-mounted or a flush-mounted version.

With a surface-mounted motion detector, the device is mounted completely outside the wall. This type of mounting is used where there is no possibility of a false ceiling or where flush mounting is not possible (concrete ceiling or in a storage area).

If you require a 360-degree detection range, ceiling mounting of the motion detector is recommended. However, surface-mounted motion detectors are easier to install, especially when retrofitted. This is also a reason why this type of mounting is used particularly frequently outdoors.

Flush-mounted motion detectors can be installed either as ceiling or wall mounting. A recessed wall mounted detector is classically used as a replacement for a light switch.

When using motion detectors as flush-mounted units in combination with wall mounting, note that the detection range is limited to 180 degrees and that mounting is therefore mainly suitable in corridors and hallways. In flush mounting, the motion detector is mounted inside the wall or ceiling using a flush-mounted box.

The twilight switch

With a twilight switch you can determine the perfect ratio of light and darkness yourself.

Here you can specify the degree of twilight from which the light should start. During the day, the technology using a light signal has little effect, so the user can easily set the desired level himself.

Even if a thunderstorm is raging outside and it is slowly getting dark, you can sit comfortably inside. Twilight switches control the switching on and off of the lighting independently.

The energy consumption

You can save a lot of electricity if light bulbs or energy saving lamps in your household are not switched on by the motion detector when they are not needed.

With the right light bulb you can save a lot of money, but the motion detector also consumes energy. That is why you should pay attention to how much power the motion detector needs before you buy it. However, motion detectors are basically economical if you set a short activity interval.

The market even offers solar motion detectors that work with the power of the sun for particularly energy-conscious people. Conventional exterior wall lights are not only used for orientation

For these, continuous operation of the luminaire is of course recommended. However, in practical lighting, motion detectors are an excellent upgrade. They are also used in corridors of company buildings. Here they ensure comfort and at the same time energy-conscious use of lighting.

In the following table we have listed the types and costs of use:

Do I need a motion detector with radio?

Motion detectors with radio are highly recommended, as they are safe against manipulation from outside, which guarantees optimal protection against burglary.

There are also alternatives to a motion detector with radio, such as motion detectors with automatic switches. However, wireless motion detectors are better because they are more secure against manipulation, which makes it difficult to outsmart. It is also convenient that you do not have to wire them.

Again, an automatic switch can be very practical and helpful, especially in passageways such as corridors and staircases.

It ensures that the light is automatically switched on when a person enters the room and switched off when the room is left again. The use of the device is quickly realised: It is simply inserted into the flush-mounted box instead of the previous switch.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about motion detectors

How long have motion detectors been around?

The first motion detectors for security systems have been around for many hundreds of years. A prerequisite for the development of the motion detector was the physical knowledge of various forms of energy and the discovery of electronic sensors that could detect changes in the strength of these forms of energy.

The first motion detectors that detected correct movements emitted infrared light and measured the brightness of the room. If there were sudden changes, they detected movement. Today’s modern devices are so sensitive that they do not need an IR light source and can detect thermal radiation sufficiently well.

Which flush-mounted/surface-mounted version do I use for my motion detector?

Motion detectors are available in two versions.

  • Flush-mounted motion detector
  • Surface-mounted motion detector

This also results in different mounting types:

Surface-mounted motion detector

Here the motion detector is mounted outside the wall. The device is mounted in this way if there is no false ceiling or flush mounting is not possible.

If you need a 360 degree field of detection, we recommend ceiling mounting. In addition, the surface-mounted motion detector is easier to install if it is retrofitted. This is particularly practical for outdoor applications.

Flush-mounted motion detector

This type of motion detector can be installed either in the ceiling or in the wall. A flush-mounted motion detector with wall mounting is normally used as a replacement for a light switch.

It should be noted that the detection range for a flush-mounted motion detector in combination with wall mounting is limited to 180 degrees. Therefore, mounting is only suitable in corridors or narrow aisles. The motion detector is mounted using a flush-mounted box inside the wall or ceiling.

Motion detector recessed ceiling mounting

For recessed ceiling mounting, the motion detector is installed in a false ceiling. This means that only a small part of the motion detector is visible.

Motion detector corner mounting

Corner mounting is possible indoors and outdoors. Using the mounting base, you can fix the motion detector at an angle of 90 or 270 degrees.

Pendulum mounting

The respective model decides at what height the motion detector should be mounted. If the ceiling height is higher than the optimum mounting height, this can be solved with a pendulum mounting, as the pendulum bracket reduces the distance between ceiling and floor and thus the optimum mounting height can be achieved.

Wall bracket mounting

A wall bracket mounting is a surface-mounted wall mounting, but the motion detector is protruding from the wall. This type is often used for lighting lettering or advertising boards. In addition, the wall bracket is equipped with a bend element to perfectly hit the area to be illuminated.

What else must I observe when installing a motion sensor?

When purchasing, care should be taken to ensure that the motion detector can be easily installed. Furthermore, all angles of the detection area should be covered so that it can react to everything in the room. Even without cables, the installation should work smoothly.

In most cases, motion detectors are mounted on the wall, on the ceiling or next to the front door. For high rooms I rather recommend motion detectors for the wall, because the sensitivity of the device decreases with increasing detection range. If blind spots do occur, you can work with several sensors to avoid this.

Care should be taken with visible cables, as they can be easily cut. Therefore you should always make sure that they are well hidden. An alternative would be to get a motion detector that works with batteries.

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