The Outdoor Sensor and Security Light buyers guide

24th January 2022

The Outdoor Sensor and Security Light buyers guide

Discover all you need to know about choosing the right security light, from the types of security light available to the amount of lumens you job will need.

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Security lights and outdoor sensors can be a massive deterrent against burglars and opportunistic thieves. Not only do they make would-be intruders easier to spot, but they also give the illusion that a property is occupied, scaring thieves away.

Our guide tells you everything you need to know about choosing the right security lights and installing them, whether that’s for beefing up your client’s security or protecting your tools at home.

How do security lights work?

Security lights work in two ways: first, they light up any potential thieves, making them easier to spot on CCTV and limiting the places they can hide. Secondly, they make thieves think somebody is in. They’re less likely to try and break in if they assume the property is occupied, meaning they can be a great deterrent.

They’re also good for helping the right people gain access, lighting up important access ways and illuminating the way inside.

What are the types of security light?


There are four main types of security light worth considering for your jobs. The option you choose will depend on a few things, such as its intended location and its purpose, but we’ll talk you through all of them to give you the full picture.

Motion activated security lights

As the name suggests, motion activated security lights become active when their PIR (passive infrared) sensor picks up on motion, meaning anyone who approaches will be bathed in light. Not only is this a great way to deter burglars, but it also makes finding your front door much easier if you get home at night.

Solar security lights

A lot of people ask us if solar security lights are actually any good. Afterall, you need them most at night, when the sun is famously hiding. However, because solar security lights require no power, they can actually be a very convenient and cost effective way to provide extra security. After a full day of charging, these lights should be active for between 10 and 12 hours, providing an environmentally-friendly alternative to the mains powered options.

Timer and light-sensitive security lights

These light systems can be set to a time that suits you, or will come on automatically when light falls below a certain level. While this could be practical in certain situations - especially if a premises is always shut at the same time - it can also be very costly. Unlike motion activated lights, once these lights come on, they stay on. Not only could this be a waste of power and money, but it could also tip thieves off to the fact there’s no-one in.

LED and halogen floodlights

Floodlights are one of the most common types of security lighting, and can often be found on business and industrial premises. If ever you use a carpark at night, chances are it’s lit by floodlights, while they’re also used in sports grounds across the world. For instances where you need a constant source of light, these are possibly your best option. LED floodlights are particularly cost effective as they use a lower amount of energy, while halogen lights give off a bright, white light and can be powered by mains or solar panels.

Where do you put security lights?

The placement of your security lights really depends on what you want to secure. If you’re looking to deter burglars, it makes sense to install your security lights in areas where they could look to gain access. Front doors, car park entrances and loading bays would all be worth considering.

If the main aim of the lights is to help you walk around without falling over, you should install them over walkways and, again, near the main entry points.

When it comes to motion activated security lights, these need to be placed around 6 to 10 feet above the ground (1.8 to 3 meters). That will allow their light to cover a wider area, while also ensuring the light is softer by the time it hits the ground. A harsh light can create shadows - the perfect place for thieves to hide.

How bright should a security light be?

Lights are measured in lumens, and the amount of lumens your security light will emit depends on which type you choose. Floodlights, for example, can emit anything between 700 and 1300 lumens, making them a great option for covering large areas.

Motion activated security lights are around 300 to 700 lumens, and are generally used on a more focused area of a property.

It’s also worth thinking about how the brightness would impact any neighbours. If you’re installing lights on a residential property, they shouldn’t be visible by any of the nearby houses, while floodlights can cause light pollution that could keep whole neighbourhoods awake.

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