What To Look For When Choosing An Outdoor Motion Sensor

Last updated: December 8, 2022


We are accustomed to having a sense of security and safety at home. We presume that once we are in the comforts of our residences, we are completely secure from burglary or theft. However, the majority of people never consider that their homes might be a target of a break-in. In fact, 3 out of 4 homes will be broken into in the next 20 years, regardless of the area. This is only worsened by the grim reality that 75% of homeowners do not have home security installed.

Despite the safety our house offers, it’s still best to have security systems and motion sensors installed to not be part of the 2.5 million burglaries reported annually in the United States. The presence of outdoor motion sensors as part of your overall home security can help deter burglars from breaking into your property. 

If you are interested in installing motion sensors around your property, check out our guide below to help determine things you should consider before purchasing one. 

What Is A Motion Sensor

A motion sensor, sometimes known as a motion detector, is an electronic device that tracks and records movement. In addition to home and commercial security systems, motion sensors are commonly employed in phones, paper towel dispensers, game consoles, and virtual reality headsets. 

Unlike many other variations of sensors — which can be handled and isolated — motion sensors are often embedded systems having three main parts: a sensor unit, an embedded computer, and the mechanical component.  Because motion sensors can be configured to carry out incredibly specialized tasks, these three components come in various sizes and configurations. Motion sensors, for instance, can be used to turn on floodlights, set off audio alarms, turn on switches, and even call the police.

How Do Motion Sensors In Home Security Systems Work

A motion sensor generally uses a highly sensitive and calibrated sensor to detect and locate nearby individuals or objects. When a sensor detects any type of motion or movement around its range, it will send an alert to your security system. Some newer motion sensors send real-time notifications right to your smartphone. If you have subscribed to an alarm monitoring service, motion sensors can be configured to send an alert to your monitoring team. 

Motion sensors are usually activated during the following situations:

  • Detects a potential intruder near or inside your residence or business establishment
  • Senses people entering restricted areas of your home (e.g., basement, garage, storage area, etc.)
  • Detects movement from an unknown person or animal in its immediate vicinity

Things To Consider When Buying Motion Sensors 

Motion sensors are growing in popularity as more and more people become aware that burglars trying to break into their homes will try to be as sneaky as possible so as not to alert anyone. However, you can’t just stay up all night and stay guard for any malicious movement around your property. This is where motion sensors come in handy. 

If you’re in the market for motion sensors, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ve listed the most important things you should consider when picking which sensors you want to install in your home.


One of the first things you should do is take a look at your property. Which areas do you want your motion sensor to cover? From there, keep in mind the effective range of the motion sensors you plan to purchase. Also, once you installed your motion sensors, we recommend running a few tests with them. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that your motion sensors cover areas of potential concern. 


The areas where you intend to install your motion sensors are directly tied to the overall effective range you will get. You’ll need to ensure there won’t be any blind spots for a potential intruder wherever you decide to install your motion sensors.


How fast do the motion sensors respond? How close must someone be for the motion sensor to activate? In order to determine how responsive the sensors you’re buying are, make sure you ask each of these questions. The reactivity will determine whether or not the motion sensors function the way you want them to. 


What is the expected lifespan of the motion sensors you are considering? Are they built to last? How soon will you need to replace them? Additionally, it’s good to make sure that your motion sensors are weather-proof and can withstand the various temperatures you’ll find in your area. There are various options, and the durability of your motion sensors is always worth considering, along with the price. 

If you are interested in learning more about essential security measures to protect your business, check out this article by Security Forward. 

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