How Much Do Motion-Activated Lights Cost?

by Hannah Stephens
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Just like in the cartoons, unlit spots around your home can create opportunities for home intruders.

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If you're concerned about home security, lighting these areas with motion-activated lights could help protect your family and possessions.

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What Are Motion-Activated Lights?

Motion-activated lights, also known as motion-sensor lights and motion-detector lights, activate when they sense movements. Homeowners sometimes install these security lights to deter intruders from breaking into their homes. The light from the floodlight may startle intruders and deter them from burglarizing your home at night.

How a motion-activated light works depends on the make and model. Some systems emit a beam of light across a certain area. When a person crosses the beam, the sensors in the light detect the movement and activate the light to flood the area. Others may emit ultrasonic sound waves and activate when the waves bounce off a human or another object.

However, these types of security lights are relatively unusual. Most motion-activated lights marketed for domestic buildings contain infrared sensors that detect body heat. These sensors are designed to detect thermal changes in the surrounding area, so they activate the floodlights when a person moves near the sensors.

How Much Do Motion-Activated Lights Cost to Install?

According to Fixr, motion-activated lights cost $15 to $300 (CAD 20 to CAD 410) per unit, excluding the cost of installation. Installing a security light usually costs between $350 and $500 (CAD 478 and CAD 683) in total, including the light and installation labor.

Motion light installation costs vary significantly depending on the type of light and the cost of labor where you live. You could pay as little as $250 (CAD 341) to install a budget motion-sensor light, while high-tech options could cost as much as $800 (CAD 1,093).

Labor accounts for a significant portion of the cost of installing motion-detector lights. Most electricians charge between $40 and $120 (CAD 55 and CAD 164) per hour. Installers typically charge around $300 (CAD 410) to install a new fixture without existing wiring. Replacing a light is cheaper, with most homeowners paying around $150 (CAD 205) in labor fees.

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What Factors Affect the Cost of Motion-Sensor Lights?

The type of light fixture can significantly impact how much it costs to install motion sensor lights. Spotlights are the cheapest option at $15 to $65 (CAD 20 to CAD 89) per unit, not including professional installation. Floodlights usually cost between $35 and $200 (CAD 48 and CAD 273), while smart motion-detector lights cost between $100 and $300 (CAD 137 and CAD 410). Smart security lights contain integrated internet connectivity, allowing you to control and monitor the unit from your smartphone.

Another factor affecting the cost of security lights is the power source. Hardwired motion-activated lights are the most common option, costing $15 to $200 (CAD 20 to CAD 273) per unit. Battery-operated lights could be a good option if you don't have existing wiring or don't want to pay an electrician to install your light. These units typically cost between $20 and $100 (CAD 27 and CAD 137), not including the cost of replacement batteries.

Solar-powered sensor lights are costlier, at $25 to $300 (CAD 34 and CAD 410) per unit. However, installing a solar security light could be more economical in the long run because they use natural sunlight to power the light.

Alternatively, you could consider converting a regular outdoor light into a motion-sensor light. You can purchase infrared sensors and bulbs for around $30 (CAD 41) each. Motion-sensor kits for outdoor lights are available from DIY stores and cost between $50 and $200 (CAD 68 and CAD 273). These kits include a motion-detecting camera that attaches to an existing fixture.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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