5 Different Types of Security Lights: Everything You Need to Know

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated March 15, 2022
The exterior of a house with the security lights turned on
Photo: Perry Mastrovito / Image Source / Getty Images

Here we shine some light on the best security options

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Bring safety and peace of mind to your home with the right security lights. From motion-sensor options to landscape lighting, you can help keep your home safe and ensure your exterior is well-lit. Outdoor lighting can also help your neighbors keep an eye on your property—whether you’re home or away. 

Here are the best types of outdoor security lighting along with their pros and cons.

Motion-Sensor Security Lights

Motion-activated lights turn on when they sense activity in the area and often catch those with bad intentions off guard. When a bright light turns on unexpectedly, someone might second-guess approaching your home. Motion-sensor lights also alert you that someone is on your property and allow you to spot them easily.

You can adjust motion-sensor lights to ignore the movement of small animals, such as dogs, cats, or squirrels. If you opt for motion-sensor lights, find a set that covers the radius you need. You can hard-wire motion-detector lights or install battery-operated ones. Installing motion-sensor lights costs about $425, but ranges between $350 and $500.


  • Can spook those with poor intentions and encourage them to leave

  • Alerts you and your neighbors that someone may be on your property

  • Energy-efficient since they only turn on when there's motion

  • Cost-effective due to reduced electrical bills

  • Helps guests and visitors find their way in the dark


  • Can be triggered by heavy weather or wildlife

Timed Security Lights

Security lights illuminating a house’s driveway
Photo: adamkaz / E+ / Getty Images

If you want your home’s exterior to be lit throughout the entire evening and night, consider timed security lighting. You can set your lights to go on and off at a certain time each day, such as at dusk and dawn. You can adjust the timing based on the season and when it gets dark, so you’re only paying for lighting when it’s needed.

With timed security lights, you can feel secure that your exterior lights are on for the whole night, and any guests who arrive in the evening can find their way in the dark. 


  • Illuminates your exterior throughout the night 

  • Goes on without you having to be home or turn them on

  • Energy-efficient and cost-effective

  • Gives you control of your outdoor lighting


  • Often dimmer than other lights

  • Not as energy-efficient as motion-sensor lights

  • Doesn’t alert you that someone is on your property

Floodlight Security Lights

Floodlights are bright lights that can help keep your property safe and illuminate the exterior of your home. It’s best to install floodlights in locations where they won't shine into your bedroom or your neighbors’ windows.

Floodlights are great to install above entryways, porches, garages, and the sides of your home. Consider a dimmable floodlight to ensure you can adjust the brightness to your liking. You can use floodlights to illuminate dark areas around your home, such as on the sides or in the backyard.


  • Very bright light that deters those with poor intentions

  • Helps guests navigate your property

  • Easy to spot activity in your yard or around your home

  • Can help you see while working on projects or doing outdoor activities


  • Can be too bright and impact you or your neighbor's sleep

  • May not be as energy efficient

Landscape Lighting

A walkway with lights in the garden of a house
Photo: cjmckendry / E+ / Getty Images

Landscape lighting illuminates walkways, trees, shrubbery, gardens, and retaining walls. It highlights different parts of your landscaping to enhance beauty, function, and home security. This style of outdoor lighting can help provide safety and make it easy for guests to navigate your property. 


  • Keeps your property safe and well-lit

  • Allows visibility for visitors 

  • Enhances the beauty of your front or backyard landscaping

  • More energy-efficient than floodlights

  • Increases curb appeal


  • Can be difficult to hardwire

  • Can be costly to install

  • May not deter those with bad intentions as much as motion-sensor and timed lighting

HID Security Lights

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are great security lights for large pieces of land or fields. They’re commercial-grade lights that can shine light further than floodlights. HID lights are very bright and aren't always right for residential homes.


  • Shines bright light on expansive pieces of land

  • Offers security for farms, ranches, and other large properties


  • Often too bright and far-reaching for residential properties

  • Sometimes restricted by homeowners' associations

For help identifying and installing the best security lighting for your home, reach out to local security companies for a quote or consultation.

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