Outdoor Security Lights: A Guide to Increase the Safety of Your Home

outdoor security lights featured image

Did you know you can brighten the dark surroundings of your home and reduce the potential for any criminal activity with one simple addition – outdoor security lights?

You don’t have to place hundreds of lights around the home either, as even over-illumination can draw unwanted attention. So, which outdoor security lights will serve your purpose? What are the different types available on the market? Where should you position these lights?

You’ll get all the answers in this guide. It will walk you through the purpose, types, placement, tips, and maintenance – basically, everything that you need to know about security lights.

What is the Purpose of Outdoor Security Lights?

According to the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), home security lights should have the following features:

  • Offers a clear view of the area surrounding your home, including people and other objects like walls, fences, and barriers
  • Features facial recognition at 30 feet minimum
  • Helps prevent criminal threats like burglary
  • Helps with tasks like finding your keys and retrieving the mail
  • Enhances your feelings of security while you are away

What Are the Different Types of Security Lights to Choose from?

You can choose from the following types of outdoor security lights:

Flood Lights

onforu 50w led security light
Onforu 2 Pack 50W LED Security Light

Ideal for illuminating large spaces, flood lights distribute a wide cone of light while providing enhanced security.

  • Application: Best for residential and commercial areas
  • Mounting: You can mount these lights on driveways, entryways, backyard, corner, decks, patio, porch, pool, recreational areas, and warehouses
  • Source: Halogen, incandescent, fluorescent, HPS, and metal halide

Landscape Path Lights

You can illuminate the frequently used paths and walkways with these landscape path lights. Additionally, the lights can illuminate trees and other architectural elements around your home.

ring outdoor motion sensor security light
Ring Outdoor Motion-Sensor Security Light
  • Application: Best suited for residential and commercial areas
  • Mounting: You can mount these path lights on deck, ground, plants, trees, flower beds, walkways, paths, stairs, and trails
  • Source: Incandescent, fluorescent, HPS and metal halide

Roadway and Post Luminaires

Choose these if you want to provide ambient light to welcome guests to your home. The roadway and post luminaires are suitable for general illumination and identification of your house.

home luminaire 1 light outdoor wall lantern
Home Luminaire Outdoor Wall Lantern
  • Application: Ideal for residential, commercial, storage, and parking areas
  • Mounting: You can mount these post lights on driveways, parking areas, and streets
  • Source: HPS and metal halide

Surface Mounted Luminaries

The surface-mounted luminaires are suitable for accent, decorating, and general lighting in your outdoor space.

  • Application: Used in residential and commercial areas
  • Mounting: You can mount these porch ceiling lights on the entryway and perimeter
  • Source: Incandescent, fluorescent, HPS and metal halide

What Special Lighting Features Should You Consider While Purchasing Security Lights?

Outdoor security lights come with diverse features that can offer your home more protection. Look for the following features when purchasing home security lighting:

  • A motion sensor – motion detection will help identify when something comes near your light source. The motion sensor light will turn off if there’s nothing but will stay active when it spots things. Be sure to have a motion sensor light with a good coverage area.
  • A timer – This allows the lights to start working at a certain time and then shut off when they are no longer needed. With this feature, you can program your lights to work at a certain time of the day.
  • A sensor – You can link the entry point of the home with this sensor. It can be your front door, garage door, or even the patio door. This will let the security light fixture turn on whenever the door opens.

Where Should You Place the Security Lights?

Placement is an important aspect to consider after purchasing the outdoor security lights. After the lights and their placement should be aimed at enhancing the security of your home. Creating a map for where each light will be placed can further help you analyze the spaces around your home and the electric outlets required for connections.

The ultimate aim is to make the positioning useful. The general rule of thumb is keeping your lights about 10 to 20 feet apart from each other. Doing so will provide enough coverage around your home while keeping a space from being either too dark or too bright.

You can place the lights anywhere you feel the need to – it can be the exterior walls of your home or poles around your yard. It’s totally up to you. Just be careful that the mounted lights are kept in the right spaces and are effective enough to serve the purpose.

marslg landscape directional spot down light
MarsLG Landscape Directional Spot Down Light

Guidelines to Follow While Installing the Outdoor Security Lights

It is recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions for specific directions. Following these general guidelines will help you enhance your home security.

  • Choose the spots where it is difficult for anyone to tamper with the light fixtures
  • Protect the wires of the lights by making sure they are covered
  • Adjust your fixtures in a way that they illuminate your property and not the street or your neighbor’s home
  • Test the light’s sensitivity to motion and change accordingly

Maintenance Tips for Outdoor Security Lights

Once you have installed the security lights, it is important to maintain them to ensure continued safety and security. Follow these maintenance tips below:

  • Clean dirty lenses with a soft cloth and mild soap at regular intervals
  • Replace broken or damaged light fixtures
  • Replace the bulbs that have burned out
  • Replace damaged electrical components like photocells
  • Trim tree branches to prevent light blockage
  • Trim shrubs and bushes near door and windows
  • Remove signs of damage


Follow this comprehensive guide to ensure you get the right type of outdoor security lights for your home and give your family peace of mind knowing your home is safe from the intruders.

Security lighting will not only add safety and security to your home, but outdoor lighting will also enhance your curb appeal. You may even consider installing these lights on walls, fences, and perimeter barriers for additional security.

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