Motion Sensor Light Switch Buyers Guide

One of the hottest topics over the last several years has been energy conservation in the home. Making your home more energy efficient not only saves our planets natural resources but it also saves you money. One of the first steps people take once becoming more energy conscious is figuring out ways to reduce electricity usage. For example turning out lights when leaving a room. All of this usually leads to the purchase of at least one motion sensor light switch.

Normally the switch is for an out of the way location like a laundry room, basement/garage or closet. A place where more times than not you have your hands full (groceries, kids, laundry) either when coming, going or both.  These places are also easy locations to leave lights on unintentionally for long periods of time.

Motion Sensor Light Switch Differences

Now being that you are reading this guide all of this is probably sounding pretty familiar. And chances are you have already began your search for a motion sensor light switch. If you are anything like I was Motion Sensor Light Switchwhen I began my quest to make my home as energy efficient as possible you had no idea there were so many different types of motion sensor light switches available. It can be confusing because some look similar but vary in price from $10 all the way up to $70. So what is the difference? Several things, the more function you expect from the switch the higher the price.

Now as with most things you do get what you pay for. If you run out and buy a cheap switch keep your expectations low. It will have little to no features and will probably not last very long. Now on the other hand if you are looking for a decent switch with your basic adjustable features like sensitivity and time on after detected movement then you are going to want to pick one of the more expensive units.

A Few Things To Consider

Make sure before you purchase your motion sensor switch to consider the following. For instance, the location of the switch. Is it going to be on a light with a three way switch? Which for those that don’t know are the lights that have two switches usually one on each side of a room. If this is the case then you will need a three way motion sensor light switch. What type of bulb will be used in the lights that your switch will control? Will the light being controlled  use anything but incandescent bulbs (standard bulbs) you are going to have to buy a switch that is compatible with LED,CFL.

You also need to consider how big the room is that the switch will be in and how far away from the switch you will be when entering that room. If you are going to be across the room you will need to make sure you have switch that can detect movement from that distance. All of this is very simple stuff but things you definitely need to think of in advance. Simply put know what you need before you buy.

And for those that have never really seen or used a motion sensor light switch this video will show you what you can expect!

Best Motion Sensor Light Switch for the Job

Now we know exactly what we need. It’s time to find the best motion sensor light switch for the job. Whenever I’m buying or comparing products like this I feel it’s best to start with the high end model. From there I can work my way down to the price chain until I find the perfect Leviton ODS15-IDW Decora Passive Infrared Wall Switchcombination on price and function. So let’s look at one of the high end switches, the Leviton ODS15-IDW Decora Passive Infrared Wall Switch. This switch comes with just about every feature imagineable for a motion switch. There are several settings for turning the lights on and off. It has a on/off manual override so you can use it like a regular switch. It also has manual on auto off and the fully automated setting which has two modes of operation. The switch can respond to motion or to the ambient lighting of the room.

The built in passive infrared sensors (PIR) which are compatible with both electronic and magnetic ballasts will cover up to 2100 sq. ft. It has a maximum of 180 degrees of motion detection. The detection zone is fully adjustable with side blinders that limit the field of view. You can control the amount of time before the lights shut off due to lack of movement with the time delay adjustment feature. You can choose from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. In addition to the time delay this unit is also self adjusting with a walk through feature for times of momentary occupancy like times when you are only walking from one room to another.

One other feature that makes this a top of the line model is the pre-shutoff warning that beeps three times shortly before turning off the lights. This gives you an opportunity to reactivate the sensor. Another benefit is the  five year factory warranty.

Leviton ODS10-ID Occupancy Sensor

Another higher end model that you might want to check out is the Leviton ODS10-ID Decora Wall Switch Occupancy Leviton ODS10-ID Decora Wall Switch Occupancy SensorSensor. This low profile switch is very similar to the previous switch with the biggest difference being that it does not come with the walk through self adjusting feature. The Leviton ODS10-ID has the same 2100 sq. ft of coverage and adjustable field of view that ranges from 180 to 32 degrees. This sensor is compatible with incandescent, fluorescent (CFL) and low voltage (LED) lighting. It works with electronic and magnetic ballasts.

This unit also has a manual override, it is push button instead a switch. It does the same thing manual on/off for lighting any time, manual on auto off and auto on/off. Another perk is the adjustable setting to detect ambient light which can be set from 2 to 500+ foot-candles. All this does is keep the lights from turning on when there another source of sufficient lighting, like sunlight from a window. This model is also three-way and four-way compatible, if you are using more than one unit both units must time out or both manual buttons must be turned off for the light to go out. This unit also has a five year warranty.

LevitonPR180-1LW Occupancy Sensor

The last unit I will mention in this guide is the Leviton PR180-1LW Wall Switch Occupancy Sensor. It has fewer features and therefore a less Leviton PR180-1LW Wall Switch Occupancy Sensorexpensive unit than those mentioned above but is still a very nice switch. This Leviton model can be used in a single or three way application. It has a non-adjustable 180 field of view and can cover a -400 sq. ft room. This switch can only be used with incandescent and fluorescent lights with a magnetic ballast. Some features included are manual on/off override and an ambient light override. There is an adjustable time delay of 15seconds to 15 minutes for shutoff after no motion is detected.

Above is just a small list of a broad range of switches. If you would like to see more examples simply click on any of the pictures in this article.