How do Motion Sensors Work?

Posted May 23rd, 2022 by SimpliSafe

Utilizing motion sensors or motion detectors as part of your home security system can help keep you and your family safe from attempted burglaries or to help stop package theft. A good motion sensor works generally by alerting you that a person has stepped in its range, either by a light turning on, an alert sent to you, or alarms being set off. 

However, the technology is a bit more complex than that, and by understanding how motion sensors work, you can decide whether or not they are right for you and if so, where to place them in your home to get the most potential out of them. 

The Different Types of Motion Sensors

There are different types of motion sensors and most operate more or less in the same way, but some offer much more convenience and features than others. To start, there are hardwired and wireless motion sensors; the former needs to be hardwired into your home’s wiring in order to work, and the latter works wirelessly. 

This means it may run on batteries and/or connect to your home’s Wi-Fi system in order to send you live alerts. There are also motion sensors that are meant for outside, while others are meant for inside the home. Some work just as a light that goes off, others trigger an alarm, and others let you know what the motion sensor has picked up on motion.

How Do Motion Sensors Work?

Understanding what motion sensors do is one thing, but how do they actually work? How do they pick-up on movement? Typically, most motion sensors work by detecting changes in infrared energy. 

PIR, or passive infrared sensors, are the most common. Humans and animals give off heat, and the motion sensors are able to pick-up on the rapid change of temperature when someone walks by, by monitoring those infrared waves. 

Additionally, there are microwave motion sensors. These send essentially send off microwaves in a given range, and those microwaves bounce off the moving object (or in this case, person), and return back to the sensor. 

There are also motion sensors that use a combination of this technology, but again, they aren’t as common. 

Why Get a Motion Sensor

For some people who are used to old-fashioned light motion sensors, they might be seen as more of a nuisance than a help in detecting intruders. A blinding bright light that goes on every time the wind blows might not be your idea of convenience or comfort when thinking about home security. 

But, there are many reasons as to why you should get a motion sensor/motion detector; especially as many of them are way more technologically advanced than years before. A motion sensor is an inexpensive way to keep your home, your family, and you safe from intruders and burglaries. Not only will a motion sensor alert you of a breach, but with professional monitoring, it will also alert the authorities if an intruder is detected. 

And, smart motion sensors are very easy to use, easy to connect because they are wireless, and can connect to the rest of your security system. 

How to Choose the Right Motion Sensor for Your Home Security System

As straightforward as motion sensors are, there are quite a lot to choose from. WHen considering a motion sensor, you’ll want to think about cost, range of detection, ease-of-use and ease-of-installation, and is effective in notifying you and/or your professional monitors that something has been detected.

The SimpliSafe Indoor Motion Sensor is a very small motion sensor that will easily blend into the decor of your home. It has a 90 degree field of vision, has peel & stick installation, and is pet-friendly. We also have entry sensors and tips on how to install these in your home, as well as how to build your own customized and comprehensive security system.