Security lighting: A comprehensive guide

1 September 2023

Effective security lighting is no longer a matter of installing a few bright lights here and there. With the emergence of smart home security lighting systems, safeguarding your home has never been simpler or more effective. See how smart lighting — and the Philips Hue home security system, which includes home security lights, sensors and cameras, can enhance the security of your home and provide unmatched peace of mind. 

What is security lighting?

Security lighting is designed to detect and deter potential intruders, helping enhance the feeling of safety around the home. Today, home security lights go far beyond just illuminating areas in and around your home. Now, it can be smart.

A smart home security system can turn lights on and off based on a predetermined schedule to make you look as if you’re at home, detect and analyse who and what is approaching your house, record and send suspicious activity directly to your mobile device, and more. This more-intelligent and responsive type of security light provides a more integrated approach that can help discourage unwanted attention.

What are the different types of security lighting?

There are many different types of security lights, but most fall into one of two categories: indoor security lights and outdoor security lights.

Indoor security lights

The existing lighting in your home just happens to be a powerful security lighting tool. All the lights that you use to light up a space or decorate a room also help to create the impression that you’re at home to anyone passing by – even if you’re not.

With Philips Hue Secure, your smart home security lights can go beyond basic functions. The Mimic presence automation turns your lights on and off automatically in rooms that you choose, giving outsiders the impression that someone is at home.

Additionally, Philips Hue Secure lets you trigger your lights as an “alarm” — if your sensors or camera detects motion, you can turn your lights on to bright white or, if you have colour-capable lights, red. 

A Philips Hue Secure smart security camera that can trigger security lighting

Outdoor security lights

Just like indoor lighting, your outdoor security lighting can also create the impression that you’re home when you’re not. Security lighting fixtures such as floodlights and pathway lights can be paired with cameras, motion sensors and contact sensors that can analyse and adjust to different types of movement and lighting conditions. Together, they can help prevent unauthorised access, increase visibility at night and provide a sense of safety in outdoor areas.

A Philips Hue outdoor sensor mounted on a wooden post in a garden

Where are the best places to install security lighting?

When it comes to installing security lights, strategic placement plays a vital role in maximising their effectiveness. Here are some of the best places to consider:

– Entry points: lights near entry points such as doors, windows, garage doors, and also pathways, walkways and driveways can help discourage unauthorised access.

– Dark spots: consider motion-activated lights to draw attention to blind spots around your property where unwanted access could go unnoticed.

– Parking and storage areas: ensure that these areas are well-lit to enhance the feeling of security.

The specific placement of security lights will vary based on the layout and characteristics of your property, and it's best to identify potential vulnerabilities and plan security lighting accordingly.

How do I choose an outdoor security light?

The first step in selecting outdoor security lights is verifying if the lights you’re considering are compatible with your outdoor lighting system. For example, with Philips Hue’s Low-volt outdoor lighting, the outdoor lights can be plugged in to the included low-voltage adapter without any complicated wiring.

There are a few other things to consider with outdoor security lights:

– Brightness and range: determine how bright you need your security light to be by looking at its lumen output.

– Motion sensing: a key feature for a security system is the ability to turn on lights by motion detection. Because Philips Hue Secure can be used with all your lights – both indoor and outdoor – this makes it an even more flexible and comprehensive security lighting system.

Smart settings: not all home security systems are smart. Philips Hue Secure is based on the existing smart lighting system, so you have access to all of the system’s smart features – plus specially made security features that can enhance your system. 

How bright should outdoor security lights be?

In most cases, security lights are brighter than general-purpose lighting. There are some exceptions, such as path lighting, as these are dual-purpose lights that are meant to guide you through dark areas.

Floodlights tend to offer a broader range of illumination. The Secure floodlight camera, which features both a floodlight and a security camera, has an output of up to 2,250 lumens. While some security lights can be brighter, this lumen output ensures that your floodlights serve two purposes: a general-purpose light that can illuminate your space without being overwhelmingly bright, and a security light that's sufficiently bright to help deter intruders.

Additionally, all Philips Hue lights are easily dimmable – and can be programmed to turn on to whatever brightness you like – so you get the exact level of light you need.

How often should I inspect and service outdoor security lights?

While there is no fixed timeframe, we suggest inspecting and servicing outdoor security lights approximately every three months. Over time, it’s inevitable for outdoor security lights to accumulate insects and dirt, which can have a negative impact on their performance. By regularly maintaining and cleaning your outdoor security lights, you can help ensure that they continue to operate at their optimal level and remain less susceptible to issues. 

*When a bulb displays "Up to" a certain number of lumens in its specifications, it displays the maximum lumen output of the bulb. It shows how bright the bulb can get at 2700 K (White bulbs) or 4000 K (White ambiance or White and colour ambiance bulbs). Learn more about brightness