Runs in daylight
No options for duration or sensor direction
Sengled is a 10-year-old “smart” lightbulb company offering products with a modern aesthetic and tech features such as Wi-Fi connectivity. We tested one of its simplest offerings, the Sengled Smartsense PAR38 LED Bulb with Motion Sensor, to add an automatic security light to our detached garage. Find out how we found the installation and experience of using the motion sensor light to brighten our driveway.
How many sentences does it take to explain how to install a lightbulb? Setting up the Sengled Smartsense PAR38 LED Bulb is (nearly) as easy as screwing in a standard bulb. The bulb was the only thing included in our package; it doesn’t come with housing, so it requires no rewiring. It’s best for someone looking to replace an existing standard floodlight operated on a switch with motion sensor functionality. Just make sure your fixture accepts the PAR38 style bulb (E26 socket type).
The sensor’s aim can’t be adjusted with this bulb, and the light points where the central sensor is aimed (more on that later), so it’s best to use with adjustable housing. We started by positioning the housing located several feet above our garage door to make sure the bulb would trigger and illuminate where and when we wanted.
The sensor’s aim can’t be adjusted with this bulb, and the light points where the central sensor is aimed.
When installing this bulb on a circuit that’s operated by a switch, keep in mind that the switch has to remain on in order for the motion sensor light to work. More than once, we thought the light wasn’t functioning properly only to realize we had flipped the switch at some point, either out of habit or on accident.
Light: Sufficient without being overpowering
This bulb does what it’s marketed to do: illuminate an outdoor area with reliable motion sensing. The 90-watt equivalent LED bulb has a fairly warm color temperature (3000K) for an LED, featuring an oranger cast than the abbreviation “LED” normally conjures up. The light is bright enough but isn’t overpowering.
The light is bright enough but isn’t overpowering.
If you’re trying to illuminate a large area from high above, such as a section of a commercial parking lot, this bulb probably won’t cut it for you. We simply wanted a light that we didn’t need to switch on when we came out of the detached garage and headed up the walkway to our house; this felt like the right amount of light, with a tasteful brightness and color temperature.
Motion Sensor Performance: Effective but not adjustable
The motion sensor is built into the center of the bulb, with the actual lighting elements ringing the sensor. Per the company’s description and our testing, the sensor appears to cover a circle about 30 feet in diameter, meaning you’ll trigger it if you walk within 15 feet of the center of where the light is pointing. This was about right for our purposes, but it’s worth noting that you can’t separate where the sensor is pointing from where the light shines since they are one integrated bulb unit.
This bulb does what it’s marketed to do: illuminate an outdoor area with reliable motion sensing.
Meanwhile, we have another more traditional motion sensor unit with a separate sensor and light that is triggered in one area and then illuminates an area ahead on your path to our house. If you have a similar situation you’re hoping to address with this bulb, keep this limitation in mind.
Efficiency: Low power consumption, but turns on in daylight
The other drawback that wasn’t immediately obvious is that this bulb triggers even in full daylight. While its power consumption is very low (the company estimates $1.38 in electricity usage per year), it’s still hard not to see the bulb turn on in broad daylight and think it’s a waste. Our other motion sensor light (and many more standard motion sensor setups) are able to discern between day and night conditions and will only trigger from dusk until dawn.
At around $15, this bulb does most of what more complicated and more expensive setups do. If you know you need some of the features missing from this streamlined option, spend the extra money to get them—just keep in mind they’ll also come with more installation hassles.
Sengled Smartsense PAR38 LED Bulb vs. Sunforce LED Solar Motion Activated Light
While it’ll cost you more than double the price of the Sengled bulb, another wiring-free security light option is this solar offering from Sunforce (view on Home Depot). The strength of the light is the same, although the color temperature is much whiter (6500K) with the Sunforce. The sensor’s range is double that of the Sengled, and the independent sensor can be adjusted in a different direction than the twin bulbs. The setup is somewhat more involved, but if you don’t have an existing socket to use or need the flexibility of an adjustable sensor, the Sunforce might be worth the extra cash and effort.
Yes, get it!
Compared to regular motion sensor light installation, the Sengled Smartsense PAR38 LED Bulb was a breeze and added motion-activated light with zero wiring, tools, or anything besides twisting a bulb. If you don’t have an existing socket, however, the prime advantages and cost savings of this option disappear.
- Product Name LED with Motion Sensor Bulb
- Product Brand Sengled
- MPN SS-PAR38NAE26W
- Price $15.99
- Weight 13.44 oz.
- Bulb Type PAR38
- Socket Type E26
- Input 120V AC, 60Hz
- Wattage 0.2W (standby), 11.5W (peak)
- Brightness 050 lumens (90W equiv.)
- Lifespan 25,000 hours
- Warranty 1 year, limited