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Buying a smart motion detector or sensor: Everything you need to know

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Do you want to buy a motion detector? In this article, we’ll list everything you need to know about smart motion detector and sensor.

You can equip your smart home with numerous sensors and detectors, including a motion detector. These small detectors / sensors can be hung anywhere in and around the house and ensure that your house is protected or your smart home responds to the movements of the residents. In this article, we’ll list everything you need to know about motion detectors.

What is a smart motion detector?

A smart motion detector is a small sensor that can be hung inside or outside the house. The sensor detects movements but can in most cases be adjusted for normal movements (when you are at home) and abnormal movements (when you are away from home). The sensor then sends a signal to a central unit or, if it stands alone, a signal to the main occupant. In many cases, a smart motion detector can also communicate with other (compatible) smart home equipment, so that, for example, the lighting is switched on when a movement is detected.

Placement and installation

There are detectors that work on batteries and can therefore be installed very easily, but there are also detectors that need to be supplied with power. The latter makes installation a bit less easy. Not every motion detector comes with the same angle and the same optimal installation position. Read the manual carefully so that you hang the sensor at the correct height and, for example, not hang opposite a window, so that movements are continuously detected. It is best to hang a motion detector that serves as an alarm in a hallway. Alarms that also act as an initiator when you are at home can also be placed in the living room or other places in the house.

What can a smart motion detector do?

The main task of a smart motion detector is to detect movements. The exact options differ per model. For example, you have motion detectors that are in one position and therefore only serve as security. These detectors are switched on when you are away from home and register all significant movements in the room in which they are placed. If you have pets, it is wise to check how the detector handles this. Some detectors do not register movements of small pets (considering the size of the pet and the height at which the movement is located) as an intrusion.

There are also smart motion detectors that have different positions. These are often sensors that can be used as alarms and can communicate with compatible smart home equipment. When the sensor is in alarm mode, any movement (check how the sensor handles pets) is detected and an alarm signal is sent to the central unit and / or the master user. The home mode ensures that the motion detector acts as an initiator. Depending on how you have set the action and which compatible smart home products you have, the sensor may detect you in the dark and then automatically turn on the lights. Or the sensor detects that you come down in the morning and automatically turns on the thermostat.

Some smart motion detectors come with extra sensors and options, for example a light sensor and a temperature sensor. These can be used to control a thermostat, for example. A detector with a light sensor can also automatically operate the (compatible) sun blinds. In addition, there are also motion detectors that belong to a specific product, such as the Philips Hue Motion Sensor . This sensor does not serve as an alarm but purely for operating the lights.


Before buying a motion detector, it is important to find out which other smart home devices the detector is compatible with. There are several companies that sell smart home equipment such as detectors and sensors, but communication between these devices is often only possible if the sensor is of the same brand as the other equipment. That is also the reason that many companies offer complete packages; with detectors, sensors, thermostats, sockets and much more. It is therefore not self-evident that a sensor communicates with your smart lighting.

In addition, with a complete system, it is also more convenient if you get detectors and sensors from one company, because these sensors often appear in one app on your phone. For example, various companies offer a complete smart alarm system that can be operated with one app. However, this is not a must when you buy detectors and sensors that have to be set once and then communicate with your lighting, thermostat, alarm etc. It is therefore important that you know with which other products (or protocols ) the detectors and sensors can communicate. Some companies offer adapters and contacts with which ‘dumb’ devices such as lamps and blinds can be made ‘smart’ and thus react to the relevant sensors and detectors.

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