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Powerful Gadgets: Shedding Light on Sensor Bulbs

Sensor-equipped LEDs are making it easy to upgrade safety and security just by changing a lightbulb.

These sensor bulbs are compatible with most existing fixtures, have no timer to set and don’t require a hub, app or even Wi-Fi. Manufacturers such as GE and Philips offer sensor bulbs that can be screwed into existing indoor and outdoor fixtures.

Dusk to dawn bulbs turn on automatically when a photocell detects low ambient light. Expect to pay about $8 to $10 for a bulb with a lifetime of around 20,000 hours.

Motion sensing bulbs turn on temporarily when triggered by movement at night or in unlit rooms. Bulbs equipped with a passive infrared sensor detect humans or animals in a limited field of view. More expensive radar sensor bulbs detect movement in a wider range and through walls, doors and windows. Pay $10 to $17 per bulb (depending on sensor type) for about 25,000 hours of lighting. LEDs with built-in sensors are available at most area home improvement stores.