Having good lighting on your RV has a lot of benefits. It can help make camping and traveling a lot more comfortable and enjoyable, it can help keep you safe as you’re getting in and out of your RV, and it can even help deter intruders and keep your RV safer.
With so much at stake, it’s important to get a good set of motion detector lights that work the way they are supposed to and are reliable under pressure.
Fortunately, we’ve found some of the best RV motion sensor/scare lights available. We’ve also put together a buying guide to help you pick the right light for your RV, whether it is one of the lights we recommend or another model entirely.
Let’s get started!
Best Wired RV Motion Light
A really bright LED powers this wired scare light. This is a really great option if you don't mind the extra time and energy required to install a wired motion sensor light.Check Amazon Price
Lumintronics surface mount light is one of the more durable and reliable options you can get if you’re looking for a good motion detecting light on your RV. It’s available in both LED and fluorescent versions, though we do think that the LED design is a better fit for most people than fluorescent.
In terms of reliability, wired lights are some of the best options. They do rely on your RV’s power, but that means that as long as you’re keeping an eye on power levels you should always have light.
This design puts out an impressive amount of light, which means that they are useful for more than just scare lights. They’re great for bringing a little more light to your camp overnight or just helping you navigate after sunset.
You get everything you need to mount this light in the package. It’s 2” deep and comes with mounting screws designed specifically for this light.
The weatherproof outer casing is also designed to protect the light from all but the most extreme conditions, which means it’ll last longer no matter where you take it. The stainless-steel base plate also adds more durability to the overall design. Plus, it won’t warp over time, which protects both the light and the side of your RV.
The clear plastic lens is also an advantage. Less prone to fogging over than other materials, the lens is also weather-resistant and easy to clean and maintain.
Best Solar Powered RV Scare Light
This two-pack is a great bang for your buck and they perform very well, especially for a solar powered device. These are great for those who don't want to bother with a wired installation.Check Amazon Price
This two-pack of lights is a good option if you’re looking for reliable security lights that don’t depend on your RV’s battery to operate. Designed with three different security modes, including an always-on option that adds to the available light around your RV, this is a flexible and durable option.
Since the power relies on solar panels on the top of the light there are a couple of limitations to this system. These lights won’t work as well for a chronically cloudy area, since they won’t be able to get as much power under cloud cover. The lights also won’t work as well under a folding canopy or another cover on your RV.
Instead, you’ll need to install these lights somewhere with plenty of sun exposure and remember that they might go out if you’re vacationing along the cloudy North Pacific coast.
However, the efficient LED bulbs combine with an advanced power conversion system to make these solar lights a lot more reliable than most. The battery system also works well to keep the lights going even after several days without good sun exposure (assuming they got a good charge first, of course!).
The lights and solar panels are both designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, which means that you won’t have to worry about rain or snow causing problems. Just remember that you’ll have to brush off the solar panels before they can charge again.
These lights also act as great motion sensors and theft/animal deterrents because they have a wider detection range than most standard RV lights.
Best Battery Powered RV Scare Light
These battery powered motion lights are great for those who would like something a bit more reliable than solar power and want a really quick installation.Check Amazon Price
If you’re looking for something with consistent lighting power, but that doesn’t drain your RV battery or rely on a generator or solar power, then this is a good option. The batteries are consistent enough for general use, and you don’t have to worry about power trouble as long as you keep some spare batteries on hand.
We also appreciated that these lights use standard D size batteries, so you can pick up replacements just about anywhere.
The one downside is that they don’t sell the lights with batteries, so you’ll need to buy your first set separately before the lights will be operational.
That said, we like that this light system comes with multiple pack options. If you only want one light you can purchase just one, or you can purchase multiples up to 4 at a time.
They’re also incredibly efficient lights. One set of batteries will last about a year on average, plenty of time for the cost of the battery. Of course, that’s only counting on 8-10 activations per day, so you may run out of battery sooner if your RV is stored in a busy area, or you spend a lot of time vacationing in high-traffic locations.
Installation is incredibly simple. Since you won’t need to worry about any wiring you can install each light in less than 5 minutes.
Best Portable Battery Powered RV Scare Light
Some RV owners don't need a permanent light mounted to their RV. This scare light is really easy to hang from somewhere on or near your RV when you're parked and to easily store when you're on the move. Having Solar & Battery options makes this even more versatile.Check Amazon Price
Sometimes you don’t need (or want) permanent lighting outside of your RV. If you’re looking for something that’s more mobile and that can come with you wherever you are, these lights are a good option.
There are two versions of this light, one is solar powered and the other uses 3 AA batteries. Both options are pretty mobile and versatile, though you do need to make sure you get some charging time in if you choose the solar-powered version.
These lights are perfect for camping lovers since the mobile grips are designed to fit around tree branches as easily as they fit around handles and mounting points on your RV. Their mobile design is great for people who like to explore the wide outdoors, or who want to light areas a little further from their RV than the lights would otherwise reach.
The weather-resistant design is also great for RVs and outdoor adventures since it won’t be hurt by wind, rain, or snow.
Types of RV Motion Lights
Like any important product, there are several different kinds of RV motion lights, and it’s important to get the right configuration for your use and location.
One of the most important factors to consider if how your RV lights will be powered. This impacts how and where you can mount the light, how consistent they are, and whether there are any special considerations you need to keep in mind.
Battery-powered lights are common, but they can run through the battery quickly which means you’ll need to dedicate some of your precious RV space to spare batteries. That said, battery-powered lights are often more affordable and are completely dependable as long as you have an extra set of batteries on hand.
Solar-powered lights are the most environmentally friendly and independent kind of lighting you can get. They don’t need maintenance or spare batteries, and recent models are very compact and efficient.
However, solar-powered lights might not work as well in cloudy climates or after several days of precipitation, so you may need to pack a backup.
Wire powered lights are the most consistently reliable of all three options. However, since they need to be wired into your RV. They also tend to be some of the most long-lasting lights since the wiring is fairly durable and newer bulbs last much longer than old models.
However, these can be more difficult to install, and you’re more limited in placement.
The color of the light might not seem like a big deal, but it can impact eye strain and how often you need to replace the bulbs themselves. Generally, a good natural light bulb is going to be your best option, but there are other colors available as specialty bulbs if desired.
LED vs Incandescent
In general, most people will be better served by a good LED bulb than Incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are more efficient, let off less heat, and last longer than your average fluorescent bulb. Many people also prefer the quality and intensity of light on LED bulbs to fluorescent. However, fluorescent bulbs are still an option and many light fixtures will offer both bulb styles.
How to Install Different Types of RV Motion Lights
How to Install Battery & Solar Powered Lights
Battery and solar-powered lights are usually incredibly easy to install. They will have a small mount point for mounting screws which can be drilled in anywhere convenient. Just make sure you aren’t about to drill into wiring or a thin portion of RV siding and you should be good to go.
It’s important to place a mounting screw in each of the mounting areas. If your light has two ports, you need two screws. If your light has four-five ports, you should have four-five screws.
That’s because the mounting area is designed to provide maximum security and durability, which is particularly important when your RV is driving down the road. You don’t want your lights coming off on the highway.
How to Install Wire Powered Scare Lights
Wire powered scare lights are a little more difficult since you’ll need to work with the wiring to install. Fortunately, most RVs have an easy install location (you may already have a light there that needs to be replaced).
First, locate where the light will go. There should either be a light there already or an indent in your RV with some wiring accessible. If there’s just an indent, there may be a cover or other fixture there to protect the lights.
Once you’ve found where you’re going to install, connect the wires ground wire first unless directed otherwise on the package.
Next position the light and screw in the mounting screws. Just like battery and solar-powered lights, it’s important to make sure you’ve mounted the light as securely as possible.
What is a Scare Light on an RV?
Scare lights are a nickname for the motion-detecting lights that turn on whenever there is someone outside the RV at night. Usually, the lights are on a timer so that they can only turn on so often, and turn off automatically after a relatively short interval.
Many scare lights also have other settings that allow you to leave the light on permanently, or to change the light interval to be longer or shorter depending on your needs and preference.
Why is it Called a Scare Light?
Scare lights are called scare lights because they ‘scare’ possible intruders. That could be people that are a little too close (or in the wrong campsite) or even animals that are coming to investigate the outside of your RV.
The idea is that when the light comes on, anyone who is coming to see what’s going on will be scared away.
What are the Benefits of a Scare Light for an RV?
Scare lights have a number of benefits, not least that they can help prevent intruders from thinking that your RV is a good target. They can help discourage human and animal visitors alike, which is a huge benefit when you’re on the road.
Scare lights also provide additional safety lighting at night, since they can help illuminate your camp and make it easier to go down your RV steps.
These lights can also sometimes be used as a regular source of camp lighting. Plus, having good scare lights can even give you a discount on your RV insurance.