An In-Depth Guide on Everything You Need To Know About Waterproof Outdoor Security Lights (2021 Update)

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Here’s one thing we can all agree on: Proper outdoor lighting is imperative.

Why? It comes along with a multitude of benefits including:

  • Keeping us safe,
  • Keeping our property secure,
  • Improving outdoor visibility at night,
  • Creating awesome curb appeal, and so on.


Due to water, humidity, vapour, and other factors, keeping your outdoors always illuminated can be a tall order. And as small as these hindrances may seem, they can lead to serious hazards. But, thanks to waterproof outdoor security lights, the risk of water/moisture damage has been squashed.

An In-Depth Guide on Everything You Need To Know About Waterproof Outdoor Security Lights

Now, these security lights are water-resistant and can withstand all sorts of harsh weather conditions. Moreover, some are equipped with smart features such as motion sensors and photocells; increasing their efficiency and convenience.

In this article, we’ll take an up-close at these unique outdoor lights. Are you ready for this? Anyway, stick with me as I explore everything there is to about waterproof outdoor security lights.

So, let’s get started….

Understanding Waterproof Security Lights

It’s a fact:

One thing that puzzles many people is distinguishing a waterproof light from a non-waterproof one. And, unfortunately, the end result is often buying a non-waterproof fixture and ending up disappointed.


When purchasing lights for outdoor use, it’s important that you make sure they are waterproof.

Otherwise, several hazards might be posed, including:

  • Possibility of a fire outbreak,
  • Possibility of damaging the fixture and incurring losses
  • And, even worse, the probability of electrocuting another person or a pet.

That is the last thing you want, isn’t it? So, be keen to go home with the right kind of waterproof light.

Therefore, the question is:

How Do You Know A Security Light Is Waterproof?

Even though a lot claim that getting a waterproof light isn’t easy, I can tell you it’s a no brainer job. Here are two simple methods you can use:

1. Check the Fixture’s IP Rating

If you look at the box any bulb comes with, you’ll see such a code: IP68 or IPXX (where X is a number).This is the IP rating or the IP code. In full, IP stands for Ingress Protection which is the measure of the degree to which a light fixture can withstand the intrusion of foreign objects.

The first number defines the protection from intrusion by solids and other external objects; such as fingers, dust, accidental impact, moving parts, and so on. The second number matters a big deal to us as it indicates the level of protection from water, humidity, and any other form of moisture; such as sprays, drips, and submersion.

Here’s a rough guide on the degree of protection each IP number implies:

First Digit (Protection from Solids/Dust)

0. 0 (or X) -Not IP rated; i.e. no special protection from any object intrusion.

1. The fixture is safe from intrusion by fingers and objects that are over 50mm in width or diameter.

2. The fixture is protected from objects with a length or diameter of 12 mm.

3. Protection against penetrating tools such as wires and nails that are 2.5 mm in diameter or more.

4. Shielded against foreign objects with 1 mm diameter or more, e.g. nails, wires, screws, and large insects.

5. Protected partially against dust and other small particles.

6. Totally dustproof.

Second Digit (Moisture/Water Protection)

0 (or X) – No protection.

1. Protection against droplets falling vertically.

2. Protected from water droplets splashing up to 150 from the vertical.

3. Protection from direct water sprays up to 600 from the vertical.

4. Protected against a spray of water from all directions.

5. Protected from low-pressure jets of up to 6.3 mm of water from any angle.

6. Can withstand splashing water from high-pressure jets.

7. Can remain intact and functional even after immersion in water for 30 minutes at depths of up to one meter.

8. Protected against immersion for long periods under high pressure.

9. These lights will not get damaged even when subjected to high pressure, wash-downs, high-temperature jet sprays, or even steam-cleaning procedures. These ones are very stiff and are mostly used in carwashes and other road vehicle applications.


All light fixtures rated beyond 5 (i.e. IPX5+) are considered highly waterproof. For outdoor lighting and security, a fixture with an IP65 rating and above is recommended.

From the above guide, IP65 security lights are rated as dust-tight and protected against low-pressure water jets from all directions e.g. rain. Simply put: An IP65 security light is both waterproof and dustproof. It is, therefore, the best choice for anyone looking to light up their patio, walkway, driveway, or any outdoor location.

For that reason, when shopping for a waterproof security light, look for the IP rating code on the box of the fixture.

2. Check the Fixture’s UL Rating

You can also tell that an outdoor light is waterproof by looking at its UL rating. For starters, UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories; an independent organization that tests light fixtures and approves them for use by the general public. They also state the areas in which the bulbs are suitable for use.

There are three types of UL ratings available:

A) Rated For Dry Locations

These bulbs are not waterproof and are only meant to be used indoors. To know a bulb is meant for dry locations, look for a ‘yes’ on the seal. If it’s there, then you can’t use the fixture outdoors.

B) Rated For Damp Locations

Dampness refers to a moderate level of humidity. This rating indicates that a bulb can withstand moisture and a little drizzling. You can tell that a bulb has such a rating by looking for a ‘suitable for damp locations’ stamp on the packaging box. Note, these bulbs are also not suitable for outdoor lighting since rain can get heavy at times.

C) Rated For Wet Locations

Since what you want is a bulb that won’t grind to a halt even during a heavy downpour, this UL rating is your best bet. These lights have been thoroughly tested by UL and termed safe for use in wet locations. They are designed to get into direct contact with water without getting damaged or causing hazards.

A bulb that is safe for use in wet locations has this stamplabeled, “Suitable for wet locations” and is the best for outdoor security lighting.


That’s how to easily get a waterproof bulb suitable for outdoor use. Now. LED lighting technology is so dynamic. Year after year, we see new improvements and advancements in the fixtures. And while being waterproof is awesome, some fixtures come with other unique and stylish features.

Which are these features? Read on to find out

Two Awesome Features That Modern Waterproof Outdoor Security Lights Come With

1. Waterproof Lights with Motion Sensor Light

These lights are not only water-resistant but can turn themselves on or off depending on a person’s presence or absence. They operate using two different mechanisms:

  • Passive Infra-Red (PIR) – These operate by measuring heat change caused by objects within their field of view. In other words, they detect radiation changes when a person passes or a vehicle drives by. Also, they are small in size and usually have a white cover.
  • Microwave Occupancy Sensors – These fixtures release a microwave signal and sense whether the signal has been interrupted. A disturbed signal implies the presence of a person or object. These sensors are more efficient than PIR sensors.

2. Photo-Electric Light Sensors

These fixtures utilize photocells. A photocell is a device that is used to detect the amount of light in an area. When these sensors detect darkness, they turn the lights ON and turn them OFF once they detect light again.

For that reason, security lights with photocells are also known as dusk-to-dawn lights. Apart from being convenient, they are energy efficient and can noticeably cut down your energy bills.

Anyway, when purchasing a waterproof motion sensor light, don’t forget to look for:

  • The IP rating. For an easy time shopping, IP65, IP66, IP67, IP68, and IP69K arethe recommended ratings to look for.
  • Adjustable timing functionality – Some of the fixtures allow you to set the time the light shines when some motion is detected. This feature is important as it saves energy and money. Most of the lights allow a duration of 1, 5, or 10 ten minutes before shutting the light off.
  • A fixture with a backup rechargeable battery – Blackouts will always occur every now and then. Due to that reason, a light with a backup power source, such as a battery, is worth consideration. That way, your home will remain secure even during a power outage.

And that’s it. I believe I have covered everything there is to know about waterproof outdoor security lights. When purchasing lights for outdoor lighting, don’t make the mistake of buying non-waterproof ones.

Always look for the IP and UL ratings. Also, to be on par with technology and to save on energy, go for an outdoor light with a motion sensor. Thank you and #StaySafe.

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