Arlo makes my favorite security cameras, with a full portfolio of options for wired, wireless, indoor, and outdoor products. When offered a chance to take a look at Arlo’s new security lights, I was excited to see how I could add to my Arlo system. Arlo Security Lights are OK, but depending on your application and yard size, they strike me as expensive for what they do and limited in usefulness. Read on for details.
About Arlo Security Lights
The Arlo Security Lights are wireless, battery powered motion sensing lights that integrate with your existing Arlo cameras. You can use them to light an area when either the cameras or the lights trigger motion.
If your camera on the front porch detects motion, one or all of the lights can turn on and fully illuminate your front walk, driveway, or yard. This could allow the Arlo cameras to capture a more well-lit picture of what is happening in your yard, or simply light your path from the front door to the driveway.
Like other outdoor Arlo products, they have a sturdy construction and are fully weatherproof. The Arlo Security Lights come with a removable, rechargeable battery, so you aren’t consuming hard-to-find, expensive disposable batteries. According to Arlo, the batteries are expected to last approximately 4 months without needing to be recharged.
Our Experience with Arlo Security Lights
Setup was extremely simple, using the Arlo mobile app. In only a few minutes, I had both lights connected to the Arlo light bridge. I already have an Arlo system and an Arlo hub, but the security lights don’t use that hub, they use yet-another Arlo hub, which I found rather un-necessary.
I installed the lights at the end of my driveway where the cars are parked. They didn’t work reliably. The mobile app has a signal strength measurement where the light itself will blink red/green based on the signal strength back to the hub. It was mostly red. I moved the lights around the area where I wanted them and didn’t have any luck.
I got on the internet and pulled up some support material on the lights. It is recommended that you place the hub in or near a window to maximize the range of the system, which seems fair enough. Unfortunately, the hub is “just a brick” with no power cord. It’s engineered to be plugged into a wall outlet, probably about knee-height inside your house, facing inward. This hub location minimizes your range, pointing the radio waves into your house. Why Arlo, why? I got a lamp extension cord and moved the Arlo brick directly into a window. This got me slightly better range, but still did not provide the desired coverage I wanted.
I got on the internet again and eventually figured that the Arlo Security Lights use Bluetooth to communicate back to their hub. I called technical support and was told that the lights have a range of up to 100 feet, and the support engineer confirmed that the lights use Bluetooth. Bluetooth is an extremely short-range radio, competing with WiFi in the 2.4GHz spectrum. It is a good choice for battery life, but not for range. If you have energy efficient windows with low-E glass, they will block WiFi and Bluetooth. Walls, tree cover, and bushes also block with or dampen signals.
I used Google Earth and estimated that my mounting location was 85 feet from the window where I had placed the hub, and the lights did not work reliably. Still determined to use the Arlo lights to light my driveway, I considered moving the hub outdoors. The Arlo light hub is NOT outdoor rated and is NOT waterproof. The hub is small enough that I ended up installing it inside a waterproof cover on my back porch. This is NOT ideal, not supported, and will probably reduce the hub’s life.
With the hub outside, I now have reliable coverage to my driveway. When one light detects motion, the other one automatically turns on and illuminates the entire area. Everything is working as advertised.
Here is my assessment: If you live in a row hose, townhouse, or plan on mounting the lights directly on the outside of your house, I think the range will be good for you if you put the hub inside the house near where the lights are mounted. If you put some lights in the front of your house and some in the back, you might need a 2nd Arlo light hub. I cannot recommend these lights for being installed on a detached garage, mailbox, tree, or anywhere beyond the exterior of your house. The choice of Bluetooth and construction of the hub limits the range substantially.
Summary of Arlo Security Lights
A single Arlo Security Light starts at $149.99 for a single light, with packages of 3 lights costing $349.99. Tip: Arlo Security Lights tend to be less on Amazon and Costco sells a special bundle of 3.
Another alternative is a battery powered LED motion light from Home Depot. Such a light won’t have Bluetooth, WiFi, a mobile app, or rechargeable batteries, but you can place it anywhere you want. It may use expensive, disposable D-cell batteries, but they only cost $24 and it will do the job for far less.
Pros of Arlo Security Lights:
- High quality construction
- Motion sensing on one light can cause other lights to turn on, or trigger camera recording
- Rechargeable battery
Cons of Arlo Security Lights:
- Extremely expensive motion light
- Requires its own Arlo light hub, doesn’t work with other Arlo hubs
- Poor range due to use of Bluetooth
- Hub not weatherproof, must be used indoors.
We received a set of Arlo Security Lights for review purposes. No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are based on personal experience. Images courtesy of Arlo.