How to Build a Low Cost Motion Activated Light for Your Garage in 10 Minutes

Having a motion activated light in your garage is a great way to provide lighting when needed, while also saving energy and money. With just a few inexpensive parts, you can build your own motion activated garage light in about 10 minutes.

What You'll Need

To build a motion activated garage light, you'll need just a few parts that you can pick up at your local hardware store:

Step-by-Step Installation

Installing a motion activated garage light is a very easy 10 minute project when you follow these steps:

1. Mount the Outlet Box

Decide where you want to install the motion activated light fixture. Most people mount it near the main garage door for the best coverage.

Hold the outlet box against the wall where you want to install it. Use a pencil to mark the location of the screw holes. Use a drill to pre-drill holes into the garage wall, then insert the screw anchors. Hold the outlet box against the wall again and screw it into place using the provided screws.

Tip: Install the outlet box at least 8 feet off the ground for best motion detection coverage.

2. Connect the Wiring

There should already be wiring running to a light switch and light fixture in your garage. You'll tap into those existing wires to connect the motion sensor light.

Turn off the power to the garage lights at the circuit breaker. Remove the old light fixture so the wiring is exposed. Strip away about 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of the wires.

There will be a hot wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire coming from the existing garage wiring:

Use wire nuts to connect the matching hot, neutral, and ground wires from the motion sensor light to the house wiring. Wrap each connection with electrical tape for a more secure connection.

3. Install the Motion Sensor Light

With the wires connected securely inside the outlet box, you can now mount the motion sensor light. Insert the light fixture into the outlet box. Use the provided screws to secure the motion sensor light to the outlet box.

Install light bulbs that are compatible with the motion sensor light fixture. Screw in the outlet box cover until it is snug and weatherproof. Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. The motion sensor light should now operate automatically based on sensing motion.

Tip: Refer to the instructions provided with your specific motion light for details on adjusting settings like sensitivity and lighting duration.

Choosing a Location

When selecting a spot to install your DIY motion sensor garage light, keep these tips in mind:

Advanced Options

For a more complex but customizable motion activated garage light, you can install a motion detector module and a separate smart light fixture. This allows you to adjust the settings more precisely. For example:

However, this costs more and requires wiring the motion detector to trigger the light. For a quick 10-minute upgrade, a self-contained motion sensing light is your best bet.


Installing a motion activated security light is one of the fastest DIY upgrades you can do for your garage. For around $30-$60 and 10 minutes of easy wiring, you can have a light that automatically provides illumination when needed. Just be sure to mount it high enough for the motion sensor to adequately cover the area you need lit.