Will the Arlo Security Light Shine As Bright As Arlo’s Security Cameras?By - 09/15/2018
Good news, Arlo fans! Arlo is officially more than just a security camera company as the Arlo Security Light, first announced in late 2017, is now available for purchase. As promised, the smart light works with Arlo’s existing security cameras. But it isn’t just an accessory. Even on its own, it can enhance your home’s security.
What Exactly Is The Arlo Security Light?
The Arlo Security Light is many things, but it’s primarily a motion-sensing outdoor light. It’s also weatherproof (IP65), battery-powered, and equipped with a PIR motion sensor.
What makes it different from your run-off-the-mill security light is that it’s smart. When the light is connected to the internet, you can control it with your smartphone, and it can work with other smart devices.
(Update 12/2/2018: The new Arlo Ultra security camera will include a built-in spotlight.)
Setting Up The Arlo Security Light
“Frustration-free” is one way we describe how Arlo packs and ships their cameras, and the Arlo Security Light is no different. The package includes the security light itself, a rechargeable battery, a charging adapter, a cable, a security mount, and a set of screws.
The first part of the setup process is as simple as it gets. The battery has already been pre-charged, so you simply pop it into the security light, and you’re good to go.
Using the mounting kit, you can fix the security light to any wall, lamp post, or even a tree. And because it’s battery-powered and weatherproof, you don’t have to worry about wiring or strategic placement.
Although battery-powered, you can attach Arlo Security Light to a solar panel for continuous power. It works with the VMA4600 solar panel ($79.99 on Amazon), the same solar panel Arlo Pro, Pro 2, and Arlo Go work with.
Unfortunately, the installation process doesn’t end there. Arlo Security Light requires a Bridge to work.
Just to be clear, the Bridge isn’t the same as the Base Station required to operate most Arlo cameras. The two aren’t interchangeable. The Bridge is a small, device that plugs into an outlet and pairs with your Arlo Security Lights using Bluetooth Low Energy. It creates a bridge to your Wi-Fi network so your security lights can connect to the internet. Unfortunately, unlike the security lights, the Bridge isn’t weatherproof, so it must remain indoors. Also, it has a limited wireless range. Although Arlo claims that it can connect from up to 100 feet away, objects such as walls and appliances can affect the Bridge’s actual range.
To maximize the Bridge’s range, Arlo recommends plugging it into a wall socket high above ground. But if a single Bridge still isn’t enough to cover all of your security lights, you can purchase add-on Bridges from Amazon for $59.99.
The final step is connecting your Arlo Security Lights to your Arlo account. If you’re new to Arlo, you must first download the Arlo app (available on Android and iOS) and create an account. If you have an existing Arlo system, simply launch the Arlo app and add the Arlo Bridge to your account as a new device by scanning the Bridge’s QR code. Once it’s added, all security lights connected to it will be automatically detected, and you’ll be able to customize, control, and monitor them.
Arlo Security Light as a Standalone Security Light
The Arlo Security Light is rich in features, but the most basic of all is its ability to light up when it detects motion. To do that, it uses a PIR motion sensor and a set of built-in LEDs.
One thing you need to know about the Arlo Security Light is that it’s highly customizable. For one, you can fine-tune the motion sensor’s sensitivity level. You can also adjust the light’s brightness and beam width. The maximum brightness is 400 lumens. The beam width can be swapped between Floodlight (broader beam, more coverage) and Spotlight (narrower beam, focused light). Finally, you can change the light’s color. There’s a wide selection of hues for you to choose from and you can even set the light to turn to a specific color or flash multiple colors when triggered. For example, if motion is detected, turn red.
The key to using Arlo Security Light’s features is Modes, which dictate what each device (meaning cameras and lights) should do during a specific situation. You can create and customize your own Modes, but the Arlo app comes with two pre-built modes: Armed and Disarmed. When set to Armed mode, the Light’s motion sensor is active and will trigger the light and send you notifications when motion is detected. When Disarmed, the camera no longer monitors for motion.
If you decide to create your own Modes, you can start by creating Rules that consists of a trigger device, trigger action, device, action, and notification.
Each Mode can have multiple Rules, but they only take effect when the Mode in which they belong to is active. For example, under Sleep Mode, you can create a rule that says, “If Security Light 1 (trigger device) detects motion (trigger), then Security Light 2 and 3 (devices) should turn on (action) and send an email alert (notification).” When the Armed Mode is active, Security Light 1 will behave normally (i.e., only trigger its own light). But when you activate Sleep Mode, the Rule will immediately take effect and Security Light 1 will trigger its own light as well as Security Lights 2 and 3.
Schedule & Geofencing
Once you have set up all the Modes you need, you can activate them manually whenever and wherever you are using the Arlo smartphone app. But if you ask me, that’s too much work. Fortunately, you can automate the app to activate certain modes based on your location and the time.
Automating using your (your phone’s) location is called geofencing. You can tell the Arlo app which Mode to activate whenever you’re within your home’s premises and which Mode to activate when you’re away. We’ve tested Arlo’s geofencing abilities on their security cameras, and liked that it can handle multiple users. It follows the “First in, last out” rule, which activates the Home Mode once the first user arrives home and Away Mode once the last user leaves home.
You can also automate your Modes to activate using schedules. Arlo doesn’t follow a fixed 24-hour, 7-day a week schedule. Instead, it gives you the liberty to create a unique schedule for each day of the week. For example, you can have a different schedule for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and so on.
Dusk To Dawn
Aside from Modes, Rules, Geofencing, and Schedules, Arlo Security Light has a feature called Dusk to Dawn. With it, you won’t have to worry about your security light wasting battery power by turning on in the middle of the day. The Dusk to Dawn feature prevents the security light from turning on when its built-in ambient light sensor detects that there is enough daylight left.
Arlo Security Light Features When Paired With Arlo Cameras
As mentioned earlier, the Arlo Security Light is designed to complement Arlo’s existing security cameras. But in what ways?
All Arlo cameras have a built-in motion sensor. When added to your system, however, Arlo Security Light can function as an external motion sensor that triggers your cameras to record when motion is detected. Of course, the motion sensor in Arlo cameras is enough to protect your home, but having the backing of an external motion sensor sure helps.
For instance, according to Arlo,
“Arlo’s motion sensor is much more sensitive to side-to-side movement across its field of view than to movement directly toward or away from the camera.”
Source: Arlo Pro User Manual, page 15
This means that if an intruder carefully walks directly towards the camera, there’s a slight chance that he might not get detected by the camera’s sensor. To prevent that from happening, you can position a security light perpendicular to the camera. Doing so maximizes your chances of catching all possible intrusions.
Working With Others
Finally, aside from working with Arlo cameras, the Arlo Security Lights works with third-party smart home platforms, more specifically, IFTTT and Alexa.
In case you haven’t heard, IFTTT is an app that lets you create automation rules between hundreds of smart home devices, systems, and apps. It’s a great way to integrate smart home devices that don’t naturally work with each other.
IFTTT’s rules, also called Applets, have the same format as Arlo’s Rules. First, you have to select a trigger device and trigger event, and then program an action device and what you want it to do when the trigger event occurs.
As for an Arlo Security Light, it can act as both the trigger and the one taking action. It can trigger other devices based on two parameters: when motion is detected or when a low battery has been reported. On the other hand, if set as the one taking action, Applets can trigger Arlo Security Light to turn its light on or off and arm or disarm its motion sensor.
Alexa is an AI voice assistant living inside Amazon Echo and a bunch of other smart speakers. It works with a wide variety of smart home devices, and it offers voice control. That said, if you own an Alexa device, you can use it to control Arlo Security Light with your voice by enabling the Arlo Alexa Skill via the Alexa app.
With a $149.98 price tag (1 light + Bridge), Arlo Security Light is more expensive than a regular security light. But as we’ve seen, it’s worth the price, especially if you have an existing Arlo camera setup.
What if you don’t own Arlo cameras? Well, Arlo Security Light is still a pretty good option. It has all of the right features and then some. However, to get the most out of Arlo Security Light, I strongly recommend using it alongside an Arlo camera. And if you don’t own an Arlo camera yet, you can purchase one at a discounted price if you bundle it with the Arlo Security Light. You can purchase an Arlo Pro (Base Station included, MSRP $249.99) + Arlo Security Light (Bridge included, MSRP $149.98) bundle for around $341.47 from Amazon.com. If purchased separately, the two devices will cost you a total of $400.
Other Arlo Security Light-only bundles are also available. The 2-light kit (2 lights, 1 Bridge) is priced at $249.99 while the 3-light kit (3 lights, 1 Bridge) sells for $349.99. Add-on lights (no Bridge included) are also available for $129.99 each.
Photo Credit: Arlo