Best Motion Sensor (2014, now out of date)

The nature of a PIR motion sensor’s field is such that they can’t cover an entire large room. They detect very small changes in heat moving across the sensor’s field. They will be better at detecting things moving across that field rather than straight towards them, so placement makes a big difference as well. Most have the same range of about 10 m, but it’s a cone-shaped field where the detection area is wider farther away from the sensor.

If you want to cover a large room or multiple entrances, you can set up two or three sensors in a zone. Mike Maxwell has a popular smartapp that can manage this very effectively. :sunglasses:

If you haven’t used custom code with smartthings before, take a look at the following overview FAQ.

And if it seems like something you’d like to continue with, here’s the thread to Mike’s code:

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That helps, thanks. In one room I put the sensor on the ceiling thinking that being center in the room would be the best coverage. Maybe not so much and makes sense why that sensor is not covering close to 30 feet.

Thanks for the custom code link as well, I’m definitely going to need to start diving into that to take it to the next level.

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Old thread…but just in case someone reads this:
Like JDRoberts, I bought one of the kits that had an “old” motion sensor. It works great and has excellent sensitivity.

I just purchased a 5 pack of motion sensors from ST. They are the new ones and they aren’t anywhere near as good as the first generation. Even ST Support admits that they are less sensitive and should be placed perpendicular to the path that you want to monitor. That’s all well and good if you just want to monitor a doorway, but what if you want to monitor an entire room ? Last night, I sat in a chair that was below, and at an angle, to one of the new sensors. I was waving my arms above my head…no motion sensed. It wasn’t until I stood up that it detected motion. Supposedly they have problems detecting straightline motion because, according to ST Support, a moving object must cross 2 lines of detection in order for motion to be registered. In other words, you can walk straight towards one of the new ST motion sensors and it won’t detect motion. This was supposed to decrease false positives…but, in my opinion, it decreases TRUE positives.

After exchanging a few emails with the helpful support folks, I’m asking to return the 5 ST motion sensors that I just bought and I will be looking at 3rd party alternatives.

Yes, the old version (2015) was the best, but new generation is not so good.

Sorry to bring this back from the dead. Just a warning I am a noob and just started using ST. I stumbled upon this thread and have read through a lot of reply and will admit many of the info is foreign to me (still too advanced to me to comprehend). However I did not see any reply on anyone using the ecobee sensor.

Ecobee sensor is not PIR but could be detecting body heat (heat source). I have tied my ecobee sensor into ST and testing it. It does work in term of ifttt.

The problem is once motion is detected the ecobee sensor takes a long time to reset back to no motion detected. This is why I am posting this so that anyone who knows more about the ecobee sensor can chime in.

This alternative only works if you already have existing ecobee thermostat b/c you do need to pair the sensor with the thermostat first, cannot be use ecobee as standalone sensor and could be the reason why it is not being discussed here.

So the ecobee remote sensor is another alternative use of “motion” sensor. I will continue to tweak at it to see how best to control this sensor for my need. Please share idea if anyone has use the ecobee sensor as a dedicated sensor for ST.

Wow! You have replied to a thread which is two years old. :scream: A lot of stuff has changed in that time. Trust me: this is a very active forum, you will always be able to find a newer thread unless it is an FAQ in The FAQ section, in which case it will have been updated frequently.

Please don’t resurrect the threads that are this old unless you know that that’s the only one with the information, it just confuses everybody.

So, let’s start over. :sunglasses:

The ecobee sensors are only intended for use in controlling the thermostat and Have a weird algorithm and a very slow reporting interval, so you just aren’t going to be able to use them for use cases requiring more frequent reporting. So nobody is using them for regular motion sensors. ( less frequent reporting means a longer battery life, so it’s quite common with specialty sensors that they have long “sleep” intervals.)

You can read more about motion sensors which are being used in the device class features thread: ( The topic title is a clickable link)

Although the FAQ thread was started a couple of years ago, you can tell from the last post in the thread that it does get updated frequently.

Or just go straight to the following recent thread:

Best motion sensor to use (2018)

Hi Roberts and everyone. So sorry for this. It appears this is my second infractions. You are correct, I just found many more recent topics. No excuses on my part. I should be banned from posting. I am going back to hibernation and just read and not post. Thanks.

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Hey, don’t worry about it. This is a very active forum with a ton of information and everybody gets confused at some point. And of course the industry itself is changing rapidly, with lots of new devices introduced every year.

Keep posting. :sunglasses: It was a good question, it just would’ve been better to put it in a more current thread.