This is one of those reviews for a product that’s not particularly cool or inspirational, but it’s really useful. Mr. Beams Amber LED Battery Night Lights are exactly what they sound like. Battery-powered night lights that can be installed just about anywhere you need them. No electrical outlet required. Light enough to adhere to a wall with included two-sided tape, they don’t even require mounting hardware (although they do come with screws). They’re equipped with a motion detector and an ambient light sensor. And at $29.33 for a three-pack, they’re inexpensive.
Night Lights You Can Install Anywhere
We live in an older home that has staircases but no electrical outlets anywhere near the stairs. Want light? There’s a switch-activated light fixture on each landing, but it is designed to brightly light the entire area. Using that light late at night is a quick way to wake up everyone whose bedroom opens onto the landing.
With teenagers wandering around at all hours, along with a pair each of cats and dogs to get underfoot and present a tripping hazard, I needed some sort of night lighting solution for the stairs.
There are plenty of battery-powered night light options on Amazon, but looking back through the GeekDad archives I found some positive reviews by James Floyd Kelly of lighting products by a company called Mr. Beams. Eight years later, that same company is still selling on Amazon (a good sign) and its products also get good ratings.
I chose Mr. Beams Amber LED night lights. They seemed well-suited for a stairway application, with lights that shine down and softly illuminate the steps. Plus, they use amber LEDs that are less harsh (and less likely to wake people up) when activated at night.
They Really Work
I ordered some AAA rechargeable batteries, popped them in the Mr. Beams lights, and played around a bit with placement. The idea was to arrange them so the landing and stairs are fully illuminated so no-one will trip, and to have them in a sequence so that as someone goes up or down the stairs, the motion detectors will activate before they get to to the light location. The last thing I wanted was a “feel around in the dark to activate the lights” sort of situation.
Once that was done, I use the included two-sided tape to stick them on a wall. The lights were inexpensive, but they don’t look cheap. The motion detector works perfectly for people (and animals), triggering when they are about three to four feet away. They stay on for about 10 seconds after motion is last detected. The 15 lumens amber light is plenty to see where you’re going and to avoid obstacles. However, it’s not bright or harsh enough to leave you blinking when coming from total darkness, and they have yet to wake anyone up.
When there is daylight or the main light is on, they don’t come on, so the ambient light sensor works. That being said, the stairs don’t get a lot of natural light, so on a cloudy day, it’s dim enough that the lights will trigger even during daytime.
What About Battery Life?
Aside from whether they would actually work as advertised, my biggest concern was battery life. Mr. Beams says to expect one year of light with an average of eight activations per night. Mine are triggering far more frequently than that with people and pets up and down the stairs all evening and into the night. At this point, I have two full weeks out of a set of Amazon AAA rechargeable batteries and no signs of dimming yet. If I get a month, I’ll be pretty happy…
It’s also worth noting that once attached to the wall, it’s easy to access the battery compartment. The battery door is actually the part that’s fixed to the wall, so you just slide the light up, and it’s off with the batteries exposed.
If you need inexpensive, easy-to-install night lighting, the Mr. Beams Amber LED Battery Night Lights have been great. They do the job, they take seconds to put up (a little longer if you choose to go for a more permanent installation), they don’t look cheap, and they’re not eating batteries. And at $29.33 for a three-pack, you really can’t beat the price.
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