Published on August 17th, 2014 | by Greg
Lutron Caseta Wireless: Home Lighting Controls Made Easy
Home automation is a catch-all that has grown to include just about everything electronic in your home. Wifi-controlled crockpots, security systems and video cameras, air conditioning and doorbells- it all falls within the somewhat nebulous category. At it’s most essential, though, it’s about controlling your lights- the fundamental parts of your environment. Whether you want vacation settings which make it look like you’re still at home, or want a way to dim your lights from your seat when the movie starts, the simplest and fastest way to make a big impact on your living room is to make your lighting controllable.
Lutron’s Caseta system consists of a couple of parts, and it’s all interchangeable, easy to use, and incredibly reliable. With many systems, there’s an app- but if your phone dies, you may be left with no one to control your devices. Some alternatives don’t work well with some fixtures, or some bulb types. And you might not want to add another remote control- but with the Lutron Caseta Multi-Location In-Wall Dimmer with Pico Remote Control, you can mount the remote to the wall, or if you want, you can take the cute little control to the couch, bedside, or outside.
Plus, range wasn’t an issue for us- it works through walls and over quite a distance. First, we installed the dimmer kit, replacing our traditional switch with their custom one, and no neutral wire was required (it really does take about fifteen minutes and a screwdriver). The remote seemed paired already, and we instantly had a way to control and dim that one awkward light without needing to reach the switch. The Caseta Wireless Plug-in Lamp Dimmer plugs in to a standard outlet, and includes two lamp receptacles… but both lamps are controlled together, and were not grounded. Plus, it’s fairly large, which might block your other outlet, so be conscious of placement and be ready to adjust and consider the placement carefully. The controllers feel good in the hand, with fairly obvious buttons and an interesting middle one that can recall a saved lighting level instantly.
But wait! There’s more! As alluded to above, there is also the ability to manage the system in a more meta way than individual one-to-one controls. You can set up the Lutron Smart Bridge, which enables you to connect it all together (including shades and, shortly, Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostats), and then control everything via an app. It’s Wink-enabled, which we didn’t test, but runs great using Lutron’s fairly straightforward and intuitive free application, available from the App Store or Google Play. You can create scenes, and then have them ready (dimming some and brightening others, for example, while the shades are lowered), even while you’re away from home. It’s cool, and the system is very responsive, better than most competitors. It’s not as flexible or wide-ranging as some, but for the purpose, it’s impressive. Available now, online and in stores, with the In-Wall Dimmer starting at $60, the Plug-In Dimmer closer to $50, and the Smart Bridge coming in at around $120.