Tech Review: Give your light switches a brain with Lutron Caseta

We hear so much about smart light bulbs but if you have one switch that controls a bank of 4 or even 10 lights, replacing all of those bulbs doesn't make sense.  Make that switch smart!  I installed the Lutron Caseta smart dimmer to take it for a test.


Installation

If you have ever removed a faceplate and used a wire nut, installation is pretty easy.  I replaced a 1-way switch in my house in about 10 minutes.  If you have a 3-way setup, it's going to be a bit more complicated.  ?

timelapse_switch_install

Once installed, setting it up was super simple.  I plugged in the small gateway to my router.  The app basically setup the gateway for me.  After that, you just hold down the button on the installed switch to sync it with the gateway.  That's it!  Your new switch is now in the app and you have full control.

Using the switch

It's pretty self explanatory.  You can turn the switch on/off and dim it using the actual physical buttons on the switch.  That works as you would expect.  In the app, you can do the same.  You can also schedule the switch based on the time or based on other factors.  You can turn a light on or off using the sunrise and sunset times.  This is a great way to save energy.  Don't leave those lights on when everybody is sleeping or when the sun is shining.

What makes it "smarter"

So, the smart switch does what you would expect.  But it goes beyond that.  You can connect the Caseta switch to other smart devices to do more.  For example, you can program the Caseta dimmer to turn the lights off if your Nest thermostat detects that you're no longer home.  Smart!  You can also control your lights with your Amazon Echo or Google Home.  The list goes on and on.  Smart devices get smarter when they start talking to each other.

Conclusion

The Lutron Caseta is a great option to add brains to your light switches.  Some solutions are complicated and confusing to setup, the Caseta is the opposite.  They did a great job of making it as painless of a process as possible.  None the less, you will need to know how to turn off a breaker and rewire a basic switch.

I tested the Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Dimmer Kit that included two dimmer switches, two dimmer remotes and a gateway for $190.  The best price I found was $160 at Home Depot.