Lutron Caseta Smart Light Switch Reviews

Compatible Voice Assistants: , ,
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Lutron Caséta Lighting Controls - Smart Bridge, PD-6WCL Dimmer Switch, PD-5NE Dimmer Switch, Pico Remote
Lutron Caséta Lighting Controls - Smart Bridge, PD-6WCL Dimmer Switch, PD-5NE Dimmer Switch, Pico Remote

Smart lighting has become popular among home automation users because it adds an element of security and convenience. Lutron, one of the premier lighting control companies, operates in the residential market with their Caséta Wireless line of products. Their system focuses on smart light switches and window shades.

Our Verdict

We think the Lutron Caséta Wireless lighting system is the best option for most people who want to install smart switches. The system works well in small or medium sized homes since it has a standard range of 30-feet. However, an additional module can extend the range to 60-feet.

We've been using the system in our home for a few years and it just works. In addition to our experience, we have spent a lot of time reading online forums about the different smart switches on the market. Users agree that Caséta is the most reliable system available.

Since it connects to a wide range of other home automation products, it should fit seamlessly into your existing system. Or it can serve as the foundation for a growing smart home.

What We Like:

  • Easy to set up with a user-friendly App
  • Works with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Alexa and Google Assistant
  • App ncludes simple controls for thermostats from Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell
  • Reliable and durable
  • Includes Smart Away vacation mode to turn lights on and off when you are away

Flaws:

  • Switches require Lutron Bridge, which is not a true smart home hub
  • Limited range may not work with very large homes, 30 feet standard (60 feet max range)
  • Multiple users or phones can control the system, but they must use the same login information

Alternatives:

Description

The Lutron Caséta Wireless system is mainly used for controlling lights, but it can also control window shades. In addition, the system connects to other smart home products so you can use voice commands, control thermostats, or play Sonos music. You can also link it to smart home hubs and control your lights with Samsung SmartThings, Wink, or Apple HomeKit.

The system communicates using the proprietary Lutron Clear Connect protocol. Clear Connect is a wireless technology that works in the low-use 434 MHz frequency band to communicate with individual control devices. It also uses Wi-Fi to connect to other systems, like Nest. As with most home automation hubs, the Smart Bridge requires an Ethernet connection to your router so you can access it when you are away from home.

Because of Clear Connect, the Lutron Caséta does not affect your homes internet performance or bandwidth (although that isn't generally a problem since smart hubs only use a small amount of data). To connect to Clear Connect, you use the Lutron Smart Bridge - accessed through the cloud during the initial setup process.

The standard range of one device is thirty feet or 2500 square feet. To extend the wireless range, you must install a lamp dimmer within range, and that will add another thirty feet of range. You can only extend the range once per system. Therefore, all accessories must be within 60 feet of the Bridge.

Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge

The Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge is the brain behind the system. It acts as a central hub that gives commands to all of the light switches on the network. The hub is quite small – it weighs less than a pound and measures at 3 x 3 x 1.2 inches. The hub has an LED band around the middle that lights up white when all is well. The LED changes colors or flashes to provide error codes or other information.

The Smart Bridge connects up to 50 Caséta Wireless capable devices like light switches and dimmers. In addition, they have a series of window shades that are compatible. Keep in mind that the Lutron App will not control other accessories like leak detectors, security cameras, locks, etc. You would have to control those devices through a different smart home hub.

Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch (PD-6WCL)

The Lutron Caséta PD-6WCL Smart Dimmer Switch is one of the few smart switches on the market that does not require a neutral wire. This is extremely helpful for people who live in older homes where the wiring generally didn't include a neutral. You can read more about this below.

This version of the switch has standard on and off buttons plus two dimmer buttons for raising and lowering the light levels. A series of seven indicator lights along the left side help you identify the light level setting. There is a rectangular tab under the lower button that is pulled out to disable the switch when changing light bulbs.

The switch is deeper than a normal rocker switch since it has to include the Clear Connect radio for communications so it will be helpful to have a deeper electrical back box, but ours fit quite easily into our existing single-gang boxes. All standard Decorative or Rocker wall plates work with the PD-6WCL.

The switch is compatible with LED, compact fluorescent, incandescent, and halogen bulbs. If you are using LED bulbs, be sure to use Lutron's LED compatibility tool to make sure you don't have issues with flickering. You can also void your warranty if you use an untested LED bulb.

The PD-6WCL switch can control up to 17 regular 60W incandescent (or 8.5W LED) bulbs. If you use higher wattage bulbs (only up to 150W) then you'll be limited to fewer bulbs.

The last two digits of the model number indicate the color of the switch. PD-6WCL-WH is the white model, but it also comes in Ivory (IV), Light Almond (LA), and Black (BL).

Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch for ELV+ (PD-5NE)

The Lutron Caséta PD-5NE dimmer switch requires a neutral wire, but it also supports ELV and MLV light bulbs. Be sure you have a neutral wire before purchasing this model.

The PD-5NE also has on and off buttons, plus raise and lower dimmer buttons. However, this model also includes a round "favorite" button in the middle of the switch. You can set this button for your favorite lighting level, which is convenient if you don't like to raise your lights to 100% when hitting the on button. The switch also has the small tab below the bottom button to disable the switch for maintenance.

As with the PD-6WCL, the PD-5NE includes a radio for communications so it is deeper than a normal switch. However, you shouldn't have any issues unless your back box is very shallow. Again, standard Decorative or Rocker wall plates work with this switch.

The switch works with LED, Electric Low Voltage (ELV), Magnetic Low Voltage (MLV), incandescent, and halogen light bulbs. Be sure to check the LED compatibility tool before you make a purchase since this can affect the warranty and light quality. Unfortunately, the PD-5NE does not work with compact fluorescent bulbs.

This switch can control up to 29 standard 60W incandescent or 8.5W LED bulbs. Obviously, you won't be able to control as many higher wattage bulbs.

The light switch is available in white, ivory, light almond, and black.

Other Caséta Switch Options

Lutron makes a range of other lighting control products, including a pro line, but those are only available through dealers. However, there are some other light switches that you may be interested in. All of the switches below also require the Lutron Smart Bridge for connecting to the app or voice assistants.

First, is the Pico Remote, which can control any Caséta dimmer or switch in your house. As we'll mention later in this article, the Pico remote is also used to replace one switch in a three-way setup. They also make a version that specifically controls music on Sonos speakers. You can purchase the Pico Remote on Amazon.

If you don't need dimming capability and only want a simple on/off switch then check out the Smart Lighting Switch, model PD-6ANS. This works with all types of light bulbs, but it requires a neutral wire. It can also replace a three-way switch without the need for the Pico. Look for the PD-6ANS on Amazon.

Finally, Lutron makes a plug-in lamp dimming module. This is great if you don't have ceiling lights, but still want all the features that come with the Caséta system, including dimming, Smart Away mode, and automatic control based on your location. It can be paired with a wall-mounted Pico Remote so that it operates like a normal light switch. The dimming module also serves as a range extender for the Smart Bridge. The lamp dimmer is available on Amazon with model number PD-3PCL.

Features Comparison

Before we get to a more detailed discussion of all of the features of the Caséta Wireless system, here is a comparison between the PD-6WCL and PD-5NE dimming switches.

Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch
Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch for ELV+
Model Number
PD-6WCL-XX
Model Number
PD-5NE-XX
Neutral Wire
Not Required
Neutral Wire
Required
Three-Way
Only with Pico Remote
Three-Way
Only with Pico Remote
Compatible Bulbs
LED, CFL, Incandescent, Halogen
LED Compatibility Tool
Compatible Bulbs
LED, ELV, MLV, Incandescent, Halogen
LED Compatibility Tool
Bulbs Per Switch
Up to 17
Bulbs Per Switch
Up to 29
Colors
White
Ivory
Light Almond
Black
Colors
White
Ivory
Light Almond
Black
Price (Nov 2018)
$55 to $72
Price (Nov 2018)
$100 to $135
Buy Caséta PD-6WCL at Amazon Buy Caséta PD-5NE at Amazon

Neutral Wire Requirements

Before you select a smart light switch, you need to check if your current switch boxes include a neutral wire. The neutral wire provides continuous power to the switch so it can communicate to the bridge even when it is switched off. Many older homes don't have a neutral at light switches and this will limit your options. Learn more about neutral wires in our article, Smart Switches – No Neutral Wire?

You will have to use the PD-6WCL if you don't have a neutral. If you have neutral wires then you can use any of the Lutron smart switches.

Compatible Light Bulbs

Due to electrical load requirements, not every light bulb will work with a smart switch. Before you buy switches or bulbs, be sure to check the compatibility. This is especially important for LEDs, which tend to be very sensitive to electrical flow. Check Lutron's LED Compatibility Tool before you purchase new bulbs. Using a bulb that is not compatible may void your switch warranty.

Works With - Compatible Hubs and Assistants

Lutron has made a significant effort to connect the Caséta system to a lot of other home automation systems. The app connects to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice assistants. You can control your lights using other smart home hubs like Samsung SmartThings and Wink. You can control your music through Sonos and add music to a scene. Finally, you can link your Nest, Ecobee, or Honeywell thermostats to the Caséta app and make simple temperature adjustments.

Vacation Mode

The Lutron App includes a vacation mode feature that they call Smart Away. Once you manually enable Smart Away, the Bridge will turn your lights on and off randomly to make it look like someone is home. The feature only operates between 6PM and 11PM so your lights aren't on all night.

Geofencing

Caséta uses geofencing technology to perform automatic commands based on the location of your phone. You can easily set the app to turn your lights on when you arrive home after sunset. This is great for security so you never come home to a dark house.

You can also tell the app to send you a notification if the lights are on after you leave home. You can then decide to turn the lights off from the app (or leave them on since you know someone else is home).

IFTTT - If This, Then That

Lutron maintains official support for IFTTT, a web service that helps connect different products and software. The triggers and actions can help link Caséta to other services like MyQ, iHome, or Cortana.

Installation

Installation of the Caséta Wireless Hub is straightforward. You simply connect it to your Wi-Fi router via the included cable and then plug it into the wall. From there, you can download the app and finish customizing the system.

Installing the switches may be a DIY project if you are comfortable working with your electrical system or if you have installed switches or outlets in the past. Instructions are included with each switch, but they are also available at Lutron's website along with helpful videos.

CAUTION: light switches use line-voltage power, which can cause serious injury or property damage. Be sure to turn the power off at the breaker and verify it is off before removing the old switches. If you are not comfortable working with electricity then please hire a licensed electrician to install your devices. Safety first!

Three-Way Control Options

Neither the PD-6WCL nor the PD-5NE can be used as part of a traditional three-way switch setup. However, there is a workaround by removing one of the old three-way switches from the circuit and then installing a Pico Remote over the old switch box. Then, you can install one of the Caséta Dimmer Switches at the other existing three-way switch. Lutron has an official YouTube video about how to accomplish this:

Lutron Caseta Three-Way Switch Installation

You can use the basic In-Wall Switch (PD-6ANS) or the In-Wall PRO Dimmer Switch (PD-10NXD) along with an existing standard toggle switch. Instructions for this kind of installation (or more advanced installations with more than three switches) can be found in the Caséta Advanced Installation Guide.

Lutron Caséta & RA2 Select App

The app that controls the whole system is called the Lutron Caséta & RA2 Select App. You can download it from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store.

Lutron Caséta App - Devices, Light Control, Scenes, Schedules, Settings
Lutron Caséta App - Devices, Light Control, Scenes, Schedules, Settings

Once you download the app, you will need to sign up for an account and then follow the instructions for adding your Bridge. Then you can add individual devices from the Settings menu by following step-by-step instructions.

The main app screen shows an overview of how many lights are on in your home. If you have a connected thermostat, it shows the inside temperature. Below that, you will see three menu items.

The Devices tab has an icon for each light or shade. A blue icon indicates the light is on. Tapping the light initiates a pop-up so you can control the light or edit the device.

Under the Scenes tab, you will see a list of scenes you have created. A scene is a predetermined light and shade level that you set up to happen when triggered in the app. Tap + Add Scene and the app will walk you through creating a new scene, which can include any number of connected devices. You will notice one pre-set scene called Smart Away, which allows you to enable vacation mode.

Finally, the Schedules tab is the place to set up schedules based on day, time, or sunrise/sunset. You can edit or disable existing schedules by tapping on the Edit (Pencil) icon.

The last major menu is the Settings menu, which is the gear symbol in the upper left of the main screen. This is where you set up geofencing controls, connect to other hubs, and customize the app theme.

Unfortunately, the Smart Bridge only supports one account per house, but you can have up to 10 phones connected to the system at a time. That way, each family member can control the lights.

Security And Privacy

As with most home automation products, Lutron's app runs in the cloud and they keep information about you in order to provide their remote control services. You can read their full privacy policy on the Lutron website.

All data transferred over the internet is fully encrypted and Lutron continuously monitors for security threats. We are not aware of any data breaches with Lutron or its apps. However, you should continue to maintain a secure home Wi-Fi network to ensure your data remains safe.

About The Manufacturer

Lutron was incorporated in 1961 when Joel Spira introduced the first residential rotary dimmer. The dimmer saved people money on their energy bills while also controlling the ambiance in their homes. Lutron also invented the first dimming ballast for fluorescent lights and created the first pre-set lighting control system.

The company has been operating in the commercial and residential markets for close to five decades and their products have stood the test of time. They sell products for single-family residences all the way up to full-building lighting control for skyscrapers. Lutron now sells over 15,000 products around the world.

Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.