How Does Lutron Caseta Work?
The Caseta lineup is a specific brand that falls under Lutron—a highly respected and innovative company that has produced original technology since the 1950s when Joel Spira created the first dimmer switch. But what is Lutron Caseta, and how does it work?
Lutron Caseta works by replacing your light switch fixture with its dimmer or switch, effectively turning every light on that circuit into a smart light. Using a proprietary 431MHz communication protocol, Lutron all but eliminates signal interference and extends your smart home capabilities without the need for smart bulbs.
Of course, there’s much more to know about the Lutron Caseta line. Read on to learn more about Lutron Caseta and how it works with your smart home.
How Does a Lutron Caseta Switch/Dimmer Work?
Lutron Caseta switches and dimmers are simple to operate. There are two main buttons at the top and bottom, with two in the center. The buttons are lined up vertically, with the top used for increasing the brightness, the bottom for decreasing, and the middle two designed for subtly increasing or decreasing the light.
There are a few pros and cons to this design:
|Highly compatible with a large variety of third-party devices, including Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Echo||Isn’t always effective with non-dimmer bulbs|
|Simple to install and use||Can be expensive, with the two-switch starter kit retailing at $164.90 on Amazon|
|Comes with or without a neutral wire|
|Quickly and easily pairs with the Pico Remote and Smart Bridge|
Thanks to the Lutron Caseta Pico Remote, three-way switches are no longer an issue, as the Pico Remote stands in for one switch on a circuit, while the Caseta Switch replaces another switch on the same circuit, allowing control on both ends.
How the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge Works
Caseta products require a hub/bridge for smart connectivity, and yes, we know what you’re thinking: “Another hub?” However, this hub is what truly sets Lutron Caseta apart.
TheLutron Caseta Smart Bridge—and the Smart Bridge Pro—work by connecting to your router’s Ethernet port, opening connectivity with third-party devices, digital assistants, and hubs. The smart bridge also works with the Lutron app, which allows you to control your switches/dimmers when away from home.
Lutron Caseta smart bridges communicate with Caseta devices through Clear Connect without using your Wi-Fi. The only internet connection Caseta uses is from the app to the smart bridge or vice versa. Here are the differences between the standard and pro versions:
|Smart Bridge||Smart Bridge Pro|
|No Internet Functionality||Yes||Yes|
|Support For Up to 75 Devices||Yes||Yes|
|Support For Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with AV Security Systems||No||Yes|
Both smart bridges provide control for Serena Shade products, but only the pro version supports additional shade products from Sivoia. The standard smart bridge also lacks controls for specific AV security systems, which isn’t the case with the pro version.
Effective Range of the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge
The effective range is listed as 30 feet. However, there are several devices in the Caseta lineup that are capable of up to 60 feet. Going beyond 30 feet isn’t recommended because Clear Connect—while not suffering from the interference that typically affects Wi-Fi—doesn’t have the range without the Caseta Smart Wireless Repeater, which extends the range to 60 feet.
The Caseta Smart Wireless Repeater has several advantages:
- You can install it up to 60 feet from the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge
- It works in conjunction with the smart bridge
- Extends the range of Caseta devices up to 60 feet
- Only needs a standard outlet for power with an included power adapter
- The range includes up, down, left, or right
The Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge or Smart Bridge Pro, with the Caseta Smart Wireless Repeater, will generally cover 5,000 square feet. Additional square footage may require an extra bridge to cover both space and devices.
Can You Use Lutron Caseta without the Smart Bridge?
If you’re really not a fan of introducing another hub into your smart home, don’t worry; the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge is not required for the basic functionality of a light switch or dimmer, and the control of your lights remains the same.
The Pico Remote also operates just fine without a smart bridge. The remote serves as a portable switch/dimmer, giving you control of your installed Caseta switch from anywhere in your home. You can also mount it anywhere you like, and since it is portable, no installation or wiring is required.
Without the smart bridge, however, your Lutron app and connectivity with third-party devices, hubs, or digital assistants are useless and unavailable. You would essentially be replacing your original switch with another, notwithstanding the physical differences.
How Many Lutron Caseta Switches Do I Need?
A Lutron Caseta switch or dimmer replaces one light fixture, which includes that entire circuit. How many Caseta switches you need depends on how many regular light switches—excluding multiple switches on the same circuit—you want to control.
For instance, if you have a light fixture with five light bulbs, and a single switch that controls that fixture only, the Caseta switch/dimmer will give you smart control over that fixture only. That’s regardless of whether or not the bulbs in that fixture are smart or standard.
However, Lutron Caseta devices were designed with extraordinary compatibility measures in mind. When linked with other smart hubs or digital assistants, Caseta—via the app—can control up to 50 additional smart lights, and that includes other smart devices as well.
Will Lutron Caseta Work with More Than One Bridge?
Lutron Caseta Smart Bridges do not work with each other and, while it’s workable to have two bridges, there are several drawbacks:
- Two Lutron Caseta Smart Bridges won’t recognize each other.
- You’ll have to create two accounts.
- You’ll need two emails.
- Each time you switch bridges, you’ll have to log out and back in.
Fortunately, Apple HomeKit is a viable alternative. With Apple’s Home app, you can add two Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge devices and have full access to both, without the headache of changing your login information or using two different emails.
Also, keep in mind that Caseta devices have a range of 30 to 60 feet—with 30 feet being the maximum distance that will still retain an excellent signal—and if you have a home or space larger than 5,000 sq. ft., two bridges are still worthy of consideration. This is especially true if you’re looking at well over 50 devices.
The Lutron Caseta line of switches, dimmers, smart bridges, and repeaters are integral to the smart home universe because they work, they effectively replace standard fixtures without the need for smart bulbs, and Lutron has set a high standard in the home lighting industry for decades.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to smart home lighting yet, Lutron Caseta sets itself apart with its Clear Connect communication protocol, ease-of-use, options to avoid neutral wires in older homes, and innovative tools—such as the Pico Remote—to standardize how you interact with your smart home.
Lutron Caseta is a textbook case of “you get what you pay for.” While more expensive than many competitors, Caseta devices bring more to the table continuing to innovate with new products and features and embracing a large number of third-party devices, hubs, and apps.