Make dumb lights smart on the cheap with Caseta
You've looked at smart lights like Philips Hue and want to add some smarts to your own home, but without breaking the bank–Lutron's Caseta range is for you (provided you live in North America).
Caseta is a simple smart switch that replaces your existing switch, and makes dumb lights smart. That's especially compelling if you're in a house with many lights on a single circuit, where replacing them with Hue would get too expensive, too quickly.
What you need to know
The difference with a smart switch like Caseta is that you'll need to be comfortable opening your wall and wiring switches yourself (or have an electrician in mind to do it). That said, it's simple enough to do, and will save you tons of money in the long run.
To get in on Caseta, you need to pick up the Caseta Hub, which allows the light switches to communicate.
Each switch runs about $65, and they support multi-pole (multiple light switch) configurations, as well as ceiling fans. Best of all, you don't need a neutral wire in your home–which is required by many other smart switches and can make wiring them yourself a non-starter.
Caseta is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as integrating with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's HomeKit standard. There's no subscription fees involved, and you can add up to 50 switches to the system.
Why we like Caseta
Unlike other smart lighting we've tested, Caseta has been rock-solid and incredibly reliable–because it doesn't rely on WiFi or Bluetooth. Instead, it uses the company's own Hub, which is the backbone of the system, and has caused us far fewer issues than with a direct WiFi connection configuration, as found in other switches like Kasa.
The reason we're so into Caseta is that it works with so many different configurations, such as compatibility with the company's plug-in switches, wireless remotes and even window shades. On top of that, it has the best-feeling physical controls on the market, with simple, subtle indicators and nice tactile buttons.
Compared with replacing each individual bulb in your home with a system like Philips Hue, you'll save a ton of cash. Lutron considered the most important features in its apps–putting light controls front-and-center–instead of trying to load them with unnecessary add-ons, and it doesn't spam you about the company's other products.
Essentially, it's a well integrated, well designed, simple system that adds the smarts found in smart bulbs, without the annoying bits–like not being able to use your existing light switches. If you want to add just a little smart to your home, this is it, and it'll work regardless of the type of wiring you have.
The best place to start? The Smart Start Kit, which includes a bunch of switches and the hub, which saves you cash up-front, and gets you on your feet right away.