In a market dominated by the Zigbee protocol on one side and the increasingly open Z-Wave standard on the other, Lutron just keeps trucking with its proprietary Caséta Smart Lighting system. On Sunday at CES in Las Vegas, Lutron announced it’s expanding its smart home offerings with the Caséta Smart Motion Sensor and the Caséta Repeater.
The battery-powered, wireless motion sensor can be set up anywhere you might want hands-free lighting control—and don’t want to shout out to a smart speaker and wait for it to get around to turning the light on for you. What’s more, a single motion sensor can control any number of Caséta smart switches, dimmers, ceiling fan controllers, or even Serena smart shades within 60 feet of the sensor.
Using Lutron’s app, you can set a desired light level—or speed, in the case of a fan controller—for each device that the sensor will control. The motion sensor has a 180-degree field of view, and Lutron says it can detect fine motion three times better its competitors. It can be mounted to a wall or operate freestanding on any flat surface. The Caséta Smart Motion Sensor’s battery should last about 10 years, according to Lutron. It will be available in February for $49.95.
Range has never been an issue for the Caséta devices and Serena shades I’ve tested, but my 2,800-square-foot home isn’t exactly a mansion, and its wood construction doesn’t present the challenge to wireless networking that brick or masonry would. In any event, Lutron says its new Caséta repeater can extend the range of a Caséta Smart Bridge by 60 feet when placed within 60 feet of the bridge.
Unlike the Bridge, there’s no need to connect the Repeater to your router with an ethernet cable—it’s completely wireless. Just plug it into an electrical outlet and you’ll be ready to go. The Repeater is pricey, though: It will cost $74.95 when it goes on sale, also in March.
Lutron demonstrated one of the coolest gadgets at last year’s CES, although the company wasn’t quite ready to announce it then. The Lutron Aurora smart switch we reviewed in August, 2019 eliminates the most common problem encountered with Philips Hue smart bulbs. If you install a smart bulb in a dumb switch, you’ll never be able to control the bulb if the switch is in the off position. The Aurora not only locks the switch in the on position, but it also features a rotary dimmer.
One of the problems I noted when I tested the Aurora was that the device didn’t work with paddle switches. At this year’s CES, Lutron is showing an Aurora Wallplate Bracket that should solve that problem.
Lutron suggests turning off the power, removing the paddle switch, capping the wires inside the junction box, and mounting the new wallplate bracket and Aurora dimmer over the opening. If the Philips Hue bulbs you want to control aren’t connected to an existing switch, you can also use Lutron’s new bracket to mount an Aurora dimmer to any surface using two-sided tape. The new product will available in March for $10.