Executive Editor, TechHiveFeb 28, 2022 6:00 am PST
Lutron has offered motorized window shades since 1993, but it didn’t incorporate the product into its Caséta smart lighting offerings until 2014. We first reviewed Lutron’s Serena honeycomb motorized shade in late 2019. Today, the company is expanding that lineup with the all-new Architectural Honeycomb design, which offers higher-end fabrics, larger honeycomb cells, and improved light blocking.
The improved light blocking comes from a newly designed top rail that integrates with the shade’s mounting bracket, and a bottom bar that is designed to be less obtrusive. The headrail is fabricated from aluminum and is painted with a matte finish, compared to the fabric-wrapped headrail on the existing Serena line. The mounting bracket is likewise fabricated from aluminum to prevent warping due to direct sunlight and heat.
Lutron says the new shades allow zero “light creep” over the top of the headrail, and that there’s just a 1/8-inch light gap along the sides of the window (in an inside-mount installation). One of the company’s other objectives was to ensure the shades don’t compete with other design elements around the window, such as a valance or curtains. The company also redesigned the motor that resides in the top rail, but it carried over the tap-and-tilt design that we liked about the earlier model, which makes changing the batteries a snap.
Lutron offers the new shades in a range of 40 blackout (Mylar-backed) and light-filtering fabric options, all of which have larger 3/4-inch cells, compared to the 9/16-inch cells in the existing Serena line. By trapping a larger volume of air, the bigger cells will provide better insulation by reducing heat transfer from the window-side of the shade to the room side. Like the existing Serena line, the window-facing side of the shades are white to reflect the warming light of the sun.
Like the existing line of Serena smart shades, the Architectural line can be controlled by Lutron’s Caséta smart home hub along with the rest of the Lutron Caséta product line: switches, dimmers, ceiling fan controllers, motion sensors, and more. A Lutron Caséta Pico remote is optional. While it is a proprietary system, Caséta can be integrated with a broad range of third-party smart home ecosystems, including Samsung SmartThings, Ring, Alexa and Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, several brands of smart thermostats, IFTTT, and even Sonos multi-room audio systems.
Lutron’s Serena product line is available in both a DIY (you measure and install) and professionally measured and installed options; however, the new Architectural line will be available only from authorized dealers, who will offer both lines. The new shades are available for order now, with delivery expected this spring. The company says prices for the Architectural line will start at $603 for a 3 x 5-foot shade, compared to a $594 starting price for shades of the same size in the original Serena line.
Correction, March 1, 2022: Both of Lutron’s Serena product lines will be available from authorized dealers with DIY or professional installation options.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.