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Review: Lutron Caséta In-Wall Dimming Kit is the most elegant HomeKit lighting solution
Apple's HomeKit feature lets you control “smart” lights with Siri or Apple's new Home app on iOS 10, and there are generally two ways to make your home lighting more intelligent. You can change your light bulbs to “connected” bulbs that talk to a bridge over Wi-Fi, or you can replace your light switches with “connected” switches that take the same bridge approach.The Lutron Caséta kit takes the latter approach by replacing your existing light switches with smart switches that make your traditional light bulbs work with Siri. There are notable differences between both approaches including cost and ease-of-setup which I'll unpack below. And if bells and whistles don't impress you, Lutron takes the crown for having the most elegant solution to HomeKit lighting with one exception…Its product name: Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit (HomeKit-enabled). I'll stick with Lutron Caséta for the remainder of this review.🙂If you're exploring Apple's HomeKit and want to upgrade your home lighting, you may think of Philips Hue first but Lutron Caséta has a few benefits over the Philips approach. For example, Lutron replaces the light switches in your home, not the light bulbs, so you can likely use your existing bulbs which may be cheaper than Hue bulbs. This is especially beneficial when one light switch controls multiple bulbs.Aside from potential price savings, replacing the light switches and not the light bulbs tends to be more elegant and easier to operate. Take my office lights for example. My ceiling has two bulbs that connect to one wall switch. Using the Philips system, I can replace both bulbs for $15/each then control them with my iPhone or Apple Watch, but this requires leaving the wall switch in the ‘on' position.Turn the switch to ‘off' and HomeKit can no longer control the lights because they have no power. The solution is to add a Philips Hue Dimmer Switch for $25. This also helps kids and family members control the lights without using Siri or apps. Price comparisons can vary depending on your needs, but Lutron's solution is the simplest after installation. You have a single light switch that anyone can control versus two light switches with one that you ignore and must leave on.I say Lutron is the simplest after installation because it's much easier to set up Philips Hue. Installing Lutron requires turning off the power to the room where you're working, removing the existing light switch, and installing the Caséta switch. The installation process is well documented and only takes about 10 minutes once you get the hang of it, but I spent about an hour my first time as I wanted to be especially careful replacing a wall switch for the first time.