Lutron has long been, thanks in no small part to the proprietary, ultra-reliable radio signals its Caséta system uses to communicate. But for all of its fancy , , and , Lutron Caséta has never had a good option for bringing exterior, outdoor lighting under the system's control -- at least, not until .
The hero product in question is the Lutron Outdoor Plug, an $80 smart outlet that's built to connect wirelessly with your phone while withstanding the elements. Just plug it into power and pair it with the Lutron Bridge using Lutron's app on your Android or iOS device, then plug whatever you like in behind it -- patio lights, holiday lights, water pumps, wacky inflatable arm-flailing lawn decorations, you name it. From there, you'll be able to use the app to turn the plug on and off remotely, or to automate it to turn on and off automatically at specific times, including sunset.
"It's essentially weatherproof, dirtproof, and sunproof," said Matt Swatsky, vice president of the residential mid-market business at Lutron. "A homeowner can now enjoy all the benefits of a Caséta system for their outside spaces."
Like other Lutron gear, the new plug promises to play nice with a wide variety of smart home platforms, including Ring, as well as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and the Google Assistant for voice controls. Just know that you'll need a Lutron Bridge plugged into your router in order to use it -- non-Lutron users will be better off withlike the WeMo Outdoor Plug, which works right out of the box, no hub needed.
I'll also note that Lutron's plug only includes one automatable outlet, while that WeMo plug and others like it, including the, typically include two. That seems pretty stingy to me given the $80 price tag, especially since those competitors each cost at least half as much as what Lutron is asking here. Another recent option, the , costs just $11.
Still, Lutron's got a great track record in the smart home and an impressive list of long-established third-party integrations. If you love your Lutron setup and you've been itching to add your outdoor lights into the fold, then Lutron's single-style plug is probably the product you've been waiting for. You'll find it on sale this March at Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe's, as well as select electrical and A/V distributors.