- Solid Core Construction
- Works With Pico Remotes
- Lutron App Integration
- HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home Integration
- Easy to Setup and Install
- Brand: Lutron
- Connectivity: Type A RF
- Integrations: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Lutron Smart Bridge
- Schedules: Yes
- Current Rating: 120V 50/60Hz
- Simple To Use
- Long Range Operation
- Easy To Remove
- More Expensive Than Most Outdoor Plugs
- Apps Do Not Work Without Lutron Bridge
- Up-Front Cost Does Not Account for Pico Remote
- Limited Uses
Rain, snow, sleet, hail, and even hot and cold temperatures can permanently damage the sensitive electronics of your standard smart plug. But what if those elements weren’t an issue? What if a smart plug could handle the outdoors so that you could power things like string lighting or holiday decorations?
Well, thanks to Lutron and its new $79 Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug, you can now bring all the power and function of a smart plug to the outdoors. But how does it stack up to other smart plugs? And what makes it different? Let’s find out.
The Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug Design
Indoor smart plugs are everywhere. In fact, according to Security.org, around 22% of all homes that have smart devices use at least one smart plug. And while they are great for indoor applications, there are not many plugs available that can handle inclement weather.
Unlike standard smart plugs, The Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is built with bad weather in mind. It holds an IP65 rating, and its internal components are encapsulated to resist moisture, cold, and heat.
Overall, the smart plug has a fairly straightforward design. It looks as if someone cut about two feet of exterior extension cord and slapped an electronic box in the middle. But this is not a bad thing. The simplicity of this unit means that there are fewer potential points of failure.
In the center of the housing is a single button to control the pairing and the on/off function. On the rear of the unit are four hex-head screws that hold the Caséta’s mounting bracket in place.
The Caséta Outdoor Plug can handle lighting loads of up to 15A and up to 1/2HP motor and pump loads. The plug will also support up to 1200VA for lighting transformers and magnetics ballasts.
This unit is designed specifically for 120V household current and has an operating voltage of 120V 50/60Hz and an operating current of 6.8 mA at 120V with no load connected. The Caséta Outdoor carries an IP65 rating and is both FCC and IFTEL certified.
It’s also rated for extreme temperatures and will continue functioning between -4F and 122F (-20C to 50C). This range means that whether you live in a climate that gets desert-like in the summers or downright polar in the winters, the Lutron Caséta will handle most of your outdoor power needs. The full technical specifications are available on Lutron’s website.
The female portion of the unit is about 5.125 inches (130 mm) from tip to control box, and the male portion measures 7 inches (178 mm) from the edge of the controller to the base of the prongs.
The control box portion of the unit is 5.5 inches in length and 1.5 inches in height at its tallest point. The mounting plate extends slightly farther than the control box itself.
On the rear of the mounting plate, four pre-drilled holes allow the Caséta plug to attach to almost any structure. The total weight of the device is 4.9 ounces.
What’s in the Box?
The contents of the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug box are as basic as it gets. Inside you’ll find:
- The Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug
- A Quick Start Guide
There isn’t much else you need here. Some folks may find the lack of mounting hardware surprising, but this makes sense considering that the unit mounts to so many different types of surfaces. Besides, mounting hardware is inexpensive, and this way, you can tailor it to your specific application.
I should mention that Lutron sent this unit to us specifically for review. Hence, a few other goodies arrived with this plug, including a Pico Remote, a Pico Remote pedestal, and a Pico wall plate bracket.
Controlling the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug
Because I don’t own a Lutron hub, the Pico Remote was integral for controlling this unit. Pairing the Pico Remote with the outdoor plug was as easy as holding down the bottom button on the remote for six seconds and holding down the button on the plug for the same amount of time.
The best part of this pairing process is that it doesn’t use your home wireless network. That means if your network goes down, you can still use your outdoor switch. On our demo unit, the pairing worked excellently, and I found no trouble using the remote, even from two stories above the plug.
In addition to the Pico Remote, if you have a Lutron smart home hub, you can use the Lutron app with Apple Homekit, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa to control your smart plug. This flexibility means that you can easily integrate the Caséta Outdoor into your current smart home setup.
There are two main types of applications that a plug like this is excellent for. First would be the obvious—holiday decorations. Plugging this unit into your outdoor GFCI would be a great way to control holiday lighting from the warmth of your living room. That’s the application that I will most likely use for this unit when the holiday season hits.
A subcategory here would be additional outdoor lighting. In my research, I’ve seen many people using the unit to control outdoor string lighting. This is also an excellent way to put the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug into service.
The second type of application primarily has to do with outdoor pumps/motors. For those lucky few that have the luxury of ponds or fountains on their property, this unit would work great as a way to control their operation remotely. The Caséta’s durability and sealed design would go great in areas prone to the occasional moisture that a water feature might create.
Unfortunately, due to the 15A rating here, you should make sure your pump draws no more than 1800W if you’d like to use this plug. That means many swimming pool pump motors and some larger spa pumps might overload the device. It’s best to check with your pump manufacturer before committing to using the smart plug for these larger applications.
Repairability of the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug
There is absolutely no way to repair this plug due to the encapsulated nature of the unit. During testing, I removed the four hex-head screws from the rear to see the electronic components inside. But they are surrounded by Lutron’s internal epoxy-like coating. While this is great for keeping weather and dirt out of the unit, it also means that if the Caséta Outdoor plug malfunctions, then you’ll need to purchase another one.
The material inside of the plug also holds all of the electronic components stationary. This design means there is less potential for damage to those internal components. So, what you sacrifice in repairability, you gain back in durability.
However, if the outdoor plug fails, you’ve got a one-year warranty against any defects in materials or manufacturing. You can extend this warranty to two years by filling out a Caséta Wireless Feedback Questionnaire on Lutron’s website.
What’s Great About Lutron’s Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug?
The most significant benefit to the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is its durability. You can tell just by picking up the unit that it’s not flimsy or delicate. This is a smart plug designed to handle what other smart plugs cannot. This trait is often the biggest draw for Lutron products and allows the smart home product manufacturer to command top dollar.
The overall simplicity of the unit is also great. It’s so easy just to pick the smart plug up and get it installed. For me, it took less than five minutes, including programming the Pico Remote. I feel confident that I could hand this plug to anyone, and they would be able to integrate it into their home almost immediately.
Lastly, controlling the outdoor plug with smart home devices like Alexa and Google home is great. These are features that allow the Caséta Outdoor to work like it would a standard indoor unit.
What Could Lutron Improve?
The biggest drawback of this smart plug is going to be the cost. $79 is almost double the price of some of the other smart plugs on the market. And while quality is an important factor here, the idea that you can get a smart outdoor plug at your local hardware store with similar functionality for much less makes this smart plug a little pricey.
However, the quality is there, and for anyone who wants a plug that feels like it will last a long time, the Lutron is the way to go. Unlike its half-priced competitors, I would feel extremely comfortable leaving this plug attached all year long without worrying that it wasn’t going to hold up to the blistering New England winter or the shower-filled spring.
Then there is the issue of app control. The Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug offers the most flexibility when using smart assistants with the device. But for that, you’ll need the Lutron Smart Bridge. None of the assistants will work without it.
Additionally, while the Pico Remote is a great control option, it’s still $20 over and beyond the cost of the smart plug itself. That difference drives the unit’s total cost with the remote to around $100 if you don’t already have a Lutron Smart Bridge.
If you do, on the other hand, this limitation isn’t a problem. But for those folks who aren’t already in the Caséta ecosystem, they’ll need to choose a $20 remote or an $80 bridge. If money is no object, then this choice might not matter.
Should You Buy the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug
Overall, the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is a solid unit, if not a bit of a pricey one. While it does have limited applications, you can be sure that it performs its intended functions without any issue. I would certainly trust it to hold up in the temperamental climate of New England. In fact, the Caséta Outdoor is probably the toughest smart plug I’ve reviewed to date.
I say that if you want a quality outdoor smart plug, and money isn’t much of a concern, then the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is worth a look. On the other hand, if you’re on a strict budget, there are certainly other options that can be had for less.
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