Smart lighting manufacturer Lutron is expanding its line of smart switches that don’t look like smart switches, adding a new Pico Paddle Remote ($19.99) to its Caséta smart lighting line. The wireless remote looks just like a wired switch but can control all Caséta switches, Lutron Serena smart shades, wired fans, Sonos speakers, and more.
For those unfamiliar, the Caséta line is one of the best DIY solutions for smart switches to control regular LED lighting. This is thanks to Lutron’s rock-solid Clear Connect RF technology, wide integrations (Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, and more), and no need for neutral wires, making the switches compatible with more homes.
However, the line is expensive, starting at around $60 for an on/off switch, and requires a proprietary bridge to be used as a whole home lighting solution. The original design for Caséta was also very distinctive and quite techy looking, featuring icons and multiple buttons. The new Pico Paddle Remote matches the new classic paddle switch style Lutron launched last year with its Diva and Claro smart switches.
The advantage here is a more familiar-looking switch that anyone will know how to use but with the added functionality of a smart switch. “It’s a less disruptive aesthetic,” Adam Mack, product manager of Caséta Wireless, told me in a briefing ahead of the launch.
The new Pico Paddle Remote is a redesigned version of its existing Pico Wireless Remote Control. It can be used as a standalone remote but is really designed to be mounted on the wall using a standard switch wall box for a traditional look. It can work as a second point of control for any Lutron Caséta switches in a room, giving you a three-way lighting setup without having to deal with three-way wiring.
The Pico Paddle Remote has up to 10 years of battery life and can control up to 10 devices without a Wi-Fi connection. It will work with all existing Caséta switches and with compatible accessories, including wall mounts.
The new look does change the way it is controlled. Tapping the Pico once when paired with a Caséta dimmer switch will turn the lights on at whatever level the dimmer’s slider is set at. This is a nice upgrade from the prior Pico, where one tap turns the lights on to full brightness every time.
If you tap the Pico twice, the lights come on to full brightness. However, there is no micro-dimming option, which the original does allow. The original Pico remains available to buy. As with that version, the new Pico also works with Lutron’s Serena shades line to fully open, fully close, or pause the shades.
The Pico Paddle Remote costs $19.95 standalone or $29.95 with a wall mount and wall plate. A bundle of the remote, wall mount, and Diva smart dimmer ($79.95) or Clara smart switch ($69.95) also provides a discount. The products will be available at Best Buy, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot, starting today, September 7th, and on Amazon soon.
“We have no timeline in terms of when or if we’re going to support Matter”
I checked in with Lutron on its plans for Matter adoption; the company is a member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance but has so far not said if it will support the new smart home protocol. “Our stance is the same — while a lot has changed over the last couple of months with Matter — in terms of customer benefit, we want to make sure it works and works well,” Mack said. “So, we have no timeline in terms of when or if we’re going to support it.”
With the news this week that Samsung and Amazon have finally added full support for bridging in Matter (which is most likely how Lutron’s products would be added to the standard) and with its smart lighting competitors Leviton and Philips Hue firmly on board, the pressure is now on Lutron to make a move here.