When you think of smart homes, you might think of bulbs for your living room, speakers that you talk to, and thermostats to keep you comfy. But that’s inside stuff, what about taking your smart home outside? For that, you can turn to outdoor plugs. Lutron’s new Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug promises to stand up to nearly anything you throw at it. But it had better for $79.95.
A quick glance at Lutron’s Outdoor Smart Plug, and you’ll see plenty of differences from the average outdoor smart plug. Most are little more than a giant box hanging off a short plug dongle. You plug it into an outdoor outlet, and let it hang freely while you connect your other devices.
Lutron’s Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is significantly longer than other plugs in its category. The box, which is also narrower, also features mounting holes you can use to attach it to a surface, like the nearest wall. That’s the first hint at what makes Lutron’s smart plug different—the company is betting it’ll survive permanent installation through all the seasons.
Most outdoor smart plugs manage an IP64, which means the device will survive dust, debris, and a light spray (think a sprinkler). Testing for IP64 involves spraying the gadget for 10 minutes with an oscillating spray, and some ingress is permitted as long as it survives.
The Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug, on the other hand, packs an IP65 rating. That steps the plug up to dust, debris, and low-pressure jet sprays. It’s the equivalent of directly spraying the plug with a garden hose for 10 minutes. It’s a much bigger deal.
To get there, Lutron packed the internals of the smart switch box with potting material. You’ll find potting material in commercial lighting fixtures to cut down heat and in outdoor equipment to provide proper seals. Thanks to all that work, Lutron says its Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug can survive anything from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. That should be good enough for extra cold winters and superhot summer.
You can’t call it a smart plug without an app, and that’s where the Caséta portion comes into play. The app lets you control it, add scheduling, and add complex rules if you pair it up with the Lutron Smart Bridge. You can even use a remote control button to turn it on and off when you’re inside.
At $79.95, the Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug far outstrips the price of other competitors, doubly so if you consider that it only has one outlet. But other smart outdoor outlets don’t have the same level of protection from the weather, and may not last as long. Lutron’s betting the plug will justify its high cost by lasting years longer than other options. We just need to wait a few years to find out if that’s true.
The Caséta Outdoor Outdoor Smart Plug will go on sale at Lutron, Amazon, and other major retailers in late March.