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How Much Does a Lutron System Cost? Why Is Lutron So Expensive?
I was recently shopping for smart switches so I could swap out an old switch that only turns the lights on and off. I wanted to be able to add some home automation so that the switch would turn on and off based on certain activities.
Lutron was one of the brands I looked at, and I really noticed the price difference between some of the competitors. I could get one Lutron Caseta switch, or I could get three TP-Link switches for the same price. That got me thinking.
Why Is Lutron So Expensive?!
Lutron products are so expensive because they are the highest quality available and made in the USA. Lutron is the gold standard. Lutron is expensive because of the amount they invest into research and development creating the product, and the level of support they provide to consumers and contractors.
Ask anyone who has used Lutron devices, and they will tell you that Lutron is the best. There is nothing better, and most people say, “It Just Works!”. Let’s take a closer look at what their quality and reputation look like, how much it cost, and how much more it cost over the competition.
Related Content: Does Lutron Caseta Work with Google Home? Setup & Connecting Are Easy! Is Lutron Caseta Z Wave or ZigBee? What Tech Does Lutron Caseta Use?
What Makes Lutron Expensive?
Lutron has five principals that are the basis of their business decisions. The principals can be found on Lutron’s website here, but here is a copy for reference:
- Take care of the customer with superior goods and services.
The customer is our number one priority and the reason we exist as a company.
- Take care of the company.
Lutron is dedicated to growth and innovative development.
- Take care of the people.
Lutron provides opportunities for its employees to fully develop their abilities and make a personal contribution to the success of the company.
- Innovate with high quality products.
- Deliver value to the customer.
At least 3 of those 5 principals are related to making high-quality, superior products. In order to do that, Lutron has to spend money in hiring quality employees, and funding research and development. That cost gets passed on to the customer.
What Is a Lutron System?
Lutron designs and manufactures lighting shade and temperature control systems. These range from residential dimmer switches all the way up to automated and timer controlled whole-building systems. Lutron creates products for residential and commercial customers.
Related Content: Do Philips Hue Bulbs Work with Dimmer Switches? Be Careful!
So, what is a Lutron system?
Lutron systems range from residential systems providing smart lighting, temperature, and shade control for the whole home to commercial systems that can manage lighting controls, motorized window shades, digital ballasts and LED drivers, occupancy sensors, and light sensors.
Lutron has several brands that it sells to customers. The brand that most people looking into smart lighting are familiar with is called Lutron Caseta.
Related Content: Smart Lights: Where Do You Put Smart Bulbs In Your House? + Where NOT
Lutron Caseta may seem expensive when compared to other smart lighting controls, but it turns out Caseta is the starter level for Lutron. Remember, Lutron only produces quality products, so even their low-end brand is going to be some of the best performing on the market.
Lutron actually classifies Caseta as “Single Room Controls”, although you can have up to 75 Caseta devices in a single home. Many people do use Caseta devices for their whole home. I’ll classify Caseta as a whole home system for the sake of this article.
Related Content: The Best Apps to Control All Your Smart Home Devices
From low-end to high-end, here is a brand list of the Lutron’s whole home systems
Lutron has a PDF comparison of the various brands, which can be found here . Here are snippets from that PDF.
All the brands above Caseta are designed to be professionally installed, although you can find RA2 Select starter kits if you search hard enough. (Like here at lightinghomes.com . I do not have any experience with that company and do not endorse them.) You will need to go to Lutron’s website and find a contractor (click here ). If you want a peek at what some of the higher end Lutron lighting controls look like, check out the store at prolighting.com (click here ).
How Much Does a Lutron System Cost?
The cost of a Lutron system varies greatly depending on what series you choose.
A Lutron Caseta system starts at $100. The next step-up, RA 2 Select, has starter kits for about $400. Professionally installed Lutron systems cost a minimum of $1500 and go upwards of $30,000 for the top-of-the-line Lutron HomeWorks QS.
Lutron Caseta can operate with just a switch and a controller, but you need to add a smart bridge to control it from the app or to integrate it with a smart assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant. Prices will fluctuate over time, but are currently around $50 for a lamp dimmer and a Pico remote.
The Lutron Caseta starter kit, which adds the Smart Bridge, is double the price goes at around $100. Fortunately, you only need to buy the Smart Bridge once.
The next step up would be RA2 Select, which has starter kits that cost around $350 to $400.
Okay, those are the “cheap” systems. RadioRA and HomeWorks is where you will be spending a good amount of money.
For a 4-bedroom house, HomeWorks QS is going to cost around $15,000 for parts, not including labor. HomewWorks needs to be professionally installed. Keep in mind that you are locked into using HomeWorks and it will cost around $4,000 minimum to remove it and go with another system.
RadioRA has slightly less logic and a few other downgrades from HomeWorks. However, it cost about half the price. A good estimate for a 4-bedroom house is $7.500 for the Lutron parts, and then some for labor.
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Upgrading a Vantage system to HWQS?
Thread: Upgrading a Vantage system to HWQS?
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Iím looking at a project where the favorite option is upgrading an existing Vantage system to HWQS. The garage/stables system has five dimming panels of itís own and the main house has probabky double that. The problem is Vantage uses 2 wire keypads so Iíd hace to go RF and this is a tough building becuase its completel finished, the garage is a u shape and probably 8k square feet so getting repeaters in ideal location isnít really possible. I also prefer wired systems and I was amazed to see that the Vantage keypads power and commincate on just two conductors. Anyone have tips that might make this easy. This is a 12 year old Vantage system with a little lightning damage and while the clients and property managers would prefer going to Lutron Iím thinking I might better serve them by upgrading the Vantage system which means learning that POS. If their KPs were 4 conductors Iíd recommend Lutron in a heart beat but upgrading this garage/stables and then potentially the much larger house would be a real PITA.
VAV Danbury, CT
I'm also certified in Vantage Q-link and Infusion. You will be a lot happier with Lutron. The big issue is what wire did they use for the keypads? Many Vantage dealers used Cat-5 or worse. Only the first repeater has to be wired. The others can be RF so that should not be an issue. You will still need 4-wire between the RPM panel locations and the processor(s). And you will need to get Ethernet to the processor locations. I'm currently managing a system with 14 RPM panels and 400 loads. It works pretty smooth. Uploads are slow though (did I mention it is a Lutron system??).
Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina www.convergenceusa.com
It completely slipped my mind that additional repeaters can simply be wireless despite having talked about this on another job a few weeks ago. I always wire them in new construction and sill wire kypads and dimmers and would wire seeTemps too if they had that capability. The keypad wires are only 2 wire and thatís my main issue. Three RPM panels are in a 2nd Floor electrical closet which holds the processor and where the first repeater would go, another panel in the basement and the last in a mechanical room off a bedroom. Iíll have to look and see what they ran for their MI link equivelent but I would assume I could find at least cat 6 spares between locations if needed. Iíll also have to look at the main house to see whatís actually going to ne involved there but thatís 2-3 times larger and with shades. I sent Vantage an email since it would be much easier to just repair the existing system but I told them I had no intention of jumping through hoops to become Vantage dealer so weíll see if they respond, so far they havenít. Lutron may be better and Iíd definitely make more changing everything to Lutron but thatís no reason to throw out a perfectly fixable system. Of course it is 12years old so it may need a complete overall in a few years anyway in means putting in the better system makes sense. Part of the reason the owners are considering upgrading to Lutron is lack of support and competent dealers in the area to work on it. If we do upgrade I think Iíll lean towards the din rail panels and modules but I hacenít touch one of those systems yet.
Any updates on this? I also used to install Vantage and found their centralized systems very good and their wireless systems quite average, but since Legrand took them over, the whole culture seemed to change and they drop who they consider under-performing so I can never trust them again since when we as a professional sell a customer on a system, they depend on us for service and support as well which is not possible if the company doesn't back us up. As such, I would trust Lutron to be around and have parts and support much more than Vantage. Kind of curious if you ever got a response back. Another thing to consider is that even if you have a working Vantage system, if it is over 5 years old, there is a good chance that it uses the older modules which were not made with LEDs in mind and often don't turn off completely as each load doesn't have relay the way their newer modules do. That's why I've been debating about what to do with smaller older Vantage systems and whether it's cost effective to retrofit them with wall mount modules with QS or Ra2 and use the 16 or 18 awg keypad wires and transformers to use wireless Lutron keypads. I'd much rather deal with Lutron than what's left of Vantage now.
Thank you for your post SparkyCoog, Unfortunately we do not have an application note for upgrade Vantage systems to HomeWorks QS. We would recommend reaching out to your Local Lutron Representative as they will be able to assist in the process. We do apologize.
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Upgrading existing "dumb" system, upgrading from hwqs 6.x to 10.x, wireless control of hwqs system, upgrading from an existing system to homeworks qs, things to know when upgrading an original homeworks system to homeworks illumination, posting permissions.
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When you choose Lutron, you can trust that your system, with its powerful controls, intelligent shades, and beautiful light, will work as it‚Äôs supposed to, every time. Because we have the highest confidence in the quality of our products, HomeWorks is backed by an 8-year warranty.
Lutron HomeWorks System Model Numbers HomeWorks Overview Design Options Components App & Integration Model Numbers The following reference chart provides a list of model numbers for components that make up a HomeWorks system. View all technical documentation for this system. Remote Controls Keypads Dimmers & Switches Companion Controls
The cost of a Lutron system varies greatly depending on what series you choose. A Lutron Caseta system starts at $100. The next step-up, RA 2 Select, has starter kits for about $400. Professionally installed Lutron systems cost a minimum of $1500 and go upwards of $30,000 for the top-of-the-line Lutron HomeWorks QS.
Price of the interface box (HQ-HWI-LX) is $40 USD LIST Price, price on the Software Key (HQ-HWI-KP-SW) is $1,500 USD LIST Price. Please note pricing can change, work with your Lutron Customer Service rep for pricing and ordering purposes. Can I re-use the button kits from the existing seeTouch wall keypads and seeTouch tabletop keypads?
Many Vantage dealers used Cat-5 or worse. Only the first repeater has to be wired. The others can be RF so that should not be an issue. You will still need 4-wire between the RPM panel locations and the processor (s). And you will need to get Ethernet to the processor locations. I'm currently managing a system with 14 RPM panels and 400 loads.