on August 30, 2010
My electrician told me that I must have a lot of money to waste as he installed these switches in our remodel.
If you live alone and never entertain this is a great product. Guest don't tap, they punch and break them. Children tap them and say, "wow" then tap, Tap, TAP too hard and break them. Visiting in-laws and the elderly need help operating those "crazy light switches." Yes, I've heard granddad say I should just get a $.79 switch that works.
After 7 years living with Lutron Maestro dimmers installed in my homes bathroom 6 of 7 have had the main tap pad punched in and broken.
Only one switch has survived from the initial remodel because it is in the far corner of the room controlling the lighting in an always on art nook.
Take careful note of the reviews. Only the new installs are getting high reviews. The folks that have lived with this product a while are throwing away hundreds of dollars in switches and shopping for a different brand.
UPDATE: 9/2/2010 After Contacting Lutron.
In all fairness of my critical review Lutron has came through making good on 7-8 year old dimmers. The following is the return e-mail I received from Lutron. I'll give them 5 stars for service.
"Thank you for contacting us. We did have a higher than anticipated rate failure in certain date code for Maestro Dimmers. The good news is that the design for this switch has been changed and the problem have been fixed. We do offer a standard one year warranty for all wall box products, but for this product defect we do offer to replace all Maestro Dimmers in your house at no charge. Please e-mail us back or call us with a list of the Maestro dimmer models and colors. Upon receiving this list we will send new replacement dimmers with prepaid return shipping label to send back the old ones. We apologize for inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any additional questions, please contact our 24/7 technical support at (800)523-9466.
Review of Lutron MAW600H-WH Maestro Dimmer
I have installed and used many different makes of dimmer switches. The Lutron Maestro is the best I have seen for a number of reasons.
It is the most pleasant and intuitive dimmer I've ever used. The gentle fade-in and fade-out when simply turning the lights on and off is worth the price even if you never dim your lights. (It is possible to use it as a simple on-off switch in just this way, if you wish).
The delayed turn-off feature is intuitive, and practical. I use this feature every day when leaving the living room to head upstairs, and in the bedroom to give me time to get into bed before the lights go out.
The Maestro comes with an improved cover plate, that hides the screws you see on a standard plate. This is a nice touch, and it does look better, but it's not the main reason I love these dimmers. Note you can still use this dimmer with a standard cover plate if you desire.
Most dimmers make a faint humming sound, that is most noticeable when set to the dimmest light level. While the Lutron also hums, ever so faintly, it is most quiet brand of dimmer I have experienced.
By the way, most people will never notice this sound (in the Lutron or even other louder dimmers). I just happen to have very sensitive ears. For those of you that hear this hum, you can minimize it by installing the lowest wattage bulbs that are acceptable (in other words, don't put in a 100 watt bulb if you are always going to dim it way down to the equivalent of say 20 watts, use a 60 or 40 watt bulb and you will get less hum dimming it to 20 watts).
I have found these dimmer switches to be about average as far as installation goes - no better and no worse than any other dimmer, and just a tiny bit more trouble than installing a basic on-off switch (because the switch body of the Lutron - and any other dimmer switch - is more bulky than a simple on-off switch).
I recommend you try out the "demo" provided on this web page as it gives a reasonably accurate example of how the features of this switch will work. You can try out the delayed off feature, as well as others using your mouse to simulate tapping the switch.
My wife was quite skeptical when I bought our first Lutron Maestro, thinking they were just an expensive gadget. Now she is a convert, and insists on Lutrons for every often used light in the house. Thus far, we've installed 8 of these (and counting...). We even use them to control some of our outside lights.
If you are sensitive to ergonomics, and lighting, I highly recommend this dimmer switch.
------- End of review, some thoughts about efficiency following -----
By the way, with regards to energy efficiency, some have pointed out that one ought to use smaller bulbs, or even fluorescent bulbs. Others have implied that a dimmer "wastes" power by shunting energy to a resistor. Unfortunately, energy efficiency is not as simple as some people think it is.
First, the good news. You may rest assured modern dimmers do not waste much power at all, indeed they are almost 100% efficient. Also, the more a light is dimmed, the less energy it consumes.
Almost all the energy that is "wasted" by a common incandescent bulb is converted into heat. This means during the heating season a light bulb does not waste any energy at all because every bit of heat produced offloads your standard heating equipment (in other words you furnace doesn't have to run as much). This is a happy situation, since incandescent bulbs produce some of the best quality light you can get, especially halogen bulbs (which I highly recommend). Lastly, bulbs last much longer when they are run at reduced brightness (which reduces bulb replacement cost). So, in summary, during the heating season all your energy will be put to good use, regardless of how inefficient your lighting is. Just enjoy.
Now for the bad news. During the non-heating season, when excess heat is undesirable, the low efficiency of incandescent bulbs is a problem. An incandescent bulb that puts out 4% of it's energy as light, and the other 96% as heat isn't such a good idea. You may actually be paying twice for the inefficiency if you are running air conditioning since your AC will have to run longer to absorb the excess heat from your light bulbs. This nasty effect is reduced by the fact that the non-heating season coincides with longer hours of daylight, so you won't need to use your lights as much. Lastly, as you dim a bulb, it becomes less efficient (that is the amount of light per watt drops).
on May 26, 2011
I purchased two of these Lutron switches with plans to install them in the master bathrooom. After the items arrived, I had a chance to study the product a bit more. There is a small icon indicating they would not work with LED bulbs. I wish Amazon and Lutron should make a bit more clear in the product description field.
Very sad as I would think a company like Lutron would think a bit forward. No sleep loss since I'll use them in the kitchen instead where halogens are still being used.
Switches were installed yesterday in the kitchen and (with halogens) they worked terrific.
5 star for the product with 1 deduction for not being able to handle LED bulbs which are now slowly, but surely flooding the market. 1 additional star for making me hang on to the halogens.
I wrote the above piece a few days ago and have since picked up another set of Lutrons that have manual dimmer which WILL handle LED bulbs. Sadly, the lights flicker, so I am changing the switches out again to non-dimmer (plain Jane *sorry Jane*) switches from Lutron. They go for about $13/ea on Amazon.
Less fancy, less theatrical, but it did the job and it looks Lutron terrific.
on December 26, 2012
This will be the 5th Lutron dimmer I've put in the house, I have 3 of the Maestro's with IR remote and two of these. Installation was as simple as installing a standard single pole switch.
My only complaint that was strong enough for my to drop a star was that finding the right color for these is incredibly difficult. Some of the Lutron switches have color options on the product page, most don't so you have to plod through page after page to find what you're looking for.
on November 23, 2014
I just installed two today. I love that one click goes to a pre-set dim level -- low light for getting up in the middle of the night, while two quick taps and you get full bright. Hold the switch down a couple of seconds, and it keeps the lights on while you leave to your next destination. I love the ramp up and ramp down effect -- seems so much easier on the eyes. Incidentally, the default presets I've just described are all programmable. The instructions include a web site where you can download programming instructions. I replaced two switches in about 10 minutes. It only took that long because I switched them out hot (not recommended), so I cut the old wires instead of trying to unclench them from the old switch -- easier to just strip a half inch of new wire and push it into the new connector then trying to actuate the release on the old switch when a wire is hot. The instructions are quite simple, but for three way switches it helps to know a little about home wiring, which is my case. I'm going to tackle that for our hall lights tomorrow. I never looked at switches that cost more than about a buck until I saw these at a friend's home and was so impressed that something as old as home wiring is still under development. For those who are converting to LED -- the Maestro product line will work for those as well, but you need a different model number, so read the literature carefully, and be sure to buy the LEDs that are dimmable. Incidentally, for those who don't even want to touch the switches, there are proximity sensor switches that also have a dimmer function.
Amazon prices were lower than Lowe's or Home Depot and I've been a Prime customer for years, so letting UPS deliver a couple of these saved me a trip to the hardware store and I have the assurance of Amazon's easy returns, which I have not had to use very often, thanks to these reviews, but it's good to know it's there.
on February 15, 2015
Lutron Maestro switches to me represent almost perfection in form and function. They replace regular dimmer switches, and introduce an almost perfect balance of usability (you can always tell whether its on or off, and what setting its at on or off) and looks. And that's not all, they're programmable for how quickly they fade, and what level they switch on to. They look very elegant and modern with square lines and subtly curved corners, and are available in an almost endless array of colors and situation options (single pole, dual pole, magnetic lighting, etc.)
I only take a star off because I've had two different ones go bad on me over one year - in one the rocker switch got stuck in the on position, and another just blew some internal circuit. They're expensive to replace which makes me feel grouchy. However, I wouldn't buy anything else, which is a testament to their design/quality.
on April 6, 2013
I have a lot of these throughout my house. I didn't like them when we moved here, mainly because I didn't understand how the work, but quickly came to appreciate them. They offer a full range of lighting, easily return to your previous setting, and work with a light tap -- or two light taps to go to maximum lighting. I have had to replace two of them, but they were 15 to 18 years old and in the most heavily used areas of the house (kitchen and family room).
One word of advice: This is for single switch installations, NOT for lights controlled by two or more switches. If you have multi-switch lighting, you need to order Lutron's multi-location switches, which includes one similar to this and a remote switch (without the little lights on it). The single-switch and multi-switch units are NOT interchangeable as the wiring is different on them.
on November 12, 2014
I ordered 2 of these programmable dimmer switches with adjustable fade. This switch is supposed to be programmable with a number of functions that can be adjusted, including fade on & fade off. One of the 2 switches fades off just fine, but despite trying to program it multiple times, was unable to get it to fade on. The second switch wouldn't turn off at all. My electrician contacted Lutron & was told how to program it. When he was able to come back, he tried again to reprogram it, but it still wouldn't work & I had to run over to Lowe's to pick up a plain LED/CFL dimmer switch. Unfortunately, too much time had elapsed since I originally purchased the switches & I was unable to return them. I do not recommend these switches that offer programmability - stick with something more manual.