Recent update: Kuna has slowed their presence in the market in recent months, so you might have trouble finding a Kuna/Maximus product these days. But do check out my latest review of Ring’s security cameras in the meantime.
Simple, smart, and stylish. These are qualities many of us look for in home security cameras. So when I recently tested out Kuna Security Lights, these devices immediately put on the charm in looks and performance. You’ll see how these cameras (technically “smart security lights”) offer something different to the security industry, a spin on home decor and home security, while delivering the same HD video quality, smart detection, and active deterrence features of other top-of-the-line security cameras.
With only three main cameras to choose from, you’re not going to get dizzy with choices going with Kuna, which is another key thing to note about this unconventional security brand. One of Kuna’s cameras — the Maximus Smart Security Light “Coach” — actually gives off Charles Dickens vibes, as it looks like a quaint lantern from the days of yore.
FYI: Kuna offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee, which is something I rarely see in the industry.
Sure, Kuna makes our top 10 list for the best security cameras, but there are some things you’ll definitely want to consider before choosing this brand. So in today’s review, let’s dive in to see how Kuna measures up to the competition, and if they have a security camera that makes sense for you.
Kuna got its start back in 2012,1 when a few Caltech and Stanford Ph.D.s put their artificial intelligence know-how to work in securing the everyman’s home. From what I’ve seen, Kuna is a company where the founders are deeply entrenched in the technology. It’s not just about money. In fact, the two cofounders and the COO have illustrious backgrounds in everything from robotics to aerodynamics.
Did You Know: Back in 1995, one of the Kuna founders (who also runs YesVideo) led a team to winning an Emmy Award for their digital TV innovation.
Needless to say, these guys have what it takes to build high-quality products. But that doesn’t always translate to reasonable prices, a good user experience, and other “soft” but important factors. So let’s see how Kuna holds up when the rubber meets the road.
I truly enjoyed testing out these security cameras. The installation was fast and easy, and they looked fantastic on my front porch (very easy on the eyes). But let’s see just how well they’ll protect your home when it matters most.
Making a choice was relatively painless. Kuna also sells the Maximus Answer Doorbell (a dual-cam video doorbell that’s similar to the Ring Doorbell 2). Here are a handful of features you can expect with Kuna.
The Kuna Maximus Camera Floodlight offers 1080p HD resolution, motion sensing up to 70 feet, and app-based controls. I think it’s reasonably priced at $249, and it’s quite similar to the Ring Floodlight Cam (read my Ring Floodlight Cam here). Here are a few other features you’ll like:
The Kuna Maximus Smart Security Light is the company’s other main product. It’s best for folks who want a more discreet and elegant camera experience, minus the ultra-bright floodlights. It costs $179 and comes with the following features:
FYI: Kuna claims that it plays well with Alexa, but that’s not entirely true. You can only control the lights with Alexa, not the cameras.
Like other DIY camera systems out there (think Blink’s affordable wire-free devices), there’s really nothing complicated about the Kuna installation. The products arrived completely configured and ready to go. You just have to download the mobile app and follow the step-by-step setup instructions. It’ll show you best practices on placing/mounting the cameras, and how to drill into your exterior wall.
The setup and installation should only take 10-20 minutes, from start to finish. And if you hit a roadblock, you can always call the customer service hotline to get a helping hand. I thought the installation and placement were flexible enough, but note that these devices aren’t as versatile as, say, Canary’s all-in-one security cameras.
The look of these smart lights is perhaps Kuna’s biggest strength. When installed, the camera in the Smart Security Light sits in a little nest beneath the light, making it ultra-discreet. Although the camera isn’t exactly hidden, the unit definitely doesn’t draw attention to itself (which is exactly what you want). So Kuna gets an A+ for design and dashing good looks.
Pro Tip: Dust off your stepladder and rotate the camera up to 45 degrees in any direction to dial-in the zone you want to monitor/view.
So what about functionality? Well, you can control the Kuna light using the mobile companion app. The moment you receive a motion-activated alert, you can react directly from your phone’s lock screen (a very nice touch). When you receive an activity notification of a visitor at your door — the HD live-video screen pops right up.
It gets better. The live-video screen displays a handful of options allowing you to jump into action. These options include: two-way intercom, an automated greeting, recording video, sounding the siren, and even a quick-calling 911 button. As you can see, there’s a lot of intuitive functionality here.
FYI: A standard push-to-talk feature is available, but you can also set up (to a maximum of six different) automated greetings.
Additionally, the device automatically starts recording footage starting from 10 seconds before activity occurs. This reminds me of the pre-roll feature in an Arlo camera suite I unpacked recently, and it’s helpful to give you full context of an event. With this in mind, the motion sensing was also pretty solid, especially with the Kuna Premium plans. There’s a motion sensitivity slider within the app, so you can set it and forget it. Just don’t expect it to be very accurate without a subscription plan (as you won’t have AI smart detection).
Paired with a Kuna Premium subscription and smart detection, my Kuna cameras came to life and were able to distinguish between people, pets, and cars without a problem. But this isn’t exactly earth-shattering technology; overall, the camera works just as well as it should.
I have a couple of bones to pick as far as features go with Kuna/Maximus. First off, Kuna claims that their products work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. But when paired with Alexa, you can only use it to turn the lights on and off; you can’t use voice commands to control the camera. So there’s one strike against Kuna.
Additionally, since Kuna’s platform is app-based, you can’t control Kuna or Maximus cameras using anything other than the Kuna Home Security app. It sure beats the obtrusive extension cords and flimsy switches of cameras past, though, and Kuna does make a pretty robust app. It’s pretty cool being able to control security lights and cameras at one time from one device.
But the biggest gripe I found with Kuna was with their night vision — especially on the Smart Security Light. Kuna lights rely on “illuminating the scene” for the camera to function at night. Without that scene illumination, you won’t see much at all in your footage – certainly not the night vision video you can get with another brand on the market, like Reolink. Visit my full Reolink camera review if you’re interested in cameras with much clearer, colorized night vision.
Without integrated night vision features, recording or viewing live video at night was more like staring at the sun in some ways, so Kuna has some room for improvement here.
As this brand does things a bit differently, you won’t find the kind of robust product selection typical in this industry with Kuna. As you’ll see from my sweeping analysis of Lorex cameras, with their massive selection of equipment and accessories, Kuna’s selection is quite limited by comparison. This could come as good news or bad, depending on what type of homeowner you are. Personally, I like options, and, therefore, would like to see Kuna add more cameras to their menu.
As it stands, they only offer three main camera types: smart security lighting, the Maximus Answer Video Doorbell, and the Maximus Floodlight. Generally, prices range from $149 to $249. But thankfully there aren’t any hidden fees, monthly costs, or contracts to worry about. Just pay for the camera and you’re in business. You can expect this nimble pricing structure with other more affordable cameras, too.
Pro Tip: Read our guide to the best cheap security cameras to explore more options for affordable home security.
Note that the prices below are slightly higher than the industry average. For instance, you can get the high-performance Nest Cam Outdoor for around $150-$200. Another thing to consider is that you’ll have to upgrade to Kuna Premium (a monthly subscription plan) if you want video history and AI features. See below for a breakdown of Kuna camera prices. For more tips on buying Kuna, head to our full Kuna equipment pricing guide.
|Kuna Maximus Cameras||Camera Type||Price|
|Smart Security Light||All-in-one light and camera with elegant lamplight design||$179|
|Camera Floodlight||1080p HD camera with built-in 2,400-lumen floodlights||$249|
|Toucan Surveillance Kit||Retrofits to existing lights for camera functionality||$149|
|Maximus Answer™ Video Doorbell||Dual-camera video doorbell with 720p HD and 1080p HD quality||$221|
Through Kuna, you can opt for subscription-based monitoring with Kuna Premium or do your own monitoring with the basic motion detection and other features Kuna offers. Kuna Premium adds person/vehicle detection to the camera experience, which more security cameras are offering nowadays. It’s not the same level of precision you’d get in a Nest Cam system, which has software that recognizes people’s but I found person detection to be just as useful in many outdoor scenarios.
FYI: With the paid plans, you can customize activity zones by highlighting little blue tiles on the Kuna smartphone app. I recommend taking advantage of this.
Now, if you decide to upgrade to Kuna Premium, you can tap into their AI technology that offers intelligent, contextual notifications. You’ll also get up to 30-day video history, which can be helpful if you need to provide evidence after a crime. While I typically recommend signing up with a subscription plan, it’s worth noting that Kuna’s plans do run on the high side. For more affordable monitoring and storage, you’d be better off with one of Ring’s Protect Plans (starting at only $3 per month). But if you go with Kuna, here’s what you can expect on storage costs:
|Kuna Subscription Plans||Basic||Essential Security||Peace Of Mind||Absolute Control|
|Video History & Playback||2-Hour||7-Day||14-Day||30 Day|
Notably, Kuna doesn’t have any built-in home automations like the above-mentioned Arlo’s suite of cameras does, but their lighting fixtures still play nicely in the sandbox with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Unfortunately, even the cheapest Kuna plan, Essential Security, is almost twice the cost of the average subscription plan I’ve tried. However, you’ll probably like that Kuna offers a 14-day free trial as part of their Peace of Mind plan (included with every camera).
Also, if you pay annually to cash-in on cost savings, but later find that Kuna isn’t for you, you can cancel and they’ll prorate your payment and send you a refund. Easy peasy. You really don’t have much to lose either way.
FYI: Kuna offers a theft guarantee. Should a bad guy steal your Kuna camera, the company will deactivate the hardware and send you a free replacement. Not bad.
During my initial research of Kuna, I did come across a number of negative reviews. Users mostly complained of faulty cameras and lackluster customer service. Thankfully, I didn’t have any issues in this regard. But I also didn’t need real-time assistance for faulty products.
With Kuna, I had access to phone and email-based customer assistance. The support desk is open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. But note that this is for Kuna Maximus products only.
Overall, Kuna offers a straightforward and transparent service with a free plan and three Premium plans to choose from. While the up-front camera cost is more expensive than the industry average, I think you’ll enjoy the form and function that Kuna offers. It’s a great fit if you’re looking for an outdoor camera system that will add a dash of style to the exterior of your home. And with a 60-day, money-back guarantee, it’s hard to beat.
Of course, Kuna isn’t perfect. The home automation integrations aren’t so hot, and the company only offers limited camera options. And let’s not forget that most of their cameras are currently unavailable. That said, they seem to really obsess over the little details with the products that they do offer.
So there you have it. That’s the long-and-short of Kuna. And would you look at that — I made it all this way without making a “Kuna Matata” joke (what a wonderful phrase!).
No, while Kuna offers three paid subscription plans, these are not required. If you do sign up with a plan, you can cancel at any time without penalty.
Kuna offers very limited home automation integrations. The products work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, but only to turn the lights on and off (no camera controls).
Technically no, it doesn’t. While you do get video at night, the device relies on the light feature to illuminate the area it records. In our experience, this results in substandard night-time video quality.
No, thankfully Kuna is a DIY camera system that only takes a few minutes to install, using only a screwdriver.
We think Kuna is a safe bet if you’re looking for an attractive light/camera combo. Otherwise we’d recommend looking at a stand-alone security camera.
IndieGoGo. (2021). Kuna: The first home break-in prevention solution.
Google Nest Help. (2021). Familiar face detection and how to manage your library.
Jaime Fraze is an experienced digital editor in the tech, business and food spaces, having produced content for clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to fledgling nonprofits for more than 15 years. As a wife, mother and homeowner, she understands that buying home security products can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why Jaime has constantly strived to ensure that every piece of content she produces has met SafeHome.org’s rigorous standards, and that her readers come away with the power to make better, smarter decisions. Learn more about Jaime here