Simple, smart, and stylish. These are qualities we look for in security cameras. So when we recently tested out Kuna Security Lights, we were delighted with how these devices looked and performed. We liked how these cameras (technically “smart security lights”) offer HD video quality, smart detection, and built-in sirens.
With only three main cameras to choose from, we weren’t dizzy with choices, which is a good thing! 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 we 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 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, when a few Caltech and Stanford Ph.Ds put their artificial intelligence know-how to work in securing the everyman’s home. From what we’ve seen, Kuna is a company where the founders are deeply entrenched in the technology. It’s not just about money. And we like that. In fact, the two Co-Founders and the COO have illustrious backgrounds in everything from robotics to video compression to aerodynamics.1
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.2
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.
Unlike top security camera brands like Ring, Kuna has a very limited lineup of products. This is good or bad, depending on the type of person you are. For us, well, we like options (can you blame us?). So we’d like to see Kuna add more cameras to their menu.
As it stands, they only offer 4 main cameras that range in price 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.
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 (monthly subscription plan) if you want video history and AI features. Don’t worry, we’ll break this down in a bit. Here are the Kuna camera prices.
|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 flood lights||$249|
|Toucan Surveillance Kit||Retrofits to existing lights for camera functionality||$149|
|Answer™ Video Doorbell||Dual camera video doorbell with 720p HD and 1080p HD quality||$221|
You can use Kuna cameras without paying for a monthly subscription. You’ll still get live-streaming video in HD, smart detection, two-way talk, and 2-hour event look back. But all of that is pretty standard.
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.3 While we typically recommend signing up with a subscription plan, we’re partial to Ring Protect Plans (starting at only $3 per month) and Arlo’s plans. But if you go with Kuna, here’s what you can expect.
|Kuna Subscription Plans||Basic||Essential Security||Peace Of Mind||Absolute Control|
|Video History & Playback||2-Hour||7-Day||14-Day||30 Day|
Unfortunately, even the cheapest Kuna plan ‘Essential Security’ is almost twice the cost of the average subscription plan we’ve tried. However, we like that Kuna offers a 14-day free trial for 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.
We truly enjoyed testing out these security cameras. The installation was fast and easy, and we liked the way they looked on our front porch (very easy on the eyes). But let’s see just how well they protected our home when it mattered most.
Making a choice was relatively painless. We purchased both camera styles listed below. But remember that Kuna also sells the Toucan Surveillance Kit (a camera that retrofits to almost any porch light using USB) and the new 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 ft., and app-based controls. We think it’s reasonably priced at $249, and it’s quite similar to the Ring Floodlight Cam. Here are a few other features we think you’ll like:
The Kuna Maximus Smart Security Light is the company’s other main product. We think 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 we found that’s not entirely true. We were able to use our voice to turn the light on and off, but we were unable to control the camera using voice controls.
Like other DIY camera systems out there (think Blink or Zmodo), there’s really nothing to the Kuna installation. The products arrived to us completely configured and ready to go. We just had 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. But we’ll get to Kuna’s customer service (which is a whole new can of worms). We thought the installation and placement was flexible enough, but note that these devices aren’t as versatile as, say, Lorex professional-grade cameras.
We think 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 step ladder and rotate the camera up to 45-degrees in any direction to dial-in the zone you want to monitor/view. We like this kind of flexibility.
So what about functionality? Well, we were able to control our Kuna light using the mobile companion app. The moment we received a motion-activated alert, we could react directly from our phone’s lock screen (very nice touch). When we received an activity notification of a visitor at our door — the HD live-video screen popped 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, play a greeting, record video, sound the siren, and there’s even a quick-call 911 button. As you can see, there’s a lot of intuitive functionality here that is pretty rare for the industry. The Kuna folks are putting more thought into their products than many other brands we’ve researched and tested.
FYI: A standard push-to-talk feature is available, but you can also set up automated greetings (up to 6 different greetings).
Another thing that stood out to us is that the device automatically starts recording footage starting from 10 seconds before activity occurs. This reminds us of Arlo’s pre-roll feature, 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, our 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. We’re starting to see this AI-powered feature more and more.
Now, mind you, we didn’t love everything about Kuna cameras. We have a couple of bones to pick as far as features go. First off, Kuna claims that their products work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. But when we paired our devices with Alexa, we were only able to turn the lights on and off. We fully expected to have voice controls over the camera feature, too; but alas, our dreams were dashed. So there’s one strike for Kuna.
But our biggest gripe with Kuna was with their night vision — especially on the Smart Security Light. You see, Kuna lights rely on “illuminating the scene” for the camera to function at night (there is no infrared night vision that you get with other brands on the market).
This is all well and good, except that the light washes out the camera shot. So we didn’t get that crisp, clear picture we had hoped for. 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.
FYI: With the paid plans, you can customize activity zones by highlighting little blue tiles on the Kuna smartphone app. We recommend taking advantage of this.
During our initial research of Kuna, we did come across a number of negative reviews. Users mostly complained of faulty cameras and lackluster customer service. Thankfully, we didn’t have any issues in this regard. But we also didn’t need real-time assistance for faulty products.
With Kuna, we had access to phone and email-based customer assistance. The support desk is open Monday-Friday, from 8am to 5:30pm. But note that this is for Kuna Maximus products only. If you’re looking for assistance with their Toucan product, you’ll have to dial a different phone number with slightly different hours. This was a little confusing for us.
Overall, Kuna offers a straightforward and transparent service with a free plan and three Premium plans to choose from. While the upfront camera cost is more expensive than the industry average, we 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. That said, they seem to really obsess over the little details with the products that they do offer. So we must say, Kuna has a lot going for it.
So there you have it. That’s the long-and-short of Kuna. And would you look at that — we made it all this way without making a Kuna Matata joke (what a wonderful day).
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.
Getkuna.com. (2020). Home Security Cameras.
SFGate.com. Herel, S. (2010, June 27). Meet the Boss: Sai-Wai Fu, CEO, YesVideo.
PittsburghCriminalAttorney.com. Worgul, M. (2017, April 21). Use of Surveillance Cameras in Criminal Cases.