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ByAnne Dennon Technology and Finance Writer

Anne has written for Reviews.com for two years. She's interested in the digital transformations of home and money and in tech ethics.

Kuna Home Security Review

Founded and run by Caltech masterminds, Kuna is a unique smart home security platform with big ambitions for their developing services. Today, the Kuna system is engineered to help prevent break-ins before they happen, by alerting you of visitors and providing you with a plethora of response options — from speaking directly to visitors (welcome or unwelcome), playing a preset message, sounding an alarm, or calling the police. In the future, Kuna hopes to extend these capabilities across neighborhoods, empowering residents to take action as soon as anomalous behavior is detected.

Kuna’s now-defunct Indiegogo page (the campaign raised 458% of its goal) focuses on this active prevention approach and quotes a former San Francisco police chief, saying “The best way to prevent break-ins is to safely engage with potential burglars while they’re still outside. Kuna lets you do that.”

For smart home security that focuses on extensive abilities over excessive devices, Kuna is an affordable and effective choice.

The Claim

Kuna is the very first integrated smart security light, video intercom, and speaker that aims to prevent break-ins before they happen.

Is it true?

Yes. Kuna’s flagship device, the Maximus smart security light, and the Kuna app are engineered to head off intruders as soon as they enter your property. The security light includes an HD camera and two-way voice communication, allowing you to see and speak with whoever is at the door. Confronting potential intruders in real time alleviates the vulnerability of an empty house. Burglars are looking for easy targets — and you’re not one.

Product Overview

Best for

Those who want a smartphone-based, DIY smart home security system that gives them an active role to play in protecting their property.

Not for

Those looking for traditional home security with door/window sensors, motion sensors, and fire and life safety devices as well as professional monitoring. Kuna keeps the device line-up small and puts the impetus on the homeowner to follow up on alerts.

Features

Price $5-$20/ month (when billed annually)
Standout features Free DIY monitoring options
Three affordable premium plans
Attractive security lighting options
States served Nationwide
Fees No fees
Terms No contract, but the cheapest monthly rate requires paying for a year of service upfront

Attractive smart security light with camera

We’ve grown so accustomed to the particular aesthetic of smart home devices that we no longer question their standard appearance: streamlined and understated, sleekly generic, black or white. Advertising tells us they fit with any decor, but most of us don’t have homes with vaguely space-aged themes.

The Kuna device lineup features Maximus security lighting, smart lights that pack almost all the functionality of both smart security lights and smart video doorbells into a single piece of equipment. And they just look like beautiful exterior lanterns, à la Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn.

These motion-activated smart lights alert you via smartphone when there’s someone in designated activity zones. A free account includes cloud storage for two hours, but users report the footage can be available for as long as six hours.

Automated and pre-recorded greetings

Automatic greetings are available to Kuna users with or without a paid plan. Use them to respond quickly to both visitors and intruders when you can’t — or don’t want to — answer them yourself. Upgrading to a premium plan comes with a number of perks, and being able to set custom greetings is one of them. Striking a more personal note is a great method of defense when interacting with trespassers — as far as they know, you’re on the other side of the door.

Growing AI skills

Currently available only in the Kuna Premium tiers (Essential Security, Peace of Mind, and Absolute Control), Kuna’s AI technology enables its smart cameras to differentiate humans from other sources of movement, and count how many there are. But this is just the start for Kuna. The website prominently advertises Kuna’s precocious learning pace, and assures Premium customers of access to Kuna AI’s expanded capabilities as they are developed and released. Those technological advances will likely center on improved facial recognition: “In the future, Kuna AI will be able to recognize the mailman at the door, the kids in the backyard or the stranger lingering near your porch.”

A Breakdown of Kuna Home Security Plans

Premium Plans Essential Security Peace of Mind Absolute Control
Video storage 1 Kuna camera
7-day Look Back
4 Kuna cameras
14-day Look Back
8 Kuna cameras
30-day Look Back
Video downloads Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Kuna AI/ custom greetings
Theft protection
Discount on future purchases 5% 10% 15%

Possible Drawbacks

Excessive or vague alerts with free plan

Home security is prone to false alarms. In fact, most cities impose fines for the resource drag they represent to first responders. Alerts get annoying pretty quickly. Because Kuna’s free plan doesn’t include the company’s proprietary AI — which enables the camera to detect and count humans, versus falling leaves or passing cars — you may experience an unwanted number of vacuous alerts. And unlike the Ring doorbell, there’s no special alert when someone is legitimately at the door. All free Kuna alerts are created equal, but free options from both Kuna and Ring come with trade-offs: Ring doesn’t offer any free storage options, while Kuna keeps recordings for two hours by default.

No professional monitoring option

Kuna is DIY smart home security, born and bred. While premium plans beef out the technology and the resources, you are still ultimately on the hook for responding to alerts and protecting your home. For many of us, we’re on our phones pretty consistently, and handling alerts in a timely fashion is a manageable task. If you don’t have the time or inclination to babysit your system, consider looking at a more traditional home security option that will call the police if they can’t get ahold of you.

The Competition

Kuna
ADT
Vivint
Install
DIY
Professional
Professional
Monitoring
DIY
Professional
Professional
Starting price
$5
$37
$40
Package options
4
5
2
App Store rating
2.9/5
4.7/5
4.4/5
Contract Length
No contract
36 months
Monthly to 60 months
In business since
2012
1890
1999
Warranty
One year
90 days
120 days or Lifetime
Trial period
60 days
30 days
3 days

Kuna Smart Home Security vs. ADT

These two security systems are like night and day. The tech-based start-up versus the legacy security brand. Both offer modern technological solutions to residential security (and ADT’s app actually gets better reviews on Google Play and the Apple Store), but they serve very different security goals. Most notably, ADT is a professional monitoring company with professional installation. Kuna is a DIY smart home security company that expects that you can replace your existing exterior light with their smart option. For traditional security, with all the sensors, alarms, and professional back-up you could ask for, go with ADT. For a much cheaper, much more streamlined option that puts the controls in your hands, go with Kuna.

Kuna Smart Home Security vs. Vivint

Vivint is a front-runner in smart home security technology, making it a more analogous comparison to Kuna. Besides their shared, tech-first origins, however, the comparison between them is actually very similar to that of Kuna and ADT. Vivint requires professional installation and monitoring, and levies monthly costs in line with traditional industry averages — around $40 per month. While you can opt for a month-to-month plan like Kuna’s, Vivint’s upfront costs will increase if you don’t sign a long term contract – after a mere three-day trial period. That said, Vivint offers a much broader menu of device options, so those looking for a more complete smart home security system will probably be happier with Vivint.

Kuna Home Security FAQ

How much does Kuna Home Security cost?

You don’t have to enroll in any monthly plan in order to have your Kuna devices communicate with the Kuna app. But without a plan, you will need to take prompt action after receiving an alarm, since any captured footage is only available for two hours before being erased. Upgrade to Kuna Premium to get seven, 10, or 14 days of stored footage, plus unlimited downloads and the ability to create custom greetings that you can play when you can’t talk to visitors in real time. Paying monthly, Premium plans cost $8, $15, or $30 per month, but if you pay annually, you get 33% knocked off the total. Then you’re looking at extremely competitive rates: $5, $10, or $20 per month.

How do you cancel Kuna Home Security?

Cancel anytime at my.getkuna.com under Subscription Information. Because Kuna doesn’t do contracts, you don’t have to worry about early cancellation fees or any other red tape. Even if you opt to pay annually in order to secure that lower monthly rate, you are entitled to a prorated refund at the time of your cancellation.

Can you take Kuna Home Security with you when you move?

Yes, easily. It’s just a matter of disconnecting your Kuna devices from their current positions and wiring and setting them back up in your new home. Because Kuna doesn’t offer professional monitoring, there’s no one to alert about your change of address. You can even monitor Kuna devices in multiple locations (like at your primary and secondary residence) from one account.

The Bottom Line

Kuna is a truly smart, smart home security solution. Its focus on the streamlined functionality of the Maximus security light makes home security simple. And the free plan option makes it affordable. Home security used to mean steep monthly rates; with Kuna, you can be protected for just the upfront cost of a good-looking exterior light (about $200). If you’ve been interested in getting a single device to up your smart home security game, Kuna and Maximus give you the first real alternative to the Ring doorbell.

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