Adding Security to Outside Lighting with Ring Floodlight Cam & Kuna Craftsman Maximus

Finding the perfect home security camera can be a tough task for most folks.  Picking a brand, going wired versus wireless, service costs, and other factors, make choosing the right unit daunting.  To make your life easier, here is a review of my two favorite devices in this increasingly crowded segment: the Ring Floodlight Cam and the Kuna Craftsman Maximus.

FOREWARD: Pictured below are two different devices, tested at two different locations.  Installation was performed as a DIY, and is quite easy.  Any qualified electrician could also perform the installation.  There are other products on the market today that compare to these two items– however, after testing and shopping for price & features, I feel the two shown here represent the best for each respective use-case.  Enjoy!

KUNA Craftsman (MAXIMUS)

Both devices we tested here come recommended, but without a doubt the KUNA is the more attractive of the bunch.  Called the Maximus on the Amazon site, or the Kraftsman on their own site, this device actually comes in a few different variations.  We tested one of the contemporary versions, but they also offer a more modern model, as well as something with a bit more classic flair.

Our test site for this installation was actually my friend’s cabin.  They already had this unit a their home, so it was interesting to see how a second unit works, and to revisit the installation.  Photos of the unboxing can be found here:

Like the RING we test below, the KUNA provides ample instructions, and a nicely packaged parcel.  Installation is simple and smooth, with nothing beyond your normal exterior lighting product.  Perhaps the most important thing to note about this device is that it easily installs near a door or garage, where you already have an existing light.  Of course, if you’re dealing with new home construction, or have access to route new wires, you could install this where a light does not already exist if you prefer.  Consult your electrician for this option if needed.

Here are photos of the KUNA installation:

With the KUNA device you can use whatever type of medium base bulb you want.  This bulb illuminates when the built-in 720p camera is in use (triggered by the camera’s motion sensor), and provides 116-degress of vision.  And if you have a matching light on the other side of your door, they offer camera-less companion lights for just that function.

Both of the devices we tested offer two-way communication which works really nicely.  Both are WiFi and hardwired, for always-on connectivity.  And both of them offer a siren, allowing you to scare away unwanted visitors.  Where the KUNA distinguishes itself is that it is truly meant to look beautiful, and part of your home.  It blends in, combining the light you already need/want, with some smart home features.

Here are some photos from the KUNA‘s setup and app functionality:

As is typical of devices like this, physical installation takes far longer than the setup.  With any smart phone you can quickly connect the KUNA to your home WiFi.  From there you can tweak things like alerts and other settings, and you’re on your way.  Now my friend is able to keep tabs on his cabin even when he isn’t there.  And as you can see in the last view, he can see views of both cameras he has (home + cabin).

RING Floodlight Cam

Where the KUNA is meant to be an attractive piece of your home, typically mounted near a door or entryway, the Ring Floodlight Cam is more of a surveillance looking unit.  Many home owners have lights on the side/back of their home that already offer dusk till dawn lighting, or motion based lighting such as pulling in your driveway.

In cases where the light is mounted higher, and the unit is more about function than form, the Ring Floodlight is a great option.  Compared to the KUNA, the Ring brings true night vision, 1080 video quality, built-in flood lights, slightly wider view angle, and more adjustment in camera angle.  But it does so while giving up some of those good looks.

Here are unboxing photos of the Ring Floodlight:

When trying to determine which of these two devices to install at my home in Ohio, it became clear to me that the KUNA would not work because the camera could not angle down far enough for the doorway in question.  This pushed me towards the Ring Floodlight, which was fine since I already have a Ring Pro Video Doorbell at the front of my home, and this was going on the side near my garage.

Setup of the device was easy, with your typical two wire and ground lighting setup.  In my case the work box was a bit old/odd in my brick home, whereas the KUNA was in a proper work box.  Still, it was able to be installed with minimal fuss.  Here are photos:

Like the KUNA before it, the setup of the Ring Floodlight was quick, easy, and far faster than the hardware install.  Once you connect to your WiFi the app routes you through some minimal requirements and you get on your way.  But like the KUNA, there are plenty of tweaks you can do after the fact.

One differentiation about the Ring Floodlight is that you can create motion zones, allowing it to avoid alerting you of motion outside the desired area on-screen.  This allows you a bit more adjustment on the Ring and how it alerts you, whereas the KUNA has a sensitivity slider but no zones.  One thing we also found out is that there are settings for the flood lights on the Ring, based on the 270-degree globe sensor on the underside — and you can make adjustments — but that motion for the light has unique, independent settings versus those for the camera/recording.

Here are photos of the app, setup, and tweaking for the Ring Floodlight:

Generally speaking, the Ring has more granular control of the features within the unit, when compared to the KUNA we tested.  Both perform their functions adequate for our needs, and the style/design of one unit may sway you in either direction.  But if you want to drill down to see device health (WiFi strength for example), connect in-home chimes for alerts, share with other users, or maximize 3rd party partner integration, the Ring Floodlight has the advantage in those arenas.

CONCLUSION

Although my personal preference is the Ring Floodlight here, it would be unfair to call that unit the clear winner.  It just isn’t nearly as attractive looking, and sticks out a bit too much for many of the home applications.  At my friend’s cabin, for example, the Ring would have physically worked, but aesthetically would have been horrid.  In his case, the KUNA line-up offered him the ability to choose not just a unit that physically fit where he wanted, but also a variety of designs to suit his personal desires.

Do note that in both cases you can get instant alerts and live video feeds, but both devices have on-going costs if you want to add features such as look-back recording with cloud storage.  KUNA has their plans which start at $5 per camera per month (or $10 for up to 4 devices) .  And Ring has their video recording plans, with a similar $3 to $10 per month range.  Since I use Ring at work and home, the $10 monthly charge for unlimited cameras works great for me.

No matter which device you pick, video quality is great, two-way audio and siren features will provide peace of mind, and reliability tested to be positive on both units.  If you’re looking for an attractive design, and don’t need high levels of control, the KUNA is our first pick for visual aesthetics.  But if you are placing a device where form follows function, and/or you need features like motion zones, the Ring Floodlight is worthy of your hard earned cash, too!

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Published by

Ari Jay Comet

Sharing my life experiences. Interacting with technology. Digital self-expression. Binary is black, white, and many shades of grey.

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