If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect car seat for a while, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the Nuna Pipa and the UPPABaby Mesa infant car seats.
These two seats are similar in many ways, and in fact look almost identical at first glance, but there are a few differences that might help you choose between them. Here we break down the pros and cons of of the Nuna Pipa vs the UPPAbaby Mesa car seats and how to choose the best one for you.
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Nuna Pipa vs. UPPABaby Mesa Infant Car Seats
Both the Nuna Pipa and the UPPABaby Mesa infant car seats come highly rated for safety, featuring side impact protection and chemical flame-retardant free fabric options.
Both seats are also easy to install and offer similar styles and price ranges. The biggest differences between these two seats comes down to comfort, stroller compatibility and some contrasts in their added features.
Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat
In terms of safety, you can’t do much better than the Nuna Pipa. This car seat comes with all the traditional safety features, like front and rear impact protection and a 5-points harness. But the Nuna Pipa takes safety a step further with additional side impact protection and a stability leg that extends from the base of the car seat to the floor, which helps absorb impact energy and pull force away from your baby if you are in a crash. Not only is the Nuna Pipa one of the safest car seats out there, but all the seats in the Pipa series also come with machine-washable fabric free of flame-retardant chemicals and metal LATCH connectors for easy installation.
A Nod to Nuna
Just how safe is the Nuna Pipa infant car seat? One of the safest you’ll find, according to Consumer Reports—they found the seat’s steel leg reduced the risk of head injury in a crash by 46%.
This seat is also easy to install, which makes it even safer. And the Nuna Pipa also offers adjustment options to make sure you get just the right fit, including additional positions for the load leg so it can fit to more vehicles and rotating LATCH connectors so you can install the seat as tightly as possible.
You can also angle the base in four different positions, helping you find just the right spot to make your baby comfortable.
Another feature of the Nuna Pipa popular among many parents is the “dream drape” cover that shields your baby from the sun’s harsh UV rays and other weather elements like rain and wind. Many car seats have covers that offer similar advantages, but the dream drape applies easily to the seat with magnets instead of Velcro or buttons.
Last but not least, the Nuna Pipa infant car seat is also compatible with a variety of stroller brands, including Nuna’s four strollers. This makes the Nuna Pipa a more versatile choice, especially if you’re hoping to use the car seat in a double stroller, travel stroller, or jogging stroller.
Highlights of the Nuna Pipa
- For babies 4 to 32 pounds
- For kids up to 32 inches
- Fabric is machine-washable
- Heavy duty shell with side impact protection
- Removable infant insert
- FAA-certified for use on an aircraft without a base
- Light ergonomic handle
- Car seat without the base weighs 7.9 pounds
This innovative technology sets the Nuna Pipa apart as one of the few car seats on the market with a feature like this. In fact, Consumer Reports, which conducts independent testing on car seats, rates the Nuna Pipa in its “best” category for crash protection.
With its innovative safety features, easy to clean material and simple installation system, the Nuna Pipa should rank high on your list for consideration.
Before You Buy
The Nuna Pipa has lots of great features that make it stand out among the many car seat choices out there, but there are some cons to keep in mind when considering this seat.
For one, it’s not cheap, and depending on your budget you may need to scale back on other baby items to be able to afford this one.
Additionally, the straps on the Nuna Pipa are not the easiest to adjust as your baby grows. While many other seats have auto adjust straps that will shift when you adjust the headrest, the Nuna Pipa does not. You have to manually re-thread them, which can be a real pain.
Pros & Cons
Compatible with a wide range of strollers
Materials free of flame-retardant chemicals
Steel stability leg absorbs impact energy
Headrest is not adjustable
Harness must be threaded
UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat
The UppaBaby Mesa is not only sleek and stylish, but it also boasts superior safety ratings and is one of the easiest car seats to install and use. You can install the Mesa with its base or a seat belt only, and the tightness indicators on the seat turn from red to green showing you when it is safely secured. In terms of safety, it has side impact protection and adjustable headrest with expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam. The Mesa does not have a steel stability leg like the Pipa but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Mesa top marks on ease of use. This doesn’t just mean less cursing when installing it (or is that just me?), but actually makes the Mesa safer.
All Up in the UPPABaby
Even with enhanced safety features, the UPPABaby only weighs about eight pounds—which is quite a bit lighter than other highly rated seats, including the Britax at 11.5 pounds. The UPPABaby’s non-slip handle also helps you keep your grip and its shape is designed to comfortably rest on your arm.
In terms of getting the most usage out of the seat, the UPPABaby Mesa edges out the Nuna Pipa just slightly with a weight limit of 35 pounds compared to the Nuna Pipa’s 32 pounds. This may not seem like that big of a difference, but an additional three pounds means you could use this seat well into the toddler years, especially for babies on the smaller end.
Plus, research shows keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible is the safest way for them to ride in the car. So the longer you can do this, the better.
Highlights of the UPPABaby Mesa
- Weight limit: 4 to 35 pounds
- Height limit: 32 inches
- Comes with an infant insert
- Includes a canopy with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 25+
- No rethread 5-point harness
- Fabric is easy to remove and clean
- Carrier weight: 9.9 lbs.
- Base weight: 9 lbs.
Before You Buy
If you’re looking for a seat that can be used with a travel system, the UPPABaby Mesa is compatible with VISTA and CRUZ strollers, but not many other brands.
The Mesa is also pricey and about a pound heavier than the Nuna Pipa. This may not seem like much, but keep in mind the seat will get harder to carry as your baby grows and if you will be shuffling your babe around a lot in a carrier, a pound can make a difference in your comfort.
Pros & Cons
Top ratings for ease of use and installation
No rethread harness makes for easy adjustments
Disconnects from stroller using one hand
Not compatible with most other stroller brands
Heavier than the Pipa
Not much sun cover with the canopy
Both the Nuna Pipa and the UPPABaby Mesa come highly rated for safety and offer unique features to keep your baby comfortable. The biggest differences between them are that the Pipa has a steel leg base that helps absorb impact from a crash while the Mesa has a higher ease of use rating, meaning it is easier to install.
Each of these features enhances the safety of the seat and the right one for you will come down to your personal preference and budget. Both car seats are some of the most expensive ones you’ll find, so you’ll need to consider that when making your decision, but with added safety features and simple installation systems, you can’t go wrong with either of these.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Nuna or UPPAbaby better?
The main difference is that the Pipa has a steel leg base that helps absorb impact from a crash while the Mesa is easier to install. The Pipa is also compatible with more stroller brands and types than the Mesa.
Is the Nuna Pipa compatible with the UPPAbaby Vista stroller?
Yes. The UPPABaby Vista and V2 strollers are compatible with all five models of the Nuna Pipa car seats, but you will need an adapter.
Is the Nuna Pipa worth it?
You do get quite a bit of bang for your buck with this seat from its top safety features to its compatibility with several different types of strollers. The Pipa clearly stands out in terms of safety, but all car seats on the market must pass stringent safety tests.
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