Is a car seat as pricey as the Nuna PIPA RX worth buying? As a mother who relied on the Nuna PIPA RX car seat for a full year, I can confidently say that it was a game-changer in terms of convenience and peace of mind. From its top-notch crash test ratings to its thoughtful design features, this car seat has proven to be an invaluable asset in ensuring my baby’s safety on the road.
We were also gifted an UPPAbaby Mesa, so I got to fully vet both. I prefer the Nuna and truly feel the PIPA RX is worth the money. Here’s my full review:
Nuna Pipa RX Quick Facts
- Weight limit: 4 to 32 pounds
- Height limit: up to 32 inches
- Fabric is machine-washable
- Flame retardant free and GOTS certified
- Heavy duty shell with side impact protection.
- Comes with removable infant insert
- FAA-certified for use on an aircraft without base.
- Carrier weight: 7.6 lbs
- Priced at $450
- Travels easily and can be installed without base.
The Nuna Brand
I was initially attracted to the Nuna brand since I’d heard from mom friends that their car seats were safe, free of flame-retardants, and were high quality.
What’s the issue with flame retardants?
They tend to emit harmful chemical emissions and don’t actually provide much utility in the event of a fire. Nuna’s Pipa range are all made with materials that are flame retardant free. (As are the bamboo clothes my son wears.)
Nuna is known for being one of the premium baby brands, and for good reason. Their “Dutch-inspired” products consistently perform for safety. The Nuna pipa RX and compatible stollers are GREENGUARD GOLD certified, meaning that they have been thoroughly tested and certified to meet stringent emissions standards for over 360 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemical emissions. Essentially, your child will breathe in fewer chemicals while sitting in this car seat.
Nuna is also committed to reducing and reusing, and abide by the international ISO 14000 family of standards that cover a company’s environmental responsibilities, including the use of alternate fuel sources, such as solar-powered energy, and the treatment of wastewater, as well as the use of recycling programs for plastic waste and packaging.
Nuna also uses fabrics that meet the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, which certifies that they are free from harmful and allergenic substances, are GOTS™ certified, and often utilize environmentally-friendly Merino wool tencel.
My Experience with the Nuna Pipa
I initially put the Nuna Pipa on my baby registry because I found a great secondhand Nuna Mixx stroller and I wanted the whole travel system. It may sound silly, but at the time, we hadn’t yet been gifted the UPPAbaby Mesa. Had we already had that one, I could have just as easily gone the other way.
But given the added safety of the load leg on the Nuna base — the first load leg to be manufactured by a US-based company — I’m so glad we ended up with the Nuna. Here’s everything we loved about it:
Nuna Pipa Safety
Unfortunately, there are no standardized safety ratings in the United States. It is up to each manufacturer to meet and test their seats to certain federal guidelines, and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) enforces them, recalling seats that do not pass the guidelines. While all seats must meet the same criteria and pass the same rigorous tests, it’s tough to know how they stack up against each other.
That said, after reading through a few independent testing sources, it ranks well against its competition. The added stability leg on the Nuna Pipa appears to add a meaningful amount of extra support in the event of a crash. Additionally Nuna is coming out with new models constantly, always improving their offerings. The Nuna Pipa RX is a new 2024 model.
Nuna Pipa Shade Canopy
The canopy and sun shade are, apart from safety and materials, my favorite thing about this car seat. Unlike the UPPAbaby Mesa, the Nuna has an additional sun shade that can be unzipped and pulled out from the canopy to provide extra shade if your baby is sleeping, needs a private cocoon for a bit, or has the sun in their eyes in the car.
I’ll never forget being out to breakfast with a fellow mom and my four month old when she showed me this feature, and played white noise from her spotify to create a little nap space for him. The whole thing was genius.
It easily unzips and sticks to the base with magnets, leaving plenty of room for breathability and the ability to easily, noiselessly, check on your infant when needed.
Nuna Pipa Quality and Padding
This is another big reason why we enjoy Nuna and got the Nuna Rava for my son now that he’s outgrown the Pipa – the padding is abundant and feels nice to the touch.
We’ve had to take apart and wash both the Rava and our travel car seat, the Cosco Scenera Next, and there’s not even a comparison between the padding. Nuna products not only have additional cushions in place all around the waist and neck area, as well as extra padding if there were to be a side collision, but extra foam as well in case of impact. Personally, I’d rather be riding in a Nuna.
The handle across the top of the car seat is also quite nice, with a leather grip for where your hand would hold the top.
Nuna Pipa RX Installation
If installing the Nuna Pipa RX without the base in a taxi or airplane, it’s similar to any other infant car seat, threading the lap belt through the side catches and pulling until taught.
The base will likely take a bit more maneuvering and testing before you have it right. They make it easy to tell as the load leg has its own sensor, which turns green when it’s properly installed.
For this reason, we didn’t tend to travel with the Pipa base. It’s a lot to try to quickly install in a taxi or Uber, and we found it easier to snap in the Mesa base. That said, it’s not required that you use the load leg for quick drives.
Base features include:
- Bubble free installation
- Four position, on-the-go recline, ensuring child is both safe and comfortable
- Anti-rebound panel
- Low profile base for easier loading of infant seat
- Four position adjustable lower anchor to remove or reduce the gap between seat and base
- Three-piece locking stability leg, 17 positions for improved range-better fit to middle seat
- Load leg storage compartment with lock
- Open belt path for easier install
While the load leg may pose a challenge during the initial installation, with a bit of practice, it becomes second nature. The latch installation system is user-friendly, providing a secure fit in a matter of seconds. The level indicator ensures that the seat is correctly positioned, eliminating any guesswork during installation. Once you get the hang of it, the Nuna PIPA is a no problem to install, and the extra effort is well worth the added safety.
Nuna Pipa Downsides
The obvious downside to the Nuna Pipa RX is the cost. With each new innovation made to the car seats, Nuna seems to up the price. The same is true for their compatible strollers.
That said, it’s hard to put a price on the safety and features. It’s part of why we put it on our registry and were grateful when a family member got it for us. It’s crazy to think we only used it for a year, but it was so worth the peace of mind of our son’s safety. If we had multiple kids, it would be useful for years to come, and will be for whoever I sell it to on the secondhand market. That’s another reason why I go for quality first every time – it retains its value better and can last through many babies and not end up in a landfill after one use like a cheaper one would.
Compatibility with Nuna Strollers
As mentioned earlier, I got the Nuna Pipa as a result of finding a great deal on a Nuna Mixx, but that’s just one of several strollers its compatible with:
Nuna PIPA Lite and Nuna MIXX Stroller System:
The Nuna PIPA Lite integrates with the Nuna MIXX stroller, making it easy to not wake a sleeping baby if you need to clip from the car seat to the stroller quickly. The MIXX stroller is known for its smooth maneuverability, big wheels, large storage area, and a reversible seat that allows your baby to face you or the world. It’s the largest and most popular stroller Nuna offers. We like ours, but we also really love our Guava Roam. That said, it’s a jogging stroller and not appropriate for an infant like the Nuna Mixx is. With the bassinet attachment, we often used this as a safe sleep space, even overnight, for our baby on road trips.
Nuna PIPA Lite and Nuna TAVO Stroller System:
For those seeking a more compact and lightweight stroller option, the Nuna PIPA pairs seamlessly with the Nuna TAVO stroller. The TAVO is designed with urban living in mind, featuring a one-handed fold, making it a convenient choice for navigating city streets and tight spaces. The compatibility with the PIPA RX car seat makes transitions between car and stroller a breeze, offering parents an easy and stylish solution for their on-the-go lifestyle.
Nuna PIPA Lite and Nuna DEMI NEXT Stroller System:
For growing families, the Nuna PIPA RX can be combined with the Nuna DEMI NEXT stroller to create a versatile and adaptable travel system. The DEMI NEXT stroller is renowned for its ability to convert from a single to a double stroller, accommodating the needs of a growing family. The PIPA Lite’s compatibility with this stroller allows parents to seamlessly transition from one child to two without sacrificing the sleek design and maneuverability that characterize the Nuna brand.
I’m glad we ended up with the Nuna Pipa, especially after testing both the Pipa and the Uppababy Mesa. It ended up being a wonderful car seat for our son, and it truly seemed like a comfortable ride. Now that he’s graduated to the Nuna Rava car seat, I still love the Nuna brand and think they make a quality product. Looking at reviews, most parents agree.
They’re pricey, but when it comes to my son’s safety and comfort, we’ve been willing to invest a bit more. You can get the Nuna Pipa RX here.
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