Baby Gear

Nuna Pipa vs Nuna Pipa Lite – Which is Best?

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For most new parents a car seat is one of the first things they’ll buy.  Without one, it’s almost impossible to get around, whether that’s to or from the shops, on days out to the park, running errands or visiting family and friends.

Finding that new car seat, though, can be tricky.  There are lots to choose from for a start, many of which come with an array of features you need to work your way through to decide if they are right for you and your baby.

Flexibility – being able to take your car seat in and out of the car and use it as a stroller – could well be one of the features you are looking for.  You’ll also want something that your child feels comfortable in, and you feel safe leaving them in. In which case, you probably can’t go far wrong with either a Nuna Pipa or Nuna Pipa Lite car seat.

Why a Nuna Comparison?

Founded in 2007, Dutch company Nuna is a relative newcomer to the car seat market (they launched the Nuna Pipa in 2013).  Since then, they have built a reputation for producing well-made, high-quality, products including strollers, travel systems, and car seats.

We were already a fan of the Nuna Pipa, which we think offers parents a great range of features at an affordable price.  With the recent release of the Nuna Pipa Lite, we wondered if we would be able to say the same.  So, we thought we’d take a look at both options, their pros, and cons, the features each model offers and how well they fit into the lifestyle of a busy parent.

The Main differences between the Nuna Pipa and the Nuna Pipa Lite

While both are good car seats from a well-known brand, there are differences between the two models, including:

  • The Nuna Pipa Lite is (perhaps not unsurprisingly) much lighter than the Nuna Pipa
  • The Nuna Pipa can be used with a base or without one; you have to use a base with the Nuna Pipa Lite.
  • The Nuna Pipa Lite’s headrest can be extended, meaning it grows with your baby.

Before we go into more detail about the Nuna Pipa or Nuna Pipa Lite, we thought we’d quickly look at the type of car seats you’ll need to take you through your child’s life and what to look for in a car seat.

Type of car seats available

Over time, as your child grows, the type of car seat you need will change.  Most parents start by needing an infant car seat, which will take your baby from birth until around the age of two (depending on their weight/height/length).

Infant car seats tend to be rear-facing and are strapped directly into the car or attached using a base, which stays in your car even if you’ve taken the car seat out.  Most infant car seats can also be used as a baby carrier and attached to a stroller base or even a shopping cart.

Once your baby is a certain height/weight, you’ll need to change out your infant car seat.  This can be expensive, so many parents opt instead for a convertible car seat, which works for each stage of your child’s life.  You can, for example, change it from rear to forward facing and raise the height at the back. You can do the same with 3 in 1 car seats, which also turn into a booster seat.

Booster seats themselves are for older children, generally, those who have reached at least 30lbs (though some seats require children to weight more than this) and stay with them till they don’t need a car seat anymore.

What to look for in a car seat

Beyond how the car seat looks and fits in with your lifestyle, there are certain things every parent will need to consider when buying a car seat, including:

  • Safety: The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulates car seat safety; look for a safety label as evidence your car seat meets this standard.
  • Harnesses: To keep your baby safe and secure in their car seat they will need to be held in with harnesses.  Car seats come with three- and five-point systems. Five-point systems tend to offer more protection.  However, they aren’t always needed as your child gets older, so their height/weight needs to be taken into account here.
  • Reviews: Sometimes, the best advice you can get when it comes to making decisions on what to buy comes from other parents.  Speak to those you know, and read online reviews, so you understand what there is to like, and not like, about a particular brand or model.

Finally, while a second-hand car seat might seem like a good idea from a financial point of view, most experts recommend buying new unless you know the origin of the car seat you’re buying.  If you can’t confirm it hasn’t been well taken care of and never been in an accident, you shouldn’t buy a used car seat.

Nuna Pipa vs Nuna Pipa Lite – Which is better for your baby?

We’ve looked at the safety features of both the Nuna Pipa and Nuna Pipa Lite in our comparison, along with the features both offer including flexibility, size, weight, adjustability, and user reviews and ratings.  Hopefully, they will give you a clear idea of what each has to offer, and which is better for your baby.

Nuna Pipa Car Seat

Designed by parents, for parents, Nuna are on a mission to create products that look good, are easy to use and offer a great range of features designed to take the stress out of what we all know can be stressful situations (trying to get your baby in and out of the car while you’re running errands, for example).

Launched in 2013, the Nuna Pipa hasn’t changed much since then. It offers a safe, secure and comfortable ride for your little one and sleek design parents will love (though it might be nice if there were a few more color options). And, with the padded insert (included) it can be used for your newborn, which is a great feature.

There is a five-point harness system, so you know your baby is being held securely, and the car seat itself is made of heavy-duty plastic, meaning it won’t fall apart if you are in an accident and your baby is protected by the energy-absorbing foam that surrounds the shell. One of the unique things with this car seat is the Pipa series base, a ‘leg’ that provides additional stability to the car seat.

The car seat comes ready to use out of the box with easy to follow installation instructions, including a blue line on the side that helps you make sure it’s fitted correctly; for those who don’t want to use seat belts there is a base that you can leave in the car.

Add on options for the Nuna Pipa

While the Nuna Pipa comes with pretty much everything you need out of the box.  However, there are add-ons you might want to buy, including:

  • A clear rain cover, to keep your baby nice and dry
  • Car seat adapters for UPPABaby Vista or Cruz, BOB, PEPP or Bugaboo strollers.
  • Car seat latch guides
  • Additional inserts (made of organic cotton)
  • Travel bag

Features:

  • Suitable for newborns through to children up to 32lb
  • Rear-facing
  • Series base to provide extra stability
  • Mesh drape that can cover the car seat so your baby can sleep in peace
  • Five-point harness
  • Side and leg impact protection
  • Lightweight (under 8lbs)
  • Ready to use out of the box
  • Can be used with or without a car seat base
  • 7-year expiration date

Nuna Pipa Car Seat Pros Cons Features

Pros:

  • It has a comfortable and soft newborn insert that you can take out as your baby grows.
  • Can be used for newborns (with insert)
  • Can be used with or without car seat base, meaning you can use it in other people’s cars if needed
  • Ready out of the box
  • Easy and quick to install
  • Compatible with multiple strollers (in addition to Nuna)
  • Peekaboo canopy

Cons:

  • Some parents through the canopy wasn’t that durable
  • Despite the lightweight, it can feel bulky to carry

Parents popular opinion on the Nuna Pipa Car Seat

The brand is currently rated 5.0 stars on Amazon and receives positive comments on other sites too. We read the reviews of existing customers and here’s what they have to say about the Nuna Pipa Car Seat:

  • Comes with everything you need, making it great value for money
  • Easy to get in and out of the car and onto the stroller
  • Lightweight (good for getting in and out of the car)

Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat

Nuna Pipa Lite

Like the Nuna Pipa, the Pipa Lite is a beautifully designed car seat that is built with safety in mind.  It looks very similar to the Pipa (we doubt most parents would notice the difference) but is a lot lighter (by almost 2lbs).

It also comes without the option of being able to use it without a base, which means that if you want to use it in more than one car, you’ll need to purchase additional bases.  It’s also worth pointing out that, while the car seat itself is light, the base isn’t so you won’t want to be moving that from car to car.

The car seat is suitable for newborns through to children up to 22lbs and keeps them safe and secure through a five-point harness system and reinforced sides.  The fabric your baby sits in is made of organic cotton which feels soft to the touch, and a UPV 50 canopy (that includes a peekaboo window) protects them from the sun.

The Nuna Pipa Lite comes ready to use out of the box and is easy to install with indicators that turn green when you’ve done this correctly. One of the best things about the Nuna Pipa and Pipa Lite is how easy to understand their installation instructions are; another is how easy to clean the fabric is (because we all know accidents happen).

Add on options for the Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat

The Nuna Pipa Lite is pretty much ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. However, there are add on options you might want to consider, including:

  • A clear rain cover, to keep your baby nice and dry
  • Car seat adapters for UPPABaby Vista or Cruz, BOB, PEPP or Bugaboo strollers.
  • Car seat latch guides
  • Additional inserts (made of organic cotton)
  • Travel bag

These are the same as the Nuna Pipa and interchangeable.

Features:

  • Lightweight (just over 5lbs)
  • True lock base installation, so you know your baby is safe and secure
  • Color-coded so you know you’ve installed the base safely
  • Integrated harness holders
  • Luxe leatherette carry handle, which adds a touch of style
  • UPV 50 canopy with peekaboo opening
  • Comes with everything you need to get started in the box

Nuna Pipa Lite car seat

Pros:

  • Suitable from birth (with newborn insert)
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Easy installation
  • Easy to get in and out of the car
  • Ready to go straight out of the box
  • High safety standards
  • High-quality materials, e.g. organic cotton
  • Can be used with other stroller bases

Cons:

  • Can’t be used without a car seat base; if you need more than one, this could end up being costly
  • The handle can be a little uncomfortable to carry

Parents popular opinion on Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat

The Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat has been getting some great feedback from parents.  Here are just a few of the comments we’ve found in reviews:

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Quick and easy to get into the car
  • No flame-retardant chemicals used on the fabrics (this doesn’t mean it’s not made of flame-retardant materials).
  • Great value for money.

The verdict

Nuna is a fantastic company that is committed to producing high-quality products at an affordable price, both of which we can say about the Nuna Pipa and the Nuna Pipa Lite.  These car seats look good and work well – doing just what they say on the tin.

They are both lightweight compared to many other car seats – the Nuna Pipa Lite much more so (in fact, it is probably one of, if not the, lightest car seat on the market), which makes them easier to carry and maneuver in and out of cars and onto a stroller frame.

They also both have excellent safety features including a five-point safety system and reinforced sides and are compatible with other strollers, including some major brands such as UPPAbaby, BOB, and Bugaboo.

What the Pipa Lite doesn’t have that the Nuna Pipa does is the ability to be used in cars without a car seat base.  This means, if you’re a two-car family, you’ll need to keep moving the base from one car to the next or buy a second base. These cost approximately $200 at the time of writing, a pretty hefty price on top of the $350 or so you’re already paying for the Pipa Lite car seat.

The Nuna Pipa starts at a more affordable $299, though this is still more than a lot of other car seats on the market.  However, as you don’t have to buy any add-ons to start using it, it still offers reasonably good value for money.

When we take the price into account, along with the features both car seats have to offer, it brings us down on the side of the Nuna Pipa.  Yes, it’s great to have a light car seat that is easy to get in and out of your car.  However, having a car seat that you can use whether you’re in your vehicle, that of a family or friend or even a taxi is a big plus because it offers flexibility.  Plus, beyond the weight of the Pipa Lite, we aren’t sure we’re getting much more for our money, meaning it wouldn’t be our first choice.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bugaboo Fox and Cameleon strollers

Do the car seats ship in one box?

Yes, they both come in one box.  They come ready to use and with easy to follow instructions.

Are they compatible with other (non-Nuna) strollers?

Yes, they are compatible with Uppababy, BOB, and Bugaboo. You will need to buy attachments, however.

What is the maximum weight for the car seat?

The maximum weight is 32lbs. The maximum length is 32”.

Do the car seats come with a base?

Yes, they both come with a base. You must use the Pipa Lite with the base.  You don’t need to use a base with the Nuna Pipa.

Final thoughts on Nuna Pipa and Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seats

As we’ve already mentioned, there is little to separate these two car seats which means neither is a terrible choice.  Both offer a range of safety features, so you know your child will be safe and secure where you’re heading, and both allow you to use your car seat with a range of name brand stroller frames.

They come ready to go out of the box and with instructions that make the car seat easy to install.  There are also handy guides on each, including a green indicator on the Pipa Lite, that lets you know you’ve installed them correctly.

You can tell both were designed with parents in mind, which is never a bad thing.  In fact, there isn’t anything bad we can say about either car seat. If we had to choose, however, we would go for the Nuna Pipa rather than the Nuna Pipa Lite because it is the least expensive and can be used with or without a base is the one we prefer, making it the more flexible option for most families.

Further Reads

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