Baby Gear

Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa: Comfort, Safety and Reliability Compared

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Car seats are one of the most important bits of equipment you’ll ever have to buy your child. Nuna Pipa and UPPAbaby Mesa are two of the most popular child car seats on the market right now. Both brands offer a comfortable, reliable and safe seat that you can use in pretty much any car. 

To get to the bottom of which one is better, we’re taking a look at Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa. Specifically, we’ll be comparing each one side by side in terms of price, safety, and how easy they are to buy. Understanding the differences between the two will undoubtedly help you decide which one will work best for you and your family. 

By the end of our guide, we hope you’ll walk away with all the facts you’ll need to make a decision. This includes the key features (the things you really need to know), the pros and cons of each car seat, and finally our verdict.

My Top Pick: UPPAbaby MESA Car Seat Price: $349.99 We LOVE the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat. It's easy to install, has a UNIQUE design and is lightweight. Buy Now from Amazon My Top Pick: UPPAbaby MESA Car Seat We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 28, 2020

Main differences between Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa 

The main differences between Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa are:

  • Nuna Pipa car seat weighs 7.9 lbs, whereas UPPAbaby Mesa weighs 9 lbs. 
  • Nuna Pipa is heavier at 14 lbs with attachments, whereas UPPAbaby Mesa weighs 9.9 lbs with attachments.
  • Nuna Pipa needs rethreading each time the harness is removed, whereas UPPAbaby Mesa features a no-rethread harness.  
  • Nuna Pipa features fold-down leg support, whereas UPPAbaby Mesa doesn’t. 

Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa – Which is Better for your Child? 

At this point in our guide, we’ll be reviewing both the Nuna Pipa and UPPAbaby Mesa in greater detail so you can understand what they offer. This is to save you time — with your own children to look after, we bet you don’t have a moment to spare. But don’t worry, as we’ve done the hard work for you.

Nuna Pipa

nuna pipa

 

Nuna believes that style and safety should never be sacrificed, so they created the Nuna Pipa car seat to bridge the gap. Weighing in at only 7.9 lbs, it’s one of the lightest on the market without attachments. When you add the canopy and attachment, it weighs 14 lbs — still a carryable weight. 

When it comes to fastening the buckles securely, the Pipa uses a clever traffic light system. How this works is that green indicators are shown when the buckles are fastened correctly, while red indicators show that the buckles are incomplete. You can also secure it without the use of seatbelts, as the ISOFIX and LATCH standards apply to the car seat. 

In terms of safety, Pipa is made with fabrics that are flame retardant and additive-free. From the fabric to the foam, Nuna has sourced each element to be both flame resistant with no added fire retardant chemicals. In case of an emergency (such as a car accident), the car seat features side impact protection to keep your baby safe. There’s also a crumple zone within the stability leg, which absorbs impact and minimizes the force to your baby. 

There are loads of other great features to shout about, including the lightweight, ergonomic carry handle, the UPF 50+ canopy with flip-out eyeshade and resilient, heavy-duty shell. 

There are a couple of things we don’t like so much: it’s a little bit heavy when the attachments are connected, and there are compatibility issues with some major car brands. You also need to rethread the harness each time the fabric is removed to be cleaned, which can be time-consuming. 

Features:

  • Five-point harness to ensure children are fully secured. 
  • Heavy-duty base shell.
  • Secure and simple 5-second install.
  • Dream drape canopy to provide shade. 
  • Premium micro knit fabric.
  • Mesh peek-a-boo window so the child can look outside. 
  • Side impact protection on the seat and headrest.
  • Fold-down leg rest to provide stability whilst the car is moving.
  • It comes with an insert for smaller children to be comfortable. 
  • Pairs perfectly with Nuna car seat adapters.
  • Greenguard Gold Certified.
  • Car seat weight: 7.9 lbs (14 lbs with canopy & attachments).
  • Child weight limit: 4 to 32 lbs.
  • Child height limit: up to 32”.
  • Size: 25.2″L x 17.5″W x 26.1″H.

Pros:

  • It comes with a carry handle for easy transportation to and from the car. 
  • The car seat is really lightweight, again making it easy to move.
  • It’s compatible with many major stroller brands, like Mamas & Papas. 
  • The car seat fabric is removable and machine washable. 

Cons:

  • There have been reported compatibility issues with major car brands, like Range Rover and BMW. 
  • When you remove the fabric, you need to rethread the harness each time. 

UPPAbaby Mesa

uppababy mesa

The UPPAbaby Mesa is a pretty unique car seat. It’s the only infant model that uses a unique technology in order to ensure a fast, accurate and easy installation. This works through a tightness indicator and self-retracting LATCH connector. When the base has been installed correctly, an indicator window changes from red to green to let you know it’s firmly in place. This helps to put your mind at ease.

On the adjustable headrest, harness cover and infant insert, you’ll find a breathable, moisture-wicking material. This keeps your child cool and comfortable. The seat fabric can also be removed, making it easy to clean. And like the Nuna Pipa, there are no fire retardant chemicals to potentially harm your child.

Speaking of the headrest, it’s fully adjustable and reinforced with EPP foam. This provides extra protection for your child if your car gets into a scrape. The integrated design also keeps your child’s head stationary in case of a side-impact collision.

In terms of added features, there’s a hideaway canopy with UPF 25+. This offers extra protection when you’re outside and conveniently tucks away when not in use. There’s also a one-handed release that lets you go from the stroller to the car in one click. There is also a crotch strap to allow it to securely fit infants as small as 4 lbs.

There are a couple of downsides. The first is that it’s a bit heavier than the Nuna Pipa without the attachments — weighing 9lbs. However it barely weighs more when the attachments are added, so this makes up for the heaviness. Secondly, the canopy has been known to stain in the rain, which could become an issue over time.  

I REALLY Liked the Nuna Pipa Price: I'll admit to not knowing too much about the Nuna brand before testing this car seat. I have to say, I was pleasantly suprised at the elegant, ergonomic design. Simple to install, no recalls or safety issues. I'm a believer! View Latest Prices I REALLY Liked the Nuna Pipa We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Features:

  • Made from a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric.
  • SMART Secure system installs in seconds.
  • Adjustable no-rethread headrest with integrated Side Impact Protection. 
  • Storage pockets for harness buckles.
  • Attaches to VISTA and CRUZ strollers without adapters.
  • SPF hideaway canopy; carry handle with stroller release button.
  • It comes with a folding canopy to provide shade.  
  • Adjustable, foam-padded headrest. 
  • Car seat weight: 9 lbs (9.9 lbs with canopy & attachments).
  • Child weight limit: 4 to 35 lbs.
  • Child height limit: up to 32”.
  • Size: 25.8”L x 17”W x 23”H.

Pros:

  • The headrest has side impact protection in case of emergencies or accidents. It also offers everyday comfort. 
  • The seat’s side protection passed NHTSA’s proposed safety standard tests with 5 stars. It’s also one of the first car seats to do so. 
  • The seat is removable and washable without the need to rethread the harness. 

Cons:

  • It’s a little heavier than the UPPAbaby Mesa without the attachments. 
  • The canopy can stain in the rain. 

The verdict

nuna car seat

Both the Nuna Pipa and UPPAbaby Mesa offer a great quality car seat that’s safe, comfortable and reliable for young children. Because of this alone, we’d be more than happy to recommend either one. However, there are some clear differences that definitely set these two car seats apart. When it comes to safety, we prefer the Nuna Pipa because of the fold-down load leg, side-impact protection, and traffic light buckle system. 

Don’t take this as a negative towards the UPPAbaby Mesa, though. This car seat is also incredibly well constructed and features plenty to keep your baby safe in case of emergencies, including the headrest made with EPP foam. One of the great things about the Mesa is that it’s incredibly easy to install (a little more so than the Nuna Pipa), so there’s very little chance of you getting it wrong. 

When it comes to our overall winner, we’d like to name the UPPAbaby Mesa as the best car seat. While It’s a very close call, it wins on the fact that it’s very light (at 9.9 lbs) with all the attachments — and realistically, you’re likely to use it with the attachments. The fabric seat is also easier to remove and keep clean, and you don’t need to rethread the harness each time. 

My Top Pick: UPPAbaby MESA Car Seat Price: $349.99 We LOVE the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat. It's easy to install, has a UNIQUE design and is lightweight. Buy Now from Amazon My Top Pick: UPPAbaby MESA Car Seat We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 28, 2020

FAQ’s About Nuna Pipa vs UPPABaby Vista

How long can a baby use the Nuna Pipa for?

The Nuna Pipa is an infant car seat designed for your baby’s first year. This means the car seat is suitable for use for around 12 months. To give you a better idea of suitability, the child weight limit is up to 32 lbs and the height limit is up to 32”.

What strollers are compatible with Nuna Pipa?

Using various adapters, the Nuna Pipa is also compatible with these strollers:

  • UPPAbaby Vista.
  • UPPAbaby Cruz.
  • Bugaboo Cameleon.
  • Bugaboo Bee.
  • Stokke Xplory.
  • Stokke Scoot.
  • Mamas & Papas Sola.

Can the Nuna Pipa be used facing forward?

No – the Pipa is a rear-facing-only seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that toddlers should be kept in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old, or until they reach the maximum height or weight for their seat. 

If in doubt, always check with your local authority for your state’s car seat laws. 

Can your baby sleep in UPPAbaby Mesa?

We’d strongly advise against this. This is because infants shouldn’t be in the car seat for extended periods of time and the UPPAbaby Mesa isn’t actually approved for sleep. Experts say that 2 hours is the maximum amount of time a child should sleep in an infant car seat, so pop them in a bassinet when they’re tired. 

How do I properly fit my child in the UPPAbaby Mesa?

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Firstly, position the head restraint so that the headrest is level to or slightly below the child’s shoulders. This will stop the child from sliding upwards should there be an accident. 
  2. Position the chest clip at armpit level. It’s important that the shoulder pads don’t interfere in any way with the chest clip. If necessary, you can remove the shoulder pads for a better fit.
  3. At this point, conduct the ‘pinch test’. The harness should be so snug that you cannot pull the strap from the body and pinch the excess fabric together. The straps should be flat and untwisted.

When do I use Mesa’s infant insert?

The Mesa infant insert is recommended for infants weighing between 4-8 lbs. When your child begins to sit on top of the crotch buckle, or if you notice the harness cutting into their thighs, it’s time to remove the infant strap.

Final thoughts 

Now that we’ve reached the end of our review, we hope we’ve offered you enough detail about both Nuna Pipa and UPPAbaby to help you make your decision. Both are worthy options but ultimately, it’s up to you. If you want to do a bit more digging on the right car seat, why not check out our review of the Evenflo SureRide DLX? We’ve also reviewed the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35, which is well worth a closer look. 

If you have any questions then feel free to pop them in the comment section below – our expert moms and dads are more than happy to help! And if you have anything else you’d like us to review, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

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