The Nuna Pipa is a high-end car seat with a really cool ridged LATCH anchor system. This seat scored about average overall in our tests with lower crash test results and below average ease of use. The comfort and quality of the seat and the thoughtful additions like the canopy cover all, and the load leg make it a seat worthy of consideration. However, even though it is one of the easiest seats to install, it isn't the easiest to use, and we had trouble with some of the more basic functions compared to the competition. It also earned a relatively low score for crash test results. If this seat was marginally easier to use or obtained a better crash test result, then it might have been a real contender.
Nuna Pipa Review
Pros: Nice looking, good quality, load leg
Cons: Disappointing crash test results, no rebound bar
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|Pros||Nice looking, good quality, load leg||Better crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy install||Best crash results, easy LATCH, additional safety features, comfy||Load leg, easy belt install with and without base||Super easy LATCH install, easy to use, nice comfort and quality|
|Cons||Disappointing crash test results, no rebound bar||Heavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatible||Higher price, hard to use||Price, heavy carrier||Heavy, only compatible with Chicco strollers so far|
|Bottom Line||Interesting safety features but generally average overall||A great all-around seat with good crash test results, but limited stroller options||Compelling, quality seat with additional safety features and the best crash test score||Impressive performance but somewhat heavy and more money than most||Easy to install and use seat made with quality materials, but has limited stroller options|
|Rating Categories||Nuna Pipa||Peg Perego Primo...||Cybex Aton 2||Peg Perego Nido||Chicco Fit2|
|Crash Test (20%)|
|Ease Of Install LATCH (20%)|
|Ease Of Install Belt (10%)|
|Ease Of Install W O Base (5%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Comfort Quality (15%)|
|Weight Size (15%)|
|Specs||Nuna Pipa||Peg Perego Primo...||Cybex Aton 2||Peg Perego Nido||Chicco Fit2|
|Minimum Passenger Weight||4 lbs||4 lbs||4 lbs||4 lbs||4 lbs|
|Max Passenger Weight||32 lbs||35 lbs||35 lbs||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Max Passenger Height||32"||32"||30"||32"||35"|
|Belt Routing Style||European||European||European||European||American|
|Seat Weight||9.9 lbs||9.6 lbs||9.3 lbs||10.2 lbs||12.1 lbs|
|Shoulder Harness Positions||3||6||3||6||7|
|Crotch Strap Positions||2||1||1||2||2|
|Built in Lock Off||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Anti-rebound Device||No||Yes||High Base Back||Yes||Yes|
|Locking Handle Positions||3||5||3||5||4|
|Allowed Handle Positions For Auto Travel||Any||1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
|Carry Position||1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
|Stage 1: Any
Stage 2: Base Storage Position (behind the seat)
|No Rethread Harness||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Onboard Manual Storage||Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat.||Stashes in a pocket under the bottom of the seat.||Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat.||Slot in head of base|
|Level Indicator On Base||Bubble Vial||Bubble Vial||Ball In Tube||Bubble Vial||Bubble Indicator|
|Level Indicator On Seat||Line On Decal||Line On Decal||Line On Decal||Line On Decal||Level Line On Seat Label|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The ZAAZ™ highchair was the first product launched by the Nuna company in 2007. Based in Amsterdam, this international company works to create thoughtful baby gear selling car seats, strollers, and other various products for little ones.
The Nuna Pipa (in blue) is an average car seat with some unique features.
The information below includes a variety of details about the Pipa's performance during testing.
For crash test results, the Nuna only earns a 4 of 10 with individual test results below the average for the group. All car seats on the market in the United States must meet or exceed the Federal guidelines defined in FMVSS 213. We compare each product's crash test results to the FMVSS and the other products in the review to identify the options that potentially provide an additional margin of protection over the minimum requirements.
The test results for the Nuna are generally unimpressive as the chest sensor result is the absolute maximum allowed by the Federal standards with 60 Gs, where the best result is only 44 earned by the Cybex Aton 2 using the load leg during testing. See the comparison chart below.
The Nuna performs better when comparing the crash results for the dummy head sensor of HIC results (see chart above). The maximum allowed for this test is 1000 and a lower result is better. The Nuna head sensor recorded 431, while the Chicco Keyfit 30 sensor shows only 330. Still, 431, is far below the limit and the worst result in the group of 639 from the Baby Jogger City GO.
Ease of Install - LATCH
Installation with the LATCH system is where the NUNA shines. With rigid LATCH anchors that push on to the U anchors in the vehicle, it is one of the easiest seats to install using LATCH earning a 9 of 10.
The LATCH anchors are rigid and stick out from the base (above left). They move up and down for easier installation in the vehicle, and they can connect one at a time or in unison with a color changing feature so you know when they are properly latched. There is a side button (above right) to release the anchors from the car. They are easy to use and don't require any tightening.
The ridged anchors are a little bit difficult to attach when the car has hidden U anchors. If you can't see the anchor points in your car, you might struggle with getting the base attached. The Nuna comes with LATCH guides, a small plastic pocket that slides between the vehicle seat cushions to help you find the anchor point.
The base has a flip out foot that can help stabilize the seat or achieve the best angle for installation. The foot is easy to flip out, but hard to use once the seat is installed. Tilting the seat up after connecting it to the vehicle provides a little extra space to flip the foot out. Once the foot is out, the seat can be rotated to the proper position.
Ease of Install - Belt
For installation using a vehicle belt, the Nuna earned a 6 of 10, its lowest installation method score. The Nuna doesn't have color coding for the belt install with base, but it does have a belt lock-off that makes securing the seat easier than products that don't have a lock off. Threading the belt is relatively easy while using the lock off is more complicated.
Overall, the seat isn't terrible to install with this method and relatively stable. It also has a nice level indicator on the base to help achieve the right angle. The level is a traditional liquid and bubble indicator that works well.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
The Nuna earned a 7 of 10 for ease of install without the base.
This seat uses the European belt path (above left) and the thread points are color-coded. The shoulder strap wraps around the back side of the carrier (above right) to help pull it snuggly against the vehicle seat back. The lap portion of the belt travels across the lower portion of the carrier sucking into the vehicle seat bottom. Threading the belt is relatively easy compared to the competition and we didn't have trouble getting it in place or with folding belts.
If you don't have a shoulder belt in the desired location in the car, it can be installed using only the lap belt if your car manual allows for the placement of the seat in that location.
Ease of Use
The Nuna struggled with ease of use earning only 5 points of 10 for the metric where the high is 8.
The Nuna has a stiff buckle almost worst than that on the Graco products. The button is hard to depress and some testers needed two thumbs to get it to release and the crotch padding gets in the way of using it. Also, the chest/retainer clip is challenging to operate. The button on the clip is a little stiff and the harder we squeezed the other side of the clip, the harder it becomes. Buckling is easier and the two sides mate up without issue.
Tightening and loosening the harness on the Pipa is about average. The strap located at the foot of the carrier works relatively well with just a little stiffness when pulled, and the smaller shoulder pads on the harness don't get in the way or prevent tightening the harness for a proper fit. To loosen the harness, there is an easy to access button above the padding on the foot of the carrier. The button itself is easy to use and the harness moves smoothly when the button is depressed.
Shoulder height adjustment on the Nuna is accomplished by rethreading straps that attach to a T splitter on the backside of the seat. We prefer the non-rethread type of adjustment, both for its ease of use and adjustability. The shoulder straps have large loops that make getting them on and off the splitter easier, but they cause some trouble when threading them through the layers of padding and slots in the back of the seats. Probably a small sacrifice to pay for the nice seat padding, but given that many of the high-end seats had non-rethreading harness height adjustment, we feel a design change would be useful. The seat has 3 height options and 3 crotch positions. We think a minimum of 4 height options is best to ensure the best fit for most babies.
The handle on the Nuna works well and is operated by depressing the buttons on each side of the handle on the pivot joint. Once depressed you can rotate the handle to the desired position. The handle has 4 positions and any are acceptable when driving. The downside is the handle catches on the canopy no matter what positions they are in. If both the canopy and handle are up for carrying, it can be annoying to have the canopy rubbing on the sides and potentially rubbing our fingers as well.
Carrier and Base Connection
Installing the carrier on the base can be a little temperamental and it doesn't fall into place like some of the competition. We didn't experience thinking we had it in place when it wasn't. Unlike the majority of seats, this seat has the handle on the back of the base. It is easy to use, but we didn't like it and it made releasing and lifting the carrier out awkward and harder to do than the traditional style of carrier release.
LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage
Because this seat has a rigid latch that folds back into the base when not in use, it earned top marks for LATCH storage. There is no way the LATCH anchors can impede or prevent the carrier from properly attaching to the base without the parent's knowledge.
The Nuna earned a 9 of 10 for comfort, the highest score in the metric. It has nice padding and a firm head and body cushion with thicker than average padding that feels softer than most. The fabric covering the seat is soft.
The shell is on the average side for quality and it neither impresses nor disappoints. It feels solid and durable, but it isn't anything to write home about. The overall fit and finish of the seat are good and consistent. The fabric fits the seat well and the cover on the canopy is nice. The Pipa offers the same level of quality across the board including a handle that works well and moves easily.
The canopy on the Nuna is a medium sized sunshade (above left) with an easy to use peek-a-boo window (above middle) that gives you a look-see into the baby's world. The window is a unique feature, as most of the products fail to offer a peek-a-boo window. If the canopy isn't enough to cover your baby, the Nuna also offers a pull-out cover that extracts from the canopy area and attaches to the foot of the carrier with magnets for almost 100% coverage (above right). The cover is vented for air flow and not a good weather shield, but it is a useful feature.
Weighing in at 9.78 lbs, the Nuna is no light lifter earning a 6 of 10 for this metric. Though there are heavier options in the group, this seat still feels somewhat like a beast. It is a large seat that has girth as well as weight and it isn't the easiest to carry with a baby on board.
The take away is to remember that while weight is important it isn't everything. We suggest you use the carrier weight as a deciding factor between 2-3 seats you deem worthy of buying consideration.
The Nuna works best with the Nuna MIXX2, however, this stroller didn't perform well in our stroller review. It can also be paired with the following high-ranking strollers by purchasing compatible adapters.
- UPPAbaby Minu — The Minu is a lightweight travel stroller from UPPAbaby. This stroller folds in thirds and can be stowed in some overhead airplane bins. While it likely doesn't have the chops to double as a full-size stroller, it could be an option for car seat carrier if you plan to travel with baby frequently in the future.
- Thule Urban Glide 2 — The Urban Glide 2 is arguably the jogging stroller to covet a the moment. The Nuna is compatible with the purchase of the Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters. If you are sold on a Nuna seat and you want a one and done solution where size and weight aren't a factor, then this could be the stroller for you.
- Thule Sleek — The Sleek is a cool full-size stroller but it is more expensive and lower scoring in our tests than the very similar UPPAbaby Vista.
- UPPAbaby Cruz — This full-size stroller won awards in multiple reviews and is a quality product with useful features like a giant storage bin with 25 lb storage capacity.
- UPPAbaby Vista — The Vista is a full-size stroller that can gro with your family and could be a good choice for those who plan to have more children close in age. This stroller works with two seats and a running board to accommodate up to 3 children at one time.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz