In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Nuna Pipa Review

Interesting safety features but generally average overall
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Price:   $300 List
Pros:  Nice looking, good quality, load leg
Cons:  Disappointing crash test results, no rebound bar
Manufacturer:   Nuna
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jun 3, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 14
  • Crash Test - 20% 4
  • Ease of Install - LATCH - 20% 9
  • Ease of Install - Belt - 10% 6
  • Ease of Install - w/o Base - 5% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Comfort / Quality - 15% 9
  • Weight / Size - 15% 6

The Skinny

The Nuna Pipa is a high-end car seat with a cool rigid 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 makes 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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Nuna Pipa
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award 
Price $300.00 List$300.00 List
$229.92 at Amazon - 23% off
$320.00 List
$209.99 at Amazon - 34% off
$350.00 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$280.00 List
$279.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Nice looking, good quality, load legBetter crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy installBest crash results, easy LATCH, additional safety features, comfyLoad leg, easy belt install with and without baseSuper easy LATCH install, easy to use, nice comfort and quality
Cons Disappointing crash test results, no rebound barHeavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatibleHigher price, hard to usePrice, heavy carrierHeavy, only compatible with limited strollers
Bottom Line Interesting safety features but generally average overallA great all-around seat with good crash test results, but limited stroller optionsCompelling, quality seat with additional safety features and the best crash test scoreImpressive performance but somewhat heavy and more money than mostEasy 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%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ease Of Install LATCH (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Ease Of Install Belt (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Ease Of Install W O Base (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
Comfort Quality (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight Size (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
2
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
Recline Positions 2 Infinite 4 Infinite 5
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
Load Leg Yes No Yes Yes No
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)
Head Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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.

Performance Comparison



The Nuna has a load leg that should help reduce the amount of travel the carrier can go in the event of an accident.
The Nuna has a load leg that should help reduce the amount of travel the carrier can go in the event of an accident.

Crash Test


For crash test results, the Nuna fails to impress with results near the bottom of the bunch. 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.

The Nuna load leg is adjustable and has a color-coded foot to help you determine the right length for proper installation.
The Nuna load leg is adjustable and has a color-coded foot to help you determine the right length for proper installation.

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 Cybex Aton 2 shows a chest sensor test result of 44 where a lower number is better  while the Nuna sensor result is 60  the maximum allowed result by Federal law.
The Cybex Aton 2 shows a chest sensor test result of 44 where a lower number is better, while the Nuna sensor result is 60, the maximum allowed result by Federal law.
The Nuna head sensor shows a result of 431 HIC where a lower number is better and the Chicco Keyfit 30 earned the lowest sensor result of 330 (rounded up) in comparison.
The Nuna head sensor shows a result of 431 HIC where a lower number is better and the Chicco Keyfit 30 earned the lowest sensor result of 330 (rounded up) in comparison.

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.

The rigid LATCH system on the Nuna has color coding to help you determine when the anchor is attached to the car correctly.
The rigid LATCH system on the Nuna has color coding to help you determine when the anchor is attached to the car correctly.

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.

The color green on the Nuna LATCH connector means the LATCH is connected to the vehicle correctly.
The push on rigid LATCH connectors are easy to get off my pinching the releases slide on the side of the connector.

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 latch correctly. 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 Nuna comes with plastic pockets to help make access to the U LATCH anchors on the vehicle easier.
The Nuna comes with plastic pockets to help make access to the U LATCH anchors on the vehicle easier.

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 vehicle, you might struggle. 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 flip out foot on the Nuna base can help you find the best angle for installation without the use of a towel or pool noodle.
The flip out foot on the Nuna base can help you find the best angle for installation without the use of a towel or pool noodle.

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 you install the seat. 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 rotate to the proper position.

The Nuna base as a color-coded belt path for installing the base to the vehicle using the vehicle belt for securing.
The Nuna base as a color-coded belt path for installing the base to the vehicle using the vehicle belt for securing.

Ease of Install - Belt


Installation using a vehicle belt was the worst method for the Nuna with average results. 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 without a lock-off. Threading the belt is relatively easy while using the lock off is more complicated.

The bubble level indicator on the Nuna is easier to use than a side line indicator commonly found on less expensive seats.
The bubble level indicator on the Nuna is easier to use than a side line indicator commonly found on less expensive seats.

Overall, the seat isn't terrible to install with this method and relatively stable. It also has a nice level indicator on the base, which is a traditional liquid and bubble indicator that works well.

The Nuna uses the European belt path that incorporates the use of the shoulder belt around the back of the infant carrier to help firmly secure the carrier to the vehicle.
The Nuna uses the European belt path that incorporates the use of the shoulder belt around the back of the infant carrier to help firmly secure the carrier to the vehicle.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The Nuna is easy enough to install without the base.

To install the Nuna without the base  the vehicle belt passes across the foot portion of the carrier and around the back. If you do not have a shoulder belt  you can still install across the lower portion only.
The Nuna uses the European belt path which incorporates the shoulder belt of the vehicle around the back of the carrier.

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 seatback. The lap portion of the belt travels across the lower part of the carrier. 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.

The Nuna is a high-quality seat with padding and fabric designed for comfort  but some of the features are harder to use than they need to be.
The Nuna is a high-quality seat with padding and fabric designed for comfort, but some of the features are harder to use than they need to be.

Ease of Use


The Nuna struggled with ease of use with a below-average performance for the group.

The Nuna buckle is stiff and difficult to operate with one hand.
The Nuna buckle is stiff and difficult to operate with one hand.

Harness


The Nuna has a stiff buckle worse than some competing 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 more manageable, and the two sides mate up without issue.

Tightening and releasing the harness on the Nuna are done with a strap and button above the padding on the foot of the carrier.
Tightening and releasing the harness on the Nuna are done with a strap and button above the padding on the foot of the carrier.

Tightening and loosening the harness on the Pipa is about average. The strap located at the foot of the carrier works relatively well with a little stiffness, and the smaller shoulder pads on the harness don't get in the way of a proper fit. An easy to access button above the padding on the foot of the carrier will loosen the harness. The button is easy to use, and the harness moves smoothly.

Shoulder height adjustment 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 trouble when threading them through the layers of padding and slots in the back of the seats. The seat has three height options and three crotch positions. We think a minimum of 4 height options is best to ensure the best fit for most babies.

The Nuna handle adjusts by depressing the sides simultaneously and rotating the handle.
The Nuna handle adjusts by depressing the sides simultaneously and rotating the handle.

Handle


The handle on the Nuna works well and operates by depressing the buttons on each side of the handle at the pivot joint. The handle has four positions, and any are acceptable when driving. The downside is the handle catches on the canopy no matter what position you choose. 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 fingers.

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 it was 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 awkward and harder to do than the traditional style of release.

The Nuna user manual stores under the base.
The Nuna user manual stores under the base.

LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage


Because this seat has a rigid latch that folds back into the base when not in use, there is no way the LATCH anchors can impede or prevent the carrier from properly attaching to the base.

The Nuna uses the common molded foam under comfort padding for crash absorption.
The Nuna uses the common molded foam under comfort padding for crash absorption.

Comfort/Quality


The Nuna earns top results for comfort and quality. 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 average 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. 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.

The Nuna canopy doesn't stay open very taunt without the use of the side protection extenders.
The Nuna is one of the few infant carriers that come with a peek-a-boo window. This window has a cover with Velcro closures which can be disruptive when used while the baby is sleeping.
The Nuna comes with an expandable canopy that attaches to the sides via magnets for greater side protection from the sun.

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 one. 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 airflow but is not a good weather shield.

The Nuna has a slightly heavier carrier than some of the competition making it harder to heft than the other options we tested.
The Nuna has a slightly heavier carrier than some of the competition making it harder to heft than the other options we tested.

Weight


Weighing in at 9.78 lbs, the Nuna is no light lifter. Though there are heavier options in the group, this seat still feels 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 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 consideration.

Stroller Compatiblity


The Nuna works best with the Nuna MIXX2. It can also pair with the following high-ranking strollers by purchasing compatible adapters.
  • UPPAbaby Minu Combo — The Minu is a lightweight travel stroller from UPPAbaby. This stroller folds in thirds and can stow 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 Combo-- 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 want 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 Combo-- 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 Combo-- 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.

Manufacturer Videos




Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz