After using several of these items for a while now (bought at full price), we wanted to share honest assessments below! We’ve done tons of research on baby gear over the past 2 years, so hope this post saves fellow parents some time and headaches!
1. Nuna Infant Car Seats
When I was pregnant with my first, I wanted to find the lightest weight infant car seat on the market that didn’t sacrifice any safety points. In our research, Nuna stood out with excellent features for both safety and baby’s comfort (receiving the highest “best” rating by Consumer Reports’ independent crash testing). As an added bonus, Nuna infant car seats are compatible with most major non-Nuna stroller brands including UPPAbaby and Babyzen (using adapters sold separately)!
Their many car seat options can be confusing, so I hope this mini-guide breaks them down more clearly!
Update: Nuna came out with the Pipa Lite RX in 2021, which is their lightest weight option that can be used in a car without the heavy base. However, it’s their most costly infant car seat so parents will just have to weigh the pros and cons!
Key Differences Between Nuna Infant Car Seats
can use in a car without base
Nuna Pipa RX
new relx base
can use in a car without base
Nuna Pipa Lite
canNOT use in a car w/o base
NO dream drape
Nuna Pipa Lite LX
canNOT use in a car w/o base
Infant Car Seat 101 – What is a Base?
Like most infant car seats around this price point, Nuna ones have 2 pieces – 1) the seat itself that baby sits in and 2) a base that gets installed and you leave in your car. The base makes it quick and easy to pop the car seat in and out of your vehicle securely, all while keeping baby buckled in (and hopefully napping!) the whole time. See two photos down for a picture of the car seat next to its base.
What’s the difference between the Nuna Pipa “regular” & Pipa Lite/Lite LX?
The Pipa Lite is the lightest weight car seat on the market, almost 3 lbs lighter than the standard Pipa, so very attractive for petite parents or ones who have to haul a car seat up and down stairs daily. However, as a tradeoff – the Pipa Lite series CANNOT be used in a vehicle or airplane without the base (which most people do not want to lug around separately), whereas the Pipa can be strapped in using a seatbelt without the base.
Update: Nuna came out with the Pipa Lite RX in 2021, which is now their lightest weight option that *can* be used in a car without the heavy base.
Times have changed now with Covid, but since we knew we wanted to travel during Nori’s first year, that was a deal breaker for us and why we chose the standard Nuna Pipa (also sold at Pottery Barn Kids) instead of the Lite. At $299, its the lowest priced and best value in our opinion amongst Nuna infant car seats.
We loved it for Nori’s first 15 months, and the standard Pipa is still one of the more lightweight infant car seats on the market – it was a mini workout, but I managed to lug it up and down our 4th floor walkup condo with a newborn on a daily basis! It also has 2 slots for crotch belt adjustments vs. 1 on the Lite, so it can be a little more comfortable as baby grows.
What about the “regular” Pipa vs. Pipa RX?
The Pipa RX (also sold at Pottery Barn Kids) is the latest version of the standard Pipa and ~ $50 more. It’s gotten a few small upgrades like buckle clips and being a half pound lighter. The biggest difference is it comes with the new Relx base that has an adjustable recline angle and is easier to install more securely, especially in the middle seats of a car and also in BMW 3 series cars (which was apparently problematic using the original base!). The new Relx base is compatible with any car seat in the Nuna Pipa / Pipa Lite family.
If we were buying our infant car seat now instead of 2 years ago, out of all the options we would most likely opt for the latest Nuna Pipa RX.
And the Pipa Lite vs. Pipa Lite LX?
The LX has the Dream Drape, a feature that we used daily! It’s a magnetic drape that unzips from the canopy, and easily pulls down to shade your little one for naps, car rides, or stroller walks when it’s too hot for a full cover.
If getting a Nuna infant car seat, I would HIGHLY recommend getting one with this clever feature. So for me, the Pipa Lite with no Dream Drape is not really a contender.
There are several versions of the Pipa Lite, but the LX is the only one with Nuna’s unique magnetic “dream drape” which we loved for napping and shade.
In summary, the key question when choosing a Nuna infant car seat
- Do you want to use the car seat easily in other vehicles (i.e. Ubers, rental cars, your 2nd car, grandma’s car, or an airplane)?
Btw, if you intend on getting the Pipa Lite LX and want 2 car seat bases, this Pipa Lite lX with two base bundle is part of the Anniversary Sale, and comes with a regular base + a Relx base (their newest upgraded base).
2. After They Outgrow the Infant Car Seat…
The Rava, and most convertible car seats, *can* actually be used from birth, but for us personally it didn’t make sense to do so. We wanted the portability and ease of an infant car seat during those first 12+ months. Being able to buckle up our infant outside of the car, then pop the car seat on & off a stroller or car seat base saved a lot of frustration vs. being hunched over in a parking lot or narrow Boston street trying to adjust straps on an infant. If these are not concerns for your lifestyle, then this one car seat could suit your child for the first few years.
Note that most convertible and toddler car seats (like the Rava) are 1 large piece, and do not have separate base + seat pieces like infant car seats (like the Pipa).
If you’ve been considering this convertible car seat, this is a tried & true parent favorite product at a good discount, and one that will be used almost daily.
Last year, we tested a few convertible car seats inside our car before deciding on one. The Rava stands out as known for being safe, comfortable, durable, and luxurious feeling, as well as relatively easy to install once you get the hang of it. We have zero complaints so far, and Nori actually looks forward to car rides in it! We also got a second one for Rio to use.
Note however the Rava is not a travel-friendly car seat, but being heavier is part of what makes it feels so durable and safe. For air travel, we got the Cosco Scenera thanks to many recommendations by you guys. Just by touching the two you definitely feel you get what you pay for with each. The Seneca is very lightweight in comparison and great for toting on your shoulder through an airport, but it’s literally thin padding on top of a plastic frame – in comparison, the Rava feels indestructible.
FYI – The second-most recommended convertible carseat by readers was the narrower Diono Radian series, as it’s one of few brands that you can fit 3 across in a back seat!
3. Stokke High Chair Bundle
We chose the Tripp Trapp because: 1) it came highly recommended by several child feeding specialists as an ergonomic high chair (for proper posture while eating), 2) it grows with your child, and 3) it looks nice and minimalist! We started using it ~ 8 months for Nori (see my post on introducing solids) and hope to for many more years. Several readers have shared that they used this high chair for 5+ years per kid!
We’ve lowered the foot rest several times now as she grows, and the entire chair has been easy to clean. We also like removing the tray and pulling her chair up to the dining table for family meals.
One regret I have is not getting the cushion insert (typically sold separately, but included in the bundle), which would’ve allowed her to start using this chair earlier at ~6 months more comfortably.
The Anniversary sale color is a classic walnut wood finish with gray tray, and the bundle comes with baby seat attachment, tray, and baby cushion.
4. Two parent-favorite strollers on sale
The 2020 versions of two noteworthy and very popular strollers are part of the Anniversary sale – one single seater stroller, and one that converts from single to double seater.
This post has gotten very long, so I will share more about both of these strollers and this years newest features in an upcoming post, along with photos next to my 5′ frame for size reference!
Single-converts-to-double seater stroller:
UPPAbaby Vista V2 Set $726 (Regular $970)
If you have twins or plan on having 2 kids closer in age, the Vista is VERY popular as a stroller that converts from single seater to double (with multiple configurations!) and the option for a third on the ride-along board, sold separately.
Single seater stroller:
Nuna Mixx Next 2020 $549 (Regular $749)
If you want to cross off all your baby transportation needs during the NSale, the Mixx Next plus a Nuna car seat is a solid way to go – you’ll have a safe & practical combo that’s compatible right out of the box. This latest version of the MIXX folds up a little smaller than before, and it comes with the ring adapter (we had bought ours separately for $50), making it very easy to pop your infant car seat on and off the stroller.
I will also be sharing videos on my Instagram stories about the different features of the 2020 models of both of these strollers, so be sure to tune in there if interested!
If you own any of the above gear, feel free to share your thoughts and likes / dislikes!