Nuna Car Seat Guide (Pipa vs Pipa Lite, Rava)

nuna pipa rx car seat sale reviews
Tank dress xs (semi-sheer, wearing maternity shorts S), Halogen sweater xxs petite (wearing old longer version. I also have this longer cardi in xxsp which fits the same), The Frame TV

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

Nuna Pipa

Retail $299

8 lbs
standard base
can use in a car without base
dream drape

Nuna Pipa RX

Retail $349

7.5 lbs
new relx base
can use in a car without base
dream drape

Nuna Pipa Lite

Retail $349

5.3 lbs
standard base
canNOT use in a car w/o base
NO dream drape

Nuna Pipa Lite LX

Retail $399

5.7 lbs
standard base
canNOT use in a car w/o base
dream drape

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.

nuna pipa carseat skiphop weekender diaper bag review
Baby Nori in her Nuna Pipa (also sold at Pottery Barn Kids) – item details in this blog post on my postpartum-must haves

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.

nuna pipa lite lx base versus R

Nuna Pipa Lite LX )

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)? 
which nuna infant car seat is best how to choose

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…

As the next stage car seat after our Nuna Pipa, the Nuna Rava (also sold at PBK) was on our shortlist after it was by FAR the top recommendation when I polled mamas online.

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).

best convertible toddler car seat nuna rava nordstrom sale

Nuna Rava

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.

baby introducing solids stokke trip trapp high chair review

Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle

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.

I purchased the pieces for our white one at full price all separately, and have yet to see that color go on sale. Full price colors sold at Target, Amazon, Nordstrom.

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!

UppaBaby vista v2 nordstrom anniversary sale

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.

nuna mixx next 2020 nordstrom anniversary sale

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!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Nikki wrote:

    Hi Jean – thank you so much! This is very informative. I’m expecting my first child (due date around January 2022) so everything is overwhelming! I do have a question, is the Nuna MIXX™ Next only includes the troller? If I decide to purchase the Nuna MIXX™ Next, does that mean I will also have to purchase the Nuna car seat, or would I be all set would just the Nuna MIXX™ Next? The item description is not very clear (either that or I’m just not understanding all the terminologies). Thank you so much Jean!!

    Posted 7.12.21 Reply
  2. Andrea wrote:

    Hey Jean! Appreciate this post so much. I’m currently looking at the Vista and Pipa RX car seat for my newborn. Did you leave the Pipa car seat in the car every time you were out or remove the Vista’s seat attachment and attached the Pops to the stroller instead? I’m having some trouble figuring out how to be practical with these two products! Appreciate your feedback.

    Posted 10.12.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Andrea! Until your baby is big enough to use the vista seat attachment regularly (around 6 months or older) you don’t need to keep the seat attachment on! So we just had the Pipa seat converter ring on the Uppababy stroller and popped the car seat on easily each time. Hope this helps!

      Posted 10.19.20 Reply
  3. Vickie wrote:

    Hi Jean, thank you so much for this post, it helps me a lot in making a decision. I am a first time mom, due in November. I think we will go with Nuna Pipa RX and also Rava (buy now for later given the Nsale). But for stroller, would you recommend Uppababy Cruz, or Nuna Mixx Next 2020? And what are the key differences between these two in your opinion? Thank you!

    Posted 8.11.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Vickie, I’d highly recommend you testing out both strollers in person if possible! The uppababy cruz has changed since I bought mine so when testing strollers, just try to fold/unfold, lift up the folded stroller to see how it feels to you, and also push the stroller of course with car seat on it and/or seat if possible. The nuna mixx next 2020 folds up a little shorter (but thicker) than the newest uppababy cruz and also folds shut with the seat facing either front or back which is convenient for some ppl! The Uppababy child seat is more structured, while the Nuna is a little less so however it has better ventilation options for hot days. Nuna is also compatible with the nuna carseat right out of the package since it comes with the ring adapter, uppbaby you need to buy the ring for about $50 just FYI.

      Posted 8.12.20 Reply
  4. Tara wrote:

    How does the Nordstrom exclusive Threaded fabric differ from the regular Nuna fabric? Is it a different type of material or the same? Do you know if the Threaded Pipa Lite LX is a merino wool tensile blend like the regular Pipa Lite LX? Do you think a Threaded stroller would match a Granite Pipa Lite lx? They look very similar in color. Thank you!

    Posted 8.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Tara, I’m not sure about the pipa lite lx wool tensile blend, but I did get to see the Threaded stroller close up and it would definitely work with a Granite Pipa. Granite is probably the closest shade to Threaded – I looked at the two together in person and it’s just a shade of grey off and it works fine IMO!

      Posted 8.12.20 Reply
  5. Ann N. wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Thanks so much for this informative post! I’m due in a few weeks and I was wondering if the Nuna Rava car seat usually goes on Nordstrom’s sale during this time of the year? I’m wondering if I can wait a year and then purchase the Rava or if I should buy it now… Thanks!

    Posted 8.7.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Ann, congrats!! Personally I would wait until next year because I have seen it included in the Nsale for two years now and they might make improvements down the road! But then again, I also poorly timed my own purchase haha and ended up paying full price when I needed the R ava …I guess it’s just a slight gamble on whether it’ll be back on sale next year and how soon your baby will outgrow the infant car seat!

      Posted 8.11.20 Reply
  6. Valeri Pighini wrote:

    Jean. That TV! The coolest!

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  7. Marie wrote:

    Hi Jean! Congrats on baby #2 and thank you for posting about this sale!! I’m a FTM expecting in November and was planning on purchasing the Nuna Pipa car seat. If it comes with the dream drape, do you still recommend getting a separate baby car seat cover canopy?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Yoshi wrote:

      Hi! Our family uses the Nuna Pipa and we never bought a canopy – the dream drape kept our baby napping in many noisy restaurants/malls (pre-covid days) and even helped keep her dry when we took a walk and it unexpectedly started drizzling.

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Marie! I used my multipurpose stretch cover for nursing, shopping cart, and as a car seat canopy which was still useful as an alternative to the dream drape when it was cold out or if I wanted it to be extra dark.

      Posted 8.8.20 Reply
  8. Joyce wrote:

    Hi Jean, I’ve been waiting for this post all week – thank you! At what age did Nori start using the Nuna Rava? I know the infant car seat usually fits up to a certain weight and height limit, but do you usually transition them out of the infant car seat earlier or use it until they can’t fit?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Joyce! She started using her convertible car seat around 15 months when she was getting too tall for her infant one. Babies almost always exceed the height limit of the infant car seat before they hit the weight limit.

      Posted 8.8.20 Reply
  9. Kelly wrote:

    Hey Jean, congrats on the baby #2!! Thank you for the post this is super helpful! I’m due in early 2021, because of your post I finally made up my mind on the Nuna Rx! But I can’t decide on a stroller I’m in between Nuna Demi grow and Uppababy Vista. I leaning toward the Vista but my only complaint is the different weight for each seat. :/ Since you have a baby #2 on the way are you going to change a stroller or get the Vista?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks, Kelly and congrats to you too! We are going to try to make do with our existing setup for the time being. One thing to consider with the Vista – the weight difference might not be as much of a concern since baby #1 could likely be walking or on the ridealong board by the time baby #2 exceeds the limit of the smaller seat.

      Posted 8.8.20 Reply
  10. Jessica wrote:

    I was thinking of getting one of the Nuna car seats and the Vista stroller (because it has the bassinet which seems nice to have in the beginning). But do you think it’s important to get the matching Nuna stroller for compatibility? Is it common to use the car seat with a stroller often? I envisioned putting the stroller in the car and moving the baby to the stroller out of the car seat.. but also FTM so not sure!

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jessica – congrats! A couple thoughts on your questions …
      – We used the Nuna car seat with an UPPAbaby stroller and just bought the ring converter (~$50) for the car seat. It was very easy to use on top of the uppababy and we used it very often.
      – If you can go to a store and try folding up strollers and lifting them up and down at a height similar to your car trunk, I think that will be helpful. The Vista has a durable larger frame (since it can convert to two seats) so is fairly weighty, at least for me!
      – Also check out my older post here with some thoughts on the bassinet and UPPAbaby cruz vs Vista, but note, ours is an older model V1 and the newer cruz V2 is heavier, closer to the vista.

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
      • Elle wrote:

        Hi Jessica!

        Wanted to share my experience as FTM! I had the Cruz and Pipa carseat + adapter and loved it. When I didn’t want to use carseat, I used the UB snugseat insert instead of the bassinet, which worked great. I sold the Cruz for the Vista because of a phenomenal sale BBB was having. As much as I loved wheeling it around, I absolutely hated lugging that stroller to places. I’m petite like Jean and the amount of effort it takes to pick up the Vista and put it in my trunk was annoying. I actually have now sold my Vista and in the market for something lighter. Unless you’re planning to have two kids close together in age, I don’t recommend the Vista for petites!

        Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  11. SARAH wrote:

    Hi Jean, Was your car a factor in deciding what car seat to use? We have a Forrester and I think if we did 2 Ravas in the back it would be very, very tight. We are thinking of getting a 3 row vehicle. Was that a consideration for you, too?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Sarah, yes it played a factor (not the primary factors) but I recall one of the convertible seats we tried didnt even fit at all! We do need a bigger vehicle as well down the road, for sure

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  12. Trey wrote:

    I’m not due until early 2021. Is the NSale better than waiting for potential Black Friday deals?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Trey, congrats! You never know given the current climate what deals there will be later this year, but I think if you’re due next year you can wait and take the time to research & test out various brands and models! I think the NSale is good for those who have already been leaning towards specific larger ticket gear items that are included.

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
      • Ruby wrote:

        Hi Jean,

        Super helpful post! When you take cabs/Ubers in boston, do you bring the Rava with you?

        Posted 8.6.20 Reply
        • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

          Hi Ruby – the Rava is 27lbs ish so we keep it in our car at all times. For travel or Ubers we use the Scenera discussed above, which is under 10lbs.

          Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  13. Julie wrote:

    Sorry I have a correction on my comment: Hi! Thank you for this post! What are your thoughts on the Nuna EXEC versus the Nuna RAVA?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Julie! Rather than an “all-in-one” car seat, we personally opted to get the Rava and then a booster down the road when it’s needed. From talking with our friends who used the Rava they get more compact boosters once their toddlers outgrew it. The EXEC is pretty large (without major removable pieces) throughout the entire prolonged usage period it’s designed for, and our vehicle doesn’t have a ton of space.

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  14. Julie wrote:

    Hi! Thank you for this post! What are your thoughts on the Nuna EEX versus the Nuna RAVA?

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Jennifer wrote:

      This is very helpful and timely as my husband and I are looking into the Nuna infant seat and Nina Mixx stroller for our first child! Thanks so much for this post

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
    • Aimee wrote:

      Hi Jean! Thank you for this post. I’m due in October and got the Nuna Pipa RX in Granite. If you saw the Nuna Mixx Next in store in the Threaded collection color, do you think the Granite Pipa RX will match that stroller? The entire stroller looks greyish online compared to Caviar. I’m being that mom (lol). Just wondering if I should pay for Caviar or save money and go with the Threaded look. Thank you!

      Posted 8.6.20 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        Hi Aimee, congrats! I did see the Mixx Next in person in Threaded and think Granite is the closest to the Threaded color so it should still look nice with the Mixx stroller in the NSale. Also, most of the stroller fabric is on the seat, so when you have the car seat on there instead, there isn’t as much “clash” as you might think.

        Posted 8.6.20 Reply
  15. yoshi wrote:

    My child’s pediatrician’s office recommended using the Car Seat Lady website to find the best recommendations for an infant/child car seat. The website is run by a mother-daughter team who are both health care providers and spend a significant amount of time and research comparing car seats. While the Nuna Pipa is one of their highest-recommended infant car seats, they do not recommend Pipa Lite b/c of the lack of a base. I thought it was worth mentioning as the car-seat shopping experience can be so overwhelming esp for first-time parents, and Car Seat Lady is a great/helpful resource.

    Posted 8.6.20 Reply

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