uppababy mesa vs nuna pipa review | Baby Journey

UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa (2024): Which is the Better Infant Car Seat?

As parents, we depend on car seats to keep our kids protected during drives. Which is why, in this review, we compare the UPPAbaby MESA vs Nuna Pipa car seats that are best known for their amazing safety features.

While I find the Nuna Pipa to be superior, both of these infant car seats have something unique to offer. So, come on board, and let’s find out which of these car seats would work best for you.

Demystifying the UPPAbaby MESA and the Nuna Pipa

UPPAbaby MESA Car Seat

The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is a recent addition from the UPPAbaby brand which offers quite a variety of car seats and strollers. It is a rear-facing car seat and is thus ideal for infants between birth to age 2 or 3 weighing about 4 to 35 pounds.

At first glance, you can tell that the UPPAbaby Mesa has a high-quality build. However, it is its safety and comfort features that stand out for me. The feel of the merino wool seat fabric, in particular, is incredible and the adjustable headrest can be positioned as needed to keep your baby comfortable.

MESA Infant Car Seat - JORDAN (charcoal mélange|merino wool) + MESA Base, 1 Count (Pack of 1)


  • Free of flame retardant chemicals
  • Superior side-impact protection
  • Easy to install with LATCH or seat belt
  • Comfortable breathable seat fabric


  • Product labels are poorly places and can cause discomfort
  • The position of the canopy inadvertently shifts when the handle is moved

Nuna Pipa Car Seat

This too is the latest addition to the Nuna Pipa brand of car seats and strollers. It is recommended for infants and is certified for air travel. The minimum weight for this car seat is similar to that of the UPPAbaby as it starts at 4 pounds while the maximum is 35 pounds. On height, at 32″, your child will have outgrown the Pipa car seat.

The Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat undoubtedly gives the UPPAbaby car seat a run for its money in terms of safety features. A great illustration of this is its stability leg that keeps the car seat in place during impact or emergency braking. It also has a crumple zone which absorbs impact and reduces the impact that reaches the baby.

UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey


  • Easy to install
  • Great for travel
  • Has multiple impact-protection features
  • Free of flame retardant chemicals


  • The seat belt system might be incompatible with some cars
  • The headrest is not adjustable

The Battle of the Features

We all have different parenting approaches and kids’ needs differ too. This is why investigating the features of a car seat before your purchase is so important. In an interesting twist, you might also discover some useful features you didn’t even know existed.

Here is a comparison of the main features you can look forward to in the Nuna Pipa and UPPAbaby Mesa car seats.

Ease of Installation and Use

As you install a car seat, you have probably had a moment or two when you thought: Am I doing this right? Well, the designers at UPPAbaby and Nuna Pipa seem to have heard of our parenting woes.

The UPPAbaby car seat can be installed using the LATCH system with its base or using a seatbelt if the UPPAbaby Mesa base is off. It is designed with a SMART secure system designed to ease the installation process. This system comprises a sensor and an indicator that turns green to let you know that the seat is properly installed.

The Nuna Pipa car seat can equally be installed using either the LATCH system or the seat belt ISOFIX system. For easy installation, the base has unique Truelock technology whose indicator turns green too when the seat is well secured. That said, the Nuna Pipa seat belt system is somewhat unique and is not compatible with several car models.

Battle Champion: The UPPAbaby Mesa baby car seat for me. I appreciate the fact that both car seats take the guesswork out of the installation process. Especially because studies show over 50% of car seats are not safely installed. However, wide seat belt compatibility is extremely important for safety reasons.

The UPPAbaby is easy to install and comes with a detailed manual. - UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey
The UPPAbaby is easy to install and comes with a detailed manual. Source: Pinterest

Car Seat Weight

A UPPAbaby infant car seat weighs about 9 pounds without attachments and is over 10 pounds with attachments on.

In contrast, the Nuna Pipa is a lightweight design that weighs approximately 7 pounds on its own and slightly over 9 pounds with its attachments in place.

Battle Champion: The cup here goes to the Nuna infant car seat. It would be way more convenient if you switch cars or move the seat onto a stroller often.

Weight and Height Limits

Compared to age limits, weight and height limits are more accurate indicators of when your child will have outgrown a car seat. This is because children achieve weight and height milestones at different ages.

The UPPAbaby MESA will comfortably and safely accommodate your tot between 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. For lower weights of about 4-9lbs, you will likely need to use the car seat insert so that your baby is well secured by the harness. The insert comes with the MESA car seat.

The Nuna Pipa’s weight limit also starts at 4 pounds and goes up to 35 pounds. Its height limit is set at 32 inches. The infant car seat insert is a 3-piece design that can be adjusted depending on the size of the baby. This ensures small babies and preemies can be positioned comfortably and properly with the harness in place.

Battle Champion: Once again, the Nuna Pipa wins. Bringing home a preemie baby demands lots of care and precautions. It is a great relief for parents going through that to be able to find a car seat that meets their needs with an adjustable car seat insert.

Seat Fabric

The padded seat of the UPPAbaby Mesa is draped in merino wool. Unlike normal wool, it does not cause any itching and is very soft to the touch. Merino wool also remains comfortable in both hot and cold weather.

Nuna Pipa opted to use certified organic cotton for its car seat covers. This would be a great choice if your child is prone to allergies as it is hypoallergenic. It is also breathable and, therefore, ideal for all climates.

More importantly, both the merino wool and organic cotton fabrics are flame resistant and have no flame retardant chemical. This is a feature worth applauding both brands for given as medical studies show flame retardants to have injurious side effects. Studies show that they can cause development and endocrine problems.

Battle Champion: the UPPAbaby Mesa wins this round. The comfort of its fabric is undeniable and the overall quality of the seat is above par.

The UPPAbaby infant car seat is built to keep your baby comfortable. - UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey
The UPPAbaby infant car seat is built to keep your baby comfortable. Source: hellobabybrown.com

Stroller Compatibility

The UPPAbaby Mesa is compatible with the VISTA and CRUZ stroller models from its UPPAbaby parent brand. No adapter is required for them to be used together.

However, if you have a UPPAbaby MINU stroller or a stroller from any other brand, you would need an adapter to make it compatible with the UPPAbaby Mesa. Unfortunately, you would have to source the adapter independently as UPPAbaby does not offer them.

Nuna takes a different approach to stroller compatibility. The Nuna Pipa is compatible with all Nuna brand strollers, except Pipa lite models, but requires adapters. On the upside, they are included as you buy the car seat. For other brands like Thule, Silver Cross, and even UPPAbaby strollers, you would have to buy the adapters separately.

Battle Champion: the Nuna Pipa car seat. The lack of easily available adapters waters down the Uppababy Mesa stroller compatibility for me.

Nuna manufactures car seat stroller adapters. - UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey
Nuna manufactures car seat stroller adapters. Source: Pinterest

Ease of Cleaning

The seat covers on both of these car seats are removable and can be machine washed as often as necessary, making cleaning car seat rather convenient. However, the UPPAbaby may be a safer bet as wool is not prone to shrinking after cleaning.

Battle Champion: UPPAbaby Mesa car seat wins for me.

Sun Protection Canopy

The UPPAbaby Mesa has a canopy that offers SPF 25+ sun protection and can be hidden away when not in use. Nonetheless, moving the car seat handle upsets the position of the canopy and could have the sun glaring right at your baby. Suffice to say, the canopy is functional but it could be better.

On a sunny day, you can count on the SPF 50+ Nuna Pipa canopy to shield your baby from the sun. It, too, can be zipped away when it is not needed.

Battle Champion: The Nuna Pipa is made of better quality fabric, works seamlessly, and offers more SPF protection.

Safety Features

Car seat safety evaluations are based on how well a car seat would shield your baby in the event of a crash. This is entirely dependent on the safety features the car seat has.

On the UPPAbaby infant car seat, the headrest is designed with side impact protection. During an accident, this car seat would therefore absorb most of the impact to protect your baby from getting injured.

Further, the seat belt system in this car seat is compatible with a vast range of cars. This is crucial as without seat belt compatibility securing the car seat would be near impossible.

The Nuna Pipa boasts of very high safety certifications from regulatory bodies. I would attribute this to its stability leg which is not a feature you see often on infant seats.

It not only keeps the car seat stable even during inertia but it also breaks impact and significantly reduces the odds of neck and cranial injuries. This Nuna car seat safety review would also be incomplete if I didn’t mention that this Pipa car seat has side impact protection to mitigate horizontal crashes like t-boning.

Battle Champion: the Nuna Pipa car seat. The safety provisions are simply too outstanding to deny.

In summary:

  UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat
Installation SMART secure system Truelock base installation system

Car seat weight

9lbs – without attachments
10lbs> – with attachments
7lbs – without attachments
9lbs> – with attachments
Weight and height limits Weight: 4lbs to 35lbs
Height: up to 32 inches
Weight: 4lbs to 35lbs
Height: up to 32inches
Seat fabric Merino wool Certified organic cotton

Stroller Compatibility

  • Compatible with VISTA and CRUZ UPPAbaby strollers with no adapter.
  • All other brands require adapters.
  • Compatible with all Nuna strollers except lite models. Adapters for all provided at purchase.
  • All other brands require separate adapters.
Ease of cleaning Removable covers can be machine-washed. Do not shrink. Removable covers can be machine-washed.
Sun canopy SPF 25+ SPF 50+
Safety Features Side impact protection Stability leg & Side impact protection

UPPABaby Mesa VS NUNA PIPA Stand-out Features

When it was my turn to choose a car seat for my little one, at some point the features seemed too close to call. So, I made a list (desperate times) of stand-out features to see what I would miss out on by choosing one over the other. It was quite helpful and I reckon it might be of some aid to you as well.

The following are the distinct features I would keep an eye on when weighing the Nuna Pipa vs UPPAbaby Mesa.

Nuna Pipa infant car seat

  • Luxe leather handle- car seat handles can be rather strenuous on your palms because the weight of the seat increases friction. The leather-wrapped handle on the Nuna Pipa will save you from such ordeals and make car seat handling more comfortable for you.
  • Dream Drape with magnetic attachment- the Nuna Pipa has a mesh Dream Drape that you can use to cover the car seat when the baby is asleep or it is too windy outside. I am, however, more impressed by the magnets used to hold it in place because they are noiseless and much easier to use than straps and other cumbersome methods.
  • Crumple zone crash safety- this refers to the space between the front seat and the Pipa car seat that is provided by the stability leg. It keeps the child in the car seat safe by delaying and reducing impact.
The Dream drape keeps the baby undisturbed during naps.- UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey
The Dream drape keeps the baby undisturbed during naps. Source: Pinterest

UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat

  • Adjustable headrest no-rethread- as your child grows, you may need to adjust the headrest to their comfort level. In turn, you would also need to adjust the harness to the new sitting position. When you adjust the UPPAbaby Mesa headrest, the harness automatically adjusts to suit the height. This saves you the agony of having to take apart and rethread the harness to fit.
  • EPP foam padding – cozy seat padding is essential for your baby’s comfort. It additionally minimizes impact during crashes because some of the force is absorbed by the padding. With this in mind, the Mesa car seat is enhanced using cushy durable EPP foam.
  • Reversible on Stroller- when using a stroller in crowded places like malls, I would often get anxious if my baby was facing away from me. I kept wondering how comfortable she was and if it was safe. I still do. If you share this sentiment, the UPPAbaby Mesa can be reversed to face you when used on a stroller and save you from anxious palpitations.

UPPAbaby Mesa Vs Nuna Pipa Review FAQs

1. Is the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat worth it?

Safety and comfort are arguably the most fundamental qualities in a car seat. The UPPAbaby Mesa delivers both with utmost efficiency and is thus, in my opinion, worth its price.

If that does not sway you, it also has a 7-year usage window before it expires. As such, you can use it for your first and second child which would give you more value.

2. Does the Nuna Pipa car seat come with a base?

Yes, the Nuna Pipa does come complete with a base with Truelock technology for easy car seat installation. The Bubble level indicators on its sides will also help you tell if the seat is well-inclined to ensure safety and stability.

3. Which is better, the UPPAbaby Mesa or Nuna Pipa car seat?

This is a close call and would depend on individual needs.

That said, I would pick the Nuna Pipa car seat due to its extra safety features, sun protection, adjustable car seat insert, and lightweight travel-friendly design. These are features that I feel would improve my child’s comfort and offer me convenience in my day to day parenting responsibilities. I would suggest making a shortlist of your key needs and corresponding features to find your best candidate.

4. What are the alternatives to the UPPAbaby Mesa and Nuna Pipa car seats?

  • Cybex Aton M Infant Car Seat- like both the Nuna Pipa and the UPPAbaby infant car seats, the Cybex Aton M infant car seat has side impact protection, removable car seat inserts, and a Safelock easy-installation system. Its headrest is adjustable and it can be installed using the LATCH or European seat belt system. Price-wise, it is priced at the same level as the car seats in this review.
  • Evenflo Gold SensorSafe Smart Infant Car Seat- this infant car seat is rear-facing and has load technology that is similar to the stability leg of the Nuna Pipa. It also has a no-rethread harness and high-structural resilience against crashes.

Further, the SensorSafe technology alerts you about installation issues or unsafe conditions. The Evenflo Gold SensorSafe Smart Infant car seat has the lowest price amongst all the options on this review.


All fancy features and drawbacks considered, your choice will likely come down to one question: which of these car seats will improve your child’s well-being and ease your parenting journey more?

I would recommend the UPPAbaby Mesa infant car seat if you:

  • Would like an assurance of seat belt compatibility
  • Prefer an adjustable headrest
  • Do not mind a heavier car seat
  • Take long trips and need your child to be extra comfortable

If so, do check out the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat to learn more.

Alternatively, consider the Nuna Pipa infant car seat if you:

  • Prefer a higher level of safety features
  • Travel often by air and need an infant seat certified for air travel
  • Prefer a lightweight design or need to move the seat between cars
  • Require more stroller compatibility options

Should these provisions match your preferences better, have a closer look at the Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat.

Which of these infant car seats is your preferred choice? Share with us your thoughts!

UPPAbaby MESA Vs Nuna Pipa Review | Baby Journey

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API