by Amy Venzke June 25, 2017 10 min read
With their steel construction, innovative safety features and extended rear-facing use, the Clek Foonf and Nuna RAVA often go head-to-head with parents seeking the safest and most stylish convertible car seat for their child.
To start, both seats have longest rear-facing weight capacity on the market: 50 pounds. But do you really have to make your kid ride backward until her 4th birthday? Experts recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible and at least until age 2. A study in the journal Injury Prevention found that the risk of death in a crash is five times lower when children are rear-facing.
Let's start the Clek Foonf vs. Nuna RAVA debate by looking at each car seat.
Looking to compare Clek's two convertible car seats? Check out our Clek Foonf vs. Clek Fllo comparison.
Founded by a former automotive industry executive, Clek makes car seats that mimic the safety and design of the seats in our vehicles. Upon its 2012 debut, the Canadian-made Clek Foonf revolutionized the market with features like crumple zone technology and an anti-rebound bar that minimize the impact of crash forces on your child. Watch the video below for an introduction to the Clek Foonf.
Nuna, a Dutch manufacturer of baby gear, made a strong entry into the convertible car seat market in 2016 when it introduced the RAVA. The seat combines top-of-the-line safety with innovative convenience features, like a no-rethread harness, machine-washable fabric and easy installation.
The RAVA is one of the only convertible car seats on the market that's free of flame-retardant chemicals (along with the Mammoth editions of the Clek Foof and Fllo).
Watch the video for an overview of the RAVA.
While both seats are priced at the top of the market, keep in mind that you'll use the convertible car seat much longer than you used your infant car seat. Both the Foonf and RAVA have a weight limit of 65 pounds, which will take kids to approximately age 6.
The Clek Foonf comes in three fabrics with varying prices: a soft jersey knit; a Crypton fabric that repels moisture, odors and stains; and a breathable and chemical-free merino wool.
The Nuna RAVA is priced the same as the lowest-priced Clek Foonf (Carbon Jersey Knit), and all RAVA colors are the same price.
Both the Clek Foonf and Nuna RAVA are heavy car seats, thanks to their steel frames. Convertible car seats are not as portable as infant car seats that can simply snap in and out of a base. To ensure the seat is installed safely each time, families should minimize switching seats between cars by purchasing two convertible seats or designating one vehicle for their children.
The Foonf is heavier when in rear-facing mode because of the addition of a base and a steel anti-rebound bar.
At 13" wide in the front of the seat and 17" at its widest portion, the Clek Foonf is more narrow than the Nuna RAVA and most convertible car seats, which can help families install three Clek seats in one row. However, the length of the RAVA is shorter than the Foonf, and it has more recline positions in both rear-facing and forward-facing mode to help families find a comfortable fit in their vehicles.
Because the Nuna RAVA contains an infant insert, it can be used for babies as small as 5 pounds. To ride in the Clek Foonf, babies must be 14 pounds or purchase Clek's Infant-Thingy insert, which accommodates babies weighing 5 to 22 pounds.
Both seats have the nearly the same forward-facing specifications. Clek and Nuna recommend keeping your child in the safest, rear-facing position until at least age 2.
All Nuna RAVA seats from 2019 to present are made with bamboo fabric, which is naturally fire-resistant and free of flame-retardant chemicals. Bamboo is also a more breathable fabric with moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic properties.
The Nuna RAVA is available in these colors:
Choosing a color of the Clek Foonf also involves choosing from one of three fabric types: jersey knit, C-Zero Plus Performance Crypton, or merino wool. You can also choose the color of the base for two colors (Thunder or Cloud Gray, or Marshmallow or Snow White).
Jersey knit is the lowest-price option, while merino wool seats have the highest price because of their added properties: Merino wool is naturally fire-resistant, breathable, hypoallergenic and odor-resistant.
Clek's Crypton fabric is resistant to stains, moisture and odors, helping your seat stay clean when the inevitable mess arises.
Here are the colors of the Clek Foonf:
Clek is known for the unique safety system it calls REACT: Rigid-LATCH Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology.
Using the same technology found in automotive seats, the Clek Foonf contains aluminum honeycomb, which crumples as it absorbs energy—resulting in less force reaching the child. The Rigid LATCH anchors are steel instead of the typical plastic, which provides a stronger connection to your vehicle's LATCH system and makes the seat easier to install in the forward-facing position.
Additional safety features on the Clek Foonf include an anti-rebound bar, which limits the ability of the seat to rotate when in rear-facing mode, further protecting the child's head and neck in a crash. The Foonf's headrest contains energy-absorbing foam and attaches to the frame with steel rods that also inhibit the headrest's movement.
Unlike other car seat manufacturers, Clek makes crash testing information for its seats publicly available. Testing for head injury and chest acceleration criteria shows that the Clek Foonf is well under acceptable thresholds: For example, the head injury score for a 1-year-old in a Clek Foonf is 339—or 66 percent below the limit of 1,000.
Featuring an all-steel frame and energy-absorbing foam, the Nuna RAVA uses premium materials to keep your child safe. Although it lacks the REACT system and anti-rebound bar of the Clek Foonf, the RAVA offers one unique safety feature: side-impact protection pods that pop out of the seat frame to be the first line of defense in a collision.
But perhaps the strongest argument for the Nuna RAVA's safety is its ease of use and installation, considering that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nearly three-quarters of car seats are used incorrectly. See how to install both seats in the next section.
The Clek Foonf can be installed with flexible LATCH connectors until the child weighs 25 pounds—at which time the weight of the car seat and child combined is too heavy for your vehicle's LATCH system, and you'll have to switch to a seatbelt installation. The Foonf can be installed rear-facing with a seatbelt until the child is 50 pounds.
To install the seat rear-facing, you'll first remove the seat cushion to install two extra pieces to the seat: a wedge-shaped base that provides a recline, as well as the anti-rebound bar to the front of the seat.
To install the seat with LATCH, you'll thread the belt containing the LATCH connectors through the sides of the seat and connect them to the lower anchors in your vehicle.
After your child is 25 pounds, you'll install the Foonf with the seatbelt, again by removing the seat cushion, threading the belt through the seat and fastening the belt in your vehicle.
Below is the first in a series of rear-facing installation videos for the Foonf.
To install the Foonf forward-facing, you'll remove the anti-rebound bar and base, both of which are used only in rear-facing mode.
Installing the Foonf in a forward-facing position with LATCH is simple, thanks to the rigid (metal) LATCH connectors that click onto your vehicle's lower anchors. The rigid LATCH is used only for forward-facing installations, not for rear-facing installations.
Once the child exceeds 35 pounds, the vehicle seat belt must be used to safely install the seat in forward-facing mode. However, in a unique feature, the Foonf can also be installed using both LATCH and the vehicle seat belt in forward-facing mode.
Using both installation methods allows families to continue taking advantage of the rigid LATCH system's added safety, even after the child has exceeded the typical weight limit for LATCH.
Below is the first in a series of forward-facing installation videos for the Foonf.
Although the Nuna RAVA can be installed rear-facing with the LATCH anchors until the child is 35 pounds, Nuna advocates that "belt is best" because it eliminates the confusion about when to switch to between LATCH and belt installation. Plus, the RAVA is among the easiest convertible car seats to install with the seat belt.
To install with the seat belt, you'll lift the seat padding to reveal Nuna's True Tension doors in the bottom of the seat. The two doors are color-coded to differentiate rear-facing and forward-facing installation instructions. Route the seat belt under the door and buckle the seat belt. Lock the shoulder belt, close the True Tension door, and the seat is installed.
Installing the forward-facing RAVA involves a similar process, as well as attaching a tether cord to the back of the vehicle seat.
The Clek Foonf harness requires "re-threading," which involves opening the back of the seat to expose the harness slots. You'll detach the straps from a metal piece called the spinner plate, pull the straps in the front of the seat, and re-thread the straps through one of several slots in the fabric. Then re-attach the straps to the spinner plate.
The Nuna RAVA harness is quicker and easier to adjust, thanks to its "no-rethread" harness. Simply press a button in the front of the seat while pulling the straps and raising the headrest.
When it comes to recline positions that keep your child safe and comfortable as she grows, the Nuna RAVA wins with 10 positions: five rear-facing and five forward-facing. To recline the seat, press a button on the side of the base and slide the seat. A numbered and colored indicator makes it easy to check whether the recline angle is safe for your child's age and position. If the child's head is falling forward, the seat should be further reclined.
The Clek Foonf features two forward-facing recline positions and two rear-facing recline positions. From the front of the seat, pull the recline lever to slide it into the desired position. Compare the recline to an angled line printed on the side of the base to ensure the Foonf is in a safe position for children older or younger than age 1.
Both seats feature a height-adjustable headrest. On the Clek Foonf, the headrest is connected to the frame using steel rods, just like the headrests in your vehicle—a feature that Clek says offers superior head protection in a side-impact crash.
The Nuna RAVA offers a comfort feature that the Clek Foonf does not: a leg rest that provides two additional inches of legroom, allowing for longer rear-facing use and for extra support when the child is facing forward. The Clek Foonf does not have a leg rest.
Featuring machine-washable fabrics, the Nuna RAVA is easier to clean than the Clek Foonf. The covers for the seat pad, head support and child restraint area can be removed, and along with the harness pads and infant insert, they're safe for the washing machine (though not for the dryer).
The Clek Foonf seat cushion and seat back covers can also be removed, though the fabric's upholstered fit on the seat frame makes doing so more difficult. The fabric isn't machine-washable, so spot cleaning with a mild detergent or with Clek's fabric cleaning and stain remover kit is recommended.
However, most colors of the Clek Foonf use Crypton fabrics that provide protection against stains, moisture and odor-causing bacteria. If you spill liquid on the Clek Foonf, you'll see it bead off. Plus, the fabrics are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.
Still don't know which car seat you like better? Let's highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each.
While both seats are made of steel, the Clek Foonf offers additional safety features not seen on the Nuna RAVA, like crumple technology, an anti-rebound bar and rigid LATCH. But thanks to innovative features like the True Tension installation doors, recline options and no-rethread harness, parents may find the Nuna RAVA easier to use. Whether you choose the Clek Foonf or Nuna RAVA, you're purchasing one of the safest and most innovative convertible car seats on the market for your child.
Strolleria is a family-owned and operated retailer dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents. If you have more questions about the Clek Foonf vs. Nuna RAVA debate, feel free to contact us at 480-442-9433 or email@example.com.
Amy Venzke is the co-owner of Strolleria, along with her husband. Together, they have a mission to make the gear-buying experience easier on parents. Contact the Strolleria team with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-442-9433.