by Amy Venzke November 14, 2020 12 min read
Every parent wants the safest ride for their new baby, but that's not all they're looking for in an infant car seat. Ideally, your car seat should also be easy to use and install, lightweight to carry, breathable with soft fabrics, and compatible with your car seat—and it wouldn't hurt if it looked nice, too.
For years, the Nuna PIPA has checked all of those boxes—and now, so does a newer competitor from one of the industry's leading car seat brands.
The Clek Liing is the first infant car seat from Clek, a Canadian manufacturer known for the strength and safety of its convertible and booster car seats.
The Nuna PIPA and Clek Liing share a number of similarities, with both showcasing top safety features, premium materials, and compatibility with the leading strollers on the market. Both are rated "best" in crash protection by Consumer Reports, while the Clek Liing ranks as the organization's overall No. 1 pick for an infant car seat.
In this in-depth comparison, we'll review all the features, benefits and drawbacks of the Clek Liing and the five models in the Nuna PIPA series.
See this Nuna PIPA series comparison for the differences between the Nuna PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX.
Founded by veterans of the automotive industry, the parents behind Clek set out to make their children's convertible and booster seats just as safe as the seats in our own vehicles.
Now, the Canadian manufacturer is applying its safety technology and modern design to the littlest Clek, the Clek Liing (get it?)
The Clek Liing, rated the No. 1 infant car seat by Consumer Reports, includes leading safety features like a metal load leg that stabilizes the base in a collision and "rigid" metal LATCH connectors that provide the strongest connection to your vehicle.
Unlike most car seat bases, the base of the Clek Liing can be adjusted to seven positions to ensure a safe angle for your baby and a secure fit in a variety of vehicles. Made in Canada and available in three fabric choices, the Clek Liing is compatible with most of the leading stroller brands.
Beloved for both its safety and style, the Nuna PIPA is one of few infant car seats to earn a "best" crash protection rating from Consumer Reports. The PIPA features a steel load leg and rigid LATCH connectors to prevent the car seat from rotating or rebounding in a crash.
In addition to Nuna strollers, the PIPA is compatible with dozens of strollers from top brands. Unique to the PIPA is a "Dream Drape," a magnetic cover that provides full sun protection and conveniently zips into the canopy when not in use.
In recent years, Nuna has expanded its car seat lineup to include two types of bases and five car seat models. The three PIPA Lite versions (PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX) are the lightest on the market, while the PIPA RX and PIPA Lite R seats come with Nuna's upgraded and more-adjustable RELX base.
The RELX base is similar to the base of the Clek Liing, offering four recline positions and adjustable LATCH connectors that help you achieve a tighter fit against your vehicle seat.
See our PIPA series comparison for a full overview of each option.
Both the Clek and Nuna car seats are available at three different price points, with prices varying based on the materials used in each seat (for Clek) and the materials and features (for Nuna).
The Clek Liing offers three choices of fabrics, all of which are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.
The lowest-priced fabric, Soft Jersey Knit, is a stretchy polyester/spandex blend that feels like a soft cotton.
For $50 more, the Tailored Crypton C-Zero protects against stains, moisture and odor-causing bacteria. The Crypton fabrics are free of fluorine chemicals and are certified by GREENGUARD, which means they meet the most rigorous chemical emissions standards.
For $100 more than the starting price, the Clek Liing is available in two colors featuring 100% merino wool: Mammoth and Twilight. In addition to being free of all added flame retardants, merino wool naturally helps regulate your baby's body temperature, keeping her cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather.
The price of a Nuna car seat ranges from $319.95 to $399.95, depending on the type of included base, the materials and the features. All versions of the PIPA are among the few car seats on the market that are free of flame-retardant chemicals.
What accounts for the higher prices? The PIPA Lite versions are made with a new, proprietary type of foam that's lighter and more flexible, while the PIPA RX and PIPA Lite R come with Nuna's upgraded RELX base. The RELX base offers four recline positions, as well as greater adjustability to help the base fit in a wider variety of vehicles.
Like the Mammoth version of the Clek Liing, the PIPA Lite LX is also made with merino wool, a fabric that's more breathable, moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic. Additionally, the PIPA Lite LX (along with the original PIPA and PIPA RX) includes the magnetic "Dream Drape" cover that protects baby from the elements.
See the weights for each model below, noting that Nuna lists its product measurements without the inclusion of the canopy or infant insert (which can add 1 to 1.5 pounds).
All infant car seats can be used for approximately one year, depending mostly on the height of the baby.
Only a handful of car seats on the market feature a load leg, a metal bar that extends from the base to the floor of your car. The load leg absorbs energy in a collision and prevents the car seat from rotating or rebounding, reducing the risk of head injury by 46 percent, according to a study by Consumer Reports.
Check out the crash test video below for a look at how the Clek Liing load leg prevents the car seat from moving or rotating in an accident.
The Clek and Nuna car seats include steel components that are commonly made of plastic for other brands. The base for both car seats is steel, as are the LATCH connectors, which are called "rigid."
Rigid LATCH makes the car seats easier to install, as the base slides into the LATCH anchors in your vehicle in only a few seconds. Rigid LATCH also makes for a steel-on-steel connection that's stronger and more secure than plastic LATCH connectors, making the car seat like an extension of your vehicle.
So which is safer: the Clek Liing or the Nuna PIPA? Consumer Reports, which conducts independent testing, rated both seats "best" in crash protection. But the Clek Liing has a higher overall score of 90, factoring in ease of use and vehicle fit, while the Nuna PIPA has an overall score of 68. (The organization did not test each Nuna model).
The federal government's ratings are based not on crash testing, but on ease of use—an important safety feature in itself. The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration awarded 4 of 5 stars to both the Clek Liing and Nuna PIPA Lite LX (other Nuna models weren't rated).
Both Clek and Nuna bases feature rigid (metal) LATCH connectors that make installation as easy as sliding the base into the lower anchors in your car. For both brands, you'll also adjust the length of the load leg until the indicator turns green, signaling a secure connection.
On the Clek Liing base, as well as the Nuna RELX base, the LATCH connectors are adjustable in length, allowing the base to fit more tightly against your vehicle seat and aiding installation when the LATCH anchors are hard to reach. The connectors are one length on the PIPA base.
Achieving a safe angle for a newborn is a key aspect of car seat installation. One unique aspect of the Clek Liing base and the Nuna RELX base (seen on the PIPA RX and PIPA Lite R models) is that it includes adjustable recline positions: seven options for Clek and four for Nuna.
The recline positions provide options for baby's comfort and help ensure that the base can be installed safely in every vehicle, making it easier to fit in tricky vehicle seats that are flat or sloped. The recline can be adjusted after the seat has been installed.
The original Nuna PIPA base seen on the PIPA, PIPA Lite and PIPA Lite LX offers less adjustability. A bubble indicator on the side of the base helps you check for a correct angle. If necessary, you can pull out a recline foot on the underside of the base to check the angle or adjust the height of the load leg.
Unless you're traveling or taking taxis, you'll want to use the base that comes with your car seat, as it offers an easier, faster install and additional safety features that protect your child.
But if you live in a city, take taxis frequently or are often traveling away from home, you may be installing your car seat with only a seatbelt.
The Clek Liing, Nuna PIPA and Nuna PIPA RX can be installed either with the base or with a seatbelt. The PIPA Lite versions require the base at all times, as the seatbelt guides were omitted in the design to reduce the weight of the seat.
Both the Liing and PIPA feature a European belt path, in which the seatbelt is routed through guides through both the front and back of the car seat for a secure fit. Other car seats use what's known as the American belt path, in which the seat belt is routed only through the front of the base.
That's because the Clek Liing has a similar design to Nuna, Maxi-Cosi and Cybex car seats, which share car seat adapters across almost all brands. If your stroller brand offers a Maxi-Cosi adapter, there's a good chance that both the Nuna and Clek car seats will fit your stroller.
The Clek Liing shares a design with Maxi-Cosi, Nuna and Cybex car seats that enables it to be used with car seat adapters for these brands. These strollers have been approved for use with the Clek Liing.
Adapters are needed to attach a Nuna car seat to any stroller but are included with your purchase of a Nuna stroller (or, in the case of the Nuna TAVO stroller, adapters are not needed). For any other brand, adapters are sold separately.
One advantage of using a Nuna car seat on your stroller: For some strollers, Nuna makes a "ring adapter" that makes it possible to attach and detach the car seat with one hand instead of two hands—a major convenience when you're carrying a squirmy or crying baby.
Ring adapters are available for these strollers: Nuna MIXX, MIXX Next, TRIV and Demi Grow, UPPAbaby VISTA and CRUZ.
Below are strollers compatible with the Nuna PIPA series.
Clek and Nuna car seats are both offered in neutral colors, with colors varying by the model or fabric type. (See the previous pricing section for an explanation of why some fabrics carry a higher price point).
The Clek Liing in Soft Jersey Knit is available in:
The Tailored Crypton C-Zero fabrics come in these colors:
The Merino Wool option comes in a single color, which is a dark gray:
Colors for the Nuna PIPA are:
PIPA Lite and PIPA Lite R colors include:
The PIPA RX colors are:
The colors for the PIPA Lite LX are:
So which car seat is better? Only you can decide which is best for your family, but here are the benefits and drawbacks we see.
Debating Nuna models? Check out our Nuna PIPA series comparison.
With its safety features, wide-ranging stroller compatibility and stylish look, the Nuna PIPA has long been a leading car seat—especially now that the Nuna line also includes the PIPA Lite car seats, the lightest car seats in the world.
The Clek Liing is a tough competitor with its similar safety features and stroller compatibility, along with added bonuses like an adjustable base and array of fabric choices.
No matter which car seat you choose, you'll have one of the safest and most innovative options available for your baby.
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 Nuna PIPA vs. Clek Liing debate, feel free to contact us at 480-442-9433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or 480-442-9433.