by Amy Venzke August 12, 2021 14 min read

Deciding on the best and safest car seat for your newborn is challenging enough—and Nuna offers six choices within its line of infant car seats alone.

After the success of its best-selling PIPA, Nuna introduced two additional models that became the lightest car seats on the market: the 5.3-pound PIPA Lite and an upgraded version, the PIPA Lite LX.

Then, in 2020, Nuna added two more car seat models, both of which include a new base that simplifies installation while adding comfort for your baby. 

The PIPA RX and PIPA Lite R come with Nuna’s RELX base (pronounced like “relax”), which offers four recline positions and increased adjustability to customize the fit for both your baby and your vehicle. 

Most recently, in 2021, Nuna introduced the PIPA Lite RX, its top-of-the-line model that combines the best aspects of all seats: a "Lite" weight, the RELX base and a seatbelt-only installation option. The PIPA Lite RX also adds exclusive new features like magnetic harness buckle holders and a no-rethread harness for easier height adjustments.

Now, parents have the choice between two types of car seats (two PIPA versions and four PIPA Lite versions) and two types of bases (the PIPA base and the RELX base).

All six Nuna infant car seats offer leading safety technology, high-quality materials and compatibility with a wide range of strollers. But each model differs in its features, weight and installation options.

In this comparison, we’ll help you decide which of the six Nuna car seats is right for you: the Nuna PIPA, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite LX, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite R or PIPA Lite RX.

Nuna PIPA Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R, PIPA Lite LX and PIPA Lite RX

Nuna PIPA Comparison Video

Watch this video for an overview of the differences between the Nuna PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX.

Watch this video reviewing the newly released PIPA Lite RX, which combines popular elements from the other five PIPA models:

What are the differences between the Nuna PIPA, PIPA Lite and Lite LX, and Nuna PIPA RX, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite RX?

In this post, we’ll cover all the features of the six Nuna car seats in detail. But first, let’s review the basic elements that differentiate each model: the included base and seat inserts, weight* of the seat, installation methods and features like the magnetic Dream Drape cover.

* Note that Nuna takes weight measurements without the canopy or infant insert, components that add about 1.5 pounds depending on the model.

Car Seat Model

Price

What's Included

Weight*

Installation

Dream Drape

No-Rethread Harness

Magnetic Buckle Holders

Nuna PIPA

$319.95

PIPA base

8 lbs

With or without base

Yes

No No

Nuna PIPA RX

$379.95

RELX base

7.5 lbs

With or without base

Yes

No No

Nuna PIPA Lite

$349.95

PIPA base and extra inserts

5.3 lbs

With base

No

No No

Nuna PIPA Lite R

$399.95

RELX base

5.3 lbs

With base

No

No No

Nuna PIPA Lite LX

$399.95

PIPA base and extra inserts

5.7 lbs

With base

Yes

No No
Nuna PIPA Lite RX $449.95 RELX base and extra inserts 6.9 lbs With or without base Yes Yes Yes

Base differences

Nuna offers two types of infant car seat bases: the PIPA base and the more adjustable RELX base, which fits a wider range of vehicles and seating positions. We’ll explain all the differences between the bases later in this post.

These car seats come with the original PIPA base: the Nuna PIPA, Nuna PIPA Lite and Nuna PIPA Lite LX.

These car seats come with the newer RELX base: the Nuna PIPA RXNuna PIPA Lite R and Nuna PIPA Lite RX.

Both types of bases can be used with any Nuna infant car seat (no matter the model or production year) and can be purchased separately if you’d like an extra for a second car.

Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

Weight differences

If a new parent's No. 1 question about infant car seats is "Which is the safest?", then the No. 2 question is "Which is the lightest?"

The four Nuna PIPA Lite versions—the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R, PIPA Lite LX and PIPA Lite RX—can claim both titles.

Because they’re made with a different type of foam, the Lite car seats are lighter than any other car seats on the market, including the Nuna PIPA and PIPA RX. 

The PIPA Lite RX is 1 to 1.5 pounds heavier than the other Lite models because it includes seatbelt guides that allow the seat to be installed without the base.

Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

Installation differences

All infant car seats come with a base that stays in your vehicle, which allows you to simply click the car seat in and out.

The Nuna PIPA, Nuna PIPA RX and Nuna PIPA Lite RX can also be installed without the base using only the vehicle seatbelt, allowing you to leave the base at home if you’re traveling.

But the other PIPA Lite versions—PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX—don’t have seatbelt guides and therefore must be installed using the base at all times, which may disqualify the car seat for families who frequently travel in taxis and planes.

Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

Dream Drape

One signature element of a Nuna car seat is the Dream Drape, a piece of stretchy fabric that attaches to the end of the seat with magnets to protect baby from the sun (and from nosy visitors during nap time). The Dream Drape zips inside the canopy when not in use.

Three car seat models feature the Dream Drape: the Nuna PIPA, Nuna PIPA RX, Nuna PIPA Lite LX and Nuna PIPA Lite RX.

The PIPA Lite and PIPA Lite R models do not have a Dream Drape, which makes them slightly lighter, as well as $50 less expensive than their counterparts, the PIPA Lite LX and PIPA Lite RX.

    Nuna PIPA vs. Nuna PIPA Lite vs. PIPA Lite LX Infant Car Seat Comparison

    Nuna PIPA Base vs. RELX Base

    Choosing a Nuna car seat also means choosing between two types of bases: the original PIPA base and the newer RELX base.

    See the RELX base in the video below.

    Both the PIPA and RELX bases take a matter of seconds to install, and both include the leading safety feature in infant car seats: a steel load leg that stabilizes the seat in a collision.

    But the RELX base offers several additional features that help parents troubleshoot common installation problems while adding comfort for the baby, too. 

    Plus, the RELX base fits better in your vehicle’s safest position—the middle seat—because its load leg is more adjustable and the base can be more easily installed with a seatbelt when LATCH is not available.

    Here’s an overview of the differences between the PIPA and RELX bases.

    Base

    Recline options

    LATCH positions

    Load leg positions

    Anti-rebound panel

    Weight of base

    PIPA base

    1 flip foot

    1 position

    12 positions

    No

    14 lbs

    RELX base

    4 positions

    4 positions

    17 positions

    Yes

    18.6 lbs


    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX
    Recline options

    The side of the RELX base includes a button that reclines the seat to four different angles. Angles are labeled and color-coded: The first two positions are safe for a baby between 4-20 pounds, while the third and fourth positions can be used from 21-32 pounds, when your child has gained more head and neck strength.

    The recline options serve two purposes: As your baby grows, she can sit slightly more upright, which may be more comfortable (especially for babies with issues like acid reflux). All recline positions have been crash-tested to ensure safety.

    Plus, the recline button eliminates the need to check a bubble indicator, seen on the PIPA base and most other car seats, to ensure the car seat is level.

    The PIPA base doesn’t have recline options, only a recline foot underneath the base that changes its angle. The recline foot is used only to ensure the base is level and does not affect baby’s comfort.

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    LATCH connector positions

    Both types of bases have a rigid LATCH system, which means the connectors are steel for an installation that’s easier and more secure. To install the base, simply slide the connectors into the lower anchors in your vehicle.

    The connectors on the PIPA base can rotate but can’t be extended, which occasionally means that the connectors aren’t long enough to reach the anchors in certain cars. 

    The connectors on the RELX base have four positions, allowing them to be shortened or lengthened to fit a wider variety of vehicles. When you press on the RELX base, the connectors ratchet closer to the vehicle seat—reducing the gap between the base and your car’s anchors and allowing for a more secure installation.

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    Load leg positions

    For both bases, the load leg is adjustable, allowing you to raise and lower the leg until it hits the floor of your vehicle.

    But the load leg on the RELX base consists of three pieces instead of the two-piece PIPA load leg, helping the base to fit in more vehicles—especially those with a hump in the center seat. The RELX base adjusts to 17 positions, while the PIPA load leg offers 12 positions.

    The load leg also tucks into the RELX base seamlessly, so the base remains a smooth surface that won’t damage your vehicle seat.

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    Base installation with seatbelt

    Some parents want to install their car seat in the middle seat to keep baby away from the passenger doors. But many cars don’t have LATCH in the center seat, requiring the base to be installed with a seatbelt instead.

    The RELX base is easier to install with a seatbelt, thanks to a redesigned lockoff that makes it easier to open the belt path and secure the belt. Separate paths for the lap and shoulder belts are clearly labeled, helping to avoid bunching and slipping.

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    Anti-rebound panel

    The RELX base includes an anti-rebound panel, something not seen on the PIPA base. The panel reduces rearward motion, although Nuna notes that safety testing has not been conducted on its anti-rebound panel or anti-rebound bars on other car seat models.

    But the anti-rebound panel also helps parents ensure that the car seat is flush with the vehicle seatback, ensuring the most secure installation.

    Nuna PIPA Series Installation

    Nuna offers two choices of car seat bases: the original PIPA base and the RELX base. Another consideration: Three car seat versions—the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX—can’t be installedwithout the base, making them more cumbersome for travel.

    Which Nuna PIPAs can be installed without the base?

    Only the Nuna PIPA, PIPA RX and PIPA Lite RX can be installed with just the carrier and a seat belt using the European-style seatbelt installation. The PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX need the base at all times.

    If the base is so great, why wouldn't you use it all the time? On-the-go families will see a few reasons.

    If you live in an urban area, you may have to rule out the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R or PIPA Lite LX, unless you're certain you'll never Uber with baby.

    The same is true if you're a frequent flier: While all Nuna car seats are FAA-certified, the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX versions will require you to lug the base (14 pounds for the PIPA base and 18 pounds for the RELX base) onto an airplane.

    Suburban dwellers and road trippers may do just fine with the base-only PIPA Lite versions, while other families may need the flexibility offered by the seatbelt installation option on the PIPA, PIPA RX and PIPA Lite RX.

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    Nuna PIPA Series Weight Differences

    How much does each version of the Nuna PIPA weigh?

    First, let's cover the disclaimer: The advertised 5.3-pound weight of the lightest seats, the PIPA Lite and PIPA Lite LX, does not include the canopy or infant insert. For all models, those components add about 1.5 pounds to the advertised weight.

    But with or without those add-ons, these PIPA Lite versions are still at least 2.6 pounds lighter than the original PIPA.

    With its additions of the Dream Drape and merino wool fabric, the PIPA Lite LX weighs just slightly more than the Lite and Lite R, at 5.7 pounds. The PIPA Lite RX is over 1 pound heavier than the other Lite versions because it includes seatbelt guides for the base-free installation option.

    Most parents we've met immediately notice the weight difference between the PIPA Lite and non-Lite versions. When you're carrying a growing baby, every pound helps!

    Here are the weights for each car seat.

    Nuna PIPA weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 8 pounds

    Nuna PIPA RX Weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 7.5 pounds

    Nuna PIPA Lite weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 5.3 pounds

    Nuna PIPA Lite R weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 5.3 pounds

    Nuna PIPA Lite LX weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 5.7 pounds

    Nuna PIPA Lite RX weight

    • Without canopy and insert: 6.9 pounds

    Nuna PIPA Series Comparison: PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX

    Nuna PIPA Series Safety

    All car seats in theNuna PIPA series are among the safest infant car seats you could choose for your child.

    The Nuna PIPA and PIPA Lite are both rated "best" in crash protection by Consumer Reports, which does independent crash testing to rank car seats on a "good, better, best" scale. Other versions of the PIPA have not been ranked by Consumer Reports, but we can assume all models would receive the same grade.

    That's because all Nuna infant car seats use a steel-reinforced base that includes a load leg—a steel anchor that extends from the base of the car seat to the floor of your vehicle for additional stability.

    Most of theinfant car seats with load legs on the market are all rated "best" in crash protection by Consumer Reports. The organization found that a load leg reduces the risk of head injury by 46 percent, while Nuna says its steel load leg minimizes forward rotation during a crash impact by up to 90 percent.

    Additionally, both the Nuna PIPA and RELX bases include rigid (steel) LATCH connectors, which Nuna says is 50 percent stronger than the plastic LATCH connectors seen on most infant car seats.

    Each Nuna model differs in the materials used to create the protective shell of the car seat. Like most infant car seats, the PIPA is made with EPS foam, which is not flexible.

    The PIPA Lite models use a new type of proprietary, lightweight foam called Aeroflex, a flexible EPP foam that compresses to absorb and diffuse energy away from the baby. While most car seats consist of the non-flexible foam inside a thick plastic shell, the thin plastic walls of the PIPA Lite models have been fused with foam to create a one-of-a-kind seat that's light yet strong.

    Nuna PIPA Series Price Differences

    Five price points exist for the Nuna PIPA series, with features like the RELX base, merino wool fabrics and the Dream Drape adding to the cost:

    • Nuna PIPA: $319.95
    • Nuna PIPA Lite: $349.95
    • Nuna PIPA RX: $379.95
    • Nuna PIPA Lite R and PIPA Lite LX: $399.95
    • Nuna PIPA Lite RX: $449.95

    All car seat models come with one base. If you're using the seat in a second car, you can purchase an additional car seat base. The RELX base costs $40 more than the original PIPA base because of its added features.

    • PIPA base: $159.95
    • RELX base: $199.95

    nuna pipa comparison

    Nuna PIPA Series Fabrics and Materials

    All Nuna PIPA car seats are made with high-quality fabrics that are free of flame-retardant chemicals. Models differ slightly based on their materials, Dream Drape and infant inserts.

    Dream Drape and Peek-a-Boo Window

    Four of the six car seats—the Nuna PIPA, Nuna PIPA RX, Nuna PIPA Lite LX and Nuna PIPA Lite RX—have the Dream Drape, the magnetized, ventilated fabric that attaches to the end of the seat for extra sun protection and privacy. The PIPA Lite and Lite R models do not have the Dream Drape.

    The PIPA Lite, Lite R and Lite LX also don’t have the ventilated peek-a-boo window seen on the PIPA, PIPA RX and PIPA Lite RX.

    Nuna PIPA vs. Nuna PIPA Lite vs. PIPA Lite LX Infant Car Seat Comparison

    Infant Inserts

    Each Nuna car seat includes a removable infant insert that adds support for your newborn’s head, neck and body, but the materials used differ by model.

    The PIPA RX and PIPA Lite R versions are made with an organic jersey fabric, while the PIPA and PIPA Lite inserts are polyester. 

    The inserts on the PIPA Lite LX and PIPA Lite RX have added benefits because it consists of merino wool TENCEL lyocell fiber blend fabric. In addition to being soft and environmentally-friendly, merino wool naturally helps regulate your baby's body temperature, keeping her warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather.

    Plus, the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite LX and PIPA Lite RX include a second set of organic cotton inserts to use while the first set is in the wash.

    • PIPA: Polyester
    • PIPA RX: Organic jersey knit
    • PIPA Lite: One polyester set, one organic cotton set (2 sets)
    • PIPA Lite R: Organic jersey knit
    • PIPA Lite LX: One merino wool/TENCEL set, one organic cotton set (2 sets)
    • PIPA Lite RX: One merino wool/TENCEL set, one organic cotton set (2 sets)

    Flame Retardant Chemicals

    All models in the Nuna PIPA series are made with naturally fire-resistant materials, making them among the only chemical-free infant car seats on the market.

    The nonprofit Ecology Center's Healthy Stuff program found in a 2018 study that 80 percent of the car seats tested contained chemical additives that have been associated with a range of health effects and environmental concerns.

    While exposure to flame retardants has not been directly correlated with health conditions, some experts are concerned that chemicals in car seats can break down and allow children to touch or inhale harmful toxins. 

    Nuna PIPA Series Colors

    The Nuna PIPA Series comes in several neutral colors that vary slightly by model.

    The Nuna PIPA is available in these colors:

    • Granite
    • Birch
    • Caviar
    • Frost

    nuna pipa colors

    The PIPA RX comes in:

    • Birch
    • Caviar
    • Granite

    nuna pipa rx colors

    PIPA Lite colors include:

    • Granite
    • Caviar

    Nuna PIPA Lite colors

     

    The Nuna PIPA Lite R comes in these colors:

    • Granite
    • Caviar
    • Timber

    nuna pipa lite r colors

    The colors for the PIPA Lite LX are:

    • Granite
    • Caviar
    • Frost

    Nuna PIPA Lite LX colors

    The Nuna PIPA Lite RX is the only Nuna car seat that includes a matte black handle instead of silver. It comes in these four colors:

    • Caviar
    • Granite
    • Timber
    • Frost

    nuna pipa lite rx colors

    Strollers Compatible with Nuna PIPA Series

    All Nuna infant car seats are compatible with all Nuna strollers, as well as strollers from numerous other brands. 

    For Nuna strollers, car seat adapters are either included with your purchase, or in the case of the TAVO, adapters are not needed. To connect a Nuna car seat to another brand's stroller, a car seat adapter must be purchased.

    Compatibility between the PIPA versions and the PIPA Lite versions is largely the same, with a few exceptions noted below.

    Strollers compatible with the Nuna PIPA series include:

    • Nuna Demi Grow, MIXX Next, MIXX, TRIV, TAVO, TAVO Next, PEPP and PEPP Next (with included adapters)
    • Agio Z3 (with adapter)
    • Agio Z4 (with adapter)
    • Austlen Entourage (with front adapter or rear adapter)
    • Baby Jogger City Select, City Select Lux, City Premier and City Select 2 (with adapter)
    • 2018-earlier Baby Jogger City Mini/GT Single* (with adapter)
    • Baby Jogger City Mini 2/City Mini GT 2 Single* (with adapter now discontinued)
    • Babyzen YOYO+ and YOYO2 (with adapter)
    • BOB Revolution Flex and Rambler (with adapter)
    • Bugaboo Ant (with adapter)
    • Bugaboo Donkey, Donkey2, Donkey3 (with mono or twin adapter)
    • Bugaboo Fox, Fox2 and Lynx (with adapter)
    • Bugaboo Cameleon3 (with adapter)
    • Bugaboo Bee3, Bee5 and Bee6 (with adapter)
    • Bumbleride Era (with adapter)
    • Bumbleride Indie and Speed (with adapter)
    • Bumbleride Indie Twin (with adapter)
    • Cybex Gazelle S (with included adapters)
    • Joolz Aer (with adapter)
    • Joolz Geo2 (with upper or lower adapter)
    • Joolz Day3 (with adapter)
    • Joolz Hub (with adapter)
    • Mima Xari (with adapter)
    • Mima Zigi (with adapter)
    • Silver Cross Coast (with upper adapter or lower adapter)
    • Silver Cross Jet (with adapter)
    • Silver Cross Wave (with upper adapter or lower adapter)
    • Stokke Xplory*, Trailz* and Scoot* (with adapter)
    • Quinny Moodd (with included adapter)
    • Thule Urban Glide 1 or 2 Single and Double (with adapter)
    • Thule Sleek (with adapter)
    • Thule Spring (with adapter)
    • UPPAbaby VISTA, VISTA V2, CRUZ, and CRUZ V2 (with ring adapter or post adapters)
    • UPPAbaby MINU (with adapter)
    • Veer Cruiser All-Terrain Wagon (with adapter)
    • Vidiamo Limo (with adapter)

    * = not compatible with PIPA Lite versions

    Nuna PIPA vs. Nuna PIPA Lite vs. PIPA Lite LX Infant Car Seat Comparison

    Conclusion

    Choosing a car seat from the Nuna PIPA series involves choosing both the seatandthe base.

    The newer RELX base builds on the original PIPA base by solving the most common problems parents face when installing an infant car seat. But parents may prefer the lighter and lower-priced PIPA base, which still offers leading safety features.

    Next, parents can choose the between the original PIPA seat or a lighter PIPA Lite version. Do a couple of pounds really make a difference when carrying an infant car seat? Every parent may have a different answer.

    Your opinion aside, the biggest factor in choosing a car seat model may be where you plan to install it.

    If you need to use your seat in taxis or during travel, the PIPA, PIPA RX and PIPA Lite RX are better choices because they can be installed with only a seat belt. But if you're confident that your baby will only be riding in your car, you might choose the PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R or PIPA Lite LX.

    No matter which of the six versions you choose, you'll be purchasing one of the safest, most innovative and most stylish infant car seats available.

    Questions?

    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 differences between Nuna PIPA versions, feel free to contact us at 480-442-9433 or customercare@strolleria.com.

     

    Amy Venzke
    Amy Venzke

    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 customercare@strolleria.com or 480-442-9433.


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