UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat Comparison

UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat Comparison

If you're considering an UPPAbaby stroller, you probably know that the UPPAbaby MESA series is the go-to choice of infant car seat for many families.

But UPPAbaby strollers are also compatible with a number of other car seats, one of the most popular being the Nuna PIPA series.

Both the UPPAbaby MESA and Nuna PIPA are highly rated for safety and ease of use, can be installed in a matter of seconds, and offer a similar price, style and level of comfort for your baby.

In this post, we'll compare the UPPAbaby MESA series to the Nuna PIPA car seat series.

UPPAbaby MESA Max picture next to Nuna PIPA Lite RX

UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Video Comparison

See below for a video version of this comparison, including a review of safety features, installation, compatible strollers and more.


Paired with an UPPAbaby stroller, the UPPAbaby MESA series infant car seat creates the easiest of travel systems: Connect the car seat directly to the frame of the UPPAbaby VISTA or CRUZ (no adapters required) and disconnect it by pressing a button on the top of the handle. 

Awarded the government's highest ease of use rating, the MESA simplifies car seat safety with features like a tightness indicator that signals a safe installation and a no-rethread harness that allows parents to make adjustments for a growing child without having to remove and re-attach the straps. Side impact protection and an adjustable headrest with EPP foam wings help keep babies safe as they grow. The MESA Max base also features a load leg to help add stability and absorb crash forces.


The Nuna PIPA is one of few infant car seats rated "best" in crash protection by Consumer Reports. Along with side impact protection, the PIPA offers a steel load leg that extends from the base to the floor of your car—adding stability and absorbing crash forces through its crumple zone.

Among the features that make the PIPA a best-seller: an innovative "Sky Drape" cover that protects baby from the elements, as well as compatibility with strollers from Nuna, UPPAbaby and several other brands. Nuna is also known for having some of the lightest car seats on the market!

The RELX base offers four recline positions and more adjustable components, allowing the base to fit a greater range of vehicles and troubleshoot common installation problems.

Learn about the differences between the models in this Nuna PIPA comparison. 

Below is a review of the Nuna PIPA Lite RX Infant Car Seat:

UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Price

For current pricing of the MESA models, click here.

For current pricing of the PIPA models, click here.

Factor that influence the price of the different models include materials used, added features, and lighter weight.

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat Comparison

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Weight

    Nuna is known for their lighter weight car seats. How much weight are we talking? Really only about 1-3 pounds less than other brand car seats like the UPPAbaby MESA series. However, this weight difference is substantial and significant to many parents, especially as your baby grows.

    Man pushing CRUZ V2 with Mesa car seat next to woman pushing MIXX Next with PIPA car seat

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Weight and Height Limit

    Most infant car seats are similar in their height and weight limits and can be used for about a year, depending mostly on the height (and head height) of the baby. Once one limit is met, the seat is outgrown.

    • MESA Series: 4 to 35 pounds; 32" height limit; head 1” within top of seat
    • PIPA Series: 4 to 32 pounds; 32" height limit; head 1” within top of seat
    • PIPA Urbn: 4 to 22 pounds; 29” height limit; head 1” within top of seat

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat Comparison

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Installation with Base

    Both car seats can be installed with the base in a matter of seconds, using either the LATCH system or the vehicle seat belt. Both methods are equally safe; the LATCH system was designed for convenience.

    However, unlike the MESA, the Nuna base has steel rigid latch, which is an added safety feature so if your vehicle has LATCH, definitely use it! Note that the Nuna Urbn does not have a base, but instead has rigid latch on the car seat itself!

    UPPAbaby MESA

    Watch how to install the UPPAbaby MESA base in the video below:

    Watch how to install the UPPAbaby MESA Max base in the video below:

    Nuna PIPA

    See the video below for a look at installing the Nuna RELX base.

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Installation with Seatbelt

    If you're traveling or taking a cab, you'll need to install your car seat with the seatbelt instead of the base (assuming you don't want to carry the base around).

    Note that the Nuna PIPA Lite cannot be installed without a base, and must use the base at all times.

    Both the MESA and PIPA models use the European belt path, which also routes the seatbelt through a guide at the back of the car seat.

    See how to do a carrier-only install for both car seats below.

    UPPAbaby MESA

    Nuna PIPA

    Strollers Compatible with UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA 

    While the UPPAbaby MESA models are designed to fit only a select few other brand strollers, the Nuna PIPA series of car seats are compatible with a variety of other brands in addition to Nuna strollers.

    That makes the PIPA a more versatile choice if you're looking to use the car seat on a jogging stroller, travel stroller or on a double stroller in the future.

    Strollers Compatible with UPPAbaby MESA

    The UPPAbaby MESA fits the UPPAbaby VISTA and CRUZ strollers without the need for adapters.

    While UPPAbaby does not manufacture any car seat adapters for the MESA to fit other brands' strollers, some other brands do make adapters for the MESA models to fit their strollers.

    Click here to see a full list of compatible strollers.

    Strollers Compatible with Nuna PIPA

    Adapters are needed to attach the Nuna PIPA to any stroller but are included with your purchase of a Nuna stroller. For any other brand, adapters are sold separately.

    Click here to see the extensive list of compatible strollers.

    uppababy mesa vs nuna pipa infant car seat comparison

    UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Colors

    Both the MESA and PIPA models are available in a wide range of mostly neutral colors. For specific color options, please see the respective product pages.

    For current colors of the MESA models, click here.

    For current colors of the PIPA models, click here.


    Benefits and Drawbacks

    So which car seat is better: one of the UPPAbaby MESA models or one of the Nuna PIPA versions? Only you can decide which is best for your family, but here are the benefits and drawbacks we see.

    UPPAbaby MESA


    • Awarded 5-star NHTSA rating, the government's highest rating for ease of use
    • Connects to UPPAbaby VISTA and CRUZ strollers without the need for adapters and easily disconnects with one hand using the button on top of the handle
    • Requires fewer adapters than PIPA when using VISTA as a double stroller
    • Tightness indicators turn from red to green to show when the car seat is securely installed (for both base and seat belt installation)
    • No-rethread harness makes it easy to adjust the harness as the baby grows without having to disassemble the seat
    • Adjustable headrest is lined with EPP foam to add protection and comfort as your child grows


    • Has lower Consumer Reports crash protection rating than Nuna PIPA and MESA base lacks safety features of Nuna's load leg base (MESA Max base does have a load leg)
    • Not compatible with most other stroller brands
    • Heavier than the PIPA models
    • Canopy provides less sun coverage
    • Has plastic handle instead of leatherette handle on PIPA

      UPPAbaby MESA vs. Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat Comparison

      Nuna PIPA


      • Steel load leg in the base minimizes forward rotation of the car seat by as much as 90 percent, absorbs forces and minimizes impact on baby
      • Compatible with a wider range of stroller brands and types than MESA versions
      • PIPA Lite versions are more than 3.5 pounds lighter than MESA
      • All versions are free of flame retardant chemicals and feature a leatherette handlebar
      • Sky Drape cover attaches with magnets to provide completion sun protection and can be zipped away when not in use (not on the PIPA Lite)
      • RELX base offers more adjustability than most car seat bases, allowing for four recline positions and reducing installation problems
      • Rigid (metal) LATCH connectors make for quick installation plus are an added safety feature
      • Ring-shaped car seat adapters available for Nuna strollers and UPPAbaby VISTA/CRUZ allow the car seat to click in and out of stroller with one hand


      • Harness must be threaded through back of seat to make adjustments as baby grows, adding inconvenience and risk for errors (on all versions except PIPA Lite RX)
      • Does not have adjustable headrest of MESA (on all versions except PIPA Lite RX)
      • PIPA Lite cannot be installed without the base for taxis and travel
      • With strollers for which a ring-shaped adapter is not available, removing car seat from adapters for other strollers requires two hands

        Nuna PIPA Lite/Lite LX


        The Nuna PIPA and UPPAbaby MESA models are both highly-recommended car seats regarded for their safety, quality, comfort and style.

        Nuna offers more options to fit your needs, including the PIPA Lite versions that are the lightest car seats on the market, as well as a completely baseless model and the adjustable RELX base. The PIPA connects to a wider variety of strollers, but the MESA offers an adapter-free connection to UPPAbaby strollers. 


        Strolleria is an authorized UPPAbaby and Nuna retailer dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents. If you have more questions about the Nuna PIPA vs. UPPAbaby MESA, feel free to contact us at 480-442-9433 or customercare@strolleria.com.

        Shop Nuna and UPPAbaby infant car seats below!