The Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat are two of our best sellers, and most savvy customers walk into our store knowing either of these names. While similar in weight, there are a few key differences between these two car seats.
The Chicco is the ol’ reliable car seat. Its design hasn’t changed in years, no groundbreaking or new innovative technology here; it’s a simple, standard American seat. It is consistently rated #1 by consumer reports, due to its ease of use and relatively low cost. There are adapters for just about every stroller on the market for it, making it one of the easiest car seats to turn into a travel system. It is even color coded: everything in orange has a function (this goes for the base too). Chicco (pronounced key-co) originated in Italy and is manufactured in China.
The Nuna Pipa, on the other hand, is new in town and quickly taking over. The load leg, while standard in Europe, is making its waves here in the US (read more about the advantages of a load leg here!). It also has a rigid LATCH, which doesn’t work in EVERY car (which is why we highly suggest trying it first!), but does make installation a no-brainer. I vividly remember watching my sister struggle to get her Graco base out of her car until she claimed she was never having kids again. This time around, for her third baby, I suggested the Pipa. Two clicks and a load leg later, she got all the nurses’ attention with her sleek new car seat!
The Pipa is the lightest car seat on the market (7.7 lbs compared to Chicco’s back breaking 9 lbs), and has the most narrow base. My sister, who I will keep using as an example, has three kids in her backseat now; the narrowness of the base makes it easier on her older children, who are in boosters. This means the Pipa is GREAT for twins – you will still have enough room to sit in the backseat with them if needed (or make your sister sit in the back with them as mine always did).
Nuna is a Dutch company, and while their car seats are also made in China, they have all OEKO-TEX certified fabrics (this goes for all of their products). They use European standards in their Chinese factories, meaning fair labor practices, safe working environments, long lunches, etc. The fabrics used + the workplace standards + the rigid LATCH + the load leg all make the Nuna Pipa unique, stylish, safe, and environmentally friendly. PLUS, it’s only available in specialty stores (my sister in Indiana bought one from us in Massachusetts because Nuna isn’t available anywhere in Indiana).
What looks like my lack of enthusiasm for the Keyfit shouldn’t deter you from purchasing it. While in theory, the Bugaboo + the Nuna makes the most sense (both are very high end, have similar designs, workplace standards, etc), I actually really love the Chicco Keyfit with Bugaboo. Both are color coded (again, Chicco = orange and Bugaboo = white). The adapters are the easiest things to use, in my opinion. Bugaboo is the highest end stroller you can get and Chicco is middle-of-the-line car seat — and they’re my favorite combination. Don’t get me wrong, the Nuna still adapts to many strollers. It uses the Maxi-Cosi adapters (as do all European style car seats). They’re not hard to use, per se, but they are different from a standard Chicco adapter.
I had my sister invest in a nice car seat because that’s how they get around out in Indiana – strollers are far less important (if you’re curious, she went with a Baby Jogger City Mini). Her kiddo spends more time in a car seat than a kiddo raised in a city, who will spend more time in a stroller. Because of this, the load leg and OEKO-TEX fabrics were huge selling points to her. And frankly, as soon as I found out she was expecting, I told her to go with the Pipa, and that the Chicco was her only other option. I knew how often she’d end up carrying her car seat, so a lightweight car seat was a must.
So which one is better? I know no one reading a blog wants to read “it depends” at the end, especially those who are not able to come into one of our stores and try both out, but… it really depends. Do you have more than one child? Are OEKO-TEX certified fabrics important to you? Will you immediately forget what each button does in your sleep-deprived state? Do you need your infant car seat to easily adapt to your stroller? Do you like feeling special when your Hoosier nurse drools all over your never-seen-anything-like-it car seat? These are the important questions.
And we have the answers! Whether you’re close to us in New England or out in the Midwest like my sis, we have experts on hand to answer all of your questions by email, phone, live chat, or in-person free consultation. Start by downloading our Car Seat Buying Guide, and if you need more help, let us know!