Two awesomely lightweight car seats your biceps will thank you for

Getting ready for baby #3 has required many a trip down to the basement to dig up all the gear we used with babies #1 and #2. Our old car seats were the size of woolly mammoths, though, ugh! Fortunately I’ve discovered two incredible new infant car seat systems on the market that may finally give arms a break.

Nuna PIPA car seat | Cool Mom Picks

Long gone are the days of the really bulky car seats, at least when it comes to the Maxi Cosi Mico AP and the Nuna PIPA. Both boast a very lightweight frame, which is very helpful because even one pound makes a difference when you’re lugging a heavy carrier around all day.

We previously featured the Maxi Cosi Prezi because we were impressed with its design and the fact that it bucked the trend of what the typical car seat looks like. Now the Maxi Cosi Mico AP (below) is one of the lightest car seats on the market, weighing in at around 8.5 pounds.

This system lets you easily transfer the car seat from the included base to a stroller (either the Maxi Cosi or Quinny models). You can also purchase an adapter to fit a bunch of other stroller models like Baby Jogger, Phil & Ted’s, Bugaboo, Bumbleride and more. A very cool feature indeed.

Maxi Cosi Mico AP car seat | Cool Mom Picks

All the bells and whistles you’d expect to find on a high quality car seat are present: 5-point harness, the padded removable interior, a head insert for those wobbly newborns, an ergonomic handle and a sun canopy for added UV protection. I had a wee bit of trouble with the canopy, which is kind of floppy and kept falling down the back of the seat. Fully extended, it fits tightly on the back and has nice coverage, but I did have to keep tucking it in to keep from dragging on the ground when it’s folded.

Maxi Cosi Mico AP car seat | Cool Mom Picks

Other than that very minor design flaw, the Mico AP is a darn good-looking seat with tons of color options to boot. Pink, blue, brown, black and others give finicky parents lots of choices for picking the seat they’ll be using for at least a year. The seat is designed for birth to 12 months and accommodates kids weighing 5-22 pounds, up to 29″. With all of its features, it’s hard not to beat the affordable price point of $199.

Nuna PIPA car seat | Cool Mom Picks

If you have a little more leeway in your car seat budget, the Nuna PIPA (also at very top) is another lightweight design worth looking at. Nuna, a European brand, is making a very big name for itself in the States with its high-end baby gear and super cool aesthetic, like the Nuna Pepp Stroller which we love.

The PIPA car seat has a boxier feel than the Maxi-Cosi steat and areally stylish feel–it kind of reminds me of IKEA, if they designed safe, high end car seats. That you don’t have to put together yourself. 

Weighing less than the Mico AP at under 8 pounds, the PIPA offers similar features like side impact protection, a 5-point harness, cushy removable fabric and an ergonomic handle. What I really love about the car seat, aside from its unique look, is its novel “Dream Drape,” the car seat’s canopy. While it offers standard coverage in its normal state, the PIPA also features a hidden additional extender canopy, magically tucked into a zippered compartment. It attaches to the bottom of the seat with magnets so baby can nap (or so we can dream), bow out of bad weather, or just chill out undisturbed by baby paparazzi.

Nuna PIPA car seat base with steel leg | Cool Mom Picks

What’s also unique is the car seat base that comes included with the PIPA. You can either use your car’s LATCH system to install or a seat belt to secure, but the base’s steel stability leg gives you the added reassurance that it’s not going anywhere. And the easy install makes it handy for those who need to switch cars frequently (yes, please). You can also  bring it on airplanes since it meets all FAA standards.

The PIPA fits little ones from 4-32 pounds, up to 32″, so it’s able to accommodate kids a little bigger than the Mico AP. The PIPA is also a complete system when paired with the Nuna PEPP, a jazzy little stroller we recently covered and loved. Using an adapter, you can just snap the car seat directly into the stroller and be on your merry way. The adapter coincidentally also accommodates the Mico AP, if you want to mix and match.

Nuna PIPA car seat | Cool Mom Picks

The PIPA is a little pricier at $299, but with its Dutch styling, unique canopy, ability to accommodate larger babies and overall aesthetic, hey, it might be worth the extra investment for some families.

You really can’t go wrong with either of these car seats. Bottom line is that they’re safe with super chic, eye-catching styling. And with their lighter frames, giving your biceps a break is an awfully nice bonus. -Jeana

The Maxi Cosi Mico AP sells for $199 and is available on our affiliate Amazon and other retailers. For locations near you, visit the Maxi Cosi website. The Nuna PIPA can be purchased on the Nuna online shop for $299.95 or via other Nuna retailers in your area. Thank you to Maxi Cosi and Nuna for providing strollers for this review.

Jeana Lee Tahnk is a prolific tech writer, crafty mom, and fan of any products that make it easier to raise three children.

3 Comments

  • Reply September 6, 2013

    emily

    I used the Mico and HATED it. my baby basically outgrew it at 5 months (not even 20lbs and less that 30″) due to added padding for winter clothes. We just could not get the harness to close! I cannot recommend the carseat. We ended up moving her to a combo toddler seat early and for #2 I’ll be getting a bigger infant car seat.

  • Reply January 7, 2014

    Inna

    I also heard the same thing about the Mico and the Prezi. I will be going with the Nuna…but thank you for the side by side comparison it was just what I was looking for :)

  • Reply February 12, 2014

    Jon Kirkpatrick

    We bought the Nuna Pipa and the Pepp stroller and love them both. The Pipa is easy to fit and use for our baby. The base provides a nice sense of security with its stability leg, a feature unique here, but more common with European brands such as Concord Air, Stokke Izi Sleep, and Maxi-Cosi Pebble. In fact it was by searching for the stability leg feature that I discovered the Nuna brand. The base is easy to install, as mentioned. The quality seems good as the plastic and metal pieces are all tightly put together. Quality stitching on the fabric as well. The rigid LATCH system is awesome, but may not work on all cars such as our BMW. (The LATCH connection on this car is recessed into fixed guides that are low on a rearward sloped seat cushion making it impossible to make the base, and Pipa level.) The seat belt attachments for the base or the seat without the base are easy to secure. As mentioned, the dream drape is another feature, that we love for keeping the majority of the sun and wind off our little one when he’s resting. Even without the dream drape deployed, the canopy provides ample coverage. The controls for real easing it from the base is intuitive and easy, while the two buttons to release it from the stroller are only slightly less so. All in all it is a well thought out design and well made and is cheaper than some competing units such as Concord, Stokke, and others.

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