Nuna RAVA vs. Nuna EXEC Infant Car Seat Comparison

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green checkmark  This article was reviewed by Amanda Brown, CPST.

Car seats are just one of those things that parents labor over. And it makes sense—there’s nothing you want more than to keep your little one safe and there’s nowhere safety matters more than in the car.

But there are so many car seats on the market, not to mention multiple types of car seats: infant car seats, convertible car seats and boosters. So how do you narrow it down to the best one when you have so manyquestions about car seats in general?

Many families love the flexibility convertible car seats provide when it’stime to change seats, making top-rated brands like Nuna a good place to start. But even Nuna has multiple options for you to choose from.

To help you weed through all the car seat reviews out there, our gear experts tested, reviewed and compared the Nuna RAVA vs. Nuna EXEC infant car seats. Here’s what they had to say.

Main Differences Between the Nuna RAVA and EXEC 

The Nuna RAVA and the Nuna Exec are both high-end, high-quality convertible car seats by a well-respected brand of baby gear. But the biggest difference between the RAVA and the EXEC is the usable lifespan.

The RAVA is a true convertible car seat, which means, while it can be used rear- or forward-facing, it can only be used until your little one reaches the forward-facing height or weight limit (whichever comes first). This usually happens around your little one’s fourth birthday. 

The EXEC, on the other hand, is an all-in-one car seat, which means it can be used as a booster once your kiddo has exceeded the forward-facing height or weight limit. Kids can sit in this chair well into their tween years, since the weight limit is an impressive 120 pounds and the height limit an equally impressive 57 inches.

Nuna RAVA: Pros & Cons 

GoodBuy Gear's gear expert with the Nuna RAVA car seat

  • Retail Price: $550
  • Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $315
  • Weight: 27.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16 x 19 x 25 inches
  • Child Height Limit: 49 inches or less
  • Rear Facing Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds
  • Forward Facing Weight Limit: Up to 65 pounds

The Nuna RAVA is a true convertible car seat, which means it can be used one of two ways: use it rear-facing for infants 5 to 50 pounds (essentially from birth) or use it forward-facing from 25 to 60 pounds or once your little one has exceeded either the rear-facing height or weight limits (whatever comes first).

The RAVA is also just about as safe as you can get. While it doesn’t have an anti-rebound bar, it exceeds federal safety guidelines. The convertible car seat is flame-retardant-free, has a full steel frame and is equipped with energy-absorbing foam and SIP pods to improve side impact protection.

The seat also has a number of convenient features and accessories to write home about. It has an integrated car seat base, a 2-inch extendable footrest to give your little one more leg room and a no-rethread harness complete with buckle keepers on each side to hold the straps in place while you get your kiddo situated. The Nuna RAVA also comes in an impressive array of nine colors.

Another important claim to fame: The RAVA is an inch narrower than the EXEC, so it fits better in small cars and is more suitable for families who need to sit three car seats (if your vehicle allows it). 

Best for: Families who need a narrow car seat or like the flexibility of choosing their child’s seat based on their specific stage of growth

Pros 

  • Less expensive
  • Narrower to better fit in smaller cars 
  • Comes in 9 colors
  • Exceeds safety standards

Cons 

  • Smaller leg rest
  • Shorter lifespan, since it doesn’t turn into a booster
  • No anti-rebound bar
  • Fewer included accessories

Shop This Car Seat

Nuna EXEC: Pros & Cons 

GoodBuy Gear's gear expert with the Nuna EXEC car seat

  • Retail Price: $750
  • Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price: $535
  • Weight: 26.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.5 x 18.5 x H 26 inches
  • Child Height Limit: 49 inches or less (57 inches in booster mode) 
  • Rear Facing Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds
  • Forward Facing Weight Limit: Up to 65 pounds
  • Booster Weight Limit: 120 pounds

The Nuna EXEC is also a convertible car seat, but is considered an all-in-one, which means it can be used one of three ways (instead of just two): rear-facing from 5 to 50 pounds (this is considered extended rear-facing), forward-facing once baby exceeds the rear-facing height or weight limits or as a booster car seat after your ever-growing little one exceeds forward-facing height or weight limits.

This makes the EXEC an exceptionally versatile seat. Thanks to the booster mode and 12 head support positions, your child will, theoretically, never need anything else. They could easily use this convertible car seat from birth all the way through to their tween years when a regular vehicle seatbelt is safe to use.

Like the RAVA, the EXEC exceeds federal safety guidelines. It has all of the same attributes—a steel frame and improved side impact protection—plus an additional feature parents find comfort in: an anti-rebound bar that minimizes movement upon impact.

Overall, the EXEC edges out in features and accessories. It may only come in six colors, but it has both the dual flip-open cup holders and travel bag, plus a merino wool infant insert, a quilted leg rest slipcover and an additional GOTS-certified organic cotton infant insert with harness covers. The footrest is also a half-inch larger for your little one’s comfort. Just note: You’ll pay the price for all of the above—the EXEC is about $200 more expensive than the RAVA, making it one of the priciest on the market.

Best for: Families who don’t mind splurging on a luxe seat that’s likely to last a full decade

Pros 

  • Operates in three modes to grow with your little one
  • Has additional safety features like an anti-rebound bar for stabilization
  • Added features and compatible accessories for improved comfort and convenience
  • Has a very long usable life

Cons 

  • Very expensive
  • Only comes in 6 colors

Shop This Car Seat

Nuna RAVA vs. Nuna EXEC: Specs & Comparison Chart 

Nuna RAVA  Nuna EXEC 
Retail Price $550 $750
Avg. GoodBuy Gear Price $315 $535
Weight 27.2 lbs 26.6 lbs
Dimensions 16" x 19" x 25" 22.5" x 18.5" x 26"
Child Height Limit 49" or less  49" or less 
Child Rear-Facing Age/Weight Limit 5-50 lbs, up to at least 2 yrs. old
5-50 lbs, up to at least 2 yrs. old
Child Forward-Facing Age/Weight Limit 35-65 lbs, 2+ yrs. old
35-65 lbs, 2+ yrs. old
Booster Seat Age/Weight Limit N/A 40-120 lbs, 4+ yrs. old
Product Use  Convertible only  All-in-one
Recline Positions 10
Headrest Positions 10 12
Colors Available 
Expiration  10 years  10 years 
Material  Machine-washable  Machine-washable
Travel FAA aircraft-certified 
FAA aircraft-certified 

Price Comparison 

Compared to other convertible car seats on the market, both the Nuna RAVA and the Nuna EXEC are considered expensive. But because the EXEC is an all-in-one, it’s the more expensive of the two—it’s approximately $200 more than the RAVA. That said, if you opt for the Nuna EXEC, you may save money in the long run. Theoretically, you’ll never have to purchase another seat again. 

Winner: Nuna RAVA

Weight & Dimensions Comparison 

Overall, the EXEC is slightly larger than the RAVA to accommodate larger, older kiddos once they’re ready to transition to the booster functionality. The Nuna EXEC is both a few inches longer and higher. However, if you have a small car or have to squeeze three car seats into one row, it’s important to note the Nuna RAVA is one inch slimmer. Always double-check what will work in your specific vehicle before purchasing. 

Winner: Nuna RAVA

Height & Weight Limits Comparison 

Both the Nuna EXEC and the Nuna RAVA have the same height and weight limits. Your little one can sit rear-facing in both seats until 50 pounds; forward-facing until 65 pounds. Both seats require your kiddo to move onto a booster seat when they reach 49 inches tall. But it’s not quite a tie, since the EXEC is an all-in-one car seat that can be used in booster mode until 120 pounds or 57 inches—whatever comes first. This should take your kiddo well past the age of four.

Winner: Nuna EXEC

Product Use & Lifetime 

As previously mentioned, the Nuna RAVA is strictly a convertible car seat, whereas the EXEC is an all-in-one car seat that can be used as a booster once your little one has exceeded forward-facing height and weight limits. If you only want to buy one car seat over the course of your kiddo’s lifetime, the EXEC is for you.

Winner: Nuna EXEC

Recline & Headrest Positions 

Despite the fact that the Nuna EXEC is a more versatile car seat overall, the RAVA has more options when it comes to recline positions. The RAVA has 12 recline positions, while the EXEC has 10. When it comes to headrest positions, the EXEC takes the lead—it has 12 headrest positions, while the RAVA has 10.

Winner: Tie

Safety Comparison 

Before we get into the details, it’s important to note that both the Nuna RAVA and the Nuna EXEC exceed federal safety standards. In plain English, this means that these convertible car seats don’t just have the basic features to render them safe for use—they have additional safety features that make them exceptionally safe choices for your precious cargo. 

Both seats are flame retardant-free and have full steel frames and energy-absorbing foam and SIP pods that provide better side impact protection. The Nuna EXEC has one additional safety feature: an anti-rebound bar, an accessory that helps stabilize the seat in the event of a car accident.

Winner: Nuna EXEC

Features & Accessories 

Both seats have plenty of convenience features and accessories, including a built-in base, quick and easy installation via a latch or tension system, a no-rethread harness (this allows you to adjust the straps without unhooking everything), a wide range of recline and headrest positions, dual flip-open cup holders and a compatible travel bag. 

The Nuna EXEC all-in-one car seat has a few more enviable options, including a merino wool infant insert, a quilted leg rest slipcover, an additional GOTS-certified organic cotton infant insert and harness covers, plus a half-inch larger extendable footrest to give older kids more leg room en route.

Winner: Nuna EXEC

Installation 

The installation system can vary depending on the car, position of the seat and weight of your child. However, both seats can typically be installed one of two ways: with the LATCH system or via seat belt installation (by threading a vehicle seatbelt through the chair’s true tension doors, aka the belt path). 

Just note: Proper installation is vital for your little one’s safety, so always consult both the car seat manual and your vehicle’s manual before installing your seat of choice. 

Winner: Tie

Nuna EXEC vs. RAVA: Which is Better? 

At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with either seat, especially from a safety perspective. Both the Nuna RAVA and the Nuna EXEC are exceptionally safe, well-made convertible car seats.

But if you’re paying close attention, you’ll see that the Nuna EXEC edges out the RAVA in most areas. Namely, it has a longer usable lifespan and has more compatible features and accessories. It’s perfect for the family who wants a luxe option that will last from birth all the way through the booster phase.

That said, there are two big reasons parents might gravitate toward the RAVA. Importantly, it’s a slimmer seat—crucial if you have a small car or need to sit three seats in a row. The RAVA also comes in nine colors as opposed to six. Plus, some parents like the option of swapping out their child’s car seat to suit each specific stage of growth, especially if there are younger siblings to jump into whatever car seat the older one has outgrown.

Interested in more product comparisons? Check out our guide to Britax car seats or our comparison of the popular Nuna TRVL and TRV strollers.

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