Did you know that the main cause of death of children aged 3-14 in the United States is motor vehicle crashes?
That’s a bleak statistic if I’ve ever seen one…but there’s a silver lining here and we’ll find it together.
- LATCH connectors automatically retract
- Tightness indicator
- Five-point, no-rethread harness
- Adjustable headrest
- Hideaway canopy
This grim number can be reduced by getting a good car seat like the UPPAbaby Mesa.
Simpler said than done, I know…
UPPAbaby Mesa car seat – key fortes
- Visual tightness indicators
- Robust side-impact protection
- Self-retracting latch
- Adjustable headrest
- No-retread harness
Here’s the tricky part – seats like the Mesa are all the rave but cost serious money. Still, finding reliable information on whether it’s worth the hefty price tag is overwhelming at best and impossible at worst.
My mission today is to be your industry insider.
I’ll lend a hand in choosing a cheaper alternative to the UPPAbaby Mesa that is, hopefully, just as good.
It’s a tall task but definitely possible…take it from someone who owns the UPPAbaby Mesa and has been writing about car seats full time for years now.
Note: If you changed your mind about looking for an alternative, use the following link to head over to my UPPAbaby Mesa Review or read more about the Uppababy Mesa installation.
What Are The Best UPPAbaby Mesa Alternatives?
There is a huge number of baby seats out there, but our top choice boils down to the following four:
|Image||Best UPPAbaby Mesa Alternatives||Features||Price|
|Bugaboo Turtle One||SEE NOW|
|Graco SnugRide 35||SEE NOW|
|Chicco KeyFit 30||SEE NOW|
|Britax B-Safe Gen2||SEE NOW|
I’ll go over why they are the top alternatives in the mini-reviews below.
Top UPPABaby Mesa alternative – Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna
If you know that Bugaboo is produced by Nuna, that already sets the bar high in terms of quality. And you’re not wrong.
Bugaboo Turtle One is a great car seat and one of the best Best UPPAbaby Mesa alternatives.
Before we dig deeper into this model, you can check the basic specs in the table below.
|Product dimensions||26.77” x 17.32” x 22.83”|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||4-32|
|Rear-facing minimum child weight||4 Pounds|
|Item Weight||8.8 pounds|
Defining features of the Bugaboo Turtle One
- A lightweight design makes the Bugaboo car seat easy to carry
- Sun canopy design with UPF +50 protection and fully ventilated peek-a-boo window
- The 5-point harness for optimal security is adjustable and easy to (un)buckle.
- Premium materials for the inlay – Merino wool is second to none in climate control
- Adjustable head support grows with your baby
When it comes to features, the designers of the Turtle definitely had functionality in mind.
The Main Benefits of Bugaboo Turtle One by Nuna
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Bugaboo shares many similarities with Nuna’s PIPA car seats.
We are really talking about premium choices here.
The Load Leg for Extra Safety
What definitely puts Bugaboo Turtle One at the very top when we speak about safety is its True-LockTM base with load leg.
Simply put – it’s a convenient flip-out bar.
I know that the steel bar and a child in the same sentence isn’t your first association with safety and security, but you can put your mind to rest here.
This bar locks the seat and prevents it from moving forward in case of a collision. It spans from the car seat base to the floor of your car and it adds stability.
This impressive feature can halve the risk of head injury.
Color me impressed!!!
Since this bar isn’t a common feature, installing it might not be as straightforward as with other seats, but it’s definitely worth it.
A bit of hassle for a great deal of safety sounds like a good bargain to me.
Mesh means breathability with complete protection
Bugaboo Turtle One has a full-width mesh window in the canopy that provides UPF 50+ protection without compromising breathability and visibility.
This peek-a-boo window is larger than the one on Nuna PIPA, for example.
When extended, this canopy can cover the whole seat. What’s more, it is easily attached to the seat using magnets. Also, unlike PIPA, which has side ventilation panels, Bugaboo Turtle One is fully ventilated.
You rarely see Merino wool in this price range.
A nice touch is a Merino wool infant insert, which is breathable as well as a great insulator. This washable insert provides optimal climate control.
Warm in the winter, cool in the summer…trust me, you almost never see that in this price range.
If I had to choose one reason that made my mind about which of the seats in the top alternative to UPPAbabby Mesa, it’s the Merino wool.
That’s the definition of value in a baby car seat.
You might be interested to read these comparisons: UPPAbaby Mesa VS Nuna Pipa | UPPAbaby Mesa VS Chicco Keyfit 30
Runner-up alternative to the Mesa – Graco SnugRide
If you look at reviews and surveys, it goes without saying that Graco SnugRide is one of the best infant car seats currently.
Once we list the main specs, we’ll see in more detail what the reasons for this prestige title are.
|Seat dimensions||27.72” x 18.07” x 16.03”|
|Base width||14 inches|
|Weight||Car Seat + Base – 10.5 lbs (7.5 without the base)|
|Weight capacity||4 – 35 lbs|
|Maximum height||32 inches|
It could be said that one of the traits that separate customer-oriented businesses from primarily making-profit ones is listening to your customers and their needs.
And that is exactly what Graco did with this model.
Compared to their earlier models, they improved the material and padding. The SnugRide has much softer fabric and thicker padding.
Features of the Graco Snugride:
- SnugLock® enables easy and quick installation (seat belt or latch)
- 4-position recline base provides a perfect adjustment
- Click Connect™technology makes this model compatible with Graco strollers in only one click
- Level indicator-easy to read so nothing is left to installation guesswork.
Key Benefits of the Snugride aka. what makes it a good UPPAbaby alternative
Just one look at the above-mentioned features and you immediately get the gist of Graco SnugRide’s benefits.
Ready, Steady, Installed
Graco delivered on the promise they made when campaigning for this seat – installing the SnugRide is hassle-free.
It’s a 3-step installation and you can use a seat belt or Latch.
There are two metal hooks that loop into the docking points in your car and enable the car seat to be easily attached. What’s more, you can also secure the base with a seat belt.
You’ll hear the magic click and you’re good to go.
As you may deduce from the name, securing your Graco car seat securely into the base is only one click away.
No additional hassle with extra straps, buttons, or harnesses.
Once you’ve placed your baby into the 5-point harness and made necessary adjustments, the car seat clicks into the base.
What also comes in handy with this “clicking” feature is that it makes the Graco SnugRide car seat fit for any of the Graco Click Connect strollers.
With minimal effort, you can move your baby around from a stroller to a car and vice versa.
This is priceless if your baby is already sleeping just when you want to move the car seat. It provides a custom travel system in a way, tailored to your lifestyle.
Weight Does Matter
The Graco SnugRide weighs 7.5 pounds, and its light frame makes it very “carrying-friendly”. It is one of the lightest infant car seats.
You can easily maneuver and move the car seat from a car to a stroller, but it is also easier to carry your little one in their seat. The other great benefit is that this seat makes an excellent first car seat for your baby.
Considering that it can accommodate babies as tiny as 4 pounds, it provides all the support preemies might need. It comes with a removable head and body support.
An additional benefit – you save some money because you don’t have to buy two car seats.
But the benefits do wonders for older babies, too.
It supports preemies, but it also enables you to keep your baby rear-facing until they reach 35 pounds.
You might also be interested in: our guide on Car Seat for Small Car | Cheap Car Seats
Chicco Keyfit 30
Chicco has been a renowned baby gear manufacturer for years.
It is undoubtedly challenging to be at the very top all the time, but it seems that the Italians do a great job at that.
As always, let’s start with some specs and then move to more dynamic things.
|Seat dimensions||27.5″ x 16.5″ x 24″|
|Weight||9.5 (16.5 with the base)|
|Weight capacity||4 – 30 lbs|
|Maximum height||30 inches|
Some of the Chicco Keyfit 30 noteworthy features are:
- LATCH connectors enable you to easily attach and detach the lower anchors in the vehicle seat.
- One-pull SuperCinch tightener– a force-multiplying tightener providing a secure fit so the seat doesn’t get wobbly
- Two RideRight bubble level indicators to assist you in determining whether the base is leveled while installing and using it.
- ReclineSure spring-loaded leveling foot helps you reach the proper angle
The features of this model already speak heaps of its benefits, let’s just name a few.
What’s in store for you with Chicco Keyfit 30?
In a nutshell, a lot, but we could divide it into two main benefits. There is definitely a reason why Chicco Keyfit is so high-ranked.
Intuitive installation- just as easy as that of the Mesa
Installation of car seats is something that parents usually don’t look much forward to: being tangled in straps and belts, trying to figure out what fits where.
It’s a nightmare for most parents.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that one of the most popular benefits of this model is a super intuitive installation.
It’s fast and easy.
Don’t be intimidated by all the fancy names Chicco Keyfit 30 uses for its installation features. Once you start doing it, you’ll see how intuitive it is. Everything is pretty much done by using the connectors provided.
It is really that simple.
Flying Colors on Safety Tests
Chicco Keyfit 30 scores marvelously on crash tests and exceeds the federal safety guidelines. It is considered to be one of the safest car seats out there, which is a massive plus if you’re taking on the UPPAbaby Mesa as a competitor.
Considering that it is tailored for the newborn, it provides removable head and body support for your baby.
In addition, EPS energy-absorbing foam contributes to better side impact protection.
Let’s not forget the 5-point harness with a one-pull tightener.
As we’ve already mentioned, it helps keep the baby secure and properly fit in the seat.
Chicco Keyfit designers were also thinking a few steps ahead so they came up with a chest clip on the straps when your baby gets a little bigger.
You know how children can get fidgety and restless, trying to wriggle their arms out?
This chest clip prevents your children from getting their arms free.
And it isn’t only your children that can get wobbly- your seat shouldn’t get wobbly either. This brings us back to LATCH connectors and the SuperCinch tightening system to give a secure fit to your seat.
Last but not least, Chicco Keyfit 30 is definitely one of the best car seats for preemies. You might also be interested in this related comparison – Chicco Keyfit 30 vs. Fit2.
Britax Safe Gen2
Britax Safe Gen2 is a new and improved version of a famous Britax B-35 infant car seat.
What is immediately noticeable is that it’s more spacious than its older cousin.
Specs of the Safe Gen2
|Seat dimensions||26.6” x 17.9” x 25.85”|
|Weight||Car Seat + Base 19.91 pounds|
|Weight capacity||4-35 lbs|
|Maximum height||32 inches|
Same as the previous alternatives we’ve discussed, B-safe Gen 2 also has practical features:
- 3- step installation– easy and swift car seat installation
- LATCH system and the SafeCenter LATCH tightener for providing extra stability and positioning
- 5 reclinable positions to help you hit that perfect angle
It’s high time to see what benefits there are for B-safe Gen 2
Why should you consider B-safe Gen 2?
Since the main theme around the topic of car seats is safety, it would be fair to other alternatives to also see how safe this model is.
Safety in B-Safe Gen 2
B-Safe designers really wanted to create a car seat that is super safe and secure. The outcome is seen both in the material and technology they used. These seats have a steel-frame base that provides more stability and sturdiness.
The more stable the base, the more stable the car seat.
It does put these seats on the heavier side, but safety comes first, right?
The advantage of this type of reinforced frame is that it takes on most of the impact in case of a crash. And just to be even more on the safe side, the exterior of the base uses SafeCell technology
It looks like a bright red honeycomb.
Think of it as a sort of buffer zone…
Practically, it means that when a car seat is hit, the SafeCell area crumples to absorb the impact.
Thus, the force that reaches your child is significantly reduced.
Comfort of the Britax Safe
We’ve already mentioned that the B-Safe Gen2 has a more spacious seating area compared to its older version.
And again, the designers went that extra mile: the Britax B-35 had not so well-placed tags on the backrest.
This problem seems to have been solved now by using a tagless knitted fabric. It has a much softer feel and it is quite durable, just perfect for long rides. It’s worth mentioning that it is naturally flame retardant.
The seats are also heavily padded, which has a dual function.
Not only does it provide extra comfort, but it also provides extra protection for the baby’s body.
Same as with the previously mentioned models for infants, there is an insert for babies under 11 pounds. Another great comfort treat is that the seat has 5 reclinable positions.
It’s super useful when your baby starts growing since it helps you find the perfect angle where there is enough legroom for the little ones.
Quick-Push LATCH connectors click into place and enable quick release with the push of a button.
Backed up by a SafeCenter LATCH installation, your seat base will be pulled tightly into the car seat. Everything plugs in easily. There are also stickers on the base that pretty much guide you through the whole process.
There is also a level indicator to help you adjust everything accordingly and at the right angle. The installation really takes only three steps: connecting the anchors, tightening the straps, and clicking the car seat into the base.
From what I’ve seen, parents have nothing but love for how easy this installation is and how easy it is to use the seat.
Finding a good alternative to the UPPAbaby Mesa
You may have noticed that by exploring the best UPPAbaby Mesa alternatives, we paid special attention to safety.
The main reason for that is that you, as parents, care about that most.
Keeping your children safe and protected while traveling is a must. However, don’t be obsessed by comparing these models just in terms of safety.
Of course, that safety shouldn’t be compromised, but nowadays, all car seats need to pass strict safety tests and meet certain standards in the USA.
If you want to know more about all the requirements and all the tips on how to choose the best car seat, you can check the NHTSA website for more details.
But let me get back to what I was trying to say: each and every alternative we’ve covered is premium and very similar.
The bottom line – it’s details and personal preferences that will cut the deal for you. The best I can hope for is that I helped in some small way.
Till soon, dear parents; I wish you an enjoyable and safe journey whichever car seat you may choose.
Paulo is a passionate dad who founded Wumblers to share his parenting journey with other new parents. He graduated from Concordia University and worked as a test engineer for over a decade. Paulo loves dad jokes and craft beer.
Learn more about Paulo and Wumblers here.