In my earlier reviews of rotating car seats, I wondered aloud if this type of seat was a trend. Now that there are a number of options on the market, I think it’s safe to say my guess was correct, rotating car seats are a trend. The NUNA REVV marks the latest entry into the field. It has shorter height limits and lower weight limits than any other of the rotating seats but it does have the kind of nice features we’ve come to expect from NUNA.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range: 5-40 pounds
- Rear facing height range: 43 inches tall, maximum height
- Rear facing lower anchor weight limit: 30 pounds
- Forward facing weight range: 25-40 pounds
- Forward facing height range: 43 inches tall, maximum height
- Forward facing age range: at least 2 years old
- Forward facing lower anchor weight limit: 30 pounds
- NOT approved for use in aircraft
- Lowest harness position: 6.5 inches with insert, 8 inches without insert
- Highest harness position: 14 inches
- Width at narrowest point: 16 inches without optional cupholders, 22.5 inches with both optional cupholders in use
- Seat weight: 32.7 pounds
- Front to back: 32 inches (this unofficial measurement is taken by reclining the seat as much as possible, then measuring from the back of the base to the front of the shell. It will vary when the seat is installed in a vehicle and when the seat is more upright)
- Swivels in both directions
- Top tether use in both directions
- No rethread harness
- Steel frame
- 10 position head support
- Energy-absorbing foam
- Two optional cupholders (unknown if they’re dishwasher-safe)
- Magnetic buckle tongue holders
- MSRP $599
Comparison of Rotating Car Seats
Now that there are a number of car seats that swivel, we’ve developed a handy chart to help you keep track of some of the primary differences between them.
|Car Seats that Swivel: a Guide|
|Car Seat Name||Rear Facing Weight Range||Rear Facing Height Range||Rear Facing lower anchor weight limit||Forward Facing Weight Range||Tether Use||Forward Facing Height Range||Forward Facing lower anchor weight limit||MSRP|
|Evenflo Revolve||4 – 40 pounds||17 – 40 inches tall or until the child’s head is within 1 inch of the top of the headrest or backrest, whichever is higher||35 pounds||22 – 65 pounds||Required in both modes, stays out of the way and can stay attached||28 – 49 inches tall and the top of the child’s ears are below the top of the headrest||40 pounds||$379|
|Graco Turn2Me||4 – 40 pounds||Child’s head must be at least 1 inch below the headrest adjustment handle||35 pounds||22 – 65 pounds||Required in forward facing mode, stays out of the way and can stay attached since the seat doesn’t swivel in forward facing mode||28 – 49 inches tall and the top of the child’s ears are below the top of the headrest||40 pounds||$449|
|Cybex Sirona S||5-50 pounds||17 – 49 inches tall||30 pounds||22-65 pounds||Required for forward facing in Canada, optional for forward facing in the US, must be attached every time the seat swivels for forward facing||28 – 49 inches tall and the top of the child’s ears are below the top of the headrest||35 pounds||$500|
|Baby Jogger City Turn||4-50 pounds||Until the child’s head is 1 inch below the adjuster handle on the headrest when fully extended||35 pounds||22-65 pounds||Required in forward facing mode, stays out of the way and can stay attached since the seat doesn’t swivel in forward facing mode||less than 49 inches tall||40 pounds||$500|
|NUNA REVV||5-40 pounds||43 inches tall max||30 pounds||5-40 pounds||Required in both directions, stays out of the way and can stay attached||43 inches tall||30 pounds||$599|
Elephant in the Room: Harness Height and Weight Limits
It seems clear that the REVV’s primary selling features are two things: 1. being a NUNA product and 2. rotating. Those are definitely both fine qualities in a car seat (I have yet to meet a NUNA seat that I don’t like!) but the REVV has some very low height and weight limits that leave me a little puzzled.
We haven’t seen a fully-featured car seat with a forward facing 40 pound max forward facing weight limit since my kiddos were little — remember the mid-2000’s Roundabout? Here’s a gratuitous photo for your convenience. We’ll see this kiddo later in the review.
Note: the budget-friendly Cosco Scenera NEXT has the same height and weight limits at a much lower price point. This is comparing apples to oranges in terms of features but if we’re just looking at height and weight limits….
The REVV also has a stunningly low top harness height of just over 14 inches.
Note: most other convertible/multimode car seats have a 17-ish inch top harness height. The Cosco Scenera NEXT has a 13 inch top harness height so there’s one point for the REVV’s height/weight limits.
These limitations mean that it would be very rare for a child to outgrow the REVV and not need an additional convertible or multimode harnessed car seat as their next seat. It’s entirely possible (and far from ideal) that families could move their too small/too young REVV passengers to booster seats once the REVV is outgrown because that’s generally the next type of seat in the progression.
In a world of good/better/best, having a child move to a booster seat way too soon because they’d outgrown the REVV wouldn’t even meet the criteria for “good.”
We assert that almost all families who use the REVV would need to purchase a second convertible car seat with a higher harness for the last 1-2 years of harnessed car seat use. I suppose that families who were able to pass the REVV down to a few children over the seat’s 10 year lifespan may find value in the seat, but for families who intend to use a seat for one child, the REVV just wouldn’t get much use.
Rotates for Easy Loading/Unloading
There’s no doubt that having a car seat rotate toward the vehicle door makes loading or unloading the child easier. The REVV rotates easily on the base in both directions. It only takes one hand to release the seat for rotating. I tested the ease of rotating the seat in as many ways as possible (usually while holding something bulky in one hand and rotating the seat with the other) and it was simple every time. Just squeeze the button on the outside of the seat’s shell — the button is basically outside the child’s leg. Then, rotate the seat. That’s all there is to it.
Anti-Rebound Bar/Carry Handle
The REVV’s base includes an integrated anti-rebound bar that doubles as a carry handle when switching cars. As people who spend an inordinate amount of time carrying car seats between cars as we write reviews and help caregivers, I was pretty excited to see this feature. I found that the handle is helpful when carrying the seat, even if there isn’t a great place on the bottom of the seat to grab with my other hand.
One Belt Path
A big draw of some of the seats that rotate is a whispered promise that caregivers might only need to install a seat one time since it can just rotate when the child is ready to turn from rear facing to forward facing. The REVV delivers on that by having one belt path — install the seat correctly, then rotate it to the proper direction for the child’s age, weight, size, and maturity level. That being said, we had a lot of challenges with installing the seat, we’ll go into that more in the Installation section of this review.
No Rethread Harness
The harness adjusts via a handle at the top of the headrest. It was quite easy to raise or lower the headrest.
Like every NUNA seat that I’ve met so far (spoiler: I’ve met the entire product line), the cover is quite plush. Soft goods are an area where NUNA consistently produces a quality product and that’s no exception with the REVV.
The REVV includes an additional set of infant head, body insert, and harness covers.
Crotch Buckle Cover
Like the EXEC and PIPA lite rx that I reviewed recently, the REVV includes a plush crotch buckle cover that refuses to stay on the seat. It includes a little tab that helps secure it to the seat but as I worked through the different configurations of dolls, padding, and harness positions, I didn’t always take the time to slide that little tab back into place. It may well keep the cover in place but it’s a bit awkward to use so instead, I found myself with many opportunities to pick up this cover as I moved the seat in and out of the house. I’m sure that when a REVV is installed in a vehicle, this little cover won’t stray as far from the seat but I would suggest keeping track of it while loading and unloading children.
Buckle Tongue Holders
Also included on the REVV are NUNA’s very nice magnetic buckle tongue holders. They’re easy to use and do an excellent job of keeping the harness out of the way while loading the kiddo.
The REVV includes 2 optional cupholders. The manual does not say if they are dishwasher safe but NUNA has assured us that they are. We’d definitely like to see this information noted in the manual
The REVV also includes an infant insert with two sections. The insert must be removed when the child reaches 11 pounds.
It’s heavy. At almost 33 pounds and not particularly large or tall, it’s the heaviest and most dense car seat that I’ve ever spent time with. And if you’ve read this site for a minute, you might know that I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing a lot of car seats over the years so this puts the REVV in a very unique category. A heavy seat isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but if you’re planning to move a car seat between vehicles a lot, it’s something to consider.
The installation almost broke me. It’s quirky and not particularly intuitive, though NUNA’s clear labeling helps. I’ll go into my struggles later in the review but wanted to mention the idea here.
Not Approved for Airplane Use
Though this restriction is rare, the NUNA REVV is not approved for use on aircraft. This is actually not a bad thing. The REVV is so darn heavy and awkward that I think travelling with it could be a nightmare (and I have flown with some heavy car seats in my day!!). I wanted to call that out so families who are considering this seat know that it can’t be installed while flying.
I’ll pause for a moment to share this, also gratuitous, photo of foster dog Kamo, his beloved ball, and the REVV. He was ready to help me if I’d just throw the ball for him first. And again, several times. Resident dog Benson is less enamored of the ball so he was resting while Kamo “helped.”
Since the REVV has one belt path, there’s only one type of installation to cover in this section. Which is nice because it’s going to take some time.
To install the REVV, first unclip the top tether from the back of the seat’s shell and throw it over the back of the vehicle seat. Loosely attach the tether (but do not tighten it yet) to the vehicle’s tether anchor connector. Then, set the car seat on the vehicle seat with the handle/top of the base resting on the back of the vehicle seat.
I’ll start with the lower anchors because this installation was pretty easy. I do want to note that the lower anchor weight limit for this seat is just 30 pounds so (like so many car seats) this option won’t last as long as the car seat does.
To install the seat with lower anchors, set the car seat on the vehicle seat with the handle/top of the base resting on the back of the vehicle seat and rotate the seat to the rear facing position. Rear facing recine angle 1 offers the most access to the door, both the manual and I suggest putting the seat in this position while installing it.
Squeeze the True Tension Door to open it and expose the rest of the belt path.
The lower anchors store in a cubby on the back of the seat. Open the cubby door to expose them, remove them from the cubby, then thread the webbing through the belt path on the front of the base and under the True Tension Door. Pull the tail of the webbing up while pushing down on the car seat to remove the slack from the webbing, then close the door. Check for movement at the belt path, then pull the tether tight.
Note: an advisory from NUNA that is not yet included in the manual advises caregivers to check for movement at the belt path only. While this is fairly standard advice, the REVV’s sleek shape makes this more challenging than most other car seats. I found that I was able to get the seat tight at the belt path but the top of the base is always loose. Moreover, if I bumped it or moved it in any way, it became loose at the belt path as well.
Vehicle Seat Belt
Everything that I found pretty straightforward about installing the REVV with the lower anchors was not the case when installing it with the vehicle seat belt. I tend to use the vehicle seat belt more often than lower anchors because there’s no weight limit on a vehicle seat belt (they have to hold adults, after all!) and unbuckling a seat belt is usually fairly easy, where lower anchors sometimes take a little work to remove. Given this tendency of mine, it makes sense that my first installation attempt was with the seat belt.
The first thing to note is that ONLY THE LAP PORTION OF THE VEHICLE SEAT BELT goes through the belt path and True Tension Door.
This is the only convertible seat I can think of that only uses one part of the seat belt and I have to say that it makes for a fairly challenging install. My first instinct is to set the car seat kind of in the middle of the seating area in the vehicle — so if I install a seat outboard, behind the passenger door, I would set it in the middle of that seating area. For some reason, that caused some troubles with installing the REVV. After a lot of trial and error, I discovered that in my car, a 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander with a fairly uninteresting back seat, the REVV was easier to install correctly if I scooted it toward the side bolster at the edge of the seating position rather than positioning it on the flattest part of the seating position.
I also found that it was A LOT easier to install in the center seating position with the buckle stalk twisted once. My outboard seating positions have recessed buckles that are a bit difficult to access — when my Mom rides with us, I usually have to buckle her in because they’re so hard to reach! This setup means that there’s no slack in the webbing of a buckle stalk in those positions. That could have impacted the install of REVV as well.
Back to our install… the instructions are (this is a direct quote):
1- Attach the tether hook loosely to the vehicle tether anchor. Pull the vehicle seat belt across the anti-rebound panel and under the True Tension™ door. If possible, secure the vehicle lap belt under the belt positioner on the edge of the base.
2 – With the lap belt portion routed under the True Tension™ door and secured under the second belt positioner, buckle the vehicle seat belt.
3 – Check the vehicle seat belt; make sure it is not twisted and is laying flat across the anti-rebound panel. Remove any slack. Ensure the lap belt is routed under the door.
4 – Then while pushing down firmly on the car seat, pull up on the vehicle shoulder belt to remove the slack. Pull the shoulder belt out all the way to switch the retractor. Now
when you release it, the belt will automatically lock when pulled (consult vehicle manual).
5 – Route the vehicle shoulder belt behind the anti-rebound panel and over the top tether webbing.
6- Close the True Tension™ door (1). Tighten the tether by pulling on the tether adjustment swebbing (2)
WARNING: Check that child restraint is securely installed before each use. Hold seat at the belt path and move seat in all directions. Seat should move less than 1 inch.
“Then while pushing down firmly on the car seat, pull up on the vehicle shoulder belt to remove the slack.
Pull the shoulder belt out all the way to switch the retractor. Now when you release it, the belt will automatically lock when pulled (consult vehicle manual).”
This last line is the tricky part. Closing the door once the belt is locked and fully tensioned to secure the seat would be nearly impossible/require a lot of brute strength. I found that the only way to get a secure install with the vehicle seat belt was to treat this step as if there wasn’t a True Tension Door at all — I pushed down on the car seat and pulled the slack out of the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt, then very carefully held the belt tension in place while pushing the door closed.
The top tether must be routed over the handle on the base. It’s used for all installations — rear facing and forward facing. The base has instructions around routing the tether — it very clearly says to route the tether over the handle on the seat’s base. That’s easy enough to follow but what’s not included in the manual is where the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt should go — it’s sort of inevitable that this part of the belt will interfere with the tether.
The videos and photos (like the one shown here) on the REVV website show a bit of overlap but the manual doesn’t mention if that’s acceptable, though honestly I can’t see any other way it could work since the tether goes straight up from the base while the shoulder portion of the belt is at an angle.
I would love to see some clarity about this/confirmation in the manual that is this how it’s supposed to look. We’ve already had some questions about this issue in our Facebook group so I’m sure more are to come.
Checking for Movement
Like every other seat, the instructions say to check for movement at the belt path only. During my Car Seat 101 class, I must say this at least 10 times during each session and yet every time we head out to the vehicles at least one family grabs the end of the base that’s not attached the car, shakes it wildly, then tells me it’s loose. (Note to self: add a quick slide about checking for movement to that presentation!)
So I refer back to my instruction on the topic — “only check for movement at the place where the seat is attached to the vehicle. Other places will move because they are not directly attached to the vehicle.” and we start again, checking for movement at the belt path. The REVV takes this specific instruction to a whole new level.
The manual cautions thusly:
WARNING: Check that child restraint is securely installed before each use. Hold
seat at the belt path and move seat in all directions. Seat should move less than 1 inch.
Bottom line: ONLY check for movement at the belt path. While that’s solid advice, I struggle a bit because the REVV’s install seems pretty tenuous — one good bump on the handle and it gets loose.
I try to do a three across section in every review that I write. I tend to have a sort of evolving collection of car seats so I tackle this section armed with whatever seats I have on hand — booster seats, rear facing only car seats, convertibles, or sometimes, a teenager. Three across isn’t just three harnessed car seats together (not everyone has triplets!), so we try to show a variety of scenarios.
In this instance, I have a NUNA PIPA lite rx and the kiddo I mentioned at the beginning of this review. She’s starting driver’s ed now so it’s been a minute since she rode in that Roundabout! I installed the PIPA lite rx in the center and asked my kiddo to sit in the remaining outboard seating position.
The Good News
Both seats and my kiddo had plenty of room. Nobody and no parts of car seats overlapped. That’s not a small thing. There’s a good inch or more of space between the seat’s bases here.
The Bad News
The only way to rotate the REVV in my car required the PIPA lite rx’s carrier to be off the base. If I attempted to rotate the REVV with the PIPA lite rx on the base, the REVV would swing into the PIPA lite rx and get stuck.
So if you wanted to use the REVV in a tight space, you definitely could but rotating it to load/unload a kiddo could be a real challenge. And frankly, using this seat without rotating it at those times misses out on the seat’s best feature.
Where it Might Work
The REVV might work well when installed next to a backless booster that’s low enough to stay out of the way. It also worked just fine (in other words, was able to rotate properly) when my teenager sat next to it. This assumes that the kiddo who rides in the REVV would be loaded first, then the seat belt-only passenger would get in and buckle up.
Fit to Child
Newborn Doll with Inserts
Our newborn Huggable Images doll has yet to grow or gain weight — it’s still 7 pounds and 17 inches long. The REVV fit our doll very well — that’s the kind of excellent harness fit that I expect from a NUNA seat and the REVV delivers.
Newborn Doll without Inserts
We asked our doll to model the seat without the insert in place. I found that it was a bit better fit this way. Your mileage may vary so as always, we’d suggest trying and removing the optional padding to see which fits your child best.
16 Month Old Doll
Our 16 month old doll is 31 inches tall. Rear-facing in the REVV, it’s got some room to grow. Here’s the most reclined position.
Here is the most upright position.
3 Year Old Doll
Our 3 year old doll is 31 inches tall and weighs very little because it is made of fluff. Rear-facing in the REVV, the doll is approaching the max height — here the headrest is raised all the way.
I was able to fold the doll’s legs when rotating the seat but that’s a lot more difficult with actual children.
This is where the REVV’s low height limit is the most visible. Our 3 year old doll is 38 inches tall and has roughly 13 inch shoulders. This doll barely fits in the REVV — their shoulders are just below the top harness position.
Technically, the doll has 6 inches before it reaches the REVV’s top height of 43 inches but it’s right at the max seated height since those shoulders are just below the harness.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA (lack of) approval: per the manual, “This restraint is certified for
use only in passenger vehicles. This restraint is not certified for aircraft use, as aircraft belts will not accommodate proper installation of this restraint.”
Date of manufacture label the REVV expires 10 years after the date of manufacture. The date of manufacture label and a label with the 10 year limit are on the bottom of the base.
Lower anchor storage thelower anchors store on the base of the seat in a handy compartment.
In a world that’s not quite full of revolving car seats, the REVV doesn’t really stand out. It’s among the most expensive and yet it has the lowest height and weight limits of any of the bunch and a challenging install.
Does it have the things that make NUNA seats nice? Absolutely. The ease of use and comfort features are the same kind of awesome we’ve come to expect from NUNA products. It’s narrow enough to work in some very specific three across situations.
In most cases, we’re able to find at least one situation where a seat would solve a problem but unfortunately, that’s not the case for the REVV. I would tend to lean toward choosing a different rotating car seat or a RAVA over this seat.