With excellent mopping, a long battery life, a mop cleaning base station with a handy touchscreen, and an intuitive app, the Narwal Freo has a lot on offer. However, given the mediocre vacuum performance and the lack of an auto-emptying dust bin, combined with a high price tag, this robot vacuum leaves something to be desired and is best for households with lighter cleaning needs.
Handy LCD touchscreen control panel on base station
Excellent self-cleaning mops
Long battery life
Mediocre vacuum performance
No auto-emptying dustbin
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Narwal Freo: One-minute review
The Narwal Freo offers everything you’d expect from one of the best robot vacuums. Beyond vacuuming, it has mopping, an intuitive app, long battery life, and a base station with auto mop-cleaning and an LCD touchscreen for extra control. But the question is, do these features deliver? Almost all of them do, except probably the most important one: vacuuming.
When it came to vacuuming, the Narwal Freo sucked, and not in a way that vacuums are supposed to. It failed to pick up debris during everyday cleaning tasks on carpeted and hard floors, leaving a larger-than-expected amount of hair, crumbs, and other dirt behind as it traversed my space, with its performance worsening over time. Edge brushes and other “special” technology did little to expel dirt from edges and corners, meaning you’ll want to grab one of the best vacuum cleaners to finish the job this device failed to complete.
Mopping on the Narwal Freo was a different story. The two oscillating mop heads did an excellent job cleaning up lighter dirt, spots, and grime. The robot vacuum also as a whole did a decent job navigating my space and freeing itself when getting stuck. It's not the best I’ve seen but on par with many robot vacuums I’ve tested. After mopping, my floors sparkled while the auto-mop cleaning on the base station made the entire process virtually hands-off.
Speaking of that base station, it’s bulky, but the unique LCD touchscreen on its lid is especially useful when you don’t want to use the app. However, the omission of an auto-emptying dustbin was shocking given the retail price. For more control over settings and cleanings, the app was great, and you can even save multiple maps, making it ideal for multi-level spaces.
The Narwal Freo is best for homes with lighter cleaning needs given the poor vacuum pick-up. However, it’s almost entirely hands-free and will leave your floors looking better than before with little effort on your part, removing a few chores from the list.
Narwal Freo: price and availability
- How much does it cost? $1,399.99 / AU$1,999 (about £1,100)
- When is it available? Available now
- Where is it available? Available in the US and Australia
The Narwal Freo costs $1,399.99 / AU$1,999 (about £1,100). You can get it directly from the Narwal website or various retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. In Australia, it’s available on their website.
Given the price, this robot vacuum sits at the higher end of the market. Luckily, it offers many features to help justify that cost, including self-cleaning oscillating mops and an LCD touchscreen. Still, the lack of an auto-emptying dust bin is shocking. If you can grab it on sale, it will make the device a much better value. One small but much-appreciated detail is the inclusion of a floor cleaning solution, but it costs a pretty penny when that needs replacing.
Something like the Eufy Clean X9 Pro offers similar functionality to the Narwal Freo, including self-cleaning and oscillating mops, and it retails for $500 less, making it a better deal. But if you’re looking for almost everything a robot vacuum can offer in one convenient package, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra might suit you better. With it comes self-cleaning mops and the auto-emptying dust bin that the Narwal Freo lacks – although this impressive vacuum will set you back $1,599 / AU$2,699 (about £1,265).
- Value: 3.5 / 5
Narwal Freo: specifications
|45W(vacuum) / 72W (base)
|Quiet, Normal, Strong, Super Powerful
|180 minutes (Freo Mode)
|65Db (vacuum) / 50Db (base)
|Mop water volume:
|Slightly dry, normal, wet mopping
|14.6 x 16.3 x 17.1 in (370 x 415 x 435 mm)
|9.59 lbs (4.35 kg)
Narwal Freo: Design and features
- LCD touchscreen control panel on base station
- Auto mop cleaning base, no auto emptying
- Two oscillating mop heads
The Narwal Freo came in a massive, heavy box that was difficult to maneuver on my own. Upon opening, I was greeted with a large instruction sheet and began setting up the vacuum. The process took about 10 minutes, including downloading the Narwal app and connecting to Wi-Fi via a 2.4GHz band. It was fairly simple and similar to most robot vacuums.
The base station is a sleek white with rounded edges, but it’s quite bulky, measuring 14.6 x 16.3 x 17.1 in (370 x 415 x 435 mm). So, those living in smaller spaces may want to stay away from this device unless you’ve got a great spot to tuck it away. It’s also hefty, especially when the clean water tank is full and the auto-feeding floor solution is installed, meaning you won’t want to move the setup often.
One glaring omission from the base station’s design is an auto-emptying dustbin, something I’ve seen on almost every robot vacuum in its price range. Instead, you get that floor solution that tucks neatly inside along with clean and dirty water tanks for the self-cleaning mops. That means you’ll need to empty the 480ml dust box on the robot vacuum itself, which can be annoying. However, the tray where the mops are cleaned is removable, so you can rinse it down if it looks or smells a bit grimy.
I might miss the auto-emptying dustbin, but this base added an excellent feature that I haven’t seen on a robot vacuum before: a control panel. It’s a round, color LCD touchscreen on top of the base station that lets you send the vacuum out to perform different tasks, displays alerts when something is wrong, and more. You don’t get as much control as on the app, but it’s great for those in your household who don’t have the app downloaded.
The robot vacuum is similar to others, with a large main roller brush featuring actual bristles, edge brushes, and various sensors throughout. It’s the same white as the base, so scuff marks began to show immediately after the initial use. There’s only one button on the device, giving you limited control unless you’re using the LCD touch screen or the app. The dust box is easy to remove, though I found that some contents would fall out in the process, which is annoying given the fact that there’s no auto-emptying dust bin.
My favorite part of the actual robot vacuum is the oscillating mops. You get two large, plush mop heads that rotate and adjust pressure based on the floor type. I’ve found that this type of mopping does a better job of cleaning floors than the vibrating mopping pads seen on most. After mopping, the base station cleans the mops and even dries them to prevent smelly bacteria growth.
I’ve mentioned controlling the vacuum via the app or the LCD touchscreen on the base, but you can also send the vacuum out to clean using smart home integration. It currently supports Siri voice control, and the Narwal app makes it insanely simple to set up – something I can’t say for other vacuums I’ve tested.
- Design: 4 / 5
Narwal Freo: Performance
- Easy-to-use app
- Excellent mopping
- Mediocre vacuuming
For its first task, I sent the Narwal Freo out using Narwal’s unique Freo Mode that detects the dirt in an area and cleans accordingly using “DirtSense Technology.” The vacuum and mops are both used in this mode. The device navigated my downstairs with relative ease, though it would occasionally get tripped up on rugs, eventually freeing itself without my help. After finishing cleaning a room, or sometimes more often, the vacuum would go back to the base and clean the mops. This process takes about two minutes. Then, it would go right back out, picking up where it left off cleaning.
Freo Mode left the floors cleaner than before, but the performance wasn’t perfect. Most of the spots from food spills and muddy boots got mopped up, though the mops that are supposed to lift on rugs and carpet wouldn’t always do so, soaking the edges of rugs. There was still debris left in the corners and edges of rooms, especially near the kitchen cabinets. Given this vacuum advertises a “Smart Swing” technology to combat this issue, I was disappointed the feature wasn’t better. The rugs also had some debris and dog hair left on them. It’s important to note that I have a fluffy dog constantly traipsing leaves and muck throughout the house, so this vacuum had its work cut out for it.
I did more intensive testing of the Narwal Freo’s vacuuming to see how it fared when cleaning up different sizes of debris. Using a large concentration of oats, sugar, and sprinkles, I tested its pick up on a hard laminate floor at the vacuum’s various speeds: quiet, normal, strong, and super powerful. I noticed that each suction level performed similarly.
Some of the oats and sprinkles got flung around in the first pass-through, but sending the vacuum out a second time saw most of the mess suctioned up. Some sprinkles got crushed in the process, and they were left behind. The sugar appeared to get vacuumed. However, upon closer inspection, there was some grittiness on the floor, and it took several passes to remove it.
I sent the vacuum back to the base after these tests—the robot vacuum successfully found the base and docked every time it finished a cleaning task. But on its way, it had to pass over several transitions, losing some of the contents of the dust box, and leaving a mess of sprinkles, and oats behind. Luckily, the robot vacuum increases suction when docking at the base, helping to prevent the dust box contents from falling out.
I performed these same tests on medium-pile carpeting, and unfortunately, the Narwal Freo’s performance was pretty pathetic. No matter the suction level and even with a second pass-through, most of the oats, sprinkles, and flour were left behind. I had to grab a cordless vacuum I was testing to pick up the mess the Freo left behind. So, if your home consists mostly of carpeting, I’d seek another robot vacuum option.
Its mops were also put through more intensive testing, as I spread yogurt, honey, and some of my morning coffee on the floor. I used all the mop water levels: slightly dry, normal, and wet mopping. Slightly dry tended to spread the mess around, but normal and wet mopping performed better. After the first pass, the coffee was gone, though the yogurt was smeared around while only some of the honey was removed. A second pass-through cleaned up the majority of the mess.
I love how great the mops perform. They’re perfect for cleaning up lighter spills and messes. When emptying the dirty water tank, I could see just how great they were working, as that water was nasty. Plus, even after several weeks of use, the mops look almost as good as new. They are white, so there are a few darker spots on them, but there’s no odor, which is a testament to the handy auto-cleaning and drying feature on the base station.
Beyond the more intensive testing, I observed how the Narwal Freo performed everyday tasks, whether it was in Freo Mode, Vacuum, Mop, or both.
Its navigation was on par with other vacuums I’ve tested. For the most part, it covered the entire area I had requested the robot vacuum to clean. The device would avoid objects like dog bowls and toys. But when it came to furniture and larger obstacles, it would skirt nicely around some or just fully ram others with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes, the Freo would get tripped up by an obstacle for several minutes, continuously running into it or spinning around it. I’ve found this to be a common issue with many robot vacuums. Wires would also get caught in the main brush from time to time–not a big surprise.
Speaking of the main brush, it has bristles, something many robot vacuums have done away with. That means it’s a hair magnet, and I had to clean it on multiple occasions. I also found the brush difficult to get back in place correctly after cleaning, a minor annoyance.
When it came to detecting debris, it was a hit or miss. Sometimes, the Narwal Freo would spot larger messes and pick them up immediately. Other times, it seemingly avoided the mess, never going back to clean up, proving the vacuum to be unreliable.
As the Narwal Freo vacuumed, it attempted to kick out debris from hard-to-reach places, corners, and baseboards using the edge brushes. Oftentimes, it didn’t successfully move the debris, and if it did move the debris, that debris never actually got suctioned up. This was a major disappointment, especially given the price.
In fact, I was truly shocked at just how mediocre the vacuuming performance of the Narwal Freo was. I’ll admit that my floors were full of crumbs, pet hair, leaves, and other debris, making them messier than the average household. But I was lucky if the Freo picked up a third of what was on the floor. Sure, larger crumbs and dirt were left, and that’s acceptable and often expected from these devices. However, small leaves, tiny needles from an artificial Christmas tree, and minuscule crumbs were left behind even after I sent the vacuum out multiple times.
I also believe the vacuum’s performance declined from when I first began using it. I tried to remedy the problem, doing everything from emptying the dust box after each use to cleaning the brushes and filter. Still, it failed to have a better pick-up. That poor vacuuming performance could be due to the 3,000Pa max suction level, which is pretty low considering the cost. Therefore, if your household has pets, kids, or just tends to get a bit grimier, I’d steer clear of the Narwal Freo.
- Performance: 2.5 / 5
Narwal Freo: App
- Easy to use app
- Mapping uncomplicated
It was simple to start using the Narwal Freo. Before its first run, the robot vacuum leaves the base and creates a map of your space. The process was quick, and I had a relatively accurate map of the downstairs of my home, which is about 700 square feet with multiple rooms, in about 15 minutes. You can then edit the map, block off certain areas, and name rooms using the Narwal app. The map isn’t as intelligent as some I’ve used, but it should suffice for most.
A great feature of the Narwal App is its ability to save up to four maps. So, beyond the main downstairs map, I created two others. One map of my sunken family room and another of the upstairs. Mapping was uncomplicated, as you just needed to move the robot vacuum to the space and let it do its thing. However, you can’t select specific rooms to clean on the additional maps, as the app only allows you to highlight areas to be cleaned, which can be tedious.
However, the app as a whole is easy to use and took me only a couple of minutes to master. It lets you adjust vacuum settings, check when components need replacing, schedule cleanings, and more. When you don’t go through the app, you can always use the LCD touchscreen on the base, though you’ll have less control over the specifics of your cleaning.
- App: 4.5 / 5
Narwal Freo: Battery life
- Battery lasts over three hours
- Takes less than 4 hours to recharge
The Narwal Freo is equipped with a 5,200mAh battery that lasts an impressive amount of time. Using Freo Mode, which includes vacuuming and mopping, the battery lasted over three hours. That was enough juice to clean almost 700 square feet of space three times. It’s the best battery performance I’ve seen in my robot vacuum testing.
When only using the vacuuming function, I found that the battery did deplete quicker. Still, it lasted long enough for multiple whole home cleanings. Of course, increasing the suction level did cause the levels to drop even faster.
After the battery dropped below 20%, it returned to the base for charging. There’s an option to send it back out to complete a task after it has reached a certain level of charge. And the battery gets back to 100% percent surprisingly fast, taking less than 4 hours.
- Battery: 5 / 5
Should I buy the Narwal Freo?
|Expensive but feature-rich vacuum, similar option retails for less
|3.5 / 5
|Easy to set up, base station washes and dries mops but no auto-emptying, useful LCD touch screen on the base, oscillating mops on robot vacuum
|4 / 5
|The two oscillating mop pads work great, but the vacuum pick up and edge clean up are mediocre
|2.5 / 5
|The app is simple to use and offers multi level home mapping
|4.5 / 5
|Battery lasts over three hours depending on the mode and recharges quickly in under 4 hours
|5 / 5
Buy it if...
You want top-tier mopping.
The Narwal Freo features two oscillating mops that put the vibrating mopping pads seen on most robot vacuums to shame. The base station cleans and dries the mops, leaving them in great condition even after several weeks of use.
You have a multilevel home.
Unlike many robot vacuum apps, the Narwal app allows you to create up to four maps. So, if you have different levels in your home, you won’t need to worry about deleting your current map to clean another part of your space.
You don’t always want to use an app.
The Narwal Freo has a unique LCD touchscreen on the base station, allowing you to select different modes and send the robot vacuum out to clean. Beyond that, it gives details about when components need replacing, shows your network settings, and more.
Don't buy it if...
You have pets or kids in your home.
The Narwal Freo fails to pick up a good portion of debris when performing average cleaning tasks. So, if you’re house is prone to more crumbs, hair, and dirt, this vacuum won’t be able to keep up. You’ll want to grab an option with more suction power.
You have a mostly carpeted home.
Given the mediocre vacuuming performance, especially on carpeting, and the high price tag, you’d want to grab this vacuum for the excellent mops. If you don’t have hard floors, then you can find better-performing vacuum-only options for cheaper.
You want an auto-emptying dustbin.
Unfortunately, the base station of this robot vacuum doesn’t include an auto-emptying dust bin. That means you’ll need to remove the dust box and empty it. It’s a surprising omission, considering the price of the vacuum.
Narwal Freo: Also consider
Not sold on the prowess of the Narwal Freo? Below are a couple of alternatives that you can consider.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
|Eufy Clean X9 Pro
|$1,399.99 / AU$1,999 (about £1,100)
|$1,599.99 US / AU$2,699 (about £2,370)
|$899.99 / £899.99 / AU$1,499.95
|45W(vacuum) / 72W (base)
|Row 1 - Cell 2
|Row 1 - Cell 3
|Quiet, Normal, Strong, Super Powerful
|Row 3 - Cell 2
|Row 3 - Cell 3
|0.66 gallons (2.5L)
|13.9 oz (410 ml)
|180 minutes (Freo Mode)
|180 min (quiet mode)
|150 min (standard vacuum/mop setting)
|Row 6 - Cell 2
|Row 6 - Cell 3
|65Db (vacuum), 50Db (base)
|69dB (vacuum), 77dB (base)
|65dB (vacuum), 50dB (base)
|Mop water volume:
|0.92 gallons (3.5L)
|1.1 gallons (4.1L)
|Slightly dry, normal, wet mopping
|Row 9 - Cell 2
|Row 9 - Cell 3
|14.6 x 16.3 x 17.1 in (370 x 415 x 435 mm)
|16.7 x 20.2 x 17.7 in (42.4 x 51.3 x 45 cm)
|17.4 x 16.6.2 x 16.4 in (44.3 x 42.2 x 41.6 cm)
|Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri
|Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
|Row 14 - Cell 2
|Row 14 - Cell 3
|9.59 lbs (4.35 kg)
|31.7 lbs (14.4 kg)
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
An impressive but pricey robot vacuum, offering both vacuuming and mopping abilities, and has a self-cleaning, auto-emptying docking station to give you a mostly hands-off cleaning experience. An intuitive app delivers intelligent mapping as well as easy adjustment of settings.
Read our full Roborock S8 Pro Ultra review
Eufy Clean X9 Pro
A solid robot vacuum that vacuums and mops. The rotating mops are great at removing spills and spots on your floor, while the base station’s auto-cleaning feature washes the mops for you. Unfortunately, there’s no auto-emptying for the dust box. There’s also an intuitive app that creates an intelligent map and makes it simple to adjust various settings.
Read our full Eufy Clean X9 Pro review
How I tested the Narwal Freo
- Tested over the course of several weeks
- Used almost every mop and vacuum setting
- Tested on various floor types, including carpet and laminate
I tested the Narwal Freo in my two-story home with floor types that include hardwood, medium pile carpet, tile, and laminate. There are also low-pile rugs throughout. I’d send the vacuum out multiple times per week using the different modes: Freo Mode, Vacuuming and Mopping, Vacuuming, and Mopping. The robot vacuum would do its thing, and I would only intervene if needed, observing how it handled obstacles, edges, and more.
Beyond the basics, I did more intensive testing of the device on both hard floor and carpeting to see how it handled larger messes of varying debris sizes. Using oats, flour, and sprinkles, I tested all the suction levels of the vacuum to see how well each setting vacuumed. I also spread yogurt, honey, and coffee on the floor to observe the mops' performance at varying water levels.
Although this is the first time I’ve tested a Narwal robot vacuum, I have reviewed plenty of others from top brands like Shark, Roborock, Ecovacs, Eufy, and more, so I feel confident in my experience using these devices.
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.
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First reviewed December 2023
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who spends most of her time covering all things tech. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her obsessively reading, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, or scouring the web for anything related to music history.
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