Imagine a couple who are busy working professionals with demanding jobs and often work long hours. They value their free time and try to spend it relaxing, pursuing hobbies, or simply unwinding. With their hectic schedules, they find it challenging to keep up with household chores, especially cleaning. This is where robot vacuum cleaners come to the rescue.
Robot vacuum cleaners, also known as robovacs or robotic vacuum cleaners, are autonomous devices designed to clean floors and carpets without human intervention. They have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience and ability to perform routine cleaning tasks with minimal human effort. Robot vacuum cleaners with mopping capabilities combine the functions of traditional robot vacuums with the added ability to mop and clean hard floors. These devices are designed to offer a more comprehensive cleaning solution by vacuuming up dirt and debris while also damp-mopping the floors to remove stains and maintain cleanliness.
We recently came across one such amazing product known as the Narwal Freo. Narwal is not a new brand as their T10 Robot Vacuum Cleaner was released a couple of years ago with (mostly) positive response both the tech community as well as the customers. The Narwal Freo is the latest model that combines the functions of Vacuum Cleaner and Mop into one device. It has several unique and first-in-segment features such as DirtSense and Auto Water Exchange that really help us in maintaining a clean and tidy home. But how does all these advanced technology and functionality transform in the real-world usage?
This is the review of the Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner. We are writing this review after using and testing the device over a period for its ease of installation, different cleaning modes, checking out its capabilities, software/app experience, and overall performance. If you are interested in purchasing one of the (spoiler alert !!!) best robot vacuum cleaners in the market right now, then continue reading more about our review of the Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner.
Let us begin this review with the unboxing experience. Opening the main box, there is another box that contains the main robot unit. If you are familiar with robot vacuum cleaners (or used one yourself), then you will have an idea how a typical robot vacuum cleaner looks like. The Narwal Freo is no different. There are also two sweeper brushes in this box. After that, we have the quick start guide. It has a brief note on how to use the vacuum cleaner for the first time.
Then we have the All-in-one Base Station. There are several things this base station can do, which we will look in the later sections. We also have the floor cleaner liquid, couple of sponge filters (for clean water tank), and a power cord.
The design of the Narwal Freo Robot Cleaner is very close to a “generic” robot vacuum cleaner that we have been seeing in the recent past. On the top, there is a round sensor hub that has LiDAR sensor. There is also an operation button that acts as both power on/off button as well as control button. You can open the top lid to access the dust box. The front side, where you can open the lid, has a spring-loaded bumper to absorb minor impacts to walls and other objects.
On the bottom side, we a couple of microfiber mops with a unique triangular design. The side brushes do not come attached and you have to fix them. Note that these brushes are color-coded and have markings “L” and “R” on them. There are a total of three wheels on this robot vacuum cleaner; two are regular wheels with rubber finish and one omni directional wheel.
Another important aspect of any robot vacuum cleaner is its sensors that help the robot navigate around a space without hitting anything or falling off of staircase. The Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner is no exception to this. We already mentioned the LiDAR sensor on top. Apart from this, there are a bunch of infrared sensors, cliff sensors, TOF Sensor, Ultrasonic Sensor all around the Narwal Freo. One interesting sensor that is unique to the Narwal Freo is its Carpet sensor. As the name suggests, it can detect carpets and help the mop adjust its height. The robot vacuum cleaner has its charging contacts on the side which help charge the battery when it docks at the base station.
Speaking of which, the base station of the Narwal Freo has a lot more functionality than just acting as a charging hub. First of all, there are two water tanks on the top; one is to hold clean water and the other for dirty water. There is a provision to insert the floor cleaning detergent on the inside. The area where the robot vacuum cleaner docks has components for cleaning the mops.
Setting up the Narwal Freo is very simple. Place the base station against a wall and ensure that there is ample open space in the front for the robot to enter and exit freely. Attach the side brushes to the robot, insert the robot into the base station, and power on the base station.
The LCD on top of the base station comes to life. You have to download the official Narwal Freo App which is available for both Android and iOS. After the initial setup, you can do most of the important tasks right from the LCD touchscreen on the base station but we preferred the smartphone app. The first step is to map the area that the robot vacuum cleaner. It takes some time to properly map the entire house but the benefit is it is a one-time job and the robot knows where to go from the next time.
The LiDAR Sensor in combination with the other sensor helps the Narwal Freo map the house. While the robot is mapping, we inserted the floor cleaning liquid inside the base station and even filled the clean water tank with some fresh water. After roughly 20 minutes, the robot created a map and returned to the base station. On the app, we can see the overall layout of the map with the area.
The Narwal Freo has a bunch of operating modes that are suitable depending on your use case. As this is essentially a vacuum cleaner with mopping feature, we have the basic vacuum and mopping modes. In this, you can choose between vacuum only, vacuum first and then mop, vacuum and mop simultaneously, or only mop.
All these modes are not that special and most other robot vacuum cleaners also have them. What’s so special about Narwal Freo is its Freo Mode. You can activate this mode using the LCD touch screen (Freo Mode is the one with the whale symbol) or through the app. In Freo Mode, the Robot Vacuum Cleaner uses a bunch of AI algorithms such as EdgeSwing and DirtSense. With the EdgeSwing technology, the robot moves in a twisted motion to reach corners and edges and clean very effectively.
Coming to the DirtSense technology, it is an interesting one. Using the combination of sensors and AI algorithms, the Narwal Freo senses the level of dirt on the floor it is cleaning. If it feels the floor is still dirty, the robot once again does the job of cleaning (vacuum and mop) and repeats this process until the floor is really clean. Every time the robot senses dirt or floor is not clean, instead of using the same dirty mops again, it washes the mops and dries it so that it cleans the floor with fresh mops every time.
You can use Freo Mode for the entire map of the house or if there is a tiny area of floor (usually in kitchen or dining) that has stubborn stains, you can restrict the robot to clean that particular area only.
So, how did the Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner perform? In our using/testing, the Narwal Freo performed really well. The mapping process was very simple and using the robot (either through the app or directly from the base station) is also easy. Almost all the tasks are automatic. You have to check the water level in the clean water tank and dirty water tank every now and then. The dirty water tank has a sensor that warns you if the tank is full. Depending on how dirty your floor is and the total area that the robot has to clean, you might need to fill-up the clean water tank and empty the dirty water tank a bunch of times. You don’t have to worry about the floor cleaning detergent as the base station will automatically mix it with water in a precise proportion and dampens the mop for wet cleaning.
We intentionally dropped some coffee and milk on the hardwood floor along with some dust and started the Freo Mode to clean that particular area (which is roughly 6ft × 6ft). The did multiple runs to clean the floor and it also picked-up the dirt as well. The mops of the Narwal Freo can apply up to 12N of downward pressure, which is essentially hard scrubbing the floor while rotating at 180RPM. The unique triangular design of the mops ensures that there are no gaps between the mops (as they always make contacts) and results in efficient cleaning. The mops get really dirty but thankfully you don’t have to do the cleaning as the base station does that for you. It will wash the mops and even dry them out by blowing hot air on them. You can clearly see the status of the mops after cleaning the floor and after washing them.
If you have carpets and want to clean hair, food, or dirt off of it, then the Narwal Freo will automatically detect the carpet and adjusts the height of the mop (up to 12mm) so that it won’t drag them on the carpet floor. Narwal Freo also has a bunch of AI Algorithms that help in cleaning along edges and corners and repeated cleaning of dirty areas.
The Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner has a maximum suction of 3000pa. This is sufficient to such most dust and debris in a normal house. The main roller brush has a combination of rubber and bristle. This is good for picking hair from the floor very effectively but hairs can tangle up. The 480ml dust bin fills up pretty quickly and it is a shame that the Narwal Freo doesn’t have an automatic dust bin empty feature.
The 5,000mAh battery of the Narwal Freo lasts roughly 3hours and it takes roughly two and a half hours to fully recharge. While mopping, the noise from Narwal Freo is around 50dB and while vacuuming, it is roughly 58dB. This is very quiet and you can use it during night without any disturbance to your sleep.
If you don’t want to bother with emptying dirty water and filling-up fresh water, there is an Auto Water Exchange system that does this job automatically. It is not a part of the standard robot vacuum cleaner kit and you have to purchase it additionally.
Robot Vacuum Cleaners were a luxury commodity earlier but the price has fallen in the recent times. That said, premium devices that offer a combo functions of vacuum and mopping, such as the Narwal Freo, are slightly more expensive. The unique selling points of the Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner are its ability to sense and re-mop a dirty area, dispense dirty water (into the base station), and clean/dry the mops automatically. As a result, it has a premium price of $1,200 with a limited 1-year warranty. While the performance of the Narwal Freo is very good for this price, there will be a recurring cost in terms of the floor cleaner (very frequent purchase) and cleaning parts such as brushes, filters, and mops (slightly less frequent purchase).
Overall, we are really impressed with the design, performance, and features of the Narwal Freo Robot Vacuum Cleaner. It is very easy to setup and use the vacuum cleaner and after the initial setup, you don’t even have to use the app to control the robot as you can do most of the things right from the base station.
Speaking of the base station, it not only acts as a charging hub for the robot but also houses fresh water for mopping and dirty water after washing the mop. Yes, the Narwal Freo can vacuum and mop the floor and it does (almost) everything automatically. You can choose between a bunch of operating modes (vacuum and/or mop) but the interesting mode is definitely the Freo Mode. In this mode, the Robot Vacuum Cleaner, using a bunch of sensors, detects the level of dirt on the floor and repeatedly cleans the floor until it is clean.
You have to add fresh water and empty the dirty water and the Narwal Freo doesn’t have automatic dust bin empty feature. We got good battery life and it charges up pretty quickly as well. If you are looking for an all-in-one robot vacuum cleaner that vacuums, mops, washes dirty mops and dries them, goes well around corners and edges, suitable for all types of floors, and does most of these tasks automatically, then the Narwal Freo is definitely worth checking out.