Narwal Freo Review

Narwal Freo is a relatively new cleaning robot on the market. Launched in 2022, the Narwal Freo offers a new option for homes considering a 2-in-1 auto-cleaning robot, capable of vacuuming as well as mopping floors. As someone who’s toyed around with other robot vacuums, I had to put the Narwal Freo to the test to see how it stacks up against other leading products.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve grown fond of the perks that robot vacuums provide. We all lead busy lives and cutting down on daily chores is something we can all aspire to do. That’s why robot vacuums can be essential purchases for many homes. Automating the task of cleaning your floors can save you hours throughout the week. Like other brands, the Narwal Freo gives you total control through your iPhone or Android device. 

Whether it’s dirt and dust on your hardwood floors or pesty corners of your tiling, this device can handle it. Better yet, the Freo can also tackle liquid spills on your floor as well. The best part is that it’s controlled to identify these messes without disrupting the user. If you’re in the market for a high-end automated vacuum, which doesn’t skip out on style, the Narwal Freo is a phenomenal option. In Canada, the device is available for $1,968

Out of the box

Setting up the Narwal Freo is fairly straightforward. Within the packaging, you’ll receive the Freo robot unit and its base station. The robot measures 13.8 x 13.8 x 4.1 inches. The base station, on the other hand, is 16.3 x 14.6 x 17.1 inches. Both units feature a glossy white colour. The box also includes a 31oz bottle of the ‘Lemon and Basil’ floor cleaner, two mop pads, two side brushes, two filter sponges, and a power supply cord.

The initial setup of the Freo is two-fold. First, the floor cleaner must be placed in the base station’s auto feeder. Alongside a full container of regular water, the unit will dispense the required mix of water and diluted floor cleaner automatically. After placing the robot into the station, the robot is then prepped by the mop heads soaking in the cleaner prior to its first clean.

Additionally, you’ll be required to install and set up the Narwal Freo app on iOS or Android. This is where you’ll be able to initiate the first clean of the Freo. The app is also the hub where you can map out your home, create ‘Rooms’ and set schedules. Right off the bat, I found the app to be very user-friendly with a straightforward UI. Following the first use, the app isn’t 100 percent required. However, having access to tailor each clean at your fingertips makes the user experience feel complete. Alternatively, the Freo’s base station features a small LCD touchscreen that can be used to select modes and other settings. Located on the top of the station, this stylish screen is used to set network settings, adjust the child lock, and access other useful features.

Here, you can also find Freo’s cleaning modes to select from. This I think is one of the best features of the Freo and sets it apart from its competitors. The Freo enables you to select ‘Vacuum Mode’ and a ‘Mop Mode’, which is pretty standard. Unlike many other robot cleaners though, you can tailor the experience by selecting either ‘Vaccum and Mop Mode’ or ‘Vacuum then Mop Mode’. The touch screen and navigation do take some getting used to. Though, all the information and menus are served in a visually appealing manner that compliments this futuristic base station model. 

Floats like a butterfly

The Freo’s first clean is primarily done to map out your home. For my condo, this process took roughly an hour. During this time, the robot meticulously went around each corner of my home, around and underneath furniture. The data it collects is then reflected within the app. The robot is also able to discern “rooms” in which you’re able to command it to clean moving forward. For instance, it mapped out what is essentially my kitchen area. If on a hectic day, I found my kitchen to be a bit messier than the rest of my home, I could command it to do a once over in that room rather than a full clean of all other areas. 

Alternatively, using the assortments of different modes, I can tailor each of Freo’s cleaning jobs to my needs and schedule. Of course, the time the robot needs to fully vacuum and mop your home is dependent on the size, the amount of furniture, the flooring it’s dealing with, and the state of a mess. If it’s daily maintenance on hardwood or tile, it’s likely to take significantly less time. However, if you’ve spilled tomato sauce on the floor or if you’re hoping to deep clean an area carpet, the Freo is going to take more time. If there are hard-to-clean spills, the Freo may struggle with thoroughly removing the mess. I’ve noticed that the side brushes routinely push dirt and debris away from the unit rather than sweep it into the suction. This can lead to some missed areas or times when the Freo needs a second pass.

For me and my lifestyle, I’ve found that setting Freo’s schedule during the workday is the most pragmatic. The wonderful thing about the unit is how silent it is. I’ve used other robotic vacuums and cleaners in the past. They’ve all made a significant amount of noise as it putters around the main floor of my home. With the exception of it bumping into a few pieces of furniture, it’s pretty quiet. So quiet that I’m comfortable jumping on a Zoom call for work without feeling like the Tasmanian Devil is causing a ruckus in the background.

Using its DirtSense technology, the Narwal Freo can actually determine how dirty the room is and adjust its settings accordingly. For instance, if there is a spill that needs a second pass with the mop, it will do so prior to moving on or finalizing the cleaning. Additionally, the unit adjusts the force and humidity of the mops depending on the flooring. The same can be said with the suction of the vacuum. A PowerBoost feature can also be utilized when tackling a rug that could be damaged from too much suction. You also don’t have to worry about the damp mop head being dragged across your rug. Once Freo is finished mopping an area, the bristles then lift. The same is applied to the roller brush when it is mopping. 

Low maintenance 

Having used other robot vacuums, there’s always been a certain amount of babysitting required. I’ve used units that don’t offer a self-emptying feature. There have also been 2-in-1 units that require a great deal of maintenance after a mop cycle. The Narwal Freo is fairly low maintenance between upkeep and efficiency.

One of the great aspects of the Freo is the water containment system built into the base station. Inside, there are two plastic containers. One is designated for clean water and the other is for the used, dirty water after a cycle. Behind the clean water container, the bottle of floor cleaner is stored upside down and dispenses automatically. Depending on how many mop cycles and how dirty your floors get, you can likely go a week or so before reasonably needing to empty the dirty water tank.

There is a built-in dust bin located at the bottom of the Narwal Freo. Accessing it is relatively easy and straightforward. While I do enjoy robot vacuums that feature some sort of self-emptying feature, there’s an associated cost with disposal bags and such. Freo has none of that. Again, it depends on how dirty your home is and how regularly your unit is running. Of course, pet hair, dust bunnies, and other debris can cause the dirt bin to fill up quickly. While there aren’t disposal bags to worry about, Narwal does have a small filter unit that goes into the dirt bin. This helps capture those smaller particles. Over time, you’ll want to replace this.

Final thoughts

The Narwal Freo does have some tiny drawbacks but it’s still difficult to not recognize how brightly this 2-in-1 robot cleaner shines. This is clearly a high-end gadget, especially when you consider the $1,968 price tag. But with that comes a suite of options which users can leverage to tailor their experience.

Even with all the bells and whistles, I recognize that Narwal Freo is most widely suited for maintenance rather than deep clean action. Even with various modes, I can’t recommend users solely lean on Freo as a deep-cleaner, ready to tackle the home bi-weekly. Instead, this is a unit that can cover your home during the afternoon or while you’re out. Best of all, it does so without needing you to babysit it or disturbing you with noise and intrusions. 

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