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Narwal Freo X Ultra review: smart and powerful whole home cleaning

Narwal Freo X Ultra review

Narwal Freo X Ultra

4.5 / 5

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is a robot vacuum and mop with plenty of tech packed into a unit that doesn't ruin your home's aesthetic.

There are a lot of robot vacuum and mop products on the market, so it can be challenging to stand out. It's table stakes for high-end models to have multi-faceted base stations and AI cleaning modes.

The Narwal Freo X Ultra has been a powerful and competent cleaning robot in my testing. While none of these robots are perfect, the Narwal checks a lot of boxes.

Many of these companies make claims about "library quiet" cleaning modes, but the Narwal Freo X Ultra is the closest to matching that claim from the units I've tested. However, I still find it absurd that these companies try to make such extreme claims — no one on earth should believe a vacuum cleaner can be as quiet as a babbling brook.

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Narwal Freo X Ultra

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is an intelligent robot vacuum and mop combo.

Narwal Freo X Ultra review: specs & features

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is a medium-sized robot vacuum and mop with a base station. The base station is a sleek, squat tower with rounded corners that blend well with the decor.

Narwal robot cleaning in front of a bookshelf
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: powerful robot vacuum and mop

The robot itself is 13.8 in by 13.8 in by 4.2 in. It weighs 9.37 lbs.

There are two buttons on top of the Narwal Freo X Ultra robot — home and power. Pressing the power button starts/stops the current task. The home button recalls it to the base station.

The robot contains dust storage for the vacuum that needs to be cleaned out about every seven weeks, depending on usage. The mop pads can be removed to be washed or replaced, but the base station does a great job of keeping them clean.

Narwal robot upside down showing the mop pads and brushes.
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: it self-cleans the mop pads and disinfects the dust bag when docked

Narwal Freo X Ultra can press the mop pads down at 12NM of force while spinning at 180RPM. Force and speed are adjusted based on the material being cleaned, like tile or wood.

There's a zero hair tangling brush that's easy to remove and clean. Hair and threads can get caught in it, but it's easy to slide off the end versus bristled brushes.

The vacuum has a powerful 8,200Pa suction. It works with the two sweeping arms to ensure any nearby hair or dirt is pulled in with ease. There are different suction levels available in the app.

Narwal cleaning a hardwood floor with the front sensor visible
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: three sensors for 360 degree coverage

Like other robots of its kind, the Narwal Freo X Ultra is laden with sensors for object detection, navigation, and room mapping. There is the forward sensor, edge sensor, and radar on top for 360 degrees of scanning.

It still bumps into raised edges on furniture like other robots, but it's better at avoiding objects than I've seen previously. The radar dome is necessary, but it does prevent it from fitting under some objects.

Not too noisy

All vacuums are going to be noisy while cleaning and while in the base station. There are techniques and technologies that can help with this, but expecting whisper-quiet cleaning is unreasonable.

Narwal cleans in front of an e-bike
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: up to12Nm of force for a polished clean

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is among the quieter devices I've tested. I recorded some audio-level samples during testing in my home using the Apple Watch noise app.

My living room showed a baseline of 35 dB. Setting the Narwal loose on a strong vacuum and mop job showed about 65dB average with my wrist at standing height from the robot.

I set the vacuum mode to "quiet" to test this library-like claim. While it could be drowned out with a white noise machine at a respectable volume, it was anything but "quiet."

I recorded about 59 dB on average in the quiet setting, which is about the level of a conversation or dishwasher. That's an expected value, considering I'm talking about a vacuum cleaner.

Narwal cleaning a rug in front of a door
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: mop pads are lifted when cleaning a rug

Even with the robot just rolling around, I saw well over the 40 dB library noise level, so perhaps my home is just loud. To be fair, I have hardwood floors and wood paneling walls.

I set the vacuum to super strong suction, and it surprisingly wasn't too loud. It hit about 70 dB, which is well under the 80 dB or so I've seen in competing options.

For comparison, Apple Watch sees my HomePod stereo pair in the office at 70 dB while I'm seated at my desk. That's with the volume set to 35%.

Sound isn't just about volume, but pitch. I complained about the loudness of the Dreame robot I reviewed before, but it ran between 60dB and 80dB, which is similar to the Narwal at the low end, at least. It's just that the pitch is much more pleasant and ignorable for the Narwal.

Of course, that's subjective and dependent on your space.

Narwal base station

The base station is 16.3 in by 14.6 in by 17.1 in. It is fully self-contained with a garage-like storage and charging bay.

Narwal's base station next to a small white trash can
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: the base station is sleek and compact

The base station lid has a small touch-sensitive control dial. A child/pet lock can be set to prevent inadvertent activation.

Since the dust box is internal to the robot, the base station is smaller than some competitors. The internal compartment has two water tanks for clean and dirty water, plus a place to insert the cleaning solution container.

The base station has its own noise levels to worry about when prepping the robot and when cleaning the pads afterward. There are settings for how much air is blown through the system for drying and disinfecting, which controls noise levels to some extent.

The cleaning prep noise level hits about 65dB on average. Air compression of the dust bin reached about 73dB, and that's the loudest the unit will be at a given moment.

Using the Narwal Freo X Ultra robot vacuum and mop

The water tanks are sufficient to have the robot clean my entire upper floor if it's a one-and-done job. However, when the AI Freo Mind with DirtSense is turned on, the robot might clean a space multiple times, which requires more water.

The Narwal base station lid opened to reveal water tanks
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: removable water tanks and soap dispenser

About halfway through a deep cleaning run of my living room, dining room, and kitchen, the Narwal Freo X Ultra needed a water tank refill. It isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're home to change out the water — it's just a bit of added work.

The tradeoff is totally worth it, though, because it leaves spaces looking extra clean and shiny after a deep clean. If you're running the robot regularly and your floors aren't getting too dirty between passes, repeated deep clean runs won't be needed.

If you'd like to guarantee minimal water tank refills, you can turn off the AI features for specific cleaning tasks. Or, there's always the option of upgrading your tank with a water exchange system.

Depending on the size of your home, the cleanliness of your spaces, and the time since the last Narwal run, a cleaning job could require multiple water refills and a recharge. For example, a deep clean of my main living space, about 700 square feet, took 3 hours with one water refill, and the battery was dead at the end.

A black touch surface on top of the Narwal base station
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: the base station has simple controls on top

Again, this can be a blessing and a curse. Turn off the special cleaning modes, and it'll clean much faster and with fewer materials. The Dreame robot I reviewed cleaned my main spaces in about 45 minutes, which now seems a bit fast by comparison.

The result is notable. The floors are clean all the way to the wall and edges around furniture.

I haven't encountered issues with the robot getting stuck or tangling cables, but there is a problem with making it past some obstacles. I have a cableway in my office that's a minimal hump, but it proves a challenge for the robot. I may have to get a robot ramp for it.

Mapping oddities

I had one significant problem getting the Narwal Freo X Ultra set up, and that's with the mapping feature. I live in a home where the main living spaces wrap around a central stairwell, creating a large, open circle with doors leading to rooms on one side.

Two screenshots representing a floor plan seen by the Narwal, one with defined rooms, one without
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: mapping before and after building a wall

The Narwal would identify the bedroom, office, and bathroom as separate rooms fine. However, it labeled the living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallway as one large doughnut-shaped space.

The app wouldn't let me separate the rooms due to a weird editing limitation. So, I contacted Narwal, and they gave me an odd solution — just block one section with an artificial wall.

I put up some objects to block the robot's path, thus creating a new "wall" between the kitchen and hallway. It worked, and I now had separate rooms for every space.

While annoying, it isn't a deal breaker. Narwal needs to update the device's logic to account for homes like mine. Or, at the minimum, make the map editor work so I can create rooms easier.

Narwal app

The Narwal app has everything you need to operate the robot vacuum and mop. The big play button just launches it into cleaning every room at the default settings, which are configurable.

Screenshots of the Narwal app setup and Siri screens
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: control all aspects of the robot vacuum and mop from the app

Users can easily see the current status of different parts of the robot, like if it's time to change the cleaning solution or mop pads. Each accessory in the list has instructions for proper care and cleaning frequency.

Users can set up tasks that occur once or repeat on a schedule. There's also the option of adding actions to Shortcuts by providing a voice command that's donated to the app.

Smart, efficient, & stylish cleaning

Narwal has a good robot in the Freo X Ultra. The base station looks great and takes up minimal space while hiding the robot in a little nook.

Narwal robot leaving the base station
Narwal Freo X Ultra review: deep cleaning with a good-looking robot

If you've never owned a robot before, the top-of-the-line Narwal is amazing, if pricey. You'll get what you pay for with this excellent machine, but perhaps investing in a lower-cost unit would be smart to determine if a robot vacuum and mop is for you.

I like that the dust bin is in the robot and lasts a lengthy seven weeks before needing to be dumped and cleaned. The robot also doesn't cause any issues with odors around the station from water in the dock or the dirty water container.

Narwal Freo X Ultra will clean your home without much oversight. While it has object avoidance and other features, I still like clearing clutter from the floor and putting chairs on the table to maximize access and efficiency.

Narwal Freo X Ultra - Pros

  • Excellent edge-to-edge deep cleaning
  • Simple controls and options
  • Low-maintenance
  • Minimal oversight, but...

Narwal Freo X Ultra - Cons

  • ... AI cleaning mode can require multiple water refills
  • Noise levels are manageable, but not library quiet like the website claims
  • Can't handle the smallest of bumps
  • Mapping oddities with circle-layout homes

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Narwal Freo X Ultra is a great robot with a few bugs that need to be worked out. It can't figure out what to do with a circular-layout home, and the app doesn't help fix it either.

While it's good at avoiding issues that'll get it stuck, its wheels and motor can't make it over slight humps like the cableway in my office. This needs work.

Where to buy the Narwal Freo X Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Get the Narwal Freo X Ultra from Amazon for $1,399.99. It drops to $1,199.99 with a $200 on-page coupon.

Alternatively, you can order the robot vacuum and mop from Narwal directly, with an automatic discount dropping the price of the Freo X Ultra to $1,183.98 in the U.S. at the time of this review.