Are Robot Vacuums Worth It in 2023? (The Narwal Freo)

6 min read

Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well.

Robot vacuum cleaners have always been an interesting proposition because they assist with large chores such as cleaning, mopping, and vacuuming.

I’ve had my fair share of robot vacuum cleaners, and unless you go high-end, they’re often disappointing, and instead of vacuuming dust, they sit in storage collecting dust.

However, this is the new Narwal Freo self-cleaning robot vacuum, and it is different.

It’s one of the most advanced and feature-rich self-cleaning robot vacuum cleaners on the market, and I’ve had the opportunity to put it through its paces in my studio over the last month.

Given that the Narwal Freo costs a hefty $1,300, let’s take a look at what makes it so unique, whether it can truly automate a large chore, and whether it’s worth purchasing!

Unboxing & Setup 


I’ll be setting this up in my office and studio, which is nearly 1,000 square feet in size with a mix of floorboards, tiles, and rugs – so cleaning this space does take some time, and any time back in our busy lives is always welcome.

So I first heard about the Narwal Freo and T10 vacuums on TikTok, and I loved how self-sufficient and minimal their design is, so when Narwal approached me as a sponsor to send the Freo over, I naturally said yes to this tech gadget – so thank you, Narwal, for sending this over.

Setup is a breeze right out of the box.

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Fill the Base Docking Station with water and cleaning solution, plug it in, insert the color-coded side brushes into the Freo, slot the Freo into the dock, and set it up with the companion app via its display.

It’s also worth noting that Freo’s fully integrated mop heads, which were previously an add-on attachment, are one of the T10’s major new improvements.


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Whereas most robot vacuums are sterile in design, the Narwal Freo in light mode white is sleek as hell and has won design awards.

Its all-white glossy plastic, discreet Narwal brand mark, and unobtrusive camera sensors, which include LIDAR, make it appear unassuming.

On the bottom, the Freo has two rounded triangle microfibre pads for mopping, as well as two side brushes and a main roller brush in the center.

And, while this may not be important to some, the fact that this tech gadget will be visible in a common room in your home – I believe its design aesthetic is an important consideration in seamlessly integrating into your home. Fortunately, I like the design.

Base Station

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Moving on to the base docking station, this thing is self-sufficient and deserves to be praised.

The dock, like the Freo, is well-designed and includes some seriously cool elements I haven’t seen before in a self-cleaning robot vacuum cleaner.

For starters, unlike other docks, it literally consumes the entire vacuum and almost conceals it from view. It looks more like a hibernation cave that encompasses the entire vacuum, which I haven’t seen before. On the dock, the vacuum is usually completely open for viewing.

There’s a recessed LCD display on the front right corner that I haven’t seen on a base dock before, and it’s brilliant – it gives you full control of the vacuum right from the display without touching the app on your phone.

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It shows everything from the device’s status and battery life to its five cleaning modes: Dual Vacuum Mop, Vacuum-mop, Freo Mode, Vacuum or Mop.

It has this nifty “Auto Feed” feature whereby you place the custom Narwal Lemon & Basil cleaner upside down, and it then trickles the cleaning solution into the robot’s mops so it washes the floors with not just water but with water and a subtly scented cleaning solution for an extra thorough clean – it’s incredibly nice.

Whereas most previous robot vacuums only cleaned with water, this extra feature helps keep tiles and floorboards extra clean and bright – but more on its mopping and vacuuming performance in a moment.

When the Freo auto docks back into its base station, the tanks fill up with dirty water from its mop, and these water tanks are simple to remove, empty, and refill with clean water so it can manage its next clean.

It definitely gets points for its feature-packed design, but the real test and worthiness comes in its vacuuming performance.

Mopping Performance 

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The Narwal Freo‘s mopping performance is undeniably impressive.

This studio space smells squeaky fresh and feels nice to the touch when barefoot thanks to the unique combination of Narwal’s cleaning solution, the auto-adjusted downward force of mopping pads, and gentle heat cleaning.

Its mop heads are side brushes and retractable, preventing cross-contamination.

Before and after each mop, the mop heads are heated to 40 degrees Celsius, or about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure that the mops are properly dried and that bacteria is killed and not spread throughout the home’s floor.

With all of the work I do in here – unboxing, moving furniture, having guests over – the floorboards get filthy quickly and require a mop at least once a week. I can noticeably feel and see a difference in cleanliness after the Freo mop, and the fact that it does it automatically without any of my input is a game changer.

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This is most likely due to the “Freo” cleaning mode, which is worth mentioning because it is yet another feature that distinguishes this robot vacuum.

The Freo Mode is essentially an AI-assisted clean mode that cleans actively rather than passively. So what I mean is that it will analyze how dirty the rooms are in real-time using its cameras and sensors, and it will return to vacuum and mop specific areas more than once if it determines that area is still dirty or extra dirty. This is accomplished through the use of Narwal’s “DirtSense” technology, which detects how dirty the water is being sucked up among its camera sensors.

Vacuuming Performance

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When in Vacuum mode, Freo collects dirt from carpets and rugs using the roller brush and side brushes.

When placed on rugs, which haven’t been vacuumed in weeks because I haven’t had the time, there’s a thick layer of dust and gunk on them.

With its 3,000 PA suction power, the Freo does an excellent job of picking up dust – 1,000 more PA than the previous Narwal T10, and you can clearly see and feel the difference after vacuuming.

I even poured a bunch of shredded paper across the rug to see how much it could pick up, and it did an excellent job of picking up every single shred.

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It’s quieter than other robot vacuum cleaners I’ve tested, coming in at 50-60 decibels, so it’s as efficient and work-from-home friendly as it is efficient and quiet.

It’s also one of the first robot cleaners to be able to vacuum AND mop at the same time, which is no small feat. It will also automatically prioritize vacuum or mopping modes based on the detected floor type.

Other Features

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There are a few more noteworthy features that deserve to be mentioned:

Smart Swing in Freo Mode ensures that it mops and vacuums much closer to the edge of the wall by using this unique rear-twisting movement.

Because it has a smart path, it overlaps its route to provide better cleaning coverage.

It also has smart mapping, which means it automatically creates and saves a map of your home based on its LIDAR sensors to help it navigate after the first few cleans.

Despite all of its features, the Freo lacks 5GHz WiFi support and no remote camera viewing functionality, which would have been really nice to see at this higher price point.


Overall, this is unquestionably one of the more premium self-cleaning robot vacuums. I also like how it looks like Eve from Wall-E.

It has a plethora of features that are genuinely useful rather than gimmicky.

I’ve been able to create a cleaning schedule and trust that it will do a good enough job that I won’t have to mop after it.

And Narwal has won numerous industry awards, including TIME’s Best Inventions, to demonstrate its outstanding design and technological prowess.

But, are the Narwal Freo and self-cleaning robot vacuums worth the investment?

It all comes down to cost and how much you value your time.

If you’re a busy person who values an hour of your time back each week, the Narwal Freo and robot vacuum cleaners are a worthwhile investment at that $1,300 price point.

For me, the Freo gives me a freshly Lemon Basil scented space and an hour of my time back every week, and that’s worth it. 

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