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Narwal Freo X Ultra review: 6 things I love, and 2 big problems

Updated Jun 26th, 2024 7:33AM EDT
Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop Combo Narwal Freo X Ultra
Maren Estrada for BGR

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Narwal Freo X Ultra

Rating: 4.5 Stars

A powerful robot vacuum and mop that cleans its own mopping pads.


  • Brilliant base station design
  • Mop washes & dries itself
  • Tangle-free roller brush
  • Strong suction
  • Impressively silent
  • Long battery life


  • Novel dust bag design isn’t great
  • Flawed mapping system
Buy FromList PriceSale Price
$1,399.99$1,099.99See It
Narwal$1,399.99$1,199.99See It

I have personally tested more than 200 different robot vacuums during my time at BGR. Needless to say, it takes a lot to impress me these days. Yet the Narwal Freo X Ultra robot vacuum and mop combo really managed to impress me with a novel design and several excellent features. It’s not perfect, though, and I’ll discuss two big flaws with Narwal’s latest flagship robot.

Since robot vacuums are ubiquitous these days, I’m not going to bore BGR readers with all the minutia that they already know. I’ll leave that to the spam blogs that exist solely to game Google. Instead, I’ll focus on the key features that separate the Narwal Freo X Ultra from other comparable flagship robot vacuums, such as the Roomba Combo j9+. I’ll also highlight the very best Freo X Ultra features, as well as the worst things about this new model.

For those interested in buying one, it’s worth noting that the Narwal Freo X Ultra is currently on a limited-time sale, so you can save some money. Narwal’s own site is offering a $200 discount, but you’ll save $300 instead if you pick yours up from Amazon. The current Amazon deal drops this model to its lowest price ever, but the discount will only be available for a few weeks.

One last important note: there’s a section near the end of this review with updates after extended use. This way, you can see how the Narwal Freo X Ultra holds up during extended use and testing.

The good

I’ll start things off by highlighting the best Narwal Freo X Ultra features that really blew me away. Given my 4.5-star rating above, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s a whole lot more to like about this impressive new robot vacuum and mop than there is to dislike.

1. Narwal’s All-in-One Base Station is epic

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

Aside from iRobot’s Roomba Combo j9+, most flagship robot vacuum and mop combo models these days have an auto-wash base station. That includes the Narwal Freo X Ultra, and I actually like this model’s design more than any other model I’ve tested so far.

For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the auto-wash feature yourself, here’s how it works:

When a typical mid-range and high-end robot vacuum finishes cleaning, it returns to the base station, and the dust bin is automatically emptied. It’s an awesome convenience feature that I refuse to live without at this point.

But some newer flagship robot vacuum and mop combo devices take this concept to the logical next level. Instead of only emptying the dust bin, they also automatically wash and dry the mop pads.

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is the newest example of a model with an auto-wash feature for its mopping pads. And in my expert opinion, Narwal has the best auto-wash base design to date.

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

Inside the base station, there are two air-tight tanks as well as a specially-design bottle of floor cleaner. One tank holds clean water, and it automatically refills the internal water tank in the robot. The base station also dispenses a precise amount of floor cleaner each time it refills the robot.

When the Freo X Ultra finishes a cleaning task that involves mopping, the base station automatically flushes clean water through the mop pads to clean off dirt and general nastiness. That’s where the second tank in the base station comes in. As the mopping pads are cleaned, the dirty water is sucked up into that tank and stored there until it’s full.

Of note, the dirty water in the second tank really starts to stink after a while. But the tanks in the Narwal Freo X Ultra base station are fantastic, and no odor escapes at all. They also have a terrific zero-drip design that doesn’t leak at all when you carry them around. I’m only mentioning the odor so you’re not surprised the first time the dirty water tank fills up, and you have to open it to empty it.

Once the dual mop pads on theNarwal Freo X Ultra are done being rinsed, the base station uses heat to dry and disinfect them. I’ve been testing this model for nearly two months now, and the mop pads are still nice and clean. After a while, however, I do plan to wash them with detergent.

2. Perfect for pet hair

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

The next big check in the plus column for the Freo X Ultra is Narwal’s roller brush design. It very well might be the best brush design I have ever seen on a robot vacuum.

Some robot vacuums have better roller brush designs than others, and I’m the perfect person to test them. That’s because I have a dog that sheds nonstop, all year round. The constant onslaught of dog hair is one of the main reasons why I test so many robot vacuums in the first place. With a robot to handle routine vacuuming a few times a week, I don’t have to worry about seeing dog hair all over the place.

Every robot vacuum I have ever tested needs to have its brush detangled after a while. Whether it’s a $100 cheap model or a $1,000+ Roomba, it needs to be detangled. Between all that dog hair and my long hair, it’s inevitable. But in the nearly two months that I have been testing the Narwal Freo X Ultra, I have yet to have to detangle this model’s roller brush.

I’m sure it’ll have to be detangled at some point, but I’m shocked at how long the Narwal Freo X Ultra has been tangle-free.

3. The sound of silence

Yes, The Sound of Silence is an amazing song. But the sound of silence is even better when you’re talking about a robot vacuum.

Most robot vacuums are quite loud as they roll around your house, sucking up dirt and dust. Even louder is the thumping and clunking you hear as they roll off rugs, over half-rounds, and over any other uneven surface.

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is remarkably quiet, and I am here for it. I’m actually blown away by how much quieter this model is than the Roomba s9+ that I normally use on the first floor of my house. I’m often in my basement gym working out while my first-floor robot vacuum runs, and the s9+ sounds like an army is stomping around. Meanwhile, I often don’t even realize that the Narwal Freo X Ultra is running until I come back upstairs.

4. Battery life

Battery life is something I failed to mention when I first published this review. I have since realized that this was a big omission, though, because the Narwal Freo X Ultra has remarkable battery life.

Let’s start with some context.

When I’m not reviewing a new robot vacuum, I used to have a Roomba s9+ on the first floor of my house. I had it set to run twice a week, with each cleaning job configured to take about two-thirds of the rooms on my first floor. There was some overlap because I wanted it to vacuum the kitchen and the bathroom during both jobs.

Why didn’t I have it set to vacuum the full first floor each time, you ask? Because the battery on the s9+ couldn’t handle vacuuming all the rooms in one pass. It would have to return to the base station to recharge, and then it would resume the job a couple of hours later.

I work from home, so hearing the vacuum run for so long was annoying. Plus, my dog hates it so I try to spare him as much as I can by finishing each job while he’s still sleeping upstairs.

Now, let’s compare that to the Narwal Freo X Ultra robot vacuum and mop combo.

Since the Freo X Ultra has mapping issues (we’ll get to that a little bit later), it’s set to clean my entire first floor each time it runs. I still have it set to run twice each week. The first time is just a vacuuming run, and then the second time it vacuums and mops my entire first floor.

When it’s done vacuuming and mopping the entire first floor of my home, it still has about 60% of its charge remaining. And mind you, the first floor of my house definitely isn’t small.

The Narwal Freo X Ultra’s battery life is definitely another big check in the plus column. Unless you live in a sprawling 10,000-square-foot mansion, it’s going to handle each cleaning job without having to stop to recharge halfway through.

5 & 6. Strong suction & squeaky clean mopping

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

Last but certainly not least, the Narwal Freo X Ultra has admirably strong suction. Also, Narwal’s DirtSense mopping tech is outstanding. These are items five and six on my list of five things I love about the Freo X Ultra.

Where suction is concerned, Narwal says that the Freo X Ultra is rated at up to 8,200Pa. That’s a very big number that’s impressive on paper, but what does it mean in practice?

In my testing, the Narwal Freo X Ultra is near the top of the list when it comes to sucking up different types of debris. Near, but not at the top.

I tested the Freo X Ultra with different types of dirt, dust, dog hair, sprinkles, leaves, and even crushed-up bits of food like pretzels and potato chips. It did an excellent job of sucking it all up, but it’s not quite as good as some other high-end models like the Roomba s9+. I did find that a few bits were left behind here and there.

I have been using the Freo X Ultra for several months now, so I wanted to provide an update on this model’s vacuuming performance. After more time with this model, I do tend to find that it tends to leave more things behind as the bag fills up. Usually, it’s little clumps of dog hair. I believe it’s an issue with the bag design, which you’ll read about shortly.

The issue appears to be more prevalent when the dust bag is getting full. Also, it’s not a huge problem. When it happens, I typically only find one or two little hair tufts that have been missed.

The bad

As you can see, there’s a lot to like about the Narwal Freo X Ultra. But nothing is perfect, of course, and this model also has a few big flaws that need to be discussed.

1. Narwal’s dust bag design

I listed Narwal’s All-in-One Base Station as one of the best things about the Freo X Ultra. That is absolutely true. But there’s one thing that I really don’t like about this base station.

My only complaint about Narwal’s new All-in-One Base Station design is that it doesn’t suck the dirt and dust out of the robot’s dust bin. Instead, this model uses a special filter and dust bag combo to store up to 7 weeks’ worth of dirt inside the robot itself.

The Freo X Ultra has a special feature that compresses debris inside the bag to store as much as possible, and it works well. But it doesn’t make up for the comparatively small size of the dust bag.

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

These bags have 1 liter of capacity, which is decent when coupled with Narwal’s compression tech. But comparable flagship robot vacuums suck debris out of the robot and into a larger bag in the base station. Those bags often have as much as 3 liters of capacity.

I find that Narwal’s 7-week estimate is pretty accurate. But with other robot vacuums that hold debris in a larger bag inside the base station, I can go up to 3 months before I have to change bags.

There’s also another problem with Narwal’s dust bag design. It seems as though the robot doesn’t have any sort of sensor to indicate when the dust bag is full and needs changing. Instead, there’s just a time-based notification in the app that gives you a message every seven weeks.

What happens if your dust bag fills up quicker than that, you ask? Well, here’s your answer:

Narwal Freo X Ultra Dust Bag Overflowing
The debris bag in the Narwal Freo X Ultra overflows when it’s too full. Image source: Maren Estrada for BGR

This is what the dust bag looked like after around five weeks since I last changed the bag. I told you… my dog sheds A LOT.

As you can see, I didn’t receive any notification that the bag was so full that it began to overflow. As a result, dog hair and dust began to back up into the Freo X Ultra’s intake channel. That’s actually the only way I knew that it was time to change the debris collection bag; I found little rolled-up hairballs after the robot was done vacuuming because the bag was so full that it couldn’t hold any more debris.

Apart from the inconvenience of having to switch out the dust bag twice as often — and sometimes not knowing when the bag needs changing — there’s another problem with Narwal’s design: the Freo X Ultra creates much more waste than with comparable models. As you can see, Narwal’s filter-and-bag combo design uses a lot of plastic that ends up getting thrown in the garbage instead of being recycled.

2. Mapping leaves much to be desired

The Narwal Freo X Ultra is great at navigating around obstacles. In fact, Narwal’s triple-laser navigation system is better than most others I’ve tested. Unfortunately, however, the same cannot be said of Narwal’s mapping system.

The first floor of my home has an open floor plan. Without getting too deep in the weeds, the foyer, kitchen, and dining room all wrap around a series of centrally-located walls, closets, kitchen cabinets, and a refrigerator. Then, my living room and family room are also open to each other, with a long half wall in between them.

For whatever reason, the mapping system on the Narwal Freo X Ultra cannot figure any of this out, and it thinks that most of the first floor of my house is one giant room.

Narwal Freo X Ultra Robot Vacuum Mop ComboImage source: Maren Estrada for BGR

This wouldn’t be as big of a problem if the Narwal app let me manually draw walls to separate the rooms, as most robot vacuum apps do. Unfortunately, however, you can only draw a new wall in the Narwal app if it extends to connect two existing walls. That makes the feature useless for me and for many others. A quick search online reveals that lots of people have the same problem with older Narwal robot vacuums. I’ve found threads on Reddit from years ago where people are complaining about this same problem.

I worked with a Narwal spokesperson to try to figure this out, but we were unable to fix it after three different mapping runs. The company’s only suggestion was to use “opaque and/or tall” objects to help the robot identify different rooms. As I told Narwal’s spokesperson, I have no idea what could be taller or more opaque than walls, a refrigerator, and floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinetry.

Most homes won’t have this issue, so it’s probably a moot point for 98% of potential buyers. That’s why this issue and the smaller dust bag combined to only knock half of a star off of the Narwal Freo X Ultra’s rating. But if you’re like me and other people out there who do have the problem, it means you cannot create cleaning schedules for different rooms in the affected area.

3-month update

Initial reviews are great for early adopters who like to check out new products as soon as they’re released. Most people prefer to know how something performs over time, though. That’s why I like to update my reviews after I’ve spent more time with a product, in case things change with more usage.

Good news: not much has changed after a few months of usage. The Narwal Freo X Ultra continues to impress in so many ways. It’s truly a set-it-and-forget-it robot, thanks to the fantastic base station. I just wish I could “forget it” for a bit longer, but Narwal’s dust bag design leaves much to be desired. I already explained why that’s the case.

I haven’t yet changed out the roller brush for a new one, simply because I haven’t had to. Performance with pet hair is consistently great, though I do notice that it misses some other things from time to time. This past May, I often found little bits of leaves left on my kitchen floor after vacuum-only runs, but that was understandable. It rained so much in the Northeast where I live, so those wet little bits of leaves can pose a problem. After vacuum-and-mop runs, however, I typically didn’t see anything left behind.

The Narwal’s mapping problems continue to be annoying, but the issue still isn’t a deal-breaker. It would be nice to just have the Freo X Ultra quickly vacuum and mop my kitchen, for example, instead of spending over an hour going over the majority of my first floor.

Again, I’ve never had this issue with any other robot vacuum I’ve tested, so hopefully, Narwal can fix things in a future software update. Unfortunately, people have been complaining about this issue for years with older Narwal models, as I mentioned before. With that in mind, I’m not holding out hope that it will be resolved anytime soon.

I’ll update this review again after some more time or if anything changes.

Should you buy the Narwal Freo X Ultra?

As you can see, the Narwal Freo X Ultra’s pros dramatically outweigh the cons. The Freo X Ultra is easily one of the best robot vacuum and mop combos I have ever tested. And that’s saying a lot, since I’ve tested more than 200 different models.

If you’re in the market for a new flagship robot vacuum and mop in the $1,000+ price range, I highly recommend the Narwal Freo X Ultra. Of note, it often goes on sale. At the time of this latest update, the Freo X Ultra was available with a discount.

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This review was originally published on March 25, 2024. It has since been updated with additional details and impressions.

Maren Estrada Deals Editor

Maren Estrada has been the Editor of BGR Deals since it launched in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience testing more than 1,500 products, and reviewing a wide range of consumer electronics including mobile devices, smart home products, computers, and home appliances.

Previously, she was a leading consultant specializing in copywriting, product development, and new product launches.