The Ultimate Robot Vacuum Purchasing Guide

Jul 3, 2024 | Global DTC
The Ultimate Robot Vacuum Purchasing Guide - Narwal Robotics

Is a robot vacuum even worth it? Having clean floors without lifting a finger is great, but everyone has heard horror stories about them. If you’re spending your hard-earned money, you want something to solve problems, not create them.

Luckily, as robot vacuums have developed over the years, technology has improved greatly and those horror stories are a thing of the past. Cleaning robots are smarter and more capable than ever now, often even coming with AI. The real trick is figuring out which robots have the technology worth purchasing. That’s why Narwal created this guide: to explain who benefits most from having robot vacuums and how to choose one that’s truly worthwhile.


Who should get a robot vacuum?

Many people can benefit from getting a robot vacuum. The most common reasons people decide to get a robot vacuum is that they're either too busy or don't want to clean. It's easy to understand, too - there are much better ways to spend your free time.

Those aren't the only reasons people get robot vacuums though. If you have a large house, a robot vacuum can be a convenient way to save time without sacrificing cleanliness. Others can save themselves from sneezing and throat irritation without spending all their time battling dust and hair, especially if they have pets, allergies, or children. With a robot, they don’t even have to get close to the mess. Robot vacuums are also good for people with mobility issues, saving them the effort of cleaning and reducing the risk of accidents. Finally, robot vacuums are a great fit for tech lovers who want to experience the luxury that only cutting-edge technology can provide.


What should you look for in a robot vacuum?

It’s important to know what to look for to get the most value for your money. Here are the main features you should be paying attention to.


1. Cleaning Ability

Combination robot vacuums and mops are increasingly popular now, so you have to consider both kinds of cleaning when looking for your ideal robot.

The three most important vacuuming factors are suction power, noise level, and brush design. 3000pa suction can handle average dirt, but 5000pa or higher is best for tricker debris like crumbs and hair. Unfortunately, more power often means more noise. Robots with strong suction tend to operate at 60-80dB, but other products like the Narwal Freo X Ultra have advanced technology that makes them much quieter despite their powerful suction and less distracting. Finally, having an certified zero-tangle roller brush is important to prevent snarls - something both the Narwal Freo X Ultra and the Narwal Freo X Plus luckily come with. Otherwise, you might find yourself constantly having to flip your robot over to try to yank or cut the hair out, defeating the point of a robot cleaning for you.

When considering mopping ability, the design of the mop pads is most important. Current robot vacuums have three kinds of mops: tread, vibrating, and rotating. The latter two provide more thorough and complete cleans. If your floors have heavy-duty messes that need deep cleaning, the best option is a high-pressure, high-speed rotating mop. Also, high-quality robots should come with mops that lift over carpets - the Freo X Ultra, for example, can raise its mops 12mm. That way, your carpets can get the vacuuming they need without you worrying about wet, musty carpeting.


2. Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance

It’s important to understand the difference between navigation and obstacle avoidance. Navigation is how robot vacuums understand their environment. The first time the robot is used, it builds an internal model of the space it’s cleaning. With a better navigation system, the robot will build this model faster and understand the space better.

Obstacle avoidance, though, supports the robot’s navigation during cleaning. If it detects a toy, furniture, or other objects, obstacle avoidance helps the robot move around it seamlessly. This is key to a robot vacuum’s quality because homes are complex and full of gaps and obstacles. Without good obstacle avoidance, you have only two options : spending time tidying up beforehand or spending time fixing your robot every time it sucks up something it shouldn't have.

Multiple technologies can tackle this issue. The most common and effective are dual RGB camera, 3D TOF obstacle avoidance, and 3D structured light obstacle avoidance, with many robots combining two of the technologies to achieve the best results. The latter two primarily use structured light lasers and depth sensors to allow robots to determine the distance between themselves and their obstacles and clean around them. Having side lasers to assist with navigation is the most precise option, as it allows the robot to clean as closely as possible to an obstacle without getting stuck. The Freo X Ultra, for example, has a tri-laser array which helps it achieve millimeter-precision obstacle avoidance, so every possible inch of flooring gets cleaned. Looking for these kinds of technologies can help avoid major issues during cleaning.


3. Self-Cleaning

The point of getting a robot vacuum is to clean less, so it’s best to find a robot that maintains itself. More importantly, it's best to find a robot with high-level self-maintenance technologies to minimize bacterial growth, mold, and other potential allergens. Current self-maintenance technologies include automatic mop cleaning and drying, dust storage, and water exchange.

Automatic mop cleaning and drying uses high-pressure water and then heats or shakes the mops dry to prevent bacteria and odor. Top robots can clean their mops better than hand-cleaning, reaching 99.99% cleanliness, so you can have peace of mind knowing your mops are fresh and free of odor and bacteria.

Automatic dust compression allows robots to run longer without having their dustbin emptied. The problem is that many robots move their dust into a base station for storage, which can be noisy and cause clogs. Not only that, if the debris isn't properly dried or gets stuck somewhere in the base station, it can cause bacterial growth and bad odor. A more efficient solution available in some robots, like the Narwal Freo X Ultra and Freo X Plus, is compressing and drying the dust directly in the robot.

Finally, automatic water exchange is a function that empties and refills water supplies like a washing machine, so you don’t even have to remember to fill the tanks, let alone lug them around.


4. Intelligent Cleaning Modes

Most robot vacuums are designed to deal with various floor types. Often, they allow users to choose different cleaning modes for different rooms based on their flooring type and dirt level.

There are also robots that do this on their own in just a click of a button, however, offering a more luxurious experience. These robots use AI to sense the amount of debris during each cleaning pass. They then use this data to evaluate whether a floor needs more cleaning, even determining if they need to vacuum, mop, or vacuum and mop based on whether the debris is wet or dry. Not only that, they can also detect different kinds of flooring and adjust their mop pressure and cleaning method accordingly, even lifting their mops over carpeting.

If you want the best experience possible, other features to look for include weather-based adjustable mop dampness, voice control, app control, customizable cleaning plans, the ability to set no-go zones, multi-map storage, cleaning reports, and more.


Recommended Products

Now that you know if a robot vacuum is right for you and what to look for, here are some suggested products that are worth purchasing.


The Freo X Ultra

If you want a robot that has all the best features we mentioned here, look no further than the Freo X Ultra. With supercharged suction power at 8200pa and a certified zero-tangle roller brush, it’s both ultra-powerful and ultra-quiet. Its obstacle avoidance is precise down to the millimeter and it uses advanced LiDAR 4.0 for navigation. With automatic mop washing and drying, station cleaning, solution dispensing, water exchange, and up to 7 weeks of dust storage, its ability to self-maintain is unbeatable. The Fero X Ultra is also highly intelligent, adapting to different weather conditions and flooring types. Five cleaning modes and the ability to automatically deep-clean areas and rooms that need it further ensures floors are kept spotless.

If you’re looking for a machine that offers both luxury and a heavy-duty clean, this is the pick for you.



The Freo X Plus

For smaller spaces or those who don’t need a self-maintaining device, the Freo X Plus is a more budget-friendly option. Its 7800Pa suction power and certified zero-tangle roller brush are a great choice for households with shedding pets. Thanks to its automatic dust compression and storage, it can also store dust for up to 7 weeks, making it a good option for people on the go.

If you want a great clean for an even better price, check out the Freo X Plus.