Narwal turns up heat on robot vacuum players with new scrubber

Narwal's introduction of S1 has been widely interpreted as a move that will raise the stakes in China's already intense "war" of household gadgets.

Narwal (云鲸), a Shenzhen-based producer of robotic vacuum cleaner, recently debuted its first-ever scrubber, in a move signaling its entry into an increasingly competitive market segment.

One of the biggest highlights of the new model, named S1, is a design called HorizonTech180°, which allows the device to function even when placed on the floor.

This feature, according to Narwal, departs from most scrubbers currently available in the market, which have difficulty reaching hard-to-clean corners of a home, such as under the sofa or bed.

S1 starts at 2,999 yuan (US$431) and is now ready for pre-sale on Tmall,, and Douyin’s e-commerce platform.

Narwal said it came up with this product after surveying nearly 1,000 households to learn about their needs and pain points in household cleaning.

The birth of S1 is an outgrowth of two years of R&D, Narwal said, adding it filed over 100 patents for the gizmo.

In recent years, robotic scrubber has emerged as the next big thing in smart home appliance after robotic sweeper and mop.

Narwal has joined a number of domestic peers in venturing into this segment, following the lead of Dreame (追觅科技), Roborock (石头机器人) and Poppyoo (小狗电器).

According to Narwal, S1 possesses a stronger suction pressure, roughly 12% higher than similar products. Meanwhile, it generates a downward pressure almost 42% bigger that peers. This enables S1 to remove stubborn stains, said Narwal.

The comb design that characterizes the roller brush prevents the scrubber from becoming entangled with hair.

Thanks to a low-center-of-gravity structure for the built-in water tank and battery pack, S1 can reduce its own weight to 900g when held in one hand and lowers the tensions on the user’s muscles by 42%.

Compared to rivals, Narwal S1 is capable of being used in narrow home space less than 15cm above the floor. The scrubber’s head is able to rotate itself in all directions, and can be stuck beneath the bed, tea table and sofa to handle cleaning tasks.

This boosts the cleaning productivity by 25%, said Narwal.

S1 also frees the user from washing the roller brush and internal mechanism themselves. With the press of a button, S1 enters into a self-cleaning mode, beginning with centrifugal drying and then heating. The cleaning process lasts 30 minutes.

The sleek design and use of glossy materials for which Narwal has become famous has carried over into S1. Aside from the white surface and glitzy appearance, what sets the scrubber from rivals is that it reduces noise by 68%, causing less disturbance to daily life.

Narwal’s introduction of S1 has been widely interpreted as a move that will raise the stakes in China’s already intense “war” of household gadgets.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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