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Are Water Rowing Machines Any Good? Learn More Here!

Is The Waterrower Really That Great?

If you’re looking for an effective way to get fit and healthy, then you might want to consider investing in a WaterRower.

The WaterRower is known as being one of the most innovative and well-built authentic rowing machines on the market.

It features a patented hydraulic range of resistance system that allows for a quick workout without causing any strains on the body.

The idea behind this type of rowing machine is simple: as your muscles are working against increase in resistance, they will burn calories.

And because you’re also consuming fluids during your workout, it can help keep you hydrated too.

Water rowers come with varying degrees of complexity, but all work on the basic principle of pulling some form of handle filled with a water tank rowing machine.

This movement creates tension within the system which provides resistance settings.

As such, these machines have become incredibly popular over recent years due to their ability to provide a low-impact cardio alternative.

They’re perfect if you don’t wish to put any stress or pressure on your joints!

Characteristic Features of water rowing machines

There are many different types of water rowing machine models available today. However, each has its own unique set of characteristics.

These include things like whether the seat moves up and down at various speeds; whether the handles spin clockwise or anti-clockwise; and even how far back the footrests extend.

In general though, here are just some of the key differences between them…

1) Hydraulic vs Pneumatic Resistance System

Hydraulic systems tend to offer greater control than pneumatic ones. This means that you can adjust the amount of force required by simply turning dials located near the controls.

On the other hand, pneumatic systems usually allow you to choose only between three damper setting.

2) Seat Sizes & Handle Positions

Seat sizes vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers make seats that sit higher off the ground while others opt for lower models.

Handle positions differ slightly too. For instance, some people prefer having the handles positioned further away from their bodies compared to those who find themselves struggling to reach them.

3) Foot Rest Positioning

Foot rest positioning varies widely across brands. Some companies place the feet closer together whereas others leave ample space between them.

It’s worth noting that placing the feet close together tends to increase level of stability. But conversely, leaving enough room helps prevent injuries.

4) Arm Support Options

Some water rower designs feature arm supports in order to help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise. Others lack this option altogether.

Again, it really comes down to personal preference as to whether you feel comfortable without one or not.

5) Cable Management Solutions

Cable management solutions also play an important role in determining the overall design of a particular model.

Many users will appreciate being able to easily access cables without needing to remove parts of the machine.

6) Warranty Length

Warranty lengths also vary significantly. Most warranties cover everything except wear and tear but some go beyond these limits.

The length of the warranty is often determined based on the price point of the product.

7) User Friendliness

User-friendliness refers to how easy it is to operate the device once all adjustments have been made.

If your new purchase doesn’t come with any instructions then you’ll probably struggle to get started.

8) Safety Certifications

Safety certifications refer to how safe the unit actually is when used correctly.

There are two main safety certification standards: CE and UL.

Both tests look into factors such as durability, ease of assembly and user friendliness among other things.

9) Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a given piece of cardio equipment refers to how much weight it can safely hold before breaking.

In most cases, weights range anywhere from 50kg upwards.

10) Exercise Type

Finally, we arrive at our last category which covers what type of exercises they’re designed for.

You may be looking for something specifically designed for cardio workouts or perhaps intensity interval training. Or maybe you want a pair of dumbbells built right into the machine!

Advantages of water rowing machines

There are plenty of advantages associated with using a water rower instead of other types of fitness equipment.

Here we will discuss some of them:

1) You Can Use Them In Your Own Home

One advantage of owning a home gym is that you do not need to pay monthly fees to join gyms.

You simply buy a machine like any other piece of furniture and set up your own personal training area.

This can save you hundreds each year when compared to joining a commercial gym setting.

2) They Are Easy To Maintain And Clean

Another benefit of having a home gym is that there is nothing complicated involved in maintaining these pieces of machinery.

Unlike treadmills where you need special tools to keep them running smoothly, all you need is soap and warm water.

3) They Have A Variety Of Different Programs That Allow Users To Customize Their Workouts

A major disadvantage of purchasing a treadmill is that most models come with only one program.

While this may work fine for many people, those who enjoy variety will find themselves bored after exercising on the same thing day in and day out.

On the other hand, water rowers allow users to customize their workout routines by choosing different programs.

4) The Noise Level Is Low Which Makes Exercising More Comfortable

When you purchase a treadmill, you must make sure that you choose a model that has low noise levels so that you can comfortably listen to music without worrying about being disturbed.

In fact, some treadmills produce enough sound pressure to cause hearing damage.

5) They Require Less Space Than Other Types Of Exercise Equipment

Treadmill manufacturers claim that their products take up very little room since they require no assembly.

But this is not true.

Most treadmills take up at least 1 square meter per foot of length.

6) They Do Not Need Electricity Or Gasoline For Operation

The biggest drawback of treadmills is that they require electricity or gasoline to operate.

7) They Provide An Effective Cardio-Workout Option

Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, cycling, swimming, etc., burn calories quickly.

But it takes time before the body gets used to working hard against the force exerted by gravity.

With a treadmill, however, you get immediate results because the user’s weight provides resistance.

8) They Help Reduce Stress Levels

Exercise helps reduce stress levels.

Studies show that aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure and heart rate while improving mood and sleep increase in quality.

9) They Improve Overall Health

Regular physical activity improves overall health.

It lowers cholesterol levels, strengthens bones, increases muscle mass, boosts energy level, and even prevents obesity.

10) They Make It Easier To Lose Weight

If you are trying to lose weight, then using a treadmill is probably not an option.

However, if you want to tone muscles but have limited space, then buying a rowing machine could be ideal for you.

Disadvantages of water rowing machine

1) Some Models Can Be Quite Expensive

Some water rowing machines cost more than $1000!

And although they look great, they might end up costing you thousands over time due to high maintenance costs.

2) You May Find Them Difficult To Use If You Don’t Know How To Row

Water rowing machines don’t just use your arms; they also use your legs.

So if you haven’t exercised much, you’ll likely feel awkward when learning how to row properly.

This means that you should start off slowly until you become comfortable with the motions involved.

3) They Are Heavy And Take Up Lots Of Room In Your Home

Another downside of these devices is that they weigh quite a lot.

They usually range from 50 pounds to 100 pounds.

As a result, they tend to take up lots of floor space.

You may need to invest in additional storage units if you plan on keeping one permanently.

4) Their Maintenance Costs Could End Up Being High

Because most models come equipped with motors, belts, pulleys, and rollers, regular servicing will be required.

Also, many parts wear out after only a few months of usage.

Therefore, you will need to replace them regularly which adds to the total cost.

5) They Might Cause Back Pain

Rowing requires proper form and technique.

When done incorrectly, it can cause back pain.

In fact, some people who suffer from lower back problems find relief through rowing.

6) The Noise Level Is Very Loud

Many average user complain about the noise produced by water rowing machines.

Although there are quieter versions available today, they still produce loud noises.

7) They Aren’t Always Easy On The Eyes

These machines often admirable feature bright lights and colorful designs.

While this looks nice, it’s actually distracting.

The light makes it difficult to see what you’re doing at times.

8) They Require A Lot Of Space

Most models require large areas or rooms to operate effectively.

For example, some models require 15 feet x 12 feet.

This isn’t always possible especially if you live in small apartments.

9) They Have Short Lifespans

Aerobic exercises like swimming and running last longer because they involve continuous motion.

On the other hand, rowing involves repetitive movements.

Over time, this causes components such as bearings, gears, and rollers to fail.

10) There Isn’t Much Variety Available Today

There aren’t too many options when it comes to choosing between different types of designs for water rowing machines.

If you prefer something simple, then you won’t get far with an electric model.

Resistance operation of water rowing machines

Water resistance provides greater workout intensity than air resistance because there’s no need to overcome gravity.

The force required to move through the water is proportional to body mass so heavier individuals require more effort to achieve the same speed.

This means that even though resistance on water rowing isn’t adjustable like air resistance, its effect remains constant.

It also makes the excellent rowing machine ideal for use by Olympic athletes since it allows them to train harder over longer periods of time.

However, if you’re just getting back into shape after injury or illness then start slowly and work up to higher intensities.

Water level on the water rowing machine

A properly maintained water tank should always contain between 1/3rd and 2/3rd full.

When the water reaches maximum capacity, the flow rate slows considerably. This causes less drag and therefore increases efficiency.

As a result, you won’t experience nearly as many interruptions due to low water levels.

Also, remember that the volume of water affects buoyancy.

The lower the volume, the easier it becomes to balance yourself while exercising.

Therefore, choose a rower with a large enough reservoir to accommodate your needs.

10 Best Water Rowing Machines

1) Concept2 Wave Waterrower – Best Overall Value

Concept2’s Wave Waterrower offers an excellent combination of biggest features and value. It has a sturdy frame, comfortable seat, and comes in three sizes.

The only downside is that this model lacks a display screen. However, it does include a timer function and heart rate advanced monitor.


• Sturdy construction

• Comfortable seats

• Three different size options available


• No display screen included

2) Stamina Wave WaterRower – Great For Beginners

Stamina’s Wave Waterrowers offer great quality but lack some advanced features found on pricier models.

They have a solid build quality and cool features a convenient storage compartment underneath the console.

They don’t include a digital readout screen, however, making set-up difficult.

Also, their smaller-sized tanks make them unsuitable for taller and heavy users.

  • Great beginner option
  • Easy setup
  • No display screen
  • Smallest tank

3) Life Fitness WXS8 Deluxe Water Rower – Best Performance

Life Fitness’ WXS8 deluxe water rower includes all of the bells and whistles. Its sleek design looks good sitting out on any exercise room floor.

Its durable steel frame ensures years of reliable service. And thanks to its electronic controls, setting parameters are easy.

One drawback is that the handlebars aren’t adjustable. So they’re not suitable for tall people who want to sit upright during tough workout.

4) NordicTrack RXG902 Water Rowing Resistance Exercise Machine – Best Commercial Quality

NordicTracks RXG902 water advanced rower delivers high performance at a competitive price point.

With a wide range of settings, it can be used for strength training, cardio conditioning, and rehabilitation.

One major advantage is that it doesn’t take up much space. You could easily store it under your bed when not in use.

This model is designed for home use. Therefore, it isn’t equipped with safety sensors like other commercial grade machines.

5) HydroFly PF30 Home Gym – Best Portable Option

Hydrofly’s PF30 portable gym provides a safe way to get fit without having to join a health club. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it fits perfectly anywhere in your house.

It also boasts a strong aluminum alloy frame which makes it extremely stable.

In addition, it includes a powerful motor that allows you to work hard for long periods of time.

However, it lacks certain key fitness kinds of equipment such as dumbbells or weight plates.

But if those things aren’t important to you, then this machine will do just fine.

6) Bowflex SelectTech Pro Series RS200/RS400 Water Rowers – Best High End Models

BowFlex’s SelectTech series rowing machines provide top notch technology and comfort.

Their ergonomic handles allow you to perform exercises comfortably while providing maximum tough workout results.

The RS200 and RS400 both come with a large LCD touchscreen display so you can view various functions including speed control, level of resistance, pulse monitoring, etc.

7) Body Solid XRC700 Water Rower – Best Budget Model

BodySolid’s XRC700 water rower is one of the best budget choice of rowing machine around.

It has an affordable price tag and comes with everything needed to start exercising right away. The only downside is that it does require assembly.

However, once assembled, it should last for many years.

8) Concept 2 EZR500 Elite Indoor Rower – Best Hybrid Options

Concept2’s EZR500 hybrid indoor rower combines traditional wood components with modern metal parts. This gives it a unique look that blends well into most homes.

With a sturdy wooden design seat and backrest, it offers excellent support throughout your entire body.

Plus, it has great-quality features a comfortable padded armrest that keeps your arms supported.

In terms of functionality, it works very similarly to conventional stationary bikes.

That means you’ll have no problem transitioning from outdoor cycling to indoor water rowing machine.

9) Stamina Equipment SE-300 Water Rower – Best Value For Money

Stamina’s SE-300 water rower is perfect for anyone looking for a quality product at a reasonable cost.

Its durable design ensures that it won’t break after several months of regular use.

10) Life Fitness LF2000SX RowMachine – Best Overall Choice

Life Fitness’ LF2000SX rower is our overall winner because it offers great value for money.

Its lightweight design makes it easy to move around even though it weighs over 100 pounds.

And thanks to its quiet operation, you don’t need to worry about disturbing others during intense workout.

What is the basic difference between a WaterRower and air rower?

If you want to get fit and stay fit then you should consider buying an air or water rower.

These machines are designed to provide resistance while you exercise.

They are also known as rowing machines because they simulate the motion of rowing a pace boat.

Air rowing machines are generally cheaper alternative than water rowers but they tend to be less durable.

Water rowers are usually more expensive rowing machine but they last longer and are easier to clean.

So which type of rower is better? It depends on your budget and lifestyle.

If you live in a small apartment then air rowing machine might be the way to go.

However, if you have a large house and lots of workout space then a water rower would probably suit you better.


Water rowing isn’t bad, but depending on your goals and your fitness level, there may be better choices.

Water rowing can help with strength and endurance, but it doesn’t build the same kind of strength and power as competitive rowing.

If you’re looking to improve your competitive rowing in a shorter period of time and want in-depth guidance and instruction in proper rowing technique, a rowing machine in your local gym might be a better option.


Randy Lucas

Randy here - Fitness enthusiast and avid runner - besides running I also love playing with my two German Shepherds Peter and Bruce - oh and I love cooking. I am the Webmaster over at where I ramble about all things fitness in an effort to make the world a healthier place.