The WaterRower: The Ultimate Indoor Rowing Experience

What Is a WaterRower?

Quite simply, a WaterRower is an indoor rowing machine that uses water (typically in a small/medium sturdy container) to provide resistance instead of using air or magnetic resistance typically used by other rowing machines.  Because it uses water as resistance it is often boasted of mimicking the feel of a real boat and provides a smooth, natural, rowing feel.  

Average Cost of a WaterRower:

Because of the quality and craftsmanship of WaterRowers,  they are not inexpensive machines.  However, people who use them believe (and I think this as well) that they are well worth the investment.  You’re not only paying for a better and more accurate rowing experience, but you’re also paying for the fact that these machines will practically last forever.  When you weigh that against a cheaper machine that might break down after a few years use, you end up spending less money overall.

That being said, every machine I discuss below typically fall somewhere in the $800 – $3000 range (depending on the machine and current sales).  If you aren’t looking for a indoor rower in this price range, consider checking out the Stamina Air Rower or Stamina Trac Glider which fall into a significantly lower price bracket and are still well-reviewed, good rowers.  Otherwise, keep reading or head on over to Amazon now to see some well-reviewed rowers.

Which WaterRower is best?

There are a number of WaterRowers out there and most of them are highly reviewed.  I’ll be going over three different machines with their pros and cons.  If you don’t have the time to read the full review, feel free to click on the link or image of each rower and it will take you straight to Amazon where you can find the current price and other user reviews of these machines:

H2O Fitness RX-750 ProRower Home Series Water Rowing Machine

Image from Amazon

For the current price, go here.

Pros:

  • The RX-750 ProRower is on the more inexpensive side for a water rower, which can make it a great option for those who want a WaterRower but don’t have a high budget.
  • It uses a Hydro-Power drive system with an internal paddling system and polycarbonate water tank.  This copies the dynamics of rowing a boat on the water and provides a soothing, relaxing water sound as you workout.
  • As with any rowing workout, it is a low impact exercise, making it an excellent option for anyone who is worried about their joints as well as those interested in the sport.
  • It includes a display panel that gives you all the information you need: calories burned, strokes per minute, heart-rate, exercise time, 500M split time and distance.
  • The handle is designed to ergonomically fit to your hand, providing maximum comfort and ease in your stroke.
  • The seat is comfortable and glides easily, giving you a smooth stroke.
  • It’s easy to assemble (assembled dimensions are: 78L x 22W x 20H) and has a user capacity of 350 lbs.

Cons:

  • There have been a few complaints that the monitor isn’t highly accurate. This isn’t a universal issue however, so if you experience problems with this, contact support.
  • It doesn’t include a fan.  This may be more of an issue for some people than others.  Personally for me, I don’t typically care if a machine has a fan or not, as it’s pretty easy to set-up a standalone one to use while you exercise.  However some people might care, in which case you will want a different machine.
  • If you have huge feet, the foot-straps might not be sufficient and you might need another pair.

To read other reviews, get more details and for the current price of the H2O Fitness RX-750 ProRower Home Series Water Rowing Machine, go here. 

Water Rower Brand:

The Water Rower Company sells a number of models of WaterRowers and are one of the most well-known companies for this machine.  I’ll be going in depth on the pros and cons of two of their machines but for more reviews, information and prices on most of their models, check here:

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Natural Ash Wood with S4 Monitor:

Image from Amazon

Click here for the current price.

An excellent investment, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine provides a smooth, natural rowing experience.  As it has a “water flywheel” it mimics rowing on water.  Not only do you hear the soothing sound of moving water as you workout, but when you row faster your resistance increases and when you row slower, it lessens, just as if you were in a boat.  

From a fitness point-of-view, this WaterRower works 84% of your muscle mass in a workout, which is something very few exercise regimes can boast of.

Pros:

  • It will last “forever”.  These machines are built for durability, comfort and quality.  As such, although some minor parts may need to be replaced over the years (think: batteries for the computer monitor), most will not.
  • It’s a handcrafted rowing machine, built in a solid ash and oak construction (hardwoods known for their longevity) that successfully absorbs the sound and vibration of your workout, providing a very calm and peaceful exercise time.
  • The flywheel is built into the water tank which provides you with a “real-life rowing” feel.  In addition, most of the people who use the WaterRower LOVE the sound of the water that comes as they do their strokes as it provides a soothing, almost-meditative, feel to their workout.
  • It measures 84 x 21 x 22 inches, weighs 117 pounds, and can be stored upright.  It does NOT come apart, so if that is something you need, check out my review of the Concept2 which has that as a feature.
  • It includes a high-end performance monitor that includes the ability to program your workouts as well as easy to see information on your stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar,  workout intensity, rowing distance, and duration of your workout.  In addition it has the option of using a heart rate chest strap if you would like to hone in on that information.
  • It has a weight capacity of 1000 lbs. (which pretty much covers everybody!) and also includes dual rails that increase the stability of the machine and seat and reduces any buildup of sweat.
  • It falls into the mid price range of high quality rowers, making it a reasonable investment for someone who is interested in their long-term health and fitness.  For the current price, check here.
  • It comes with an excellent warranty of five years on the frame and three years on all components (as long as you complete the registration form that comes with it)

Cons:

  • Some complain about the computer being faulty, although this is not a universal concern so if you end up with this problem, contacting support with your problems will solve it.
  • Some also complain that unlike the Concept2, the WaterRower offers a sub-par experience in terms of “feeling like the real thing”.  In all my research, this particular issue seems to be a matter of personal preference.  Some definitely prefer what the WaterRower models have to offer, while others swear by the Concept2.  My best advice is to look at both and decide which one will best fit YOUR needs.

WaterRower S1 Rowing Machine in Brushed Stainless Steel with S4 monitor:

Image from Amazon

This model from the Water Rower brand has all the same qualities of the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine.  It’s main difference is that it is made out of brushed stainless steel which gives a high-tech feel to your home gym.  It also is higher in cost (check here for the current price), which may or may not be worth it to you for the sleek look.

Another huge benefit of WaterRowers, is that their components and frames are purposely designed to require a minimum of upkeep.  While other rowers, have chains and parts that require regular oiling and cleaning, the WaterRower does not.  This ends up saving you a lot of time and money in maintenance!

Other Common Questions:

  • How to Fill a WaterRower?

Check out this video on how to fill your WaterRower:

  • How to Use a Water Rower?

Check out this video on how to use your WaterRower:

  • What Muscles does a WaterRower Work?

A WaterRower works 84% of your muscles in a complete stroke.  This includes the back, chest, abs, butt, thighs, hamstrings, calves, wrists, and arms.  Coupled with the fact that rowing is a low impact workout AND counts as aerobic and anaerobic (meaning you get both cardio and strength training out of it), it makes it one of the top choices for you and your fitness goals!

Waterrower Accessories:

Although, you can get by just fine with a rowing machine, there are certain accessories that will greatly aid you in your fitness journey or simply make the experience more enjoyable.  This is important because half of the battle in a consistent fitness routine is mental, so if you are able to enjoy your workout, you’re already halfway there!  

These accessories aren’t essential, but they are nice to have even if you add them down the road.  All of these kind be found easily on Amazon (I’ve included links) and have a great (i.e. free) return policy in case you end up not needing or wanting them.

Waterrower Digital Heart Monitoring Kit:

Image from Amazon

This heart rate monitor is specifically geared toward the Water Rower brand and is designed to work with all their machines.  It uses wireless ANT+ technology which increases the accuracy and precision in reading the heart rate information.

How do I know if I should get a heart rate monitor?

I’ve gone through periods of time both using heart rate monitors and not using them and my conclusion is that if you want to maximize the changes to your body, your routines, and your results, you should get one.   Also, if you are in a point of life, where you need to make sure your heart rate is staying in a particular zone, then yes!  Definitely invest in one of these!  It should be noted that this DOES take some minor extra effort on your part in finding out your maximum heart rate so you can accurately structure your workouts.  

On the other hand, if you want to exercise for the purpose of health benefits, incorporating more movement into your life without a specific goal of changing your body or you simply like to go off what your body is feeling like at the moment, don’t bother.  In my opinion it’s not worth the extra cost as you probably won’t really care what the numbers are telling you.

For more reviews and the current price on this Heart Rate Monitor, check here.

How to Use a Rower/How to Use an Erg Instructional Chart

Image from Amazon

            Are you looking for decorative but useful pieces to put on the walls of your home gym?  This is the perfect item to add!  Measuring 2 by 3 feet, this chart provides everything you need to know about rowing.  From your posture, heart rate zones, information about the different parts of the rower, to a full-body diagram of what muscles you work and a full explanation to perfecting every single aspect of your stroke.. This full-color chart covers it all!  It not only serves as a helpful reminder and motivation when you’re working out but also is a great instructional in case you have guests, friends or family using your rowing machine as well.

It’s extremely affordable and the perfect add-on to your home gym wall!  For the current price, check here!

WaterRower Mat:

Image from Amazon

If your home gym or workout space has wood floors or simply is in a place that you want to make sure doesn’t get messed up, you definitely should get a mat to put under your machine.  This one is designed specifically for Waterrowers and will fit their dimensions perfectly as well as offer the right amount of padding and protection for whatever surface your rower is on.

Sculling/Rowing gloves:

Image from Amazon

In my opinion, this isn’t even an optional accessory. It’s an essential one!  I love rowing, but the fact is it will do a serious number on your hands if you don’t use some type of protection.  Some people are hard-nosed about it and say it comes with the sport, but I’m definitely not one of them.  The friction on your hands from the multiple strokes in a workout session will leave them covered in blisters by the end, if you DON’T wear gloves (ask me how I know…)  This makes subsequent workouts very painful until these heal, when it can happen all over again (again.. Ask me how I know!).  

However, this problem is completely gone, if you simply wear fingerless gloves that have a bit of padding on the palms.  There are several options out there… honestly any fingerless exercise gloves will work, but for ones particularly designed for rowing, check out these.

If you have any other questions or thoughts, feel free to comment below!  Otherwise, check back soon for more products and articles on health and fitness!

4 thoughts on “The WaterRower: The Ultimate Indoor Rowing Experience

  1. I had never seen one of these before. This is a very interesting and cool product. I like the fact that you are working 84% of your muscles in a complete stroke for a complete workout.

  2. I like that these require little maintenance and are so durable. This will definitely save you over the long term. I also need something soft on joints, and this really looks like an amazing workout. Thanks for the informative review!

  3. Denis O says:

    Wow! I had not appreciated that rowing machines came in this form! And it comes at an opportune time as I am building a gym out the back of my house. Will definitely be giving this consideration.

  4. Katherine says:

    I wasn’t aware these water rowers existed, very cool. Thanks for your great compare-contrast-review of three such machines.
    You describe that the machines come with heart rate monitors and dedicated chest straps. Do they offer integrated heart rate workout programs like high intensity programs?

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