8 Best Water Rowing Machines: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Aerobic cardio is a vital part of weight loss and overall health. If you're looking for an authentic rowing experience, water rowers are the best at reproducing a realistic on-water rowing sensation.

With so many options available, choosing a good quality water rowing machine for your home gym can be challenging. That's why we put together these water rower reviews, so you know what the best water rowers available to you are.

Water Rowing Machine Benefits

  1. 1
    Full-body, enjoyable workouts
    When using a water rowing machine, you use more than 80% of your body's muscles. Exercising on a water rower also helps with the mental and emotional well-being. Any water rower reviewed here will give you an enjoyable full-body workout.
  2. 2
    Easy on your body
    Indoor rowing is much smoother on your joints compared to several other cardio workouts. You burn just as many calories without putting your joints under the excess strain. 
  3. 3
    Self-adjusting resistance
    Water-resistance rowers offer unlimited resistance to meet all users' needs by mimicking natural outdoor rowing. The harder you pull, the more resistance you get.   
  4. 4
    Calorie burning
    Indoor water rowing is a highly effective workout that can help you burn up to 1100 calories per hour. Your water rower will quickly improve your body composition, one of the primary motivations to work out.

Buying Guide: Choosing A Quality Water Rowing Machine

Size vs. Available Space

When buying something like a treadmill or an elliptical, your primary concern is the height of the room and the machine. With a water rowing machine, though, you're going to need a lot of floor space.

Many water rowers for your home can reach up to 8ft in length, so trying to fit them in a small, crowded room can be challenging.

Storage Features

You should also consider how you will store your water rower. For most people, being able to tuck it away while they aren't using it is much more practical than keeping it set up 24/7.

During your search, keep an eye out for water rowing machines that can be tilted onto their front ends and stored vertically. This allows you to reclaim some space on your floor after you've finished using the machine.

Durability & Max Capacity

The materials used to build your water rower are very important. If you're into aesthetics and want a machine that looks good, you will find solid wood used to make many frames, something unique to water rowers.

Many machines are made of wood, such as American ash, white oak, walnut, and cherry, offering an elegant aesthetic. The wood finish can turn your rower from fitness equipment into a piece of furniture you'd be proud to show off.

Wood rowers demand a higher price, so if you're looking for an affordable rower, you can expect to find full steel frames instead. But the steel frames are stronger and more durable, able to withstand higher user weights and more abuse than many wooden models.

Noise Level

Noise level is often a concern when looking for a new piece of exercise equipment, especially if you live in an apartment or condo. With your water rowing machine, you'll hear some splashing water inside of the tank, but water rowers are quieter than the fans of on a typical air rowing machine.

Display Console Functionality

We're all used to high-end gym equipment with giant color touchscreens and HD monitors with video playback. But the screens on premium rowing machines don't offer this kind of functionality. Water rowers are generally more basic in their offering, but they will at least feature a standard LCD screen, offering a readout of your crucial workout data. 

The data your water rower offers depends on the manufacturer and price range. Metrics most likely included will be time, distance, 500m time, and strokes per minute, giving you an insight into your performance.

Ease of Assembly & Use

Assembling your water rower should be pretty straightforward. Always read the instructions, but some models will have little to no assembly required. If you don't like setting up equipment, see if your rower comes as a whole unit or several different parts.

If assembly is required, make sure you have the necessary tools at home to put one of these machines together.

Price & Warranty

While price often plays a role in the machine's quality, it's not always an indicator that it's the best machine.

Before you start looking for water rowers, know your budget so you can find a great rowing machine within your price range. This will prevent you from overspending, and you will be happy with your rower.

The warranty offered with your rowing machine is a testament to the company's trust in their equipment quality. Typically, the frame warranty is between 1-5 years, but parts and labor will vary greatly. This usually varies with the price of your water rower.


8 Best Water Rowing Machines Reviewed

1. WaterRower Club S4

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood...
  • Handcrafted rowing machine with "water...
  • Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to...
  • Series 4 performance monitor tracks workout...
  • Solid ash construction absorbs sound and...

Best Water Rowing Machine

Length of Machine

7 feet

Weight of Machine

117 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

700 lbs.

Key Feature

Series 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more

The WaterRower Club S4 should be on every list as one of the best water rowing machines money can buy. With the WaterRower Club S4, you'll experience a smooth ride with minimal and pleasant water noise. You also get a comfortable seat, footrests that can be adjusted for comfort, and an ergonomic handle.

This indoor water rower is of commercial quality, and it perfectly mimics the dynamic motion of rowing through the water with its patented water-flywheel system. You can customize the machine's resistance by filling the water tank with more or less water or just row harder and faster to feel more resistance.

The Club exerciser rower is handcrafted in the USA and eco-friendly. It is made with solid ash stained rosewood and black walnut, helping to absorb sound and vibration while providing a timeless aged look.

The WaterRower Club S4 is built for light commercial use, but it's practically maintenance-free. It targets all major muscle groups for a full-body low-impact workout at home. With most water resistance rowing machines, you can expect a bit of noise from the water.

But with the patented WaterRower flywheel technology, noise is almost non-existent. Although not entirely silent, it's quiet enough that it won't disturb the neighbors and allow you to listen to music at a normal volume during your rowing workouts.

Another reason the Club S4 rower is one of the best water rowing machines is its easy-to-read monitor. The monitor tracks the watts, distance in meters, miles, and km, time, burned calories, splits, stroke rate, and the number of strokes taken during your workout.

The WaterRower Club S4 isn't an interactive rowing machine, and it doesn't have a Bluetooth connection. But, using the Polar chest straps, it receives your heart rate.

Pros

  • Patented water flywheel
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful ash hardwood

Cons

  • Assembly takes time

2. Merax

Merax Water Rowing Machine – Fitness Indoor...
  • 【Stronger Resistance Adjustment】Sleek and...
  • 【Quiet & Smooth Rowing】Merax water rowing...
  • 【Multi-Feature Monitor】The large LCD...
  • 【Customized Rowing Experience】Fill the...

Runner Up

Length of Machine

6.5 feet

Weight of Machine

72 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

330 lbs.

Key Feature

Fill the water tank to desired water level resistances to adjust resistances with funnel and pumping siphon.

The Merax is the most compact machine on our list. It comes with a solid polycarbonate water tank tilted at an angle that houses a multi-blade impeller, giving you extreme resistance levels based on the water level. With the Merax water rower, you get a great cardio workout with the soothing sound of water splashing in the tank.

If you want your workouts to be challenging, but you still prefer a simple setup, the Merax rower comes with a console with two main programs: Race mode and Manual mode. Manual mode allows you to start rowing and see your stats appear right away. If you prefer, you can manually set target rates and strokes to give you something to aim for.

The Merax water rowing machine takes it a step further and comes partially preassembled with the tank already attached to the unit. The only thing you have to assemble is the seat and rail.

These are connected to the frame using a simple tool kit that is included with the machine. After receiving your Merax water rowing, you will be enjoying your first cardio workout in just 30 to 40 minutes.

The Merax has a sleek look constructed from durable steel with a lightweight and compact frame. This makes it easy to use and store in your home gym or living room. If you're short on space, you'll enjoy how the built-in wheels make it easy to move from room to room.

Pros

  • Solid steel construction
  • Smooth rowing
  • Premium LCD monitor

Cons

  • Handlebars can block movement

3. MaxKare

No products found.

Best Budget Water Rowing Machine

Length of Machine

6.5 feet

Weight of Machine

86 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

264 lbs.

Key Feature

Large LCD monitor of the water rowing machine tracks your fitness data

There are plenty of high priced water rowing machines available. And sure, you can spend over a thousand dollars on a high-end water rowing machine if you want to. But if you have a limited budget and still want an excellent water rowing machine, you still have options. The water rower that gives you the best bang for your buck is the water rowing machine from MaxKare.

For all of our fitness and water rowing enthusiasts on a budget, this popular machine by MaxKare has absolutely everything you need from a good water rower.

It doesn't have the wood grain, but it does have a sturdy steel frame, a large water tank, a very comfortable padded seat, upright storage, and even a water-bottle holder for those of us who like to sweat. When in use, it's as natural and fluid as some higher-end big-budget models, giving you a smooth but intense workout.

And what's even more surprising at this price point is the height-adjustable LCD monitor that offers a wide range of workout data. You can see your time, distance, calories, and strokes per minute on the impressive LCD screen. This MaxKare water rower may lack the high-end polish, but this one is a genuine bargain that will give you a great workout.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Solid steel frame
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • LCD screen isn’t backlit

4. Mr. Captain

On Sale Today
Mr. Captain Rowing Machine for Home Use,Water...
  • REAL WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - The shape of...
  • EQUIPPED WITH CUSTOMIZABLE Bluetooth MONITOR-...
  • COMFORTABLE WORKOUT - Make the most out of...
  • CONVENIENT STORAGE - It features transport...

Best Rated Wooden Rower

Length of Machine

7 feet

Weight of Machine

58.5 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

320 lbs.

Key Feature

Transport Wheels

The Mr. Captain Vintage Oak Water Rowing Machine is a very sturdy, durable, modern, and functional water rower with a comfortable ergonomic design.

We love the large and comfortable seat on the Mr. Captain water rower that moves seamlessly on the heavy-duty oak wood track. It also has footplates with straps adjustable for height, a deluxe ergonomic handle, and an active recoil system for comfortable rowing sessions.

And with the LCD screen, you get your workout stats like calories burned, distance traveled, time exercised, rowing strokes, and stroke rate per minute displayed as you exercise. You can synchronize the digital display panel with a pulse rate monitor via Bluetooth.

The Mr. Captain Vintage Oak Rowing Machine doesn't have a foldable design, but it has wheels to move it for storage quickly.

It has a flywheel inside the water tank that gives you a quiet and smooth workout with plenty of resistance. The sound of water moving in the tank will provide you with the feeling of rowing outdoors on the water.

The Mr. Captain works very quietly, making much less noise than the other types of rowing machines. You can row at night or early in the morning without disturbing anyone in the house or your neighbors.

We love the Mr. Captain's build quality, and it's a low maintenance rowing machine that's easy to clean. We love the included rowing machine cover because it's waterproof and anti-UV, protecting the water rower from the dust or scratches by your pets or kids.

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Great aesthetics
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Doesn’t fold

5. Mr. Rudolf

Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machines for Home...
  • EQUIPPED WITH A WORKOUT BLUETOOTH MONITOR -...
  • COMFORTABLE WORKOUT - Make the most out of...
  • CONVENIENT STORAGE - It features transport...
  • REAL WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - The shape of...

Best Water Rowing Machine For Home Use

Length of Machine

7 feet

Weight of Machine

58.5 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

320 lbs.

Key Feature

Deluxe Ergonomic Handles

The Mr. Rudolf Oak Wood rower is one of the best water resistance rowing machines that will give you a fantastic workout to burn fat. The Mr. Rudolf comes equipped with all the features of expensive models at a price point that will make you excited to use it every day during your workouts.

It's perfect for home use at just six feet long, making it ideal for your home gym.

We love the solid oak wood in the Mr. Rudolf that's skillfully crafted and designed in the shape of a boat, giving you a real-life water rowing experience for a superior workout. It rests on two wheels, making it easy to tilt upright and store away so you can enjoy different floor exercises without working around your rower.

We love the Mr. Rudolf Oak Wood rowing machine because it's easy to use and has a display monitor so you can track everything about your workout. The monitor displays your strokes per minute, calories burned per hour, watts, and distance. And if you're the type that likes to compete against yourself, you can even keep track of your 500-meter split time.

One of our favorite things about the Mr. Rudolf is the comfort. With this water rower, you'll enjoy an ergonomic seat, height-adjustable footplates, and an active recoil system so you can smoothly row through your workout.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good price
  • Solid wood oak frame

Cons

  • Restricted height max

6. Circuit Fitness AMZ-167RW

On Sale Today
CIRCUIT FITNESS Circuit Fitness Water Rowing...
  • INNOVATIVE WATER ROWER: This innovative rower...
  • CUSTOMIZABLE EXPERIENCE: Reinforced with...
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: This gear is built with a...
  • COMFORTABLE LARGE PEDALS: This machine is...

Value For Money

Length of Machine

6.75 feet

Weight of Machine

105 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

300 lbs.

Key Feature

Extra Large Pedals

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-167RW is a surprisingly efficient water rowing machine, making it an excellent value for your money. This Circuit Fitness water rower takes the incredible power of water resistance from the lakes and rivers and delivers it to your home. And like every other water resistance rower, the Circuit Fitness rower comes with a dynamic resistance system.

That means the harder you're able to pull, the more resistance you will feel from the machine. Because of the ergonomic seat's comfort, handlebar, and footrests, even your most intense workouts will feel really good.

With the LCD of the Circuit Fitness water rowing machine, you can keep track of your intense workouts as well. The LCD screen measures strokes per minute, distance, total strokes, calories, and pulse. It's also compatible with the 5.3 kHz chest strap heart rate monitor, but it's not included with the rower.

We love that the monitor also has an option to enter race mode, a countdown mode that will countdown a value during your workout, like time or distance, and a recovery mode. These features are all pretty advanced for a monitor on a water rowing machine at this price point.

Unfortunately, the AMZ-167RW rower doesn't fold up, but you can store it upright if you're tight on space. The number of features that come with this rower is fantastic for the money you will pay for it.

Pros

  • Heavy duty metal
  • Ergonomic design
  • Transport wheels

Cons

  • Doesn’t support people over 6’2

7. Life Fitness Row HX Trainer

Life Fitness Row HX Trainer
  • The natural wood and tempered steel frame...
  • Four resistance levels are available at the...
  • The unique fluid Technology resistance System...
  • Easy to move and has a small footprint to fit...

Top of The Range

Length of Machine

7 feet

Weight of Machine

87 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

Yes, 4

Max User Weight

Not Specified

Key Feature

Adjustable Resistance

If you've spent any amount of time working out in a commercial gym, you have probably heard of Life Fitness. Their water rower, the Life Fitness Row HX Trainer, definitely shows off what this brand is capable of creating. The Life Fitness Row HX Trainer is a trendy water rowing machine that easily justifies its high-end price tag with high-end style, performance, and virtually unmatched features.

This Life Fitness Row HX Trainer sports a strong but stylish frame made from natural wood and tempered steel. It also has surprisingly compact dimensions. Coming in at just seven feet long, it's suitable for even the smallest home gyms.

We also love that the Life Fitness Row HX Trainer's water tank features four easily-adjustable resistance levels. That means there is no need for you to add or remove water manually.

On the left of the Life Fitness water rowing machine is a premium LCD computer. The LCD screen comes with metrics that display your time, distance, speed, and heart rate. Your heart rate is recorded using a wireless chest strap that is unfortunately not included with the rower.

Admittedly, the Life Fitness rowing machine is one of the most expensive on our list, but it is worth it, and the machine is ideal for serious rowers.

Pros

  • 4 levels of resistance
  • Commercial-grade performance
  • Upright storage

Cons

  • Cost

8. Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian SF-RW5713

On Sale Today
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500...
  • WATER PERFORMANCE: Instant resistance is...
  • DESIGN: Constructed with lightweight sturdy...
  • ERGO EFFICIENT: Molded padded seat is...
  • FITNESS TECHNOLOGY: The R2 fitness meter is...

Best Rowing Machine Under $500

Length of Machine

6.6 feet

Weight of Machine

91.9 lbs.

Adjustable Resistance?

No

Max User Weight

300 lbs.

Key Feature

16 Hydro blades

A great thing about the Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian water resistance rowing machine is that it's designed with adjustable base levelers for maximum stability. It also offers a high-profile seat that allows you to get on and off without bending and straining your back. But our favorite thing about this rower is its affordable price.

The water resistance in the Obsidian water rowing machine changes based on how hard you work. It also allows you to increase and decrease the tension by adding more/less water. It has 16 hydro blades that mimic the dynamic movements of competitive rowing.

Additionally, this cardio rowing machine is equipped with a smooth and silent belt drive transmission, which requires low maintenance.

We love the extra height this machine has off the floor, making it easier to get on and off, a significant benefit if your knees give you pain. The pedal straps are also fully adjustable, so your feet will remain secure during the workout.

The R2 Fitness Meter allows you to accurately track all essential workout metrics such as total time, 500 m time, strokes per minute, total strokes, calories, HR, and ambient temperature. The RW57 rowing machine monitor isn't backlit, but it has a screen large enough for most people to read it, no problem. The ability to track the watts is unique for this price tag.

Overall, this is an excellent budget water rowing machine that provides you with an incredible workout experience.

Pros

  • Ergonomic molded seat
  • Rubber transport wheels
  • Large LCD screen

Cons

  • Doesn’t feel heavy duty

Water Rowers Vs. Other Rowing Machines

Water Rowers vs. Air Rowing Machines

Water rowers have a tank filled with water for resistance. As you increase the pace of rowing, the resistance naturally increases. The same is true for air rowers. Air rowers use a fan or flywheel to create resistance. Water rowers emulate actual rowing, offering a real-life rowing experience.

Water rowers range in price from around $700 to over $2,000, with most exceeding $1,000. Air rowers range in price from about $300 to $700.

Water Rowers vs. Magnetic Rowing Machines

In a magnetic rowing machine, two strong magnets move past one another to provide resistance. This provides quiet, consistent, and smooth action throughout your exercise.

Magnetic rowers are more compact and quiet in operation, without the sound of water during your workout. However, some people love the sound of the water in a water rower. And unlike water rowers, magnetic rowers have multiple levels of resistance from easy to hard.

Water Rowers vs. Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Hydraulic achieve resistance with pistons. However, many rowers claim hydraulic rowers don't give the smooth, flowing feel of a flywheel machine. They may give you a decent enough workout, but it probably won't be as comfortable as a water rower.

Hydraulic rowing machines can be a good choice if your budget is limited or you don't have much room at home to use it. However, hydraulic rowers are the least popular option, and their days may be numbered.


Tips For Setting Up & Using Water Rowers

To set up your water rowing machine, you should read the included instructions. It's relatively simple to set up most machines, and they come with everything you need.

Adjust the shoe straps to fit your shoes and get securely locked in. 

Now pull back on the handlebar while you push your legs straight, focusing all of your explosive energy on your heels. Keep the handlebar level with your chest, and lean back slightly, bending your elbows and pulling the bar to your chest.

Now, straighten your elbows before pulling your knees to your chest. Now repeat.


Recommended Water Rowing Machine Workouts

Beginners Workout

If you're new to rowing or working out in general, or working out in general, exercise with your rower to build endurance and gets you used to the machine.

Hop on your rower and warm-up for about 10 minutes, aiming to get 20 strokes per minute with low intensity. Then increase your strokes to 22 per minute for two minutes, increasing your intensity. 

Now increase your strokes to 24 minutes for another three minutes. Finally, cooldown by bringing your strokes down to 20 per minute.

If you're already a workout buff, adding a rower to your workouts is easy. There are several countless moves you can do during your rowing rest periods that keep your core, legs, arms, and back engaged.

Take a look at our best rowing machines for beginners here.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is it okay to row every day?

Some people will argue that you can use your rower every day. But if you do, your body will become used to the workout, and you'll burn fewer calories. Instead, use it every other day. While rowing can help support back pain and prevent strain, poor technique can result in discomfort and injury.

What are the main water rower problems?

Perhaps the biggest problem with the water rower is that people don't know how to get the most out of their workouts. Most people do what is called the “knee bounce” during their workouts. Luckily, this is solved with a “pause stroke.” This is explained in detail here.

Water rowing machines vs. popular Concept 2 model– which is better?

The battle between the Concept2 and water rowers has been raging for a while. Which is better comes down to your preferences. A water rowing machine is better for you if size, weight, dimensions, capacity, and noise level are important to you.

Is rowing better than running? Is rowing good if you have bad knees?

Many people wonder if rowing or running is a better workout. It depends. For burning calories, running will likely win out, but for working muscle groups, rowing will. Rowing machines help build strong knees by working the quadriceps in the front of the thighs and the hamstrings in the back.

Can you lose belly fat on a water rowing machine?

There is no magic bullet to help you lose belly fat. Rowing won't magically spot reduce your belly fat, but it can be a very effective component of a fat-loss program that will slim down your belly. The more you can row, the faster you will get results. If you can only row for 20 minutes, start there, and try to build on that as you move forward.

How long will a water rower last?

Your water rower can last you 5+ years without maintenance, and probably even 10-15 years with maintenance.

Where can I find the best price water rowing machines online?

When you're ready to buy your water rowing machine, Amazon is the place to look to get the best prices.


Conclusion

Choosing your water rower all comes down to your fitness goals. But, if you ask us to choose our favorite, we're selecting the WaterRower Club S4. With this machine, you'll experience a smooth ride that gives you a powerful workout. We love its comfortable seat, the footrests that can be adjusted for comfort, and its ergonomic handle.