Essentially, the water rower uses water as it's resistance and the air rower (click here to read our air rowing machine reviews) uses air resistance. Additionally, the resistance of the water gives a very similar feeling to actually rowing in the water. The rowing machines listed above all have fantastic rowing mechanisms that mimic the exact feeling of a rowing a boat.
Originally made from wood, shells are now almost always made from a composite material (usually a double skin of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic with a sandwich of honeycomb material) for strength and weight advantages. FISA rules specify minimum weights for each class of boat so that no individual team will gain a great advantage from the use of expensive materials or technology.
One of the major deciding factors between water and air rowers is price. Water rowing machines are often found in higher price ranges with the lowest model going for $700 and the best models starting around $1,100. Air rowers are found in every price range starting at $300 and going as high as $1,000+. The affordability of air rowing machines makes them very popular.
Cardiovascular training involves any activity that requires the use of the large muscle groups of the body in a regular and uninterrupted manner. Rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups. In addition, the consistent and all encompassing activity associated with rowing, combined with being outdoors on the water, has an unparalleled impact on reducing stress.2
The large display console allows you to keep track of the calories burned, distance covered, strokes per minute and duration of the workout. The Newport also includes an improved seat roller design for a smoother glide. The ergonomic padded seat will keep you comfortable and encourage longer workouts while the rust-resistant rail system is made to prevent scuffing as you push yourself during an intense session.
Noise level is another large factor that tips the scale more towards water rowers. Air rowers make a fairly loud “whooshing” noise every stroke, which makes them bad for people who like watching TV, have sleeping children, live in apartments, or like working out early in the AM. Water rowers do make some noise but the splashing of water in the tank is a lot quieter and more soothing than the fan noise produced by air rowers.