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.
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. These days, there’s no need to trek to a gym and pay costly membership fees if you want to get fit and stay healthy. Rowing machines provide a low-impact, full-body workout that targets almost every major muscle group. Once you choose the model that best fits your needs and find a convenient location somewhere in your home, there's nothing left to do but dip your oars. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rowing machine on Amazon.
The benefit of a water resistance rower is that it most closely simulates a boat moving through water. Rowing resistance comes from the effect of fluid drag acting on the boat; in other words, resistance increases according to stroke rate. The patented WaterFlywheel emulates this naturally self-paced benefit of rowing. This is a workout with immediate benefits, regardless of your level of experience! Please also note that you can adjust the workout intensity by changing the amount of water in the tank. The more water, the higher the effort level required.
Amateur competition in England began towards the end of the 18th century. Documentary evidence from this period is sparse, but it is known that the Monarch Boat Club of Eton College and the Isis Club of Westminster School were both in existence in the 1790s. The Star Club and Arrow Club in London for gentlemen amateurs were also in existence before 1800. At the University of Oxford bumping races were first organised in 1815 when Brasenose College and Jesus College boat clubs had the first annual race[14] while at Cambridge the first recorded races were in 1827.[15] Brasenose beat Jesus to win Oxford University's first Head of the River; the two clubs claim to be the oldest established boat clubs in the world. The Boat Race between Oxford University and Cambridge University first took place in 1829, and was the second intercollegiate sporting event (following the first Varsity Cricket Match by 2 years). The interest in the first Boat Race and subsequent matches led the town of Henley-on-Thames to begin hosting an annual regatta in 1839.[16]
The Concept2 Model D is the ultra-popular air rower that you’ll see at most gyms. It is one of the best home indoor rowers you can buy period. Expertly constructed and ergonomically unequaled, this rowing machine looks great and rows smoothly without so much as a jarring catch. As an air rower, the Concept2 employs air baffles to create the resistance. A nickel-plated chain pulls the flywheel and you get your workout by pulling against the increasingly higher air pressure that the fan is creating.

In the empty-lung technique, rowers inhale during the drive, and exhale during the recovery so that they have empty lungs at the catch. Because the knees come up to the chest when the lungs are empty, this technique allows the rower to reach a little bit further than if the lungs were full of air. Full lungs at the release also can help the rower to maintain a straighter back, a style encouraged by many coaches.
The WaterRower Oxbridge is hand crafted in solid Cherrywood. Like all woods, Cherrywood may vary in color from a red-brown to deep... red. The wood will darken in color with exposure to light. For this reason all WaterRower Cherrywood components are kept in light free rooms to protect from shadowing. A new WaterRower Oxbridge will therefore appear quite light in color. The wood will however darken over time reaching a rich reddish hue.Handcrafted rowing machine with inchwater flywheel inch that replicates actual rowing feelFlywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreStores upright; measures 84 x 21 x 22 inches (W x H x D) and weighs 117 poundsStores upright; measures 84 x 21 x 22 inches (W x H x D) and weighs 117 pounds read more
If the machine is to be housed on a wooden floor you will need a mat beneath to reduce vibration and also noise. If space is tight, the hydraulic options are usually the smallest. It's also worth checking your floor can take the weight if you're going for one of the bigger, heavier models. For most, this shouldn't be a problem, if you have any doubts get a surveyor to check as it could be a very expensive mistake!
Now back to the aesthetics, this version of WaterRower’s natural wood line of rowers comes in beautiful Black Walnut, which the company chose for its superior sound and vibration absorption. It’s hand-made in the USA and comes with excellent warranties and customer service. Overall, WaterRower is known for the quality of their rowing machines and the Classic is no exception.  And if you do want to get this rower just as an attractive conversation piece, it easily stores upright against a wall.  That said, we strongly recommend using The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine for fitness, not just eye-candy.
Open water rowing is an ALL-BODY SPORT, toning your arms, legs, chest, back, and abs. Rowing is also recognized as a COMPLETE CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT which is highly aerobic and burns calories quickly. What most people don't realize is that rowing IMPROVES JOINT HEALTH through a wide range of motion. In addition, open water rowing RELIEVES STRESS and allows you the opportunity to remove yourself from the world around you, to connect to the calm and quiet of the water, and to meditate through the rhythmic, repetitive motion of your stroke.
We picked the brains of rowing coaches, fitness experts, and physical therapists to learn what features make for an exceptional rower. Based on their input, we searched the market for air and water resistance rowing machines, then tested the best for ride feel and design. We found one model of each type — air resistance and water resistance — that felt truly superior to the others.

The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted from solid Ash wood, finished with a honey oak stain and danish oil. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase
Unfortunately, the direction of water movement at the top and bottom of the wave (thick arrows) rotate the boat in the direction you don’t want to go. As you realize this you try to pull your down-hill oar up out of the water, but this just pulls you over more in the bad direction. I spare you, gentle reader, a picture of the result. As the wave carries your boat up to a crest you try to lean into it to keep the boat level, but it’s natural to also push down on the down-hill oar to help.
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.
Of the four types of rowing machines or ergometers, water rowers are best at reproducing the sensation of on-water rowing. Their stroke cycles hold true to the dynamics of real paddling, and each stroke is punctuated with a splash! Water rowers have sliding seats to allow full-body cardiovascular workouts. (With cheaper rowing machines, in contrast, the seats don’t move.) These fitness machines tend to feature high quality parts and can last a lifetime.
If you’re new to rowing, start off slow and begin with a five to ten-minute warm-up, followed by a twenty-minute workout and five to ten additional minutes for the cool down. During your workout, if you continue to consistently row at the same speed, over a period of a few sessions you should begin to notice an increase in your endurance. For a more intense workout, you can try interval training with your rower. Start off each workout by rowing for five to ten minutes at the highest resistance level, as fast as you can. Next, for two to three minutes row slowly, at the lowest resistance setting. Do this for thirty to sixty minutes. Interval training has been incorporated in many different types of exercise from cardio to strength training, and it’s designed to give your metabolism a jolt and make your body improve its fat burning abilities

The First Degree Fitness Challenge AR (Adjustable Resistance) is designed and engineered by professional rowers and craftsman using only the highest degree of quality components – ensuring complete satisfaction in function, performance, and reliability.  With its patented Fluid Technology, First Degree Fitness has incorporated the truest emulation of sensation, sight, and sound of real on-water rowing captured in the private setting of your own home.


The A1 S4 Driftwood by WaterRower delivers a total body workout, caters to fitness goals and exercise requirements. This rower is ...crafted out of fine-quality driftwood with an aluminum monorail. It is perfect for home or gym use and has a maximum user weight capacity of 375 pounds. The A1 S4 Driftwoood boasts features such as the WaterRower patented WaterFlywheel that gives life-like water rowing experience, a unique self-regulating resistance with infinite variable which suits any user, contoured seat with wheels that glide along the rail and comfortable rowing handles. It also comes with an S4 monitor that shows time per 2 or 500 kilometers, calories burned per hour, distance covered and total time of workouts. Maintenance of this rower is minimal. Simply add a purification tablet every 3-6 months. Tablets come with the package. When not in use, store the A1 S4 Driftwood vertically against a wall or in a closet. Buy your very own high-quality WaterRower Rowing Machine from Dazadi and get free shipping with every purchase. *WATER ROWER FOR HOME AND GYM USE - Crafted out of high-quality driftwood with aluminum monorail with no impact and non-load bearing, making it perfect for users with joint problems. Targets 84% of all major muscle areas like the arms, legs, back, shoulders, chest, core, etc. Water rower dimensions: 83 L x 22.5 W x 22.5 H Inches / Weight: 110 Pounds*LIFE-LIKE WATER ROWING EXPERIENCE - Features patented WaterFlywheel, unique self-regulating resistance, ergonomic seat and handles. Suits any user without need for adjustments. Maximum user weight: 375 Pounds. *TRACK YOUR PROGRESS - Water Rower comes with an intelligent S4 monitor that shows time per 2 or 500 kilometers, watts, calories burned per hour, distance, and the total time of workouts.*LOW MAINTENANCE AND SPACE EFFICIENT - This water rowing machine does not require lubrication or maintenance. User simply needs to add a purification tablet in the water every 3-6 months (tablets come with the package). When not in use, tip vertically against a wall or store in closet conveniently. read more


SquareTrade Protection Plans are only valid for new or Amazon certified refurbished products purchased at Amazon in the last 30 days. By purchasing this Protection Plan you agree to the Protection Plan Terms & Conditions (http://www.squaretrade.com/terms-standard). Your Protection Plan Terms & Conditions will be delivered via email within 24 hours of purchase
The WaterRower Club Rower has been designed for high traffic areas such as commercial gyms, studios, rehabilitation clinics, etc. Its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing; other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the natural model. Each machine has been hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection. Wood has been chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Ash, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all WaterRower woods are harvested from replenishable forests. WaterRower Club Rower Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
Rowing has long been recognized as the perfect aerobic pursuit, with naturally smooth and flowing movements that don't tax the joints but do boost the heart rate. Now you can take your rowing experience to the next level with the WaterRower Classic rowing machine. Using the same principles that govern the dynamics of a boat in water, the WaterRower Classic is outfitted with a "water flywheel" that consists of two paddles in an enclosed tank of water that provide smooth, quiet resistance, just like the paddles in an actual body of water. As a result, the machine has no moving parts that can wear out over time (even the recoil belt and pulleys don't require lubricating or maintaining). More significantly, the water tank and flywheel create a self-regulating resistance system that eliminates the need for a motor. As with real rowing, when you paddle faster, the increased drag provides more resistance. When you paddle slower, the resistance is less intense. The only limit to how fast you can row is your strength and your ability to overcome drag. And unlike conventional rowing machines, which tend to be jerky and jarring, the WaterRower Classic is remarkably smooth and fluid.
WaterRower Dimensions: 83" x 22" x 21" / Weight: 108 Lbs (At Minimum Water Level)Built For Home Use & Practically Maintenance Free..., Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance LevelsMade Of Kiln Dried Harwood For Better Wood Strength & Performance; Has Honey Oak Finish That Goes Well W/ Other Home FurnitureBoasts A Patented Water Flywheel That Mimics The Natural Dynamics Of Rowing Yet Suitable For Users W/ Joint Concerns (Chlorine Tablet Is Available Free Of Charge)Enjoy 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty (Upgradeable To 3-Year Parts While 5-Year Frame Is Free Of Charge W/ Registration) read more
You are eligible for a full refund if no ShippingPass-eligible orders have been placed. You cannot receive a refund if you have placed a ShippingPass-eligible order. In this case, the Customer Care team will remove your account from auto-renewal to ensure you are not charged for an additional year and you can continue to use the subscription until the end of your subscription term.
Women row in all boat classes, from single scull to coxed eights, across the same age ranges and standards as men, from junior amateur through university-level to elite athlete.[49][50] Typically men and women compete in separate crews although mixed crews and mixed team events also take place.[51] Coaching for women is similar to that for men.[52] The world's first women's rowing team was formed in 1896 at the Furnivall Sculling Club in London.[53]
Modern rowing as a competitive sport can be traced to the early 10th century when races were held between professional watermen on the River Thames in London, United Kingdom. Often prizes were offered by the London Guilds and Livery Companies. Amateur competition began towards the end of the 18th century with the arrival of "boat clubs" at the British public schools of Eton College, Shrewsbury School, and Westminster School. Similarly, clubs were formed at the University of Oxford, with a race held between Brasenose College and Jesus College in 1815. At the University of Cambridge the first recorded races were in 1827. Public rowing clubs were beginning at the same time; in England Leander Club was founded in 1818, in Germany Der Hamburger und Germania Ruder Club was founded in 1836 and in the United States Narragansett Boat Club was founded in 1838 and Detroit Boat Club was founded in 1839. In 1843, the first American college rowing club was formed at Yale University.
With the smaller boats, specialist versions of the shells for sculling can be made lighter. The riggers in sculling apply the forces symmetrically to each side of the boat, whereas in sweep oared racing these forces are staggered alternately along the boat. The sweep oared boat has to be stiffer to handle these unmatched forces, so consequently requires more bracing and is usually heavier – a pair (2-) is usually a more robust boat than a double scull (2x) for example, and being heavier is also slower when used as a double scull. In theory this could also apply to the 4x and 8x, but most rowing clubs cannot afford to have a dedicated large hull which might be rarely used and instead generally opt for versatility in their fleet by using stronger shells which can be rigged for either sweep rowing or sculling. The symmetrical forces also make sculling more efficient than rowing: the double scull is faster than the coxless pair, and the quadruple scull is faster than the coxless four.
The coxswain (or simply the cox) is the member who sits in the boat facing the bow, steers the boat, and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers - by communicating to the crew through a device called a cox box and speakers. They usually sit in the stern of the boat, except in bowloaders where the coxswain lies in the bow. Bowloader are usually seen as the coxed four and coxed pair type of boat.
×