If you’re interested in using a rowing machine for focused training — whether for outdoor rowing, an indoor competition, or as part of a larger fitness program — you’ll want air resistance. If you’re drawn to rowers for the enjoyability (alongside the full-body, cardio-plus-strength training efficacy) of a rowing workout, consider a machine with water resistance.

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.
I kayak (ocean and flat water, not river), so I was drawn to the WaterRower over a flywheel type rower (which I have used in gyms) because I wanted to hear the sound of the water, which I miss hearing against the hull of the boat during the winter when I can't get out on the lake. I also like the way the paddles engage in the water; it's a very smooth pull and release, and moving the mass of the water instead of a dialed down tension feels more natural. As someone else also commented, the seat (at least on the wood version) is incredibly smooth and solid; no wobbling at all. I generally listen to music on my Nordic Track ski machine, but with the WaterRower I am content to listen to the sound of the water; working out on this is somehow both energizing and calmingly meditative at the same time. In the event that you want to use it while watching tv (this is one use to which I wanted to put it), it is quiet enough to hear the tv without having to turn it up.
Founded in 1818, Leander Club is the world's oldest public rowing club.[17] The second oldest club which still exists is the Der Hamburger und Germania Ruder Club which was founded 1836 and marked the beginning of rowing as an organized sport in Germany.[18] During the 19th century, as in England, wager matches in North America between professionals became very popular attracting vast crowds. Narragansett Boat Club was founded in 1838 exclusively for rowing. During an 1837 parade in Providence, R.I, a group of boatmen were pulling a longboat on wheels, which carried the oldest living survivor of the 1772 Gaspee Raid. They boasted to the crowd that they were the fastest rowing crew on the Bay. A group of Providence locals took issue with this and challenged them to race, which the Providence group summarily won. The six-man core of that group went on the following year to found NBC in 1838.[19] Detroit Boat Club was founded in 1839 and is the second oldest continuously-operated rowing club in the U.S. In 1843, the first American college rowing club was formed at Yale University.[20] The Harvard–Yale Regatta is the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the United States,http://rowinghistory.net/Time%20Line/TL%20-1849images.htm[21] having been contested every year since 1852 (excepting interruptions for wars).
The Water Rower comes partly preassembled in two large boxes. The assembly instructions are reasonably good, and as long as you take your time and follow them carefully (read all the text) it takes about 45 minutes from opening the first box to trying it out. I bought bottles of distilled water to fill it, which made it easy to fill using the included funnel & hose.
The WaterRower Classic Rower is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor--which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons--displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.
Rowing machines were first used in Archaic Greece. Chabrias, an Athenian military general in 4th Century B.C., invented wooden rowing simulators for his inexperienced oarsmen. This enabled them to learn technique and timing before stepping foot on actual water crafts. And it must have worked — Chabrias successfully led numerous naval attacks against the Spartans.
Fitness experts as well as health professionals agree that rowing machines provide one of the best workouts possible. Exercising on a rower will allow you to target the great majority of your muscle groups and give them as hard and challenging a workout as you feel like giving them. On the better rowing machine models, you’ll be able to track your progress and see how your splits are improving.
Although some rowing machines are made of space-age, super-sweat-resistant metals, you still want to wipe off the equipment after a sweaty workout.  These machines are usually constructed with a lot of various materials and salty sweat can be very corrosive.  Keeping your rowing machine clean can go a long way toward extending its life, and its appearance.
Head races are time trial / processional races that take place from autumn (fall) to early spring (depending on local conditions). Boats begin with a rolling start at intervals of 10 – 20 seconds, and are timed over a set distance. Head courses usually vary in length from 2,000 metres (1.24 mi) to 12,000 metres (7.46 mi), though there are longer races such as the Boston Rowing Marathon and shorter such as Pairs Head.
WaterRower For over 20 years, WaterRower has been providing the world with rowing machines that demonstrate the physical and physi...ological benefits of rowing. Rowing is a complete aerobic exercise routine that works 84 percent of muscle mass and gives maximum results - you burn more calories in less time and have fun, too. Rowing combines aerobic exercise with resistance all in a smooth, rhythmic exercise. It's suitable for people of all shapes and sizes and is easy on the joints.WaterRower is committed to being environmentally conscious. Their rowing machines are made using only the world's finest hardwoods specially selected from replenishable sources where more wood is planted than harvested. Because WaterRower machines are people- powered, no electricity is required! WaterRower rowing machines help you burn calories, tone muscles, and be kind to the environment. read more
Sometimes, slides are placed underneath the erg to try to simulate the movement of being on the water. It allows the machine to move back and forth smoothly as if there is water beneath you. The slides can be connected in rows or columns so that rowers are forced to move together on the ergometer, similar to how they would match up their rhythm in a boat.
Because of the vast array of products that might contain one of the chemicals or ingredients on the list, we must include Proposition 65 warnings in our communications with you. We are required to use exact wording as specified by the state of California. While the warning sounds alarming, the purpose is to notify you of the potential risk so that you can make an informed buying decision.
The proper ratio of effort is about 75 percent lower body and 25 percent upper body. Ensure you’re hitting that by driving through your legs and keeping your hands relaxed. Posture plays a big part, too. Concept 2 recommends imagining your upright profile at noon and tilting from the 11 o’clock position (drive) to the 1 o’clock position (recovery).

The Verified Sustainable Hardwoods used for the WaterRower are sourced from the Appalachian Mountain region of the eastern United States, where planting rates exceed harvest rates by an average multiple of 2.29. The Appalachian Hardwood Timber resource includes more than 65.4 million acres in the eastern United States and provides the world with a bounty of the finest hardwood species.
If you are anything like me, you read the negative reviews to see what some of the complaints could potentially be...I have found none that match with my machine or experience so far. The boxes it came in were a little bunged-up but everything on the inside was perfect. Only took about 15-20 minutes to build (first time building a row machine) and another 5-10 to fill with water. We used it for a little while before we added the danish oil.
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.
As far as “racing”, I said an air rowing machine is better because the Concept2 is the only model used for indoor rowing competitions, setting world records, and entering your actual scores online. It is because their monitor can calculate the drag factor of the flywheel in real time and accurately calculate distance and time. Small changes such as dust build up, air temperature, and humidity will not change the times between different machines because the drag factor is calculated every stroke.
Both the air rower and water rower machines are very popular choices of rowing equipment, particularly the former type. They have been around in the 80s, and many consumers and those that have tried them in gyms consider the equipment to be the best type ever. These air resistance equipment, often regarded as Ergometers, is the standard base model for indoor rowing sport.

Designed with an obsession for detail, the WaterRower Classic Rower is unmatched by any other fitness equipment. The overriding design philosophy of the WaterRower has achieved "beauty by simplicity". Every detail has been resolved to compliment the overall appearance and performance of the machine. Order your WaterRower Natural Ash Rower from FitnessZone.com today!
The resistance of your rowing machine impacts how it moves. Select from hydraulic and magnetic rowing resistance. Hydraulic rowers are typically more compact in size, while magnetic machines make little noise as they operate. Details like easy-to-reach tension knobs or buttons allow you to increase or decrease the intensity of your resistance as you train.

The main advantages of the water rower are that it has quiet operation; there is only little maintenance to do, the water only needs to be changed occasionally; many users love the whooshing sound of water in the tank; and its consistently smooth resistance at every stroke. Two disadvantages of this machine are it costs a lot than the air rower; and it tends to be larger in size compared to the other rowing machines.


Whilst the action of rowing and equipment used remains fairly consistent throughout the world, there are many different types of competition. These include endurance races, time trials, stake racing, bumps racing, and the side-by-side format used in the Olympic games. The many different formats are a result of the long history of the sport, its development in different regions of the world, and specific local requirements and restrictions.
Not a lot to complain about on the Classic rower, but when searching for drawbacks of this rowing machine, the S4 Monitor is the one thing that occasionally comes up.  It’s rather basic and it isn’t backlit. Regardless, the monitor has all necessary tracking and features for getting an excellent workout, and in normal lighting there is no problem reading the display.

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.


Some rowing enthusiasts claim that the disproportionate number of tall rowers is simply due to the unfair advantage that tall rowers have on the ergometer. This is due to the ergometer's inability to properly simulate the larger rowers drag on a boat due to weight. Since the ergometer is used to assess potential rowers, results on the ergometer machine play a large role in a rower's career success. Thus, many erg scores are weight-adjusted, as heavyweights typically find it easier to get better erg scores. Also, since crew selection has favored tall rowers long before the advent of the ergometer,[46][47] and bigger, taller crews are almost universally faster than smaller, shorter crews on the water, being tall is a definite advantage ultimately having little to do with the ergometer.
The water flywheel is comprised of two paddles encased in an enclosed tank of water. As you pull the cable, the paddles move through the water creating resistance. The beauty of this machine is it uses the mass/density of water. The paddles create the drag, so the harder you pull, the more resistance increases. Think about moving your hands through water. The faster you go, the more dense water feels. The slower you go, the less you feel the resistance. And this type of resistance is excellent for your joints. Click here to read the full review.
The model E’s seat stands 6 inches higher. And while the model D’s monitor rests on an adjustable arm, the E’s sits on unbending metal. These few technical differences do nothing to impact ride feel. We recommend the $200-cheaper model D as the best buy, but the Concept 2 E will appeal to anyone who values a higher seat and more solid construction.
Rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups, including quads, biceps, triceps, lats, glutes and abdominal muscles. The sport also improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. High-performance rowers tend to be tall and muscular: although extra weight does increase the drag on the boat, the larger athletes' increased power tends to be more significant. The increased power is achieved through increased length of leverage on the oar through longer limbs of the athlete. In multi-person boats (2,4, or 8), the lightest person typically rows in the bow seat at the front of the boat.

This rower has been designed to ensure stroke consistency and utilises a triple blade impeller system. Perfect for smaller houses or apartments, this model includes the easy tilt feature for fast fold-up and storing. Assembly is a one man job that will take twenty to thirty minutes to complete. A step by step illustrated instruction manual has been included, in addition to all of the tools needed for this process.


The Club rowing machine by WaterRower utilises water resistance for an intense total body workout. This is a commercial grade model that’s designed for gym use, but the affordable price also allows homeowners to purchase a rower for personal use.This high-end model is equipped with an S4 monitor that’s packed with features that allow you to track progress such as stroke rate, heart rate, duration, and distance covered. The monitor has separated this information in individual windows, allowing you to track certain features with ease.The monitor is equipped with nine buttons. Six are dedicated to specific monitoring features while the remaining three are designed for menu navigation. For added convenience, you can link the row machine monitor to your PC or laptop using a USB cable to use with row machine software programs for training or racing purposes.
Motion of the water is different than the motion of the wave. Water at each location moves in a circular path, but the motions at different locations are “out of phase”, which means that when water at the left of the diagram is moving to the right, water a quarter of a wavelength to the right is moving down, and water next to it is moving to the left, and next to it is moving up, etc. The overall effect is a an “apparent” wave moving to the right. Thus, the velocity (speed) of a wave is not at all the same as the velocity of the water.
If you’re interested in using a rowing machine for focused training — whether for outdoor rowing, an indoor competition, or as part of a larger fitness program — you’ll want air resistance. If you’re drawn to rowers for the enjoyability (alongside the full-body, cardio-plus-strength training efficacy) of a rowing workout, consider a machine with water resistance.

I would like to begin reviewing the screen. It’s quite simple to use. It doesn’t offer many things and that is what anticipated in a rowing machine that is under $150. As the LCD screen is too small, you need to keep yourself motivated some way or the other; music is a good way by the way. It’s only an easy screen that can show some basic information while you row such as the length of time you rowed in a single session and how much you’ve rowed. Additionally, it can give you a good idea about the approx. number of calories burned and strokes performed.  And that’s it. The LCD screen doesn’t show anything new. No preset applications are contained, and there is no way to save your workout information.

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
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