First Degree Fitness Aqua AR Rower Review

The AQUA AR is a shiny red and black rower offering a smooth "on-the-water" ambiance indoors. It is part of the First Degree Fitness Horizontal Series, which features full-sized indoor water rowers designed for compact storage. The AQUA AR has simplified assembly and carries a competitive warranty for home use. A key selling point of virtually any water rowing machine is its smooth realistic stroke. With the Horizontal Series from First Degree Fitness, trainees can set resistance with a dial ...
8.5 Total Score
First Degree Fitness Aqua AR Rowing Machine

Comfort
9
Console
8
Stability
9
Value
8
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First Degree Fitness Aqua AR Rower Review
First Degree Fitness Aqua AR Rower

The AQUA AR Rower is an entry level home water rower from First Degree Fitness, a brand distinguished by its patented adjustable resistance (“AR”). The black and red AQUA AR looks similar to the Newport Challenge AR, but that unit has a single rail instead of two. Like other rowers in the First Degree Fitness Horizontal Series, the AQUA AR has transport wheels and is designed for easy storage.

The AQUA AR is a shiny red and black rower offering a smooth “on-the-water” ambiance indoors. It is part of the First Degree Fitness Horizontal Series, which features full-sized indoor water rowers designed for compact storage. The AQUA AR has simplified assembly and carries a competitive warranty for home use.

A key selling point of virtually any water rowing machine is its smooth realistic stroke. With the Horizontal Series from First Degree Fitness, trainees can set resistance with a dial and easily make tension adjustments mid-workout. On the AQUA AR and certain other models in this series, interval training workouts are provided on the computer monitor. The AQUA AR’s monitor also shows time, distance, 500M split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour, watts and heart rate.

The AQUA AR measures about 81” long x 20” wide. Its seat is at office chair height (21″) and can hold up to 330 pounds.


Positives:
  • Variable Water Resistance: Indoor water rowers support a smooth stroke and, compared with other types of rowers, best create the ambiance of outdoor training. First Degree Fitness rowers all user variable water resistance. In AQUA AR’s series, the resistance is adjusted with a simple Min/Max dial. The tension settings range from very light to very forceful.
  • Comfortable Seat: The AQUA AR’s contoured seat is at office chair height for ease of access.
  • Adjustable Footplates: The footplates have several height settings to fit different riders.
  • Data: The data monitor can provide wireless pulse feedback along with time, distance, 500M split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts. Interval training programming is included. The chest strap for pulse monitoring is sold separately.
  • USB Port: The data monitor helps people set up basic workouts based on time, stroke count, distance or interval goals. Additionally a USB port on the monitor makes it convenient to use this rower with apps for training and entertainment.
  • Quiet Operation: AQUA rowers operate rather quietly. Instead of chains they use strong belts that require little day-to-day maintenance.
  • Easy to Store: This rowing machine can easily be rolled away and turned upright for storage.
  • High Capacity: The AQUA AR has a maximum user weight capacity of 330 pounds.
  • Good Warranty: The competitive home warranty provides five years of protection for the frame, three years for the tank, two for non-wearing mechanical parts, and one for wear parts.


Negatives:
  • Slow Response: The adjustable water tank requires a bit of time to adapt to new settings.
  • Belt: Rowers in this series are durable but sometimes their belts need to be readjusted.
  • Bungee: The tension in the handlebar’s bungee cord will naturally lose strength over time. A clip adjustment helps the rider alter the recoil.
  • Non-Metal Wheels: The wheels for the seat will wear down quickly under heavy use.
  • Water Replacement: Customers have complained that not all of the water can be drained. People need to be diligent about keeping the water purified with chlorine tablets.


 

Our Conclusion

The AQUA AR Rower is an affordable entry-level water rower for home gyms. It has some appealing features but not-so-great components are mixed in. For a small bump in price you can get better value. Similar rowers in this series and from WaterRower have better longevity.

First Degree Fitness Aqua AR Rower Specifications:

Overall Score:8.5
Resistance:Water
Monitor:Computer Monitor
Upright Storage:Yes
Programs:Yes
Weight Capacity:330 LBS

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