WaterRower Rowing Machine Reviews

10 Total Score
WaterRower Rowing Machine Reviews

Customer Service

WaterRower ranks amongst the top manufacturers in the rowing machine industry. It makes its residential and commercial rowing machines in the USA. Their customer service is top-notch and their warranties are competitive.

WaterRowers are a beautiful example of what happens when form meets function. In fact, WaterRower rowing machines are so exquisitely designed that one showcased in the London Museum of Design. This brand earned fame with beautiful hardwood frames that support the patented WaterFlywheel. For those who prefer a more industrial look, WaterRower also offers several striking metallic frames, including a luxury model made entirely of stainless steel.

Resistance on WaterRowers occurs naturally. The rider pulls and the machine pushes back. This makes a WaterRower suitable for trainees of all skill levels. There are no buttons or dials for adjusting the amount of tension provided. Everything about these machines is elegantly simple.

In terms of workout routines and data monitoring, this brand offers three options. The premium WaterRower console is called the S4 Monitor. It provides six preset workouts and an above average amount of data feedback, including advanced heart rate tracking. WaterRower also sells video workout DVDs.


WaterRower currently advertises 10 rowing machine models. The stainless steel S1 Rower is a limited edition. The same water resistance system is used on all 10 rowing machines. The differences are found in the frames. Customers can also choose from three computer monitors.

The brand is best known for its wooden rowing machines. The basic four are called the Natural, Club, Oxbridge, and Classic. Only the Natural is intended for home use, but the units are extremely similar. They all have the same dimensions and function. The commercial versions use different wood and have more layers of gloss to add durability in a club setting. The Oxbridge and Classic fall into WaterRower’s Designer Series.

Another wooden rowing machine is the WaterRower Signature, which is built for users with broader shoulders. The Signature Rowing Machine is also distinguished by its connection with rowing coach and Olympic rowing medalist Xeno Muller. Customers get a stroke analysis from Muller and access to his video workouts.

The two remaining wooden rowers are designed especially for use in group rowing classes. These are called the GX Studio and GX Home.

Metal-framed WaterRowers include the stainless steel S1, the steel M1 LoRise, and the raised M1 Hi Rise.

The Great:
  • Resistance: WaterRowers use water resistance to mimic the sensation of rowing a boat. Their WaterFlywheel offers the closest possible approximation of on-the-water rowing available in a rowers. It consists of paddles in an enclosed tank of water. The resistance naturally adapts to the rider’s exerted strength. Most other rowing machine brands use resistance systems based around air, magnetism, or cheap hydraulics.
  • Workout Programs and Data: The backlit S4 Monitor is one of the best computers we’ve seen on a rowing machine. It’s packed with helpful preset workouts, saves nine sessions, includes a heart rate receiver, and can connect to a PC for integration with other software. The screen displays Kcalories per hour, watts, meters per second, miles per hour, time per 500 meters, and time per two kilometers. A log is kept of the total distance traveled on the machine.
  • Advanced Heart Rate Analysis: The S4 has a wireless receiver and a Zone Feature alert system to help trainees stay on track. It provides the following readouts: maximum heart rate achieved, time spent above desired heart rate zone, time spent in desired zone, and time spent below desired zone.
  • Long-Lasting: WaterRowers are designed to endure. The metal frames are solidly built, and the hardwood frames feature wood that’s selected for its dimensional stability. Besides that, WaterRowers have tough resistance systems and use chains (not fabric cords) in their handlebars.
  • Easy to Store: WaterRower frames can be flipped upright for storage.
  • Very High Capacity: WaterRowers can each hold 1000 pounds or more.
  • Good Warranty: A typical WaterRower warranty protects the frame for five years and the components for three.

The Not-So-Great:
  • Larger Size: WaterRowers are at least 7’ long. If your workout space is limited, you might prefer a slightly smaller water rowing machine from HCI Fitness or First Degree Fitness.
  • Price: Water rowing machines cost more than other types of rowing machines. Yet, they provide excellent value in the long run. WaterRowers are also available for rent at just $9.98/week.

Our Conclusion:

WaterRower is one of our favorite rowing machine brands. Without exception, its products are well made and feel great. WaterRowers are available with helpful computer systems and are backed by excellent customer service too. There’s absolutely nothing this company does wrong. The prices might run a bit high, but they are worth every penny. Highly recommended!