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Finding the right piece of home gym equipment isn’t as easy as it appears. Let’s face it, most people have limited space and cash to purchase more than one large piece of equipment.
So, if you’ve narrowed down your choices to an indoor rowing machine with a water tank device, then at least you’ve really made progress.
|Top||WaterRower Club Rowing Machine||Check Price|
|Top||Mr. Captain Rowing Machine||Check Price|
|Top||Merax Water Rowing Machine||Check Price|
|Top||WaterRower Vintage Oak Rowing Machine||Check Price|
|Top||Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500||Check Price|
|Top||MaxKare Water Rowing||Check Price|
|Top||Koreyosh Foldable Water Rowing Machine||Check Price|
Chances are that you also don’t want to spend hours reading review site after review site either. Wouldn’t it be great to just read about the pros and cons so that when the ideal water rowing machine pops up you will recognize it right away?
In this review, I’m going to do exactly that. There are many good choices for a water rowing machine out there, and I’ve created a shortlist of the top 7 models that are perfect for nearly everyone.
Want to know more? Keep reading! You’ll be glad you did.
The Best Water Rowing Machines
Water rowing machines are ideal for many because they use a water tank placed either in front or directly below the resistance device. This is about as close as you can get to an actual rowing experience type of feel without getting wet (Have your spouse or kids squirt you with water from time to time if you miss that kind of thing).
Magnetic rowing devices are nice because they are quiet and delivers on-demand variable resistance levels. On the other hand, air rowing machines are popular because they offer unlimited resistance, although the noise can drive some people a bit crazy.
Water rowing machines offer the best of both worlds, making them a popular option. Like air rower machines, water rowers provide unlimited resistance levels. They’re not limited by adjustable resistance knobs, so if you want to increase the resistance level, you only need to row harder. Now, that’s where the real challenge is!
The best thing about water resistance indoor rowers? Even as they provide unlimited resistance, they don’t produce as much noise.
There are lots of great choices out there, and I’m going to show you the top 7 by price so you can pick which one works best for you.
TRENDING POST: Are Water Rowers Better than Magnetic Rowing Machines
WaterRower Club Rowing Machine in Ash Wood
If you want top-of-the-line, best of the bunch, head and shoulders above the crowd, then this just might be the device you want.
This machine works as well as it looks. Made with ash wood for a true rowing experience and style, WaterRower Club knows exactly what you’re looking for in a water rowing machine. Most importantly, this WaterRower in ash wood really delivers in terms of function, aesthetics, and durability.
Features of the WaterRower Club Rowing Machine with S4 Console
As you might well imagine, like all WaterRower Club water rowing machines, this model has many fun, high-tech, and functional features that you will love, including:
- A water flywheel for smooth operation that feels like real rowing
- Smooth, unlimited resistance
- Solid ash-wood construction for durability and a true rowing experience
- Its weight limit is 1,000 pounds (453 kg)
- The smaller footprint was specifically designed for high-traffic areas
- The device weighs 117 pounds (53 kg) when filled with water
- 100% warranty for 1 year, if you fill out the warranty card, then the device has a 5-year warranty on the frame and 3-years on all moving parts
- Easy to assemble in about 1 hour
- Can be stored upright
- Heart rate monitor compatible
- The large S4 monitor allows you to see all your data in a glance, no waiting for the scan to show your information, as well as other info not often found in other models, such as the 500m and 2k split times as well as speed in miles per hour and meters per second
- You get to choose from several workout programs that are aligned to your fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight, strength training, or improving range of motion
- Puri-tabs, which prevent the water from growing algae, are included for the lifetime of these rowers
The Cons of this Water Rower
Nothing in life is perfect, and while the WaterRower Club comes close, there are a few improvements the company could make. Some drawbacks would be:
- The price might be a bit out of reach for some
- The device has a large footprint, occupying an area with at least 84 inches long
- Does not fold
- Does not come with its own heart monitor
This WaterRower water rowing machine is an excellent high-end model offering many features, including a durable, sleek, wood design that many find appealing and as close to real rowing as you can get.
TRENDING POST: Water vs Air Rowers
Mr. Captain Water Resistance Wood Rowing Machine
You might not be as familiar with the Mr. Captain name, but I’m betting that once word gets out about how terrific this device is, you’ll see a lot more of it around.
Made from durable waxed and oiled vintage oak wood, this machine looks like a piece of furniture. And in case you’re not aware, oak lasts for decades!
Along with that oak frame, this device has other features you will love.
Features of the Mr. Captain Water Resistance Wood Rower
Like the WaterRower Club rower listed above, Mr. Captain has thought of everything when it comes to this rowing machine model, including:
- Anti-skid footrests to prevent movement while exercising
- The device weighs only 58.5 pounds (26.5 kg)
- Wheels allow for easy mobility
- Super easy to assemble, in most cases, less than 30 minutes is required
- Has a weight limit of 350 pounds (159 kg)
- The machine can be stored vertically
- The large, ergonomic seat is padded for comfort
- The cushioned handlebar uses a nylon rope for durability
- Includes a digital display that is BlueTooth enabled for use with headphones, music, or heart monitors
- The digital display has a segmented window frame and tracks time, strokes per minute, strokes, calories burned, distance, and pulse (but not heart rate)
- Comes with a waterproof storage cover
The Cons of Mr. Captain
While you won’t find too many drawbacks to this water rower, there are a few, such as:
- No chest strap for reading the heart beats per minute. You can use your own Bluetooth-enabled devices, but this does not come with one built-in
- The digital readout does not have a backlight
- No water bottle holder
- No device (tablet, cell phone) holder
The Mr. Captain water resistance rower is a fantastic purchase since it will last for decades and look good for as long as you own it.
TRENDING TOPIC: Water Rowing Machine vs Concept 2
Merax Water Rowing Machine
For those of you who are interested in a sleeker machine that looks high-tech, the Merax is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.
The beautiful blue-colored water holder is so pretty that you can’t wait to get on and get rowing! That’s not all, this beauty has lots of features that make it both fun and easy to use.
Features of the Merax Water Rowing Machine
For a quiet, smooth rowing experience, the Merax has a lot going for it, including:
- The frame is made from alloy steel for extra durability
- The water holder sits at an angle to make the footprint much smaller than most water rowers
- Offers non-slip PVC levelers
- A large, contoured seat prevents movement
- The handle is ergonomically designed and coated in foam rubber and is attached using a 1-inch nylon rope
- Foot pads are large, anti-slip, and they pivot for maximum ease to the joints and muscles (glutes, hamstrings, and other leg muscles) when pushing
- The water tank has 6 water levels, allowing you to increase resistance as your fitness level improves
- Offers a large, LCD console that is easy to read and displays workout data including rowing intensity in duration, strokes, calories burned, distance, and heart rate. No need to buy an additional heart monitor!
- Transport wheels allow the device to be moved and stored upright, which is important if you have limited workout space
- Accommodates users up to 330 pounds (150 kg)
The Cons of the Merax Rowing Machine
The beautiful Merax could still be improved in a few areas, such as:
- While it has a smaller footprint than some rowing machines, it still needs at least 75 inches of floor space
- The seat is not padded
- The LCD display is not backlit
Overall, this easy to assemble, sleek-style water rower is everything you could ask for from home rowers.
TRENDING POST: Hydrow vs WaterRower
WaterRower Vintage Oak Classic Rowing Machine
What can I say? People love rowing and even when using their home gym, they want to get a true rowing experience. That explains why so many people turn to wooden rowing machines with water resistance system.
This is a true classic, combining the look and feel of real wood and water in the tank to simulate a real rowing experience.
The Vintage Oak WaterRower Classic has everything you expect and more, including a few items that you may not have expected.
Features of the WaterRower Club Classic Rowing Machine
Talk about a sturdy machine! This device is full of the best features available to help you reach your fitness goals, including:
- Classic and handcrafted vintage oak wood finish is long-lasting, easy to clean, and durable, absorbing both sound and vibration
- Accommodates rowers up to 992 pounds (450 kg)
- Uses a patented water flywheel design for quiet operation as you spin the flywheel with every rowing stroke you make
- Weighs in at 117 pounds (53 kg)
- Series 4 performance console splits into 5 sections to track stroke rate, intensity, duration, heart rate, distance traveled
- Can be stored upright
- Easy to assemble in 1 hour or less
- The ergonomic handle is padded and is attached using a 1-inch nylon rope
- Provides a 5-year warranty on all wood parts, and a 3-year warranty on all other components
The Cons of the WaterRower Classic
Even with all those fantastic features, this water rower could use a bit of improvement. Below are some of its cons:
- Not Bluetooth-compatible
- No heart rate chest strap included
- The display is not backlit
- It might be out of the price range for many
This classic vintage oak wood WaterRower is a real keeper. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t happy to own a wood rower and this is no exception.
Under $500 Water Rowing Machines
Everyone would love a top-of-the-line rower but the truth is that most people find those units a bit out of the range of their pocketbooks.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get a good quality budget water rower! I’ve found several that are very affordable and still have all the features you want. The two models below make it to my top two in the below-$500 water rowers category.
Sunny Health & Fitness Obsidian Surge 500 Water Rowing Machine
Sunny Health and Fitness make unbelievably good budget-priced rowing machines, and this model is a best-seller.
If you want an excellent budget rower with strong, smooth resistance to challenge the different muscle groups in your body, the Sunny Health Fitness Obsidian Surge is a great choice.
Features of the Obsidian Surge Water Rowing Machine
You might think that budget-priced means either cheaply made or no cool features, but that’s not the case with this water rowing machine.
Stand by to be amazed at all the features this water rowing machine has to offer, including:
- Manufactured from steel, this device weighs 92 pounds
- Has a weight capacity of 300 pounds ( 136 kg)
- Equipped with an R2 fitness device that digitally reads total time, strokes per minute, 500-meter split time, total strokes, distance, calories burned, heart rate, even room temperature
- Offers a race feature
- Leveling caps prevent sliding while in use
- The seat is molded and padded for comfort
- Seat height is 17 inches from the floor, making it easier to get on and off the device
- The water tank is black and comes with chlorine tablets to prevent algae buildup and maintain the quality of water in the tank
- The handles are non-slip and sweat resistant
- Foot pedals pivot and have adjustable straps
- High-density rubber wheels make moving and storing the device easy
- Warranty is 3-years for the frame, all other parts and components are 90-days
There is so much more to this rower than space allows!
The Cons of the Obsidian Water Rower
There is room for improvement in everything, including the Obsidian water rower, such as :
- The rowing machine monitor is not backlit
- The chest strap for the heart monitor is not included
- The water resistance system requires manually adding and removing water in the tank to increase or decrease the resistance level
- The 90-day warranty can be enhanced
If you want a low-cost water resistance rowing machine to add more challenge to your workout, the Obsidian Water Rower is one of your best options.
MaxKare Water Rowing Machine
MaxKare is the newest name in budget water rowing machines, but this model has so many cool features, I figured you would want to know about it.
This is an excellent water rowing machine for those who have a limited budget.
Features of the MaxKare Water Rowing Machine
Sturdy, durable, and quiet are all words that describe this machine. It is designed to give you a real rowing workout. Check out some of the features that MaxKare offers, such as:
- Its body is made from alloy steel for long-lasting durability
- The cushioned seat is ergonomically designed
- The handle is padded for a more comfortable grip as you do your workout
- Has a weight capacity of 260 pounds (118 kg)
- Its large, LCD rowing machine display is fairly basic, but it does read time, strokes, strokes per minute, 500 meter split time, calories burned, and pulse
- This indoor rower also features a race mode to add more fun and challenge to your workout
- A support point allows you to store it vertically
- Adjustable footplates also have adjustable straps
- Front wheels make this device easy to move; it weighs 85 pounds
- Offers a water bottle holder
- Full 30 days replacement warranty for damage found during shipping and 2-year warranty on everything else
The Cons of the MaxKare Water Home Rowing Machine
While you might think that this rowing machine is all that and a bag of chips, it does have a few drawbacks that you should take note of, including:
- The performance monitor has no backlight
- Not Bluetooth-compatible
- No heart rate monitor
- The seat can be noisy
Depending on your expectations, you will find this water rower either outstanding or a bit disappointing if you love high-tech bells and whistles.
Compact Design Water Resistance Rowers
I wanted to mention this water rower not only because it is still under $500, but its compact design makes it suitable for a small home or apartment.
Koreyosh Water Rowing Machine
If you need a more compact water resistance machine, but you don’t want to give up the joys of using a wood rower, this Koreyosh water rowing machine is what you’ve been looking for. It provides the same infinitely available resistance that an air rower offers and is priced right as well!
Features of the Koreyosh Water Rowing Machine
In addition to having a smaller storage footprint, this water rowing machine has lots of features, including:
- Made from oak for a real rowing experience
- Folds in half and has wheels so you can store it effortlessly
- The digital display tracks time, count, calories, distance, and has a scan mode for easier workouts monitoring
- Weight capacity is 330 pounds (150 kg)
- Pretty blue water tank
- Ergonomic seat
- Adjustable footplates
The Cons of the Koreyosh Water Rowing Machine
While folding is all well and good for storage, this unit could improve in a few areas, such as:
- No information about warranty
- Instructions for assembly are not very clear
- The LCD performance display has no backlight
While it still requires more than 80 inches of floor space when in use, for those of you who need a water rower to be super storable, you will find this unit exactly what you’ve been looking for. It is one of the most space-saving water rowers you can find.
The Bottom Line
While all of the above machines are high-quality devices that will last for years and give you a terrific workout, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for someone else.
If space is of the utmost importance, you will want to go with the Koreyosh since it folds in half for real space-saving storage.
If you’re on a tight budget, you will want to choose the Obsidian Water Rower by Sunny Health & Fitness, or the MaxKare.
On the other hand, if you want a water rower that will give you extra durability, then you should go for the steel-made Merax water rower. Those of you who are looking for a true rowing experience will want to choose one of the wooden water rowers listed above, such as the WaterRower Club or Mr. Captain brand.
Regardless of which machine you choose, you are going to get a great workout, a real-life rowing experience, and a rowing machine you will enjoy for many years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Water Rowing Machines Better?
A: That would depend on how you define the word better. Water rowers are quite popular because they truly mimic the feel, even the sound of a true rowing experience. Your workouts will also be quieter with water rowers than with air resistance machines.
Q: Is a Water Rower Worth It?
A: For those who truly want the closest experience possible to real rowing feel, yes, water resistance rowers are worth the price.
Q: What is the Best Water Rowing Machine?
A: The one that you will want to use regularly and can comfortably afford will be the best indoor rowing machine with water tanks to help you attain your health goals (learn more).
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Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.