What is a Water Rower? Eco Friendly Rowing Machines 2022 Guide

You might’ve heard about water rowers from the iconic TV show “House of Cards”, from a friend, or maybe it just showed up in a Google search. In any case, the highly trending rowing workout machine is gaining a lot of traction for all the good reasons.

So, what is a rowing machine, and why is it greatly hyped among indoor workout enthusiasts? That’s what we’re going to discuss today!

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In the following article, we’ll provide you with a detailed guide that walks you through everything you need to know about water rowers as well as top recommendations for the best options in the market. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

WaterRower Natural Rowing MachineWaterRower Natural Rowing Machine• Built For Home Use
• ​Made Of Kiln Dried
• Enjoy 1 Year Manufacturers Warranty
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Mr. Captain Rowing MachineMr. Captain Rowing Machine• Equipped with Customizable
• ​Comfortable Workout
• Convrnient Storage
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Mr. Captain Rowing MachineLife Fitness Row HX Trainer• The natural wood
• ​Four resistance levels
• The unique fluid Technology
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Life Fitness Row HX TrainerBATTIFE Water Rowing Machine• Solid Wood & Elegant Design
• ​Easy to Assemble & Easy Storage
• Easy on Joints & Build Muscles
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Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing MachineMr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machine• Equipped with workout
• ​Confortable Workout
• Convenient Storage
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What is a Water Rower?

Before diving into the juicy details on why water rowers are getting all that hype and whether it deserves it, let’s have a brief understanding of what a water rower is and what it does.

A rowing machine is, as the name suggests, a machine that simulates the sensation of rowing a boat.

The device has a seat in which you sit and extend your legs from as well as handles that you hold and pull back on some form of resistance to emulate the feeling of water being rowed.

There are many types of rowers, including hydraulic, corded, magnetic, and air resistance rowing machines.

However, these types of rowers are notorious for the loud noises that they make while operating, which can be quite disturbing for some.

A water rower is one of the newest innovations that are introduced into the rowing machine technology scene.

They’re designed to give you the optimal level of water rowing simulation with a smart way of increasing the resistance.

The machine is giving people excellent results, which is why water rowers are getting more and more popular by the day!

How Does a Water Rower Work?

To your surprise, the technology behind this breakthrough is quite simple, which is a great thing because simple technology means less chance for things to go wrong upon operation, and that’s exactly the case here.

A water rower simulates the resistance of water while rowing using a tank of water and paddles that drags through it. The tank is connected through a set of chains to the handles you’re using.

When you pull the handles back, the paddles start to push through the water. This simple yet smart technology also utilizes the physical laws that say ”the faster the speed, the greater the resistance”.

In other words, to increase the level of your training resistance, you only need to row faster, and physics will do all the machine work.

This guarantees a remarkably smooth performance that never fails you. That’s why a lot of people are seeing excellent results by using water rowers!

Although competitive indoor rowers still prefer air rowers, a lot of them are turning to water rowers because they don’t have that “flat spot” where the resistance of air drops during the paddle cycle in air rowers.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Water Rower?

As you can tell, there’s a huge potential of benefits that makes water rowers one of the greatest rowing workout machines ever made, with a huge room for improvement.

Let’s have a brief look at some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by having one of those in your house!

1. Eco-Friendly Alternative

If you’re concerned about the environment, you’re going to love water rowers. Most of the water rowers on the market are built of sustainably sourced wood.

They don’t use any electric power for resistance training. Instead, they utilize resistance produced from a tub of water that’s ergonomically placed in front of the rower.

2. It Provides Authentic Rowing Experience

The other great benefit of having the tank of water in front of you is that the looks and swooshy sounds of water being pushed give you the authentic feel of rowing paddles into the water; something you might not get with other types of rowing machines.

In addition to intense workouts that this machine can provide, you can also row it slowly for a calming session that helps you to unwind after a long day.

3. Water Rowers Are Easy to Use with Little Maintenance.

If you’re a fan of plug n play devices, a water rower is a perfect machine for you. It doesn’t have any complex steps while setting it up. All you need to do is simply sit down and get to rowing!

4. It Packs the Same Health Benefits of Rowing

Last but not least, water rowers won’t only simulate the feel of rowing a boat, but it’ll also give you the same health benefits.

According to joint English-Australian research to study the benefits of rowing as a workout, it was found that it has a wonderful impact on body strength and works a lot of muscles in both upper and lower body.

Other studies also found that rowing as an exercise is a great way to burn tons of calories and lose weight in a significantly short amount of time.

The best part is that all these findings were confirmed to be observed after using indoor rowing machines, which is tested in another study that was performed on 20 individuals.

Based on all these researches and studies, we can conclude that all water rowers have similar health benefits of rowing in a real boat, which includes:

  • Burning calories and losing weight in a shorter time
  • A full-body workout that works multiple muscle groups for strength and endurance
  • Very low impact workout, which means that you’re not putting a lot of stress on your joints, as in running on treadmills.

How Do Water Rowers Compare to Other Types of Rowing Machines?

As you now know, there are various types of rowing machines out there. So where do water rowers stand when they’re compared to other forms?

In the following section, we’ll investigate all the advantages and disadvantages that water rowers have, so you can opt for the type of rowing machines that suits your needs the most.

1. Quieter in Operation

Producing loud noises is one of the major deterrents of using a rowing machine. The problem here is that these loud noises aren’t satisfying at all and can cause some people to experience mild headaches after rowing, especially if they’re rowing after a long day or for a long session.

What makes a water rower special is that it uses much fewer cords and connectors to operate, which suppresses these loud noises significantly.

Moreover, the tank of water, being a natural sound suppressor, muffles a lot of the sounds produced by the spinning paddles and their gears.

The final result is that you’ll only hear the sound of water being swished around, which isn’t that loud because it’s enclosed inside a sealed container.

2. Highly Consistent and Satisfying Performance

The problem with some cheap rowing machines is that they aren’t ideal when it comes to performance.

These machines have some restrictive movements and hiccups that break your flow while working out.

For example, magnetic rowing machines don’t simulate the feel of rowing but rather the motion. This makes them highly unsatisfying.

Also, their level of resistance is predetermined and no matter how faster you go, it keeps the same level of resistance, which puts you at risk of limiting your muscle gains.

On the flip side, water rowers are ready as long as you’re. Whenever you want to up the resistance level, you only need to go faster and, as previously mentioned, physics will do all the leg work.

This helps you in achieving a more consistent and satisfying performance with little to no wasted workout gains.

3. Less Maintenance

Some rowing machines are known for their wide range of maintenance requirements, as they use various lubricants and tools to generate resistance.

As a rule of thumb, the more complex the device with connectors and cords, the more likely it’s for things to go wrong.

That’s where water rowers hop in for the rescue. We all want a simple machine that doesn’t require a technical guru to diagnose and maintain the rower.

With water rowers, you usually only need to replace the water in the tank every now and then, and you’re good to go.

4. Usually Larger Than Other Types

Despite all the merits of the device, it still has its drawbacks, and being larger than other types is one of them.

The word larger here is more suitable than bulkier because surprisingly, water rowers are relatively lighter in weight and can be moved around easily.

This comes from the lack of magnetic bars and metal components that weigh the machine down and make it too difficult to transport.

If you’re opting for a water rower, make sure that you have the space needed for it, as it usually needs more space than the average rowing machine.

5. A Bit Pricier Option to Opt for

The other well-known issue about water rowers is them being costlier than some other types of rowing machines.

However, you should keep in mind that water rowers, in general, would still cost you less than an elliptical machine or a treadmill while having much less impact on your joints and back.

That’s why they can also be used by seniors provided that their doctor gives them the green light.


How much space does a water rower need?

As you know, water rowers need a bit of a footprint for comfortable usage. You need to give it clearance at the back, front, and sides as well as it’s average dimensions.
Ideally, a space of about 20 inches wide and 100 inches long is enough for comfortable sessions with a water rower.

How much should I expect to pay for a water rower?

Water rowers are quite affordable when compared to some other workout machines. A reliable high-end water rower used to cost you up to $1,700.
However, with more manufacturers entering the field of water rowers, there are currently some decent options that would set you back a few hundred bucks.

Do water rowers come with a display monitor?

Most water rowers on the market come with a digital display monitor that can give you information such as:
Stroke rate
Heart rate
Calories burnt

Top 5 Water Rowing Options Available on the Market 2022

Now that you have a better idea about water rowers, here’s a quick insight into some of the top recommendations on the market.

1. WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine

Kicking off the list of recommendations with one of the pioneers of the technology. The WaterRower rowing machine comes in a sleek dried oak and kiln wooden design that is becoming iconic for the water rowers.

Although this one is a bit on the pricey end of the scale, you’ll enjoy the genuine feel of the patent holders for the water tank system.

The machine is remarkably quiet and easy to use. It comes with an S4 monitor that displays all kinds of helpful information during workouts.



  • Original design with sustainably sourced wood
  • Features one year of manufacturing warranty and 5 years of frame warranty
  • Comes with easy-to-follow assembly instructions


  • Premium price tag

2. Mr. Captain Rowing Machine

Mr. Captain is an excellent water rower if you’re looking for value at an affordable price. It features a dark wood design with comfortable seating and wheels for ease of transportation.

The seating position is adjustable to accommodate various lengths and durable enough to withstand heavier weights.

The device comes with a Bluetooth monitor that offers customizable modes for high intuitiveness and ease of use.

This one has similar dimensions to the WaterRower model, so they take a similar footprint in the room.


  • Highly affordable
  • Adjustable and comfortable seats
  • Bluetooth-paired display monitor


  • The footplate is difficult to adjust

3. Life Fitness Row HX Trainer

If you’re looking for the natural aesthetics of wood along with the durability of steel, consider this option from Life Fitness Row HX.

The resistance level in this device is changed via a dial, so it’s operating differently from the original water rower, which is preferred by many users who don’t like to adjust, add and remove water for resistance.

The assembly process is quite easy but needs extra tightening to ensure the durability of the device.

The only drawback of that model is that it’s quite pricey despite having a limited display screen with no backlight, making it hard to utilize outdoors.


  • Ultra-durable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Dials resistance instead of adding and removing water


  • Limited display screen for its price

4. BATTIFE Water Rowing Machine

If you like the incorporation of steel in the design but you’re looking for a relatively affordable alternative, consider this one!

The BATTIFE water rowing machine is made of red walnut wood along with some nice metal touches to ensure the durability and sustainability of the frame.

The machine is easily stored vertically with wheels for quick transportation. Moreover, it comes with a HI-Performance professional monitor for excellent coverage of stats.

The seats on the device are quite large and easy to adjust to eliminate any harmful impact on your joints while rowing.


  • High-quality display monitor
  • Remarkably silent performance
  • Inexpensive alternative


  • The water filler hose placement is a bit problematic

5. Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machine

Last but not least, if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the water rower.

We really like this machine from Mr. Rudolf, which offers solid performance for almost half the price of some of the competitor devices.

The design of the rowing machine also makes it one of the lightest among the rowers on the list, standing only at 58.5 lbs. However, it’s capable of supporting up to 320 lbs of weight.

The rower machine is available in two colors, giving you more freedom to fit the machine with the colors of your furniture.


  • Ideal for buyers on a budget
  • Feature a Bluetooth monitor
  • Lightweight design and easy to move around


  • The sensors on the device aren’t super-consistent with the results

Final Thoughts

Now that you have an answer to your main question “what is a water rower?”, it’s time to answer the other part of the question “are water rowers worth it?”.

As you can see, all rowing machines, in general, give you the opportunity to enjoy a full-body workout from the comfort of your home.

However, water rowers have the added perk of being ultra-realistic and authentic experience, as you’ll even get to feel the water whooshing around as you row.

The machines give a great eco-friendliness when compared to other rowers while staying relatively quiet, so you can workout anytime according to your schedule.

For all these reasons and more, getting a water rower is an excellent investment that’s always worth its price.

We recommend the original WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine, as it’s an aesthetically pleasing and reliable workout machine that’ll give you amazing results with little to no maintenance at all!

However, if you’re on a budget, you should go for Mr. Rudolf Water Rowing Machine. This one gives you all the benefits of a water rower without costing you an arm and a leg!

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