Last updated: 08/13/2020

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How often do you come home with your mind full of problems, your body aching from sitting all day, and a complete lack of will or time to go exercise? Home gym equipment can help you combat this unhealthy situation. But which device will help you achieve all your fitness goals?

Just imagine that there is an option to help you work at a muscular and cardiovascular level. Imagine that this machine exercises over 80% of your body and that you can train while enjoying the sensations of rowing in the water. All you need for this is your very own water rowing machine at home. If you want to know more about this equipment, keep reading our guide!

Key Facts

  • Athletes that use water rowing machines often state that they feel a complete sense of relaxation and disconnection. Do you know why? Because this device is extremely silent. Besides your own breathing, the only sound that you will hear while training is that of moving water. This contributes to relaxation and reduces stress.
  • Water rowing machines are one of the most functional gym equipment out there. They exercise over 80% of your body’s muscle mass and develop your cardiovascular capacities and, therefore, endurance. You should also know that this machine has a very low impact on the joints, which minimizes your risk of injury.
  • You will find a wide range of water rowing machines on the market. This is why we recommend you consider various purchasing criteria before choosing a model. The price, size, technology, and design are vital, so don’t overlook them when buying your rowing machine.

Our Selection: The Best Water Rowing Machines on the U.S. Market

If you are contemplating buying a water rowing machine and don’t know which model to choose, you’ve come to the right place. More and more manufacturers launch their own products every year. In the following section, we have selected the best models with different features, designs, and a wide price range. That way, you can pick the rower that best suits your needs.

Water Rowing Machine with the Best Value for Money

As Amazon’s Choice in the category, this water rowing machine by Sunny Health & Fitness has received incredible reviews and ratings from past buyers. The most affordable product of our selection has everything you need to get into the world of rowing. From its adjustable water level to its R2 Fitness monitor and convenient wheels, this equipment helps you achieve your goals while giving you real bang for your buck.

Best High-End Water Rowing Machine

Handcrafted in solid ash, the very classy WaterRower Club is specifically designed for high-traffic spaces – from sports clinics to commercial gyms. The hi-rise attachment allows users to get on and off more easily for greater comfort of use. The S4 Performance Monitor is one of its most attractive features, providing complete feedback on your training so you can keep track of your performances and reach your fitness goals.

Best All-Round Water Rowing Machine

With a price falling right between our two previous models, First Degree’s Newport water rowing machine is a device built to last. Its extremely solid structure means that you can have it at home or in a commercial gym, with a functional monitor that displays the data you need during your workout. Its greatest feature? Its patented Adjustable Fluid Resistance Technology allows you to set the resistance yourself, a rare thing in water rowing machines.

Water Rowing Machine with the Best Design

There is little doubt that the design of this water rowing machine will leave you speechless. Made from solid ash and oak wood, it is varnished with honey to confer harmony and elegance to your interiors. This wood absorbs the vibrations and sound of the machine, allowing you to exercise in perfect tranquility. You can easily store it upright in your home, and it comes with the same high-end S4 Performance Monitor as the WaterRower Club.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Water Rowing Machines

When the time comes for you to pick your own water rowing machine, you will have to take various aspects into account – from your budget and space available to whether the model is for private use or a gym. All of these factors will influence your final decision. In the following section, we will analyze these aspects and answer all your questions regarding this device that has revolutionized the fitness world.


Water rowing machines are one of the most complete training methods and have a very low likelihood of injury.
(Source: Langstrup: 97268207/ 123rf.com)

What is a water rowing machine exactly?

This machine is one of the devices with the fastest-growing popularity thanks to its great benefits. It differs from standard rowing machines in the resistance that it offers, which is a tank full of water. When you pull the handle, a blade starts spinning inside the tank, and the water itself creates the resistance.

Manufacturers have different options to allow you to adjust this resistance. This system also means that the strength is increased as you perform the exercise with more intensity, which is why training with a water rowing machine exercises over 80% of your body. Since there are no weights, you cannot injure yourself will picking them up or putting them back down, and the impact on your body is minimal.

These machines tend to have a sleek and modern design. Many come with wood finishes or other details that will add a touch of sophistication to your home. Water rowing machines are undeniably one of the most bought pieces of equipment for Americans who have their own home gym.

Did you know that the popularity of the rowing machine grew enormously thanks to a popular series? In House of Cards, Frank Underwood, the main character, has a rowing machine at home. He resists using it at first, but it quickly becomes his favorite workout machine.

Why should I use a water rowing machine?

These machines come highly recommended by fitness experts since they offer one of the most complete workouts with a very low likelihood of injury. When you exercise on this equipment, you will train over 80% of your body while keeping a very low impact on your back and joints. You also develop your musculature in a very practical way.

With a rowing machine, you can perform cardiovascular workouts to improve your endurance and overall fitness. The feeling and sound of the water will soothe you as you train, making it an excellent option to reduce stress, as well as improve self-esteem and general health.

The design of these machines guarantees a smooth and rhythmic exercise. This is its greatest advantage over other cardiovascular training machines. Step machines, ellipticals, and treadmills have a much greater impact. This is why this device is recommended for people of all ages.


Water rowing machines will vary in intensity depending on the amount of water placed in the tank.
(Source: Andor Bujdoso: 88366919/ 123rf.com)

What is the correct position to train on a water rowing machine?

Although the risk of getting injured while using a rowing machine is extremely low, it is not non-existent. For this reason, and to optimize training results, you should know how to adopt the right posture during your workouts. In the video below, you will discover the correct way to sit on your new water rowing machine and to get the most out of it:

What mistakes should I avoid during my training?

Now that you are comfortable with the correct posture on your machine, let’s have a look at the most common errors made by athletes: elevating the elbows, bending the wrists and knees, and leaning too far back. All these seemingly insignificant aspects will determine whether you achieve your fitness goals or not. Pay close attention to avoid making them yourself:

  • Raising the elbows too high. When we pull the handle, we tend to shrug our shoulders and elevate our elbows too much. You need to relax the shoulders and control the opening of your armpits, with your hands reaching the height of your stomach or sternum. It is relatively common to see people trying to bring the handle all the way up to the chin.
  • Bending the wrists too much. The working point will change if you bend the wrists excessively. During your workout, you will strain your wrist flexors and expose yourself to injuries. Take the handle using all your fingers and relax your wrists, while avoiding flexing or blocking them in a rigid position.
  • Leaning too far back. At the end of each movement, we have the tendency of leaning back due to the force we are exerting. In doing so, we usually open our armpits and lift the handle towards the chin. This can be problematic, which is why you should control the inclination of your back.
  • Fully extending or blocking the knees. This is another particularly common mistake. When you pull the load to bring it to the chest, your knees should never be stretched completely. We strongly encourage you to leave them slightly bent to prevent potential injuries, since repetitive hyperextension can cause damage to your ligaments.


Water rowing machines are often found as part of home gyms.
(Source: Langstrup: 74428272/ 123rf.com)

Should I train on a water or a traditional rower?

There are various benefits and drawbacks for both of these devices that you have to consider when you are making your decision. We want to accompany and guide you in this choice as much as possible. This is why we have designed the following comparative table so that you can understand the perks and disadvantages of each type of rowing machine easily:

Type of rowing machine Advantages Disadvantages
Water resistance The rowing feeling is more realistic.

You won’t need to lubricate the chains, keeping maintenance to a minimum.

They offer functional and complete training. The weight is reduced, and mobility is increased.

The design tends to be more aesthetic.

They are less affordable.

The load increases with your rowing intensity, making it difficult to stick to a set resistance.

Weight-based You can easily regulate the intensity by adding or removing weights.

Low impact.

They offer functional and complete training.

The feeling is sharper and less realistic than with water resistance.

You need more time to upkeep them.

They are heavier and more difficult to move.

How much water should I put in my rowing machine?

Certain water rowing machines will vary in intensity depending on the amount of water you pour in the tank. Users often ask the manufacturers about the amount of water they should put, but don’t panic. The water quantity and its equivalent resistance are often found on the tank itself or in the instruction manual.

Buyer’s Guide

You should now know everything there to know about water rowing machines. Do you know which model is the right one for you? Before you make your final decision, we want to have a look at a series of purchasing criteria. The following five factors could make the difference between a great purchase and a machine abandoned in the corner:


Water rowing machines are frequently used in domestic spaces, which is why their design is elegant and modern. If you want to add this equipment to your home gym, have no doubt that it will be your most beautiful machine. You will always find the right design that will blend in perfectly with your home decor.


The design of these rowing machines guarantees smooth and rhythmic training.
(Source: Andor Bujdoso: 80782645/ 123rf.com)


The product range of the water rowing machine will ultimately determine its cost. If you are on a tight budget, you can find models around 400 dollars. Even low-end devices come with a reasonably complete monitor that will allow you to keep track of your performances.

That being said, you will need to invest more if you really want to take your training sessions to the next level. The future has made its way into the fitness world, with some machines including virtual reality headsets. That way, you can enjoy rowing while listening to the water and taking in the sights of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.


This aspect is particularly relevant to you if you plan on using your water rowing machine at home. Nowadays, many devices can be folded for storage in closets or small out-of-sight spaces. If you do opt for a folding machine, you should prioritize its size when folded.

If you own a gym open to the public, you will certainly see things differently. You have to dedicate more space to your water rowing machine when you purchase it for a professional gym. In those cases, you seldom store equipment away but instead leave them in the training space. Make sure that the measurements of the device fit within the space you have available.


This machine is one of the devices with the fastest-growing popularity thanks to its great benefits.
(Source: Ammentorp: 98122316/ 123rf.com)


Whether you are using the water rowing machine at home or in a multipurpose room, you may have to move it often. This is why we recommend that you choose a model that has wheels. This could make the difference between using it frequently and leaving it aside. The easier it is to take out and put away, the less likely you are to feel lazy about training.


The technology that the machine integrates determines its features and overall performance. In that regard, this criterion is the one that most focuses on the quality of the equipment. As we mentioned earlier, the technology of your machine’s monitor plays a key role in tracking your activity. Some models can connect to your mobile phone, while others display the data on a screen.


The popularity of water rowing machines hasn’t stopped growing since their appearance on the fitness market. This is not surprising, considering the smoothness and functionality of the workout they offer, and the low impact on the joints. The wide range of products available means that you have to thorough when deciding which model is the right one for you.

The price, size, design, and performance of these machines will vary from one model to the next. Don’t forget to take into account your budget, personal use, and space available to help you choose. All these factors will contribute to a satisfactory purchase tailored to your needs.

If you liked our guide on water rowing machines, feel free to share it with your friends and family on social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Pavel Biryukov: 115637181/ 123rf.com)

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