WaterRowers have been around since 1988 when US National rowing team member John Duke invented the water flywheel. Using a wooden or chunky steel frame and a tank filled with water for resistance, WaterRowers look quite different to just about every other rower on the market and, because of the water flywheel, are arguably the closest thing many exercisers will ever get to rowing on water.
The water flywheel, the feature common to all WaterRowers, provides self-regulating resistance which basically means the harder you pull, the more demanding your workout will be. This makes WaterRowers suitable for all levels of fitness and rowing ability. The water flywheel also delivers a very smooth stroke with no jerkiness – even at the beginning of each stroke.
Because the paddles of the water flywheel are completely submerged within the water tank, using a WaterRower does not feel “mechanical” and the machines themselves are very quiet in use. In fact, the swishing of the paddle passing through the water is not unlike the sound of an oar moving through real water. The sturdy frame makes for a very stable rowing experience – there is no danger of tipping a WaterRower over during normal use.
Although WaterRowers are available with high-tech metal frames, many of the models and indeed their signature design use Appalachian hardwood so not only do WaterRowers almost look like pieces of art, but they are also good for the environment as the wood comes from sustainable forests. In fact, according to WaterRower, 2.29 trees are planted for every one felled. The wood is surprisingly hardy and has been treated to ensure it lasts a long, long time. There are light wood and dark woods to suit al aesthetic tastes; you can match your WaterRower to your décor!
Not only do water rowers look good and feel good, but they are also easy to store. Once you have finished your workout, simply stand your rower on its end – the water tank acts as stabilizing ballast. With no protruding parts, you can place a WaterRower right up against a wall so it takes up very little space – ideal for home use.
WaterRower makes several different series of rowers: the Natural series, the Designer series, the GX series, and the Signature series. All models feature WaterRower’s patented water flywheel and are all very high-quality workout machines.
The Natural series offers two entry-level models – the Natural and the Club whereas the Designer series offers the Oxbridge, Classic, and S1 which are the premium level WaterRowers. The M series is designed for commercial use and instead of wooden frames, these machines feature steel frames for toughness and enhanced lifespan. The GX range comprises two models, the GX Home and the GX Studio both feature a unique monorail system and are designed specifically for group exercise classes.
All WaterRowers are fitted with one of three performance monitors – which monitor depends on which model you are using. The three monitors, the S4, Indo-Row, and A1 monitors provide useful feedback on your workout performance. The Indo-Row and A1 monitors are pretty basic and only display workout intensity, time, and distance while the S4 has more functions than a Swiss Army knife! If you want to know every possible scrap of information about your workout and your WaterRower, the A1 monitor is the one for you.
If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing, quiet, smooth, easy-to-use rower that can be stored simply by standing it on its end, a WaterRower is a good choice. With so many models to choose from, you should be able to find one that suits your requirements and your budget although, be warned, even the entry-level models are quite expensive. That said, a long warranty and a very solid product mean your purchase will last for many years to come.