- Great value
- Built-in programs
- 6 resistance levels
- Durable frame construction
- Smooth rowing experience
- Need to adjust the water level to change resistance
- Footrest quality questionable
This is our Xterra ERG600W Water Rower review.
As a fitness trainer with 30+ years in the industry, I’ve been on top of the water rower innovation from the very start. I love the whole water rower concept and have been waiting for a budget rower that maintains the quality and performance of the machines at the $1000 plus price point. So, I’ve spent many hours checking under the hood of the new crop of water rowers to give you the hype-free facts that you deserve to know.
In this article, I’ll provide an in-depth review of the Xterra ERG600W water rower, revealing the good and the not-so-good points that you need to know to inform your buying decision. I’ll also let you know who the Xterra ERG600W is and is not best suited for. I’ll round out the review by comparing the ERG600W with two popular competing models.
Before we delve in, here’s a quick overview of my findings …
I found the Xterra ERG600W to be a functional, sturdy and reliable water rower. It provides you with a smooth rowing action and is suitable for people of different shapes and sizes. The LCD monitor is impressive at this price point, which represents very good overall value for money. There are some questions about the robustness of the footrests but overall this is a smart choice for people looking for a budget water rower.
Keep reading to get the full story.
Xterra ERG600W Water Rower
The Xterra ERG600W is a water-based rowing machine. That means that, rather than air or magnetic resistance, the rower is fitted with a water tank with paddles fitted that churn the water with every rowing stroke.
As such it provides a closer simulation of the actual on-the-water rowing experience than you’d get on an air or magnetic rowing machine.
The water rower provides what is termed variable resistance. That means that you control the intensity of the rowing resistance by how fast or slow you pull on the rowing machine handle. In addition to this, you can increase the resistance level by changing the amount of water that is in the tank.
There are 6 water levels indicated on the side of the water tank to determine the 6 resistance levels. You have to adjust the water level manually to your preferred level. So, if a child is using the ERG600W they would have less water in the tank than an adult. This change in the water level is the biggest hassle about using a water rower.
Of course, the issue of having to adjust the water tank is not specific to the ERG600W. This is part and parcel of the whole water rower experience, so should not be held against this particular product. So, within the parameters of the water rower functionality, the ERG600W does a great job of providing a consistent, reliable rowing experience. You can build up to a smooth, fluid rowing action.
The rail and frame construction allows for a range of heights and weights and it stores vertically when not in use. Throw in an extremely sharp price point and you’ve got a very impressive machine.
Functionality And Design
The Xterra ERG600W provides a natural, fluid rowing stroke that is closer to rowing on a lake than if you were using an air or magnetic rower. Unlike most budget-priced rowers, there doesn’t appear to be any compromise in rowing quality on this machine, with the consensus among online reviewers being that it delivers a consistent row that is quiet and smooth.
There is also no lag with your rowing stroke, something which is quite common on lower-priced rowers.
If your training involves high-intensity interval training, the ERG600W allows you to get a powerful rowing workout stroke by topping up the water level. I’d equate the resistance generated from having the water at its highest level to rowing with the Concept2 at the highest damper setting.
Xterra has done its best to minimize the hassle of filling and emptying the water tank by including a water pump and siphon as part of the purchase package. You are also able to adjust the recoil of the bungee cord that is connected to the rowing machine handle. There are 3 settings that control the level of assisted return on your stroke.
The Xterra ERG600W is a solidly designed machine that is compact and aesthetically appealing. It can be stored in an upright position, with an upright storage footprint of 22 inches wide x 33 inches long by 80.7 inches high.
The dual aluminum slide rails are long enough to accommodate people who are up to 6’1” in height. The Max user weight of 300 pounds is impressive for a water rower that can be bought for less than $800.
Features and Benefits
Now let’s delve into the features of the ERG600W.
The water tank is the equivalent of the motor that drives the Xterra ERG600W. It is made from polycarbonate plastic and has 16 impeller blades fitted to a central beam at its center. When you pull on the rowing handle the blades churn through the water to provide resistance. There are six level markers up the side of the tank to indicate the resistance levels.
The water resistance level acts similarly to a damper on an air rower. At the lowest setting, it is like rowing in a boat by yourself, while at the highest level it’s like rowing with a half dozen other people in there with you.
Each water tank is individually pressure-tested for quality and durability. The movement of the blades through the water produces hardly any noise, in contrast to the loud whooshing sound that occurs with every stroke on an air rower.
The larger-than-standard seat on this rower is contoured to fit your butt, making for a more comfortable experience. The seat height of 13.5 inches makes it easy to get on and off the machine, especially if you have mobility issues.
The industrial ball bearings that are under the seat allow for a very smooth journey up and down the rail.
Simple Functional Interface
The monitor on the ERG600W is simple and functional. It comes with a 5.5-inch black and white console that is adjustable for both height and angle. The display provides the following workout data:
- Total Time
- 500 m Time
- Room Temperature
There is also the functionality to monitor your heart rate but this can only be used when you have a chest strap heart rate monitor, which is not supplied with the machine.
There are several programmable modes to allow you to keep your workouts varied and interesting. You can set the following modes on the ERG600W:
- Race Against Computer
- Time Countdown
- Distance Countdown
- Strokes Countdown
- Calories Countdown
The monitor runs on 2 AA batteries, which are supplied with your purchase. This monitor is an impressive unit for a budget water rowing machine.
The frame, tank and dual aluminum slide rail that comprise the main parts of the Xterra ERG600W are also solidly constructed. As a result, when you sit and start using this machine you don’t feel like you’re using a budget rower. You won’t have to worry about the base jumping around when you go all out with your HIIT workout.
Rather than a chain, there is a rowing strap, but that doesn’t mean that there is a drop-off in durability or functionality. There have been no reports of the strap fraying or breaking by online reviewers.
A durability issue that has arisen relates to the footrests, which feature a bottom cup to keep your heel locked in place. Some users have reported that the cup tends to split over time, apparently as a result of the shoe getting caught in the cup when the person is getting on or off the rower.
Seat, Handle, and FootRest Comfort
The Xterra ERG600W is built for comfort. The contoured seat is well-padded to help keep your butt from being too painful during an extended rowing session. The handles are similarly padded with a sweat-resistant material to keep your palms callus-free.
Your third point of contact with the machine is your feet. The footrests on this machine are large, contoured, and slip-resistant. They also feature a heel cup to keep you locked in, though this has proven to be a weak link on some machines, as mentioned previously.
Overall the ERG600W provides a high level of user comfort.
|Set-Up Dimension||80.7″ L x 22″ W x 33″ H|
|Standing Dimension||33″ L x 22″ W x 80.7″ H|
|Product Weight||87 lb|
|Max User Weight Capacity||300 lb|
|Recommended User Height||5’1” to 6’1|
|Display||LCD No Color / No Backlight|
|Display Size||5″ x 2.3″ (5.5 ” diag.)|
|Readout||Time, Time/500M, Calories, Distance, Strokes, Strokes/Min, Pulse (chest strap sold separately), Date, Room Temperature, Clock|
|Programs||Race, Manual Time Countdown, Distance Countdown, Strokes Countdown, Calories Countdown|
|Console Buttons||Recovery, Reset, Enter, Start/Stop, Left, Right|
|Power Source||2 AA Batteries (Included)|
|Functionality||Water Tank with 16 Impeller Blades|
|Resistance Type||Water Resistance|
|Resistance||6 Levels of Resistance|
|Seat Height||13.4 inches|
The ERG600W requires assembly. Your purchase will arrive with the following main parts that need to be connected:
- Main Frame
- Front and Rear Stabilizers
- Slide Rail
Putting the rower together is a medium-difficulty job that will take two people about 30 minutes to complete. There are five key assembly steps, beginning with connecting the front and rear stabilizers to the main frame, then putting on the seat, module, and finally, filling the water tank.
A funnel and siphon are provided to allow you to fill the water tank. The final step is to add a water purification tablet to the water tank.
Price and Value
The Xterra ERG600W water rower can be purchased from the official website for $799.99. This is a permanent discount from a listed price of $999.00.
That makes this machine $300-500 dollars less than the average cost of a water rower and puts it squarely in the budget rower category, though at the higher end of it. You may be able to buy the ERG600W for a slightly cheaper price from some other online retailers.
The warranty on the Xterra ERG600W is pretty impressive, especially when you consider the low price point. You get the following coverage:
- 5 years frame warranty
- 2-year parts warranty
- 90 days in-home labor warranty
Sunny Obsidian Suge Water Rower
California-based home fitness Sunny is a market leader in bringing quality budget water rowers to the public. Their Obsidian Surge Water Rower has been out for some time. It can be purchased for less than 500 dollars, considerably undercutting the Xterra ERG600W.
The Obsidian Suge Water Rower is designed with high-density hydro blades and is made from lightweight steel, features non-slip handlebars and a tear-resistant mesh belt. The rowing stroke is smooth and the operation is quiet.
When it comes to water rowers under $500, the Obsidian Surge ranks as the best value for money I’ve come across. However, the frame is not as durable as Xterra and the warranty is a bit of a letdown. You get 3 years on the frame, compared to 5 with Xterra, but just 90 days on parts (Xterra provides 2 years).
Merax Water Rowing Machine
The Merax Water Rowing Machine provides similar specs to the Xterra ERG600W, except that it has an incline water tank, which allows for a more compact design. The unique incline tank design is also claimed to provide a stronger level of resistance to the conventional horizontal design.
At 12 inches, the seat is lower to the floor, which could be a problem for people with limited mobility. The Merax has a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds, which is slightly more than the Xterra ERG600W. That speaks volumes about the robustness of the frame and slide rails on this machine.
Many reviewers mention that the footpad design on this machine is not the best. While the pads can accommodate people with large feet, they don’t appear to do a very good job of securely holding people with a smaller footprint. Even though your feet are held by velcro, people with shoe sizes under 8 still have problems with their shoes slipping out of the footpads.
Should You Buy The Xterra ERG600W Water Rower?
The Xterra ERG600W Water Rower is for you if:
- Want a medium-priced water rower that delivers high-priced specs
- Want a rowing experience that is closer to rowing on the water
- Are happy to manually fill and release tank water to adjust the resistance
The Xterra ERG600W Water Rower is not for you if:
- Don’t want the hassle of adjusting water levels
- Prefer an air-based resistance system
- Are wanting to precisely monitor your resistance level
The Xterra ERG600W is an impressive entry into the upper end of the budget water rower category. It provides an excellent rowing experience with no lag time on your rowing stroke and a smooth, consistent cadence.
The build on this machine is solid and it’s covered by a decent warranty. The only questionable area concerns the footrest cup, but if you do run into problems Xterra will see you right with their generous warranty coverage.
Xterra ERG600W FAQs
Is Xterra a good rowing machine?
How much does the XTERRA ERG600W Water Rower weigh?
How many levels of resistance does the XTERRA ERG600W rowing machine have?